Instant Pot Applesauce

Instant Pot applesauce is quick and easy to make at home, and oh so delicious! Outside of apples, all you need is a pressure cooker and a cinnamon stick.

Instant Pot Applesauce

What to do with lots of apples? Make applesauce, of course! I grew up with an apple tree as a kid, and have fond memories of my family making applesauce every year. This homemade applesauce is our family favorite recipe, and it’s so good that Alex and I have adapted it for the Instant Pot! A pressure cooker makes it seriously quick and easy to make. All you need is a bunch of apples and a cinnamon stick. It comes together with no added sugars in under 30 minutes!

More apple recipes we made? This stunning apple pie, cozy apple crisp, and these apple streusel muffins (plus a vegan variation).

Apples

Before we start: let’s talk apples!

What apples are best to use in applesauce? Use any sweet tart cooking apple: and make sure you love the flavor raw! The flavor of homemade applesauce is 100% dependent on the type of apple you use. So take a taste before you start. Alex and I love tart apples, so our favorite varieties are Macintosh, Jonathon, Ida Red, and Honeycrisp. 

How to make Instant Pot applesauce: a tutorial

Alex and I just took our son Larson apple picking, and we have a huge bag of apples to use up. Now that we have an Instant Pot, we use this Instant Pot applesauce instead of our stovetop recipe. It takes less time, and it’s much more hands off. It’s a healthy applesauce too: there are no added sugars, just fruit! A cinnamon stick infuses cozy flavor. It’s a great project to do with kids, too (our son actually did it at preschool, which is how we got the idea). Here’s exactly how to make applesauce in a pressure cooker!

Step 1: Core and chop the apples (no need to peel!).

Wash, core and chop 3 pounds of sweet cooking apples. Should you leave the apple skin on for applesauce? We do! But it depends on your preferences of prep time, equipment, and applesauce color.

  • Leave the apple skins on. Leaving the skins makes for fast prep, and it gives the applesauce a rosy color! The tradeoff is that you’ll have to food process (or blend) the applesauce, then strain out the skins, or use a food mill. To us, it’s worth the blending step: and we love the look of rosy applesauce!
  • Peel the apple skins. If you prefer, you can peel the apple skins. It takes more time before pressure cooking, but you won’t have to food process or strain at the end. You also can just mash with a potato masher. Using this method, the applesauce will be more of a yellow brown color.
Instant Pot applesauce: chop the apples

Step 2: Pressure cook for 6 minutes, then natural release for 5 minutes.

Add the apples to the Instant Pot with 1 cup water, a cinnamon stick, and 1 pinch kosher salt. Pressure cook on high for 6 minutes (note that it takes about 5 minutes for the pot to “preheat” and get up to pressure). Then set a timer and wait for a natural release for 5 minutes. Open the pressure cooker and remove the cinnamon stick.

Step 3: Blend or mash the applesauce.

Once you get to the blending or mashing, there are a few options depending on whether you’ve chosen to leave on the skins and what your equipment is:

  • Chunky applesauce: This method is easiest if you’ve peeled the skins. Mash down the apples with a potato masher. If you have left the skins on, you can remove the apple skins with a fork.
  • Smooth applesauce (shown in photos): Run the applesauce through a food processor (or blender) until it’s smooth but still has texture. Then pass it through a strainer to remove any pieces of the peel. Another option is to run it through a food mill, which quickly removes the peel. (This is my family’s method, but not everyone has a food mill these days!) 
How to make applesauce: Strain it

Step 4: Taste.

Depending on the apples you use, this Instant Pot applesauce will likely be perfect without any added sweetener! If you’d like, you can add a drizzle of maple syrup to taste. But it should come out perfectly sweet and tangy. (It’s nothing like the “natural” flavor sold in stores, which is totally tasteless!)

Homemade Applesauce
Our son Larson with the hand modelling here (only 2 and he’s a pro!)

More with apples!

We’ve got lots more apple recipes where these come from! Since we’re focused on the Instant Pot, here are two apple recipes we think you might enjoy:

  • Applesauce cake: Want to bake with this Instant Pot applesauce? This Easy Applesauce Cake is mixed right in the pan so you don’t have to dirty any bowls. It comes out perfectly moist and spiced, with a dusting of powdered sugar (it’s great for making with kids, too).
  • Apple crisp: Did you know you can make Instant Pot apple crisp? It cooks in just 2 minutes and the apples come out tender and cozy. This one has become a favorite in our house (and the topping has a short cut using organic granola).
Apple picking
Nothing’s better than a day at the apple orchard!

What kind of Instant Pot to use?

All pressure cooker brands vary! Here’s the brand we use: an Instant Pot 6 Qt Programmable Pressure Cooker. This recipe is customized for a 6 quart pressure cooker. We also can’t speak to other brands and types of pressure cookers. For example, Instant Pot Mini works differently, so use it at your own risk!

This Instant Pot applesauce recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, plant-based, dairy-free, vegan, naturally sweet, and refined sugar free.

Print
Homemade applesauce

Quick Instant Pot Applesauce


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: About 4 cups 1x

Description

Instant Pot applesauce is quick and easy to make at home, and oh so delicious! Outside of apples, all you need is a pressure cooker and a cinnamon stick.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds apples (6 to 8 medium apples)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Core and dice the apples. Leave on the skins (for an applesauce with a rosy color), or if you’d like, peel the apples (it’s easier to make chunky applesauce this way; see Step 3).
  2. Place the apples in the Instant Pot with the water, cinnamon stick, and salt. Lock the lid. Place the pressure release handle (vent) in the “Sealing” position.
  3. Cook on high pressure for 6 minutes. Note that it takes about 5 minutes for the pot to “preheat” and come up to pressure before it starts cooking. (During cooking, avoid touching the metal part of the lid.)
  4. Natural release for 5 minutes. After the Instant Pot beeps, set a timer and wait for the natural release to let the Instant Pot release pressure. Then vent any remaining steam by moving the vent to “Venting”, covering your hand with a towel or hot pad. Never put your hands or face near the vent when releasing steam. (During this time the pressure indicator in the lid may drop on its own, meaning that there is no remaining steam in the pot.)
  5. Open the Instant Pot and carefully remove the cinnamon stick. To make a chunky applesauce, mash down the apples with a potato masher. If you left the skins on, remove the apple skins with a fork (it’s easiest to do a chunky applesauce if you peel the apples first). To make a smooth applesauce, use one of the two methods: run the applesauce through a food processor (or blender) until it’s smooth but still has texture. Then pass it through a strainer to remove any pieces of the peel. Another option is to pass it through a food mill, which quickly removes the peel.
  6. Taste: depending on the type of apples, the applesauce will likely be sweet enough as is. If not, add a drizzle of maple syrup.

  • Category: Essentials
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Apples

Keywords: Instant Pot Applesauce, pressure cooker, applesauce, apple, sauce

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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