Chunky Homemade Applesauce

Tested & Perfected Recipes

Baked Applesauce

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.

how to make homemade applesauce

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.

how to make homemade applesauce

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.

how to make homemade applesauce

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45-50 minutes, until the apples are tender.

how to make homemade applesauce

Using a potato masher or fork, mash the apples to a chunky consistency.

how to make homemade applesauce

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.

how to make homemade applesauce

My Recipe Videos

Chunky Homemade Applesauce

Servings: About 4 cups
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 45 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The applesauce can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • 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.

Reviews & Comments

  • So easy! Making apple pies … had a variety of leftover apples. Made this. No mess, no fuss. House smelled wonderful while the dish was baking, took it out, mashed the apples, added cinnamon. The best applesauce I have ever had. Normally, not an applesauce fan. This was unbelievable. A new tradition. Follow the recipe exactly. Then adjust, if needed. Love it.

    • — Valerie on November 23, 2018
    • Reply
  • Jenn,
    If I wasn’t already a big fan this recipe would have done it for me! Five stars! For your readers I would suggest that it is worth purchasing an apple corer appliance to make this a breeze. If it’s easier we’ll make it more! One question..at my Whole Foods and another large grocery store I could not find McIntosh apples (in Kansas). What other variety would be your preference?
    Patti

    • — Patti on October 14, 2018
    • Reply
    • So glad you like this! 🙂 Any number of apples will work — 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.

      • — Jenn on October 15, 2018
      • Reply
  • Now that apple season is in full swing, I decided to try this applesauce recipe. It was delicious and fuss free! I popped the pan in the oven, therein we all sat down for a hearty meal of chili with corn bread. The applesauce was done in time to provide a delicious and warming dessert. I don’t think I will make stovetop applesauce again. The only thing I did differently was to cut the amount of butter in half since I had never made applesauce with butter before.

    • — Elisa on October 4, 2018
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  • Loving life in small batches now. No food mills, no canning baths, just fresh apples from my local orchards and a perfect side dish for my fall comfort foods. SO Easy!

    • — Jane Downs on October 4, 2018
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  • Update on the applesauce. Had a few family members to lunch today, and between them and my grandson, all my applesauce is gone. I saved a small amount for my grandson to take home. Everybody was having seconds, and the bowl was scraped clean. I have never had a recipe from Jenn that wasn’t a hit. Would it freeze well, if there is any left?

    • — Laura Migliore on September 7, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Laura, So glad the applesauce was a hit! And, yes, it definitely freezes well. 🙂

      • — Jenn on September 8, 2018
      • Reply
  • Just made this yesterday. Unfortunately I had forgotten which apples you recommended, so chose granny smiths and golden delicious . I had to add about 4 Tbsp. more brown sugar, but this was so easy and delicious. I have just never been a fan of jarred applesauce, although I love apples. Everyone loved it. I keep a shaker jar of cinnamon and sugar, so our grand daughter and my husband added a little bit of that. To me it was perfect as is. Another great recipe. Would be great warmed with some cinnamon and maybe toasted pecans over ice cream.

    • — Laura Migliore on September 7, 2018
    • Reply
  • I feel compelled to add my two cents worth. This is the best applesauce! My whole family raved about it. It has the right amount of sweetness & the consistency is perfect. Also, great that you don’t have to babysit it like stove top versions. I’ve always heard you should use a variety of apples. I went with galas and pink ladies.

    • — Mindy on March 3, 2018
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  • Oh. My. Goodness. I considered myself somewhat of an expert on applesauce since my mother and I canned 98 quarts of it last summer, but baking it! Game changer! I used Jonagold and Braeburn apples since that is what was on hand and it was perfect. Loved not having to babysit it and keep checking to see if it needed more water. Will definitely use this as my go-to fresh applesauce recipe.

