Here’s how to make a healthy grape juice recipe the easy way in the instant pot. You can drink the grape juice fresh, make jello or prepare it for canning. In just minutes you can be drinking your own fresh, grape juice!
Fall is a good time to think about making this fresh grape juice recipe. Local growers and farmers bring in their grape harvests, if you live in an area where grapes are grown. You can buy grapes in bulk to save money and use the juice in all kinds of recipes.
I cook with grapes every year and I prefer using an Instant Pot to make my favorite grape juice recipe in small batches. If I’m processing a large amount of grapes (several bushels) for preserving, I prefer my steam juicer. The reason for this is simply because it can hold more grapes.
Click on the link to learn to make fruit juice with a steam juicer.
Why Not Make Grape Juice the Old Fashioned Way?
The traditional way to make grape juice is by cooking down the grapes in a large stock pot with a small amount of water. You then strain out the juice from the spent grapes and seeds. After straining, you place the leftover grapes in a jelly bag or cheesecloth and manually squeeze out as much juice as you can. You may also gently press out remaining juice with a cheese press or with a stack of heavy items.
The process is detailed very well by Grow a Good Life, who is actually linked below to teach you how to can grape juice at home. Look for that link in the next section.
What’s Wrong With That?
So, why don’t I do it that way? It was actually a member of our Do It Yourself Homestead Facebook community that suggested I try the Instant Pot when I was bemoaning the fact that I couldn’t find my steam juicer. Krista had the brilliant idea to try it out in the Instant Pot. I jumped on the idea because I only had a small batch of juice to make and just didn’t want the hassle of the old fashioned way.
I don’t prefer the older method because of mess and time. Making grape juice is a naturally messy process but adding the step of straining out remaining juice from the heated grapes just makes a bigger mess. Well, that’s the result when I do it, anyway. I’m sort of a spazz.
By using the steamer basket in the Instant Pot, I keep the grapes and seeds up and out of the juice. You’ll see in the instructions below that removing the juice from the Instant Pot is a very simple process because of this.
Here are some other reasons I prefer my Instant Pot (aka IP) or steam juicer to make juice:
- Using both the IP and the steam juicer is an overall faster process.
- I don’t have to stir or otherwise mess with the grapes when using an IP or steam juicer.
- There’s no chance of cheese cloth lint ending up in my grape juice.
- There’s no need to do any extra straining because both units are so efficient at steaming juice from the produce.
Just a note:
You can run your spent grapes through the IP or steam juicer twice, if you feel there is more juice to be steamed out. However, the resulting juice won’t be very concentrated and may lack flavor. If you can get juice to result the second time through, it might probably be good enough to make jello with, if you add a bit of sweetener.
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Equipment to Make Grape Juice in an Instant Pot
The first thing you’ll need to make this fresh grape juice recipe is an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker. The instructions in this recipe are for an Instant Pot only.
Please note that Instant Pot is NOT a canner. You will not be able to can (or preserve) your grape juice in the Instant Pot. These directions are for making our grape juice recipe only.
If you want to preserve your grape juice, please follow the canning instructions from Grow a Good Life who can teach you to can Homemade Grape Juice.
Other Equipment You’ll Need:
- Kitchen tongs, 2
- Hot mitts or pads
- Steamer basket, Instant Pot variety or regular steamer basket
- Instant Pot trivets, or some other apparatus to elevate the steamer basket*
Alternative to a Trivet
I use three Oui Yoplait brand yogurt jars to elevate my steamer basket because I don’t own an Instant Pot trivet. The little jars elevate my steamer basket to a great height for juicing. You don’t want your grapes swimming in the juice at the bottom of the pot, if you can help it.
However, I can’t officially recommend you use the Oui jars because of concern over their ability to withstand the heat. I sent an email to their customer service to ask if their jars were safe for canning and this was their response:
“No, we would not recommend using the glass pot for preserving. Only glass containers that have been designed and tested for thermal shock applications should be used for heating applications. The Oui pot was not designed for heating applications. This glass is not a thermally resistant grade of glass, like Pyrex for example.”
