Give them ownership over a kitchen project with Instant Pot no peel applesauce! Let the kids make it start to finish!

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Still making time for it…

A little real food blogger confession. As the girls have been getting older, I’ve been less likely to invite them into the kitchen to work with me. Shocking, right? The real food blogger that literally shoves it into your face the importance of getting your kids into the kitchen with you, struggles with making time for it now that the littles aren’t so little anymore? Well, when those babes are super little, they are constantly needing you, hanging on you, and forever by your side, so inviting them up to the counter to help is really survival mode many days, yes?! {And all the toddler mommas are nodding their heads!} Now that the girls are older, more independent, and off doing their own thing a lot, I really have to make a conscious effort to make them a part of what I’m doing in the kitchen.

A big job, made into a family project

So I also must confess that I was somewhat dreading apple season. I knew we wanted to go picking – it is the highlight of the fall me to watch them, and the girls love it. But man, oh man, the food prep that goes along with picking a bushel or 2 of apples! It is a lot of work! Older kiddos also mean less time at home, busier schedules outside the home, and the desire on their part to do more adventuring outside the home. Catch the theme? Less home time, means mom gets stuck doing all the kitchen work tending to the apples, and I decided on a plan to get through the apples and maintain my sanity! Make them a part of it! So off we went apple picking…!

A one day job!

What used to take me a full week to get through with a bushel of apples and applesauce on my mind, now just takes a day thanks to the Instant Pot. We started making applesauce in the IP last year, and I’ll literally never go back! It still locks in all the nutrients in the apple, and gets the job done in a fraction of the time. Remember that whole, away from home, busy schedule thing? This definitely is right up my alley right now!

So kid friendly, you can just leave it up to them!

Kids eat up independence. When you let them know that they can have a whole kitchen task to themselves, well, that ownership is magical, dear momma. I gave my 2 older girls a quick lesson to remind them of how to make applesauce with the Instant Pot, including having them write down step by step instructions, and I left the kitchen. Did you hear that part? I left. They have made it with me so many times, cut apples since they were toddlers, and respect kitchen tools, so I just left them to it. Sure I popped in if there was a question, and I popped in simply because I wanted to spend time with them, but I left them to own their project. And I can’t tell you the pride that that gives a child – to make their own food.

How To Make Kid Prep Instant Pot Applesauce!

1.) Wash and Cut The Apples

Your toddlers can help with washing the apples! In fact find yourself some laundry to fold, because your toddler will probably want to wash your apples for a good half hour! They just love it. Use an apple cutter for the easiest slicing. This task can be tough for littles if the apples are very hard. Get them up and over their work surface because the leverage helps cut in. Standing on a chair at a kitchen table works well for little ones. My oldest still uses a step stool to get up and over the counter best.

2.) Put The Apples Into The Instant Pot

Dump them in! All ages can help with this part! Fill the Instant Pot up to about half inch below the “Fill” line.

3.) Add 1 cup of Water

Dump it in! Your older children around Kindergarten on up can measure 1 cup if you show them how, and all ages can help pour the water in. Hand over hand with your littles to show them, and let your bigs do it themselves.

4.) Put The Lid On the IP, and Set the Timer, and Quick Release

Make sure the valve on your IP lid is closed, press “Manual” and bring the time down to 4 minutes. The Instant Pot will start automatically. Once the IP reaches pressure, it will count down the 4 minutes. Once the 4 minutes is over, you can do a quick release. I make my girls cover their hand with a towel to open the valve, so they don’t accidentally get steam on their hand. Older children around the age of 7 or 8 and older are best for this job.

5.) Put the Cooked Apples Through The Food Mill

Let the apples cool off for about 10 minutes so the children don’t burn themselves with the steam, and then let them scoop the apples into your food mill to churn. My toddlers needed hand over hand help to learn how turn the food mill, but were independent with this job after a bit! Let everyone take a turn! The color of your applesauce will depend on the type of apples you used! Namely, the color of the skin. If your apples have red skins, your no-peel applesauce will be pink in color. If your apples were more gold/light green, the applesauce will be golden in color!

