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Baked Applesauce

Well, folks, this is just about the easiest (and BEST) applesauce you will ever make.  No peeling, no dicing, no slicing, no kidding.  I just can’t decide what I like most about it, the fact that it’s so easy to make, or the awesome apple-pie flavor.

So how easy is this?  Ready?  Just cut your apples in half, scoop out the core, place on a baking sheet, bake.  That’s it.  (Please see follow-up post after the recipe).

The only thing that consistently annoyed me was peeling all the dang stickers off the apples.  I finally decided to just leave them on and it made not a bit of difference.  Of course, they just came off with the skins.

 When they cool, the skins slide right off and, I love this part, I just mix the apples with a little cinnamon, brown sugar and a pinch of salt right there on the baking pan.  No bowls or pots to clean, just a couple of baking pans.

 And then there’s the flavor….baking the apples instead of cooking them on the stove imparts all the lovely nuances of apple pie/baked apples/apple cobbler, well, you get the idea.  Heavenly.

I like to use a combination of golden delicious and macintosh for this, but any baking apples you have handy will work great.  The sweetness/tartness of your apples, and your own preferences will determine how much sugar you will want to add… for 7 apples I used less than ¼ cup of brown sugar. 

Oh, and I forgot to mention the bonus of how your kitchen smells while these apples are baking.  Quite lovely. 

Have I convinced you yet?  Well, let’s see, applesauce on oatmeal, applesauce on ice cream, applesauce on pancakes, applesauce with cottage cheese, applesauce on corn fritters (a childhood staple of mine), or how ‘bout a bowl of applesauce?

Baked Applesauce
For a printable recipe, click here

Makes about 3 cups

3 lbs (8-9) baking apples (golden delicious, macintosh, granny smith, etc.)
Brown sugar to taste (about 1/4 cup)

Pinch of salt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon (or to taste)
2 to 3 tablespoons water, if needed

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Spray 2 shallow baking pans with cooking spray.

Cut apples in half vertically and core them. (I use a melon-baller).  Place the halves, cut side down on the baking sheets, cover tightly with aluminum foil.

Bake apples until tender, about 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, slip fruits from their skins back into pan, scraping any pulp from peels. Discard skins. 

While the apples are still warm, mash them with a fork (or leave chunky), stirring in some brown sugar, a pinch of salt, ground cinnamon and a bit of water (if needed) to help scrape up any brown bits in the pan and to lighten the texture of the applesauce. (note: I've made this dozens of times and have never needed to add water).

Serve warm, room temperature, or cold.

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Reader Comments (36)

I did these apples this morning and this is a Keeper......We eat lots and lots of applesauce and this is the way to do it!

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

Isn't it easy? I love the flavor too! I agree...this is the only way I'll make it now.

January 30, 2010 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

We go through applesauce like crazy around here and I'm on a mission to make more things homemade for my family, so I'm definitely trying this ASAP! Thanks for a great, easy recipe:)

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLillian

It really is easy and tastes awesome! Enjoy!

February 4, 2010 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

You are so smart!! I hate the peeling part, but love anything apple, especially pie. Thanks so much.

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKathleen

I just tried this for the first time this morning and I'm smitten! It's so easy to make as well as delicious, this will definitely become a staple around here. Thanks!

February 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterErica

Wow, that's so simple, I've got to try this! Thanks!

April 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

I made this last winter after you first posted it on foodgawker and loved it. I don't love applesauce and I don't love oatmeal but I kindof like them both...then I put them together after making a batch of this and I was amazed! Now the apples are starting to pile up again and I kept wishing I'd written down the recipe. I remembered it was really REALLY easy but something was different about it. After searching and searching I finally found your blog again and this beloved recipe. It's Baked! Now I remember. Seriously, I love this. I froze it and used it for healthy oatmeal all winter. I'm so happy I found it again.

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKatieSue

I'm glad you found it too, KatieSue! I've never found a better applesauce recipe anywhere and like you, we LOVE it on oatmeal. Thanks for stopping in and hope you'll come back often.

September 29, 2010 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

Patrice, not sure how I happened onto your blog this morning, but I'm glad I did! Love the story of your move to the midwest and the photos of your kitchen. Looking forward to trying this method of making applesauce next week. I've added you to the Blogs I Visit page of my blog and will be visiting again soon!

Thanks so much, Jean! Really glad you happened by and I hope you love the applesauce as much as we do. Would love to hear back from you on that.

December 5, 2010 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

I made the applesauce on Thursday for Saturday night's "big deal" dinner. It seems easier to retain some chunkiness with the baked rather than stovetop-cooked apples, and I do want my homemade applesauce to be chunky. It was the perfect accompaniment to my pork dinner.

So glad you liked it, Jean! I agree, you can keep it chunky by doing it in the oven. We like that too!

December 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

how would you say its best to make and store larger batches? would it freeze well?

March 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJenny

You know, I've never frozen it, but I'm thinking it would freeze just fine. We've frozen apple pie filling before, so this should be OK.

