This Easy Homemade Unsweetened Applesauce recipe is super simple to make. It contains only apples, with a little lemon to prevent browning. If you make your homemade applesauce sugar free, you can sweeten and spice your applesauce however you like when using it in recipes.
Homemade applesauce could not be any easier, and canning it means you have it in the pantry to use in recipes. Homemade applesauce, like Apricot Jam, Pepper Jelly, or Asian Plum Sauce are always a welcome holiday gift, too.
Why You'll Love This Applesauce Recipe
- Besides some fresh lemon juice, this homemade unsweetened applesauce is just apples, that's all.
- Many applesauce recipes have added sugar, but this is a refined sugar free applesauce recipe.
- This applesauce is super easy to make.
- Your homemade applesauce will keep for a year in the pantry.
- Homemade applesauce is handy to have on hand. Especially if you use applesauce for baking, like I do with this Gluten-Free Zucchini Bread, or Gluten-Free Carrot Cake. You can eat it as a snack, stir it into Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats, or as a topping for ice cream. This unsweetened applesauce is delicious with pork. Try it with Grilled Pork Tenderloin, or Pork Chops with Apples & Onions.
- Sugar free homemade applesauce is ideal for babies, and kids love it too.
- Once you know how to make this easy applesauce recipe, you'll never want to buy store bought applesauce again.
Apples Since we're making this applesauce sugar free, you may want to use a sweeter variety of apples. Try any of these varieties or a combo:
Sweet Apple Varieties
- Golden Delicious
- Red Delicious
However, a combo of tart and sweet apples can make your homemade unsweetened applesauce a bit more interesting. Try one of the sweeter varieties mentioned above in combination with a tart variety. Here are a few:
Tart Apple Varieties
- Granny Smith
- Pink Lady
Just be sure to use apples at the peak of ripeness, and don't use bruised or soft ones. The taste of your sauce will reflect the freshness of the apples that you use.
How To Make Applesauce Step by Step
- Peel, core, and slice apples.
- Combine apples pieces, lemon juice, and water in a large pot.
- Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and cook 10 minutes
- Use an immersion blender to puree the apples.
- Ladle the hot sauce into hot jars
- Apply lids and bands to the filled jars.
- Process jars in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes
- Allow the jars to cool, making sure they are sealed, label them with the date, and store in the pantry until ready to use.
Tips for Canning Applesauce
- If you are new to canning, you can find a more detailed guide here: Using Boiling Water Canners
- Jars and bands can be reused, but new lids are required.
- Check each jar for any chips or nicks and do not use those for processing.
- Sterilize the empty jars for ten minutes in the water bath canner you are using for processing, keeping the water simmering so that it's ready to bring to a boil for processing the filled jars.
- Cooking time for the apples will depend on how big your pieces are. Larger pieces will require longer cooking time.
- Use a canning funnel to fill the jars with hot applesauce.
- When filling the jars, leave ½ inch headspace.
- Use a damp paper towel to wipe the rims of the jars clean before applying the lids.
Applesauce Canning FAQ's
You don't have to peel the apples. In fact you will have a more nutritious applesauce if you leave the peels on, albeit a chunkier one. For baking and other recipes, I prefer a smoother puree, so I peel the apples.
Browning (called oxidation) occurs when the cut surfaces of the apple are exposed to air. Adding lemon juice to the slices stops or slows the oxidation process. To limit browning, add apple slices to the pot with lemon juice as you slice them.
Yes, apples will loose their flavour if they are cooked too long. Cook just until the apples are fork tender.
As they cool, you will hear the satisfying pop as each jar seals. To check, press the center of each jar lid with your finger. The lid should be concave and will not move when pressed. If the center of the lid gives to your finger pressure, it is not sealed.
If, after cooling completely, a jar fails to seal, refrigerate and use the applesauce within 5-7 days.
Eat it as a snack or use your homemade unsweetened applesauce to top yogurt, oatmeal or pancakes. It's great with pork and can be used in many baked goods.
- Change the fruit. You can use pears, or a combo of apples and pears.
- Spice it up. Add spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cardamom.
- Make it sweet. You can add sugar if you want this unsweetened applesauce recipe to be a sweet applesauce. Add sugar in ¼ cup increments, tasting until it's as sweet as you like. Sugar should be added after the apples are pureed and brought back to a boil.
- Make it chunky. If you like a chunky, rather than a smooth applesauce, coarsely crush half the cooked apples and puree the other half before combining them.
Equipment I Used for this Recipe
- Apple peeler/corer/slicer This inexpensive tool makes short work of prepping, but isn't necessary. It's great to have for making pies and other apple recipes.
- Citrus juicer This tool is the best way to get every last drop of juice from lemons, limes, oranges, etc.
- Immersion Blender This is the easiest way to puree the applesauce and it's also great for soups and sauces. If you don't have one, you can transfer the cooked apples in batches to a blender and return to the pot after pureeing.
- Canning kit This contains a canning funnel for filling jars, a jar lifter, tongs, bubble popper, and a magnetic lid lifter. Of course, you can buy any of those items separately, too.
- Water Bath Canner Essentially a large, deep pot with a rack. You can use a stock pot with a rack purchased separately.
- Half Pint Jars with lids and bands Jars and bands can be re-used. Lids must be new.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a rating in the comments below and let us know how it turned out. Did you make any changes? We would love for you to share and your feedback is important!
Homemade Unsweetened Applesauce Recipe
- 6 pounds fresh apples (about 12 large apples) peeled, cored, and sliced or chopped
- Juice of one lemon
- 1 cup water
- Peel, core and slice or chop the apples
- Put apple pieces in a large, deep pot and toss with lemon juice.
- Add water
- Over high heat, bring to a boil, stirring.
- Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft, about 10 minutes.
- Use an immersion blender in the pot to puree the apples.
- Keep sauce at a gentle boil while ladling into hot, sterilized jars.
- Wipe jar rims with a damp paper towel, and put lids and bands on jars.
- Process jars in a boiling-water canner for 20 minutes.
- Allow jars to cool, making sure they are sealed, and store in the pantry until ready to use.