Pumpkin Pie Spiced Applesauce

October 15, 2015(updated on August 30, 2021)

chopped apples

It is apple season, which means that no matter where I go or what errand I’m running, inevitably a sack full of arlets, honeycrisps, or jonagolds comes home with me. I’ve been working my way through the bounty, making jam, butter, and sauce (hopefully more than enough to last what is predicted to be a very cold winter).

finished applesauce stack

Here’s my technique for super-easy (no peeling or coring necessary) pumpkin pie spiced applesauce. Now, I know that we’re currently in the midst of a pie spice backlash, but truly, there’s nothing better than sweet sauce spiked with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice. Try it in your next batch of applesauce. I’m certain you’ll be convinced.

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Pumpkin Pie Spiced Applesauce for October Unprocessed

Cuisine: Preserving


  • 6 pounds apples
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Juice of 1 lemon


  • Chop the apples into eighths and heap them into a large, non-reactive pot with the water and cover. Set the pot on the stove over medium-high heat and bring it to a low simmer. Let the apples cook for approximately 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is soft enough to crush with the back of a wooden spoon.
  • Prepare a boiling water bath canner and enough jars to hold ten cups of sauce (I used two liter sized Weck jars and one half liter jar, but a similar combination of pints and quarts would also work).
  • Fit your food mill with a medium-sized screen and position it over a large mixing bowl. Work the cooked apples through the food mill until all the sauce in the bowl and all you have left in the top of the food mill are dry skins and seeds.
  • Return the applesauce to the pan in which you first cooked it and place it over medium high heat. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cloves, and lemon juice. Taste the sauce
  • Spoon the applesauce into the prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Use a chopstick to ease out any trapped air pockets and add more sauce to return the headspace to the proper levels, if necessary. Wipe the rims, apply the seals, lids, and clips (or lids and rings, if you’re not using Weck jars), and process in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes (if you live above 1,000 feet in elevation, adjust your processing time accordingly).
  • When time is up, slide canning pot off the heat and remove the lid. Let the jars cool slowly in the pot for ten minutes. When the cooling time is up, remove the jars from the canner and place them on a folded kitchen towel to cool.
  • When the jars are cool enough to handle, test the jars to ensure they’ve sealed properly. Sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to a year. Unsealed jars should be refrigerated and eaten within two weeks.

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15 thoughts on "Pumpkin Pie Spiced Applesauce"

  • Ha! When I saw “unprocessed” I thought “not water bath or pressure processed.” I guess context is everything.

  • Oh boy!

    I used to add cinnamon to store bought applesauce (before they had the pre-mixed stuff.)

    I stopped buying apple sauce years ago due to cost and questions about sources of the apples (I hear a lot are from China), etc.

    I haven’t gotten around to processing my own but I sure am now. And I have the most wonderful food mill I love.

  • Apples are a joy and a relief after dealing with the work of peaches and tomatoes. I brought home a bushel of seconds from the orchard over a week ago and am slowing working my way through them. I love how easy applesauce is – no peeling, just chop, cook and run through my food mill. I go through at least 2 bushels a year, but because I can stretch it out, there’s no groaning like there is with say, peaches.

  • Do you have to do the canning step immediately after making the applesauce or can you refrigerate and can the following day (heating the sauce up before adding to the hot jars)?

    1. You definitely want to do the canning step immediately after making the applesauce. When you heat, cool, and then heat applesauce, it causes the fibers to expand a bit. This isn’t a problem in terms of safety, but it does mean that if you can applesauce that’s been cooled down and reheated, it will leak out of the jars during the canning process, make a mess, and potentially compromise your seals.

  • There are small amounts of arsenic in apple seeds – are there no concerns with cooking them into the sauce, even though they’re removed later? I learned canning from my grandma and was always taught to remove the cores for this reason. We also didn’t have a food mill for the longest time, so we peeled and cored for that reason, too, but we always cooked down the peels for apple jelly and left the cores out as well.

    1. Apple seeds do contain a small amount of cyanide compound, but you’d have to chew and ingest the seeds from at least 20 apples all at once to feel any harmful effects. The seeds typically remain whole when you cook sauce like this, and then the food mill does the work of removing them, so there are no ill effects to be had from my approach.

  • Is it ok to double and add maple syrup to this recipe? Will it still be able to be canned? Reading all over it says not to change recipes so wanted to check first!

    1. You can definitely double this recipe. You can use small amounts of maple syrup in canning, but you want to be conservative in your use, as it can impact the finished acidity.

  • I have tried many of your recipes and all are yummy! I love the idea of Pumpkin Spice Applesauce. I can’t wait to try it! I do not own a food mill. Can I peel and core the apples first and just proceed with the recipe? Will it change the texture or flavor?

    Thank you!