Homemade Applesauce

Learn how to make homemade applesauce with this easy recipe! Spiced with cinnamon, it's a delicious healthy snack or topping for pancakes and more.

Homemade applesauce

This homemade applesauce recipe is a staple in our house year-round, but especially during apple season. It’s an easy way to use up a surplus of too-soft or overripe apples, and as it cooks, it fills your house with the aroma of fresh apples and cinnamon. That smell is SO cozy on a crisp fall day. On its own, it’d be enough to make anyone a homemade applesauce convert.

But this homemade applesauce recipe gets better. It doesn’t just smell good—it tastes good too! It’s tangy, lightly sweet, and full of spiced apple flavor. You can make it chunky if you like your applesauce with some texture, or you can blend it if you want it totally smooth. Either way, it’s delicious. I think you’re going to love it!

Applesauce recipe ingredients

How to Make Applesauce

If you’ve never made homemade applesauce before, you won’t believe how easy it is! My recipe starts with 5 simple ingredients:

Applesauce Ingredients

  • Apples, of course! This applesauce recipe is a great way to use up apples that are overripe, bruised, or too soft to eat on their own. I like to use a mix of varieties for the best flavor. Find my favorites in the box below!
  • Apple cider vinegar – Its tangy flavor balances the apples’ sweetness. Fresh lemon juice would work here too.
  • Water – It adds moisture to the applesauce and helps the apples steam and soften as they cook.
  • Ground cinnamon – Who doesn’t love apples and cinnamon together?? Its warm, cozy flavor is delicious here. If you like, feel free to add other warming spices like nutmeg or ginger, or replace the cinnamon with apple pie spice.
  • And a little sea salt – To make all the flavors pop!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Best Apples for Applesauce

This applesauce recipe works well with almost any apple variety. Because you’re going to cook down the apples until they’re very soft and tender, you don’t need to worry about them holding their shape.

I like to use a mix of sweet and tart varieties to add complexity to my applesauce. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Sweet apples: Gala, Honeycrisp, Fuji, Golden Delicious, McIntosh
  • Tart apples: Jonathan, Granny Smith

Tip: If you make this recipe with 100% tart apples, you may want to add honey or maple syrup to sweeten it to taste.

Chopped apples in saucepan with wooden spoon

How to Make Homemade Applesauce

You can find the complete applesauce recipe with measurements at the bottom of this post, but here’s a step-by-step overview of how to make it:

First, prepare the apples. Peel, core, and chop them, and add them to a large pot or saucepan.

Next, start to cook. Pour the water and apple cider vinegar into the pot. Cook over low heat, stirring often to prevent burning, until the apples start to soften, about 4 minutes.

Then, cover the pot and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

Stewed chopped apples in saucepan with wooden spoon

Stir in the cinnamon and salt. Uncover the pot and mix in the spices. Return the lid and simmer for another 10 to 20 minutes, or until the apples are very tender and juicy.

  • Tip: The softer the apples are, the smoother the sauce will be. If you like a chunkier homemade applesauce, cook the apples for less time. If you like yours super smooth, cook them longer.

Hand mashing cooked apples in saucepan with potato masher

Finally, mash! Remove the pot from the heat and use a potato masher to mash the apples to your desired consistency. If you want the sauce to be smoother, pulse it in a food processor or blend it with an immersion blender.

Quick note if you’re mashing your applesauce—don’t use a metal masher on an enameled cast-iron, non-stick, or ceramic pot (I learned the hard way!). Instead, mash the apples in a large bowl, or use a silicone masher.

Homemade applesauce in saucepan with wooden spoon

How to Use Homemade Applesauce

This homemade applesauce is a delicious healthy snack or side dish. But the ways to use it don’t end there!

How do you like to eat homemade applesauce? Let me know in the comments!


Store homemade applesauce in an airtight container or Mason jar in the refrigerator for up to a week. For longer storage, freeze it for up to 3 months.

Homemade applesauce recipe

More Favorite Apple Recipes

If you love this homemade applesauce, try making one of these delicious apple recipes next:

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Homemade Applesauce

rate this recipe:
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves 8
This homemade applesauce recipe is easy and delicious, made with simple ingredients like fresh apples and cinnamon. Enjoy it as a healthy snack, or try one of the serving suggestions in the blog post above.