    • — Rockelle Ruiter on February 3, 2018
    • Reply
  • This was so darn good! New favorite dish, especially good served warm. I devoured a serving of it when I took it out of the oven and sort of contimplated not serving it at my brunch the next morning so that I could eat it all right then and there instead. This dish will find its way onto my table many more times, it was very easy to make and I loved it!

    • — Kaylie on December 31, 2017
    • Reply
  • I’m wondering if anyone has used a brown sugar substitute?

    • — Renee on December 14, 2017
    • Reply
    • Personally, Renee, I haven’t, but I will let other readers weigh in if they have.

      • — Jenn on December 15, 2017
      • Reply
  • Made this a day before I wanted to use it to go along with once upon a chef’s latkes recipe. The most time consuming part was the peeling of the apples. Overall this recipe is easy and came out so great, especially served with the latkes!!!!

    • — Michelle on December 4, 2017
    • Reply
  • I loved this applesauce. It came out so much more flavorful than stovetop versions that I have tried. My family loved it so much that I tried experimenting with the recipe to see what other fruits would work. I ended up substituting pear for the apples and white granulated sugar for the brown and it came out fantastic. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    • — Heather on December 1, 2017
    • Reply
  • I made this for Thanksgiving with my 10 year old boys. It was simple enough for them to make with just a little supervision and straight out of the oven it tastes amazing. The warm, sweetened apples could be a dessert. I used the apple combination you recommended and it was perfect. We had to run back to the store for more apples because they ate so much of it before Thanksgiving. I wouldn’t change a thing.

    • — Jennifer on November 30, 2017
    • Reply
  • I love the baking method, instead of the stovetop, allows for multi tasking. Chunky is always my preferred method. The cinnamon is an extra health benefit. Love, love. I am with your grandmother, “every meal”! Just enough sweetness to feel like your meal is complete with a dessert. “An apple a day….”. Thanks.

    • — Cindy Hundley on November 30, 2017
    • Reply
  • Absolutely love this recipe! So easy to bake the apples.

    • — Julie on November 30, 2017
    • Reply
  • Hi,
    There is a lot of juice at the bottom of my pan. Should I drain it or mash it up with all the juices?

    • — Marci on November 13, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi Marci, Definitely mash it up. 🙂

      • — Jenn on November 13, 2017
      • Reply
  • This applesauce is delicious and very
    versatile. We used it with plain yoghurt,
    pancakes, pork tenderloin, chicken cutlets…
    Thanks for this great idea to use up every
    apple in the fridge (plus a couple of pears).

    • — Patti on October 27, 2017
    • Reply
  • Can you store this in mason jars and put it in the fridge? If so, how long do you think it will keep?

    • — Alecia on October 24, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi Alecia, sure you could store this in mason jars and it will keep nicely for about a week in the fridge. It also freezes well. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on October 24, 2017
      • Reply
  • I made this apple sauce the other day, It was fabulous! So easy! Why didn’t I ever think to put them in the oven? You are a Genius! I love all your recipes. Im making the stew this weekend for my dinner guests, Never tried it but it sounds so delish!

    • — Tami McClimans on October 12, 2017
    • Reply
  • Absolutely delicious and fresh tasting….simplicity at its best! Thank you!

    • — Karen Malcolm on October 7, 2017
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, can your Chunky Homemade Applesauce be frozen? Can’t wait to try it. Gail

    • — Gail on September 25, 2017
    • Reply
    • Yes, Gail, it should freeze nicely. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 26, 2017
      • Reply
  • This apple sauce is outstanding! Perfect texture, perfect flavour and super easy to make. I did add a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg for a bit of spice. My boys both had it for breakfast this morning with granola and yogurt. YUM!

    • — Jean Anderson on September 18, 2017
    • Reply
  • This is amazing! I made it last week for the first time and I can barely wait to make it again. A must try recipe.

    • — Elizabeth on April 8, 2017
    • Reply
  • This is the best applesauce I’ve ever tasted. My kids can’t get enough, especially warm with vanilla ice cream.

    • — Diana on March 20, 2017
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  • I make applesauce all of the time, and never ever have I baked the apples in the oven. This is brilliant. I make a cardamom version.

