We all have different ideas of what is comforting: familiar movies, certain songs, a big bed piled high with blankets.
When I’m lonely, comfort might come through a friend dropping by. When I’m tired, it’s an afternoon nap. But when I’m feeling overwhelmed or discouraged, or like I miss someone very much, just point me to the kitchen.
Cooking is such a gift, you know? You can walk into the kitchen with a million things on your mind – the client you lost at work, the list of things you have to finish by Monday, the way that long phone call just ended – and grab something off the counter.
Say it’s five apples, crisp and tart and beautifully tangible, something you can hold in your hand in a way that ideas and anxieties and conversations can’t be held.
You can peel them, one long and curly strip after another, watching their bright skins fall into the trash even as your shoulders relax, and focus on your paring knife slicing the exposed flesh rather than focusing on whatever was on your mind a few minutes ago.
I find this type of repetition can be wonderfully soothing: pour the ingredients into a pan, stir the fruit with aromatic warming spices, take a minute or so to blend everything into a sauce.
I add extra cinnamon, and my mind shifts from conflict to the things that bring peace to our lives.
Applesauce in particular is a kind of kitchen comfort. Not only is it simple to make, with few steps and easy-to-find ingredients, it’s delicious as well, like apple pie filling or a more mashed version of Passover charoset.
Warm and fragrant, this version exemplifies a simple concept, that sometimes an hour in the kitchen serves as the very definition of comfort.
I find this to be particularly true when it ends with something good to eat, made with steps that you can follow almost mindlessly – freeing you up to think, pray, sing, meditate, or do nothing else at all, while your hands lead your mind in the very important task of mixing together something sweet and spiced, to be savored spoonful after spoonful.Print
Easy Homemade Chunky Applesauce
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: About 3 cups 1x
Skip the sugary jarred stuff. Whip up a comforting bowl of rustic, homemade cinnamon-scented applesauce that comes together in no time.
- 5 medium-sized slightly sweet apples (like Honeycrisp or Fuji)
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch ground cloves
- Pinch kosher salt
- Peel and core the apples, and then dice them into small chunks.
- In a medium saucepan over low heat, add the apples, sugar, water, lemon juice, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Stirring occasionally, cook until the apples have softened, about 30-40 minutes.
- Using a blender, food processor, or potato masher, break down the apples, making sure to keep the consistency somewhat chunky. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 7-10 days.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Category: Snack
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Fruit
Keywords: applesauce, cinnamon, snack, fruit
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Peel and Chop
Peel the apples with a vegetable peeler to easily remove the skin.
If you don’t have an apple corer, use a sharp knife to slice each fruit in half vertically, and then cut each half in two vertically again. Holding each piece in place on your cutting board, slice the core off at an angle.
Chop the peeled fruit into 1-inch cubes.
Step 2 – Combine Ingredients in a Saucepot
In a medium saucepan over low heat, add the apples, sugar, water, lemon, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.
Stirring occasionally, cook until the fruit has softened and turned golden.
Step 3 – Mash
Using a blender, food processor, or potato masher, break down the apples, making sure to keep the consistency chunky.
If you use a blender or food processor, pulse the mixture gradually so you don’t overmix it and end up with a smooth puree.
This sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 7-10 days.
Homemade Snacking Is a Snap
By the time you wrestle the lid off of the store-bought stuff, this chunky, spiced applesauce will have already been cooked and made your day.
Well, just about. Either way, you’ll certainly be grateful for that mindful 45 minutes or so to hang out in the kitchen, relax, and reflect.
But if you want to shave off even more time, consider making applesauce in the pressure cooker, ready in 25 minutes.
Feeling playful? Tinker around with the sweetener to take things in a different direction. Try maple syrup for a fall-flavored mixture, or brown sugar for a rich, complex character.
You can even experiment with adding it to some of your favorite cookies to replace the butter. We love this recipe in our Harvest Spice Breakfast Cookies!
For more ways to perfume your home with apples and cinnamon, give these recipes a go:
- Apple Streusel Cream Cheese Pie
- Homemade Caramel Apple Cider
- Apple Maple Walnut Cake
- Apple Tart Cake
- Citrus Caramel Roasted Apples and Pears
How do you put your applesauce to good use? Over yogurt? On top of latkes? Solo? Tell your finest applesauce tales in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.
Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on October 5, 2010. Last updated: September 20, 2022 at 11:12 am. With additional writing and editing by Fanny Slater and Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.
22 thoughts on “Easy Homemade Chunky Applesauce”
Oh my – that sounds really good! I have been wanting to make homemade apple sauce but I hadn’t tried to yet because I don’t want to make a huge batch that needs to be preserved. I’m going to have to try this one – thanks for posting!
