One of the easiest and most delicious ways to enjoy apple season: old-fashioned homemade applesauce! This quick stovetop recipe requires just a few basic ingredients: apples, sugar, cinnamon, water and a pinch of salt. Make it smooth or keep it chunky, and enjoy the simple side dish all season long!
If you find yourself picking apples at an orchard this season, or if you've just got a hankering for Grandma's homemade applesauce recipe, then grab your Dutch oven and cook a batch of this sweet, tart and oh-so-delicious treat! It's truly the best applesauce and a perfect fall dish.
Classic Homemade Applesauce
In this old-fashioned homemade applesauce recipe, you simply cook down apples with water, sugar, cinnamon and salt, and puree until the sauce reaches your desired consistency. While I love a slow-simmering crockpot applesauce, you just can't beat a classic homemade applesauce that comes together on the stovetop in less than an hour. It tastes just like grandma used to make it!
Which Apples to Use
You can use any apples that are readily available. I often use a blend of whatever we pick from the orchard! That said, soft apples are great because they cook down quickly and don’t hold their shape in the way that Granny Smith or other pie-friendly apples will. Good options include: Golden Delicious, McIntosh, Cortland, Jonathan, Rome and Jonagold apples. The type of apples that you choose will obviously impact the flavor of your applesauce, so my best recommendation is to use a variety that you think tastes good!
How many apples?
You'll need four pounds of apples for this recipe. Depending on the size of your apples, the total number will vary. In general, four pounds is equal to about 8-12 apples. I used 9 Pink Lady apples here.
How to make Homemade Applesauce
This easy recipe comes together with just 3 ingredients (plus water and salt, which I don't count!) and 3 simple steps. Once you've peeled and chopped the apples, your hardest job is done.
- Apples: pick your favorite variety, or use a blend of different apples
- Sugar: see the note below to adjust the amount of sugar depending on the sweetness of your apples. You can omit the sugar for an unsweetened homemade applesauce.
- Cinnamon: just a touch, but not too much! If you prefer, you can omit this seasoning or add more for a stronger taste. You might also like to add other warm spices, such as ginger and clove.
- Salt: again, just a touch! This doesn't make your applesauce taste "salty," but it nicely balances all of the sweetness.
- Water: add more at the end, if needed, to thin.
Step 1: Combine Ingredients
Combine the peeled and chopped apples, sugar, cinnamon, salt and water in a large Dutch oven (or other heavy-bottomed pot).
Step 2: Simmer
Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender (about 15-20 minutes).
Step 3: Puree
Use a handheld immersion blender or a potato masher to puree the applesauce to your preferred consistency. You may need to add a little bit more water to thin the sauce, and (depending on the sweetness of your apples) you may need to add some more sugar. Just taste and decide!
Chunky Applesauce Recipe
If you like a chunky applesauce, use a potato masher to coarsely mash the apples without pureeing them into a smooth texture.
How to make Smooth Applesauce
For a silky smooth texture, puree your applesauce with a handheld immersion blender or regular blender. You may need to add a little bit more water, depending on how "juicy" your apples were. If serving the applesauce to a baby or toddler, you may need to thin the puree with even more water so that it's easy to swallow.
Homemade Applesauce (No Sugar)
This recipe will work without the sugar, so feel free to omit that ingredient for an unsweetened homemade applesauce. If you're not including sugar, I recommend choosing a naturally sweet apple variety (rather than a tart apple like Granny Smith).
How to Store Homemade Applesauce
Homemade applesauce will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 7-10 days. If serving the applesauce to a baby or toddler, try storing it in these reusable squeezable pouches (they're dishwasher and freezer-safe, too).
Do not leave homemade applesauce out at room temperature for more than 1-2 hours. It needs to be refrigerated in order to stay fresh. You can tell if applesauce is bad when it has an "off" odor, flavor or appearance, or if mold appears.
Can you freeze applesauce?
Yes! To freeze, transfer the cooled applesauce to freezer-safe jars, Ziploc freezer bags, or other airtight containers and freeze for up to 3 months.
How to Use Applesauce
Applesauce is a delicious snack on its own, but it’s also a nice side dish when paired with a meal. You can stir the applesauce into oatmeal or yogurt at breakfast, or serve it alongside a dinner such as:
- Stuffed Pork Chops
- Beer Brats
- Slow Cooker Turkey Sloppy Joes
- 4-Ingredient Pork Loin Roast
- Crispy Roast Chicken with Vegetables
- Dump-and-Bake Rosemary Chicken and Potatoes
- Crispy Fried Chicken
- Oven BBQ Pork Chops
- Mississippi Roasted Pork Shoulder
- Pork Tenderloin
- Potato Pancakes
You can also use your homemade applesauce as an ingredient in recipes such as:
More apple recipes that you might enjoy:
- Apple Crisp
- Apple Dump Cake
- Old-Fashioned Cranberry Apple Crisp
- Shortcut Apple Pecan Date Bars
- Mom’s Easy Apple Pie
- Apple Walnut Cake with Caramel Glaze
- 4 lbs. apples, peeled, cored and cut into chunks (I used 9 pink lady apples here)
- 1 cup water, plus extra as needed
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch salt
- Combine all of the ingredients in a large Dutch oven. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples become tender and break down (about 15-20 minutes). Use a handheld immersion blender (for a smooth consistency) or a potato masher (for a chunky consistency) to mash the apples. Taste and season with extra sugar, if necessary. Add water to thin, if necessary. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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