Homemade Apple Butter in just a little over an hour? Yes please! Thanks to the Instant Pot, apple butter has never been easier!
Last week my sister-in-law came over with her two boys and while our kids played, we worked at turning two bushels of apples into homemade applesauce. It was kind of a lot of work, but we’ve both made applesauce often before, so it actually went really well. In fact, once we got our workflow figured out, we worked together like a well oiled machine and it ended up not taking us as long as we thought it would!
I decided to save a few apples to make into another one of our favorite apple things. Apple butter!
And you all, I’m so excited to share this apple butter recipe with you! Because not only is it incredibly delicious (as in you’ll want to eat it straight off the spoon) it is also ridiculously easy to make. Oh, and did I mention that it’s much cheaper than if you go and buy it at the store, too?
In the past, I made this recipe in the slow cooker, but this year I decided to try my Instant Pot because I knew it would be faster and I was kind of into getting it done quickly. And it worked like a charm! But I’m including the directions for using your slow cooker too, in case that’s what you prefer.
What is apple butter?
I’m guessing that some of you are wondering, “What in the world apple butter is anyway? ” And I understand. It’s not something that I really was very familiar with until I got married. My husband spent part of his growing up years living on the orchard where his dad worked. As a result, he knows all about anything related to apples- including apple butter!
Basically, apple butter is a spread that is used like a jelly or jam. It’s delicious on bread, yummy in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, good on pancakes and can be used in all sort of recipes, too.
It’s kind of like applesauce, except the apples are cooked down more, making it thicker and allowing the sugars in the apples to caramelize. This caramelization gives the apple butter a delightfully intense flavor and it’s also what gives it the rich dark brown color.
How do you make apple butter?
This is the part I love. It’s so crazy simple! All you do is peel, core and cut up your apples, throw them along with a few other simple ingredients into your Instant Pot (or slow cooker) and let it cook away until the apples are soft. Finally, you puree it with a hand blender (this is the one I have) or regular blender until it’s nice and smooth. And just like that you are done and have lots of delicious homemade apple butter ready to be devoured!
What apples make the best homemade apple butter?
Really, you can use pretty much any apple, but in my opinion, you’ll get the best flavor by using a slightly tart variety. My favorite apple for homemade apple butter and applesauce is Cortland. But I’ve also used Fuji, McIntosh and even Gala, although I don’t think the apple butter made with Gala was quite as tasty as the other varieties. It was still good though!
Can you freeze apple butter?
Yes, I actually freeze apple butter every year when I make it. While I love canning things (as is evidenced by all my canning tutorials), sometimes it’s just easier to freeze them instead. And since I have plenty of freezer space, that’s what I do.
SUPER EASY INSTANT POT APPLE BUTTER
Super Easy Instant Pot Apple Butter
- 5.5 lb. apples
- 2 tbsp. vanilla
- 1 c. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. cloves
- 4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/3 c. water
Peel and core apples, then slice into fourths. If the apples are really big, cut them into sixths.
Add apple slices, spices and water to the insert of your Instant Pot.
Put the lid on the Instant Pot, set vent to sealing, then press the pressure cook button (or manual button on older models) and adjust the time to 15 minutes at high pressure.
When timer is finished, let pressure release naturally for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn the dial to the VENT position and let remaining steam release. Remove lid.
Blend apple mixture with stick blender or regular blender until smooth. Be very careful since it will be quite hot!
If apple butter is still pretty runny, press the saute button on the Instant Pot, then press the minus button and adjust to "less".
Saute until thickened to desired consistency, stirring occasionally. You'll want to put the lid on for this since it tends to splatter a bit. Alternatively, you can use the slow cook setting instead and simmer that way, it will just take longer.
Turn off Instant Pot and allow apple butter to cool.
Spoon into jars and refrigerate for up to 1 week; or freeze for up to a year.
SLOW COOKER INSTRUCTIONS:
Add peeled, cored, sliced apples to slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, stirring every couple of hours.
Blend apples with hand blender or blender. Add all remaining ingredients except for the water. (You only need the water for the Instant Pot recipe.)
Cook on low for an additional 5 to 6 hours, stirring occasionally.