How To Make Applesauce

Making applesauce is ridiculously easy. It’s so easy that at first I thought I wouldn’t bother showing you how I do it. But then I thought that it’s one of those things that if you haven’t ever done it, you might not know how.

You’ll need apples. If, like me, you live near orchards and it’s apple picking season, you’ll have your choice of varieties. Cortlands, romes, macouns, jonagolds and mactintosh. Some are tart, some are sweet, some are for baking, and some are for eating out of hand, but all are good for sauce. The only ones I don’t use are the delicious, which I find are not at all like their name, but are too sweet and often mealy.

Give them a good rinse under running water. Quarter and remove the cores. I use a paring knife for this, but if you have a favorite coring tool, use it. Put the apples in a large, heavy pot. Add one cinnamon stick. Pour in just enough water to cover the bottom by a scant quarter-inch. Turn the heat on low and cover.

You might wonder why we food writers love to say, “put in a heavy pot.” The answer is that a pot with a thin bottom conducts heat unevenly, often warps, and slow, long-simmered recipes will scorch.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until all is soft, which takes about one hour when on very low heat. Apples vary in juiciness. If the sauce sticks to the pot before becoming soft, add a touch more water.

The next step requires a food mill, which is a handy device which squeezes the fruit through fine holes and separates it from the skin.

I cook the apples with the skin on for a couple of reasons. First of all, I don’t have to peel them, which saves a lot of time. Secondly, the red peel contributes a cheery color to the sauce. This year’s apples were so ripe, moist and thin-skinned that much of it went right through the fine mesh, adding even more color and flavor. If you don’t have a food mill, you can start with peeled apples and can skip this step.

That’s it! Adding sugar is unnecessary (in fact, when I see commercial applesauce with added sweeteners it makes me wonder about the quality of the apples). Applesauce stays fresh in the refrigerator for a week, or you can freeze it to have on hand all year until next apple season.

If you have chickens, there’s one more step to making applesauce.

You’ll have a bucket full of cores. Take it out to the girls.

Put it in their compost area and listen to their appreciative clucks.

If you have goats, they might like apples, too. Or, not. Caper turns up his nose at the peels, but Pip loves them.

After cooking up that big pot of sauce and making two pies, I still have half a peck of apples on my kitchen counter. What should I make next?


  1. A cobbler maybe? When my Grandma was alive…she always asked what I wanted for my birthday..and my answer was a peach cobbler. I miss her and that cobbler so much!

  2. I used to do that. My dad had a couple of apple trees so an autumn visit always resulted in a couple big shopping bags of apples. Didn’t even bother coring them although I did have to watch for worms. Put in no seasoning. Put the cooked apples through the food mill to remove the skins and cores, ladled the sauce into canning jars, sealed and processed in a boiling water bath. When I wanted to use it, stirred in cinnamon and maybe a bit of sugar. I never had a big freezer so I utilized my mother’s big pressure cooker for the boiling water bath. It was wonderful to always have applesauce when wanted. And, yes, the skins contributed a lovely rosy color.

  3. Make some candy apples…..caramel, chocolate, some with peanuts some without. Love your website!

  4. I’m with June and Marcia — apple crisp is my favorite. As is that picture of Pip and the apple.

  5. I second apple butter and dried apples. And there’s nothing like a warm baked apple to round off a meal.

  6. Chunky apple cinnamon cake with lemon sauce! (I like mine with raisins and walnuts, too :-)

  7. I make apple sauce, apple butter, apple jelly, apple crumble, eve’s pudding, apple pie and dried apple rings for eating and Christmas decorations. I used to make various chutneys too but dont seem to get round to that these days!
    My chickens love the peelings too and the windfalls. I always like to leave some under the trees for the blackbirds to share.

  8. Eve’s pudding for me too, my mum always made it (and still does) and now I do – my Jonagolds are doing very well this year so I may use them. Lovely hot with ice-cream, and cold the next day with hot custard!

