10 Apple Butter - Pressure Cooker

Apple Butter is essentially a super thickened applesauce, cooked slowly so the sugar caramelizes and turns into this sweet, cinnamon-y, deep brown spread that is a wonderful Fall treat. Since apples naturally contain pectin, it is very similar to an apple jelly.

Most recipes call for slow cooking over 14-20 hours, and using your pressure cooker will definitely help reduce this cooking time!

This was my first time making apple butter and I wasn't sure how "thick" the consistency should be. Apple butter does thicken while it cools, so if it is too thick for you, you can add some apple juice to thin it out to your desired texture. Apples can vary widely in water content, depending on the variety and growing conditions.

I used my Instant Pot Ceramic liner for making this apple butter. I loved the fact that I didn't have to worry about the sauce burning and sticking to the pot. This ceramic liner is great for anything that can stick: rice, oatmeal, Macaroni & Cheese.

You will want to use a heat resistant silicone spatula or a wooden spoon while stirring, as not to scratch the finish.

Apples that work best are sweet, meaty apples like Gala, McIntosh, Winesap or any of the baking apples found on this applesauce post. Using a mix of apples will create a unique final product. Don't use Granny Smith or Honey Crisp apples as they are too tart or too sweet for this recipe.

  • Braeburn - sweet/tart
  • Cameo
  • Cortland - similar to McIntosh, but sweeter/tarter
  • Crispin (Mutsu)
  • Empire - very sweet when baked
  • Fuji -sweet/tart,watery
  • Gala - thin skinned, but grainy texture
  • Golden Delicious - sweet, thin skinned
  • Gravenstein
  • Ida Red
  • Jonagold - sweet, thin skinned
  • Jonamac
  • Jonathan
  • Liberty
  • McIntosh - strong structure of pectin
  • Newtown Pippin
  • Rome Beauty - mild, thick skin
  • Stayman
  • Winesap

Cutting & Peeling I love using this Apple corer, peeler, spiralizer. It is so FAST  - it took less than 10 minutes to prep 4 pounds of apples.

You can opt to leave the peels on, but you do need to core and cut the apples. This Apple Slicer/Corer does a quick job.

This recipe uses 1 cup of sugar for every pound of apples, which is very sweet. You can use any combination of sugars, and brown sugar will give your apple butter a taste of molasses. Sugar is necessary in making preserves to help it set up, gel or thicken, and increase the shelf life.

You can reduce the amount of sugars, but your finished apple butter may be more runny, need a longer cooking time, and end up yielding less. Since I am planning to can or preserve this apple butter, the recommended amount of sugar will ensure that it will have the maximum shelf life. When sugar is decreased, the shelf life of your apple butter is decreased.

TIP: When the apple butter is cooking down, it may look lava-like, bubbling and popping from your cooker. If this is the case, you can use a spatter screen, or a large mesh strainer to help. Your other option is to reduce the heat, using the highest slow cooker setting or simmer setting of your cooker.

This apple butter turned out much better than I anticipated - got a "double thumbs up" from all of my family members and I can't wait to try it with other foods!

Use this utterly delicious spread on freshly baked bread, toast, pancakes, muffins, swirl it through oatmeal, fresh yogurt, mix in smoothies, spread on crepes, waffles, or make a cookie sandwich filling with oatmeal cookies.


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Apple Butter - Pressure Cook
Thick, rich, jam-like spread, traditionally known as "Apple Butter," is spiced with cinnamon and cloves for a treat that is wonderful spread on toast, waffles, muffins, etc....
  • 4 pounds of apples, about 16 medium ( I used 13 McIntosh apples)
  • 1/4 cup water, apple juice, or yogurt whey
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 cups granulated or brown sugar, optional, see note*
1. Wash apples. Core & cut the apples into eighths. You can peel the apples, if desired.2. Put apples into pressure cooker insert.3. Pour water or apple juice into cooker.4. Dump sugars and spices on top of apples; Do Not Stir.5. Close the pressure cooker lid & close the pressure cooker valve.6. Select HIGH pressure for 10-15 minutes. Large cut apples will take a longer time.7. When cook time has finished, use at least a 15 minute natural release. You can use a full natural release, if desired. 8. Open pressure cooker valve and lid. 9. Puree the apples with a potato masher, immersion blender or food processor. 10. With the pureed apples in the pressure cooker, select Saute LOW or a low browning setting. Set your timer for 30 minutes, as you will need to restart the Saute setting every 30 minutes. Stir every 30 minutes, until desired thickness is reached, about 45-90 minutes. Stirring helps keep the spattering down, so as the apple butter thickens, stir more frequently. 
If your setting is too hot, switch to a slow cook setting.To check for consistency, put a small plate in the freezer for a few minutes. Put a small spoonful of apple butter onto the chilled plate. If liquid leaches out around the apple butter, it needs to cook a little longer. If not, it is ready. Keeps well in the refrigerator for 1-3 weeks.
Freezer 1-3 months
Process for water bath canning for up to a 2 year shelf life
*Note: I used a 50/50 mix of granulated sugar and brown sugar. This was the amount of sugar recommended for bottling the apple butter, but you can reduce this amount if you wish. The sugars help thicken and caramelize the apple butter and contribute to the shelf life.
Prep time: 10Cook time: 1 hour 3Total time: 2Yield: 5-6 cups


  1. Can you please offer the appropriate times for pints and quarts in the water bath?

    1. You will need to adjust the times for your altitude.
      Half pint or pint jars are processed for 15 min at sea level, increasing the time for the following:
      1,000-3,000 feet add 5 min
      3,000-6,000 feet add 10 min
      6,000 - 8,000 feet add 15 min for a total of 30 minutes.
      Quart jars are not recommended for this recipe.
      Thank you for asking a great question!

  2. I halved the recipe and used an old-fashioned pressure cooker. This recipe could not have turned out better. It's just lovely. Not too lumpy, not too smooth - I used a little hand mixer after cooking. It's easy and lovely!

    1. I'm so happy to know that you enjoyed this recipe! Thank you for leaving a comment. Enjoy!

    2. Thanks for this. I have an old fashioned one too and 1/4 c. liquid did not seem like enough.

  3. fantastic , will make again, used granny smith apples and added a bit of nutmeg, and only brown sugar

    1. I'm glad you are enjoying this recipe - the combination of apples, nutmeg & brown sugar sound like a winning combination! :-)

  4. I made this recipe but I put it in my toaster oven to cook down. After 'bottling' it, I had to do clean up before I could put the jars in a water bath. Three of the lids popped as they do after a water bath but they hadn't been processed yet. Are they okay to store in the basement as is or what should I do?

    1. I would not put those three jars in the basement. I'd put them in the fridge to use or re-process them.
      They need to be processed in a water bath for shelf storage. Remove the lid, clean the rim, put a new lid and put them in the water bath to properly process them.
      Jars of hot food should be processed immediately. If you are not able to process the jars immediately, then the food should be put into a container, put in the fridge, stored, then heated again to jar and water bath them. 🙂

    2. Thank you for this advice. I put them in the fridge last night so will follow your instructions to re process them this afternoon.


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