The disadvantage of the pressure cooker method is that you need a pressure cooker, but if you’ve got that covered (or if you’ve considering picking one up and want a delicious, apple-flavored excuse), then read on!
Pressure Cooker Applesauce
- 6-10 apples, depending on size
- 1/2 cup water
Wash, peel, and core the apples, and slice them into thin pieces. Add water and apple slices to the pressure cooker, making sure that the pot is no more than 2/3 full.
Set an electric pressure cooker for 5 minutes on high pressure. (For stovetop pressure cookers, just start a 5-minute timer once it’s come up to pressure.) When the pressure cooking is done, let the pressure cooker release naturally for at least 10 minutes and then slowly release the rest of the pressure.
Open the pressure cooker carefully and use a fork to mash up any remaining larger pieces of apple. Blend for a smoother consistency if you want to; then refrigerate or serve hot.
I’m just gonna say it: I love my Instant Pot. I don’t often use it for the kind of one-pot meals that a lot of its fans are into, and there is a learning curve about how a pressure cooker recipe should be constructed and the kinds of foods it works best for. But when it comes to things like meal prep or making some of the individual components of a big dinner, my Instant Pot is my favorite hands-off helper.
Applesauce is exactly the kind of thing that it’s great at. All you have to do is prep your ingredients, get the cooker set up, and then wander off for nearly a half hour to read a book or play with your dog or make the rest of your dinner.
I also love the simplicity of this applesauce because you can change up the result by using different kinds of apples, substituting something else for the water, or adding flavorings to your finished product.
Applesauce Tip #1: Mix Different Kinds of Apples
While your applesauce is gonna taste great if you stick with whatever bag of apples was on sale this week, you can get a more interesting mix of flavors if you use two or three different kinds. That can be as easy as heading to the store and picking random apples with the coolest names (Am I the only one who keeps buying Jazz apples because they sound fun?), or you can read up on some of the options and find a few varieties to look for.
When choosing apples to cook, avoid Red Delicious. I know it’s hard because they’re freaking everywhere, and they always look so appealing. They tend to brown really fast though, which means they’ll get kind of fugly while you’re peeling and slicing as many as you’ll need. They also have a mealy texture and less flavor than many other varieties.
I mostly use sweet to medium-sweet apples and then throw in a tart one (or two!) for added zing. The applesauce I made for this post used 3 Honeycrisps, 2 Fujis, and 1 very large Granny Smith. It tastes freaking amazing.
Applesauce Tip #2: Swap Out the Water
You’ll need some kind of thin liquid to get your cooker up to pressure, but it doesn’t have to be water. If you want a sweeter applesauce (or if you’re trying to use up apples that are older or less flavorful) try using apple juice instead. You can also use apple cider, which ranges from sweet to more tart depending on what apples it was made from.
Applesauce Tip #3: Add Extras for Flavor
When using a mix of fresh, good quality apples, I don’t like to add much. This is especially true when I make pressure cooker applesauce because I can’t taste and adjust the seasoning while it’s cooking. But adding a small amount (maybe a tablespoon) of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar can brighten the flavor of your applesauce. Other popular additions are honey, butter, and cinnamon. Sugar is often included in applesauce recipes, but I like to stick with sweeter apples and avoid it.
The ingredients you use will infuse the apples more if you cook with them rather than stirring them in after your sauce is done, but I’d suggest experimenting with small amounts to start out with. If you over-season the applesauce, you can’t really pull back from that.
Extra Pressure Cooking Tips:
- The instructions above are for a 6-quart pressure cooker, but other sizes are easy enough to adjust for. Just use enough apple pieces to fill less than 2/3 of your pressure cooker’s capacity and add the minimum amount of water your appliance calls for. The timing doesn’t change.
- When pressure cooking anything, it’s important to follow all of the safety instructions in your pressure cooker’s manual, especially when it comes to the amount of food your cooker can hold and how to safely release the pressure.
There are so many options out there for great applesauce, but for me, the best applesauce recipe is the one I’ll actually have the energy and ingredients to make. That’s why I like having a bare-bones ingredient list (that I can always fancy up when I’m feeling more ambitious) and a reliable, hands-off method.
Now it’s time to go eat some applesauce.