Simple Homemade Applesauce – Healthy Seasonal Recipes

Here’s a complete guide to making homemade applesauce from fresh apples. We have step-by-step photos, a video and all the tips and tricks to make the perfect batch. Plus, if you have a food mill, we will show you the easiest no-peel way to make it!

a ceramic dish of applesauce with a jar of honey and apples on a blue and white dish cloth

I originally shared this recipe on September 27, 2013. I have updated the text and images to make this post more useful. This post contains affiliate links.

Why We Love This Recipe For Simple Homemade Applesauce

Homemade applesauce and I go way back. (If I could get away with calling it a comfort food, I would.) I learned how to cook applesauce when I was a child. It was one of the first things I learned how to cook! And when my mom owned and operated an apple orchard when I was in my twenties, believe me, I had lots of practice and perfected my applesauce technique!

Now that apple season is here, I am frantically apple picking, followed by baking up Apple Pie, Apple Crisp and making batch after batch of applesauce. I freeze my applesauce in quart containers and enjoy it all year round for baking and snacking.

Applesauce is one of those kitchen staples that often gets overlooked when thinking about basic recipes to make at home. It might seem efficient and easier to buy your applesauce from the grocery store. But trust me, it is so so simple. As I said, even a child can do it. I did!

So while apples are in season try making applesauce on your own at home and you will see just how simple and easy it is to make from scratch.

Once you have your big batch of applesauce you can use it as an ingredient in a variety of healthy baking recipes. Here are some ideas for how to use up your applesauce. Of course, you can also just enjoy a bowl of it as is in all its simple perfection for breakfast or snack. My favorite it fresh out of the pot, still warm, with a little cinnamon and honey drizzled on top!

Key Ingredients For This Recipe

apples, jar of honey, spoonful of cinnamon and a pitcher of water on a white marble cutting board

Which Apples To Use

McIntosh is by far the best apple to use for homemade applesauce. Their texture and tender white flesh allow them to practically melt when cooked with water. Once you get the hang of it, you can always layer with a second apple variety such as Paula Red or Cortland. You can read all about apples and which varieties are best in my apple guide!

You’ll need about 4 to 5 pounds of McIntosh apples. (That’s about a 1/2 peck)

Be aware that those varieties of apples that are great snacking apples (that are nice and crisp or hard) are not the best for cooking into sauce. They will not break down into sauce easily and will have to be pureed in a blender or food processor. Avoid granny smith, honey crisp and pink ladies. They are too hard and will not break down.

If you cannot find Macs, choose one of the other apple varieties mentioned in our FAQ section.

Additional Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup water (apple cider works great too if you happen to have it)
  • Flavoring such as cinnamon, honey or maple syrup (optional)

Method 1: How To Make Applesauce Without a Food Mill

peeling the apples and then setting the lid on the pot

Step 1: Peel and Core Apples

To make the applesauce without any fancy equipment, all you need is a veggie peeler and a knife. I also use a melon baller to remove the seedy section of the apple core.

Peel the apples completely. Cut them in half and scoop out the seeds with a melon baller. Cut the halves in half again and transfer the apple quarters to a large heavy-bottom saucepan. If you do not have a melon baller, you can use an apple corer or remove the seeds and core with a pairing knife once the apples are quartered.

Step 2: Cover the pot with a lid

Pour the water into the pot with the apples, and cover with a lid. Set over medium-high heat.

simmering the apples and mashing the sauce with a potato masher

Step3: Cook the Apples

Bring the apples and water to a simmer and then reduce heat to a light simmer (medium-low for most stoves) and let the apples soften for about 12 minutes. Remove the lid to stir a couple of times to help them cook more evenly and prevent the bottom from scorching.

Step 4: Mash the Applesauce

Once the apples are completely soft, use a potato masher to mash into a smooth applesauce consistency. If you used another variety other than macs, you may have to puree the apples in a food processor to make the applesauce smooth.

Method 2: How To Make Applesauce With a Food Mill

prepping the unpeeled apples, and the apples in the pot with the lid on

Step 1: Prep apples

Wash the apples well then cut the apples in half and remove seeds and stem with a melon baller. Cut each half into quarters.

You do not need to remove the skins or take time to remove all of the core. I like to remove the seeds but can technically leave them in. Any stems or pithy parts of the core will get removed by the food mill in step four.

Step 2: Cover Pot and Set On Stove

Place the apple quarters in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or soup pot with the water. Cover with a lid and place over medium-high heat.

the softened apples with the skins falling off and running the apples through the food mill

Step 3: Cook Apples

Bring the apples and water to a simmer and then reduce heat to a light simmer (medium-low for most stoves) and let the apples soften for about 12 minutes. Remove the lid to stir a couple of times to help them cook more evenly and prevent the bottom from scorching.

