A simple tutorial on How to Make Applesauce including step-by-step photos and tips for canning applesauce and how to making applesauce for baby!

Before you mash all your fresh apples, make sure you save a few to make Fresh Apple Cake and Apple Crisp! Oh, and if you have an Instant pot, don’t miss my Instant Pot Applesauce!  Or, if you just love healthy homemade recipes, check out my favorite homemade granola!

A clear glass cup with a handle filled with homemade applesauce with apples, cinnamon sticks and another cup of applesauce in the background.

After making homemade applesauce, there’s a really good chance you will never buy store-bought applesauce again.  You’ll see just how  EASY it is to make applesauce yourself! It only takes a few minutes, it tastes soo much better, and I love being able to control how much added sugar goes in it.

5 steps to EASY applesauce:

1. Peel, core, and cut the apples. Wash the apples well. Then I use a johnny apple peeler to do all three steps at once. Fast and easy!

2. Cook apples in a large pot with one cup of water until they’re soft enough to mash.

A saucepan with apples in it next to another photo of the apples cooked and being mashed with a potato masher.

3. Mash.  Mash with a potato masher (for chunkier applesauce) or put apples in a blender or food processor until smooth.

4. Sweeten (optional) with sugar or brown sugar, if desired. Enjoy or see steps for canning below!

The Best Apples for Applesauce:

My favorite kind for apples for making applesauce are golden delicious apples, or a combination of two different kinds, however, you can truly use any kind of apples! And, as my mom used to say, “save the bad apples for applesauce”, meaning save the apples that are more “beat-up” or aren’t as pretty or expensive.

Applesauce for baby:

If you’re making applesauce for your baby or toddler, I’d recommend making it less sweet in one of two ways.

  1. No added sugar: You can completely cut out the added sugar (apples are naturally very sweet so this is what I would recommend).
  2. Reduced sugar: add just a teaspoon or two of sugar.

Golden delicious apples on a white marble board.

Canning Applesauce (everything you need to know):

I grew up canning applesauce with my mom every fall season!  At our house we always had canned peaches, tomatoes, applesauce, pears, salsa, jam etc…on hand. (Find all of my canning recipes here). I probably took for granted how lucky I was to have Raspberry Freezer Jam available all the time!

  1. Make sure everything is sterilized! Be sure to sterilize your jars. (I usually run them through the dishwasher before I begin). You will need NEW lids, clean rings, equipment, countertops and workspace. Let’s be safe by making sure we have a clean working environment and equipment!
  2. Peel, core, and cut the apples (unless you use a food mill/strainer). Wash the apples well. Then I use a johnny apple peeler to do all three steps– peel, core and slice– at once!
  3. Cook apples until they’re soft and mash-able.  Place apple slices in a large pot and add 1 cup of water. Cook the apples over medium heat, stirring often, until tender. Mash the apples with a potato masher. If you want an even smoother consistency, puree them in a blender.
  4. Sweeten with sugar or brown sugar, if desired (remember that applesauce will sweeten naturally over time)! At this point you can add a little extra water if you need to, depending on how thick or thin you want your applesauce. I like to reach the consistency of slightly runny pudding.
  5. Pour into jars:  Fill jars with applesauce leaving 1/2” of headspace. Use a small rubber spatula to scrape down the inside of the jar and remove any air bubbles. Wipe jar rims clean. Don’t skip this step! Place lids and rings securely on the jars.
  6. Process in water-bath canner.  Process in your water bath canner for 20 minutes (for altitudes less than 1,000 ft). Adjust cooking time for your altitude, if necessary.
  7. Store.  Canned applesauce is good for up to one year when stored in a cool, dark place.

Tools needed to can applesauce:

Storing applesauce:

If canned applesauce is properly stored, it will last for one year (at best quality), and is often safe to eat after even longer than that.  If you are worried about whether your applesauce is safe to eat, do the following:

  • Check for leaks. Always make sure your mason jars do not show signs of leaking or rusting.  Press down on the center of the lid: it should not pop back. If it sits flat it is safe, but if it pops back, it has not sealed properly.
  • Look for signs of spoilage.  If your applesauce starts to develop a fowl odor, become discolored, or if you see signs of mold, these are signs of spoilage and you should discard it!

