Classic homemade applesauce recipe is super easy to make and can last for a long time by freezing or canning (we included instructions for both). The sugar is optional depending on the sweetness of your apples, too!

Applesauce in a light green bowl with apples in the background.
Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Applesauce Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled applesauce ingredients in various bowls.

Ingredient notes

  • Apples: If you prefer a tart flavor, use a combination of tart and sweet apples. Otherwise, use whatever mix sounds good to you!
    • Tart: Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Jonathan, Jazz, Braeburn,
    • Tart/sweet: McIntosh, Piñata, Honeycrisp, Macoun, Opal
    • Sweet: Red Delicious, Gold Delicious, Jonagold, Gala, Fuji
  • Water: The purpose of the water is to keep the apples from sticking to the pan.
  • Sugar: Add sugar according to your personal taste and considering the varieties of apples you used (i.e., sweeter apples may require less sugar). It’s okay to omit the sugar entirely, too.
  • Lemon juice: This is required if you are canning the applesauce (instructions below). It doesn’t taste lemony but just ensures the sauce is acidic enough to be safe for canning. If you are not canning the applesauce, you can omit the lemon juice.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, combine the apples, water, sugar, and salt. Cover and cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent the apples from scorching on the bottom, until they begin to release their sugars and break down. Depending on the size of the apple chunks, this should take anywhere from 15-20 minutes.
    Cut up apples in a silver stock pot.
  2. Process the mixture in a food processor, working in batches, and puree until smooth.
    Applesauce in a food processor.
  3. Return the mixture to the pan, add sugar (optional, to taste) and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Season to taste with extra sugar if desired.
    Applesauce in a silver stock pot.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: 8 cups which fills 1 quart jar or 4 pint jars.
  • Cinnamon applesauce: Add ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon OR two 3-inch cinnamon sticks to the pot. Remove cinnamon sticks before mashing.
  • Cranberry applesauce: Cook and puree 1 (12-ounce) bag fresh or frozen cranberries with the apples.
  • Ginger applesauce: Cook 3 (1-inch) smashed ginger slices with the apples and remove before pureeing.
  • Make ahead: Cover and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 10 days.
  • Freezer: Label and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Canning: Lemon juice is required if you plan to can your applesauce.
    • Prepare the applesauce according to the recipe. After seasoning to taste with sugar, maintain a gentle boil over low heat while filling jars.
    • Ladle hot applesauce into hot jars and leave 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and wipe rim. Center lid on jar and screw down band until resistance is met. Increase to finger-tight.
    • Place jars in canner, ensuring they are covered with water. Bring to boil and process both pint (500 mL) and quart (1L) jars for 20 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool, and store.
Applesauce in a light green bowl with apples in the background.

More tasty apple recipes

A bowl of applesauce with apples behind it.

Applesauce

Classic homemade applesauce recipe is super easy to make and can last for a long time by freezing or canning (we included instructions for both). The sugar is optional depending on the sweetness of your apples, too!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Servings 16 servings
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 256

Ingredients 

  • 7 pounds apples peeled, cored, and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks (see note 1)
  • 1 cup water plus more if needed (see note 2)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar optional, or more or less to taste (see note 3)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice required for canning, (see note 4)

Instructions 

To make the applesauce:

  • In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine the apples with enough water to prevent the apples from sticking (I use about a cup). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Reduce the heat and gently boil, stirring occasionally, until apples begin to break down and become tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  • Process the mixture in a food processor, working in batches, and puree until smooth.
  • Return the mixture to the pan, add sugar (optional, to taste) and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Season to taste with extra sugar if desired.

To can the applesauce:

  • Prepare canner jars and lids.
  • After returning the mixture to the pan and bringing to a boil in step 3, reduce heat to low. Maintain a gentle boil while filling jars, leaving a ½ inch air gap to the top of the jar.

Notes

  1. Apples: If you prefer a tart flavor, use a combination of tart and sweet apples. Otherwise, use whatever mix sounds good to you!
    • Tart: Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Jonathan, Jazz, Braeburn,
    • Tart/sweet: McIntosh, Piñata, Honeycrisp, Macoun, Opal
    • Sweet: Red Delicious, Gold Delicious, Jonagold, Gala, Fuji
  2. Water: The purpose of the water is to keep the apples from sticking to the pan. 
  3. Sugar: Add sugar according to your personal taste and considering the varieties of apples you used (i.e., sweeter apples may require less sugar). It’s okay to omit the sugar entirely, too.
  4. Lemon juice: This is required if you are canning the applesauce (instructions below). It doesn’t taste lemony but just ensures the sauce is acidic enough to be safe for canning. If you are not canning the applesauce, you can omit the lemon juice.
  5. Yield: 8 cups which fills 1 quart jar or 4 pint jars.
  6. Cinnamon applesauce: Add ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon OR two 3-inch cinnamon sticks to the pot. Remove cinnamon sticks before mashing.
  7. Cranberry applesauce: Cook and puree 1 (12-ounce) bag fresh or frozen cranberries with the apples.
  8. Ginger applesauce: Cook 3 (1-inch) smashed ginger slices with the apples and remove before pureeing.
  9. Make ahead: Cover and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 10 days.
  10. Freezer: Label and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  11. Canning: Lemon juice is required if you plan to can your applesauce.
    1. Prepare the applesauce according to the recipe. After seasoning to taste with sugar, maintain a gentle boil over low heat while filling jars.
    2. Ladle hot applesauce into hot jars and leave 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and wipe rim. Center lid on jar and screw down band until resistance is met. Increase to finger-tight.
    3. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are covered with water. Bring to boil and process both pint (500 mL) and quart (1L) jars for 20 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool, and store. 

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cupCalories: 256kcalCarbohydrates: 68gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 6mgPotassium: 430mgFiber: 10gSugar: 54gVitamin A: 214IUVitamin C: 20mgCalcium: 24mgIron: 1mg
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Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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