Over the past few years, apple picking has become an early fall tradition. It started five years ago as a date activity with my now-husband, and this year the apple farm was one of our brand-new daughter’s first excursions.
(This was actually our second trip this year; Marcus liked the last trip so much he kept asking to see “apple trees.”)
Besides pies and galettes, I also enjoy making a batch or two of apple butter with our pickings. I far prefer apple butter to applesauce — it’s thick enough to spread on toast and is generally more flavorful. Apple butter is also a handy ingredient to have around for fall baking, as I’m discovering (recipes to come!). Whipping up a batch does take some time, but it’s mostly hands-off and makes your house smell perfectly autumnal — a great rainy day project!
I used our Instant Pot to make this year’s batch. (Not sponsored — we really do love this gadget!) While my method doesn’t save much time on traditional apple butter-making methods, I do think it’s easier and dirties fewer dishes. It’s definitely how I’m making apple butter from here on out!
A few notes:
- You can use any variety (or varieties) of apples. I used a mix of Macintoshes and Cortlands for this particular batch.
- Feel free to add different / more spices to your liking. I kept this batch pretty light on spice since I knew I would be using it in some baking recipes.
- If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can make this using the stovetop and oven or a slow cooker.
- If you’re pressed for time, you could use the “saute” setting instead of “slow cook” in step 2 to reduce the puree down (it should take 45-60 minutes), but the butter does tend to splatter and requires more constant stirring / attention.
Instant Pot Apple Butter
Makes about 3 pints
- 5 1/2 lbs apples, cored and quartered (no need to peel)
- 1/4 c water or apple juice
- 100-200 g brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- A few gratings of fresh nutmeg
- Place the apples and water/juice in the Instant Pot and cook on high pressure for 20 minutes. Allow pressure to release naturally. Puree contents using an immersion blender / regular blender / food processor.
- Return puree to the Instant Pot. With the lid propped open for steam ventilation, cook — stirring occasionally — on the slow cooker setting until thick and reduced, about 6 hours. Add sugar and spices, adjusting to taste (I used about 3/4 c sugar for a gently sweetened butter).
- For smoothest texture, puree contents again. Ladle apple butter into clean, sterile jars. Process in a water bath, if desired, or store in the refrigerator and use within a few weeks. Apple butter can also be frozen.