Homemade applesauce is so easy. And the instant pot cuts the time in half. Once you try it you will be making instant pot applesauce regularly as part of your meal prep routine.
Making applesauce is just a thing I do when I have too many apples. I always have. I started when the kids were little and I still make it regularly. I've never really thought of it as a recipe that I needed to share until someone asked me how I did it.
There are times when we put too much weight on the recipe. Too much importance of specific quantities and methods. I consider applesauce a technique almost. It's like "how to cook rice" or "how to boil potatoes." I hadn't considered writing it down up until this point.
How to Make Instant Pot Applesauce
Before I purchased my Crockpot Express, I made applesauce on the stovetop all the time. It's a simple method. Peel the apples, throw them in a pot with a couple of sticks of cinnamon a splash of water and squeeze of lemon and bring it up to a hard simmer, then just turn it down a bit and let it go. I have no idea how long. And truthfully it depended on everything else I had going on. Maybe I was putting away groceries, or making dinner or folding laundry. Whatever. Sometimes I would put a lid on it and turn it down really, really low. Sometimes I would try to speed it up. Either way, I'd let it cook until it was done. Whenever that may be.
And honestly the electric pressure cooker, with its prescribed cook times and process, takes some of the craft out of cooking. A skill our mom's took for granted. But also a skill and technique that is admittedly hard to describe in words.
So enter this magic device, the Instant Pot or Crockpot Express, and I can tell you exactly how to make applesauce. And I can also promise you it will be done. The only guess-work we have here is how sweet you like it. And - that I can't help you with anyway.
I like to add a bit of lemon juice to the apples. I add it directly to the pot. It gives the applesauce some tang and keeps the colour bright.
I find I need to add just a little bit of sugar or sweetener to brighten the apple flavours. Just a spoonful and usually reach for brown sugar. But feel free to sub in your favourite sweetener - honey, brown rice, maple syrup, etc.
Use whatever apples you have. I like to use a variety. Some apples will turn mushier than others, and some, like granny smith with hold their shape more and give you a bit of texture when you mash them after.
Applesauce is a staple in my kitchen
Which I suppose is why I tend to always have a batch in the fridge. And it tastes so much better than store bought. I promise it is worth the effort. And there is so many things you can do with it!
- One of my favourite breakfast treats is a bowl of greek yogurt, homemade applesauce, and granola. It's breakfast or a snack. This combo packs well for lunch too. Just pack it in mason jars like below and it tastes like an apple pie with vanilla ice cream. Use sweetened vanilla greek yogurt for the sweetest treat. Use plain unsweetened for something on the healthier side.
- Applesauce can be used in vegan baking in place of eggs or help reduce the fat content of baked goods. Try this apple bread or vegan zucchini bread
- It is a key ingredient in this granola. Which I suppose makes my favourite granola and yogurt treat doubly apple-ly.
- Applesauce will keep refrigerated for about a week. But if you make more than you can use in a week, extra can be frozen and will keep for several months. I like to pack it away in wide-mouth jars - just leave an inch of headroom.
Instant Pot Applesauce
- about 3 lbs apples any variety, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
- juice from half a lemon
- water to make a ½ cup total liquid when combined with lemon juice
- 2-3 cinnamon sticks (or a ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar (or more to taste)
- Add lemon juice to a measuring cup. Fill with enough water to make a ½ cup of liquid.
- In the instant pot insert add the apples, cinnamon, lemon water, and sugar. Stir to distribute the sugar. Secure the lid of the instant pot, set the steam release value to sealing and ensure lid is in locked position. Select manual (beans on the Crock Pot Express) and set to cook at high pressure for 10 minutes.
- Once cooking cycle is complete, let steam release naturally for about 10 minutes. Then release remaining steam and remove lid. Using a potato masher, mash apples to the consistency that you want. We like a chunky apple sauce. Taste for sweetness and add more sugar if needed.
- Store apple sauce in the refrigerator in sealed containers. Applesauce will keep for about 1 week.