Apples vary in their sweetness level, depending on the variety and how late in the season they are picked. The amount of sugar you will want to add will depend on how sweet your apples are, and how sweet you would like your applesauce to be. This recipe is just a guideline, please adjust the sugar amounts to your taste. You can even leave the sugar out all together if you are using sweet apples.

If you use less sugar than this recipe suggest, you will likely want to reduce the amount of lemon juice as well. The lemon juice brightens the flavor of the apples and balances the sweetness.

In place of the ground cinnamon you can cook the apples with a stick of cinnamon, just remove it before puréeing.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 1 1/2 to 2 quarts


  • 3 to 4 lbs of apples (about 7 to 10 apples, depending on the size), peeled, cored, and quartered* (use apples varieties that are good for cooking such as Granny Smith, Pippin, Gravenstein, Mcintosh, Fuji, Jonathan, Jonagold, or Golden Delicious)
  • 2 strips of lemon peel (use a vegetable peeler to strip 4 lengths, zest only, not the pith)
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Up to 1/2 cup of white sugar (can sub half of the white sugar with brown sugar)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

*To prep the apples, use a sharp vegetable peeler or paring knife and cut away the outer peel. Then quarter the apple and use a paring knife to cut out the tough core parts from the quarters. Or use an apple peeler corer.


1 Boil peeled, cored, quartered apples with lemon, cinnamon, sugar, salt in 1 cup water: Place the peeled, cored, and quartered apples into a large pot. Add the strips of lemon peel, the lemon juice or vinegar, cinnamon, sugar, water and salt. (You might want to start with half the sugar at this point and add more to taste later.)

Bring to a boil on high heat, then lower the temperature, cover the pot, and maintain a low simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the apples are completely tender and cooked through.

2 Remove lemon peels, mash the cooked apples: Once the apples are cooked through, remove the pot from the heat. Remove the lemon peels.

Use a potato masher to mash the cooked apples in the pot to make a chunky applesauce. For a smoother applesauce you can either run the cooked apples through a food mill, or purée them using a stick blender or a standing blender. (If you use a standing blender, do small batches and do not fill the blender bowl more than halfway.)

If the applesauce is too thick, add more water to thin it out.

If not sweet enough, add more sugar to taste. If too sweet, add more lemon juice.

This applesauce is delicious either hot or chilled. It pairs well with pork chops for savory dishes, it's terrific with cottage cheese as a snack or light lunch, and it's great with vanilla ice cream or yogurt.

Freezes well and will last at least a year in a cold freezer. If you freeze it, make sure to allow enough headroom in your jar for expansion. At least an inch.

Click on the comments you'd like to print with your recipe. Grayed out comments will not print.


  • Kathy Hempler

    I want to try this recipe. Wondering if you can double recipe? I think I would cut back on the sugar a little too. Depending on the apples.

  • Erin

    This was a gem of a recipe! My daughter and I really enjoyed making this together. The secret ingredient was the lemon juice and zest which added the right amount of tang to the sauce. We but the sugar to 1/3 cup and it was still sweet. Thanks a lot!


  • Monique

    It was awesoooooommmmmmeee sauce…


  • Leif

    I love this recipe! I’ve been using it for a few years now. It’s a family favorite. I use a 6-8 cinnamon sticks instead of powder. I usually make a double batch and freeze half. Thanks so much!


  • Johny A

    I find that apples have enough sugar naturally so that there’s no need to add any. Also I wash ans scrub the apples but do no peel them. The skins are the best part of the applesauce.


  • Emi Grace

    Can we add honey to the applesauce?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Emi, do you mean in place of the sugar, or in addition to the sugar? Honey has a very strong taste and can also turn dark brown when cooked, so I would tread carefully if swapping out some of the sugar with honey.

      • Emi Grace

        Yes in place of sugar

      • Emi Grace

        And if we are adding banana puree to the applesauce how much can we add?

        • Elise Bauer

          Hi Emi, I think you’ll have to do that one to taste. I’ve never added banana puree to applesauce and don’t know what to tell you.

          • Emi Grace

            Ohh yeah will let u know for sure….will be making sapodilla banana chunks in applesauce….trying out this recipe…because we should invent some variation in the existing recipes for our college new product development

  • CNYcook

    Used only about a pound of apples and scaled everything down, maple syrup to sweeten, a pinch of nutmeg in addition to cinnamon, and skipped the salt. Put on top of a scoop of vanilla ice cream and crumbled Graham crackers on top. Lazy person’s apple pie – haha! Husband loved it.


  • Ray B

    Great recipe. Very easy to make.


  • Terri

    I made this and used Oak Glen, CA
    Arkansas black apples which I never tried before or even heard of. (Sweet and tangy baking apple) and Winesap Apples. Delicious.


  • Terri

    Just made it for the first time. Absolutely love this recipe. Thanks for sharing. We eat applesauce with everything. I cannot even eat a pork chop without putting Apple sauce on it. I can’t wait to make pork chops now.


  • Ardella Percy

    My brother’s Macintosh apples worked great. I also used coconut sugar in place of all the other sugars and it tastes marvelous. It did change the color. It is much darker and has a hearty,rich flavor. Thanks.


  • Artemis

    Hi! I was wondering if you can substitute sugar with honey?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Artemis, honey has its own strong flavor, so using it instead of sugar would distract from the flavor of the apples. If you are trying to avoid sugar, some people just leave out the added sugar all together (if you do that you would want to scale back the vinegar or lemon juice).

  • Jack

    Not worth the effort. Cider/lemon juice and salt spoil good apple flavor. Took 40 minutes of simmering to soften nine apples. Dean is spot on – I’ve been making them exactly like that for years.


  • Beverly

    Hello Elise I want to try this recipe. But can I freeze itt in freezer bowls?

  • Dean

    I don’t know why people bother to cook the apples. I just core, chop, and blend them (granted, I have a vitamix) with some water and citrus juice, maybe some other fruit lying around or a spoonful of jam, et voila. Shake a little cinnamon over it.

  • Christine

    Can I use Honey crisp apples for this recipe?

  • Amy

    The absolute best applesauce I’ve ever had!


  • Christine

    Mmm! Made this and it was delish, thank you for sharing the recipe.

