Get (apple) saucy.
This easy homemade applesauce recipe lets apple’s natural sweetness and color shine. It’s a chunky, cinnamon-kissed applesauce that will spoil you forever.
Homemade Applesauce Is Better
Homemade chunky applesauce is so simple and so many leaps and bounds above anything sold in a jar that it seems unfair to even compare the two. In fact, it is easier to say what you do not need in a homemade applesauce recipe: no peeler, no list of ingredients, no length of time, no sugar, no masher, no stress.
This sweet but gently tart homemade applesauce cooks itself in no time. It needs only a dash of cinnamon to make it otherworldly good.
Homemade Applesauce vs. Jarred
We all know bad applesauce: the mushy, grainy, flavorless blob that sits in the plastic container with the foil top. This applesauce is the stuff of school lunch plates, the color reminiscent of expired silly putty or industrial sand before it gets mixed into cement.
But let’s focus on chunky homemade applesauce — applesauce that’s so naturally sweet and satisfying it’s closer to apple pie filling than side dish.
How to Make Homemade Applesauce
Homemade applesauce requires little more than the following steps:
- Cut the apples into chunks. No need to peel. The skins will make the applesauce color beautiful and ruddy, and the skins will soften enough in the cooking process to not be tough. Exception: You’ll want to peel tough-skinned Granny Smith or Red Delicious apples.
- Add a splash of water and cinnamon, and cook in a pot, partially covered, until very soft. Stir well, add a dash of cinnamon to the top, maybe with a pat of butter, and enjoy.
If you choose the right apples, you do not even need any added sugar.
Which Apples Are Best for Applesauce?
Choose the right apples for your homemade applesauce.
- Avoid Red Delicious (the exterior is too leathery) and Granny Smith (too green and tart for applesauce, though I love Granny Smith for pie).
- Choose a crisp, sweet-tart seasonal apple like Honeycrisp, Fuji, McIntosh, or Macoun.
If you choose from the apples suggested above, you should not need any sugar. I add only a pinch of salt and some cinnamon. But if you taste it and think it could use a little sweetening, add light brown sugar one teaspoon at a time.
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Chunky Homemade Applesauce
- 6 medium apples, such as McIntosh or Honeycrisp, washed
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch kosher salt
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 lemon, juiced (optional)
- Pat of butter (optional), to finish
- Chop the apples into a medium dice. Discard the core.
- Place the apples in a pot with the water, salt, and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, and cover with the lid slightly ajar. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples are very soft and melted. The apples should cook at a steady simmer.
- Add the lemon juice, if using. Stir vigorously to emulsify everything into a sauce and taste.
- Serve warm, topped with a pinch of cinnamon and a pat of butter.