Instant Pot applesauce is such an easy recipe! Made with a variety of sweeter and tarter apples, there's no sugar added to this healthy homemade applesauce - just lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt. This pressure cooker applesauce makes a great snack and excess portions freeze beautifully.
Now if I were to start this post with a classic food blogger trope, I'd write you a long intro about how my love of applesauce began when I was a kid, how it was a tireless presence in my lunchbox, how I have countless wonderful memories of eating applesauce with my family...
But let's get real. For one, I probably roll my eyes at that over-the-top schmaltz just as much as you do. And two? It's just applesauce. Does it really need a story justifying why you make it? It's a tasty, versatile, and healthy snack recipe, made even easier in the Instant Pot.
That's good enough for me!
Reasons to Love This Recipe
- Instant Pot applesauce is incredibly simple. The hardest part just may be peeling and slicing the apples. Same deal with my air fryer apples, too.
- This applesauce gets all its sweetness from fruit, with no sugar added.
- You control how smooth or chunky your applesauce is depending upon how much you blend it.
- Excess portions freeze very well.
What apples to use for applesauce?
There's a lot of wiggle room here for you to mix and match varieties depending on what's available to you. Six apples are used in this Instant Pot applesauce recipe and I used three different varieties: Fuji, Golden Delicious, and McIntosh.
Fuji apples are very sweet, while Golden Delicious apples are a great all-purpose choice. They're not as sweet as Fuji, but still bring necessary sweetness. McIntosh apples are on the tarter side, providing a nice balance to the flavor. I prefer unsweetened applesauce, so I made sure that at least four of the six apples were on the sweeter end of the spectrum.
Since certain apple varieties can be pretty pricey depending on where you live and buy groceries, do shop around within the sweet/tart buckets to find sales and pick apples that fit your sweetness preferences. A mix of two, not three, varieties will work just fine, too.
Sweeter Apple Varieties
- Golden Delicious
Tarter Apple Varieties
- Granny Smith
- Now that we have our apples, it's time for the most tedious part of this recipe: peeling them. Peel, core, and quarter the apples, then add them to the Instant Pot. Add water, lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt and give the apples a stir.
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot, set the valve to "sealing", and select 5 minutes of Manual High Pressure. Let the pressure release naturally, then remove the lid.
- Blend the apples until the consistency is as smooth as you'd like it. The easiest way to do this is with an immersion blender (I like smooth applesauce), or you can carefully transfer everything to a stand blender.
Most Important Tip: Use Natural Pressure Release
The Instant Pot manual says to use extreme caution when pressure cooking foods that can be frothy, in which it specifically calls out applesauce. Reason being is that hot splatter-y applesauce can spray up through the pressure release system.
This is why I specify a natural pressure release. If you're impatient, after 15 minutes of natural pressure release, you may try carefully (using oven mitts, covering the vent with a dish towel, etc.) quick pressure releasing the remaining pressure.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- If you prefer sweetened applesauce, you can add your favorite sweetener before cooking, or you can stir in liquid sweetener (such as maple syrup or honey) afterwards.
- Feel free to deviate from the listed three apple varieties in the recipe card depending upon what sweet and tart apples are on sale by you. Lately my store has been leaning into BOGO Gala apple deals, so I've been using them in this applesauce, puff pastry apple turnovers, etc.
- This Instant Pot applesauce recipe yields approximately four cups in total. Besides snacking on by itself, applesauce is delicious served alongside pork dishes and in baking recipes (such as apple cinnamon baked oatmeal).
You don't have to. You can leave the skin on if you prefer (in fact that's where most of an apple's fiber is), but in this version I wanted a lighter colored applesauce so I peeled them.
Yes! I portion out one cup of applesauce into quart-sized plastic bags, seal them after getting as much air out of the bag as I can, and then press them into a flat, even layer. That way they take up less space in the freezer.
While you can definitely use larger bags for freezing applesauce, I prefer smaller ones so they're easy to grab out to thaw for a snack or for using in recipes.
One of the Instant Pot tenets when it comes to the six-quart Instant Pot is to not add less than one cup of liquid when pressure cooking. Using three-quarters cup of water is fine for this size Instant Pot in this recipe because the apples release liquid as they cook. There will be enough steam produced for everything to pressure cook properly.
If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, I’d love for you to leave a star rating in the recipe card and/or a comment review below!
Instant Pot Applesauce
- 2 Fuji apples quartered, peeled, and cored
- 2 Golden Delicious apples, quartered, peeled, and cored
- 2 McIntosh apples quartered, peeled, and cored
- ¾ cup (6 ounces) water
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- Peel apples. Cut each apple into quarters, and then remove the cores.
- Place quartered apples in the Instant Pot, then pour in the water. Add lemon juice, cinnamon, and kosher salt and give everything a little stir to combine.
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot and make sure the pressure release valve is set to "Sealing". Press the "Manual" button (or "Pressure Cook" on newer models), then using the "+" or "-" buttons, adjust the time to 5 minutes of high pressure cooking.
- Let the pressure release naturally, then switch the pressure release valve to "venting" before opening the lid.
- Using an immersion blender, blend the apples until your desired consistency. Alternatively, you can transfer the apples to a blender to blend that way, or even just give it all a stir if you like chunky applesauce. The applesauce will thicken as it cools. Store in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months.
- Apples: Mix and match sweet and tart apple varieties from these buckets depending upon your tastes and what's on sale. I go with four sweeter apples (Fuji and Golden Delicious) and two tarter ones (McIntosh).
- Sweeter: Fuji, Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Gala, Ambrosia, Honeycrisp
- Tarter: McIntosh, Granny Smith, Jazz, Braeburn
- Optional Sweetener: You can add some of your preferred sweetener before cooking if you like, or you can stir in a liquid sweetener, like maple syrup or honey, afterwards.
- It's important to use the natural pressure release to prevent hot applesauce from splatting out of the valve mechanism. The Instant Pot manual specifically warns against quick pressure release for applesauce.
- Time: Inactive time takes into account 15 minutes for the Instant Pot to come up to pressure and 20 minutes for a natural pressure release.
- Yield: This recipe yields about 4 cups of applesauce in total.
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