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 done it quite often, 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!
But we didn’t use all the apples for applesauce! I decided to save a few 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.
Plus, it’s also 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 into getting it done quickly.
It worked like a charm! Just as good, but less time overall.
However, just in case you prefer using the slow cooker, I’m including directions for that method too. Because I know we all have different preferences and I want to make making homemade apple butter as easy as possible for you!
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 as a jelly or jam. It’s delicious on toast or biscuits, in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, on pancakes and waffles, stirred into oatmeal or yogurt and it can be used in all sorts of recipes too, like these Apple Butter Snickerdoodles. It also makes a great gift too!
It’s kind of like applesauce, except that you simmer the apples until they 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, then add them along with some spices, brown sugar, vanilla and water to your Instant Pot (or slow cooker) and let it cook away until the apples are soft. Finally, you puree it with an immersion 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!
Other varieties that people like to use are Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Braeburn and Jonagold. You can totally experiment by combining different apples to suit your taste!
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.
I often freeze the apple butter in jelly jars, but these plastic containers work well too!
Super Easy Instant Pot Apple Butter
Super Easy Instant Pot Apple Butter
- Instant Pot (6 qt or larger)
- 5.5 lb. apples
- 2 tbsp. vanilla
- 1 c. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. ground 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 and remaining ingredients 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, making sure that you stir 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 store in refrigerator for up to 1 week; or freeze for up to a year.
Add peeled, cored, sliced apples to slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, stirring every couple of hours.
Blend apples with immersion 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. CANNING INSTRUCTIONS:
If you'd like to can your apple butter, it's super easy to do!
Process jars of apple butter in a water bath canner for 5 minutes for half-pints and pints and 10 minutes for quarts.
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The taste is great but it is incredibly runny and I even used 1/4 cup water instead of 1/3. At this rate, I’ll have to sauté for hours! Would love to know the secret of getting a good thick consistency apple butter.
I’m sorry, Amelia! It’s no fun having runny apple butter. The only thing I can think of is that perhaps that type of apple that you used is super juicy and therefore made it much runnier than it typically gets. It will thicken up as it sets but if it’s very runny, that’s not going to make much difference. I don’t know if blending in a bit of cornstarch or tapica starch would work or not. It may clump up…but it might be worth a try?
My daughter and I made this with apples given to us from a friend’s back yard. First time I ever made apple butter. I froze it because my daughter didn’t have canning supplies and I was visiting from Hawaii. Everyone loved it and I will definitely make this again. Thank you so much!
You are very welcome, Lori! So happy to hear that you all loved it and that you could have fun making it together.
Have not made apple jam in year’s. Question is why are the seed not cooked with the rest of the apples, are they not the sauce to preserving the apples. Then after cooking strained them through a cheesecloth. And then not adding any other preservatives? We used to melt clear canning wax and pour over the jelly to deserve the jelly. Is that still being done when making jelly and jams.
I don’t know that there would be any benefit to leaving the seeds in, other than the convenience of not needing to cut them out, I suppose. But then you need to strain them out afterwards, which would be more of a hassle, I think personally. But I don’t know that it would hurt to leave them in if you prefer.
I never heard of pouring wax over jelly. Very interesting! This apple butter isn’t shelf stable. If you want to make it to preserve for long periods, you can water bath can it or freeze it.
This apple butter looks amazing. Can I use unreeled apples?
You can, Nancy! You may have some small pieces of skin in the final apple butter but if that doesn’t bother you, go for it. You could also sieve it once you have blended it and that would also get out any possible tiny pieces of skin. I have a friend that has done that successfully.