This Instant Pot Apple Butter is the most delicious way to use fresh and vibrant fall apples. The recipe is easy to make and is flavored with apple cider and pumpkin pie spice. This Apple Butter is naturally sweetened, and can be made sugar-free.
This Instant Pot Apple Butter is sweet, tangy, thick, and full of fall flavors.
Making homemade apple butter is a great way to use the apples from going apple picking at your local orchard. Or just to embrace the abundance of apples that this season brings.
This apple butter is flavored with pumpkin pie spice and is naturally sweetened with apple cider, maple syrup, and/or molasses. However, this healthy homemade recipe can be made sugar-free as well.
It’s also naturally Paleo, gluten-free, and vegan and there is no need for preservatives or processed ingredients.
Difference between apple sauce and apple butter
Surprise! – There is no butter in apple butter!
Okay, maybe you already knew that. But do you know what the difference between apple sauce and apple butter is?
Apple sauce is apples cooked together with or without sugar and sometimes spices until it’s fluffy with soft chunks. It’s a pretty quick process and results in a light and airy apple spread. Super kid-friendly.
It’s made just like apple sauce, but apple butter is cooked down over a longer period of time and is reduced down to an almost syrup-like texture with an intense, concentrated, and complex apple flavor.
What kind of apples should I use for sugar-free apple butter?
There are no rules about what kind of apples to use for homemade apple butter. But simply put, the more flavorful the apples are, the more flavorful the apple butter is.
I like to use a variety of apples for my paleo apple butter. Using different kinds will give it a more complex flavor profile with more depth. Sweet and tangy apples make the best mix.
I like using a variety of Honey Crisps and Royal Gala for sweetness and Granny Smith for tangy acidity. It’s the perfect blend!
The best part is, you can use all of the apples you harvested when you went apple picking!
I know how easy it is to come home with 10 plus pounds of farm-fresh apples…
If you only have one kind of apple, don’t be discouraged. If the apples aren’t sweet enough, simply add a little coconut sugar, maple syrup, or molasses.
Or if the apples lack acidity, go ahead and add a squeeze of lemon to the homemade apple butter.
Should I peel the apples?
The easy answer is NO! And there are some good reasons behind it.
- There is a lot of flavor in the apple peel.
- Most of the nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals are located in the peel.
- The peel is full of fiber which is essential for our gut health and digestion. Fibers also keeps us full longer.
That means that if you peel the apple, you will lose a lot of the nutritional benefits.
However, make sure you wash your apples and other produce thoroughly before consuming them. The reason is mainly to wash away pesticides. Science proves that you can wash away 41% of the pesticides with water alone. Using vegetable detergent may clean them even more.
To avoid unpleasant pesticides all together choose organic produce.
You can read more about the benefits of consuming the peel here.
With that being said, if you want ultra-smooth apple butter, peel the apples. However, with my cooking method, I don’t think it’s necessary at all.
Ingredients for Instant pot apple butter
This paleo apple butter is made with a handful of ingredients and can be adjusted to your preference. For my instant pot recipe you need:
- Apple cider (or apple juice or water)
- Maple syrup or molasses (optional)
- Lemon juice (optional)
- Pumpkin pie spice
A lot of you have asked me what’s in pumpkin pie spice and what to do if you can’t find it. Here is what I like to use to make my own Pumpkin Pie Spice:
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground all spice
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
How to make Instant Pot Apple Butter
Start with washing the apples thoroughly.
Cut the apples into chunks and remove the core.
Then, sprinkle pumpkin pie spice over the apples.
Pour the apple cider into the instant pot and add the spice-covered apples.
Then, add the maple syrup into the instant pot and seal. Don’t add too much maple syrup at once. If desired, you can add more sweetening to the apple butter once it’s done cooking.
Cook the apples on high pressure for 10 minutes.
Then, slow release for 15 – 20 minutes. Once done releasing, open the cap.
Now, blend the apple butter until smooth using an immersion blender or a high-speed blender.
Then, turn the instant pot to the “sauté less” function. Cook and stir occasionally with a wooden spoon.
If your instant pot does not have a “sauté less” function, you can reduce the apple butter in a pot on the stovetop. I recommend using a splatter screen to prevent apples from splattering all over you.
Taste the apple butter and adjust the flavor if desired. Add more maple syrup and/or lemon juice depending on preference.
