Homemade applesauce is so easy! Learn how to make your own healthy homemade applesauce in less than 20 minutes. Choose from classic, cinnamon, or mixed berry!
Applesauce is one of the most underrated side dishes.
- It can be served beside homemade breakfast sausage in the morning.
- Or packed in the kids’ school lunch in one of these cool containers.
- Or it can go with classic slow cooker pot roast for dinner.
This homemade applesauce recipe is an inexpensive way to stretch a meal further and fill growing bellies! Plus you can mix it up by adding different fruits – the possibilities are endless!
Why Make Homemade Applesauce?
Well, I went into this a little bit already. It’s SO versatile and goes with so many meals.
But I hadn’t really thought about making my own applesauce until recently. Which is odd because I frequently evaluate what to make from scratch to save me time and money…
(That’s one of the core principles in my course Grocery Budget Bootcamp!)
I’ve always bought organic unsweetened applesauce that was fairly affordable and had a short and simple ingredient list: apples, water, and vitamin C.
But, when the kids started asking me to buy colored applesauce at the store, I did a quick label check and voted them down. I didn’t realize so much junk was in sweetened and flavored applesauce! Here are just a few of the typical ingredients included:
Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Artificial Colors and Flavors, and “Natural” Flavors (which can actually contain MSG, ground-up bugs, or other nasties)
High fructose corn syrup is on our “absolutely no” list. And does MSG really need to be added to a batch of pureed apples? Sheesh!
I knew I could do better and make my own homemade applesauce.
After making a few batches at home, I can assure you there are several good reasons to make your own applesauce:
- Homemade applesauce tastes really, really good! The depth of flavor was outstanding – far better than store-bought varieties. And that silky smooth texture… you’re gonna love it!
- It’s easy. Quarter some apples, heat them in a pot with a few other goodies, blend. Done.
- It’s fast. Literally 25 minutes, start to finish.
- It stores well. It keeps in the refrigerator for at least a week, and large batches can be frozen and defrosted as needed.
- You can control the flavor and sweetness. I had fun fine-tuning the amounts of each ingredient so that the end product came out just right! Cinnamon tastes like apple pie!
- It’s a great way to put seasonal produce to good use. Apples picked in season will always cost less. You can even go to a you-pick farm for some really great deals and fun!
How To Make Homemade Applesauce
Can I make homemade applesauce in the slow cooker?
I tested this recipe on the stove and in the crockpot. The prep time was the same, but cook time was much longer in the slow cooker (2 hrs versus just 15 minutes on the stove).
I was also surprised by how the flavor varied between the two methods. The stove-top versions had a much lighter and sweeter flavor than the crockpot method. I really don’t see a benefit to using the crockpot for this recipe. Unless you’re cooking other food at the same time and just don’t have a burner free to cook the apples.
Do I need to peel the apples?
Personally, I leave the peels on produce whenever I can to get the extra fiber and phytonutrients. Plus, I also love the pinkish color that the red apple peels add to these recipes!
When the applesauce was ready, I pureed it in my Blendtec to give it a silky smooth texture. The end result is so smooth, you can’t even tell the peels are there!
You might consider peeling your apples if you don’t own a high powered blender in order to achieve the same silky smooth texture. Peeling the apples also helps if you prefer chunkier applesauce and don’t want to have pieces of peel swirling around.
Can I freeze homemade applesauce?
How do I can homemade applesauce?
If you want to make a big batch of stove-top applesauce, use this step by step tutorial to can your applesauce. Then you can enjoy the flavors of fall all year long!
How to Flavor Applesauce
This is where it really gets fun!
The flavor possibilities are endless. In fact, developing flavors got me thinking about all the different varieties we could make using seasonal produce or my children’s favorite fruits.
To make my two favorite variations, follow the directions for the unsweetened applesauce recipe below, but add in the additional ingredients when you cook the apples.
- 2 2/3 lbs apples (I like Jonagold)
- 1 Tbsp orange juice
- 2 Tbsp apple juice (or apple cider)
- 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp orange zest
- 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
Mixed Berry Applesauce
- 2 lbs apples (I like Jonagold)
- 1/2 c fresh or frozen berries (no need to defrost)
- 1 Tbsp orange juice
- 1 Tbsp raw honey
Tools for Making Classic Applesauce
- Using a high powered blender (I love my Blendtec) is the key to achieving the light and creamy texture.
- A regular blender or immersion blender will also work, but the texture may be a little different.
- A food processor like this one will also work to give you a creamy apple sauce.
- If you like chunky applesauce, use a potato masher to crush the apples.
- Some people use a food mill, but I don’t think this is necessary if you have one of the above appliances.
What kind of apples should I use?
I used Jonagold apples from my local grocery store. However, you can use organic apples if you prefer. Just know that the cost will go up. As far as flavor goes, a more tart apple like Granny Smith or Golden Delicious is often recommended.
How to Use Homemade Apple Sauce
Applesauce is a great snack for kids. Or it can be used as a side dish to finish out lunch or dinner.
Other ways to use applesauce:
- Spoon over homemade vanilla ice cream
- Use in baked goods instead of oil (Like this recipe for banana bread muffins! Replace the bananas with applesauce.)
- Use in this recipe for Korean beef
- Pan-fry pork chops with a bit of apple sauce for a quick dinner!
- 2⅔ lbs apples (I like Jonagold)
- 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (juice of about ½ lemon)
- 6 Tbsp apple juice
- Quarter the apples, remove the core, and chop into 1-inch cubes.
- Place apple cubes and other ingredients in a large pot and stir to mix.
- Heat over medium-high heat until mixture begins to bubble. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook, partially covered, for around 15 minutes until apples are tender.
- Transfer mix to a high powered blender. Blend on lowest speed for about 20 seconds, then gradually increase speed until the entire mix is completely smooth (2-3 minutes total).
This post was originally inspired by Dena from Back to the Book Nutrition.
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