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Easy Chunky Apple Sauce (no peeling!)

This homemade chunky apple sauce is a yummy, no-fuss, healthy comfort food. Just 3 main ingredients and easy to make to suit your tastes – semi smooth, with or without peels, sweet, tart, even low or no sugar.

Serve it as a snack, dessert, breakfast condiment or side dish. I often set it up to cook while I’m making dinner, then hope that I have leftovers.

black bowl of chunky apple sauce

I’ve always loved making this recipe during Fall apple season. If you have young kids or grandkids, trips to apple orchards for apple picking is a wonderful activity. There’s nothing like apples fresh off the apple tree to make the best applesauce. 

But these days, good apples are available all year round in farmers markets or your local grocery store. 

It’s difficult to give exact measurements for this chunky applesauce because the amount of sugar depends on the sweetness of the apples you are using.

What’s to love about this homemade apple sauce

  • Just 3 main ingredients apples, sugar, cinnamon – that can be modified to your taste.  Butter and vanilla are optional.
  • No special equipment needed. There is no need for a food processor, immersion blender or blender. Just use a simple potato masher or nothing. I often don’t even bother with that as I love the apple chunks. 
  • It’s an super simple recipe. Chop some apples (no need to peel). Add a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon. Cook until tender. 

Ingredient Notes – best apples to use

apples, butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, vanilla
Ingredients: apples and brown sugar. Optional – vanilla, butter, cinnamon.
  • Sweeter apples (so you can use less sugar): Golden Delicious, Fuji, Honeycrisp, Gala, Ambrosia
  • Tart apples: Cortland, Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Empire, McIntosh (MacIntosh tend to break down into sauce, so if you prefer all chunky, leave them out). 
  • Butter and vanilla add a delicious richness but can easily be left out. 

I love gala apples because they keep their shape well, but I often use a variety of apples or whatever I have on hand. 

Tailor to your taste

Here are a few variations to try: 

  • Smooth or chunky
    • After cooking, you can leave the apples chunky or puree them to a smooth applesauce (or partially smooth) using a potato masher, fork or immersion blender.
  • Sweet or tart
    • Depending on the sweetness or tartness of your apples, add more or less sugar. Or squeeze in a little bit of fresh lemon juice to achieve the sweet-tart balance you like.
    • I prefer brown sugar but you can substitute white sugar or maple syrup if that’s what you have on hand. 
  • For a no added sugar version
    • Choose a sweeter apple like Golden Delicious, Fuji, Honeycrisp, Gala or Ambrosia and add no sugar or use a sugar substitute like stevia.
  • Flavors
    • Try a pinch of nutmeg instead of or in addition to cinnamon. Or pumpkin spice.
    • Add as much cinnamon as you like.
    • For added richness, add a pad of butter and/or vanilla extract. 

Step by step instructions

cut up apples, brown sugar and cinnamon in pot
Cut apples into chunks (no peeling necessary). Add apples, brown sugar and cinnamon if using to a pot.
cooked chunky applesauce in pot
Cook on medium low or medium heat for 20-25 minutes, covered. Stir vanilla and butter if desired.
2 dessert cups with chunky apple sauce
Mini cups are a great way to serve the apple sauce as a dessert.

Recipe FAQ

Is homemade applesauce healthy?

Although it does contain some carbs and sugar, healthline says it is low in calories, fat and salt and contains a good amount of antioxidants. As desserts go, it’s one of the healthier ones out there. And you can control the amount of sugar you add, if any.

Can I make chunky applesauce in an Instant Pot? 

You certainly can, but you will not be saving a lot of time when you consider the time for the apples to come to pressure and release naturally. Here’s an instant pot apple sauce recipe if you’re interested.

Can I blend the applesauce with peels?

Yes, you can blend it with an immersion blender or blender, but you still may get a few bits in the apple sauce. If you prefer a smooth applesauce or you are serving it to babies or toddlers, I suggest peeling the apples first.

Shortcut

  • I don’t bother to peel the apples. The skin contains good fiber and I like to save the extra step. Peel them if you have picky little eaters or toddlers.

Make ahead 

  • The recipe can be made well ahead and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 7-10 days.
  • It can also be frozen for up to 6 months.

What to serve with chunky apple sauce 

Great side dish: I love it as side for chicken, pork or as as a Thanksgiving side dish with turkey. My husband and I especially love it with pork chops and grilled pork tenderloin. 

Condiment for breakfast and brunch: Serve with dishes like banana French toast. blintzes, oatmeal and waffles. 

Healthy snack or dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Other apple recipes you might like

bowl of Chunky applesauce p2

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Recipe

black bowl of chunky apple sauce
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Chunky Apple Sauce (No Peeling Needed!)

This homemade chunky apple sauce is a yummy, no-fuss, healthy comfort food. Just 3 main ingredients and easy to make to suit your tastes – semi smooth, with or without peels, sweet, tart, even low or no sugar.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Condiment, Dessert, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American, Vegetarian
Servings: 6
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 6 cups cored, chopped apples (Note 1). I leave peels on. (about 2 1/4 pounds/1 kg or 5 medium apples).
  • 1/4 cup (57 grams) brown sugar (or more if apples are tart)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (or more, to taste)

Optional for added richness

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter

Instructions

  • COOK APPLES: Place chopped apples, sugar and cinnamon in a medium or large saucepan. Cover and cook on medium-low heat for about 20-25 minutes until apples are soft and tender.
  • FINISH APPLESAUCE: Remove from heat. Mix in vanilla and butter if using. Taste and adjust as needed (e.g. add more sugar or cinnamon; add a few drops of lemon if too sweet.) Leave as is or crush apples with a fork or potato masher to get your perfect chunky consistency. If you like smoother texture (no longer chunky applesauce!), use an immersion blender.
    Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

  1. Different variety of apples to use: 
    • Sweet apples (so you can use less sugar): Golden Delicious, Fuji, Honeycrisp, Gala, Ambrosia
    • Tart apples: Cortland, Granny Smith apples, Pink Lady, Empire, McIntosh (MacIntosh tend to break down into sauce, so if you prefer all chunky, leave them out). 
  2. Other variations
    • Sweet or tart
      • Depending on the sweetness or tartness of your apples, add more or less sugar. Or squeeze in a little bit of fresh lemon juice to achieve the sweet-tart balance you like.
      • I prefer brown sugar but you can substitute white sugar or maple syrup if that’s what you have on hand. 
    • For a chunky applesauce recipe no sugar
      • Choose a sweeter apple and add no sugar or use a sugar substitute like stevia.
    • Flavors
      • Try a pinch of nutmeg instead of or in addition to cinnamon. Or pumpkin spice.
      • Add extra cinnamon if you like.
      • For added richness, add a pad of butter and/or vanilla extract. 
  3. Make Ahead: Store chunky applesauce in the fridge for 7-10 days or freeze in freezer-safe containers for up to 6 months. 
 
Nutrition values are estimates and include the optional butter and vanilla.

Nutrition

Calories: 119kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 21mg | Potassium: 146mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 126IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg
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