Homemade Applesauce

September 20, 2010(updated on August 30, 2021)


This post was originally published last November. However, we’re heading into applesauce season again, so I’ve updated it to include an organized recipe and am re-posting it now, for all of you who didn’t see if the first time around.

To me, applesauce is the quintessential fall food. I have fond memories of wandering the antique apple orchard at the Bybee-Howell House on Sauvie Island (a mostly agricultural island outside of Portland), really bundled up in scarves and layers for the first time of season, picking up windfall apples* with my mom and sister. Often, we’d bring our dog with us, and she’d run between the trees, tossing apples up in the air with her nose and then chasing after them.


We’d come home with grocery bags full of bruised, but still edible fruit. My mom would cover counter tops with newspaper and we’d begin to peel. When the fruit was all de-skinned, cored and chopped, it would go into her biggest soup pot with a splash of orange juice, cinnamon and grated nutmeg until it had cooked down into a homey sauce.


These days, I still make a yearly batch of applesauce, but I do it a little differently than we used to. I’ve learned over the years to not spend a whole lot of time peeling or chopping my apples. Instead, I cut the apples into quarters and remove the core (of course, if you have windfall fruit, you do have to invest the time in cutting away the bruises and bad spots). The quarters go into the pot with half a cup of apple cider to simmer. As they cook down, the skins will separate from the flesh of the fruit and you can just use a pair of tongs to fish them out.


I like slightly chunky, unsweetened applesauce, seasoned with lots of cinnamon, nutmeg and a dash of cloves (depending on how I’m feeling, sometimes I’ll also add a bit of allspice or powdered ginger), so once the skins are removed and the apples are smashable with the back of a wooden spoon, I’m done. However, if you like a smoother product, feel free to puree or run through a food mill (at this point, you could also go in a different direction and cook it down further, for apple butter).


When it comes to adding sugar, fans of unsweetened applesauce can rejoice, as you are able to can applesauce without any additional sugar. If you want to increase the level of sweetness, you can add approximately 1/8 cup of sugar per quart. I sometimes add a bit of honey if I find the applesauce to be a little too tart. It’s important to taste your sauce before you can it, in order to balance out the sweet/tart flavors. If it’s too sweet, a bit of lemon juice will always brighten the flavors.


To process, bring your applesauce to a boil and pack into clean, hot jars, leaving a half inch of headspace. Remove the air bubbles, wipe the rims and apply lids. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 (pints) or 20 (quarts) minutes. Store in a cool, dark place and enjoy homemade applesauce all year long.


*The Bybee-Howell house used to be a historic site open to the public. They had a Wintering In event each fall that included hand pressed cider and so asked visitors to only pick the windfall apples, as they were saving the ones on the trees for the pressing. However, they lost their funding, the house is no longer open and the Wintering In event doesn’t happen anymore. So it may be that people are allowed to pick the apples. I don’t know for sure.

5 from 1 vote

Homecanned Spiced Applesauce


  • 4 pounds apples
  • ½ cup apple cider or water

Optional spices:

  • 2 pieces star anise
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • sugar


  • Quarter apples. Put them in a large, non-reactive pot. Add liquid and star anise (if using), put on lid and bring to a simmer. Let fruit cook for approximately 15-20 minutes, until the fruit has broken down. Use tongs to fish out apple skins.
  • Remove star anise. Using a potato masher or immersion blender, break down the fruit until it has reached your desired consistency. Add cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Taste and add sugar if you feel it is necessary.
  • Pour applesauce into your prepared jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and screw on rings. Process in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes for half pints and pints, 20 minutes for quarts.
  • When time has elapsed, remove jars from canner and let them cool on a towel-lined countertop.
  • To store, remove rings and keep in a cool, dark place. Applesauce will keep in storage up to one year.

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113 thoughts on "Homemade Applesauce"

  • Indeed. Coming from California, I never really experienced a real apple orchard, or for that matter, a real fall until coming to the East coast. I like walking up and down the aisles of trees just watching people with their little nets collecting fruit. It all seems a little surreal somehow. Ann’s made two batches of applesauce already this fall, using our slow cooker. This is nice, we’ve had that thing for three or four years, and its only now that I feel like we’ve discovered something it does well.

    1. I live in S.C. and I get apples from local farmers all the time from my CSA. In fact there are apple orchards in Juliann, it’s what their known for. Californian’s can grow just about anything don’t you think?

