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How to Make Old-Fashioned Applesauce


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Homemade apple sauceMcIntosh and Granny Smith are two apples that are slightly tart and juicy and well suited for cooking and applesauce making. (Once I have the applesauce, it’s hard to resist the baking up a dozen applesauce muffins.)

McIntosh is an East Coast and Midwest favorite. Granny Smith, originally from Australia is a West Coast favorite. It’s not hard to find either of these great tasting apples at farm markets from late summer through early spring.

Choose apples that are heavy and firm, vibrant colored, and fresh smelling. Smell is the best ways to choose apples that are fresh and ripe.

How to Make Old-Fashioned Applesauce

Yield 4 servings


  • 4 good sized apples
  • lemon juice
  • sugar
  • cinnamon


  1. Halve and core the apples–choose McIntosh or Granny Smith or a couple of each. You don’t need to peel them (apple skins are full of healthful antioxidants). Cut the halves into quarters or chunks.
  2. Just cover the apples with water in a flat-bottomed saucepan (for even cooking) and add a squeeze or two of lemon juice. Cook over a low fire until the apples soften just enough to mash. (If you don’t want to cook on the stovetop, use a microwave-safe casserole and cook in the microwave at full power for 5 minutes.)
  3. When the apples are just soft, you can add sugar and cinnamon—but you don’t have to if you find the apples flavorful enough. Mix the sugar (about ½ cup) and ground cinnamon (¼ to ½ teaspoon) together in a small bowl first and then add the mix to the apples and cook on just a bit longer—a few minutes, not more than five.
  4. McIntosh and Granny Smith are good cookers and hold their form. You can decide if you want a fine or coarse applesauce; use a potato masher to get the consistency you favor. Let the applesauce cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate.
  5. If you didn’t add cinnamon earlier, you can dust the applesauce with cinnamon or nutmeg just before serving.

Courses Dessert

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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