Homemade applesauce is amazingly easy and infinitely better than any applesauce you can buy. It pairs beautifully with ham, pork chops or potato pancakes for dinner; french toast, waffles or oatmeal for breakfast; ice cream or shortbread for dessert. It also makes a perfectly comforting snack on its own. This is not so much a recipe as a guideline – water and sugar needs will vary depending on the type and freshness of apples used.


  • Apples, any variety, or a mix
  • Water (or apple cider)
  • Sweetener (brown or white sugar; maple syrup)
  • Pinch salt
  • Cinnamon (sticks or ground)

Optional flavorings

  • Lemon peel
  • Lemon juice
  • Orange peel
  • Whole cloves
  • Cardamom pods
  • Vanilla bean
  • Ground nutmeg


  1. Peel, core and cut apples (quartered apples are fine; diced apples cook quicker).
  2. Place apples in pot with 1/2 cup (for 4-6 apples) to one cup (for 8-12 apples) of water or apple cider. Add cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, cardamom pods, lemon or orange peel if desired.
  3. Bring to boil, cover and reduce to simmer. Cook, covered, for 15-30 minutes (depending on size of cut and hardness of apples), until apples are very soft. Check occasionally to add water if necessary. Remove flavorings and discard.
  4. Use back of a large spoon, fork or potato masher to mash apples to desired consistency. Add a bit more water if it seems too thick. You can also use a blender or food mill if you want it smoother (you may have to add a bit more water for blender to work effectively).
  5. Sweeten and add ground cinnamon to taste, plus a pinch of salt. Optionally add other ground spices, such as nutmeg or cloves.
  6. Serve hot, warm or cold. Keeps well in refrigerator for a week and freezes very well.


  • Any type of apples will work; I prefer to use sweet apples over tart to reduce the amount of sugar needed. Golden delicious are easily available and make good applesauce. A blend of apples is also nice.
  • If you are using a food mill, you can leave the apples unpeeled for cooking.
  • Pears also make a good addition. Peel, cut and cook along with apples.

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