Applesauce Recipe

A yummy bowl of applesauce hits the spot when served warm on a crisp fall afternoon or chilled in the heat of the summer. But the store-bought version of applesauce contains extra ingredients you likely don't want to consume or feed to the kiddos. There's no doubt about it: The best applesauce is homemade, and Laura Sampson of Little House Big Alaska has a version that'll become a new favorite in your home.

Sampson's recipe takes just 20 minutes to prep — even less time if you can core and slice apples quickly — then 20 to 25 more minutes of cook time on the stove. With four to six servings per batch, it's the ultimate choice for a healthy afternoon snack or a post-dinner treat. The best part is that you can choose whatever apples are your favorite to make this recipe. So, if you prefer tart, that's how your applesauce will taste. If super sweet is your jam, then prepare for an incredibly sweet treat. With just one spoonful, you'll fall in love with this recipe.

Gather your ingredients for homemade applesauce

For this recipe, you'll need 3 pounds of apples, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 ½ tablespoons of lemon juice, either ground cinnamon or a cinnamon stick for flavor, ¼ teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg, and ½ cup of water. Sampson leaves the selection of apples entirely up to you, so go with your all-time favorite or pick one that you think will taste great in this recipe. "I always choose apples I like for pies or applesauce, because in the end, it's their flavor that comes through. So, it's important to pick apples you like and will enjoy," Samson says.

(Pro tip: If you're heading to a local orchard to grab a basket of freshly picked apples, make sure your apples do not have any bruises, worm holes, cuts, or soft spots on them.)

It doesn't take many ingredients or too much time to whip up this delicious dish. One thing you can do is infuse extra fruit into the recipe for a burst of flavor. According to Sampson, "Adding other fruits to your applesauce is an awesome way to get variety into an otherwise simple food. Plus, it's a great way to use up any extra fruits you have in the fridge."

Prep the apples

The first thing you'll do is thoroughly wash your apples, then core them. Leave the peels on, as this will help thicken the applesauce and add quite a bit of fiber to the dish. One way to clean your apples is by letting them sit in baking soda and water for 15 minutes. Dissolve one teaspoon of baking soda in two cups of water for the soaking process, then be sure to rinse completely with water. Once clean and cored, place the apples in a Dutch oven.

Season the apples

Add 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 ½ tablespoons of lemon juice, a cinnamon stick or ground cinnamon to taste, ¼ teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg, and ½ cup of water to the Dutch oven.

According to Sampson, "Fresh or bottled lemon juice will be fine. I try to keep bottled on hand, so more often than not, I use it and it works fine. Nutmeg tastes better when it's grated fresh from a whole nutmeg ... you can absolutely use grated nutmeg if you can find whole."

Cook the apples

Cook the apples with the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and water in your Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Don't forget to stir occasionally until the apples are nice and soft, and be sure to add more water if the Dutch oven runs dry.

It should take about 20 to 25 minutes for the apples to cook and soften up nicely. Get ready for the amazing aroma that's going to fill your kitchen!

Process the apples, then serve chilled or warm

Once the apples are nice and soft, remove the Dutch oven from the heat source. Carefully take the apples out of the Dutch oven and let them cool for a bit. 

According to Sampson, for the best results, you should run the apples through a food mill set on the smallest sieve. "If you don't have a food mill, then putting [the apples] in the food processor works great. It will chop everything and make a nice, smooth applesauce. Or, if you don't have a food mill or a food processor, you can peel the apples before cooking, and then just use a potato masher to make the applesauce," she says. If you want a chunkier applesauce, you could use an immersion blender to puree the apples.

Whichever route you go, you're sure to have a new favorite recipe your family will request time and time again. Dish it up chilled or warm.

Applesauce Recipe
5 from 33 ratings
Whether you serve it warm or chilled, the best applesauce is homemade, and we have a recipe that's sure to become a new family favorite.
Prep Time
Cook Time
homemade applesauce in mason jar
Total time: 40 minutes
  • 3 pounds apples of your choosing
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ cup water
  • Cinnamon stick or ground cinnamon to taste
  1. Wash and cut the apples off the core, leaving the peels on.
  2. Place the apples in a Dutch oven.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice, cinnamon stick, ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, and ½ cup water to the Dutch oven.
  4. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the apples are soft, 20 to 25 minutes. Be sure to add more water if the Dutch oven becomes dry.
  5. Once the apples are soft, remove from the heat.
  6. Run them through a food mill on the smallest sieve for the best results.
  7. Serve your applesauce while it's warm, or dish it up chilled.
  8. Store covered in the refrigerator, and eat within 3 to 4 days.
Calories per Serving 206
Total Fat 0.7 g
Saturated Fat 0.1 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 54.6 g
Dietary Fiber 8.8 g
Total Sugars 41.8 g
Sodium 4.8 mg
Protein 1.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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