  • Lorraine

    I’ve made a variation of this applesauce. I keep the peels on for the fibre, you just need an immersion blender to purée. Also, no need whatsoever to add sugar..apples are sweet enough!


  • CG

    Blown away by how delicious and perfect this is. I used a mix of gravenstein and golden delicious from a local orchard. Any idea how long this will last in the fridge? What I didn’t eat on the spot I packed into two sterilized weck jars.


    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, CG! So glad you like the recipe! This will keep for about a week in the fridge, or up to three months frozen. (When I was a kid, my mom used to make HUGE batches of applesauce in the fall and freeze it in batches so we’d have it all the rest of the year. So good!)

  • Christa

    Thanks for the guidance. We have a bumper crop from the backyard Apple tree. I’ll be making this Apple sauce daily for a while! Turned out great and the kids love it.


  • Raquel

    It was a great hit here! I’m from Brasil and I think the apples has different name so i just took a bunch of them and really work. Thank you so much!
    Oh by the way I don’t cook, so the whole family were very proud. :)


  • Thomas

    just made a batch, smelled so good cooking, tasted delicious! Thanks for the recipe!


  • Therese

    Wow this really good! My son made it and we simply loved it. Thanks so much for the recipe


  • Gail Coones

    I use those huge zucchini s chopped up too as a stretcher! Zucchini will grab the flavor of the apples, they look and mash the same, of course I’m doing enough to feed an army! But it’s healthy and stretches the batches and is almost free since people give you so many of the large ones! To buy bushels of apples can get pretty expensive! And I have a lot shredded for bread. So it’s one way to use the goodness in with your apples!


  • Colleen

    Love this recipe!! Do you have to process it any special way in order to freeze it? Similar to canning? I’d love to make big batches in the fall!


    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Colleen, I’m so glad you like it! We just leave an inch and a half of headroom in the jar and freeze it. No special processing.

  • Cindy

    It is so easy and very good!


  • Venus

    I must say it’s been years since I made home style apple sauce. I love it the lemon really makes the flavors. I could also use less sugar. My grand children loved it. Thank you for this recipes.

  • Carly

    I LOVE this recipe. I adapt it slightly by not adding any sugar and therefore halving the salt. I also find I have to cook it slightly longer than the recipe calls for. I just mash with a potato masher and enjoy a couple small chunks. It’s delicious every time.


  • Kristie

    Great recipe.
    I used a combination of apples and added a fresh pineapple I had lying around (including some red delicious I couldn’t eat – too mealy).
    Used lemon zest.
    Didn’t need as much sugar – maybe 1/2 cup.
    I left the skins on because 1) I’m lazy, 2) I like the idea of a bit of fiber added to the mix. I used the potato masher first, then blended with an immersion blending wand. Success! Thank you!

  • Myrla Dawal

    Thanks for this recipe. My first time to make apple sauce and I love it. My children enjoy it too. I want to can them instead of freezing. Would it be okay or do I need to make some adjustment with the water maybe? Thanks

  • Elizabeth

    This was the best applesauce I’ve ever made. My kids ate it and they are super picky, even about something as simple as homemade applesauce. I used 10 macs, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp salt, 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, close to 1/2 cup white sugar and a little brown sugar I had left, 1 cup water. Boiled & let simmer until smooth. Amazingly delicious! ( I think it was the cider vinegar, new to me)

  • Laurie Borders

    I used 10 apples and 1 cup water as recommended along with the remaining ingredients and it came out like soup. Couldn’t find the recipe I’ve used for 50 years and was very disappointed in the outcome of this recipe. Will keep looking for my old tried and true cookbook

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Laurie, different varieties of apples have different moisture content, which can also vary by the time of year or the year itself. This recipe is a guideline. If the applesauce is too runny, all you have to do is simmer it in a wide pan until it reduces a bit.

  • Katie C

    I find that if I combine the right apples, I don’t need to add any sugar. I cook mine in the slow cooker and then purée in the blender. Freezing or canning, I do both.

  • John Meyer

    I make applesauce every week. Here are suggestions based on trying lots of things:

    1. Use a pressure cooker. This is a game-changer. Just dump the ingredients into the cooker, seal, bring all the way up to 15 psi and wait until it is hissing or sputtering full force. Then turn off the heat and wait 25 minutes. You apples, and skins, will be nicely broken down. You get a lot more out of the skins this way.

    2. ALWAYS use a food mill. A food processor creates a lousy texture, and merely mashing them leaves a lot of lumps and peels. A food mill creates a perfect result.

    3. Add the lemon zest before the cooking, as per the recipe, but add the lemon juice AFTER the apples are cooked, just before you put them through the mill. You get a brighter taste that way.

    4. Use 1/4 cup sugar instead of 1/2, unless you have a sweet tooth.

    5. When cooking, use a cinnamon stick instead of powdered cinnamon. You get a more subtle flavor. Then, if you want more cinnamon taste, sprinkle a little high-quality cinnamon (like Penzy Vietnamese cinnamon) on top of the applesauce just before you eat it.


    Suggestion if freezing — why not recycle plastic mayonaise jars instead or worrying about glass breakage.

  • Patricia Kasicki

    thank you for the recipe I had 3 lbs of apples that was going bad to not throw them away I make the recipe that you provided it was a delight full treat the gala apples had enough sugar I did not have to add plus I am a diabetic it was yummy thank you for sharing

  • cc

    Worked perfect with fuji and no sugar added (diabetic)

    • ELLE

      Excellent! I’m not diabetic (but it’s in my family). For years I’ve been making sugarless applesauce with whatever apples in season look good and adding a lot of cinnamon. A bit of lemon zest sounds like something I might try.
      Also, I know someone who makes sugar-free apple pie; it’s delicious!

  • Kendra

    Hi Elise,
    Made this recipe today with my 10-year-old niece and she was quite thrilled to cook alongside her Auntie Kendra. Although delicious as is, next time I think I’ll leave the sugar and water out and try the alternative another commenter suggested-apple cider. This should provide the sweetness desired (if not already enough with just apples), along with enough liquid to cook the apples. The addition of lemon was fantastic and provided the perfect brightness to the applesauce. I also threw in a dehydrated orange slice I made about a year ago-nice addition as well! :)

  • Taree

    I use Fuji. No sugar is needed but they need peeling. So a bit of cinnamon and lemon and thats it.

