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Homemade Chunky Applesauce Recipe

This homemade chunky applesauce recipe is a yummy, no-fuss, healthy comfort food. Just 3 main ingredients and easy to make as you like it – 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.

Homemade Chunky Applesauce

I’ve always loved making this chunky applesauce in apple season during the Fall. If you have young kids or grandkids, 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 a farmers market 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.

Best apples to use

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

What’s to love about this homemade applesauce

  • Just 3 main ingredients apples, sugar, cinnamon – that can be modified to your taste.  Butter and vanilla are optional. They add a delicious richness but can easily be left out. 
  • 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 easy recipe. Chop some apples (no need to peel). Add a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon. Cook until tender. 

What can I serve with homemade chunky applesauce? 

  • It makes a great side dish 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. 
  • The homemade applesauce is also great as a condiment for breakfast and brunch items like banana French toast. blintzes, oatmeal and waffles. 
  • And, of course, it’s great as a simple healthy snack or dessert especially with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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 as much as you like 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 chunky applesauce recipe no sugar
    • 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. 

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.

How to make this chunky applesauce recipe

apples, butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, vanilla
Ingredients: apples and brown sugar. Optional – vanilla, butter, cinnamon.
cut up apples, brown sugar and cinnamon in pot
Cut apples into chunks (no peeling necessary). Add brown sugar and cinnamon if using.
cooked chunky applesauce in pot
Cook on medium low or medium heat for 20-25 minutes, covered. Stir vanilla and butter if desired.
bowl of chunky applesauce 1
3 small dishes of applesauce on a board
bowl of Chunky applesauce p2

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. 

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 3 months.

Other homemade apple recipes you might like: 

Homemade Chunky Applesauce in a bowl sitting on board f
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4.77 from 13 votes

Homemade Chunky Applesauce Recipe

This homemade chunky applesauce recipe is a yummy, no-fuss, healthy comfort food. Just 3 main ingredients and easy to make as you like it – 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 cup 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. Type of apples to use: 
    • Sweet 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). 
  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 as much cinnamon as 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 a sealed container for up to 3 months. 
Nutrition values are estimates and include the optional butter and vanilla.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Homemade Chunky Applesauce Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 119 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Fat 2g3%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 5mg2%
Sodium 21mg1%
Potassium 146mg4%
Carbohydrates 26g9%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 22g24%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 126IU3%
Vitamin C 6mg7%
Calcium 15mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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