“Sauté less” for 45 – 1 hour or until it reaches the desired consistency.
Lastly, transfer the apple butter to a container and let it fully cool before storing the Instant Pot Apple Butter.
How to store sugar-free instant pot apple butter
The apple butter can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3- 4 weeks.
You can freeze the homemade apple butter for up to 6 months. Freeze it in smaller containers for convenience and defrost it as you need it.
Tip: Pour the apple butter into cute glass jars, tie a ribbon around it and label it with “Homemade Apple Butter” for a neat gift idea.
Tips and tricks for the best instant pot apple butter
To perfect this easy paleo recipe I have a few tips and tricks worth reading before making it.
- Adding maple syrup or molasses to the apple butter makes the consistency thicker and stickier, just how it is supposed to be.
- Depending on the sweetness and tartness of the apples you use, you can balance with more or less sweetener, and more or less lemon juice. If you have very sweet apples you may not have to add any sweetener at all. That makes this a sugar-free apple butter!
- Use a splatter screen when reducing the apple butter. It WILL splash even with low heat or “sauté less” function unless you stir it continuously to prevent the apple butter from bubbling up.
- You can also continuously stir the vegan apple butter with a wooden spoon. Otherwise, cover it with a splatter screen and stir occasionally.
- Use an immersion blender or a high-speed blender to puree the butter. However, if you use a high-speed blender, blend it in batches so the HOT apple sauce won’t overflow from your blender. Also, use an oven mitt so you won’t burn.
- The apple butter can be reduced in a pot on the stovetop if you don’t have the “sauté less” function on your instant pot. I actually prefer reducing on the stovetop since I can control the heat better.
How to serve the Instant Pot Apple Butter
Sure, you absolutely can eat the apple butter with a spoon straight out of the jar. But, may I suggest:
- These delicious and healthy Apple Butter Cookies? They are super easy to make and so so good!
- Smear it on toast for an easy and delicious breakfast.
- Baked brie with Apple Butter and walnuts! OMG, best combo ever!
- Drizzle the sugar-free apple butter on fluffy pancakes or waffles. It’s just perfect together.
- Serve the apple butter with pork or with turkey for Thanksgiving.
- You can use the apple butter for fall-flavored drinks as well. How about an Apple Butter Latte or an Apple Butter Tea? Or maybe an Apple Butter Bourbon Fizz?
Leave me a comment below on how you are planning to use your homemade Instant pot Apple Butter!
Other delicous fall recipes to make this season:
- 3-3.5 lbs of apples
- 1/4 cup apple cider (you can also use apple juice or water) *
- 1/3 cup - 1/2 cup maple syrup or molasses (optional)
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (optional)
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- Start with washing the apples thoroughly and cut the apples into chunks and remove the core.
- Sprinkle pumpkin pie spice over the apples.
- Pour the apple cider into the instant pot and then add the spice-covered apples.
- Add the maple syrup or molasses onto the apples and seal the lid. I recommend not to add too much maple syrup at once. You can add more sweetening to the apple butter once it’s done cooking.
- Cook the apples on high pressure for 10 minutes.
- Slow release for 15 – 20 minutes. Once done releasing, open the lid.
- Blend the apple butter until smooth using an immersion blender or a high-speed blender (see notes**).
- Taste the apple butter, and if desired, adjust the flavor with more sweetener and/or lemon juice.
- Turn the instant pot to the “sauté less” function. Cook and stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. (If your instant pot does not have a “sauté less” function, you can reduce the apple butter in a pot on the stovetop. I recommend using a splatter screen to prevent apples from splattering).
- “Sauté less” for 45 - 1 hour or until it reaches the desired consistency.
- Transfer to a container and let it fully cool before storing it (the apple butter will thicken even more once it is refrigerated).
* Some instant pots may need more liquid to prevent the "burn" warning. I only needed 1/4 cup apple cider. If you need to use more liquid, you will simply need to reduce the apple butter for a longer time in the last step.
**if you use a high-speed blender, blend it in batches so the HOT apple sauce won’t overflow from your blender. Also, use an oven mitt so you won’t burn.
See more tips and tricks in the blog post above.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This does not result in any extra cost for you, but it does mean that I make a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 146Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 11mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 6gSugar: 29gProtein: 1g
The Nutrition Facts above are specific to the ingredients I chose to use for this recipe, which may vary.