  9. Oh, you are all making me hungry (and I’ve been eating applesauce and apple crisp all day!) Ellie, I’ve had fried apple rings at fairs, but never homemade. Louise, you are so ambitious! Wendy, I’ve no idea what Eve’s pudding is. Is it a classic British thing? Lucy, your cake sounds wonderful. I’ll be right over…. I’ve made apple butter, but I have to say I like the lighter applesauce more. Carolyn, one of these days I’ll learn to can, but for now I have a huge freezer that I’m filling up.

    • Eve’s pudding is a layer of cooking apples baked under a topping of normal sponge mix (so 2 eggs, 3oz flour, 3oz sugar, 3oz butter and multiples of that). It’s really lovely. There’s a good recipe for German apple cake in that local cookbook I sent you – a good damp one!

  10. Sorry to take up so much room,couldn’t figure out a way to attach this, but it is a must have, you will never want any other apple cake. The batter looks so thick in the pan you can’t imagine it will cook right, but it always does-it usually finishes in my oven in 45-50 minutes even though the recipe says 1 hour 15 min.:
    Fresh Apple Bundt Cake
    Serves 10-12
    For the cake::
    3 cups all purpose flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    2 cups granulated sugar
    1 cup vegetable oil
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    3 cups diced raw cooking apples
    1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
    2 eggs
    For the glaze::
    1/2 cup melted butter
    1/4 cup granulated sugar
    1 tablespoons light corn syrup
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    Into a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt and soda. Add remaining cake ingredients and stir together until well-blended. Spread into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. Bake at 350F for an hour and 15 minutes.
    For the topping, melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the remaining ingredients, stirring constantly, cooking for about a minute. When cake comes out of the oven, pour topping over hot cake, letting it drizzle down the sides. Let rest in pan for a half hour before removing from pan.

  11. If you have a juicer, juice them with carrots, red pepper and fresh ginger. See if the chickens will eat the pulp. Thank you for your website it is a wealth of useful information.

  12. You just brought back great memories of my grandmother making canned applesauce all day long.
    I think it was a Geraman thing as my grandfather insisted on applesauce with lunch and dinner, probably like that glass of wine, adds the digetion ;-)
    She would add cinnimon to half the batches instead of sugar.

  13. Everyone around here has been making apple pie in a jar…..and I’ve been lucky enough to have been given a jar or two over holiday season.
    If you put “apple pie in a jar” in a search engine…you’ll come up with a few sites. It reads easy to do.

  14. Mmm, your applesauce looks lovely. I’m going to go slice into a nice, ripe apple right now :)

  15. Terry, if you didn’t live so far away, I’d be dropping by your house pretty often just to taste some of your good food. You’re probably glad I’m on the other coast:-))

  16. you could make some apple pies,candy apples,hot apples and biscuits are great for a nice warm treat….!
    all this talk about food is making me hungry

  17. Unrelated to applesauce (which by the way is a great way to celebrate fall, as is apple butter!)- That is some kinda rain you are getting today- geesh, looks like Oregon last week!

  18. YUM! I’ve never been an applesauce fan, but my neighbor makes some that is so good. From what she’s described, I think she does what you do. I’ll have to try this.

    Oh…and my finicky hens will not eat apples. :(

  19. Love my dehydrator. I’ve been experimenting and dried some apples for homemade granola. They were so good plain that I had to make some more for the granola. The apple cinnamon granola also calls for applesauce, so I used some homemade applesauce in it as well!

  20. Look at all these wonderful ideas from people! Such passion, eh Terry? All you did was say the word “apples” -and everybody jumped right in to the recipe sharing frenzy! My favorite apple-event happened when I was living on Whidbey Island, Wa. I’d sit outside in front of a campfire, coring bags of apples that I rescued from abandoned trees. I’d put some cinnamon, nutmeg and the apples (peels and all) into a large cauldron and set it over the open fire. Occasionally, I’d add some apple cider to keep it the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pot, but for the most part, it was a day to just read a good book, stir the pot, and wait for it to reduce down to a slightly ‘smokey’ apple butter. Towards the late afternoon, I happened to hear a rustling in the leaves not but a few feet away from where I sat, and when I glanced over in that direction, I found I was in the company of 5 hungry deer -all munching away on the apple cores. All in all, not a bad way to spend an autumn day.