Make a healthy homemade applesauce in the Instant Pot! No added sugar, completely from scratch, and flavored with just a hint of cinnamon! A healthy version of a childhood favorite.Jump to Recipe
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Don’t you just love the Instant Pot?
I was a late adaptor of the Instant Pot, but I’ve made up for it sevenfold in this past year or so of owning one. I’ve learned how to make some of my favorite from-scratch recipes in the Instant Pot (like my Refried Beans and Bone Broth), and I’ve totally bought into the Instant Pot revolution. I love it for beans, potatoes, and soups too!
I’ve made Applesauce in years prior, and have always used a stove top method and a water bath to can the applesauce. We live close to acres and acres of apple orchards, and so apple picking in the fall is a cultural tradition that we tend to take part in every October. I’m not one to pass up a deal, so I often come home with (several) 20lb bags of apples. One can only eat so many apple pies, so I’ve often made large batches of applesauce to can.
But making applesauce on the stove top can be a long process, and having to use a food mill is not my favorite since that’s one more dish to wash. This method using the Instant Pot makes for quick and easy work of healthy homemade applesauce, and I couldn’t be any happier with the results.
How To Make Homemade Applesauce in the Instant Pot
Making Homemade Applesauce in the Instant Pot is SO EASY! Once you’ve done this, you’ll never go back to buying it again. All you need to do is:
- Step One: Peel, core, and chop the apples.
- Step Two: Add them to the Instant Pot.
- Step Three: Add water, lemon juice, and cinnamon.
- Step Four: Let the Instant Pot do its thing!
- Step Five: Do a natural pressure release.
- Step Six: Stir, cool and serve!
It doesn’t get any easier than that!
Can You Make Homemade Applesauce with No Sugar
Yes! The sweetness of apples means that there is no need for added sugar or sweetener to your applesauce. Choose sweet (rather than tart) apples for your sauce making purposes, and you won’t miss the added sugar one bit!
How Long is Homemade Applesauce Good For?
Since this healthy homemade applesauce has zero preservatives and additives, you’re going to want to use it up within about a week. I’ve read that homemade applesauce can be good as long as 10 days, but I would rather be safe than sorry! I like to keep some fresh for eating, and then freeze the rest. You can also use a water bath canner to can your applesauce. Check out this method from Ball’s Fresh Preserving website for a safe, tested method for canning applesauce.
What Apples are Best For Making Applesauce?
Here’s a list of apples that are a good fit for sauce! Keep in mind that varieties that are more firm may need to be run through a food mill in order to get the smooth texture of applesauce.
- McIntosh: This is the cultivar that I used. They are soft and sweet, which makes for a delicious sauce. This is the apple I recommend for use without a food mill.
- Cortland: This is one of my favorite apples. Cortland’s store a long time, meaning you should be able to find them throughout the winter still in good shape.
- Gravenstein: These have a slightly tart flavor, so take that into consideration if you choose it for your applesauce. A great cider apple in addition to sauce making.
- Fiji: Another delicious and sweet apple. Widely available and easy to find.
- Gala: Crispy and sweet. These are a common find at grocery stores, making them a convenient choice.
- Honeycrisp: I personally revere the Honeycrisp apple, meaning I would opt for eating rather than sauce making. I’m certain it would make a lovely, sweet applesauce, but it is so delightful for fresh eating I simply couldn’t bring myself to do it.
And remember: Red delicious is a no go.
What Can I Make with Applesauce?
Besides simply eating and enjoying your healthy homemade applesauce, you can use it in a variety of baked goods and even some main dishes! Here are a few ideas that are refined sugar free (yup! They’re naturally sweetened).
- Apple Oat Breakfast Squares – The Kitchn
- Blender Whole Wheat Waffles – Well Plated by Erin
- 4 Ingredient Applesauce Cookies – The Big Man’s World
- Applesauce Overnight Oats – Cheap Recipe Blog
- Slow Cooker German-Inspired Shortribs – The Kitchn (just substitute or omit that 1 tbsp. brown sugar with some maple syrup)
What Do I Need to Make Healthy Homemade Applesauce?
- Apples: See my list above for the best varieties to use!
- Lemon Juice: This helps prevent the applesauce from browning
- Cinnamon: Just a little bit helps add complimentary flavor to the applesauce. This is my favorite part of making it myself from scratch!
- An Instant Pot: I used the 6qt model for this recipe, but you can use an 8qt if that’s what you have on hand. You will have to add additional time for pressure building and release, since larger pots take longer to come to pressure.
Equipment You Will Need for Canning Homemade Applesauce
If you choose to can your healthy homemade applesauce using this method from Fresh Preserving, there are a few items you will need to safely can them. If you’re new to canning, these items are an investment, because most can be used over and over again.
- Water Bath Canner: This is your big investment piece! You can do a lot of preserving with just a water bath canner. Applesauce, jams, jellies, pickles, tomatoes, and salsa are all able to be safely canned in a water bath canner. This one is a 9 piece kit that includes everything (except jars and lids) that you need to get started with canning.
- Canning Kit: You’ll need a funnel, jar lifter, headspace measurement, and a magnetic lid lifter too. If you buy the water bath canner linked above, you’ll have all these items included in that set. If you already have one, or buy a different one, you may need to buy a separate kit or buy the items individually. This is a complete kit. I’ve upgraded my jar lifter to this one, and I’ll be purchasing a stainless steel funnel as well.
- Mason Jars: Most foods are canned in pint jars, but you can use quart jars as well. If you’re new to canning, I recommend sticking with pint size jars. Make sure you use jars that are in good condition, and are intended for canning (like Ball, Kerr, Bernardin, etc). These are definitely cheaper to buy locally, rather than on Amazon.
- Lids and Rings: If you’re not buying a whole new flat of mason jars, you’ll need to pick up a pack of lids and rings as well.
And now for the Recipe!
Healthy Homemade Applesauce in the Instant Pot
- 4 lbs Apples approximately 18 medium, or 12 large apples
- 2 tbsp. Lemon Juice
- 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
- 1 cup Cool Water
- Peel, core, and chop the apples into 2” chunks
- Add the apples to the inner pot of your Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker.
- Add in the lemon juice, cold water, and cinnamon. Stir well to coat the apples.
- Wipe the rim of the pot to ensure no water is remaining, and then place the lid on the Instant Pot.
- Set the valve to “sealing” and set the pot for 8 minutes on manual high pressure.
- Once the Instant Pot beeps to indicate it is done, allow a full natural pressure release.
- When the pin drops, indicating all pressure inside the pot has been released, open the lid. If you used softer apples (like MacIntosh), you should see a very smooth (and ready to eat) applesauce. If you used a more firm apple, you may need to use a hand blender to get the desired consistency.
- Allow to cool completely, then store as desired. Since this is a homemade applesauce and without preservatives, I like to freeze it in portion sized servings within 2-3 days of preparing the applesauce. See my tutorial on freezing homemade applesauce for more information.