  • Elise Bauer

    Use 1/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp of white sugar. But I would start with just 1/4 cup of the sugar. Add more at the end if you think it needs it.

  • joyce

    I don’t usually like apple sauce. I didn’t measure the lemon-just squeezed a little in and it came out perfect. I probably would have been perfect had I followed the instructions. Never thought apple sauce could taste so good. My daughter was coming down with a cold and didn’t have an appetite, but this was one thing she agreed to taste and ate the rest of the batch. Thanks for sharing.

  • Crystal W.

    Got it cookin on the stove there now :) smells awesome!! Can’t wait to eat it with my ham steak.

  • Sheerah

    I found that this recipe called for far too much lemon. I used a fairly sweet organic Jonagold, and I had to add unwanted white sugar to compensate for the overly tart zing of this. I would just put a couple of squeezes of juice and definitely not steep the apples with the lemon peel.

  • Brad

    Simply put, Good Stuff! Made it with apples from the orchard after Apple Picking and it’s really good!

  • Jolene Davis

    Hi I am wanting to can this applesauce. Should I make any adjustments? And if so what? Thanks for the great and simple recipe.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Jolene, great question! I haven’t yet tried canning the applesauce we make (we just freeze it) so don’t know what to tell you.

      • Yvonne

        What do you freeze it in?

        • Elise Bauer

          Mason jars. Just leave at least 1 inch of room at the top of the jar for expansion as the applesauce freezes. I’m guessing you could also freeze applesauce in freezer bags, laying them flat for more easy storage.

  • Diane

    You talked about things that could be added to applesauce. I like raspberries with apples. It makes for a wonderful apple and raspberry crumble. I add frozen raspberries to the cooked apple and then put the crumble mixture on top. (For those who have never tried apple crumble, which I think is British, it’s 4 ozs of flour, rub in 2 ozs of butter until it’s like breadcrumbs, stir in 3 ozs of sugar and place on top of the apples in a pie dish or casserole dish or whatever. Cook in moderate oven until golden.)

  • zarina bagga

    went thru your recipe but an not allowed to eat sugar as i have a artery blockage can i substitute with jaggery or stevia sugar and how much

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Zarina, I don’t know, you’ll have to experiment with your own substitutions.

    • Sheilah

      Try adding a handful of raisins instead of sugar! That’ll more than compensate.

  • susan scully

    If you love applesauce, your new friend is the Foley Food Mill. No peeling, only quartering the apples. My mom used to make applesauce, but never with lemon rind. Mine is working right now,I’m looking forward to tasting with the additon of lemon rind. I’m sure it will bring back fond memories. Thanks for the great directions.

  • Shyam

    Can the apples be pressure cooked instead of simmering for 20-30 minutes?

    • Elise Bauer

      Yes, though you’ll have to experiment with the timing.

      • Shyam

        Hello Elise. I pressure cooked 2 big apples (1 whistle). I added a couple of cloves (used in many Indian sweets) also. Excellent taste, texture and aroma! We are using it along with Indian breads also. Thanks a lot.

  • Freebie LaRue

    I just want to tell you, I made this applesauce today, I had 3 lbs of Gala apples that were starting to go bad. I peeled off the brown areas on the the skin, cored them, and followed your recipe exactly. Made it with pork chops, was the hit of the dinner. Saved the water to cook a pork roast. Thanks so much, haven’t made applesauce since my children were little. We loved it!

  • Joan Calkins

    Hello again Elise. On Oct. 9 2014, I sent you a message asking if I could sub the white sugar with Stevia or Supra. You were unsure, but one of your readers, A Knesal, responded that yes, all would be good with a bit of dark brown sugar.
    As it turned out, no sugar was needed as I got all the sweetness needed by adding a can of mandarin oranges, including the juice and dark brown sugar>>> It was fabulous!!!!
    You may recall that my interest in your applesauce recipe was based on scheduled major oral surgery. Since having the surgery, I have made a total of four batches, all with varying additions…mandarin oranges, blueberries, pineapple, dried cranberries, blood orange marmalade, pure maple syrup. Four constant items>>>cinnamon stick, lemon, dark brown sugar and, of course, APPLES!!!
    So Thanks Elise, you are my new food guru. I will keep you posted with my “Elisecapades”. Take care, Joanie

  • Joyce

    If my blender can process Apples raw do I need to cook them to make apple sauce? Trying to consume more raw foods .

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Joyce, why don’t you process one of your apples in your blender and see how you like it? To make the type of applesauce that we’ve presented here, then yes, you do need to cook them.

  • Sarah

    Cook the peels and mash them separately and then mix into the apple sauce, you get all the good nutrients of the peels AND the peels are super sweet and eliminates the need for refined sugar!!!

  • bruce crandlemire

    Fabulous. Used half the white sugar, added a dash of nutmeg and tablespoon of brandy before cooking. After cooking, added one tablespoon of unsalted butter while cooling – thickened it nicely. Better the second day.

  • Judy B.

    My mother used to make applesauce with Macoun, Baldwin and Golden Delicious apples, and because we loved raspberries, she would throw those in, too. She made some sort of a coffee cake with the finished sauce…wish I had that coffee cake recipe. :-)
    Going to try your recipe this week!

  • Joan Calkins

    I am scheduled for oral surgery (all my teeth will be removed and replaced with implants). Knowing that my diet will be restricted to soft foods, I googled apple sauce and hundreds of recipes came up. I chose yours for it’s simplicity and freezing ability, and after reading the reviews, I am so excited to get started putting out batches. I am going to try both the stovetop and the crockpot methods, adding pears to one and blueberries to the other. My question to you: Can I replace the white sugar with Stevia or Supra? Thank you and I will will keep you posted with my results.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Joan, oh my gosh, good luck with your surgery! I don’t know about subbing with Stevia or Supra, haven’t done it myself, but perhaps someone else will weigh in on the subject?

      • joan calkins

        Thanx So much for your response Elise! Has anyone else used a sugar substitute like Stevia or Supra?

