Learning how to can applesauce is really very easy. It is a great recipe to try as a beginner! Homemade applesauce is a great way to use fresh apples picked in the fall. It stores very well and can be used for a number of different side dishes, recipes, and occasions.
Choosing fresh apples is the best way to go. The fresher the apples, the better your canned recipes will turn out! It is recommended that you either grow your own apples or pick up fresh apples at a farmer’s market. Many farms also offer pick-your-own at several orchids.
What Types of Apples Work Best for Canning Applesauce?
There are a lot of different varieties of apples to choose from, and for best results, we recommend using a blend of different types of apples.
Our recipe below calls for 13 1/2 pounds of apples. Yes, that is a lot of apples!
Fuji, Red Delicious, Yellow Delicious, and Gravenstein apples are all naturally sweet varieties. If you only have one type of apple, that is okay, but if you can get a few different types, that is even better!
If you use decide to use a tart apple, such as Granny Smith, McIntosh, or Jonathan apples, you will want to make sure you balance it out with one of the sweet varieties.
If you like to use tart apples, you would want to use no more than 2-3 pounds of the tart apple and the remaining 10 1/2 – 11 pounds should be a sweet variety.
Yes, You Can Make Sugar Free Canned Applesauce
You can decide whether or not too add sugar to your apple sauce. I personally like it best without the added sugar, so a mixture of different apples helps give you a really good flavor. If you pick sweet apples no sugar is necessary at all.
If you do wish to use sugar, this recipe makes about 9 pints, so you could add about 1/2 cup of sugar to the recipe if desired – more or less depending on how much sweetness you want.
You can also add cinnamon if you want, although I personally prefer to sprinkle cinnamon on plain applesauce out of the jar when we open it after canning.
By canning plain applesauce it gives us the option to always add the cinnamon later! It also gives you a lot more options for using the applesauce in different recipes, such as using it to bake chocolate chip cookies and more!
How to Can Homemade Applesauce
Our recipe for canning applesauce will make 9 pint sized jars. Be sure you follow all of these directions and pay attention to the processing times chart below to ensure you process your apple sauce fully!
Applesauce cooks up in about 30 minutes, so you will likely want to begin prepare all of your jars while the apple sauce is cooking on the stove top.
If you haven’t canned before, you may want to check our tips on canning for beginners – this is a good way to learn the basics!
Here are the Supplies You Will Need to Get Started:
- 13 1/2 pounds of apples
- Citric Acid or Lemon Juice (Prevents apples from browning and ensures acidity – I prefer citric acid, and you can find it here on Amazon for a great deal when you buy in bulk!)
- Sugar to taste (optional, only needed if tart apple varieties are used)
- Big Stock Pot for Cooking the Homemade Applesauce
- Boiling Water Bath Canner or Pressure Canner
- Canning Jars, Lids, Rings
- Canning Utensils (Jar and lid lifter, funnel, etc.)
- Potato Masher, Heavy duty mixer, Food Mill, or Food Processor that will help you mash up those apples!
Now that we have all of our supplies gathered, we are ready to start cooking!
Step 1: Cut Up the Apples:
This is probably the most tedious step of them all, and it helps to get your family and friends involved to make it a lot more fun!
You can either use an apple peeler corer slicer or cut them up by hand. The cores absolutely need to be removed, whether you take off the skins is completely up to you. I like to remove the skins, as they can be tough to process if you want very smooth apple sauce.
As you peel the apples, soak the cut up apples in a mixture of water and citric acid or lemon juice to prevent browning or discoloration.
Step 2: Start Preparing Your Jars and Workspace
Once your apples are peeled you are going to want to make sure that you have your jars cleaned and sterilized and lids are hot and ready to go.
The apples will take about 20-25 minutes to cook, so that should help you with getting the right timing for when to start boiling your jars so the jars are hot and ready when the applesauce is!
