While you can’t truly make sugar free apple butter, since apples contain natural sugars, this apple butter recipe has no sugar added. We’ve also updated the recipe to be ready in just an hour using the Instant Pot!
(IMPORTANT UPDATE!!! This apple butter recipe was developed on an older 6qt Instant Pot that did not need added liquid. Newer and/or 8qt models need water added to come to pressure without burning. Try 1-2 cups of water, and then simmer longer to thicken once pureed.)
SUGAR FREE APPLE BUTTER SUPPLIES
Here’s the tools we use to make this sugar free apple butter. If you buy anything on Amazon through one of these links, we get a little commission which doesn’t cost you any extra. Thanks for supporting our family business!
TURNING GRANDMA’S APPLE BUTTER INTO SUGAR FREE APPLE BUTTER
One of my most popular recipes on the website is my homemade apple butter. It’s apple butter like grandma used to make and everyone who makes it or tries it sings its praises. But I have a confession to make. I’ve changed the recipe slightly!
I came up with that recipe TEN years ago when I was still using white sugar, which I’ve now pretty much eliminated from our diets. Now, if I add any sugar at all to apple butter, it’s a natural sweetener like honey. But if my apples are sweet enough, I skip it all together!
I decided to leave the original apple butter recipe alone (except for replacing the horrible picture with one of these prettier ones, wow has my photography improved!) for people who want to make it the traditional way. For those of you looking for a healthy apple butter recipe, this is the one!
Plus I had to share my helper for this photo shoot. I shot these within a few weeks of getting our kitten Haldir, and he was INCREDIBLY curious about what I was doing.
WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR SUGAR FREE APPLE BUTTER
This recipe makes about 3 pints of apple butter. Each pint is around 30 servings (1 TBS a serving). I love to make a couple extra batches to have on hand throughout the year to give away as birthday or hostess gifts whenever the occasion arises.
In addition to spreading on bread, it’s wonderful stirred into oatmeal and Greek yogurt.
It’s also a great healthy snack option for kids. I’ve literally served it to thousands of kids at various festivals, and every single one who’s tried it has loved it. Unfortunately there are also the kids whose parents tell them, “Don’t try it, you won’t like it.” Kills me every time!
I plan to let my kids try all sorts of foods from star fruit to sushi. (UPDATE: I’ve lived up to this plan! They don’t always like what they try, but they’ve also surprised me by liking things I wouldn’t expect them to.)
PIN TO SAVE:
Sugar Free Apple Butter Recipe for the Instant Pot
This sugar free apple butter contains only the natural sugars of the apples, and is made in the Instant Pot in just one hour! The prep time includes the time for the Instant Pot to get up to pressure, and the quick release of pressure. Recipe makes about 3 pints
(IMPORTANT UPDATE!!! This recipe was developed on an older 6qt Instant Pot that did not need added liquid. Newer and/or 8qt models need more water added to come to pressure without burning. Try 1-2 cups of water, and then simmer longer to thicken once pureed.)
- 12-15 apples, fuji or honeycrisp are our favorites
- 1/2 cup water or apple cider/juice, (optional)* 4 ounces
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 4.6g
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1.05g
- 1/4 teaspoon ground all spice, .47g
- Start coring and slicing apples, dumping the slices into the Instant Pot as you go. Stop prepping apples when the crockpot is full. (If your pot is not completely filled with apples, you should add the water/cider to make sure you can get it up to pressure for the short cook time.)
- Add your spices, then close the lid, making sure the vent is set to sealing.
- Cook on the manual setting, for 20 minutes, on high pressure.
- Quick release the pressure, and remove the lid.
- Use an immersion blender to puree the apples, which will also mix in your spices.
- Turn on the saute setting and stir regularly as the apple butter boils. Be careful of splashes! I boiled mine about 15 minutes to reduce it down.
- When you're happy with the thickness, you can pour the apple butter into jars and refrigerate, or can your apple butter using a *waterbath method.