        • A Knesal

          Hi! Joan,

          I use stevia for baked goods, you just have to be careful that you don’t over do it by using too much. There is a bit of a different flavor added with stevia that some will note, I amend that with more spices and a measure, depending on quantity, of dark brown cane sugar.

  • Susan

    I scaled this recipe way down just to use the couple of apples I had available to serve as a side dish for pork chops for my husband and me. A Tbsp of water and sugar, a sqeeze of lemon juice at the end and a sprinkling of cinnamon was all I used. I cooked it right along with the dinner and we served it warm. So good! (I mention this so that people who don’t care to make a huge batch for canning will know it can be done easily as a small serving size recipe.)


  • Meg

    Personally, I never bother coring and peeling the apples – just wash them well, remove any worm holes, roughly chop them and cook them down. When you put the result through a food mill (I use the attachment for my KitchenAid) all the skins and seeds are filtered out. Also, applesauce is one of the easiest things on earth to can: put the sauce in sterilized jars with new lids, cover with boiling water and simmer for 30 minutes. I do this every autumn and put the sauce in my children’s lunch boxes all year!

    • Charlene

      Thank you so much for letting us know how to can. I’ve been searching the comments looking for it. We just moved to a farm with an endless supply of fruits and veggies, so I’m looking for ways to keep them all year round. Thank you!

  • barbara

    Love this recipe, use it a lot, only thing different I do is use only 1/2 cup of a good apple juice, and cook in my crockpot on low for 3 hours….can cook a little longer but we like it a little chunky, the reason I like it in the crockpot is the smell is comforting, so like to make it last a little longer, have a great day…..


    • Mary

      So you replace the water with applesauce? Or do I still need to add water?

  • Ray

    Can you really freeze mason jars? Would they not crack when thawed out?

    • Elise Bauer

      They won’t crack unless you 1) put hot jars in the freezer, or 2) immerse frozen jars in very hot water. I’ve never had a mason jar crack from freezing and I am constantly using mason jars to freeze chicken stock or applesauce.

  • Laura

    I have been making this each year since you first published it. Even my applesauce-ambivalent husband enjoys it when I make it this way!

  • robin

    Wow, this is good. I left out the sugar and salt. Why would you need those? Anyway, this is delicious.

  • LaWanda

    I would love to make this recipe. Can you tell me how much the finished product yields?

  • Cheyenne

    This recipe is amazing I just got finished making it for the first time.

  • lynn @ the actor's diet

    This turned out amazing:

    So glad you liked it! ~Elise

  • Jessica

    I use only green apples and raw honey as a sweetner. It is very good.

  • Mini

    Made this last Sunday for breakfast and it was so yum that barely had any for the pancakes. I used whatever apples were at home; am sure granny smith will taste even better.

    Thanks, esp for the tip about the lemon zest – made all the difference.

  • Shannon

    This was absolutely delicious! For those of you who didn’t have a cinnamon stick on hand… just use 3/4 tsp. of ground cinnamon. It worked out perfectly for me. I used 3 lbs. of granny smith apples. Although I was unsure about using the lemon juice with such a tart apple… I did anyway. It worked out perfect. Great recipe! I will be using this from now on.

  • Amy

    Outstanding recipe. Made it exactly as listed except used just the brown sugar and omitted the white since the audience prefers less sweet taste. Ate with plain yogurt and also just on its own.

    By far the most interesting looking recipe for applesauce I found online. I can’t believe I just found this site but now have to try more of the recipes here. Thanks for sharing.

  • Tracy

    Thank you for a great recipe! I made it with the plethora of apples I got at the Orchard this weekend and I LOVE it!

  • jeanne fitzgibbon

    I have been making applesauce for years, and this recipe is the best I have tried. I love the lemon peel, and using the cinnamon stick imparts great flavor without being too strong.I canned several jars, and plan to use them not just to eat, but in applesauce cakes-that should give some depth of flavor!

  • Brian

    Excellent recipe!!! This is the only recipe I will ever need for applesauce. Perfection. I used a little of everything in season in NJ. I threw in some Jonamacs, Golden Delicious, Mutsu, and I even threw in a Red Delicious.

  • Loriann

    Just finished a batch with the sugar replaced with 1/2 cup of agave nectar and lime replacing the lemon…absolutely delicious!!

  • lauren

    I just moved to the country and our house has six apple trees in the backyard. This recipe worked great. I didn’t measure ingredients very precisely. Just to taste–mostly because I have A LOT of apple to use. Found this recipe because I was looking for applesauce to freeze. When I used a potato masher to mash the apples, the lemon peels came to the top.

    • mr

      I save all my citrus zest when there is any leftover from a recipe. It’s very finely grated so there is not a floating problem. Also I added it at the end, because I found this recipe after the fact, it had already spent the night in the crock-pot. The applesauce was th leftover results from trying an apple cider vinegar recipe I found.

  • Shirley Bridges

    I love this recipe! A friend suggested that I try a bag of one kind of apples and then pick up six or seven different kinds to add to the sauce. It gives a wonderful taste, and of course, you get lots of sauce. Thank you!

  • laura d

    I made this recipe on Thanksgiving and it was awesome! I used 6 large granny smith apples and followed everything else in the recipe, only exception was that I used ground cinnamon since that is what I had on hand. I think it got better after a couple days in the fridge so next year I will make on Mon or Tues for Thanksgiving! Love things I can make in advance, thanks!!!

  • Skylinesuzy

    Loved the recipe Elise :0) Made somes minor modification as I was using all Granny Smiths and find they are quite tart so I omitted the lemon juice. I also microplaned the lemon and used the zest instead of the lemon rind. This recipe rocks!

  • Tonya

    How long will the applesauce last in the refrigerator?

    Good question, a couple of weeks? We freeze ours, and defrost the jars one at a time as we eat them. We’ll eat through a jar long before it even hints of going bad. ~Elise

  • CarlyC

    I have made this applesauce twice. Both times it got great reviews. One trick I tried was to put a tiny drop of red food on each of the pieces of lemon peel to make them a little easier to find. Thank you for the wonderful recipe.

  • Lorn Davis

    OMG! I accidently used maple syrup concentrate ,instead of lemon . sooooo yummy!