    • — Margot C on March 4, 2017
    • Reply
  • In reviewing the ingredients and cooking instructions, I noticed that brown sugar is used. When I make homemade applesauce, I use have white and half brown sugar. The white sugar seems to cut down on some of the acidity of the acid. I can see where the brown sugar can give a sweater taste.

    • — Jackie Warner on March 2, 2017
    • Reply
  • WOW – Y – U – M – M – Y
    I smear it on bread and butter for a treat!

    Do you think I could add red hot candy to make that tasty blast from the past?

    • — Kay Campbell on February 16, 2017
    • Reply
    • Sure, Kay – why not?!

      • — Jenn on February 16, 2017
      • Reply
  • Made this applesauce, it was wonderful, thanks for the recipe Jenn.

    • — Kathy Edwards on February 14, 2017
    • Reply
  • Applesauce freezes beautifully – I freeze it in small jars. Love your website!!

    • — Nancy on February 9, 2017
    • Reply
  • Made this today. Excellent! The hardest thing to do was peel the apples. Try it, you will like it. I will make it again. I gave my sister’s email address to you for her to get your weekly emails. She will enjoy them also.

    • — Marlene on December 26, 2016
    • Reply
  • We all love applesauce in my family. However, my youngest likes his apples sauce chunky whereas my oldest likes his more soup-like. Whenever I make apple sauce I would have to make two batches. One using your recipe and for the soupier applesauce I would just cook it high in a crockpot for 3 hours. Thanks for this recipe! My son loves it!

    • — L Plese on December 1, 2016
    • Reply
  • This is awesome. Best apple sauce available. Thank you sooo much for the tip about adding sugar for tarter apples, really helps thank you.

    • — Zak Chambers on December 1, 2016
    • Reply
  • My mom makes the best applesauce in the world….and now I like this better! Perfect as is, family loved. Brilliant! Thank you!

    • — Janet Miller on December 1, 2016
    • Reply
  • Love this applesauce! I like that it’s not overly sweet- just the pure taste of the apples! Makes the kitchen smell amazing!

    • — Carol on October 29, 2016
    • Reply
  • This was amazing! GREAT with the pork loin also! I put some jars in the fridge and look forward to having more in the future.

    • — Tammy Woodfield on October 6, 2016
    • Reply
  • Thank You! Love your website. Every recipe is always a hit.
    Do you think it would work if I put it in jars and preserve for the winter months?

    • — Katherine on October 2, 2016
    • Reply
    • Hi Katherine, I don’t know very much about canning and this recipe wasn’t designed with canning in mind, so I wouldn’t recommend it– sorry! (And glad you like the site 🙂

      • — Jenn on October 2, 2016
      • Reply
  • I like crunchy apples, so when they get a little soft for my preference I’ve used this recipe, although without the butter. Warm out of the oven or microwaved warm it tastes great on pancakes instead of maple syrup. Add a couple strips of bacon and breakfast is ready. There’s just something so good about pork and applesauce.

    • — Frank on September 29, 2016
    • Reply
  • This is the Best best best recipe for applesauce.
    Apologies to my mother in law and stovetop applesauce family tradition ?

    • — Tracy on April 1, 2016
    • Reply
  • Best applesauce I have ever eaten!

    • — Linda Youens on March 1, 2016
    • Reply
  • Can this be done without the butter?

    • — C.D. Ewald on February 4, 2016
    • Reply
    • It can, but I’m afraid it won’t be nearly as good. Maybe just reduce it?

      • — Jenn on February 4, 2016
      • Reply
  • I made this recently when some of our kids and grandchildren were visiting. Oh my, this is a delicious applesauce recipe. I will make this again and again. I think it will be great served with a holiday dinner. I love your website and often try your recipes. Haven’t found one yet that I dislike.

    • — Bobbi Smith on January 12, 2016
    • Reply
  • It was delicious.

