Today we’re going to show you how to make the most delicious homemade applesauce you’ve ever tasted! This applesauce recipe is a family tradition. My mom makes it every year for Thanksgiving dinner, and sometimes we’ll make it at other times during the fall to go with homemade chicken pot pie. SO good!

Homemade Applesauce Recipe

The secret to making really delicious homemade applesauce is to use the right kind of apple. We always make applesauce with McIntosh apples. One time I tried making applesauce with another type (maybe Braeburn?) and it was NOT the same! McIntosh apples are a soft apple. They have a wonderful taste, and when you cook them, they turn into a great applesauce with a good texture.

Since they are a softer apple, McIntosh apples are mainly available in the fall, at least here in Texas. My guess is that they don’t stay fresh as long as some of the other apples that can be stored until spring. They also bruise easily, so be careful with them.

Step 1: Wash your apples. Then quarter them and remove the core. We leave the skin on. The food mill will keep the skin out of the applesauce, but the skins will add a pink color (and probably some nutrients).

Step 2: Cook your apples over low heat. Add some water to get them cooking, but they’ll quickly start generating their own juice, so it doesn’t need to be much. I filled a 6 quart pot with apples and used 1 cup of water.

Cook time is about 20 minutes. I have never actually timed it. Just stir your apples every 5 minutes or so. When the apples have all basically fallen apart, then they are cooked thoroughly enough!

If you don’t cook the apples long enough, you may get some firm lumps that won’t go through the food mill.

This project is pretty forgiving… I had something to do and left the apples on the stove a few extra minutes. They were just fine!

Cooking apples for homemade applesauce

Step 3: Let the apples cool a few minutes. Then scoop the sauce into a food mill and grind away!

This is the food mill that we own. I’m pretty sure it’s this Weston Stainless Steel Food Mill, but I’m not sure. It was a gift several years ago.

Note: I think you could make this applesauce WITHOUT a food mill, but you’ll need to take the skin off before cooking. The applesauce will look more like the color of store bought applesauce.

Turning the food mill is SO MUCH FUN! The kids had a great time watching the applesauce come through the bottom.

We find it works best to turn clockwise (the way that pushes the food through the mill) and then turn counter clockwise once or twice to loosen the apple skins from the blades. We used a fork to pull the skins out every now and then.

Step 4: Add sugar and cinnamon. After you’ve processed all your applesauce through the food mill, stir in some sugar and cinnamon. For this large bowl of applesauce (6 cups), I added 1/4 cup of sugar and about 2 tsp of cinnamon. You really have to just taste it and add sugar and cinnamon accordingly. It’s better to add too little and then put in more than to put in too much…

Refrigerate you applesauce for several hours before serving. SO yummy! Homemade applesauce just makes it feel like fall!

Want to see video instructions?

I don’t have any audio in this video, but it will show you the steps in the post. I thought it might be helpful to see how soft the apples need to get before taking them off the heat. Click the play button to start the video.

Kids will love making applesauce! It’s such a fun process.

Completed homemade applesauce

Want more fall activity ideas?

It’s so fun to do special things for the season, and fall is such a great season.

Try making some 3D Paper Pumpkins – they make great decorations.

Create some beautiful Leaf Rubbing Art with black crayon and watercolor paints.

Build some LEGO Pumpkin Lanterns that light up with a battery powered tea light.


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  1. Kimberly Oct 14, 2019

    I also love making applesauce in the fall. I add 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks to the apples when cooking them, and we don’t add any extra sugar. I don’t have a food mill so we just put it in a blender after they cool some. The skins are soft enough to get blended in just fine. I’ve also just mashed them before like mashed potatoes!

  2. Chantal Sep 20, 2022

    I also keep the skins on and use a Vitamix blender, which makes it super smooth. We like the tartness of Granny Smith apples, but I love the pink of your applesauce from the McIntosh apples. I also add in a jar of cranberry sauce (not the canned, jellied kind ) and a small amount of apple cider instead of water. The cranberries give the applesauce a deep red color. We don't add any sugar, since the cranberry sauce is sweetened. We also love cinnamon.


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