  • I, too, leave on the skins, but then I use a wand mixer to puree the sauce when it’s done and puree the peel in with it. That way, we also get the nutrition there. It means I get a smooth applesauce and not a chunky one, tho. I may try a chunky one for variety πŸ™‚

  • I’ve been making applesauce as well. Next year I’m thinking of making batches with different kinds of apples and doing a taste test of sorts to find out which kind we like best. Last year I used golden delicious and it was quite tasty. I’ve heard honeycrisp is wonderful for sauce.

  • Hi Marisa!
    I just clicked through to your blog for the first time from twitter, (@kellyhunt5) what a fabulous blog you have going. Finding decent canning sites is always a challenge, I have added you to google reader and will now be regularly stalking your recipes!

  • I never seem to have enough apples to justify canning the sauce–we always eat all of it! But I did do a wonderful batch recently of apple-pear butter with fruit from my grandmother’s trees (well, the pears were all windfall winter pears, but still) of which I still have some left. As for the peels, I absolutely love the color they impart to the sauce, don’t you?

  • I just made my annual applesauce (and some apple butter) this past weekend.

    Like you, I just core and quarter the apples and leave the peels on. Try eating the seeds (fresh) – they’re remarkably delicious.

    I don’t pick out the skins, I use and old-fashioned Chinois food mill (like this: http://www.spoilthecook.com/bosch/Villaware-Chinois-Food-Mill.html). The applesauce is pushed through the mill, and the skins (and whole spices like cloves or allspice berries) are caught in the mill – just pull out the skins before they cause a total blockage. It’s so easy!

    1. The seeds of apples contain a glycoside called amygdalin that can cause cyanide poisoning – I don’t think it is wise to eat them at all!
      Just wondering if anyone else has ever baked apples for sauce? I have done this for years in my large turkey roaster. I wash, quarter, remove any bruised or bug areas (I only core enough to remove the seeds due to my processing method)throw them in the roaster & cover. Usually the water from washing is enough unless they are a really dry variety of apple. Bake on 350 degrees until desired softness – I have a huge roaster, so takes about 1 or 1 1/2 hours depending on variety of apple. The sauce is browner than when done on top of the stove – has a full rich flavor. I then put them through the Squeezo or food mill which removes all the rest of the core, but most of the peel is soft enough to go through & you get all the wonderful fiber & nutrition from them. It does make really thick sauce (you could thin it at this point with some cider if you wish), so occasionally have a few jars that ‘blurp’ over the edge & don’t seal. I usually just put those in a container & freeze. My family will not eat any other kind of sauce as they find it ‘tasteless’ in comparison. I don’t need as much, if any sweetener with this method either – seems to bring out natural sweetness.

  • Ted, if you think a slow cooker is good for applesauce, consider using it for a batch of apple butter. Works wonders!
    Leanne, I’ve tried leaving the skins in and pureeing the sauce smooth, but I find that you get teeny, tiny bits of apple skin all throughout the sauce, which I don’t enjoy at all. However, if could be that my immersion blender just isn’t very powerful.
    Chiot’s Run, I always have the intention to do such things, but never actually manage to make things happen. I feel like I’m doing pretty well if I am able to make applesauce at all.
    Kelly, thank you!
    Andrea, I do love the color that apple peels lend to sauce. So rosy!
    Julia, glad you liked the post and that you learned something new!
    Steph, I have one of those, and it’s never occurred to me to use it for applesauce! Thanks!

  • Marisa,

    Every time I can (rather than freeze) applesauce, I leave the 1/2-inch headspace and remove air bubbles, but it comes out of the canner with the sauce expanded to the top and some bubbles incorporated into the sauce. It hasn’t seemed to affect quality or shelf-stability (I always check carefully on opening) but it seems a little odd. Any thoughts?

  • I put up about 200# of apples each year and we like the early varieties best – akane, liberty, gingergold, lodi, transparent, king. The white fleshed apples make the prettiest an most rounded sauces. I use my roma so I don’t have to do anything but wash them. I lightly steam them and then run through the mill. The liberty & akane turn pink which is fun for the kids. No chopping, peeling, cutting seeds, etc. It’s amazingly fast to make large quantities of sauce to can that way!

  • I spent two days last week making apple sauce and apple butter from a big bunch of apples from my sister’s tree. Apple butter is a definite comfort food from my childhood. I even posted a blog entry about it! Beautiful pictures! Thanks.