  • natasha

    Wow I am soooo happy with this recipe how can I go about canning it how long should it sit in the waterbath for? and will it still have the same conststency after canning ?

    Great questions. This isn’t a recipe designed for canning though, and we don’t can our applesauce. We’ll freeze the jars we make. I suggest looking up applesauce canning recipes on a canning or preserving site like Ball or Sure-Jell. ~Elise

  • B Rose

    Absolutely delicious. Thank you for this one – and all your other wonderful recipes.

  • Heather

    I’m really excited to try this recipe — I’m using it as a step towards making some crock pot apple butter. My one question is, how much does this recipe yield?

    Great question, I totally forget! A couple quarts maybe? We usually just wing it with this recipe, don’t even measure. ~Elise

  • Angie Greene

    I have tried several applesauce recipes and this is the BEST by far!!! It is delicious and love that it keeps a light color. Other recipes I have used result a in dark applesauce. I guess the key to that is the lemon juice. I have 2 more bushels of apples to make in to applesauce. So glad I found this recipe, my boys are too. Thanks for sharing!

  • Paula F.

    My mother in law gave me lots of canned applesauce and canned pears. Do you have any side dish recipes? I was thinking something with cheese would be good with canned apples?

    I love serving applesauce over cottage cheese, or alongside a pork chop. ~Elise

  • Delight C Cotton

    I made applesauce last night for the very first time in my life using your recipe. OMG ! I couldn’t believe how easy it was. The most tedious part was peeling 4 pounds of apples .. but it was well worth it. I got the apples for free from my son’s neighbor so it truly was very inexpensive and so deliciously rewarding. In addition to the cinnamon called for in the recipe, I also added some strawberries and a bit of freshly grated nutmeg. I didn’t have any lemons on hand so I used a few fresh limes from my tree instead. Thanks for the recipe. This is certainly a keeper.

  • karen

    We have an apple tree at our new house in Ca, and we have no idea what type of apples they are…but, they are ready so I had to do something. I got the apples going with only a little water in the bottom of the pot then I added brown sugar, cinnamon and a hint of almond before putting them in the food mill. They tasted a bit “dry” so I checked the web and found your recipe. I had already made the sauce, but I liked your idea about adding the lemon peel and since I didn’t have any on hand, I squeezed a couple of oranges into the sauce (I also have 3 orange trees, I am always looking for ways to get rid of oranges)and the taste is amazing! Thanks for the idea of adding citrus…I never would have thought of it!

  • Stacey

    This recipe is wonderful! Like most other comments, I followed it to the tee. The only thing I would recommend is to put toothpicks through the lemon peels as they are quite hard to find.

  • Jen

    This is pretty similar to the method I use for making applesauce. A couple of tips for you or anyone to try: Use a slow-cooker to cook the apples. My mom makes homemade applesauce but she has accidentally burned it on the stove before by not putting enough water in and letting it all evaporate too quickly. The slow cooker prevents this (and prevents boiling over, too.) I also use at least 3 and as many as 6 different varieties of apples. The variety is really what gives it the best flavor, I think. Of course, when I make applesauce in my slow cooker, I make a HUGE batch. My slow cooker holds (I think) 8 quarts and I fill it up with raw apples (usually around 10lbs of apples total.) I also use some cranberry juice as part of the liquid. I would use apple juice or cider but I don’t keep it on hand as much as cranberry juice. I’ve already made my huge batch of applesauce 3 times since Thanksgiving. My husband loves the stuff. I added 2 pears the last time I made it, in addition to about 5 or 6 different kinds of apples.

  • Christine

    I just made this and it was fantastic! I used an apple corer/slicer thing for it, rather than quartering the apples. after it simmered for 30 minutes, I was thrilled to discover that no mashing was even necessary! The apples had just fallen apart and had a perfect apple-saucy texture. I used 8 granny smiths.

  • Jane

    My kids love homemade applesauce – in addition to the above recipe I also include an inch or so of peeled ginger root; and, I also add nutmeg to it – no sugar and use apple juice instead of water. Oh so good!

  • Kristin G

    I love this applesauce recipe, and I have made it three times already this fall. The lemon juice was absolutely perfect, it made it taste bright and not too sweet. Thanks so much for a simple and delicious way to use all my apples!

  • amanda donovan

    I love homemade applesauce, and make a huge batch every year for canning and freezing and a lot of eating. I prefer to use a mix of apple varieties, and very little (if any) sugar. I also like it really chunky, so I don’t smoosh any of it at all, and just let it exist at its natural cooked down consistency. My other little secret is to use apple cider instead of water- its so rich. Making applesauce is something I look forward to every year!

  • shelly

    Recipe sounds real good, but can you can it?
    Mom and I are bottling jams and chutneys for holiday prezzies. Apple sauce is on the favorite list but need to know if this works. Thanks.xx

    Hi Shelly, great question, to which I do not know the answer. We freeze our applesauce to preserve it. ~Elise

  • Kristi

    I just made this and it turned out Great ! Thank you so much !

  • Andrea

    I was looking for a simple recipe to can a boatload of apples and it’s just great! Love the lemon, I zested the lemon before juicing and threw the whole thing in there (I’m a fan of sour). Thanks again!

  • Tristin

    What a great recipe! Loved the added lemon. I plan on using this to make my Zucchini Bread. Thanks for sharing. Seattle, WA

  • Beckie

    I was given 4 bags of apples in a food box. There was no way we could eat all those apples. I found this recipe and gave it a shot. As the time of year I added the sugar. My house smelled so good while it was cooking. When it was done it was a big hit with the family. I will definitely be making this again.

  • Alli

    I made this applesauce recipe yesterday using 7 granny smith apples.
    What a great and simple recipe to put together. I used 3T brown sugar and 2 slices lemon rind along with the cinnamon stick. I, at first omitted the sugar, but after an initial taste when this was simmering away I added the sugar and I am glad I did because the sugar is just what it needed. I also ran it through a Foley food mill and the outcome is velvety and buttery.
    I cannot wait to get some North Carolina mountain apples for this recipe.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Peter

    Fine recipe but: why does nobody leave the skins on. I’m about to do a batch of sauce, not strain it but just mash with a potato masher, which I’ve done before with success. I’d like to try it with skins on. Is that OK?

