This easy recipe is the best applesauce for celebrating the flavors of fall. Applesauce with Apple Cider uses the addition of apple cider to create a deeper, richer apple flavor.
Is there anything better in the fall than apple picking at a local farm? Michigan is the third largest producer of apples in the U.S.! Our orchards produce an amazing variety, including gala (my fave!), golden delicious, jonagold and granny smith apples, plus ever-popular honeycrisp apples.
Full of warm spices and simple ingredients, there's no substitute for homemade apple sauce. This recipe makes a large batch of applesauce, perfect for freezing so you have some on hand whenever you need it.
We’re skipping the slow cooker and Insta Pot in favor of the traditional stove top since it cooks up in just 30 minutes.
This homemade applesauce recipe is one of my favorite ways to use fresh apples. Whether they’re fresh from the orchard or your local grocery store, apples just taste better in the fall.
I love using Apple Cider Applesauce in my Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal, or any other recipe I find that calls for applesauce. It has so much more flavor that any store-bought applesauce you can find.
Serve it warm or cold, with pork chops or chicken, on potato pancakes, or even as a topping for ice cream.
- Apples - I love gala apples and use them in all of my cooking, but choose your favorite apples - or a variety - for this apple sauce. Different apples cook differently, so using a mix of apples with give more texture to your applesauce.
- Brown sugar - My favorite sweetener with apples. Use maple syrup if you're looking for a different sugar in this recipe.
- Apple cider - Fresh from the orchard, using apple cider instead of water in this recipe gives the applesauce a deeper apple flavor and darker color.
- Ground cinnamon and nutmeg - These classic, warm applesauce spice add a lot of flavor to the apple sauce.
- Salt - Your favorite Kosher salt works great.
- Vanilla extract - Use 100% pure vanilla extract to create a delicious depth of flavor.
- A lemon - This will keep your applesauce from getting overly sweet and balance everything out. Choose a fresh lemon and squeeze the juice.
How to Make Apple Cider Applesauce
Peel and core the apples. Chop into thin slices.
Place apples into a large pot.
Stir in remaining ingredients, making sure apples slices are evenly coated.
Cook apples over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the apples are soft. Approximately 25-30 minutes. (If the liquid cooks down too much, stir in additional apple cider or a little water, ¼ cup at a time.)
Using a potato masher, carefully mash the apples until they are no longer recognizable slices.
Stir the applesauce and continue cooking until desired consistency is reached.
Remove from heat and give the apples one final mash to break up any remaining larger chunks.
Cool and store in an airtight container. Enjoy!
This is a chunky applesauce. If you prefer a smooth applesauce, swap the potato masher for an immersion blender. You can also puree the cooked apples in a food processor or grind through a food mill for a smoother applesauce. If you decide to puree in a regular blender, be sure the applesauce has cooled to room temperature and puree it in batches.
Use whatever cinnamon you like. I prefer ground cinnamon in this recipe, but if you’d rather use cinnamon sticks, feel free to make the swap. Just be sure to remove the cinnamon sticks before mashing or pureeing the applesauce.
Can I freeze Applesauce with Apple Cider?
Yes! This recipe is one of my favorites to make in big batches during weekend meal prep and freeze. I store mine in zip top bags and freeze it flat. Thaw in the refrigerator or in a shallow dish of cold water, if you're in a hurry.
FAQs and Substitutions
I love gala apples in this recipe. They're slightly sweet and hold up well to all the cooking. Gala apples will still leave you with plenty of chunks in your applesauce after you mash them up.
If it's not cider season, you can use unsweetened apple juice or water in place of the apple cider. It will make for a lighter color applesauce and you may need to add more brown sugar. Be sure to taste your applesauce and adjust according to your sweetness preferences.
If you're looking for an all natural sweetener for your applesauce, swap out the brown sugar for 100% pure maple syrup.