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

bowl of homemade applesauce

My grandmother Elleen, in all her quirky charm, had a special fondness for applesauce. Regardless of what was on her plate, she would always enjoy it with a side of applesauce, even daring to request it in fancy restaurants, which never failed to raise eyebrows among the waitstaff. I know she would have absolutely loved this homemade applesauce. It’s richly flavored, striking the perfect balance between tartness and sweetness—and it blows the store-bought stuff out of the water.

Making homemade applesauce is a breeze; the most laborious step is peeling the apples. While it’s traditionally prepared on the stovetop, I prefer the baking method. With the stovetop approach, you need to incorporate water or juice to prevent sticking, but with the baking method, no additional liquid is required, resulting in a more concentrated apple flavor. While I might not crave it with every meal like my grandmother (though it’s perfect with pork tenderloin, roast chicken, or latkes!), it’s delicious for breakfast, a snack, or dessert.

“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!”


What you’ll need to make homemade applesauce

Various colored apples on a marbled countertop with butter and seasonings.

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, and may require more sugar to balance the flavors.

Step-by-Step Instructions

To begin, peel, core and chop the apples into 1-inch chunks.

Peeled and chopped apples on a wooden cutting board.

Place them in a 9×13-inch baking dish and top with brown sugar and pads of butter.

Apple chunks in a baking dish with brown sugar and butter.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 t0 50 minutes, until the apples are tender.

Cooked, seasoned apples in a yellow baking dish.

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

Smashed apples in a yellow baking dish.

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.

bowl of applesauce

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This 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


  • 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 ¼-inch chunks
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar, packed
  • Ground cinnamon, for serving (optional)


  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. Make-Ahead/Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The applesauce can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated or frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Information

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  • 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, 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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  • I just finished making your applesauce and it was epic! I’ve never made applesauce before and this was easy because I used a spiralizer to peel, core and slice the apples. I used 4 Grannies and 4 Honey Crisps and the end result is 100% better than any store bought brand. I’ll be making this again and again!

    • — Margot Bradley on January 10, 2024
    • Reply
  • Excellent! So glad I finally tried to make applesauce and started here! Thanks!

    • — Joan D on December 12, 2023
    • Reply
  • Other than peeling and cutting the apples, this recipe is as easy as it gets and the results are incredible. I add a little bit of lemon juice to perk up the apples. I’ll never eat store bought applesauce again.

    • — Chris on December 5, 2023
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  • Hi Jenn, Years ago my mother gave me an applesauce recipe that didn’t call for
    peeling the apples. It was wonderful and couldn’t even tell that the apples were
    unpeeled. I lost the recipe many years ago. Have you ever not peeled the apples
    to see what it is like unpeeled. Frankly I am too lazy in my old age to peel 10
    apples! Thankyou.

    • — Sid on December 5, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Sid, I’ve never left the skin on the apples. I think it’s probably best if you peel them, but you can get away with skipping it if you’d like. Hope you enjoy the applesauce if you try it!

      • — Jenn on December 6, 2023
      • Reply
  • I love the more intense flavor of baked applesauce. Like to keep it chunky, just mashing a bit with a fork after baking. Have been making an apple/pear version created by Ina Garten for several years. In addition to the butter & brown sugar in your recipe, hers includes orange & lemon zest plus a bit of fresh squeezed juice.

    • — Judy Lance on December 5, 2023
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  • Honeycrisp and Fuji were my chosen apples today. I used a potato masher and it was still too chunky, so I blended a portion and mixed it with the remainder. I added an extra pat of butter and appx.2 T more of brown sugar.l after tasting. It was so delicious with a creamy side of vanilla yogurt…my new go to breakfast- Heaven!

    • — Kathleen Anne Vukasovich on December 3, 2023
    • Reply
  • I will have to try this. I usually cook a variety of apples in a pot and add maple sugar and some cloves. Also a peel or 2 from red apple to give it a rosy color.

    • — Marianne Pannelli on October 26, 2023
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  • Hi Jenn,

    I’d like to make this without the sugar for my toddler. Would I be able to omit the sugar and follow the method as written, or will it alter the cooking and texture? Thanks!