    The skins tend to toughen when they cook, and the texture conflicts with the soft texture of the rest of the apple. But why don’t you try it and see if you like it with skins included? ~Elise

  • Cathy

    Great recipe! I love to add golden raisins soaked in Amaretto Liquor. Just bring several ounces to boil, remove from heat , add some raisins, cover and let sit for 45 minutes or so till plumped; drain and add to applesauce. Delicious on Steel Cut Oatmeal for breakfast. Oven toasted pecans sound good also.

  • Kim B.

    Thanks for the easy and tasty recipe. I made two batches. One with the sugar and one without. It was plenty sweet without and the sweetened batch worked great with plain yogurt. I used key limes instead since that’s what I had. Zested several directly in, plus the juice. Heaven! Rave reviews from my foodie friends. I also got crazy with fresh ground cinnamon.

  • Jason

    What an interesting recipe!

    […] First, I’d like to quickly introduce myself: my name’s Jason, I’m Belgian (so, I normally speak French) I’m 15 and I love the U.S.A., especially their food. I strarted two years ago to be interested in american sweet recipes like Cookies, Brownies, Muffins, Cheesecakes, Pies, Scones, Buns, Cakes & Cupcakes, Breads, Loafs, and so on. It’s a real passion and now, I begin to visit some websites in English to find more recipes really American. So, I apologize for my mistakes (spelling? words? ..) but I try to speak as good as possible. :).

    I’ve known your site for a long time, but these days I’ve tried some of your recipes. I’ve had some organic Boskoop apples and I’ve decides to try to make your apple sauce. It was a success! Thanks a lot, it was really delicious ^^

  • dana a.

    I made this after we went apple picking and had cut/peeled too many apples to fit in the pies…

    So delicious. I added a lot more lemon juice than you recommended and it came out wonderful.

    I also used 2 cups of water instead of 1, then strained it before mashing…. and the fluid made a delicious hot apple cider beverage!

  • Anonymous

    Does it matter what type of container you freeze it in? Do you have to use canning jars? Or can you use recycled glass jars (i.e. old pickle jars, salsa jars. etc)?

    We use old pickle jars or canning jars. Just leave enough head space (about an inch) so that when the liquid in the applesauce expands upon freezing, it doesn’t break the glass. ~Elise

  • Julie

    Your recipe is so simple and so delicious! I had a big bag of Fuji apples from a friend’s tree and looked to your site immediately. I love the lemon peel, it really does add that fresh taste. Thank you again and I love your site!

  • Melinda

    Thanks for the great recipe. I only used 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup brown sugar. I used apples we picked at a local farm. Also I canned the sauce and it worked beautifully. Of course, we will have to see in a few months. :) I am sure the sauce will be great. I also made your apple chutney, which was really yummy and canned that too. I was really pleased to find your site.

  • Brenda Whitfield

    I attended a family reunion this weekend in the Alabama countryside – there aren’t a lot of apple trees but we have some great sand pears (I’m not sure if that is the technical term but it’s the one I heard all my life – very dense flesh and thick, bumpy skin) – I almost picked my uncle’s pear tree clean with the plan to make some pear butter (my aunt – one of the world’s best country cooks – swears by a recipe she’s going to email me – I’ll pass it on if anyone wants a go at it), pear preserves (a specialty in the deep south), and pear sauce. I had my own simple recipe for pear sauce that I threw together one year but I’m going to try this one and hope my little ones actually eat it this year. Like all kids, they need a little incentive, so I usually make mine with Splenda (to cut down on calories and sugar intake) and sprinkle a very few candy sprinkles on top – yes I know it negates the Splenda but the fun aspect helps them eat and they clear their bowls so I get fruit in and do a trade off on the sugar :)

    Keep up the good work!

  • Kaila

    I just made this.. and am eating a warm bowl of it right now, and it is delicious. It is way sugarier than I prefer, though, so next time I’ll do as others have done and omit the sugar.


  • katrina

    Thanks for the reminder! I have a lovely bowl of Ginger Golds, Macs, and an unknown “baking” apple my daughter picked at the apple farm – time to make applesauce. Instead of lemon, I add a cup or so of raw cranberries – it makes it slightly tart, so tasting before freezing is critical. Beautiful rosy color, too.

  • Ramona

    I add those little cinnamon heart candies that you have leftover from Valentines Day to the applesauce as it is cooking. They impart a unique cinnamon flavour, a hint of sweetness, and a very appealing rosy color.

  • Jon

    I make a really quick and easy applesauce, and usually just eat it as is, or mixed with home made, unsweetened yoghurt.

    1) Take a number of largy granny smith apples, leave the skin on and chop, removing the core and seeds, into rough chunks.

    2) Place the apples in a large microwave safe bowl and place the apple chunks in it with a splash of water.

    3) Cover the bowl with a plate and cook for 5 minutes, stir and recover. Cook for a further 5 minutes.

    4) Continue cooking for 3 minutes at a time until the apple is nicely soft.

    5) Thoroughly blend.

    What I like about this applesauce is that it is simple, and keeps the apple peel (you wont notice after it’s blended) which contains much of the nutritional value. Also it has no added sugar. Of course you can add spices, or a little lemon if you like.

  • Nick

    Perfect. I keep avoiding the 4-5lb bags of Gala apples at the produce stand because I just can’t eat that many apples. What a terribly simple idea, and the texture is the same after being defrosted?

    Yep, texture is the same. :-) ~Elise

  • blowback

    It did look good – so good that I was going to ask if Elizabeth Falkner’s book, Demolition Desserts, has her real recipe for rocky road cupcakes, but then I found this recipe available on-line although it only uses regular marshmallows so I’ll give that a go.

    BTW, Philo Apple Farm does the SF farmers market and if you’ve never seen Bramleys before, they look like oversize Granny Smiths.

  • blowback

    If you want smooth apple sauce that is sublime then may I suggest you use Bramley apples – they cook down to a pulp and have a superb flavour – but don’t let them any where near a tarte tatin or similar. They also work really well with blackberries and in crumbles and best of all in blackberry and apple crumble.

    BTW, which cupcake did you have and would you have shared it with Mr Lebovitz?

