from my Kitchen to Yours

Easy Sweet Tart Homemade Applesauce

A bowl of chunky style homemade applesauce.

This recipe for Easy Sweet Tart Homemade Applesauce puts every applesaucy aspect in your hands. Want it sweeter? Add more sugar.  Tarter? add less sugar or more lemon juice. Just 5 ingredients will give you your best homemade applesauce ever.


The making of Easy Sweet Tart Homemade Applesauce

A printer-friendly recipe card is available at the bottom of this post

A bowl of Easy Sweet Tart Homemade applesaice.



A couple of things happened to make me think of, and come up with, this recipe for Easy Sweet Tart Homemade Applesauce. The first thing was, we made an apple pie for Christmas and overbought the apples. The second thing was, my son Christopfer got me an old-fashioned Better Homes and Gardens “New Cookbook” that is so old, it’s as older than me. And this got me thinking about recipes, old classic recipes, that we use to make on a regular basis but somehow have fallen out of favor for new, keto, paleo, vegan, recipes. If they don’t have a twist, they must not be good. 

How wrong.

So pursuing through my new cookbook, thinking about the apples, thinking about how much we don’t eat applesauce anymore, and why we don’t eat it, I asked BB if he liked applesauce. 

“Yes”, he said. “I used to love applesauce. Used to eat it at least a couple of times a week as a kid. But then it got what seemed too mushy, too sweet, too much like baby food, so I stopped eating it.”

I thought of when I used to love applesauce. It was a recipe taught to me by my former MIL, a very simple, easy, sweet, yet tart, chunky applesauce, that took only about 1/2 hour to make, start to finish. And it tasted so much like apple. 

So this is the recipe I’m giving you. Using only 5-ingredients. Well, it’s really only 3-ingredients if you don’t count water and a pinch of salt, but whatever, it’s a basic easy sweet-tart homemade applesauce that you can make sweeter, or smoother, depending on how YOU like your applesauce. After you make this applesauce, you will never open that jar of pre-made again. 


The ingredients needed to make Easy Sweet Tart Homemade Applesauce.


The 5-Ingredients Needed to Make Easy Sweet Tart Homemade Applesauce

  • Apples – About 6 – 7 of them, 3 pounds or so. I like to use a variety for both flavor and texture.
  • Sugar – or another sweetener if you so choose. 1/2 to 1 cup depending of the tartness of the apple, and the sweetness you desire. I used 1/2 cup total.
  • Lemon – a half a lemon – seeds removed.
  • Salt – a pinch of. I always add a pinch of salt to all sweet things. Salt brings out sweet. 
  • Water – most all of us have this. About 3/4 cup.

That’s it.


A variety of roughly peeled apples for making easy applesauce.



The Apples

It’s best to use a variety of apples when making this recipe. Some firm ones to keep their form, and some that will breakdown and be “saucier”. For my batch, I used Granny Smith and Honeycrisp. The Granny Smith being tart, the Honeycrisp being both a little sweeter and one that breaks down. Other good choices would be Pippin, Pink Lady, Braeburn, and Jonagold. I would not use Red Delicious or Golden Delicious. While both are wonderful to eat, neither of them cook up so well. 

To Peel or Not to Peel?

That is your question to answer. I like to peel mine, although as you can tell, I’m not militant about it. A bit of skin is fine. If you don’t peel at all your texture will not be as creamy and delightful. 


Using a melon baller to remove the core of an apple.


But whether you peel the apple or not, you must core it. You can use an apple corer or do as I do, use a melon baller to remove that hard seed pod, this is unpleasant to eat and will not break down in cooking, so it must be removed. Stem ends are removed in the slicing process. Cut the apples into quarters, cut any stems off, then cut into about 1-inch chunks. 


A post filled with apples, sugar, and lemon ready for the stove.



Once your apples are prepped and cut, put them into a saucepan along with the lemon, give it a little squeeze, but put the lemon half into the pot, the sugar, or another sweetener, and your pinch of salt. Add water to come to no more than halfway up the pot, the apples will release a lot of juice and place over medium-high heat. Once it comes to a simmer, lower the heat to maintain, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are very tender, about 25 minutes. 


Using a potato masher to mash the cooked apples in this easy sweet tart homemade applesauce.



However you like your applesauce, smooth or chunky, be sure to remove the lemon rind before your proceed.

Both BB and I like our applesauce more on the chunky side. But if you like the texture of jarred applesauce, you can put it through a food mill to get that smooth baby food texture.  For me, just a few mashes, well, as many or as few as you like, got me applesauce to the texture I wanted, smooth chunky. 

This is the time to taste. Do you want to add more sugar? A little more citrus? 


A bowl of chunky style homemade applesauce.




  1. In the refrigerator, fresh applesauce will keep for about 10 days.
  2. In the freezer, fresh applesauce will keep for up to 12 months. Store in individual servings for added convenience.
  3. If planning a large batch, or keeping for a longer time, consider canning.


  • Sweetener – I like regular old granulated sugar for its clean taste. But you could use brown sugar, honey, agave, or an artificial sweetener if you like. Start with the smallest amount you think you would like, depending on the sweetness of your apples, and adjust after cooking.
  • Cinnamon or Pumpkin Spice – A lot of recipes have you using a cinnamon stick or adding pumpkin spice to your apples. This is fine if you want those flavors to be there, BUT you can also add them, as my husband did as a child, to the already prepared applesauce when you serve it. That way you don’t have JUST cinnamon-flavored applesauce. 
  • Chunky or pureed – Again up to you. If you go with the pureed version, I recommend a food mill, and peeling would not be necessary.

So are you ready to go back to the past of good old homemade applesauce? If so, I hope you try this simply Easy Sweet Tart Homemade Applesauce recipe. 

A mason jar filled with delicious homemade sweet tart applesauce.


Want more “Old Fashioned, New World” Homemade recipes?

Easy Strawberry Jam with Balsamic

Homemade Ketchup

Heirloom Tomato Jam

Fresh Country Peach Butter


Yield: 1 quart

Easy Sweet Tart Homemade Applesauce

A bowl of chunky style homemade applesauce.

Apples, sugar, and lemon juice combine to make this delicious Easy Sweet Tart Homemade Applesauce. Done the old-fashioned way.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 3 pounds apples, Pippen, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp or combination. Peeled, if desired, and cored. Cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/2 to 1 cup granulated sugar, or another sweetener of your choice, to taste
  • 1/2 lemon, seeds removed
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup water, as needed to come up to halfway


  1. Combine the prepared apples, sugar, lemon (give it a squeeze before adding the whole half lemon), salt, and water into a saucepan. Set on a medium-high flame and bring to a simmer, lower heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender.
  2. Once the apples are tender, remove the lemon half, then use a potato masher to mash to your desired consistency. If you want a smooth puree, a food mill is recommended.
  3. Taste and adjust for sweetness and acid. Adjust as necessary.
  4. Store up to 10 days in the refrigerator or freeze.


1. Using a variety of apples keeps both the texture and flavor more interesting.

2. Cook the apples longer if you want a softer texture or plan to puree the sauce.

3. Add cinnamon or pumpkin spice if desired. However, I would add that only when serving so you don't only have that flavor.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 106Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 13mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 3gSugar: 23gProtein: 0g

Nutritional information my not be 100% accurate and is based on a 1/2 cup serving.


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