by Olena

Instant Pot Applesauce

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Olena Osipov
5 from 4 votes

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Instant Pot Applesauce is so easy, so flavourful, and texturally perfect! Made with apples, water, lemon juice, and a few optional additional flavors, in under 30 minutes you’ll have tasty and easy homemade applesauce that is WAY better than store-bought. There is no more stirring at the stove, just dump the apples, peeled or not, add the water and the pressure cooker does the work!

Then enjoy it on its own or use it to make healthy apple bread, healthy apple muffins, or almond flour waffles.

Instant Pot Applesauce in a bowl with fresh apples in background

Easy Homemade Instant Pot Applesauce

Nothing says fall like warm apples and cinnamon which means there is no better time to make this unsweetened applesauce recipe in Instant Pot. It is too easy not to! No more stirring at the stove for long periods because the Instant Pot does all the work for you in this easy homemade applesauce. It’s pure and simply made, with the option of adding in a little natural sweetener and cinnamon if you’d like.

My kids love it as a healthy and nutritious snack. Sometimes I mix in homemade granola, Instant Pot Greek yogurt, and a drizzle of maple syrup and they’re in heaven!

There’s just something about the aroma of homemade applesauce, especially when the cooler weather comes knocking. Knowing it doesn’t come with tons of added sugar the way store-bought brands sometimes do is a bonus. Homemade apple puree is so much better for you without all of the extra stuff, it tastes better and is a great way to use up any apples that have been sitting around a while.

Buying organic applesauce isn’t cheap! You can make a big batch of your own in your pressure cooker and have it for days and freeze whatever you don’t use making it a cost-effective way to batch cook!

You can also use pressure cooker applesauce in your baking as a replacement for melted butter or oil as well as a natural sweetener. Try and be amazed how moist banana muffins, zucchini bread and blueberry muffins with applesauce come out!

With very little time and effort and a few simple ingredients, you’ll never buy store-bought again! From pulled pork to chocolate muffins, to homemade BBQ sauce, there are so many uses for this Instant Pot applesauce recipe.

Why This Unsweetened Applesauce Recipe for Instant Pot Works?

  • It’s so easy. Like, ridiculously easy! The hardest part might be deciding if you want to peel your apples or not.
  • The flavour, texture, and consistency are so much better than anything store-bought, even the organic stuff! You just can’t beat homemade.
  • Applesauce is a versatile recipe that can be used on its own as a snack, as homemade baby food, and as an ingredient in baking.
  • You can make a big batch of this unsweetened applesauce recipe and portion it out as a way to save money and time later on.
  • It’s fast! Since there is no standing around at the stove, the pressure cooker does all the work! It’s ready to eat in under 30 minutes.
Homemade apple puree recipe in a bowl with linen around it

Ingredients for Pressure Cooker Applesauce

  • Apples: Cored and quartered. Can be peeled or not. If you peel your apples you will have a consistency closer to store-bought applesauce, which my kids like. However, keep in mind you will also lose a bit of the vitamins and nutrients (ie. fibre) that the peel provides.
  • Cold water: If you double the number of apples for pressure cooker applesauce, don’t double the water.
  • Lemon juice: Can also use citric acid. Adding either will help keep your applesauce from browning too much.
  • Optional seasonings: Adding a tablespoon of maple syrup as an additional sweetener to your unsweetened applesauce recipe can help if your apples are sour. As well, adding a tsp of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice can add another layer of flavor. Season to your liking.
applesauce ingredients

How to Make Applesauce in Instant Pot

There is a full recipe card below.

  • Prep: Peel (or not) the apples for Instapot applesauce. As mentioned above, peeling your apples will give you a similar consistency to store-bought. Core and cut the apples into quarters. If not peeling, the easiest way is to use an apple slicer.
  • Set Instant Pot: Add the apples to 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot along with water. Close the lid and set pressure release valve to Sealing and press Pressure Cook on High or Manual for 8 minutes.
  • Release Instant Pot: Once finished, release the pressure right away – Quick Release. Open the lid and if you find you have a few pieces that still need mashing, go ahead and do that now using a potato masher.
  • Add: Once your unsweetened applesauce recipe is made, stir in the lemon juice.
  • Optional additions: If you’d like your Instapot applesauce sweeter add a bit of maple syrup, and season to your taste, along with a sprinkling of cinnamon if you wish.