    • — Janet on December 15, 2015
    • Reply
    • Found my new favorite Apple at the store- Kiku. Very sweet and made some great Apple empanadas with them. Will try your applesauce recipe.

      • — Helen on January 2, 2016
      • Reply
  • Very good idea to bake the applesauce. I can’t wait to try your recipe! Thank You!

    • — Marie Homan on December 13, 2015
    • Reply
  • I love homemade applesauce. I make it on the stove top! But, thanks to your recipe, will make it in the oven. Great recipe!

    • — Marie Homan on December 13, 2015
    • Reply
  • Brilliant! Bake and mash…. tasted like apple pie filling.

    • — Elizabeth on December 12, 2015
    • Reply
  • Thank you! Simply good. I love knowing what’s in my food. So easy and tastes better than bought at the grocery store. My friend uses the same recipe but done in the crock pot which makes the house smell nice.

    • — Jacqueline on December 10, 2015
    • Reply
  • I’ve made this recipe twice already — with Macintosh and Empire apples. I also left out the sugar, and it was still amazing.

    • — Cynthia Liverpool on December 8, 2015
    • Reply
  • Wow! You never cease to amaze me with your inspiring recipes, Jennifer. I would never have thought to bake the apples for applesauce, but it makes perfect sense. I can’t wait to try your method.

  • My grandma Hilda taught us to only use golden delicious apples,no sugar and cinnamon. We cut our apples in different sizes so it will be chunky every time. I can 50 jars of applesauyce every fall and that is the only applesauce we eat.

    • — Bubbi on December 6, 2015
    • Reply
  • It is wonderful! I just left off the butter because I am doing a meat meal!

    • — Allison on December 4, 2015
    • Reply
  • I prefer unsweetened applesauce and also have a diabetic family member. Can the brown sugar be eliminated?

    • — Marcia on December 4, 2015
    • Reply
    • It can be eliminated, but make sure you use very sweet apples. If not the applesauce will be too tart.

      • — Jenn on December 4, 2015
      • Reply
  • This recipe is delicious! I have always made applesauce on the stove..this was so much better! Thanks!

    • — Sue on December 3, 2015
    • Reply
  • Did this recipe with “Cortland and Paulared” apples mix…..just wonderfu…mmmmmm….even if we’re surrounded with orchard in Quebec I had never heard or tried to “bake ” the apple sauce….from now on I will stick with that recipe…

    • — michel on December 3, 2015
    • Reply
  • There is another way…cook the apples seeded and cored, but not pared, and then put them through a coarse food mill. The peels add color and great flavor, though the texture will not be so chunky.

    • — Jane Newman on December 3, 2015
    • Reply
  • How long will this keep in the refrigerator?

    • — Maggie on December 3, 2015
    • Reply
    • Maggie, this should keep nicely for about a week. Thanks!

      • — Jenn on December 3, 2015
      • Reply
  • Applesauce can be excellent without any additional ingredients, just apples. I make on the stovetop, sloooowly, and usually do not have to add water. I am intrigued by the oven method, and will certainly try that.

    • — Mary McC on December 3, 2015
    • Reply
  • I love making apple sauce! I usually blend it but I think I am going to try your way this time. On a side note, the double bladed potato masher is a big let down for mashing anything…

    • — Lu on December 3, 2015
    • Reply
  • Dear Jenn,

    I am thrilled to see this recipe. When I lived in northwest Montana I used to make homemade apple sauce and apple butter. My kids LOVED it. Now they are grown…and still speak of it. This will be a lovely addition to their Christmas presents! This looks much easier and less time consuming! Can’t wait to start on this! I guess this needs to be consumed when fresh? Do you think it would freeze well? Thank you! Thoroughly enjoying your recipes.
    Doreen

    • — Doreen M Sanders on December 3, 2015
    • Reply
    • Hi Doreen, the applesauce should freeze nicely (and I’m sure your kids will enjoy their nostalgic Christmas present)!

      • — Jenn on December 4, 2015
      • Reply

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