*The optional water/cider is for making sure your pot gets up to pressure. When I make this with lots of juicy apples, and fill the Instant Pot completely, I haven't needed extra liquid. But when I've filled it only halfway, or used smaller apples, I've needed to run it twice to get the pressure to build. Adding liquid should make it work on the first try.
Serving Size:96 tablespoons
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 11Carbohydrates: 3gSugar: 2g
*You can do a google search for waterbath canning to get lots of tips. I don’t have any special tools for canning. I use a big pot of water, rubber coated tongs to lift the jars (you can also just wrap some rubber bands around regular tongs), and a ladle to fill the jars. Basically, fill your biggest, tallest pot with water and bring to a boil. Place your empty jars and new lids (always use new, but can recycle rings) in the water for 5 minutes. Take them out, fill with apple butter to 1/4 inch from the top. Wipe the rims and place the lids on the jars. Screw on the rings and place in the boiling water. Boil them (this is processing) for 5-20 minutes using the chart below, making sure the water level covers the jars completely. Remove and set on a counter, don’t move them for 24 hours! Then press the center of the lid. If it doesn’t pop in (meaning it already has), it’s sealed and good to store for up to two years. If it does pop in, refrigerate it and use in a week.
Recommended process time for Apple Butter in a boiling-water canner.
Process Time at Altitudes of
0 – 1,000 ft
1,001 – 6,000 ft
Above 6,000 ft
Half-pints or Pints
source of time chart: pickyourown.org
35 thoughts on “Sugar Free Apple Butter Recipe”
Could you use this recipe for peaches?
Hi Colleena, I think it’s definitely possible. I haven’t made peach butter before but I have heard that you need to peel the peaches, which is easiest if you put them in boiling water for 1 minute, then ice water for 2 minutes. I’ve done this for canning and the skins slide right off! It’s also easier w/cling free peaches. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!
I’m going to try this with my pears. They aren’t very sweet and seem to be better for baking than outright eating. I’m also hoping that if I need sweet I can add a bit of honey from my bees. Thanks for a recipe that doesn’t need mass quantities of sugar, which is all I find out there.
And I adored your including photos of helpful kitty. Its always fun, but rarely much real help.
Do you peel the apples, or just core & slice? This sounds like a great recipe & I was gifted a bushel of apples that I need to process!
You can peel them, but as long as you blend it well peeling is not necessary. Let me know how it turns out!
Thanks so much! I’ll keep you posted! 🙂
Can you freeze this instead of canning?
You can definitely freeze it! Just be sure to leave some head room for it to expand as it freezes.
I just finished making this. It is awesome!!!
Thanks Lesa, I’m so glad.
Hi. Is this no sugar added? Or sugar free? Apples are sweet and have sugars so if it has apples, it can’t be sugar free.
Good point Ryan, it is no sugar added. At the time of this posting we were going through a sugar free fast of no added sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, sugar, etc, but allowing sugars in fruit. So this recipe was a part of our sugar fast but is not free of the natural fruit sugars. Thanks for your comment!
Making this recipe tonight in my crockpot will be ready to add more apples when I get up at 5am then more when I get home from work can’t wait to try this thanks for sharing
Do you need to add liquid for the pressure cooker to come to pressure? I didn’t see add water in your recipe.
You don’t add any liquid to the pot? Have you ever had any problems with the pot not coming to pressure, or do the apples give off enough liquid over time to pressurize?
For canning your sauce you can also use a pressure canner. I think it’s faster than heating all that water for water-bath canning and doesn’t heat up the kitchen so much.
Delicious and easy to make. I added a little cardamom with the spice mix and a little vanilla powder at the very end of cooking. I love the way they go with apples and fall. My kids are eating it so fast I may have to buy another box of apples!
That makes me SO happy Beth! The flavor additions sound amazing too.
Diana, I’m new to canning and couldn’t find anywhere if it is safe to can NSA Apple Butter until I found your site. I didn’t add any sweetener whatsoever to my apple butter and processed it for 10 minutes. Do you think it is safe to eat??
