Chunky Homemade Applesauce

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This baked homemade applesauce is rich, tart and sweet — almost like apple pie filling — and a world apart from store-bought.

Baked Applesauce

My grandmother, god bless her, loved any kind of applesauce — jarred applesauce, homemade applesauce, chunky applesauce, smooth applesauce — you name it. 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.

What you’ll need to make homemade applesauce

how to make homemade applesauce

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

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Chunky Homemade Applesauce

This baked homemade applesauce is rich, tart and sweet — almost like apple pie filling — and a world apart from store-bought.

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.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Jenn – I have made this several times and it has always been a big hit. I am wondering if it can be made with pears. Any thoughts? Thanks. Kathy

    • — Kathy on October 9, 2021
    • Reply
    • Glad you like it! Yes, I think it could be made with pears but because they’re a bit sweeter than apples, I’d cut back the sugar a touch. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on October 11, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hello, is this a good recipe for Canning/Preserving, other than freezing??
    Many thanks for all, Love Everything!!!

    • — Kim Addison on October 6, 2021
    • Reply
    • OOOPS!! Apologies, didn’t see your reply to similar inquiry. Thank you.

      • — Kim Addison on October 6, 2021
      • Reply
  • Could this recipe be canned?

    • — Bonnie Richard on October 2, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Bonnie, I didn’t develop this recipe for canning so I can’t say for sure that it would be safe. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on October 4, 2021
      • Reply
  • This recipe is AWESOME! I followed it completely and it turned out so yummy! This is so easy as well. No standing over a hot stove in 35 degree summer heat. Baked them in the toaster oven for 50 mins. When it was finished, we put a few of the apple chunks on ice cream before we mashed them and added a sprinkle of granola. Yummy! This will definitely be a family favorite.

    • — Paula Scrimgeour on August 10, 2021
    • Reply
  • I’ve always made homemade apple sauce when my apples are a little too ripe to eat fresh, or when I have had my share of apple crisp for the fall (check out that recipe too!!! So yummy.) I’ve never used brown sugar though, and it’s a game changer!! So decadent and delicious. I made them on the stove top, but will try baking next time. Thanks for all your wonderful and delicious recipes. You’re my go-to.

    • — Sarah Key on January 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • Awesome, easy, and foolproof. Had a little lightbulb moment and ate this with cabbage rolls and HOOO BOY. This is too easy and complementary not to be a fall staple, especially with in season apples being insanely cheap. You can literally freeze it in portions if you don’t eat it all the second it comes out of the oven. Come on people. Make this already.

    • — Corrine Trojanaek on November 16, 2020
    • Reply
  • This is the only applesauce recipe I will ever use. It is so good. I like to make it and serve it at room temp or even while its still warm.

    • — Flo on November 14, 2020
    • Reply
  • I had a bunch of apples slightly past their prime and this was a great way to use them. I added a cinnamon sticks and it made the house smell lovely. Will definitely make again!

    • — Erika on November 14, 2020
    • Reply
  • I’ve always wanted to make applesauce so I tried my hand at it with this recipe. I chose it blend it smooth and add just a bit of cinnamon. It was absolutely lovely!

    • — Nikki on October 22, 2020
    • Reply
  • We made this recipe and loved it. It is by far the best apple sauce I have tasted. This is a keeper.

    • — Nancy on October 14, 2020
    • Reply
  • Recipe was simple to make and so delicious!! Loved it!

    • — Kathy on October 8, 2020
    • Reply
  • So yummy! I used a mix of fuji, honey crisp, granny smith and a Bartlett pear. I sprinkled the apples with just a bit of apple pie spice and lemon. Will continue to use this recipe technique for apple sauce!

    • — May on September 11, 2020
    • Reply
  • This is so good and simple. I used old withering apples that my family hadn’t gotten to, and a few big good ones. So this was a sweet treat. I had about 3+ lbs on hand. I added the last two tablespoons of light brown sugar. The tart is under flavor with the cinnamon was perfect.

    • — Marlena Robinson on March 29, 2020
    • Reply
  • First time making apple sauce and everyone loved it!

    • — mikermeals on December 24, 2019
    • Reply
  • Yup, best applesauce recipe ever. So easy yet so delicious. I suggest just a tiny bit less sugar, and sprinkle in some cinnamon at the halfway part because it makes the kitchen smell great. I used a potato masher the 1st time and a fork the 2nd; both worked well.

    • — Christine Zwiebel on October 27, 2019
    • Reply
  • I just made this chunky applesauce. Have to say it is the best applesauce I have ever tasted!! I followed the directions exactly except I used all Macintosh apples. So simple and quick!

  • I’m with your grandmother. I love applesauce and I can all our applesauce, apple butter, and apple pie filling. I’m going to try your oven method because I’m the crockpot method. It’s never too late to learn and all your recipes come out perfect.

    I’ve done the mixing apple varieties for depth of flavor etc but last year I purchased Ambrosia apples from a local organic orchard. They are sweet enough I no longer have to add sugar when I process and the taste is superior to even a mixed variety applesauce. So this fall when Ambrosia apples are available I’ll try your oven method. I know I’ll love it like every other recipe.

  • I’ve tried so many of your recipes and every one is amazing.

    • So glad you enjoy them Ann! ❤️

  • So easy and delicious! Thank you!

  • Jenn,
    Thanks for sharing. I found it so easy and delicious. I made a batch yesterday to share with my neighbors. I just threw another in the oven as I write this for more gifts!

  • Jenn,
    So long as I can peel and chop apples, I will never buy applesauce again!!!! I made my first batch of this for my upcoming Christmas brunch. I used Pinata apples and some Golden Delicious. Yummmm!!!!!! No extra sugar needed!!

    You are a Rock Star in the kitchen Jenn !!!!! I think I’m addicted to your website and I might need some sort of intervention! lolol!!!!!

    • 🙂 So glad you like the recipes – Happy holidays!!

  • 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.

  • 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

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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
    • Reply
    • Hi Laura, So glad the applesauce was a hit! And, yes, it definitely freezes well. 🙂

  • 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
    • 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.

  • 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
    • Reply

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