It is SO easy to make the best unsweetened applesauce at home and tastes better than store-bought. You can easily make it chunky or smooth depending on your preference.
Reasons to love this Unsweetened Applesauce
- Ready in 30 minutes or less
- Contains no added sugar - perfect for babies and toddlers
- Highly customizable - depending on the apples used, you can create a blend of tart and sweet flavors
- Less expensive than store-bought
Apple Puree vs. Applesauce
They are essentially the same thing except applesauce is generally chunkier than puree.
Best Variety of Apples to Use
To make delicious unsweetened applesauce, you need to start with good apples!
With so many varieties available, this may be the hardest part of the recipe. But it's quite simple!
- Use apples that are ripe during the peak of ripeness (around late July to early November depending on the variety). Avoid those that are bruised or soft.
- Use ones that you and your family enjoy snacking on the most.
- Or if you are up for it, experiment with different varieties. It will be a fun way to switch up flavors.
Here are some options to help with your decision-making. Many people appreciate the combination of sweet and tart varieties.
I almost always use fuji because that's what we enjoy the most and always have on hand.
- Braeburn - tart
- Golden delicious - sweet
- Honeycrisp - sweet
- Fuji - sweet
- Cameo - sweet, slightly tart
- Jonagold - sweet, slightly tart
- Gala - Mildly sweet
- Granny Smith - very tart
- Pink lady -tart, slightly sweet
- McIntosh - soft, creamy
- Apples - While most recipes instruct you to remove the peel, I encourage you to keep it on. It's where most of the fiber and nutrients are. Core and roughly cut into chunks.
- Lemon - Helps the apple keep its color and prevents sauce from turning brown.
- Core and chop the apples
- Place the apples, fresh lemon juice, and water into a large pot. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to medium heat, and cook, covered. Stir occasionally.
- Once the apples are soft and easily smooshable, remove from heat.
- Add cooked apples to food processor or blender and blend to desired consistency.
You will need a blender or food processor to break down the peel appropriately. Wait until apples are cooled then transfer to blender. Give quick pulses.
You may still find some chunks with the peel. You can discard or enjoy them yourself! I am team no food waste ;).
Note: If you are especially nervous about serving the skin, you can peel before cooking. Always do what's most comfortable for you.
Unsweetened Apple Puree
Follow the instructions above, but instead of pulsing, blend until completely smooth. If you are just starting your weaning journey, you may prefer this smooth applesauce over the chunky.
However, I highly encourage you to introduce your baby to the chunky applesauce (or any other texture for that matter) by 9 months at the latest.
What you can also do is blend until chunky, remove half from the blender and then blend the rest until smooth. That way you have two texture variations to alternate between.
Serving Suggestions for Babies and Toddlers
And if your child struggles with enjoying protein foods (very common for toddlers), serving this applesauce as a dip may help encourage them to try.
You may think chicken with applesauce? No thanks. BUT remember that while you may think it's weird or off-putting, this is a learned food habit/preferences.
What your child sees is food on a plate. And hey! They may LOVE the so called "weird" combo, like this banana roll ups with carrots.
How to Store Homemade Applesauce
Allow to come to room temperature and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
I like to store in ½ cup portions as that's how much is needed for most of my baked goods. I can easily grab a jar and thaw in the fridge overnight. These small jars work great!
You can also freeze in ice cube or other freezer trays. Once frozen solid, pop them out and transfer to a freezer-safe bag or container.
More Apple Recipes
Did you make this recipe? Leave a rating below and let me know how you liked the recipe! Your feedback means so much to me!
Homemade unsweetened applesauce
- 2 pounds apples, cored and roughly chopped (with peel on or removed)
- 3 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ⅓ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- Combine all the ingredients in a pot. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft, about 15-20 minutes.
- Wait until the apples are cooled then transfer to the blender. Give it quick pulses for chunky applesauce. Blend until completely smooth for apple puree.