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Recipes

Perfect Homemade Applesauce (3 Methods!)

homemade applesauce recipe in jar elizabeth rider

Friends, if you don’t already know how to make applesauce, my homemade applesauce recipe is going to rock your world.

Once you learn how easy homemade applesauce comes together, you’ll never buy the premade stuff again!

How to Make Homemade Applesauce

You can make my homemade applesauce recipe three different ways:

  • on the stove (takes about 30 minutes)
  • in a slow-cooker (mostly hands-off, takes 3-6 hours)
  • in an Instant Pot (takes about 30 minutes)

Choose any of these methods that work best for you (it’s all detailed below in the recipe card for you to save or print.) You’ll simply peel & chop the apples (discard the stems, seeds, and core), combine all ingredients, cook, and mash. It’s that easy.

chopped apples for applesauce

If I have time, I love making homemade applesauce in the slow cooker to let it cook all day—it makes the entire house smell A-MA-ZING! I start it around 8am and we enjoy it as an afternoon snack—and then usually again after dinner because the kids love it so much.

On busier days or when I don’t think ahead, I toss it all in an Instant Pot for a quick applesauce. The stovetop works great too if you don’t have either of those tools.

How to Get The Best Applesauce Flavor

The secret is in the balance of sweet and tart apple flavors.

You don’t want to use all super sweet apples (e.g. Red Delicious). Great homemade applesauce needs some balance with a tart flavor. This is why I prefer to make homemade applesauce with Honeycrisp apples—they are naturally both sweet and tart. Or, if you use sweet apples, add a few tart apples (e.g. Granny Smith) to balance the flavors.

Combining both sweet and tart flavors will take your applesauce from just OK to WOW. (This is also the secret to making a great apple pie filling, BTW.)

Homemade Applesauce Ingredients

Apples (Obviously!)

Of course, you’ll need some apples. You’ll want about 3 pounds total, which is 5 large or 8 small apples depending on how big they are. This recipe is pretty flexible—it doesn’t have to be exact. I recommend going for at least 3 pounds or over because homemade applesauce freezes beautifully if you have any leftover. As I mentioned above, combine sweet and tart flavors.

apples in bag

To prepare your apples, peel ’em (I recommend a sharp veggie peeler) and remove the cores & seeds while chopped into large chunks.

Fresh Lemon Juice

Fresh lemon juice adds that extra tartness and the natural citric acid actually helps preserve it a little if you want to keep it in the fridge for a few days. It also gives your applesauce a bit of that gourmet flavor. I recommend it, but if you find yourself without a lemon you can leave it out.

Ground Cinnamon

Cinnamon adds that special flavor we all know in applesauce. Cinnamon also has powerful medicinal benefits. It’s full of antioxidants and is a natural anti-inflammatory. Cinnamon also has blood sugar balancing properties, which is perfectly paired with the natural sugars in applesauce. (The natural fiber in apples helps keep your blood sugar balanced, too.)

Applesauce Natural Sweetener

I prefer to use natural sweeteners, so I add 1/2 cup real maple syrup OR honey, more or less to taste, depending on how the final product tastes. Real maple syrup pairs beautifully with apples and is always my first choice here.

All apples are different (even the same varieties), so taste and add your sweetener accordingly.

Brown sugar also works if you prefer. You can leave out any added sweetness depending on your preferences if you prefer no-sugar-added applesauce.

homemade applesauce elizabeth rider

Making your own applesauce is just so darn good, once you try it, it will be in your regular rotation. Enjoy!

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homemade applesauce recipe in jar elizabeth rider

Perfect Homemade Applesauce Recipe

  • Author: Elizabeth Rider
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: varies
  • Total Time: varies (30 min - 6 hrs)
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x
  • Category: Snack, Dessert
  • Method: Cook, Mash
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This homemade applesauce recipe is so good that once you make it, you’ll never want to buy it again. It’s also really easy to double or triple this recipe and freeze it for later. If you love it, please leave a star rating in the comments below to help other readers in our community (thanks!).


Scale

Ingredients

  • 46 large apples (about 3 pounds), peeled and cores/seeds/stems removed while chopping into large chunks; choose a combo of sweet and tart (I prefer Honeycrisp*)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup, honey OR brown sugar, more or less to taste

Instructions

  • Peeling tip: Use a sharp veggie peeler to remove the skin from apples.

Slow-Cooker Method:

  1. Combine the apples, water, lemon juice, and cinnamon in your slow-cooker. Cover and cook on high 2-3 hours or low 4-6 hours until the apples are soft and falling apart.
  2. Mash with a potato masher or fork (or use an immersion blender for an extra smooth apple sauce).
  3. Taste for sweetness, then stir in 1/4 to 1/2 cup real maple syrup and/or brown sugar until the desired sweetness is achieved.

Instant Pot Method:

  1. Combine the apples, water, lemon juice, and cinnamon in the Instant pot.
  2. Close the lid and double-check that the vent is set to “sealing.” Pressure cook for 5 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally (this takes about 20-25 minutes).  Once the pin has dropped, open the lid and mash the apples with a potato masher or fork (or use an immersion blender for an extra smooth apple sauce).
  3. Taste for sweetness, then add 1/4 to 1/2 cup real maple syrup and/or brown sugar until the desired sweetness is achieved.

Stove-Top Method:

  1. Combine the apples, water, lemon juice, and cinnamon in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Cover and cook 20-25 minutes until the apples are soft and falling apart.
  2. Mash with a potato masher or fork (or use an immersion blender for an extra smooth apple sauce).
  3. Taste for sweetness, then add 1/4 to 1/2 cup real maple syrup and/or brown sugar until the desired sweetness is achieved.

Applesauce will keep in the refrigerator in a covered container for up to 5 days. Freezes beautifully in a freezer-safe container up to 5 months.


Notes

*Honeycrisp apples are a great balance of sweet and tart flavors, which make a great apple sauce. If using other apples such as Red Delicious, balance the flavor by adding a few tart apples such as Granny Smiths.

Keywords: Homemade Applesauce, Applesauce Recipe, Healthy Applesauce

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