    Chocolate and yes, if I had even for a moment thought about it. But his rocky road cupcake looked pretty good, didn’t it? ~Elise

  • mary

    I made this with macintoshes that I picked last week. The first batch, which I made with 1/2 white sugar and 1/4 brown, was a little sweet for me. The second batch I used 1/4 brown and 1/4 white, almost perfect. I think I would still reduce the sugar a little. The lemon gives it a nice tart taste.

    Thanks for passing on this idea and recipe.

  • Zsuzsi

    I made the sauce tonight, and it is perfect! I used a bit less of sugar, and Jonathan apple.
    Could someone give me ideas what can I use it for?
    I found a recipe for a cake, and of course it tastes good with a spoon ;) anything else?

    Thanks for the recipe, Elise, not the first one from your site which I found delicious!

    We usually just eat it straight. I love applesauce over cottage cheese for breakfast. You can also easily freeze it (just leave some headroom in the jar to prevent it from breaking when it freezes). Much of the applesauce we make during apple season we freeze and eat all year. ~Elise

  • kinsey

    I love applesauce. I’ve lately been making it for my son who is just now 4.5 months. I have simply made it in ice cube trays for him, and am excited for the day that he “graduates” to solid food, rather than that which I produce in fairly great quantities just for him. I’ve been on the lookout for good baby food-making websites and came across this one:

    and thought of your site, Elise–I have a feeling that if you were to do a baby food site, it would look something like this.
    I just wanted to share with all the other people who love food as much as we do, who are looking for ways to share that love with their babies!


  • Julie @ the calm before the stork

    I am a BIG fan of your site! So pleased to see your applesauce recipe tonight as we have 3 bags of yard apples in the fridge and I’ve never tried using lemon or peel.

    Wondering if you or other readers ever just quarter the apples and cook — I catch all the seeds and skins when I run it through the food mill.

    Is my laziness costing me in terms of flavor? I don’t know. I think it tastes great.

    I don’t call it lazy to run all that through a food mill! That’s a lot of work in my opinion. I do it that way when I’m making apple butter, because you want the pectin from cores to help it thicken. But you can make apple sauce this way too. ~Elise

  • Kaitlin

    I’m definitely going to have to try adding the lemon juice and peel. That sounds perfect.

    Like some other commenters, I say forgo the sugar. With the right apples, it isn’t needed at ALL. Or, at least start small and add incrementally if not using very sweet apples (which is basically what you suggest with the “up to 1/2” measurement).

  • Ellie from Kitchen Caravan

    Thank you for reposting this classic fall recipe. It jogged childhood memories of my sister and I peeling apples with my grandma’s old crank-style apple peeler. We had so much fun eating all those stringy pieces of peel! I don’t recall my grandma using lemon peel (or lime peel, as Mary suggested) in her applesauce, but I’m anxious to give it a try in my next batch.

  • kerry

    The best applesauce I’ve ever had was the applesauce my grandmother used to make. she always used transparent apples and now I do, too. I just cook the apples down with a little water and then mash them. Then, if it needs it, I might had a sprinkling of sugar and/or cinnamon. So good.

  • Robert

    What if I served this applesauce warm on top of a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of a graham or whole wheat cracker? might it remind one of apple pie?

    I think the closest thing to that apple pie feeling is my mom’s baked apple slices. Even easier to make than applesauce. ~Elise

  • Joanna

    Oh, I miss homemade applesauce! We used to drive up to one of those pick-your-own places and come home with buckets’ worth of apples. I’m pretty sure I thought the food mill was really an apple sauce machine because that’s all my parents ever used it for! We would sit around after dinner dipping pretzels into the warm sauce and oh, it was incredible.

  • Christine

    That seems like a lot of sugar. I like to use apple cider instread of water, really boost the flavor.

  • Maggie (Pithy and Cleaver)

    Exciting that it’s applesauce season. I have such happy memories of my mom making it after an apple-picking trip. Important to have two peelers so everyone can help.

    I would definitely add a whole vanilla bean or two…

  • Bob

    Homemade applesauce rules, I made some just a little while ago.

  • Dan Hromas

    This is a wonderfully simple and tasty recipe! I made some slight modifications that turned out to be delectable: I added the full 1/2-cup of sugar, and used light-brown sugar (1/4-cup) instead. Also, I used 1-tsp of cinnamon, 1-tsp of lemon juice concentrate, and 1/2-tsp of kosher salt. I also added some pears to an 8-lb batch and strawberries to a separate 3-lb batch. I froze the applesauce in 2-cup portions, then put the frozen portions into vacuum bags and vacuum sealed them. Thanks again for this wonderful start of a recipe!

  • Mary

    I was making 2 Qts. of apple sauce with Cortland and Delicious apples from our own trees, however, the red delicious apples are not really good for sauce. So after reviewing comments here, I saw someone suggested adding lemon peel at the end. I didn’t have a fresh lemon, but did have a lime. I tried a few strips of lime peel and the lime juice from one lime. It was amazing. A slight bit tart, like applesauce should be, and very refreshing, with just a hint of Key Lime pie! ( I also included 1 tsp cinnamon, and brown sugar to sweeten my recipe.) Try some lime peel- you’ll be surprised!

  • Scattered Mom

    Mmm…yummy. Do you think I could can it in a boiling water canner, or would I need a pressure canner? Apples are on sale at the grocery store next week and I want some :)

    Because of the sugar content, and the acidity from the lemon juice, you should be able to safely can this applesauce with a boiling water canner. ~Elise

  • Latha

    Hi Elise,

    This is the first time I have made proper apple sauce (I made sort of sauce for my first born!). I used a combination of gravenstein and elstar, no sugar and used some birnen dicksaft (pear nectar is it?) and ofcourse cinnamon. The apples were with skin on. I actually prepared them to use in cake but looks like they’ll not reach their destination.

  • Folasade M Bailey

    Our applesauce came out great.

  • Zach

    When the world gives you lemons, make lemonade.
    When the world gives you apples, make applesauce!

    I’m a teacher and as many teachers I get apples from time to time. However, when one of my students arrives, she brings 10-pound bags of apples. I might be exaggerating a bit, but there are at least 30 apples in each bag.

