There’s no fall recipe simpler than this Instant Pot Apple Butter! While stove-top instructions are provided, the Instant Pot makes this vegan apple butter ridiculously easy and fast. Spread it on toast, use it in baking, and more!
This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure policy for details.
Hey Internet, I’m loving these early days of fall. It’s not too cold, it’s not too hot, the leaves are just starting to yellow up here in the northern midwest United States and I’m diving head first into the fall recipes.
I won’t bore you with a long story about how I first tried apple butter at Peace Valley Fruit Orchard in Northeast Ohio--which is true, but there really isn’t a story about it. I just did.
ANYWAY, I’ve loved apple butter since then and I really don’t know why I never tried to make it. It’s really easy--whether you have an Instant Pot or not, I hope you’ll try it.
Oh and keep in mind when I talk about Instant Pots, I really mean any countertop electric pressure cooker. When I was looking to purchase one a few years ago, I did a LOT of research and decided I’d read the best things about the Instant Pot brand and I’ve loved it ever since.
So this vegan apple butter recipe -- I mean, there’s nothing that specifically MAKES it vegan. Some recipes use non-organic sugar, which means that it MAY be processed with animal bone char. Additionally, if the recipe uses honey, that isn’t vegan.
But not the point. You’re here for an awesomely awesome apple butter recipe and yes, it’s vegan.
It’s also simple, full of apply goodness, and pretty fast, especially if you use the Instant Pot.
I also made so much of this recipe because A) it makes a lot and B) I was testing it. So this vegan apple butter recipe is being published alongside my vegan apple butter thumbprint cookies!
Okay, but back to the apple butter.
Ready for this recipe?
What You’ll Need
So of course, apples. It actually doesn’t matter what type of apples you use for this recipe.
If you have some apples that are not the best texture, or not sweet enough, they’re great to use in this recipe. You can add sugar (cane, coconut, brown, whatever you like) to taste.
If you’re a big fan of green apples, use those! I love green apples but I wanted a sweeter apple butter, and green apples weren’t on sale.
What was on sale was VERY exciting: Honeycrisp! Now, I’m not super obsessed with Honeycrisp apples like some people but I do really love them, and they are PERFECT in this recipe.
So next up, you’ll need just a little bit of liquid to cook your apples in. I chose orange juice because I love the citrusy flavor it gives the apple butter.
However, apple cider, apple juice (I’d recommend NOT from concentrate), or even just water will work, though it will be less flavorful. I think the more traditional option is apple cider, but you do you.
Sugar--you don’t need to add it. This will be perfectly good without it, just less sweet.
If you do want to add sugar, add as little or as much as you’d like. I chose a solid sugar -- coconut sugar, because it’s unrefined and has a slightly lower glycemic index than regular sugar.
It’s still sugar, so if you’re avoiding added sugar it would be easy just to leave it out.
That being said, coconut sugar is so warm and fall-ish, and goes perfectly in this vegan apple butter.
It’s not completely necessary, but highly recommended: cinnamon! I really love ground cinnamon in this recipe, and it also gives the apple butter this rich brown color.
Finally, a squeeze of lemon juice right at the end both helps this apple butter stay fresh and it’s also super super delicious. It brings out all the flavors without overwhelming them.
Optional add-in: You can choose to add a touch of ginger (freshly grated or powdered) here if you like a little zing in your apple butter.
Tips for Making Instant Pot Apple Butter
Note: this recipe will work in any pressure cooker, but buttons may be called by other names on non-Instant Pot brand pressure cookers (and in some cases on other models of the Instant Pot brand!). Consult your manual for any questions based on your specific brand of pressure cooker. The Instant Pot I’m using is an Instant Pot Duo 6qt.
- You can choose to either peel or not peel your apples. Not peeling them will give you a slightly less smooth apple butter, but you also then save time, so it’s a tossup. I peeled mine, but that’s because I have an awesome peeler.
- Not peeling your apples, however, may actually result in a firmer apple butter, if that’s what you want. There is a substance called pectin in the apple peel, and if you cook it, the pectin is released and helps bind the apple butter together when it’s blended. But I peeled mine and it still ended up pretty darn firm.
- Add the orange juice (other other liquid) to your Instant Pot first. Then add the apples, cinnamon, sugar if using, and ginger if using. Give it a good stir.
- Place on the lid, set the pressure valve to “sealing” and cook on Manual or High Pressure (or just press Pressure Cook) for 4 minutes. Yup, just 4 minutes!
- When the pressure cooker is done, use a cooking spoon to carefully release the pressure by switching the pressure valve to “venting” and let the pressure release completely before you open the lid. With Instant Pots, the pressure button will be in the lowered position--please consult the manual of your pressure cooker for safety.
- Strain out the liquid -- this is less important if you did not peel your apples, as sometimes it thickens enough that you don’t have a lot of excess liquid. You could also throw it in a pot on the stovetop and cook it over low heat for 10 or so minutes to thicken it more.
- Since I did peel my apples, I just strained the liquid (and used that liquid in a smoothie!).
- Add the apples to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
- Transfer the mixture to a jar or two and that’s it!
How to Make Stovetop Apple Butter
If you don’t have a pressure cooker, no worries. I gotchu.
So add your peeled or unpeeled diced apples to a medium pot and add the rest of the ingredients except the lemon. Give everything a good stir.
Cook over medium heat for about 30-40 minutes, or until the apples are soft enough to mush with your spoon.
Now strain out the excess liquid (I saved it for a smoothie!) and add the apples to a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth.
How Long Does Homemade Apple Butter Last?
You can store this apple butter in a jar or two and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
However, you can also go the canning route which will last much longer.
Prepare five 8-oz sterilized canning jars. Pour the apple butter into the jars and seal them with sterilized lids.
Follow proper canning procedures if you plan to store these unrefrigerated.
I’ve never canned anything, actually, this advice is from research. I would love to try canning one day, though! I just need more pantry space before I do!
How to Use Apple Butter
Apple butter is a versatile and delicious condiment.
The classic way to enjoy it? On toast!
You can also enjoy it between layers of pancakes, with waffles, on top of your oatmeal, etc.
Not feeling it for breakfast?
Try apple butter with peanut butter or almond butter in a sandwich, or try it on top of a baked sweet or regular potato!
If you’re feeling like baking something fun, try these vegan apple butter thumbprint cookies! They’re super easy, super delicious, and they still leave you with plenty of apple butter for other meals.
If you feel like this recipe might make more than you can eat and you don’t want to follow canning procedures, you can easily halve or quarter the recipe.
Other Vegan Fall Recipes
Fall is one of my favorite seasons, and part of it’s the food! I love apple, pumpkin, cranberry, squash, and pomegranate, as well as some of the less obvious fall produce.
Try out one or more of these vegan fall recipes:
- Apple Pie Baked Oatmeal
- Butternut Squash Carrot Ginger Soup (Instant Pot instructions included)
- Pumpkin Risotto
- Apple Cake
- Pomegranate Salad with Oranges and Pecans
- Corn Chowder (Instant Pot instructions included)
- Lentil Mushroom Loaf
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes
As always, I hope you love this recipe–I know I do, and Mr. Zardyplants does too.
This Instant Pot Apple Butter is:
- And the perfect topping for toast and more!
Let me know in the comments below if you make this recipe or tag me @Zardyplants on Instagram so I can see your beautiful recreations! If you tag me on IG, I will share your post in my stories :)
Also, one quick request: if you love how this recipe looks or tastes, please leave me a 5-star rating and a nice comment–ratings help more people find my recipes which helps me keep providing them! Thank you!