Easy homemade apple sauce recipe made with brown sugar, cinnamon and a dash of lemon juice. Great to use as a fruit filling for pies, cakes, tarts or as a topping for breakfast porridge, oatmeal or pancakes. It’s easy to make and it’s much healthier than apple jam since it contains much less sugar.
Similarly like my Banana & Honey Curd Recipe, it can be used for stirring into your breakfast porridge, baking tarts, cookies, oat flapjacks or other cakes. Homemade applesauce is also great as a topping for a desserts, vanilla ice-cream or greek yoghurt.
Why make homemade applesauce ?
- Super easy recipe to make – only 3 basic ingredients
- You can control how much sugar you add in & the rest of the flavours
- Use any kind of apples
- So many different uses from cake fillings, toppings and using for savoury cooking and baking
- Stores well – keep it in the fridge, preserve it by canning or freeze it to keep for later
PIN THIS RECIPE TO KEEP IT FOR LATER
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What sort of apples can I use?
The type of apples you use will determine the flavour of your apple sauce.
If you choose a green apples (like Granny Smith), you’ll achieve a sharp taste, whilst something like red apples (Pink Lady) will give you a sweeter taste.
So far, I’ve made this homemade applesauce with Gala apples, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Jonagold and plenty of garden apples, that I don’t even know the names of. You can also mix the apples together.
Although cooking apples might sound like an obvious choice, I usually stay clear of them as they can be a bit floury and don’t taste as nice as some of the other types of apples.
You can also mix your apples from different varieties, which is a great way to prevent apples from browning and going to waste.
What kitchen equipment do I need to make applesauce?
As a minimum, you will need a large saucepan to cook the apples, sharp knife or julienne peeler to peel and core the apples and a large jam jar (or two).
If you want to make your homemade applesauce smooth, you will also need a potato masher (you will still probably have a slight chunks in your applesauce) or food processor, blender or blender stick.
If you want to preserve and can your applesauce (which is completely optional), you will also need a large stock pot.
How long is my apple sauce going to last?
If you just make your apple sauce and pot it, it will last about 2-3 weeks stored in the fridge.
If you want to keep your apple sauce for longer you either need to freeze it (6-12 months) or preserve it by canning/boiling in a water bath (or pressure cooker) (1-2 years).
To freeze your applesauce, pour it first into a suitable freezer container (e.g. smaller tubs or plastic boxes) and leave it until it’s completely cold. Put the lid on and seal it properly. Label and freeze.
Use within 12 months. Leave to defrost in the fridge and use within 1-2 weeks (storing your applesauce back in the fridge).
Ingredients you will need for my homemade apple sauce
See my notes above
Whilst I give measurements for the sugar in my recipe, it really depends on what type of apples you are using and your personal taste. You could easily leave the sugar out all together, use sweet apples and just add extra spices for flavour.
If you are not sure how much sugar you would like in your applesauce, add about 1/2 of the total amount, let it dissolve, stir and taste. If you need more add it, but if not the recipe is not going to be affected by having less sugar in.
You can also use sugar substitutes or different sugars (like brown or light brown sugar, stevia, coconut sugar or coconut sugar substitutions, maple syrup, honey, golden syrup or maple syrup substitutions etc.), but please bear in mind that the sugar you choose will impact the flavour of the applesauce.
Using dark sugars or honey will also change the colour of your applesauce.
You can also use other types of sugars, such as Stevia or Monk Fruit, which are a good sugar substitute if you are making this applesauce for diabetics.
I’ve added cinnamon and cloves to my homemade applesauce, but you are welcome to choose different sweet spices if you like. I have a special homemade recipe for Apple Pie Spice Mix (see below), which is perfect for this applesauce recipe.
I use lemon juice to sharpen the flavours of sweeter (or bland) types of apples. If you are using Granny Smith or Golden Delicious, then it’s probably not necessary. You can also use apple cider vinegar, which works in the same way.
The lemon juice (or apple cider vinegar) also helps to keep the apples nice and light and prevents them from browning too much.
If for whatever reason, you don’t want to use lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, you can leave it out. It’s there for a flavour and to help the colour of the applesauce, but the recipe will work without it too.
A very small amount of salt (a small pinch) helps to bring all the flavours together, but if you wish to leave it out, you can. The applesauce recipe will work without it, but if you feel that the flavours are not quite strong enough, a tiny pinch of salt usually sharpens the flavours.
