Homemade Canned Applesauce

homemade apple jam, apple puree with fresh apples and spices on wooden rustic table

Homemade canned applesauce is the ultimate comfort food. A sweet, healthy treat, it is a wonderful snack for adults and children alike. When you make it at home, you can control the sugar, the spice, and the type of apples.

If you want the traditional creamy applesauce, the best apples for canning are ones that break down when cooked. For chunkier applesauce, leave on the skins and choose a more firm variety.

How Many Apples Do I Need?

Apple zoom in image

It takes about 3 pounds of apples to make a quart of applesauce. So, If you are making 7 quarts of applesauce, you will need about 21 pounds of apples. If you are using pint jars, you will need about 13 1/2 pounds of apples to make 9 pints.

What Kind of Homemade Canned Applesauce Do you Want?

Applesauce comes in many different varieties and flavors. It depends on what apples you use and how much you smash the apples.

Sweet or Tart Applesauce

Fresh homemade applesauce in white bowl and jar with fruit puree on white table

Different varieties of apples will have sweet, crisp, or tangy flavors. While you can add sugar and lemon juice to adjust the taste, it’s best to start with apples on that end of the spectrum. This chart will help guide you.

Taste PreferenceType of Apple
Very Sweet to Mildly SweetFuji, Gala, Gold Delicious, Crispin, Cortland
Tart with a hint of sweetGravenstein, Jonamac, MacIntosh
Sweet and TangyMacIntosh, Braeburn, Rome, Pink Lady
Crisp, Tangy and SharpBraeburn, Liberty, Ida Red, Rome
Tart and TangyMacoun, Granny Smith

Smooth or Chunky Applesauce

A wooden bowl of chunky applesauce with cinnamon sticks and pine cones

Applesauce can be made in different textures depending on your preference.

It all depends on the amount of time you spent on mashing the apples once they’ve been cooked.

Type of ApplesauceHow Much to Smash?
Stewed ApplesCook down the apples until they are soft, but do not smash them. You can either leave the peels on your take them off.
ChunkyCook down the apples until they are soft. Then, use a potato masher and smash about half to 2/3 of the apples in the pan. Leave small chunks of whole fruit.
SmoothCook down the apples until they are soft. Use a food processor, blender, immersion blender or food mill to press the apples until they are creamy. If you want to make baby applesauce, process it more.

Prepare the Apples

Close-up of hands peeling an apple. Woman's hands removes the skin of a red apple with a knife.
  1. Wash the apples thoroughly
  2. Peel and core the apples (or leave the peels on)
  3. Cut the apples into 1/4 – 1/2 inch chunks. (Bigger apples will take longer to cook down.)
  4. Place the apples in a bowl of cold water with some lemon juice they they don’t brown too much before you start to cook them. Use about 1/2 cup of lemon juice to 8 cups of water. Alternately, you can sprinkle them with FruitFresh or ascorbic acid. Read the package directions on how much to use of these.
  5. Put the apples in a pan on the stove with enough liquid to cover the apples halfway with water. Bring them to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently to make sure the apples are cooking evenly and don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  6. When the apples are tender, smash them with a potato masher, run them through a food processor, blender, or food mill, or use an immersion blender to blend the sauce right in the pot. Blend them to the consistency you like. For chunky applesauce, blend less and leave chunks of apples. For creamy applesauce, blend longer.
  7. Add lemon juice, spices (cinnamon), and sugar to taste. All of these ingredients are optional. If you add lemon juice, add 3 tablespoons for every 12 pounds of apples. For the spices and sugar, add a little at a time until you like the taste. Remember, you can’t go back if you add too much!
  8. Keep the sauce warm until your jars are ready.

Prepare your Canner and Jars

  • Sterilize your jars and lids. You can do this in the oven, boil them on the stove, or run them through the dishwasher, keeping them warm until ready to use.
  • Add water to your canner and bring it to a simmer.

Water Bath or Pressure Canner

Bath canning vs pressure canning method

Apples can be processed safely in a water bath canner, or you can use a pressure canner. It doesn’t really make any difference. Use what you are comfortable with.

Fill the Jars

Woman spooning fresh homemade applesauce in glass jars on kitchen table. Vertical image with copy space
  • Using a funnel, add the hot applesauce to the hot jars. Make sure you leave 1-inch between the sauce and the top of the jar.
  • If you see any air bubbles, poke them with a bubble popper or other similar tool.
  • Wipe the rims with a clean rag or wet paper towel.
  • Add the sterilized lids and screw on the rings until they are just tight.

Process the Jars

Golden applesauce preserved in glass mason jar. Canning process in hot water bath on small homestead.

If using a water bath canner, add the jars to boiling water, bring the water back up to a boil and process the jars for 15-40 minutes depending on your altitude and size of jar.

If you are using a pressure canner, the time will be less.

Follow the directions on your particular canner to determine perfect times. Refer to this pressure canner altitude chart for guidelines.

Here’s a handy chart from the National Center for Home Food Preservation which will give you some guidelines:

Style of Pack: Hot

Jar Size0 – 1,000 feet1,001 – 3,000 feet3,0001 – 6,000 feetAbove 6,000 feet
Pints15 minutes202025
Quarts20253035
Processing Times at Altitude

Style of Pack: Hot

Jar SizeProcess Time (Minutes)0 – 2,000 feet2,001 – 4,000 feet4,001 – 6,000 feet6,0001 – 8,000 feet
Pints86 pounds7 pounds8 pounds9 pounds
Quarts106 pounds7 pounds8 pounds9 pounds
Processing Times Using a Dial-Gauge Pressure Canner

Style of Pack: Hot

Jar SizeProcess Time (Minutes)0 – 1,000 feetOver 1,000 feet
Pints85 pounds10 pounds
Quarts105 pounds10 pounds
Processing Times Using a Weighted-Gauge Pressure Canner

When done processing, cool the jars slowly and store them in your pantry.

Enjoy your Homemade Canned Applesauce!

Canned and preserved applesauce in glass jars on white table

Eat your homemade canned applesauce right out of the jar, or add it to muffins, cakes and more. If you canned applesauce using our directions, how did it turn out? Let us know in the comments below.

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