how to make applesauce

How to Make Applesauce

Easy homemade applesauce with apples picked from the tree in our backyard.

This is my favorite applesauce recipe, I give it out whenever people ask me how to make homemade applesauce. It’s a simple recipe, easy, delicious and healthy too. On top of that? Kids love it –at least mine (and their friends) gobble it down every time we make it.

Another benefit of making applesauce from scratch? It’s an easy and nourishing recipe for children. Mine really get involved in peeling and chopping the apples; we’ve been making apple sauce together to mark the change of seasons (summer moving to fall) since they were toddlers.

Today, September 23, 2011 is the Autumnal Equinox, the first day of fall.

For me, the first day of autumn is about giving thanks for the bounty of the harvest (which is overflowing in my backyard garden at this very moment). It is also about acknowledging the change of seasons and the need to gather together our harvests (think of the squirrel stashing away nuts) and put them away for the colder, less abundant season to come –winter.

how to make applesauce

I posted this recipe when I first started my website 5 years ago, and I’m re-posting it today for those looking for a family friendly activity to partake in this weekend, honoring the start of autumn.

Print Recipe
How to Make Applesauce
  1. Place apples and cinnamon in a 2 quart baking dish with lid
  2. Bake covered at 350 for 60-90 minutes until apples are soft
  3. Allow to cool slightly
  4. Crush apples with a potato masher, until sauce is desired consistency
  5. Serve

boys picking apples

We will have this simple applesauce recipe when we break our fast at Yom Kippur.


  1. Tam says

    I’m not a huge fan of applesauce until this recipe. It’s great by itself or on top of some whole milk Greek yogurt. I’m also thinking about using it as an apple pie filling in an apple pie egg roll recipe I saw at Spoon Fork Bacon. Delicious!

  2. says

    Great idea! I usually remove the pits, cut apples in half and put them in a casserole dish, face down. Then I bake them until soft and, using a spoon, get the soft part out. If you sprinkle some brown sugar on the apples, you will end up with sweet applesauce. I’ll try it your way next time.

  3. Ellie says

    Elana, this applesauce was awesome!
    I made this for my break fast over the weekend and everyone loved it!

    Got my apples fresh from the Boulder Farmers Market – Elas Farm. They were wonderful and helpful on apple selection and suggestions:)

    Plan on making this applesauce very often!

    Thank you for your inspiring and wonderful recipes!

    L’Shana Tova!

  4. Nancy B. says

    I’ve made 2 batches since you posted this. I’ll never add water to applesauce again. Oh it tasted so good. The first batch I made with Honeycrisp apples – they were the best – but they went way too fast. There was just enough left over (I put it away quickly) for one serving of pancakes the next day :) Today, I made a batch with Gala apples – they were also good – a little moister. I’m going to freeze a couple of little containers for later. Yum.

  5. says

    Hi Elana

    What’s the best apple for sauce, baked items and the best for eating? The last several bags of apples I have purchased the skins have been sooo tough (like leather) and the apple very fibrous, my last 2 bags of grannies, 1 bag of johnnygold and my last bag of gala have all been like this. Is there a way to tell before I make a purchase? Thanks

  6. fareeda says

    I grate the apples, skin on, with a hand held grater. I put the grated apples in a bowl, add very little bit of water, and microwave for 2-3 minutes.

    When cool, I use a potato masher and mash. I don’t add any spices.

    I freeze in 1/4 cup portions.

  7. Kristin Walukas says

    Last weekend we put up 21 quarts of applesauce and 7 pints of apple butter from our single tree. The kids loved picking the apples, washing them and mashing them. What a great way to spend a fall day together!

  8. says

    Like Carol, I’ve only ever tried the stove top method… like the idea of adding this to the oven when something else is in there roasting too. Applesauce makes a great gluten free breakfast sprinkled with walnuts. Thanks Elana! Claudine

  9. says

    wow — never thought about apple sauce in an oven or crockpot. In my family we cut the apples by hand and toss them into a big pot, which we add a little water to, and put on the stove top on a not too high heat (Medium to start, but even lower- as you don’t want them to burn). After a little while they will have softened enough to break into smaller bits and to see just how juicy they are and adjust the water content, (I always keep a pot of boiled water w/ a ladle nearby to add a bit more if necessary). Add 1-2 cinnamon sticks to the pot
    As they continue to cook and begin to look closer to texture of applesauce (we like chunky) as some apples are sweeter than others at this time I occasionally add (to taste) a little tiny bit of a sweetner (agave, coconut palm sugar, or organic raw – whichever, as it is really very little)
    Never is what I add exactly the same, but I always add min a tsp of vanilla extract to my applesauce at the end (at moment mine is a homemade tahitian vanilla extract).
    This applesauce goes SO FAST, sometimes I have no chance other than when cooking it to even taste it.
    Now I am going to try a baked variety – thanks

  10. says

    LOVE your recipes! I’ve purchased both of your cookbooks and use them often! Would like to invite you to my open house in Littleton. I’m opening a natural foods recreational cooking school on October 5th and 6th. I would also like to carry your books in my retail section of the school. How would I go about doing that? My web site is Hope you check it out!