  • 4 pounds apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of sea salt


  • Combine the apples, apple cider vinegar, and water in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Cook over low heat, stirring often, until the apples start to soften, about 4 minutes.
  • Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Uncover, stir in the cinnamon and salt, cover again, and continue simmering for 10 to 20 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples are very tender and beginning to fall apart.
  • Turn off the heat and use a potato masher to mash the apples to your desired consistency. If you’d like a smoother applesauce, pulse it in a food processor or blend it with an immersion blender.


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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Daniele Zoch

    This is a brilliant recipe! so simple and NO SUGAR required. I have nothing against sugar, but I know it is best to minimize its consumption. In this recipe, there is absolutely no need for sugar. Most applesauce recipes call for sugar and a lot of it. The combo of apple cider vinegar and the pinch of salt bring out the sweetness of the apples. My family really enjoyed this recipe. It is a keeper and saves me the time to keep looking for other applesauce recipes. Thanks for sharing.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi Daniele, I’m so glad you loved the applesauce!

  2. Shannon

    How much does 1 batch yield? I’d like to make enough to freeze and I’m trying to figure out how many jars I will need 🙂

  3. Evelyn

    5 stars
    I have made applesauce many times over the years but never like this. It is now the only recipe I will ever use. It works way better than how I used to do it. I did not mash it — we really like it chunky.
    I don’t have apple pie spice so I combined cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to equal the teaspoon of spice.

  4. Marilyn

    You are off to a good start and I know it is good. I make thre bags of apples at a time all different varieties. After cooking a long time and mashing at the side of a large. I add Splenda, Cinnamon and Red Hots. I cool it and I put a dish in the fridge and freeze rest for later. I freezes wonderfully and so good. (That is 3 bags of apples)

  5. Kari

    Hi – this looks lovely and I’ll have to try it with the vinegar and salt. I’ve been making applesauce for years when I’m using up all the apples I persuaded my husband that we “needed” at the farm. I just do big chunks (peel and all) and a little water, and then add cinnamon at the end. No sugar, no peeling. I mash a little with a wooden spoon, but it kind of falls apart itself. It does look pink and the peels taste candied! We use Macs and some Honeycrisp.

  6. Victoria West

    Hi Jeanine,
    I’ve been making my own applesauce for years. I take an even more hands off approach to the recipe, although yours sounds delish! Just the other day, I used Fuji apples and let me tell you, they were the best for applesauce. I like mine a little tangy and the Fuji apples didn’t disappoint! Of course, some spices sound yummy as well. Thanks for reminding all of us how easy and delicious homemade applesauce can be!

    An apple lover from California,
    Victoria West

  7. Catherine Burbank

    Funny I ran into this recipe today, as I just made applesauce today! I used Macs and a very basic recipe, a little sugar and a pinch of cinnamon, I was trying to replicate my mothers recipe. I didn’t peel them first, because I wanted to make pink applesauce (a childhood memory) I used a chinois (dunce-cap looking thing with a wooden pestle) to sieve it through. Quite a process, would be so much easier to just mash it down, or use a food processor, but then how to get those lovely pink skins? Anyways, it was awesome, but next time I might make it the easier way.

    • Ardene

      This reminds me of making apple sauce as a kid – I don’t remember it being pink, but we had a metal cone and wooden pestle that we mashed it through to remove the skins after cooking.

  8. Shauna

    I’m curious why not use a metal masher? I usually use my Emerson blender after cooking in my instapot. I have noticed an off flavor at times but thought it might be the cinnamon stick…is it the metal?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      oh, it had nothing to do with the flavor, it just scratched my le creuset cookware and i wanted to be sure no one else damaged theirs!

  9. Rob

    This looks so good!

    What modifications can be made to make the applesauce a bit thinner?

    • Mary

      Rob, just add a touch more water.

      I’ve made applesauce for years and it is indeed as simple as you can get. I use 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice to 1/3 Cup water for each quart of apple slices.

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Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.