Thick and creamy apple butter in under an hour? Yes, it’s absolutely possible!
Just look at how thick and creamy this apple butter is! There’s no butter in this of course – but oh my goodness is it buttery! You know how when you leave (read: forget) a stick of butter on the countertop and it becomes all soft and perfectly spreadable? THAT is the consistency of this apple butter.
Do you know what apple butter is? And how it’s different from applesauce? I’ll tell you. Apple butter is the overachieving sibling to apple sauce. So basically, my brother is apple butter and I am apple sauce.
Okay that’s a silly answer. The real answer: apple butter is just concentrated apple sauce. You cook apple sauce until the sugar in the apples caramelize – that’s what gives apple butter it’s beautiful caramel-like color.
How do you use apple butter? Tell me, I want to know!
And even though you didn’t ask… I’ll tell ya how I use it:
- Eat it with pancakes (here’s my paleo pancake recipe & oatmeal pancake recipe)
- Spread it on my 3-ingredient flatbread along with a slice of melty brie or grassfed cheddar.
- Make apple butter pumpkin pie!
I also recently put this on a fall cheese tray (along with a jar of homemade apple chutney) and it was a huge hit! I’ll have to share my “recipe” for an epic fall cheeseboard soon because it was fan-apple-tastic. Yes, I realize that I just made up that word. And yes, I realize it’s a fab-apple-ulous word. And yes, I realize that adding the word apple to an already existing word is NOT a thing. Except for here on my blog, where whatever I say is a thing. And yes, I’ll stop now…
I can’t believe that I used to spend HOURS making apple butter in my slow cooker. Forget low and slow you guys. In a world where instant gratification is everything, the pressure cooker is king. No need to wait for apple butter, put the king to work and pressure cook those apples!
No need to peel the apples either. In the past, I used to peel apples before making apple butter (ugh, why?) so that I’d have a smooth sauce. But now, I keep the peels on because they help thicken the apple butter and if you have a high-speed blender, you can still achieve a super smooth apple butter.
I always add spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves) to my apple butter – you can spice yours however you’d like or leave the seasonings out altogether.
Sugar helps thicken the apple butter and so if you’re like me and skipping the sweetener, then you’ll probably need to cook it a little longer to get a thick, spreadable sauce. If you’re using tart apples, you can add sugar but if your apples are already sweet then there’s no need because the sauce is concentrated and naturally sweet.
The thing with apple butter is that it’ll continue to thicken as long as you cook it. I like my apple butter to be pretty thick, so after pressure cooking the apples, I hit the sauté button and adjust the heat to low to boil off extra liquid. You can sauté using high heat too but you’ll need to stir it more frequently.
This would be the perfect fall hostess gift or give this to a foodie friend for the holidays! This makes a fairly large batch – about 3-4 cups or so, depending on how concentrated you make it. I froze a good amount of it so that we can enjoy it later on in the year (maybe I’ll defrost it soon and make a pie!).
Instant Pot Apple Butter
- 5 1/2 pounds apples, cored and quartered
- 1/4 cup water or apple juice
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- Pinch of ground cloves
- Sugar, optional
- Core the apples and then cut them into quarters (leave the peels on).
- Add the apples and the water to the Instant Pot.
- Cover and cook for 20 minutes at high pressure.
- Naturally release pressure.
- Puree the contents of the pot with an immersion blender (or put everything into a blender and then put the puree back into the pot).
- Add the spices and sugar to the pot.
- Press sauté and adjust to low. Cook uncovered for 15-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apple butter is as thick as you’d like it to be.
- Store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or keep in the freezer for up to 1 mont
- If you are not adding sugar, then the apple butter will take longer to thicken.