Optional Instapot Applesauce Add-in’s and Variations

Although this unsweetened applesauce recipe on its own has loads of flavour, sometimes it’s nice to add in a little something extra from time to time!

  • Spices: Cinnamon or nutmeg, or both! You could try adding pumpkin pie spice (which is a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves).
  • Sweetener: Maple syrup is always nice with cooked apples, as is honey (raw, unprocessed if possible). You could also use a bit of brown sugar if you’re into that for this Instapot applesauce.
  • Other fruit: Substitute strawberries, pears, or peaches to this recipe, or better yet, pick two fruits to make a nice blended fruit sauce.

Tips for Best Applesauce Instant Pot Results

  • No waste: If you have an abundance of apples, use them unripened, a little overripe, and even ones that have sat too long in the fridge (even the ones with worms!). Still have more? Make apple oatmeal bars, oatmeal muffins, or healthy gingerbread loaf.
  • Best apples: Granny Smith, Honey Crisp, Gala, or McIntosh all work well alone for instapot applesauce or as a combination.
  • Easiest way to prep apples: Any gone bad spot or worms holes can be removed with a paring knife. Then I quickly core and cut apples with an apple slicer. So quick and easy!
  • Don’t double the water: No matter the number of apples you add, do not double the water. Add the same 1/4 cup cold water for any amount of apples that are not exceeding the 2/3 max mark.
  • Unpeeled apples+no water: If you have an older model of the Instant Pot that is not as sensitive to Burn, I had success adding unpeeled apples and no water. I found peels contain a lot of water which leads to a runnier sauce. While coming to pressure, that water is being extracted enough to bring the pot to pressure. You can try it, but don’t walk away!

FAQs

Can I natural release my Instant Pot applesauce?

Yes. If you are finding that quick release was a bit messy with apple water (or sugary apple water if you’ve added sweetener) spewing all over, let the pressure subside on its own. Either way, your apples will be mush.

Why is my Instapot applesauce runny?

This is probably a case of adding a little too much water or if you’ve left the skin on, it produced more liquid than you expected. There are a couple of ways around this when making pressure cooker applesauce. Cooking it down a bit longer until the liquid evaporates, either on saute mode, or by transferring it to the stovetop. Alternatively, you could strain it and use the excess liquid to make yourself some apple cider (yes, please!). Last, and only if you are desperate to thicken it quickly, you could add a slurry of arrowroot starch and a bit of the apple liquid back into the pot to thicken it up.

How thick should applesauce be?

That’s totally up to you and how you and your family like to enjoy it. For a thicker sauce, you might want to think about adding a few more apples, however, the catch 22 is that it may also produce a bit more liquid if your apples are quite juicy. Alternatively, you could continue cooking them down once you’ve opened the lid.

Why is my homemade applesauce brown?

This is because when apple flesh comes in contact with oxygen, it oxidizes through a chemical reaction. It’s not harmful at all, in fact, it’s a sign that your apples are doing what they’re meant to do. It’s when your GMO apples don’t turn brown that it becomes weird! If you’ve left your cut apples to brown before adding them to the Instant Pot, then your apple sauce will also become brown.

Is it better to can or freeze applesauce?

Canning is a process of sterilizing the jars, adding the contents, getting rid of the air, sealing it, and making sure it’s going to stay fresh without trapping anything that will make it go bad. It’s not hard to learn to can preserves when you do know how it is a great way to preserve a ton of homemade recipes like tomato sauce, jam, etc. Canned applesauce will keep for up to a year when done right!

Frozen applesauce will also keep for up to a year when placed in a freezer-friendly airtight container. When thawed, the consistency may change over time, but the taste will remain.

So, which is better? Well, that depends on the time and energy you want to put into preserving it!

apples being made into sauce in bowl ready to eat with apples in background

Serving Recommendations

As is. A bowl of warm Instapot applesauce all on its own is perfection. The balance of sweet and tart balanced by a smooth consistency is a big reward for doing almost no work!

