My grandmother, god bless her, loved applesauce. It didn’t matter what she was eating; she liked applesauce on the side. She asked for it in fancy restaurants — totally indifferent to the odd looks she would get from waiters — and insisted it be on the table for every holiday dinner. Up until she passed away a few years ago, my mom kept a stash of applesauce jars in the pantry so we were always prepared, should she come for dinner. Of course, we never made it from scratch back then, but if we had, I think we all might have understood her obsession with it. Homemade applesauce is richly flavored, tart and sweet — almost like apple pie filling — and a world apart from store-bought. I still probably wouldn’t want it with every meal (although with pork tenderloin, roast chicken or latkes, definitely!), but I would have it every day for breakfast or dessert.
Homemade applesauce is easy to make; the hardest part is peeling the apples. Traditionally, it’s made on the stovetop but I prefer to bake it. With the stovetop method, you have to add water or juice to prevent sticking; no water is necessary with the baking method, which translates to a more intense apple flavor. For the apples, I like to use McIntosh with a few Golden Delicious mixed in for a more nuanced flavor. Feel free to use other varieties, such as Jonathan, Fuji, Honeycrisp, Jonagold, Braeburn, Stayman Winesap, Granny Smith, etc. — just keep in mind that super-tart apples will yield a tangy applesauce, which will require more sugar to balance the flavors.
To begin, peel, core and chop the apples into 1-inch chunks. Place them in a 9×13-inch baking dish and top with brown sugar and pads of butter.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45-50 minutes, until the apples are tender.
Using a potato masher or fork, mash the apples to a chunky consistency.
Taste and add more brown sugar if necessary. Note that no two batches will taste the same — it all depends on the apples you use. Transfer to a serving dish and add a dash of cinnamon, if desired.
My Recipe Videos
Chunky Homemade Applesauce
- 4 pounds apples (about 10), peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks (I like a combination of McIntosh and Golden Delicious)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch chunks
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar, packed
- Ground cinnamon, for serving (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Place the apples in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Scatter the brown sugar and chunks of butter evenly over top. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, tossing once halfway through, until the apples are very tender.
- Mash the apples with a potato masher or fork. Taste; if the applesauce is too tart, add more brown sugar little by little until the flavors are balanced. (Note that no two batches will ever be the same; the flavor will depend on the tartness of the apples you use.)
- Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The applesauce can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
- Per serving (8 servings)
- Serving size: 1/2 cup
- Calories: 196
- Fat: 5g
- Saturated fat: 3g
- Carbohydrates: 42g
- Sugar: 34g
- Fiber: 5g
- Protein: 1g
- Sodium: 6mg
- Cholesterol: 11mg
This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.