How to Make and Preserve Applesauce

How to Make Homemade Applesauce

If you’ve never had homemade applesauce, you don’t know what you’re missing! Storebought applesauce is so bland after tasting your own. It’s not that difficult to make and freeze or you may can the extra for later and enjoy it in the winter. I’ve been making and canning applesauce since I was a kid on the farm and I like eating right out of the jar.

Usually, I scout the area for wild apples in the autumn, but sometimes they are scarce. Some years I buy them from a local orchard or order juice-grade organic apples from Azure Standard for our applesauce.

Maple Spice Applesauce
Homemade maple spice applesauce

How to Make Easy Applesauce

  • quarter apples
  • remove cores
  • add enough water to the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking
  • cook until apples are tender
  • cool until lukewarm
  • strain the cooked apples for smooth sauce or leave it chunky
  • add lemon juice, honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg to taste, if desired

You can make applesauce from any amount of apples quite easily and you really don’t need a recipe. I started by quartering the apples and removing any bad spots, along with the seeds and stems.

Next, I put the apples and a little bit of water into my heavy stainless steel stockpot and cooked them on our woodstove. When they were soft I removed them and cooled the pot down, then stuck it all in the fridge overnight.

A food mill, or Foley mill, strains out the skins.

How to Make Smooth Applesauce…

If I want a batch of applesauce to be smooth instead of chunky, put the apples through a Foley Mill or Victorio strainer. The waste pulp may be a bit on the wet side. If so, run it through the strainer one more time to remove as much of the sauce as possible.

To enhance the natural flavor, I add lemon juice and sometimes a little honey for a bit more flavor. I also like to add sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon. If you are canning the applesauce, it should not be overly thick or the sauce may not heat up properly in the center of the jar.

This applesauce is quite delicious and, although there isn’t always enough to process in the water bath canner, I simply freeze the extra (see instructions, below).

How to Can Homemade Applesauce

Prepare your applesauce according to the instructions above. Sweeten to taste and add some lemon juice if your applesauce tastes a bit bland. Applesauce is acidic enough to process in a water bath canner.

Keep the applesauce in the pan on a low burner, stirring occasionally to keep it nice and hot until you are ready to process it. To can your applesauce:

  • Fill a hot water bath canner with water, cover, and place on a burner on high.
  • Place clean canning jars in the canner on the wire rack.
  • Make sure the jars are covered with at least 1″ of water.
  • Bring water to a rolling boil and boil jars for 20 minutes to sterilize.
  • Prepare canning lids according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Keep the sterile jars in the hot water until you are ready to fill them with applesauce.
  • Use a jar lifter to remove sterile jars from the canner and set them on a clean towel.
  • Place a canning funnel in each jar to make filling it easier.
  • Fill jars with piping hot applesauce to 1/2 inch from the top of the jar.
  • Use a clean cloth to wipe the rim of the jar.
  • Place canning lid on jar and screw on a clean metal screw band.
  • Use a jar lifter to carefully place each jar of hot applesauce into the wire rack of your canner.
  • Be careful not to tilt the jar, as this can allow sauce under the lid and prevent a proper seal.
  • Repeat until the canner is filled or the applesauce is used up. (Do not attempt to can partially filled jars as they won’t seal properly).
  • Place the lid on your canner and bring the water back to a full rolling boil.
  • Keep the water boiling but turn the heat down slightly if the jars are getting jostled too much.
  • Process quart and pint jars of applesauce for 20 minutes (for elevations of 0 to 1,000 feet. Add 5 minutes for 1,001 to 3,000 feet, add 10 minutes for elevations from 3,001 to 6,000 feet, add 15 minutes to the processing time for elevations over 6,000 feet.)
  • When the processing time is done, turn the burner off, remove the lid, and allow the jars to sit in the hot water for 5 minutes. This helps prevent siphoning (or leaking) of the contents.
  • Use the jar lifter to remove the jars from your canner and place them on a cloth or towel to cool.
  • Do not remove the screw bands, press down on the lids, or disturb the jars for 24 hours to allow the jars to seal
  • Test to make sure the lids are sealed properly – they will make a pinging sound when they seal and will not pull off easily. Properly sealed lids will not give when you press down on the center.
  • The next day, remove the screw bands and wipe jars with a clean damp cloth to remove any applesauce that could get moldy around the mouth of the jar.


Sometimes things don’t work out quite the way we expect and there are a few things that can go wrong when you can applesauce. Here are some things to watch out for and how to address them:

  • Applesauce is too thick – your applesauce should be a bit on the runny side for proper processing.
  • Air bubbles are trapped in the applesauce – run a knife blade through the sauce to release air bubbles.
  • Applesauce leaks under the lid – leave 1/2 inch headspace, remove air bubbles, and process jars at a low rolling boil to reduce jostling the jars (causing the product to leak).
  • Applesauce gets brown – add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice per quart of sauce to prevent browning.

How To Freeze Your Homemade Applesauce…

No time to can your applesauce? It’s easy to freeze it! Here’s how:

  • Cool the applesauce completely
  • Pack it into clean BPA-free freezer containers, leaving about 1 1/2 inches of headspace
  • Press the lid on tightly
  • Label your containers with the date and contents
  • Freeze for up to 1 year

How to Make the Easiest Batch of Applesauce!

Here is the easiest way to make a small batch of chunky applesauce:

  • peel, quarter, and core apples
  • chop coarsely
  • microwave until tender
  • sweeten with honey or sugar
  • add cinnamon or nutmeg to taste

You can make enough for a meal or snack this way in just a few minutes. Check out my easy recipe for Maple Spice Applesauce!

A Super Easy Applesauce Treat

Here’s a really easy way to turn that applesauce into a desert!

  • heat a bowl of applesauce in the microwave
  • crumble graham crackers over the top or sprinkle with granola
  • sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar or add a scoop of vanilla ice cream

This tastes almost like apple pie, but it is much easier to make…especially if you use the quick applesauce recipe above! I hope this little time-saving tip provides an easy alternative for a fall treat.

What is your favorite way to make applesauce? Leave a Comment!

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

How to Make Homemade Applesauce - 2 Easy Recipes and Canning Instructions by The Self Sufficient HomeAcre


    • Lisa Lombardo
  1. gardenan

Add Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.