  • Indeed! Aple sauce, pear sauce and quince sauce are all things to make from the fall fruit. Although quince sauce requires some sugar (not for safety but for taste). It’s also fun to mix them. Quince really brings a wonderful spicy floral aroma to apple sauce.

    The fruit can be cooked on the stove, steamed, in the oven, it does not matter: they just need to be soft enough to go through the food mill.

    Thanks for reminding us all of the “simple” pleasures.

  • We did 80 lbs of apples this year, all honeycrisps from the Portland Nursery. I hack them into chunks, peels and cores and all, and count on the foodmill to separate out the seeds and skins. As long as the holes are small enough, it works pretty well. I think you also get a slightly larger yield since you’re not losing any flesh in the peeling and coring — we ended up with about 2 cups sauce for each pound of apples.

  • This is the first year we made applesauce and I leave the peels on as well and run it through my food processor. We used a variety of apples and every batch is different. We froze some and canned some and I did not notice any difference when we defrosted it. Delicious. We also cooked them overnight in the crock pot. What a nice smell to wake up to:)

  • In the Netherlands, apple sauce accompanies bowls of french fries, especially for the children! So yes, ketchup, mayo and applesauce

  • There is nothing like homemade applesauce! It’s so easy to make, and almost any apples will do. Back at my parents house in the country, we would always collect the apples on the trees in our backyard. While the apples weren’t typically good for eating, they made great applesauce!

  • I had a similar experience to Jed, however, my sauce seeped out of the top of the jar after I removed it from the water bath. We ended up transferring the whole batch to freezer containers and haven’t gotten up the courage to try another project. I’m new at canning and don’t want to be discouraged so quickly! Does anyone have any ideas about what happened? We tried to remove as much air as we could. Not enough headspace maybe?

  • Jed and Marisa, it is totally normal to have some siphoning (the technical canning word for when some of the contents of the jars seeps out during processing) with applesauce. However, if the jars seal post-processing, they are still safe and shelf-stable. You should make sure that you leave 1/2 to 3/4 an inch of headspace, as it will help prevent the siphoning.

  • Hello, sorry for commenting in an old post. I live in Brazil, and I can’t find apple cider here (I don’t live in a big city, maybe it’s possible to find it in SΓ£o Paulo). Is it possible to replace it with unsweetened apple juice?


  • I just ran across your site, Marisa. Its quite informative and has inspired me to “put up” as my grandmother would say, some tomatoes from the huge amount we have been blessed with this year. I will do applesause as well. Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing!!!

  • Yikes! Intentionally eating apple seeds is probably not a good idea, due to the presence of a small amount of cyanide.

  • You don’t provide the actual quantity of apples you used with 1/2 c. apple cider.

    I had a really big pot of apples (McIntosh & Cortland) and 1/2 c. cider didn’t seem to be enough; I started to see a little bit of burning on the bottom despite regular stirring.

    I added more cider and then some water (we just picked the apples today so I figured their flavor was great and a little water would be okay). Probably used 1-1/2-2 c. of liquid altogether. There wasn’t as much burning as I had first feared when I scraped up little brown bits from the bottom but I think it needed the extra liquid.

    Our family likes to add seasonings to their own taste so I just made pure 100% apples. I left the skins in and pureed it in batches in the food processor. Looks beautiful, tastes great. A giant pot of apples cooked down to 4 quarts and 1 pint.


  • Hi Marissa,

    Love your blog. I think I have a love of canning because of your blog πŸ˜‰

    Just wondering if you could post the exact recipe for the applesauce (with measurements and all) as I would love to can this. Sounds delish.

    Thanks again.

  • I thought “windfall apples” meant they were free for the taking and therefore a windfall for you, until I read your note! I’ve always left the apple slices unpeeled since the skins get separated by the food mill, but next time I’ll try using bigger unpeeled apple chunks and fishing the skins out as you do. I imagine the milling would be easier that way.

  • I quarter and core my apples and then dump them into my mega huge turkey roaster with a little apple juice (or water, or cider)and put them in the oven to roast until tender. Then I run them through the food mill. Roasting them seems to concentrate the natural sweetness no matter what type of apple, no sweetener needed, and the apples seem to take on a deeper flavor. Last year’s batch with Romes and Staymens was especially good. I’ve got a crate of Rambos waiting to be done up and we’re going for more Staymens and Romes at the end of the month.