Stir in some homemade granola, Instant Pot vanilla yogurt, or a drizzle of maple syrup for a heartier snack with added health benefits like protein and fibre.

Serve along with some tangy cheese like a high-quality sharp cheddar, cottage cheese, fresh feta, or goat cheese. If you have some baked brie, serve it with a dollop of applesauce.

Spread it: On top of your waffles, pancakes, toast, and crepes.

Use in baked goods: Pressure cooker applesauce can be used in healthy banana muffins, healthy blueberry muffins, healthy zucchini bread, healthy chocolate muffins, apple oatmeal bars with honey, healthy oatmeal muffins, and this healthy gingerbread loaf.

Making Easy Homemade Applesauce in Advance

Storing: Instant Pot applesauce will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 7 days.

Freezing: You can freeze your pressure cooker applesauce, also in an airtight freezer-friendly container, leaving room for expansion for up to 3 months in a fridge freezer or up to 1 year in a deep freezer.

Thawing: When ready to thaw, leave it on your counter for approximately 6-8 hours. If you would like to serve it warm, reheat it on the stovetop on low until heated through. In any case, stir for even consistency.

More Instant Pot Recipes

applesauce in a bowl
Instant Pot Applesauce

Instant Pot Applesauce {No Sugar Added!}

Instant Pot Applesauce is so easy, so flavourful, and texturally perfect! Made with apples, water, lemon juice, and a few optional additional flavors, in under 30 minutes you'll have tasty and easy homemade applesauce that is WAY better than store-bought. There is no more stirring at the stove, just dump the apples, peeled or not, add the water and the pressure cooker does the work!
5 from 4 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Ukrainian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes
Servings: 4 cups (8 servings)
Calories: 178kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs apples cored and quartered (peeled or not)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Sweetener and cinnamon optional

Instructions

  • Peel or do not peel apples – for store bought texture and colour applesauce I recommend to peel. Core and cut apples in quarters.
    Instant Pot Applesauce
  • Add to 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot along with water.
    Instant Pot Applesauce
  • Close the lid, set pressure release valve to Sealing and press Pressure Cook on High or Manual for 8 minutes.
    Instant Pot Applesauce
  • After release pressure right away – called Quick Release.
    Instant Pot Applesauce
  • Open the lid. More likely you won’t even have to mash cooked apples – I didn’t. But if you still see chunks, mash with a potato masher. With unpeeled apples, use an immersion blender.
    Instant Pot Applesauce
  • Add lemon juice, stir, taste and season to your taste with sweetener and cinnamon, if necessary.
    Instant Pot Applesauce

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 7 days.

    Freeze: Freeze in any containers, silicone bags or jars leaving some room for expansion for up to 3 months. Thaw on counter for 6-8 hours and enjoy!

      Notes

      • Don’t double water: No matter the amount of apples you add, do not double water. Add same 1/4 cup cold water for any amount of apples that are not exceeding 2/3 max mark.
      • Unpeeled apples+no water: If you have older model of Instant Pot that is not as sensitive to Burn, I had success adding unpeeled apples and no water. I found peels contain a lot of water which leads to more runny sauce. While coming to pressure, that water is being extracted and enough to bring pot to pressure. You can try but don’t walk away.
      • Easiest way to prep apples: Any gone bad spot or worms holes can be removed with a paring knife. Then I quickly core and cu apples with an apple slicer. So quick and easy!
      • Sweetness: How sweet or sour are your apples, will dictate whether you need a sweetener. I used sour apples and added 1 tbsp maple syrup and 1/2 tsp cinnamon after.
      • Prevent browning: Lemon juice prevents applesauce from browning too much. Can also use citric acid.
      • Store bought texture: Peeled apples yield more store bought like applesauce re: texture and colour. That’s what my kids like, so I peeled apples. However, peels contain a lot of nutrients and vitamins.
      See recipe post for more notes and FAQs.

      Nutrition

      Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 178kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 364mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 184IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg
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      olena osipov in the studio

      Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

      My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys, a wife to Alex and we reside on magical Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. This is our healthy family recipes blog. Originally from Ukraine, I grew up on real food. As an adult, I struggled with diets for years because none worked long-term. Now for over 10 years, I cook easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

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