You won’t be canning in these jars but the heat and pressure of an Instant Pot might cause the glass to break.
Squat Half Pint Jars
Regular half pint canning jars are too tall, but if you have the squat ones, those might work.
- heat resistant
- no taller than 3″-ish
OR, you and I can just break down and buy an Instant Pot trivet! There’s being frugal, and then there’s being silly.
Ingredients You’ll Need:
- Fresh Grapes – for this recipe, about six cups
- Maple Syrup – for this recipe, about 1/4 cup
- Fresh Vanilla – for this recipe, 1 tsp.
Instant Pot Grape Juice Recipe
This is our very favorite grape juice recipe and it’s made with Concord grapes, or any Concord type like Saturn or Sunbelt. You can also make this recipe with green or red grapes. The more ripe and fresh the grapes are, the more juice you’ll get through processing and the better the flavor will be.
To learn the basic process, please watch the video and then read the recipe. Let me know if you have questions.
- 6-8 Cups Prepared Grape Juice Concentrate - see instructions
- 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup, or to taste
- 1 tsp. Vanilla
- Water to Dilute, if needed
To Prepare Grape Juice Concentrate
- Place the tall trivet in the insert pot of an Instant Pot. Pour in 2-4 cups of water. The more water you add, the less concentrated your grape juice will be. Experiment a few times to see how you like it. You can always add more water later, but you must at least add 2 cups so your Instant Pot will pressurize correctly and steam juice the grapes.
- Put steamer basket on top of trivet. Fill with approximately 6 cups of grapes. You can fill the steamer basket to 1 1/2" - 2" from the top of the insert pot. If you can fit more than 6 cups of grapes in your insert, go right ahead.
- Place the insert into your Instant Pot and place the lid on, securing it. Remember to turn the pressure valve so the Pot will build pressure.
- Set the Pressure Cook button for 5 minutes. It takes 20 minutes to build pressure, more or less, FYI.
- Press cancel when the cook time has finished and allow the Pot to release pressure on its own. When you can, remove the lid and, using mitts, take out the insert pot and place it on a heat resistant surface. The pot will be hot, so be careful.
- Remove the strainer using the tongs and place it somewhere to cool. It will drip grape juice, so I suggest placing it in a stainless steel bowl or sink. Compost the leftover grapes or, if they're seedless, add them to your grape jam. For a recipe, see the article.
- Pour the grape juice into a half gallon glass jar until it measures 6-8 cups.
- To make the grape juice recipe, add the maple syrup and vanilla. Drink within a week.
- You may also reserve the grape juice to make any of the grape recipes included in the article. You may also preserve the grape juice by canning it in a water bath canner.
For a photo tutorial, please see the video attached to this recipe.
Clean Up From Making Grape Juice
Please be aware that grape juice will stain surfaces and clothing. Be sure to wear an apron and place towels under the Instant Pot pot and any other container with grape juice in or on it. If grape juice gets on your counters, wipe it away immediately with a warm, soapy dishcloth.
Be sure to give your Instant Pot a good cleaning after you’ve made the grape juice. Grapes are sticky and can leave a residue of purple sugar on every surface. Cleaning an Instant Pot is pretty basic and you can follow the instructions in your user’s manual. Below is a video tutorial that demonstrates the process from Six Sister’s Stuff on How to Clean Your Instant Pot.
Recipes that Use Grape Juice
- Learning and Yearning can teach you how to Lacto-Ferment your Grape Juice to make it even healthier.
- Attainable Sustainable shows us how to Make Grape Jelly the quick way.
- I actually prefer jam and I find this article from Practical Self Reliance on How to Make Grape Jam very useful.
- My kids all ask for grape jello every time I make grape juice and I don’t mind at all because the process of making jello is so easy! Here’s the basic method for making Homemade Jello from My Cultured Palate.
- A little bit chewier than jello is this recipe for Healthy Concord Grape Gummies from Recipes to Nourish.