Quart jars of homemade applesauce that was canned for shelf preserving.

Love APPLES?  Check out these apple recipes:

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Recipe

A clear glass cup with a handle filled with homemade applesauce with apples, cinnamon sticks and another cup of applesauce in the background.
Prep 15 mins
Cook 20 mins
Total 35 mins
Add to Meal Plan

Ingredients
 
 

  • 3 pounds fresh apples , whatever kind you like--I use Golden Delicious (6-8 apples)
  • 1 cup water , plus more if needed
  • granulated sugar , optional (to taste)
  • ground cinnamon , for topping

Instructions
 

  • First peel, core, and cut your apples into slices. (An apple peeler/corer/slicer may come in handy for this part, but you can do it by hand.)
  • Place apple slices in a large pot and add 1 cup of water. Cook the apples over medium heat, stirring often, until tender. Mash the apples with a potato masher. If you want an even smoother consistency, puree them in a blender.
  • At this point you can add a little extra water if you need to, depending on how thick or thin you want your applesauce. I like to reach the consistency of slightly runny pudding. 
  • You can also add sugar at this point, depending on how sweet you want your applesauce. Add a little at a time and taste it until it's how you like. 
  • The applesauce will also sweeten over time, in the jars, so keep that in mind when adding sugar. I use white granulated sugar because brown sugar makes the applesauce dark, but either will work.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon. Enjoy warm or cold! Store in the fridge for up to 7-10 days.

How to Can Applesauce (see note for amount):

  • Make sure everything is sterilized! (I usually run the jars and lid rings through the dishwasher before I begin). You will need NEW lids, clean rings, equipment, countertops and workspace.
  • Fill sterilized quart jars with applesauce, leaving 1/2'' of headspace. Use a small rubber spatula to scrape down the inside of the jar and remove any air bubbles. 
  • Wipe jar rims clean. Don't skip this step! Place lids and rings securely on the jars. 
  • Process in your water bath canner for 20 minutes (for altitudes less than 1,000 ft). Adjust cooking time for your altitude, if necessary. For more details, follow water bath canning instructions : http://www.simplycanning.com/water-bath-canning.html )
  • Canned applesauce is good for up to one year when stored in a cool, dark place.

Notes

For canned applesauce: This recipe makes about 1.5 quart jars of applesauce. To make one batch for canning (6 quart jars), use about 12 pounds of apples.
Slow Cooker Applesauce: Add the peeled and sliced apples to your slow cooker. Toss in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and sprinkle with some cinnamon (no water needed)! Cook on LOW for 4 hours. Pour into blender and blend until smooth, or desired consistency.
Instant Pot Applesauce

Nutrition

Calories: 118kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 4mgPotassium: 243mgFiber: 5gSugar: 24gVitamin A: 122IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 14mgIron: 1mg

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I originally shared this recipe September 2014. Updated September 2019.

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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  1. 5 stars
    My applesauce turned out perfectly. I usually cut, core, and peel them the night before, put them in water, and add ab a Tbsp of Lemon Juice or 1/4-1/2 tsp of citric acid powder. This time it was the juice! My spiralizer apple peeler bit the dust ab halfway through, so half of it was “spiralized,” and the other half was cut and thrown in the pot, peels and core and all. Then I put it into a foodmill. Timed the quarts for 20m and put the pint jar in after 5 minutes. Sorta labor intensive, but those 3-1/2 quarts are going to be worth it! Though I’m 60 yo and made applesauce before, I was hesitant and looked you up. Thanks a lot!

  2. Hi,
    I’m new to canning but I love applesauce and want to can it because we consume a lot and I made applesauce with no sugar this fall and it was better than any store bought apple sauce.
    But after re reading your recipe my concern is that with jams we use pectin or Gellaton, other preservatives I know of are citric acid, vinegar, sugar or salt – and my concern is that if I follow your recipe and don’t use any sugar like I would like I am wondering what it is that preserves the applesauce?

    Best ,
    Becky

    1. Apples are acidic, and adding lemon juice and cooking and making sure the jars are sterilized, is what preserves them. The acid in fruit is what preserves them. Make sure you follow tested and approved recipes.

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