  11. Kerstin says

    Crockpot, that’s all I can say.

    I quater and core the apples and cut them into chunks, put them in the crockpot with about 1/2 cup or so water, a little cinnamon, and about 2-3 Tbs honey – then cook for 4 hours on high. Now instead of mashing I run them through my food mill, and I have the most delicious apple sauce.

    I buy gradeouts at my orchard, so it’s not sinfully expensive to do either.

    I also did one sauce with Asian pears this year, as well as another where I cooked down some blueberries (they were too old from the freezer – had gotten lost) and then sent them through the food mill before adding them to the apple sauce – all the various flavors are absolutely delicious!

    The best part is when I make them with mixed types of apples, because no two sauces taste the same.

    • Kerstin says

      Sorry – quarter, not quater.

      As for the yield – when I fill a 4 and 6 quart crockpot to the rim with apples, I get probably around 16 cups of applesauce…although I always eat some before freezing it, and keep more in the fridge, so I am not sure I have the amount exactly right.

  12. Charlotte Moore says

    When i worked at school we made applesauce in a crockpot so the kids could see and smell it during the day. Most of them loved it.

  13. says

    We actually can our own applesauce and pie filling. We use the food processor to make the applesauce instead of mashing. You can also just cook chunks of apples down instead of mashing to make a pie filling like texture. We always add a bit of water in the bottom of the pan to stop scorching. I usually make mine plain with no sugar/cinn. due to the rotation diet we are on. Last year, we saved over $300 by making our own instead of buying the organic in the store.

    This year we have pear trees available to us so we will be canning pear sauce and pears soon.

    This is a lot of work, but worth the effort. You know what has been put or not put on the apples and you process it yourself so no extras are added.

  14. says

    a friend of mine gave me her homegrown apples. managed to make a little over 1 dozen jars of applesauce… all I added was a bit of water and cinnamon. yummy! had not made it in 10 years.

  15. Erin says

    I’ve done a freezer version before – so easy!
    Slice your apples, sprinkle them with cinnamon and put them in the freezer. When you take them out, they’ll be a bit mushy, mash them up, and you have a chunky (and delicious!) applesauce!

    • Donna says

      Brilliant idea!!!…I’m doing it your way…Makes so much sense..with the natural fibers of the fruit being broken down in the freezing process..Thanks!

  16. Julia rodriguez says

    I am so thankful for you and your blog/book. I try to eat well on a budget. I just love how simple your ingredient lists are and how delicious the results! Thank you! Thank you!

  17. epb says

    How cool that I fired up the ol’ laptop just after I finished a batch of microwaved applesauce! So my comment is that I heartily agree that making applesauce is as easy as… pie? I simply slice unpeeled apples thinly, pour on good-quality cinnamon + some salt (to help bring out the juices), some raisins for extra sweetness and fun, cover it all in a microwave-safe dish, and cook until you think it’s done. I heartily agree that this change of seasons is just calling out for applesauce, curried butternut squash soup and generally all warming foods. Rock on!

    • KMAK says

      All this sounds fun and very tasty. I personally think you might want to rethink using a microwave for anything other than boiling water. Check it out, but my research suggests that the nutrients of food are denatured by the use of a microwave.

      • Toni says

        A school’s experiment re: microwaved water. Two similar plants were watered, 1 with regular tap water & 1 with microwaved water that was allowed to cool to room temp. The plant watered with tap water did fine, the other didn’t.

  18. susan stone says

    My sister-in-law, who lives in El Salvador, gave me a similar recipe, but the apples are simply peeled and quartered, ground cinnamon is sprinkled on, and they’re baked covered for 3 hours. What you end up with is brown and a cross between applesauce and apple butter.

  19. sas says

    I haven’t bought applesauce from the store in years! Like you, Elana, I make my own! It’s so dang easy, makes the kitchen smell wonderful, and I know it’s completely free of all my allergens. Of course, it’s yummy, too. I use it in a lot of GF baked goods recipes, but my husband loves to eat it plain, right from the bowl. Thanks for a fall favorite, Elana!

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