Hi Kim! I’m not a food safety expert, so don’t take this as scientific fact. But everything I have read has said that 10 minutes water bath canning is perfect for apple butter, even without adding sugar. I have found several sources that say canning apple sauce without added sugar is fine, so I don’t see why apple butter would be different. Hope that’s helpful!
Thanks so much. Most of what I’ve read said to freeze leftovers, but I’m the same school of thought as you. Have you ever had a problem with yours?
No never, and I’ve been making it for years!
Hi Diana, thank you very much for this. I’m coring my apples as we speak. We now have an empty nest, and the hubby won’t eat this, so it’ll only be me. Do you know how long this will keep in the refrigerator? If it doesn’t keep too long, I’ll just jar some up and share with my friends, but I just want to know about how long it stays good for. Thanks again!
Hi Debbie, It can keep a month or so in the fridge, and much longer in the freezer (but leave lots of room in a glass jar if you’re freezing it).
Ho, it looks gorgeous. I have a crock pot, coil you please help me with the cooking time?
Just made this because I couldn’t find no sugar added apple butter at the store for my pressure cooker Paleo BBQ pulled chicken. IIcut the recipe in half , it was super easy and quick! It’s also delicious!
Looking forward to trying this apple butter recipe! So glad to see a sugar-free option! Another “what to do with apple butter” idea: use it as a glaze on pork ribs! Amazing, every time!!
I really love this recipe. I just finished making it. I reduced it on low instead of medium cause it was splattering every where.
I made this today & had trouble getting my instant pot to come up to pressure. I used liquid both times I tried…1/2 cup the 1st time & a cup the 2nd time. Both times I got a Burn warning before it came up to pressure. Not sure why this happened… maybe I had the pot too full? I didn’t think so, but that is all I can think of. I ended up transferring what wasn’t burned to the bottom of the instant pot to a regular pot & finished it on the stove. It worked out well & because I was using very tart apples I used some maple syrup to sweeten it a bit. I may try it again & use fewer apples to see if it makes any difference. I have access to a tree full of apples so all it takes is time! If anyone has any ideas why the instant pot wouldn’t come up to pressure I would be glad to hear them.
Hi Candee, I’m so sorry to hear about the issues you had. I have developed all my Instant Pot recipes using an older 6 quart model. Apparently newer Instant Pots, especially the 8 qt models, get higher temperatures and get burn warnings. This was a surprise to me as I’ve never had this with mine! Here’s a post someone did about the Instant Pot burn warning. I’d suggest trying again with 1.5-2 cups of liquid. It will take more boiling to reduce, but should avoid the burn warning. Let me know how it goes!
Thanks for getting back to me. Unfortunately I didn’t see your reply until I had tried it again for the 3rd time. My pot is a newer 6 quart pot. This time I was very careful not to overfill it, but only added 1 cup of liquid. It took a while, but it did come up to pressure this time, however it never started the cooking countdown & I got the BURN message again. :/ Becuase it had taken so long for it to come up to pressure most of the apples were cooked when I opened it so I just proceeded as before & finished it on the stove. I still have more apples tho so when I get a chance I will try once more with twice as much liquid. I am new to instant pot cooking altho I have used a regular pressure cooker for 46 years… It is quite a bit different!
Do you have use the quick-release? I did this two days and it was an awful mess – apple everywhere.
I haven’t tried without the quick release. Some people with newer pots have had issues with burning so the quick release can help with having less time on the heat. But you can also put a kitchen towel over the spout when you do the quick release. That’s what I do with any recipe now after spraying soup all over my kitchen!
Great taste! I used a combination of gala, Fuji, mountain rose, Granny Smith and Braeburn apples. I like having a no sugar added alternative for friends and family who are diabetic or just want to eat healthier. I was afraid it would be tart but with the combination of apples the balance is perfect. My IP sauté feature has low, medium and high settings. I used the low sauté setting and it took about 45 minutes to get to the consistency I wanted. It did splatter some so I put a glass lid on loosely, stirred every 5-10 minutes. I got 7 half-pint jars.
Yay! I’m so glad it worked well for you!