To sweeten or not?

I’ve never had to sweeten our applesauce. Fresh picked apples are plenty sweet if you get the right variety. If your apples happen to be on the tart side, you can add some raw honey to the hot applesauce after it is run through the food mill. Cook and taste the applesauce first though and see what it needs. If you have really little guys at home, I’d skip it!

How we store our applesauce

I use these BPA free freezer containers and just freezer ours. We don’t make more than maybe 6 to 8 quarts, so it really doesn’t take up a lot of room in our freezer, and we eat it pretty quickly! If you tend to make more, and like to can it, you can certainly do that.

Freezing time…

One thing that you cannot, in fact do, is freeze time. It is always so worth slowing down to spend some time making and sharing food in the kitchen with your kids!

Kid Prep Instant Pot No Peel Applesauce!

Renee -
Give them ownership over a kitchen project with Instant Pot no peel applesauce! Let the kids make it start to finish!
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Snack
Cuisine American


  • Apples cored
  • 1 cup of water you can add more if you like thinner applesauce


  • Fill your Instant Pot liner with apple slices to about half inch below the “Fill” line, and then pour 1 cup of water in.
  • Put the IP lid on and close the valve. Press “Manual” and then bring the time down to 4 minutes. The Instant Pot will start automatically. Once the IP reaches pressure, it will count down the 4 minutes. Once the 4 minutes is over, you can quick release the valve.
  • Run the cooked apples through a food mill for the smoothest applesauce. You can use a blender if you wish as well.
  • Taste your applesauce for sweetness at this point. You can add raw honey if your apples were more tart, or leave as is if the apples are sweet enough.
Keyword homemade applesauce recipe, how to make applesauce in the Instant Pot, Instant Pot applesauce
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  1. We’re excited to try this! Quick question about the food mill. It didn’t get great reviews/ratings on amazon. I love it’s pricepoint. I know people are motivated to negatively review when they have issues, so I’d rather hear from you as to if there are true issues, or just something to work through. I can’t read through them all but some mention difficulty without legs. What’s your take? Thank you! Can’t wait to buy a cutter and food mill and make this easy apple sauce (I usually hand cut and core and semi babysit a huge le crueset dutch oven for half a day on the stove and immersion blend.)

    1. Hi Maria! That is a great questions! I have had this mill for 3 years and have never had a problem! I really love it and all 3 girls are able to use it! I hope that helps!

  2. Just like my Mom made it! She cooked it in the microwave. I do it in the Instant Pot, like you. A good food Mill is so worth the investment.

  3. 5 stars
    I love all of the pictures of the girls making this! So fun that they got to handle the whole process with all of those apples from your apple picking haul. Applesauce is one of those things that is so simple and comforting at the same time. IP applesauce is one of my favorite things to make this time of the year. There’s just nothing like it.

  4. 5 stars
    Your baby girls are so adorable. I love that you are teaching them wonderful skills with healthy food and cooking. It’s going to be a very useful tool and knowledge for them in life!

  5. Any reason you use a food mill instead of a blender? I toss mine in the vitamix and wizz it up keeping all the nutrients of the peeling but getting smooth consistency. Is it fot texture?

    1. Hi April! We have only recently (last 2-3 years?) have been enjoying the food mill – before that we used to blend it up too. I do think the texture is closer to the applesauce we are used to from a jar, though my kids gobbled up blended applesauce too! Which ever you prefer! The girls think it is just the coolest thing to get to use the food mill once a year 😉 Ha!

  6. Dude like seriously my kids and I just made applesauce exactly like this the other day. The only thing we did not do that you did is run our Apple sauce through a food mill, What a great idea that is. Looks like I need to dig our food mill out of storage lol

  7. 5 stars
    So many great tips here!! I love the apple slicer and not having to peel the apples! Plus, man, the beautiful value of kids doing it all from picking to making to eating — so special! Pinning!

  8. 5 stars
    Thanks for such detailed step-by-step instructions. I wish I had such goregeous helpers in the kitchen 😉 Also, I love that beautiful colour you get from leaving the skins on. Great weekend project!