  • I did applesauce this morning. My Grandma is the one who taught me how and we peeled and cored and sliced. This morning I did not peel or core, just cut the apples into quarters. Once they were nice and sqishy I ran the whole pot through my new food mill. Could not be easier.

  • So many paths to the sauce! This is a lovely post, and I’ve enjoyed all the comments, too. Because I have twenty pounds to process, I’m very intrigued by Rebecca’s roasting pan. I put everything through a food mill, too. This year, I’m adding some lingonberries (low-bush cranberries) to the mix. Tart and pink!

  • You know, I think I need to get a new food mill. Everyone always talks about putting things through theirs, and I think they must be crazy, because mine is such a pain in the butt. But, it is about 40 years old, so maybe food mill technology has improved in recent years.

  • My food mill is my new best friend. I was telling my sister about putting grapes (for syrup) through a food mill and I asked her if she had one. She said “no, but I have an apple sauce mill.” She was surprised to learn that they were the same thing. When we were growing up, the only thing it was used for was apple sauce (and it took for ever!). I love my food mill. Everyone should have one, but make sure it has those hooks to latch onto the edge of the pot!

  • Gravensteins are the best for applesauce. Followed by Macintosh and Winesaps and Pippins. Spartans are also good. If you have a pole apple tree, Northpole is the best. Winterbanana also works well. Grannysmiths always require some sugar in my experience. I think the more complex flavored and tart apples work better than dessert apples like Fuji.

  • I have not canned a lot, why can you water bath these and not have to pressure can them? I thought things had to be very acidic or sweet?

  • Our favorite family applesauce now is one htat is made with apples and concord grapes. I can actually get dual usage out of the grapes, first I cook them and strain the juice for jelly, then the remaining bits and skins go into the applesauce pot. The result is a wonderful grape flavored sauce, my whole family loves.

  • Applesauce is the very first thing I ever put up when I was 23 and just a baby-preservationist.

    Where I live (southwest Colorado) there;s an apple tree on every block (or ten) and people don’t seem to know what to do with all that sweet gold, so my husband, children and I scurry around like squirrels gathering and picking and processing. We never remove or strain out the skins – so much nutrition there.

    Thanks for all your recipes! I tried the tomato preserves, which I substituted applesauce for some of the sugar and actually turned the whole thing into a pleasing ketchup.

  • It’s a great recipe, and I would like to try it, but you don’t specify how many pints/quarts you get from this recipe – is this an oversight, or does it vary depending on what kind of apples are used (and how big,for that matter) and how much sugar is added?

    1. It was an oversight. When you make the recipe as written, you’ll get approximately 4 1/2 pints. I did not specify the amount of sugar because sweetening applesauce is a matter of taste. You actually don’t need to add any sugar to keep it safe.

  • I’ve hinted strongly to my family that I’d like a food mill for birthday or Christmas.

    If you add sugar, can this still be safely canned?

  • Hi all! I have an OXO food mill, and it works great. Use it for applesauce and to make jellied cranberry sauce (so far); I think it cost about $50. I just made applesauce with Jonathan apples and it was a beautiful pink color…

  • Oooh, another question – I have 60 pounds of apples from a local apple farm that does controlled spraying (really hard to grow 100% pesticide-free fruit in this part of the country.) Is peeling the apples the best way to go if you don’t have organic fruit? I have a food mill and would love to not bother peeling the apples. Am obviously gonna scrub them up, but just throught I’d ask…

  • Robin, I have no idea how many cups 4 pounds will be. The thing with applesauce is that quantities don’t really matter, you can make as much or as little as you want.

    If you’re uncertain about whether the fruit was sprayed, it’s perfectly okay to peel. I imagine it would help control the chemical load, but honestly, it’s just a guess.

  • I do small batches of applesauce all fall long, from the time peach season ends, until November or so. I put the whole peel and all through the food mill then sweeten with a little brown sugar. It kind of gives a carmelly tast to the sauce. Tastes awesome in the middle of winter.

  • I recently moved to a property with a couple of old apple trees. I have no idea what type they are. This year, only one is flush with apples, and I did a small test (cut up one apple) to see if they would cook down quickly (I’ve used unknown apples before that I cooked for more than an hour and they had still not fallen apart – not all apples work well for apple sauce). Thankfully, they broke down quickly, but are not terribly juicy and started to burn, even in a thick bottomed pot with some water in the bottom. So know your apples, and adjust the amout of liquid needed accordingly. You can always cook it back off if its too runny. If I’m adding sugar, I use brown for the extra flavor. Great post.

