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Chunky Homemade Applesauce

5 stars based on 25 votes

homemade 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 ever 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; with baking, you do not, which translates to 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.


Chunky Homemade Applesauce

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


  • 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 brown sugar, packed
  • Dash cinnamon, for serving (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Place the apples in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Scatter the the brown sugar and chunks of butter evenly over top. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 45-50 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.)

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

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    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
  • 5 stars

    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
  • 5 stars

    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 Reply
  • 4 stars

    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
  • 5 stars

    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
  • 5 stars

    Made this applesauce, it was wonderful, thanks for the recipe Jenn.

    - Kathy Edwards on February 14, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Applesauce freezes beautifully – I freeze it in small jars. Love your website!!

    - Nancy on February 9, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    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
  • 5 stars

    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
  • 5 stars

    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
  • 5 stars

    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
  • 5 stars

    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
  • 5 stars

    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
  • 5 stars

    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
  • 5 stars

    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
  • 5 stars

    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
  • 5 stars

    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
  • 5 stars

    Very good idea to bake the applesauce. I can’t wait to try your recipe! Thank You!

    - Marie Homan on December 13, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    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
  • 5 stars

    Brilliant! Bake and mash…. tasted like apple pie filling.

    - Elizabeth on December 12, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    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.

    - Kath on December 7, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    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
  • 5 stars

    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
  • 5 stars

    This recipe is delicious! I have always made applesauce on the stove..this was so much better! Thanks!

    - Sue on December 3, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    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 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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