Nothing from the store can compare to this easy Homemade Applesauce recipe that requires just three ingredients, for the perfect healthy snack. I included instructions for how to can applesauce, so you can enjoy it all year!

Want to try more apple recipes? Here’s my Baked Apples, Apple Crisp, and Fresh Apple Cake!

A bowl of homemade applesauce, next to a spoon.

What I love about this applesauce:

  • Wholesome Ingredients: All you need is apples and water, and you can sweeten the applesauce to your liking, or leave out the sugar altogether. Store-bought applesauce often has additives, and I love controlling exactly what’s in mine.
  • EASY – Only three easy steps and no special equipment required.
  • Canning Friendly – Use your water bath canner to can applesauce to enjoy all year round.

How to Make Applesauce:

Prep Apples: Wash the apples well, then peel, cut, and core. I use a johnny apple peeler to do all three steps at once. Fast and easy!

Sliced apples on a cutting board, prepared to make applesauce.

Cook apples in a large pot with one cup of water over medium heat until they are soft enough to mash

Two process photos of a pot full of sliced apples uncooked, then cooked.

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

Mashed homemade applesauce in a pot.

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.

How To Can Applesauce:

Pour prepared applesauce 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. Process in water-bath canner for 20 minutes. Allow to rest at room temperature for 24 hours. 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, and it should be stored in the fridge and consumed.

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!

Applesauce in a quart jar, ready to be canned.

Recipe Variations:

  • Applesauce for Baby: No added sugar is needed (apples are naturally very sweet) but if you choose to use sugar, only add a teaspoon or two.
  • Unsweetened Applesauce: Simply leave out the sugar.
  • 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

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Recipe

A bowl of homemade applesauce, next to a spoon.
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 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.
Variations:
  • Applesauce for Baby: When making applesauce for a baby, I recommend completely cutting out the added sugar (apples are naturally very sweet). If you choose to use sugar, just add a teaspoon or two for a less sugar option.
  • Unsweetened Applesauce: Simply leave out the sugar!
  • Cinnamon Applesauce Recipe: Add ground cinnamon to the homemade applesauce!
  • 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 and January 2022.

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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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Comments

  1. I made this today for canning. My great niece and nephew love applesauce and I can’t wait for them to try it. I used honeycrisp apples and did use about 1/2 c sugar, but it was so good. Will definitely make this again. The tip on the peeler/corer was great; Took no time to prep the apples.

  2. I’ve been canning over 50 yrs. I never peel and core. I quarter apples, Boil in a small amount of water (enough to not burn) then I use my KitchenAid juicing attachment to make the sauce. Peels, seeds, go in one direction, applesauce in the other. then I process as usual.
    Before the KitchenAid I used a foley mill. Do yourselves a favor, ladies, it’s so much easier

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 5 stars
    I haven’t canned in years so I went looking for directions and used yours. Everything came out great. It is weird though. We did three batches and one of them turned browner than the others and had a mushier consistency. Tastes fine though. Must just have been those apples.

  6. 5 stars
    Perfect instructions equaled success for first-ever applesauce from our own apples then canning it too, thank you! You have so many scrumptious looking recipies I’m looking forward to trying, I’ll be back!

  7. Sounds delicious! Is this a tested canned applesauce recipe when using brown sugar? I would really like to use brown sugar, but only can tested recipes. Thanks!

  8. Lauren, have you ever added other fruit to your applesauce such as strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries? I want to can the finished product but not sure if I have to cook the berries before canning. Can I just purée the berries and add that to the already cooked applesauce—then follow canning process?

    1. I’m honestly not sure how it would effect the safety of it being shelf-stable. I’d consult a canning safety website for that one. Good luck!

    2. You definitely need to cook the other fruits as well! It’s too easy for bacteria to enter your finished product if everything is not heated to a safe temperature.

  9. Hello, I am thinking of canning applesauce this fall, but have a few questions.

    1) I have a family member who is allergic to all citrus, I figure that I am safe using white vinegar instead of lemon juice to prevent any safety risks.

    2) If slow cooked can it still be canned or should I cook it normally.

    Thanks for your time

    1. Hi Robert,
      1) There isn’t citrus in the recipe so you should be good there.
      2) You can definitely use your slow cooker to make the applesauce, just be sure to follow the water-bath canning instructions for canning it.

      Good luck!

    1. Hi Kayle, that is really strange, and I’m not sure what happened. It must have to do with the kind of apples used.

      1. 4 stars
        Many apples brown when exposed to air. To counter this, you can add lemon juice to the water. I just made a yummy pot of golden delicious applesauce. I filled my largest kettle to the top with peeled/chopped apples, added the juice of half a lemon, plus water, and sprinkled ground cinnamon and a little ground clove onto the apples and cooked down. Delicious! And the apples stayed a nice, light color.
        BUT, I have never canned and now plan to follow your directions for it!

        1. Lemon juice works but I really like fruit fresh. You can find it by the canning supplies. I sprinkle the apples or apricots or peaches as I slice them.

  10. Why does the top 2 centimetres go a bit darker than the rest of the applesauce after canning? How can you eliminate this or can you?
    It still tastes good,.
    Thanks
    LV

    1. Hi Linda, that is caused from the air gap “headspace between the lid and the applesauce. You can just scoop it out, and it wont effect the quality.

  11. 5 stars
    For a spicy treat Ive added red hot cinnamon candies to the applesauce and its yummy! The tiny candies dissolve leaving a cinnamony hot flavor behind.

  12. Applesauce is yummy and yes, very easy to bottle. So have a little fun with it! We have added pureed strawberries, bananas, and even used brown sugar and maple syrup to sweeten. Always add fruit that has similar processing times and you are good to go! Enjoy!

  13. I’ve been making applesauce but after the water bath it seems to have separated with an inch or so of juice on the bottom. Do you know why that might be?

    1. Hi Natalie, Depending on your altitude, this can happen and it’s totally fine! As long as your bottle is sealed, there is no worry. When you’re ready to eat it, just shake or stir the bottle first.

  14. Hi! I found your site on Pinterest, and am including a link to this post in a Canning Recipe roundup I am doing today. I hope you can stop by to see it! This applesauce looks yummy!!

    1. Hi Sonia, if canned properly it should last for at least a year, but you could google this to find a more specific date based off of when you make it!

  15. I love Fall for Canning season! Can’t wait to get my hands on some apples and can my own!! I also LOVe to add some Cinnamon to mine!

    1. Yes making applesauce wasn’t hard at all. I like mine chunky & add both nutmeg: dash & cinnamon! Put lemon juice in beginning 1/2 lemon. I use less sugar coz I like Granny Smith apple. My tastebuds prefer tart over sugar!
      I make applesauce from my own tree.
      Nothing taste better