  • My boyfriend and I just made 20 quarts of applesauce, with apple cider in the fridge, and I never thought to sub the cider for the water I added to the apples when cooking them. Next time, I will have to do that. I’m sure it really intensifies the apple flavor. Thanks for the tip. I usually only add cinnamon to my sauce, but I might try some of those other traditional fall spices as well.

    Now here’s what I really need an answer to, and you’re just the person to ask, how do you get the bubbles out of your jars of applesauce?

  • I’d like to know that about the air, too. I’ve done two types of applesauce over the past two days, and both times had a lot of trouble getting air out. Then I ended up with lots of applesauce seeping out–I figured it was the air pushing it up. I re-did the water bath twice. Then just figured if it doesn’t open it when I use Marisa’s test of the seal (lift it by the lid) it should be fine. I’ll find out soon enough!

  • I put up 24 quarts of applesauce this weekend. I used to always use the food mill method because I like my sauce a bit chunky (and I am lazy and don’t want to peel or core my apples) but this year I went even easier. I purchased the food grinder attachment for my KitchenAid mixer as well as the fruit/vegetable strainer. I can honestly say that I took an entire bushel of apples, and after cooking a bit, had them ground to applesauce in under 30 minutes. The biggest chunk of time was the adding to jars and processing. Looks like we will be loving smooth applesauce from now on!

  • Marisa, and all who comment on this site, thank you! thank you! What a wonderful resource.

    Today I put up a batch of apples sauce that yielded 7 quarts. However, once I put the quarts in the hot water bath for processing I heard a crack. When I pulled out the jars right a way to check them and as I lifted one the bottom fell off and all the sauce poured right into the water bath. After processing the other quarts and removing them I discovered the same thing happened to anther one of the quarts. I’ve never experienced this before. The quart jars came out of a new case and now I’m wondering if I should use the remaining 5 quart jars. I realize the lost of two jars and the sauce is no major financial loss but it still felt awful to see all that sauce just dissolve into the water bath. The jars and the sauce were both warm if not hot. Have you ever had the bottoms of jars just break off like that?

    1. That happened to me last night too, but luckily I was just sanitizing the jar so it was empty. I’m not sure what makes them crack or break. My jar was brand new.

      1. It happened to me one time. And it was the worse time of all as I was canning leaks. As I was waiting for the batch to get done processing my eyes and throat started to burn lol. I knew something had gone wrong. Canning leaks is bad enough all by it self but let a jar break in the canner and that is the worst. Took a bit for everything to stop burning. And they were wild leaks and I think that’s one of the reasons they were so strong. If it was a new box of jars I would write a letter or email the company and tell them. They will probably send you a coupon. Its worth a shot and the only thing you will lose is your time if they don’t send you one.

        1. I Wrote the Jarden, Company who makes ball jars. I complained that I have been loosing between 5-7 jars per canning season. I have lots of jars from the 50-70’s that I have been using for many years, I have been canning along side my mom and on
          my own for 23 years. They just wrote me back giving me all kinds of tips, but in the
          end they are sending me a coupon for a free box, of jars. My reason for emailing them
          they need to thicken up the glass on the newer jars. I have never had my old jars, break it’s the thickness of the old glass.

    2. My brother had that happen last month while trying to make apple jelly, but only one jar out of the set was affected. I think every now and then there’s simply a small flaw somewhere in the glass that gives way with the temperature change.

    3. While I don’t know for sure why your jars broke, I would suggest checking the difference of temperature in the water canner and your jars . If the temperature of your jars/product is not the same, or close to the same, temperature as the water in the canner, this will cause jar breakage.

      I usually sterilize my jars in a 225*F overn, but one time I wasn’t paying attention and had it set to 350*F instead. When I went to pour in hot broth, which was about 220*F, the difference in temp cause the jar to break immediately. It cracked in a circle all around the bottom, and of course cascaded all over the counter and floor. πŸ™‚

      Another thing that can cause jars to break are micro scratches. Try to never use scouring pads on your jars. While the micro scratches may not look like much, they are in fact a weak spot in a high pressure situation. I lost a couple jars of tuna because of this.

      Hope this helps.