And you are so right; sometimes when there is something brewing – worry, conflict, restlessness – all we need to do is find something that our hands know how to do well on their own. Then our mind can be free to relax, talk things over with the Lord, & let our shoulders come down from our ears.
Have a great Tuesday!
applesauce is also on my list of things to make with the apples i picked recently. there is just something so mindless about making a dish like this while your mind is just FULL of randoms. another relaxing thing i do when i’m stressed, other than hanging out in the kitchen, is crocheting a particularly complicated pattern. and i’ve taken up yoga. it’s amazing what pretzeling your body will do to the mind! 🙂
have a safe trip!
my sister just sent me a recipe for applesauce that i’m definitely going to try with my remaining apples. it looks very similar to yours — easy, comforting, perfect. and i so know what you mean about cooking as comfort. last night, in fact, at about 10 pm after i had already had dinner and showered, i decided to make black bean and squash chili, just because, ya know? i wasn’t even hungry, but it just felt good to cook.
This applesauce looks incredible — funny how the simplest foods are the most comforting! And I agree with you about the act of cooking, which can feel almost like meditation if you focus on enjoying the process and not fretting over creating the “perfect” result. (I have to remind myself to do that sometimes, though. 🙂 )
i love that you said,. . . “But when it’s early October and I’m feeling overwhelmed or discouraged or just like I miss someone very much, point me to the kitchen.” this is so me shanna!!! put me in the kitchen and i feel 100% better! thank you for your encouraging posts and fabulous recipes! keep em’ coming:)
One of my favorite fall time treats too, I need to make some!
I’ve never tried making my own apple sauce – what a GREAT idea! How long do you think it would last for?
And in growing agreement about cooking soothing the soul. It didn’t used to do that to me but it’s starting to. The more I cook and learn, the more comfort I find in the simple things – cookies that I know will turn out just so when the day was crazy – that’s comfort!
I can smell it already. I’ll definitely have to whip some up soon.
I literally did just this. Yesterday, I had an incredibly hectic day with work, and someone I had to interview nearly made me cry. SO. What did I do? Went to the kitchen and made this applesauce. Love it.
Thanks for that sweet comment, MaryAnn. I love that you get what I mean about kitchen comforts, and I love what you pointed about this recipe being a small batch one. That’s a huge plus for me, too!
Lan, I haven’t tried yoga, but I def feel a release from exercise in general. So true!
Jacqui, Yes! I so get that. It DOES feel good to cook. And thanks again for these apples! I loved every one of them. ; )
Maddie, Oh, I have to remind myself of that, too. Sometimes it’s nice to cook without thinking of the blog… funny how even the blog I love can become another ball to juggle, ha! But when I just focus on the food and embrace the process, it’s always such a comfort.
Jarrelle, Kindred spirits!
Jessica, Do it! Today’s a perfect fall day!
Angharad, That’s an excellent question. I wasn’t sure how long it would last either, so I froze mine while I was out of town this week. I’m guessing a lot less time than store-bought ones because it lacks the preservatives. Maybe two weeks?
TJ, Yay! I hope you do!
Alicia, YES! So sorry you had a rough day and a rough time with an interviewee. Bah. But so glad you had a kitchen to comfort you. : )
that looks simple but so delicious. with oats in the morning… on ice cream… yum!
I’ve recently started making applesauce, and the taste is phenominally different from the commerical brands. Definitely using it next time I made applesauce.
Yes! I agree heartily to that sentiment – sometimes, I have to admit that my mind is calmed even if I do nothing else but wash dishes in the kitchen. I also love that cooking requires hands-on work and focus, so that no matter what else is going on in your life, for that moment, you only care whether you’re burning the garlic. 🙂 Thanks for this lovely post.
Lime Cake, On ice cream! There’s something I’ve never tried!
Sanura, I’d love to hear how you like it when you do!
Riceandwheat, So true, even about washing dishes. Sometimes you really need something tangible to do, if only for a distraction. : )
I never thought of making my own, but you make it look so easy. I love applesauce and would much prefer homemade over store bought.
I’ve been craving apples so much the past week, and even though it’s still HOT summer weather here, it just feels right to be eating those apples. 😉 And I think Ayla would really like this applesauce (and pretty sure Ben and I would too, haha!).
My mom always made pork chops and homemade applesauce for my birthday dinner. Now I make up a batch of applesauce just because it reminds me of her. And of course it’s delicious!
Do you cook this with the lid on or off?
Could this be canned?
We haven’t tested the method for this recipe, but apples are sufficiently acidic to be water bath or pressure canned safely.
I have made this recipe three times in the past 2 weeks. My family raved about it. I think part of the trick was fresh apples from our tree. Made it so much more special. Thank you for a super easy and delicious side dish.
We’re so glad you enjoyed it Sara – sounds fantastic with homegrown apples!