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Other ingredients you might like to add
- Brown sugar (instead of white) – this will add slightly caramelised flavour and darker colour
- Vanilla Extract – great with sweeter types of apples
- Apple Cider Vinegar – to make the applesauce slightly sharper
- Lemon Juice – will make the applesauce sharper
- Raisins or sultanas (seedless) or some of my dried currants substitutions list
- Whisky, brandy or other suitable alcohol (just before you pot the sauce up) – for special occassions
Variations on the homemade applesauce recipe
Swap the spices in the recipe – You can swap the cinnamon & cloves spice (or the apple pie spice mix) for other type of sweet spices, such as ground ginger, nutmeg or Mixed Spice, Christmas Stollen Spice or Gingerbread Spice Mix.
Swap the sugar in the recipe – darker sugar will produce more caramelised flavour, or swap the sugar for honey or golden syrup (or some of the other sweeteners from my golden syrup substitutions list).
How to make homemade applesauce
Prepare the apples first by peeling, coring and cutting to smaller cubes.
In a medium size sauce pan, add the apples and enough boiling water to cover them.
Bring to boil and simmer on a low heat until the apples have softened. This can take about 10-15 minutes, depending on type of apples you have.
Once the apples are soft, add all the other ingredients and start steering the saucepan regularly on a medium heat.
Let the apple mixture to reduce and thicken a little and simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
Check that the apple sauce tastes the way you like before potting into a large jars or two.
How to preserve your applesauce
Once your applesauce is made, pot it into a sterilised jam jars and seal with lids. Use a large pot with a tea towel at the bottom, move the jam jars to the pot and pour boiling water on the top making sure that the lids are properly covered.
Simmer for 30 minutes, then leave to cool down completely before placing your preserved applesauce in your kitchen pantry. Use within 2 years (but watch out for any mould or discolouration developing.
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How to use homemade applesauce
Homemade applesauce is very versatile and has so many uses. Appart from just eating it on it’s own, you can also use your applesauce in the following ways:
- Topping for breakfast oatmeal, porridge or rice pudding
- Add a dollop on top of your favourite pancakes (or use it instead of milk to make apple pancakes)
- Topping for ice cream or plain yoghurt
- Use it to soak bircher muesli overnight (instead of apple juice)
- Use it for baking flapjacks, oatmeal cookies or other bakes
- Great as a fruit filling for tarts, pies and muffins or cupcakes
- Add it to my Crumble Topping Recipe for a quick dessert idea
- Use is as spread on your breakfast toast (it’s perfect on a French Toast)
- Sharper applesauce is great to serve with pork meat
Can I scale down or up this recipe?
You are welcome to make 1/2 batch of this recipe, if you only have a couple of apples. The cooking time might be slightly shorter and you will need a suitably smaller saucepan.
You can also double or triple the amount of ingredients in this recipe, if you have a lot of apples and want to make a few applesauce batches in one go.
Make sure that you select a good size pan – the bigger the better. Marmalade or jam pan is useful here, because it won’t bubble over when you are cooking your apples. The cooking time might be slightly longer.
Do I need to blend my applesauce?
It depends if you prefer slightly chunky applesauce or if you like very smooth applesauce. As you simmer the apples, they will soften and eventually fall apart. You only need to take a potato masher to mash up any large pieces. I sometimes don’t even do that as I don’t mind the occasional apple chunk in my homemade applesauce.
If you prefer smooth applesauce, you can put the cooked applesauce in the food processor or blender (be careful as it will be very hot). Alternatively, you can also use a blender stick to make your homemade applesauce smooth.
Do I need to peel the apples or can I leave the skin on?
I usually peel my apples because I don’t tend to use the blender to blend my applesauce smooth at the end of the recipe (I leave a few apple chunks in).
If you know that you are going to use the blender, food process or blender stick to make your applesauce smooth, you can leave the apple skin on, when you cook your apples. I would still core the apples as you don’t want to have any hard pieces or apple pips in.
- 5 apples cored, pealed and cut into small cubes
- 1/2 cup water about 120 ml or enough to cover the apples when boiling
- 1/3 cup brown sugar about 70 grams or to taste (less or more)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground or powder cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice ad extra tablespoon for extra zest
- generous pinch of fine salt
- Prepare the apples first by peeling, coring and cutting to smaller cubes.
- In a medium size sauce pan, add the apples and enough boiling water to cover them.
- Bring to boil and simmer on a low heat until the apples have softened. This can take about 10-15 minutes, depending on type of apples you have.
- Once the apples are soft, add all the other ingredients and start steering the saucepan regularly on a medium heat.
- Let the apple mixture to reduce and thicken a little and simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
- Check that the apple sauce tastes the way you like before potting into a large jars or two.
- Once cooled down, keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or can/preserve using a water bath canning/preserving or pressure cooker.
This blog post was originally written on 9 September 2020 and last updated on 23 March 2023