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.
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Let’s Talk Homemade Applesauce vs. the Other Kind
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. Homemade applesauce requires little more than cutting apples into chunks, adding a splash of water and cinnamon, and cooking it down. If you choose the right apples, you do not even need any added sugar.
Recipe Notes: Homemade Chunky Applesauce
- You can peel the apples, but I recommend leaving them on. The color will be beautiful, and the skins will soften enough to not be tough.
- Choose the right apples. 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, Fiji, McIntosh, or Macoun.
- If you choose from the above apples, 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.
What do you like to serve with applesauce? Share below!
Homemade Chunky Applesauce
- 6 medium apples, such as McIntosh or Honeycrisp
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch kosher salt
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 lemon, juiced (optional)
- 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.