The Best Applesauce Recipe

With the right ingredients, applesauce can be so much more than meets the eye.

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Photograph: Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • The mellow sweetness of toasted sugar adds complexity.
  • Apple cider vinegar helps brighten cooked fruit.
  • Using skin-on fruit improves both flavor and color in the finished product.
  • Aromatics like cinnamon, orange peel, and rose water intensify the flavor of the apples.

When you want an applesauce that's more than just a fruit purée, apple cider vinegar, plus a few aromatics like cinnamon and orange peel, will elevate the apple flavor without getting in the way. Apples belong to the same botanical family as roses, so a few drops of rose water will go a long way toward restoring a sense of freshness to the aroma of cooked fruit.

Recipe Facts

Active: 40 mins
Total: 60 mins
Serves: 12 servings
Makes: 6 cups

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Ingredients

  • 4 pounds mixed apples (about 12 medium apples; 1.8kg)

  • 3 1/2 ounces plain or toasted sugar (about 1/2 cup; 100g)

  • 1/2 teaspoon (2g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use about half as much by volume or the same weight

  • 1 ounce apple cider vinegar (about 2 tablespoons; 30g)

  • 1 (3-inch) strip orange peel

  • 1 (3-inchcinnamon stick

  • Apple cider, to adjust consistency

  • 1/4 teaspoon rose water (optional)

Directions

  1. Core apples without peeling, then slice and roughly chop into 1/2- to 1/4-inch pieces. This will yield approximately 3 1/2 pounds prepared fruit (16 cups; 1.5kg). Transfer to a 5-quart Dutch oven, along with sugar, salt, apple cider vinegar, orange peel, and cinnamon stick. Stir to combine, then cover and place over medium heat until apples have wilted and begun to bubble in their own juices, about 15 minutes. If this process seems to be moving slowly, simply turn up the heat.

  2. Continue cooking, stirring from time to time, until apples are fall-apart tender, about 10 minutes more. Remove orange peel and cinnamon stick, then purée to your desired consistency with an immersion blender or food processor (see note). If desired, thin as needed with apple cider to adjust consistency. For a more intense apple flavor, season with 1/4 teaspoon rose water.

  3. Transfer applesauce to glass jars and refrigerate up to 3 weeks. If freezing, make certain not to overfill the containers, as the applesauce will expand once frozen.

Special equipment

5-quart enameled Dutch oven, heat-resistant spatula, immersion blender

Notes

The texture of the finished applesauce depends entirely on how it's blended; for best results, use a high-powered immersion blender. I've had excellent results using the All-Clad stainless steel immersion blender.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
114 Calories
0g Fat
30g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 114
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 66mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 30g 11%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 25g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 7mg 37%
Calcium 11mg 1%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 170mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)