Monday, August 15, 2016

How to Make 10 Minute Applesauce in the Instant Pot

This time of year, our little apple tree produces a ton of apples. They're tasty enough, but sadly all are a little buggy by the time they're ready to eat, which makes them perfect for cooking. I often make things like crisps with the apple windfall, but the past couple of years my family has been more into using them for applesauce. Here's how we do it.

Before I got my Instant Pot, I'd toss my apples in the slow cooker with some cinnamon and water, and cook them down for 8 hours. You can totally do that. It's just slow, and can really heat up your kitchen if you don't have anywhere else to plug in the crock pot. This year though? Making applesauce is crazy easy and quick in the electric pressure cooker, which I now use for nearly everything.

First, chop your apples down to about 1" chunks, removing the core and any bad spots. I would never peel my apples, as that takes work and all you're doing is removing most of the nutrition from the apple. I promise you, with the magic of an electric pressure cooker you can make very smooth applesauce without the bother of peeling. This recipe works for as many apples as you want to use.

Don't overfill the pot, since the sauce will bubble up as it cooks and you don't want to clog the vent. The pot should have a max fill line. Mine is at about 5 quarts. This process goes quickly enough that you can do several batches if you have a lot of apples to make into sauce.

Add cinnamon. This is optional; if you don't like cinnamon or don't have it, leave it out. But I love the taste and aroma of cinnamon, and it's super good for you, so I use a ton. For a full batch, 5 qts of chopped apples, I use two teaspoons of cinnamon.

Add 1 cup of water. This is not optional; the Instant Pot needs fluid in order to build up pressure. Plus that water will help blend the apples into a creamy sauce. I use one cup of water no matter how many apples I have in the pot.

If your pot is nearly full, you can cover the apples with a circle of parchment paper. This helps contain the sauce and keeps the bubbling juices from clogging the vent in the lid. I did not bother with this when I had a smaller batch of apples, but it is probably a good idea if the pot is quite full. When the pot was only half full, my lid remained perfectly clean after cooking.

Cook on the Manual setting for 10 minutes. You can let it do Natural Pressure Release (NPR) for softer sauce, or Quick Release (QR) if you like chunkier applesauce. For comparison, the jar of applesauce in the first photo is very smooth from NPR, while the sauce below is chunkier from QR.

Blend away. I use a stainless steel hand blender, so I feel comfortable blending it while it's still hot. With a plastic blender, I would wait for it to cool a bit.

Jar it up! I like to let it cool down on the counter, then refrigerate the applesauce overnight. Once it's thoroughly chilled, I pop extra jars in the freezer to use throughout the year. Do not fill the jars that are going in the freezer. Liquids need room to expand so they don't crack the glass.

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August 25, 2016 at 12:58 PM

I have heard so many great things about the Instant Pot. This post makes me want to get some. I love homemade apple sauce.

November 28, 2016 at 5:26 PM

We made this with our mountain apples today. However, I used the parchment paper and it did not help cut down on the mess. As a matter of fact, I had a huge mess. I chose to do the quick release and apple juice sprayed all over my stove and wall! Used the natural release for the remainder. :-(

January 10, 2017 at 10:09 PM

Yes! And I'm sorry, that sounds horrible. I wonder if your pot was more full, because mine only had steam release during QR.
I generally only use NPR for everything these days. I just cook for less time and let it depressurize on its own. So much less bother. I never had a mess spray out, but the jet of steam is a bit of a nuisance that you can avoid with NPR :)