  • I’m contemplating making another batch of this right now – SO delicious! I think the last time I had applesauce was as a kid and I didn’t like it at all (then again, it was some packaged, sad applesauce.) I decided I would finally try making applesauce and man, is this recipe where it’s at! I used a mix of cortland and haralson apples so I added a bit of sugar, about a cup, and then blended a little bit with the immersion blender and left it a little chunky. Oh, and I added allspice in addition to the other spices, really really nice. Thanks for the recipe!!

  • Heh – it must be fall again, as I’m back looking at this page for the first time since last year. Marisa, can you give or point me to any guidance about types of apples to use? I made several kinds last year and some came out creamy/buttery while others stayed sort of firm and grainy (the apples were definitely cooked, but it just didn’t melt into sauce; I had to use a food mill and even then it had a different texture). I’m about to buy a LOT for sauce from our local co-op, and I’d like to be sure that I get a good result.

  • I knew I’d be likely to find the answer to my question here. I put some jars of applesauce into a water bath yesterday and the water looked very applely when they were finished. This morning, two jars are not sealed but ALL of the other had applesauce around the inside of the rings. They’re sealed though so I’ve cleaned them off and based on what I’ve read above, they should be okay.

    Will check the seals again a few times over the next few weeks as I just checked the jars I did last week and one that I thought was sealed (had done the lift by the lid test) is completely open (with the attendant mould) – I think that was the jar I knocked against just after taking it out of the pot though and it had seemed to pop down the lid very quickly after that so I think it was a bit of a false seal.

  • Thanks for the tip on not peeling the apples. I love that! I’ve been doing it for years the hard way and every year I debate whether I have the space for a crank apple peeler. This is really helpful!

  • I am so inspired to make applesauce after reading the recipe and all comments. I will report back on how it all goes.

  • Since the jars are processed for more then 10 minutes would it be safe to keep the jars warm in the oven before filling and processing?

  • I just finished my first batch of the season! Its mostly for my two year old to eat because she loves apple sause, but also sore for baking, I like to used apple sauce in place of oil.

  • Hi, I have canned since I was about 15 yrs old with my stepmother who taught me how to can, I am now 70 and for the first time I decided to try apple sauce. I have shared some with a friend who loves them. I have noticed though that as the year slowly moved on– the top third of my apple sause has become browner and browner. Is this normal and is there a way to avoid this from happening? We usually dry our apples.
    thanks for any feed back. Judy

  • Thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge so consistently on this blog!This will be our third year making/canning apple sauce for a family (we do it in the crock pot, boil half the peels, then puree them in the food processor to add extra nutrition). A few years ago we stumbled upon a revelation: salt. Cook’s Illustrated had done an apple sauce taste test, and one soared above the rest. They checked the ingredients: apples, salt. They added a touch of salt to the other competitors, and now there was very little difference between the top contenders. Now that we’ve started adding salt, I cannot believe how good it is compared to store-bought stuff.
    (I’m probably breaking a “good-blogger” rule by posting this here before I post it on my site, but whatever, you’re the canning diva [in the very best sense of the word] so maybe you can try it out and spread the word.)
    PS Sorry to hear about your job. Between my husband and I we have had 3 lay-offs in the past 18 months. Sounds like you have a great attitude about it. Wishing you all the best!

  • This year will be my first time making applesauce. I’m anxious to try this recipe. I don’t see indication of how many jars it makes. Does anyone know how many pints or quarts I can expect from 4lbs of apples?

  • I took a jam class in SF and they recommend your site. I have to say even though I cook for a living I still did not grow up canning and jamming. I suppose I’m a tiny bit apprehensive about failure. My first attempt to can was today with your applesauce recipe. Very nice. I added some fresh ginger and a mix of whatever apples I could find here in SF at the Civic Center Farmers Market, which is for those of us on a budget.

    Nice way to begin, I did add way less of the spices because my apples did not seem to yield that much. Which is fine since I really like the idea of “small batches” it’s the only way I can fathom doing more cooking outside work.

    This is really a great site I plan on returning to often. Please let me know when you come to San Francisco!

  • A friend left a huge bagfull of apples of my doorstep, thanks so much for sharing, I can’t wait to eat it and I haven’t even finished chopping the apples yet!

  • I am making apple sauce again this year but am reluctant to can them as I did last year. How do you know if all the bubbles are out of the jar before sealing and processing. Last year I lost many many jars to false seals and fermentation. I am leaning towards freezing the sauce…any advise?