    I can’t eat that many apples. Twice now, however, I have used your recipe to make applesauce. I eat it chilled and it’s delicious. It’s a sweet alternative to processed sugary sweets that most of us eat too much of.

    Thanks Elise for the great recipe. Whenever you’re in Hollywood, California, stop by, you can some of my applesauce at my Hollywood Apartment Farm.

    Zach (Zachary means sugar in Greek)

  • Lizzie J

    I have a very delicious and simple applsauce recipe:

    8-9 Apples of your choice
    1 Cinnamon stick
    Slow Cooker or Crockpot

    Peel, core, slice your apples. Place in a crockpot or slow cooker. Place 1 (no more) cinnamon stick in the middle. Turn on low and cook for 6-8 hours or what I do, is cook it overnight. Stir and apple slices will give away to delicious applesauce.

    You can add sugar to your liking, but I never do. It’s so simple and yummy!

  • Talia

    This was simply delicious. received RAVE reviews. I used three sort of apples: 1/2 granny smith, 1/4 golden delicious, 1/4 some other sort and believe that the mix really makes the difference. You could taste the apple goodness. taster loved the rougher texture too.

    Thanks for this recipe, a real winner.

  • Elise

    Elise, I’ve been visiting your site since 1996, when it was just a little heart icon and some photos. Anyway, you’ve done a great job with the site… worthy of the name “Elise”. ;)

    So far I’ve made this applesauce recipe and your banana bread recipe. Both were delish! And your instructions couldn’t have been easier. Looking forward to many more yummy meals!

    Note from Elise: Oh you remember the heart? It’s still here: Thanks for saying hello and I’m so glad you like the applesauce and banana bread, 2 of our favorite recipes.

    • MARK

      Have you or anyone else put up this applesauce,the cranberry applesauce, or the rhubarb apple sauce using the water bath method? If so, please advise. I have no more room in the freezer, so I would need to do that. Thanks for your feedback.
      Sincerely, Mark in the Arizona Desert

  • Raquel

    I can’t believe I even looked elsewhere for an applesauce recipe! I always check your site first! What a dunce. This looks fantastic. I recently bought a pressure canner to can meats and fruits for a home storage project and, with apples being so cheap and delicious right now, I really wanted to can some of the good stuff. Thanks so much for your recipes and your time in putting them up for the rest of us.

  • Syd

    A deceptively simple recipe for great taste. I added a little star anise to give it some Asian inspiration, plus it complements cinnamon well. The lemon peel smells amazing when it’s simmering.

  • S

    I followed this recipe exactly, with only one minor change – instead of lemon juice I used pineapple juice as I didn’t have lemons on hand; and the combination of sweet pineapple and apple turned out amazingly :)

  • Bunny

    A neighbor gave this recipe to me and I made it with fuji apples but 3 lbs. wasn’t enough. I would need about 10 lbs. to be able to freeze any. Very good recipe. Will try strawberries or blueberries next time. I know cinnamon would be good too.

  • Michael

    I am a divorced Dad & I had a request for apple sauce the way I use to make it when my children were young..this one hit the nail on the head`s great just the way it is.

  • Jason

    Great recipe! I had some apples that were going to go to waste. I found a blender based recipe elsewhere that didn’t work, so I had to scramble. Switched to this one mid-cooking and oh! warm applesauce is awesome!

  • John

    Excellent recipe, and so easy to make! I made this recipe with a bag of McIntosh apples, and used 1/4 cup of cinnamon, and it came out perfect! Thanks for posting it!!

  • Harry

    Elise, I made your applesauce the other night, and it was fantastic. Made a few changes to fit what was on hand. Thanks.

  • carrie

    I tried this for the first time after apple picking in September, making it every month since! My 2 year olds love it, and I also made it to bring to my parents’ for Thanksgiving this year, and everyone loved it!

  • edenz

    This recipe is very tasty – we used jonnagold with no sugar and it was fabulous – a very buttery flavor. I also tried with Gala, but the lemon made it a little too acidic for my taste.

    I highly recommend trying with no sugar.

    Note from Elise: If you don’t add sugar, then you don’t need the juice of a whole lemon, perhaps just a teaspoon or two to taste.

  • Teresa

    This was a really easy recipe and tasted yummy. I even canned some for later :)

  • Cathy

    I made the applesauce with 4 lbs.of Granny apples and it was delicious.

    Elise, I really enjoy Simply Recipes. Keep up the good work.

    Little Rock, Ar.

  • Cookie

    I agree — homemade applesauce is one of those deceptively simple luxuries. But, sugar? Who needs it? I make a wonderful sauce using unpeeled, cored & quartered Cortlands and a bit of apple cider to get them started. Then I put it through my Foley food mill…the results are a lovely pink sauce that’s sweet and tangy. Freezes beautifully and is a favorite among neighbors and friends and family when I bring a quart along to picnics or holiday dinners.

    I used to make a sweetened, cinnamon’d sauce, but when I discovered these local Cortlands cooked up so deliciously, it just wasn’t worth bothering with the extras.

    • Dennis Tibbetts

      I needed just a little courage to leave out the sugar and Cookie provided. It was great.

  • Maxwell

    This is a lovely recipe, I used some sort of macitosh apple(small and red all the way through some times) and made 4 liters of the most wonderful sauce. If you use a strainer and save the juice it makes a great hard cider! All in all, a great way to make apple sauce!

    • Laura

      I had no idea to use a strainer to save the juice, what a great tip!! Waste not I guess. You learn every day!

      • Troy

        I”m having trouble wrapping my head around only using a cup of water in which to boil the apples. Is this correct…only a cup of water?

        • Elise Bauer

          Right. You’re not going to drain the water. The apples will release moisture as they cook.

          • Troy

            Thanks. This is actually the second time we’ve (my-6 yr old and I)made it using your recipe. I simply couldn’t remember if we adjuted the water amount. My daughter told me the first time we added a little more than a cup of water, and it came out GOOD. Thanks. This second time–because I couldn’t remember, and we had to get to making it–I added a total of 2 cups. Loose–plus mom wanted hers pureed–but flavorful. One cup is certainly enough water. I’d forgotten the apples released moisture. Thanks for that and the recipe! She (we) made a batch for her to give to her friends to try.