When you have everything well organized and neatly set up before you begin it is sure a lot easier! Make sure you also have plenty of towels, oven mitts, hot pads, and other utensils ready to go.
Step 3: Cook the Apples:
Making the homemade applesauce isn’t as hard as it might seem. If soaking the apples, drain them and place them in a very big pot with about a half cup of water over them.
Stir often to prevent them from sticking or burning, and cook for about 25 minutes on medium heat, which should cause them to start getting pretty mushy.
If you like your applesauce chunky, then a potato masher or a heavy duty mixer should be all you need to mix them up enough to get the consistency you want.
If you wish for it to be very smooth, you will want to run it through a stainless steel food mill if you have one available – it really makes the work a lot easier! A large heavy duty food processor will also work.
Once you get the consistency you’ve wanted, now is when you can add in any seasonings such as cinnamon or sugar.
Hot packing is recommended for canning applesauce. You will need to reheat the applesauce if you pureed or added sugar or cinnamon. Applesauce should be boiling when you turn it off to pack it into your jars.
Step 4: Process the Jars in Your Canner:
Processing applesauce is very easy and since fruit is acidic, you can safely process it in a boiling water bath canner, though it will work just as well in a pressure canner as well if you prefer that method.
Once you’ve filled and sealed your jars, making sure to leave a 1/2 inch of headspace in the jars, go ahead and process them, using the guides below as a reference point on how long to process them, depending on which methods you are using.
This recipe is intended to make enough applesauce for 9 pint size jars, but you can of course make quarts also – we’ve included the processing time for quarts as well in our charts below.
These times are what is recommended by the USDA and National Center for Home Preservation in 2018. To ensure canning safety, be sure to use a timer to make sure the items are processed for the correct length.
Water Bath Canner: Water Boiling Processing Times for Applesauce
|Processing Time for Pints
|Processing Time for Quarts
|1,001 – 3,000 feet
|3,001 – 6,000 feet
|Above 6,000 feet
Pressure Canner Processing Times
*Note that we have included two charts here – one for dial gauge pressure canners, and one for weighted gauge pressure canners. If you are not sure which type you have, check the manufacturers specifications!
Dial Gauge Pressure Canner Processing Times
|Dial Gauge Pints
|Dial Gauge Quarts
|0 – 2,000 ft
|8 min, 6 lbs
|10 min, 6 lbs
|2,001- 4000 ft
|8 min, 7 lbs
|10 min, 7 lbs
|4,001 – 6,000 ft
|8 min, 8 lbs
|10 min, 8 lbs
|6,001- 8,000 ft
|8 min, 9 lbs
|10 min, 9 lbs
Weighted Gauge Processing Times
|Weighted Gauge Pints
|Weighted Gauge Quarts
|0 – 1,000 feet
|8 min, 5 lbs
|10 min, 5 lbs
|Above 1,000 feet
|8 min, 10 lbs
|10 min, 10 lbs
*Note: The main difference between pints and quarts in a pressure canner is that pints will need processed for 8 minutes and quarts will need processed for 10 minutes.
Step 5: Allow to Set:
Once you are through with processing the apple sauce, you’ll want to make sure that you leave the jars in a place where they won’t be bothered or moved for at least 24 hours to finish sealing all of the way.
Be sure you do not try to tighten the bands after the jars are done cooking, this could cause you to break the seal unintentionally!
Store your applesauce in a cool, dry, dark place, such as your pantry cabinet or other food storage area that is not subjected to extreme temperature changes or sunlight exposure.
Now that you have the basic overview of how to can your own homemade applesauce, you’re ready to enjoy canning applesauce anytime you have apples you’d like to use!
It can be a lot of fun to make your own homemade applesauce. Canning applesauce gives you so many options and ways for enjoying all of your favorite apples in the fall!
Have Questions about Canning Applesauce? What are Your Thoughts?
Do you have any questions about canning applesauce? What types of apples do you like to use in making your applesauce recipes? Do you add sugar or cinnamon? We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!