Homemade Applesauce

Learn how to make perfect homemade applesauce! Made with 5 ingredients, this recipe is easy, delicious, and so much better than store-bought.

Homemade applesauce

Every fall, I hear from readers asking for a homemade applesauce recipe. Today, I’m excited to finally share this one with all of you. If you’ve only eaten store-bought applesauce in the past, get ready – this homemade applesauce is on an entirely different level. It’s lightly sweet and warmly spiced, and you can make it chunky or smooth, whichever you prefer.

Until I started making this recipe, I hadn’t eaten applesauce on its own since I was a kid, when I’d often find an individual cup tucked into my lunch box (thanks, Mom!). I loved it then, but as I grew up, the plain, store-bought sauce just didn’t appeal to me in the same way. But this homemade applesauce has won me back over. This fall, I’ve been swirling it into oatmeal, topping it onto pancakes, and, yep, even eating it as a snack. Its fresh autumn flavor is just that good.

Applesauce recipe ingredients

Homemade Applesauce Recipe Ingredients

You only need 5 ingredients to make this recipe:

  • Apples, of course! I love the flavor of sweet-tart apples in my homemade applesauce. Gala, Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious, and McIntosh apples all work nicely here, as they make the applesauce plenty sweet without any added sweetener. If you’re using a tarter variety, such as Granny Smith, you may want to sweeten your applesauce to taste with a little honey or maple syrup.
  • Apple cider vinegar – It adds a nice brightness to this homemade applesauce recipe.
  • Water – It adds moisture to the applesauce and helps the apples steam and soften as they cook.
  • Apple pie spice – For warm, cozy flavor. In a pinch, cinnamon will work here too.
  • And a little sea salt – To make all the flavors pop!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Chopped apples in saucepan with wooden spoon

How to Make Applesauce

If you’ve never made homemade applesauce before, you won’t believe how simple it is to make! Here’s what you need to do:

First, prepare the apples. Peel, core, and chop them, and add them to a large pot or saucepan. Pour in the water and apple cider vinegar, cover, and cook, stirring, over low heat until the apples start to soften.

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

Stewed chopped apples in saucepan with wooden spoon

Next, stir in the apple pie spice and salt. Uncover the pot and mix in the spices. Return the lid and simmer for another 10-20 minutes, until the apples are very tender and juicy. The tenderer they are, the smoother the sauce will be. If you like a chunkier homemade applesauce, cook them 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, transfer it to a food processor and pulse until it has a texture you like.

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 yummy snack, side dish, or dessert on its own, but the ways to eat it don’t end there. Here are a few more ideas to get you started:

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

Homemade applesauce recipe

More Favorite Apple Recipes

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

Homemade Applesauce

rate this recipe:
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Serves 8
This homemade applesauce recipe is easy and delicious! Lightly sweet and warmly spiced, it's so much better than the store bought kind.

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  • 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 apple pie spice and salt, cover again, and continue simmering for 10-20 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples are very tender and beginning to fall apart.
  • Turn the heat off and use a potato masher to mash the apples to your desired consistency (Note: don’t use a metal masher on an enameled cast-iron, non-stick, or ceramic pot. Mash the apples in a bowl or use a silicone masher). If you’d like a smoother applesauce, pulse it in a food processor.

9 comments

Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Marilyn
    10.14.2021

    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)

  2. Kari
    10.13.2021

    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.

  3. Victoria West
    10.12.2021

    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

  4. Catherine Burbank
    10.12.2021

    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
      10.13.2021

      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.

  5. Shauna
    10.12.2021

    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
      10.12.2021

      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!

  6. Rob
    10.12.2021

    This looks so good!

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

    • Mary
      10.12.2021

      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.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
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.