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Instant Pot Applesauce {No Sugar Needed!}

Instant Pot applesauce is so quick and easy to make – you’ll wonder why you ever bothered with store-bought applesauce! You can enjoy this yummy taste of fall any time of the year in less than 30 minutes from start to finish. 

Homemade Instant Pot applesauce in a white ceramic bowl with a golden spoon surrounded by several whole apples of different varieties.

People who visit my house in the fall tend to enter through the garage and look around themselves and wonder. “What are all the apples doing here?” they say. “What is your plan?” I grin and share that yes, every fall, we buy about 400 pounds of apples.

People are always impressed by the life hack of a Michigan garage being like a fridge and allowing apples to last from October all the way to January.

But I also know what to do with apples to preserve them longer. For example, we like to do a few large dehydrator batches of crispy apple chips (you can even do them in the oven if you don’t have a dehydrator).

Apple chips work best with fresh, firm apples because the apple corer and slicer tool tend to break the apple in half if they are starting to get soft.

Soft apples, wrinkly skins, and those moments where you realize you probably left them a little too long definitely call for homemade applesauce. My kids love homemade applesauce, even without a drop of sugar, and I prefer to leave the peels in for the natural fiber in the skin.

Growing up, my mom always made homemade applesauce, but never any skins and always sugar. It’s funny now to hear my daughter ask her, “Grandma, why do you put sugar in your applesauce? It’s so sweet. It doesn’t need any!”

I’ve read that using a mixture of different apple varieties in one batch of applesauce can help to make it seem sweeter and more flavorful. So I always try to make that happen instead of using only Gala or only Golden Delicious when I’m making a fresh batch.

Personally, I also think cinnamon is an excellent sweet-mimicking spice that makes the tongue think what you are eating is sweeter than it really is.

Besides that, in our family, we’ve weaned our tongues away from white sugar for so many reasons. We even went from sweetened to completely unsweetened yogurt.

Apples stacked in a bowl. Whole cinnamon sticks and individual apples are laying next to the bowl.

Where to Buy an Instant Pot

This is the 6-quart Instant Pot I started out with. After a few years, we added an 8-quart partly because I knew I would use two at the same time often enough, partly because it was the Prime Day sale, and also because I wanted more space for certain recipes. Both are a pretty basic model and you don’t need more bells and whistles than that!

If you’re deciding on size, most people say it’s better to get a deal on the 6-quart and just have 2 rather than go big, BUT if your family has 5 or more people or you really like to batch cook or do more than a pound of beans, the 8-quart may be the best choice. My full Instant Pot review and buying guide for features, size, and model.

If you’d like to shop directly at Instant Pot’s website instead of Amazon (or just compare prices), check them out here.

You can even get a carrying case to travel with it! See my review of the Instant Pot carrying case we have.

If you’re still on the fence about adding an Instant Pot to your kitchen appliance arsenal here are my Instant Pot pros and cons.

How to Make Applesauce in the Instant Pot

Here’s how to use the magic of your Instant Pot to make homemade applesauce even easier and faster.

  1. Wash and quarter apples to fill your Instant Pot (not toooooo close to the top – the valve needs to be open to the air). You should be able to see a “fill” line on the inside of your pot.
  2. Sprinkle on cinnamon to taste as you fill the Instant Pot. I like at least a teaspoon for a full pot (but I love cinnamon and often add more).
  3. Add a cup of water or so to make sure there’s enough to get up to pressure – although the apples will produce a lot of water themselves.
  4. Lock the lid and close the valve.
  5. Cook on manual, high pressure, for 10 minutes, and use a quick release. The apples will be completely soft and smell wonderful!
  6. If you like thicker applesauce (we do), pour off some of the water before whizzing in the food processor or blender. You could use an immersion blender for this too!
  7. Store in the refrigerator for 5-7 days or the freezer for six months.

Do note that you can also do the same thing in a large pot on the stovetop. Just add a little bit of water and cover, bring to a boil, and cook until everything is soft. I never time my applesauce on the stovetop because the house smells so good that I just want it to cook forever.

You can’t really overcook applesauce, don’t worry.

RELATED: How to Use an Instant Pot + 10 Basic Techniques

You’re Just *7 Days* Away From Easier Meals with Your Instant Pot

Whether you have a few fav meals in your Instant Pot or still aren’t using it regularly yet, I can show you the secrets to SAVE time (and money) with my favorite appliance!

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Serving and Using Instant Pot Applesauce

Applesauce is a great choice for a quick and easy side dish for dinner or lunch, and it’s a filling snack when paired with some almonds (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!)or cheese, but there are many more ways to use this yummy puree.

Put an Apple Spin on a Yogurt Parfait

This one is simple – add a few tablespoons of applesauce as a topping or mixed into a dish of yogurt. Top with my healthy homemade granola or some shredded coconut for some extra crunch. Serving it in a tall glass instead of a bowl adds an element of fun and can make it feel like a special treat!

Make a Healthy Swap in Baked Goods

Applesauce can be subbed for oil on a 1:1 ratio in many recipes – specifically baked goods. Many times you can’t even notice a difference in the taste. We don’t shy away from using healthy, traditional fats around here, but swapping applesauce in for an inflammatory seed oil is never a bad choice!

Take Your Peanut (or Almond) Butter Up a Notch

Mix your instant pot applesauce with some natural peanut butter in equal parts and spread it on a sandwich or some homemade tortillas. One of my team members swears you’ll never go back to traditional PB&J once you try it.

You could also add in some raisins or dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, and/or pumpkin seeds and serve it as a dip for homemade whole wheat crackers, apple slices or carrot and celery sticks.

Saving it for Later

Applesauce can be easily frozen in freezer-safe storage containers, mason jars with reusable stainless steel lids (just leave 1-2″ of headroom to allow for expansion) or frozen into ice cubes and tossed into reusable storage bags.

Another great way to preserve your Instant Pot applesauce is to can it. Applesauce can be canned using the hot water bath method or a pressure canner and doesn’t require added sugar to keep it safe. Here are some instructions from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

Always be sure to follow safe canning methods and to get your canning instructions from a reliable source!

Chopped apples and a bowl of apple sauce. Instant Pot Applesauce, No sugar needed. Start to Finish in 30 minutes or less.

Other Apple Recipes from Kitchen Stewardship®

What’s your favorite fall flavor? Are you team apple or team pumpkin spice?
Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

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