March 2, 2011 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

I like to freeze it in pint jars if anticipating dinners for two or in various sized Corning or Pyrex casseroles for dinner parties.

Thanks, Jean!

March 2, 2011 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

Can I leave out the sugar? Can I blend or food process the skins in for more nutrients?

February 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStacey

By all means, Stacey, leave out the sugar. If you used golden delicious apples, they're very sweet on their own. I've never processed the skins to add in, but if you try it, let us know how it comes out. Good to hear from you!

February 26, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

I'm sorry, Kim, that I wasn't able to print your comment due to the rather objectionable language. I'm so sorry that the applesauce didn't turn out for you. If you would email me, we could maybe brainstorm what went wrong and fix things so it will turn out next time. This recipe is pretty reliable as suggested by the comments of other readers. I'd hate for you to miss out on how delicious this stuff is. Would love to hear from you....

October 7, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

I was wondering about the freezing in pint jars. I froze some chicken broth in some glass Ball canning jars and they cracked so how is it you can freeze it in pint jars? Did I do something wrong? Would love to make a big batch of this! Thank you.

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGina

I tend to freeze mostly in tupperware containers, but if you want to freeze in glass jars, make sure you leave plenty of room in the top of your jar for expansion. The applesauce will expand as it freezes. Also be sure that your applesauce is room temp or even cold before placing it in the freezer. Hope that helps, Gina. Enjoy the applesauce! It's so good!

October 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

I have been making apple sauce on the stove and using my kitchenaid but I just recently decided to try baking the apples instead of steaming them. My husband said it wouldn't make any difference but after finding your site I am convinced that it will!


October 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Happy baking, Catherine! It really does make a difference!

October 29, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

Can you can this recipe? Love the idea of apple pie flavor

November 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCrystalia

You can definitely can this, Crystalia. Just make sure the applesauce is still hot and everything's good and sterilized. Enjoy!

November 4, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

Great recipe! I was looking for a recipe that didn't add water or processed sugar, and this fit the bill. Great taste! I added a pinch of allspice and nutmeg for a bit of complexity, and used a small amount of blue agave syrup instead of the brown sugar.

November 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEd Wandall

Sounds great, Ed! Nice additions to the recipe. Good to hear from you!

November 4, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

doubled the recipe. canned 3 pints with a little left over for sampling. i really like the texture of this applesauce. not grainy or mealy at all. i used 4 different types of apples, so the apple flavor is really complex. it does smack of apple pie, especially when warm. yum!

i need to make some pork chops, stat!

November 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercrystalia

So glad that came out, Crystalia. I love that you used so many kinds of apples... that makes the best applesauce. Thanks for letting us know!

November 5, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

Wow, this looks extremely delicious. After reading this recipe and looking at these beautiful pictures I can't understand why sme people don't try to do simple things like this but bette buy unhealthy things in the supermarket...

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLysa

Thanks for sharing your baked Applesauce technique.

I've also been baking, then canning applesauce for many years now. I've done it nearly like you did, with a few exceptions: My canner holds 8-9 quart jars, so I fill two 12x17x3 inch roasting pans to the top with apple quartered vertically, the chopped again horizontally into chunks before baking. I add a couple tablespoons water to the pan and cover pans with foil and bake both pans together, staggered on shelves for 30 minutes, then remove pans and stir so the top apples get down to the bottom of the pan and switch the pans so the top pan is on the bottom shelf in the oven and continue baking 30 minutes more, or until apples are soft.

When done, I run my apples (with skins on) through a food mill, add about 1/2-1 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons cinnamon, stirring well to mix, put sauce in hot jars and process in the canner. This generally makes about 8 quarts. When I make small amounts we generally eat it up, or I might put a little in the freezer.

PS. I love Penzeys Cinnamon:
"Now you can have it all. Just the right mix of our four fabulous cinnamons to bring the best of each to everything you bake. Put the shaker right on the table! Sprinkle on cereal and fresh fruit, toast and applesauce, rice and popcorn. A jar full of smiles. Hand-mixed from: China cinnamon, Vietnamese cinnamon, Korintje cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon." http://www.penzeys.com/

I used to boil apples for sauce, but this method easily makes a thicker, more flavorful sauce and is so super easy to do!
Again thanks for sharing, your instructions and photos were superb.

October 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie Knittle

I made this recipe using a variety of apples. Unfortunately, the ones I chose cooked for varying lengths of time. So some were perfect and some were still rock hard even after 45 minutes. This time, I'm using only one variety which I suspect will make them more uniformly cooked.

October 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTobyfran

It is a challenge to find varieties that will lend good flavors and cook similarly. I sort of like having different textures, but I was surprised to hear that some of your apples were still rock hard after 45 minutes. The only variety that I can imagine taking longer to cook like that might granny smith. Gravensteins, fujis, jonagolds, Cortlands and yellow delicious all work well with this recipe. Hope you have better luck with your next batch!

October 20, 2013 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

Aside from the fact tht this recipe is completely awesome, just knowing you can core apples with a melon baller is worth the price of admissison!

February 23, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterhp

Amen to that, hp!!

February 23, 2015 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

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