  • I also am wondering freezing applesauce over canning, I’ve canned one batch so far and thought I would freeze this batch. Any advice?? How long will they keep and so on;;; any advice will be appreciated and by the way , Love your website!!! I made your tomato jam and rhubarb rosemary jelly, yum ,yum!!! Also peach jam.

  • I hope this is the right place to ask this. I made my first batch of anything canned yesterday. I made applesauce and the first recipe i found said to process for 10 minutes. Now stuff i read says 15. I made 6 pints and one 1/2 pint. Now I’m paranoid. Do i have to throw it all out?

  • Hello!! Thanks for the recipe, as usual. I did a “batch” (it was 20 lbs of fabulous Jonagolds). I tasted all the varieties at one of the local farm stands. Jonagolds won. They are totally a non-fave for eating but perfect for cooking – really soft and flavorful. I did half unpeeled and the other half peeled. Honestly, while you can pick out the skins, with a child who is slightly fussy, it was worth it to just peel them first. I did a spice bag for the first half and just re-used for the second round. They cooked fast enough that it wasn’t even worth it to dirty another huge pot. Combined both batches before canning… added a tiny bit of salt as was mentioned somewhere here I think. AWESOME. Other spices were star anise and cloves in the spice bag (a large fill-yourself tea bag) and nutmeg and cinnamon in the mix. No honey or cider, I used water for the necessary liquid, although I didn’t measure anything (um, yeah, I’m that person).

    20# apples = 14 pints of sauce.

    This is super fast if you peel and cut smaller. Especially if they are not firm apples. I had to wait for the dishwasher to finish with my jars. Usually it’s the water boil I wait for – new gas range has solved that though.

    I’ll stop now. πŸ™‚

  • I am in Alberta, Canada & I just followed this recipe yesterday-we LOVE it!!! Love that it lets the natural sugars shine through and isn’t overpowered by added sugar. We have a large producing apple (and tart cherry) tree in our backyard that makes great sauce. I loved that we didn’t have to peel the apples, however when I tried to pick the skins out, they were disintegrating and falling back into the pot, so I just used an immersion blender to mix them in-added fiber! πŸ˜‰ Also, I totally forgot to take out the star anise before I did that, so they have a lovely anise flavor, which we love. Great recipe/guidelines & can’t wait to check out your other recipes.

  • I add organic cinnamon and organic maple flavoring to our applesauce. YUM! Everyone loves it and each year I’m asked when I’ll have the applesauce ready. Once in a while I add organic vanilla (and cinnamon) but the sauce with the maple flavoring and cinnamon is the hit.


  • So, can I safely say that any applesauce, regardless of how it is cooked, that contains sugar (brown or white), cider/water, and apples an safely be canned using appropriate waterbath techniques?

  • Your photography is Beautiful! I can’t wait to make this! Do the lids need to be prepared at all? I plan to make the sauce in the slow cooker all day then process the jars in a hot water bath. Do I need to do anything to prepare the jars? Thx

  • Hello,
    I just made a batch of applesauce very similar to this but added some butter and canned it.
    Does it seem that adding butter would render my canned applesauce unsafe to store on the shelf and eat?
    Sorry for the very idiotic question…. I am very new at this!

    1. No butter in canning. You need to throw those jars out as they are unsafe. You should always follow canning recipes exactly and not deviate or make adjustments, especially if you are new at this.

  • Can I use this technique for pears also? I am trying to find a safe recipe for pear sauce but am having trouble finding one from a tested, reputable source. If I follow this and just change from apples to pears will I have a safe recipe to can? Thanks so much for your help. I have canned quite a few things from your recipes and am so grateful for your blog!

    1. Probably 4 to 5 pints, though it’s been several years since I posted that recipe, so I can’t tell you for certain.

  • I’m so glad to see this! I just made a batch of my mother’s recipe for applesauce last night and canned it, but had a moment of wondering if I needed to add lemon juice this morning. My mom’s recipe is similar to yours, except she doesn’t bother coring or peeling the apples and just uses a food mill once it has cooked down. I used a combo of jonagold, macoun, and pink lady apples last night and was pleased with the outcome. Except the jonagold’s are so delicious that I’d rather just eat them raw!

