Making this homemade chunky applesauce is really so easy! Fresh apples are cooked down with cinnamon and sugar to make the perfect applesauce. It's the classic accompaniment to potato latkes for Hanukkah. Serve it warm or cold.
It's also a delicious side dish for sandwiches and for fall holiday meals when there's a fresh crop of apples. Applesauce is a great addition to a seasonal menu for Rosh Hashanah, Break the Fast, Sukkot, and Thanksgiving.
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Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Easy and simple recipe.
- A staple for a Hanukkah menu.
- Easy to prepare ahead of time.
- You can control the sweetness.
- No special equipment needed.
Dana’s note: This recipe is an old family favorite from my Aunt Rose. She had the best repertoire of holiday recipes. Homemade applesauce is simple to make and so tasty. Every year when I make it for Hanukkah, I wonder why I don't make applesauce more often. This applesauce recipe is great to prepare ahead of time for Hanukkah which leaves more time to prepare other dishes.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
See the recipe card below for a complete ingredient list and measurements.Jump to Recipe
This is the best homemade applesauce recipe and is made from a few simple ingredients.
- Apples - Use fresh apples for this recipe. Honeycrisp, gala, fuji, pink lady, envy, and granny smith are all great options. Since each apple variety has a slightly different flavor and texture, using a combination of apple varieties makes the tastiest applesauce.
- Granulated sugar - Adjust to personal preference and the sweetness of the apples. You can also swap for honey which I do sometimes.
- Cinnamon sticks - If you only have ground cinnamon, try ½ to 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon for this recipe.
Best Apples for Making Applesauce
There are so many apple varieties out there, but what are the best apples to use for making applesauce?
The kind of apple you use can affect the final taste of the applesauce. I prefer using crisp, flavorful apples for making homemade applesauce. I like to buy them from the farmers’ market where I can sample them and get recommendations from the farmer.
At different times in the season, different apples are at their peak. It’s good to buy a variety to have a mix of textures and flavors.
Some of my favorites include:
- Pink Lady
- Granny Smith
When cooking, the Granny Smiths stay firm and chunky longer than the other varieties.
Some apples are more sweet, while some are tart. When in doubt, buy a mix of varieties for the perfect blend.
Step by Step Photos
See the recipe card below for complete directions.Jump to Recipe
Just a few steps to make this easy recipe.
First peel and core apples and cut into small slices. I like to use an apple slicer and corer gadget to make this easier. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on the apples to keep them from browning.
Combine apples, cinnamon, sugar, and ½ a cup of water in large pot or dutch oven uncovered. Bring to a boil and then turn down to medium heat.
As the apples cook, stir periodically and mash apart with a fork or potato masher. The cooking process takes about half an hour.
The applesauce is ready when the apple chunks are tender and most of the water has simmered out. Applesauce will be chunky and delicious!
If you like a chunkier applesauce, keep some chunks intact when mashing. If you prefer a smooth applesauce, you can mash more with a potato masher, or purée with an immersion blender or food processor.
Serve warm or cold. Especially delicious when paired with potato latkes!
Make a double batch to save some for later, as this recipe freezes well.
My main tip for applesauce is to sample the apples before buying them. Look for firm apples with a crunchy, not mealy texture. For the best applesauce, you have to start with great tasting apples! If you want to add less sugar, look for a sweeter apple variety.
This chunky applesauce recipe is great for making ahead of time.
Make the applesauce as per directions, then let cool. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 7 days, or freeze for up to 6 months.
This is also a great recipe to make and freeze at the start of apple season in the fall.
Storage and Reheating
How to store: Store applesauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
How to freeze: Store in freezer-safe containers for up to 6 months.
What to serve with applesauce
This is a great side dish to serve with these dishes or to eat as a healthy snack!
- Sweet Potato Latkes
- Potato Latkes
- Potato Latke Muffins (Mini Potato Kugels)
- Cole Slaw
- Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Chicken and Vegetables
More Hanukkah recipes
- Oven Braised Brisket and Onions
- Za'atar Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Herbs
- French Green Beans with Mustard Shallot Sauce
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Dates, Pecans, and Cheese
Easy Homemade Chunky Applesauce
- 6-8 quart pot
- Produce peeler
- 8 medium apples Like honeycrisp, gala, fuji, pink lady, granny smith, envy, or a combination
- ½ cup filtered water
- ¼ to ½ cup granulated sugar depending on personal preference and the sweetness of the apples
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- lemon juice Optional. To squeeze on apples to prevent browning
- Peel and core apples and cut into small slices. I like to use an apple corer and slicer gadget. Once the apple is cut into 8 slices with the gadget, use a knife to cut each slice into 2 or 3 skinny slices, yielding 16 to 24 small slices per apple. Or just chop up the peeled apple any way you'd like.
- Place all the ingredients in a 6 to 8 quart pot uncovered. Bring to a boil on the stovetop, and then turn flame down to medium. As the apples cook, stir periodically and mash apart with a fork or potato masher. Takes about ½ hour. The applesauce is ready when the apples chunks are tender and most of the water has simmered out. Applesauce will be chunky and delicious.
- Serve warm or cold. If making ahead, let cool, and refrigerate in an airtight container with lid.
- How to store: Store applesauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
- How to freeze: Store in freezer-safe containers for up to 6 months.