    • — Catherine on September 12, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Catherine, I think it’s fine to omit the sugar. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 14, 2023
      • Reply
      • It turned out wonderfully! I used all macintosh so it was already applesauce when I took it out of the oven. Super easy method. My daughter loved it, thanks!

        • — Catherine on September 19, 2023
        • Reply
  • I can’t imagine buying applesauce again! This recipe turned out great (though I used an immersion blender at the end to speed things along) – so much so that family members are asking when I’m making my next batch.

    • — Michelle C on March 1, 2023
    • Reply
  • Thanks for sharing the baking method for applesauce. Nice to have a more hands off cooking option, but also very good in stovetop.

    I grew up eating this on homemade drop buttermilk biscuits, so good!!! I am currently making a big batch of this to freeze for a quick breakfast or breakfast for dinner with biscuits.

    • — Alyssa on January 9, 2023
    • Reply
  • I have made chucky no added liquid applesauce on the stove top, crockpot, and microwave. Thank you for the oven.

    For another layer of flavor try adding grounded ginger or rum. Recommend using white sugar with the ginger and brown sugar with rum flavoring or rum alcohol.

    • — CeeWee on January 5, 2023
    • Reply
  • My husband adores chunky applesauce. It became ridiculously expensive and difficult to buy so I decided to try making some. Per my husband he doesn’t care if store bought chunky applesauce becomes easily available and cheap because your recipe is so much better. I make a double batch and place in 12-16 ounce mason jars and freeze all but one. They freeze and thaw in the fridge wonderfully. The only thing I changed was I dropped the sugar a bit as he doesn’t like a very sweet applesauce.. Thanks for a wonderful and easy recipe.

    • I used to have two apple trees and made lots of apple sauce every fall. I left the skin on, added cinnamon sticks and a little water and cooked it on the stove top, no sugar added. When the apples were soft, I put them through my food mill – there was no trace of the skin left. I will try and bake the apples with the skin and when soft, put them through the food mill. Should work just fine.

      • — Erena Rieflin on December 12, 2023
      • Reply
  • Hi! I’m hoping to do the prep work in advance and hold it in fridge until ready to cook (day before or the day of). Would this work?

    • Hi Jamie, I wouldn’t recommend doing the prep work in advance as I’m concerned that the apples will brown. You can, however, make the applesauce up to 3 days ahead. 🙂

  • O.M.G. I’ve never made applesauce before, but my husband had been lamenting the fact that I never serve pork chops with applesauce (in best Peter-Brady-meets-Humphry-Bogart voice) anymore. I remembered some sad apples, as well as some happy ones, in the basement and started looking for a recipe. We devoured it. So, so good. I’m grateful I forgot the crap from the store! Thank you for the wonderful recipe.

    • I can’t ever have porkchops and applesauce without thinking about that Brady Bunch episode, ha ha.

      • — Mary on December 5, 2023
      • Reply
  • Sooooooo good. I basically think this is apple pie without the crust…so I’m not sure I would call it applesauce per se…but what ever you call it, it is amazing. We served it on the side of pork carnitas tacos.

  • Hi Jenn, just made this recipe – it’s one of the best I have made so far. Very good and so easy to make. It’s a keeper.

    • — suzanne bussiere
    • Reply
  • 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

    • 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!

  • Hello, is this a good recipe for Canning/Preserving, other than freezing??
    Many thanks for all, Love Everything!!!

    • OOOPS!! Apologies, didn’t see your reply to similar inquiry. Thank you.

  • Could this recipe be canned?

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

  • 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
    • 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.

  • 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
    • 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.

  • 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!

    • Making this for 3rd time. So good! Cut back sugar a bit. May add a little vanilla before baking.
      I warm this up, sprinkle with cinnamon, & it’s my desert.
      Great, easy recipe.

      • — Mary on October 29, 2022
      • 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!

  • We made this recipe and loved it. It is by far the best apple sauce I have tasted. This is a keeper.

  • Recipe was simple to make and so delicious!! Loved it!

  • 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!

  • 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
    • Reply
  • First time making apple sauce and everyone loved it!

  • 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
    • 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 my Whole Foods and another large grocery store I could not find McIntosh apples (in Kansas). What other variety would be your preference?

    • 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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