  • I am making this recipe today and canning away now that it is apple season in Australia! Our farm and nearby orchard is giving a plenty, so I am very grateful for the canning tip as I used to just make and eat in small batches πŸ™‚

    I have all of your books, I just love them! I am living my first year on our rural farm and learning so much along the way – including preserving! And your books are my bible πŸ™‚ xx

  • I am wondering if you can safely add other fruit to applesauce and can it? Specifically, strawberries are in season where I live and I would love to make strawberry applesauce, unsure if I need to adjust acidity, or processing time, or sugar to make it safe? Thanks!

      1. Thank you! I suspected it would be all right after reading on the extension services website that you can make fruit puree and can it for the same length of time, but I wanted to double check. I can’t wait to get started.

  • I have fond memories of picking up windfall apples in my Grandmother’s back yard (her’s were green apples) and in my Aunt’s back yard (she had red). It was the job of us kids to pick up all the apples on the ground for apple butter (and sauce, but more so butter) every year, not apples off the tree only the fallen ones. My Grandmother always told us that they made better apple butter & apple sauce that it was the same principle as banana bread – old brown bananas make better bread. My Grandmother was amazing like that.

  • I have learned the easy way to cook my fruit (all of my fruit) in my large crock pot. Some takes 1 day, some takes 3 days to cook down. Stir when ever you go by. Just let it cook away. So easy then I hot water pack bath them right there. Not much mess and quick.

  • Looks just like the applesauce I used to make. Reminds me of the first time my young sons were offered store bought applesauce – they said it looked anemic and had no taste. Also loved making apple butter every fall. Everyone in the family expected a jar for Christmas! So glad to see canning still going on ~

  • Hi! Thank you so much for your recipes and resources. Question: can you make pear sauce the same way? (i.e. do you need to add lemon juice to pear sauce for safety or can you process it just with pears and spices?) Thank you!!

  • I LOVE this recipe!!! I have used it for the past two years. I make 2-3 batches, give some as holiday gifts, and make certain to save a stash for myself for the coming year.

    As a non anise fan I was a little skeptical the first time I tried this recipe. However, the anise really adds a nice warmth that does not come through with the classic apple-cinnamon combo. Over the years I have tried batches with lemon peel added during cooking and the lemon juice added at the finish which brightens the flavor a bit. I have also added apple brandy right before canning which adds a slightly more adult note to the flavor.

    Since it is time for this year’s batch I just wanted to say thank you for sharing this great recipe!

  • I have a question. I sterilize my jars and put them in a low oven to keep them hot. As I am grinding apples, I can’t do it fast enough to get a full batch in the canner while they are still hot. I find if I let the filled jars cool as I am getting 7 jars ready, and put them in the hot water in the canner, they break. I usually have to let the canning water cool to warm, and then put the jars in because by that time all the jars are ready they have cooled quite a bit. That method doesn’t break my jars. But takes a lot more time to constantly cool and heat the canning water between batches.

    So, here is my question. If I have hot jars in the oven, and I’m putting hot sauce in the jars, can i put that filled jar back into the oven to stay hot while i am waiting for a full 7 jars to be filled so i can put a full batch in the canner, and not have to waste time cooling and heating the canner between batches? One, is it safe? Two, will it actually work and keep that dense applesauce in the jar hot enough?

  • Hi, I made the Spiced Applesauce from Food in Jars over the weekend. Without a doubt it is the best applesauce, however i am concerned about the processing time. I used a few different types of apples and some took longer to cook so the consistency is quite thick. The recipe called for processing for 15 minutes for pint jars. Should I have used a longer processing time since the sauce is so thick and if so should I redo this batch? Thanks

  • Only few question’s.
    1) Where should I keep unsweetened apple sauce ?
    2) How long can I keep it there ?

  • I just made this recipe with apples from Howell Territorial park! My brother got married there this weekend and the guests were invited to pick apples from the orchard there! Who knew I would find a recipe with roots from that very park! It’s delish! πŸ™‚

  • Hi! I’ve tried a few of your recipes now and they’re delicious! I was wondering if you had any guidance on making a pear sauce – could I substitute an equal weight of pear instead of apple for this recipe??

  • I have so many apples on our 2 trees this year and I want to make applesauce for the first time. I am diabetic so I’m pleased that your recipe has sugar as an optional ingredient. I’d like to know if it’s necessary to put the filled bottles into a water canner for 15 minutes. What would happen if I omitted this step? Would my apple sauce not keep well when I store it?

    1. You need to do the processing step or you can’t consider the applesauce shelf stable. Without that step, the applesauce will mold within a few weeks in the jars.