Step 4: Run Through Food Mill

Process the apples through a food mill, discarding the skins, stems and other tough pieces caught in the mesh.

the applesauce in a bowl with the food mill next to it

Serve the applesauce immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve.

a jar of homemade applesauce on a white marble board with an apple and cinnamon stick

FAQs and Expert Tips

What other apples can I use besides Macintosh?

In addition to Macintosh apples, some other varieties that make great sauce are Jersey Macs, Jonamac, Jonathan, Gravenstein, Ginger Gold, Golden Delicious, Paula Red and Cortland. Since apple varieties are originally available, you may want to ask at your orchard which variety they recommend for making sauce. If choosing another variety of apples to blend with your Macs, we recommend peeling them and removing the cores so that you will be able to puree them in a blender if you want a smooth sauce. For folks who love chunky applesauce, add in a diced firm apple with your macs and use method 1 above (the potato masher technique.)

What can be added to the applesauce to flavor it?

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can feel free to add in another apple variety for flavor-complexity. Depending on how sweet your Macs are (they get sweeter the longer they are stored) you may have to add a little honey or maple syrup to the sauce to balance it. Early in the season, the apples are more tart and I usually add two to three tablespoons of honey to the quart-sized batch. You can also add cinnamon and a pinch of salt. You can also add lemon peel when cooking the apples, just be sure to remove it before mashing them!

How long does homemade applesauce last?

Homemade applesauce should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. If refrigerated, it’ll last between 7 to 10 days. It can also be frozen for long-term storage.

How to Freeze Applesauce

Transfer the applesauce into 3 straight sided wide mouth canning jars, dividing evenly. Lable jars with date. Refrigerate until cold. Add jar lids and freeze. Can be frozen up to 6 months.
Thaw in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours. To thaw quickly, run warm tap water over the jar to loosen. Pop frozen applesauce out of the jar into a quart sized pyrex measuring cup or similar microwave safe container. Microwave on high for 4 minutes. Break up into chunks with a fork. Continue microwaving on high power until the applesauce is thawed.

Can homemade applesauce be canned in a hot water bath canner?

Applesauce can be canned easily. You will need to add a little additional acid (5 tsp lemon juice) and sugar (add to taste to balance the lemon.) Once the sauce is smooth, add it back to the pot and let it gently simmer, while stirring, to help cook out the bubbles that form during pureeing. Additionally, give plenty of headspace to the jars to prevent siphoning.

a 1/2 peck tote bag with apples

Additional Apple Recipes to Try

Thanks so much for reading. If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter where I share weeknight meal plans delivered right to your inbox. Or follow me on Instagram. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It is very appreciated. Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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Description

Here is a step-by-step guide to making homemade applesauce. You just need apples and water! Our post details instructions for making the applesauce with a food mill or mashing by hand with a potato masher.


  • 6 cups saucing apples, such as Macintosh (4 to 5 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup, or to taste (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, or to taste (optional)


  1. If you do not have a food mill, peel apples, then seed and quarter them. If you do have a food mill, leave skins on, cut apples in half and remove seeds with melon baller. Cut into quarters.
  2. Place in large heavy-bottomed soup pot with water. Cover and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the apples are completely broken down.
  3. Process through food mill and discard seeds. Alternatively, if you do not have a food mill, mash with a potato masher to desired consistency.

Notes

Storage

Homemade applesauce should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. If refrigerated, it’ll last between 7 to 10 days. It can also be frozen for long-term storage.

Freezing

Transfer the applesauce into 3 straight sided wide mouth canning jars, dividing evenly. Lable jars with date. Refrigerate until cold. Add jar lids and freeze. Can be frozen up to 6 months.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Snack
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/2 cup each
  • Calories: 87
  • Sugar: 19 g
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 26 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 0 g

Keywords: how to make applesauce, how to make homemade applesauce, Apple Sauce Recipe,homemade applesauce,applesauce recipe

About the Author

Katie Webster

Katie Webster studied art and photography at Skidmore College and is a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute. She has been a professional recipe developer since 2001 when she first started working in the test kitchen at EatingWell magazine. Her recipes have been featured in numerous magazines including Shape, Fitness, Parents and several Edible Communities publications among others. Her cookbook, Maple {Quirk Books} was published in 2015. She launched Healthy Seasonal Recipes in 2009. She lives in Vermont with her husband, two teenage daughters and two yellow labs. In her free time, you can find her at the gym, cooking, stacking firewood, making maple syrup, and tending to her overgrown perennial garden.


Katie Webster

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