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Go Ask Mom

Recipe: Homemade applesauce

Posted October 4, 2012 8:50 p.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 2:27 p.m. EDT

Fall is in the air - mornings are crisp, days are getting shorter, and apples are abundant at local farmers markets. I love seeing all the varieties on display and sampling the options from week to week.

While one of my daughter’s favorite snacks is a fresh, fall apple, there’s something special about making applesauce together. The wonderful aroma of apples, fresh cider, and spices brewing cheers us up on rainy fall days, and then we have a delicious and healthy snack for days to come. Here’s a simple recipe that we use at the Cafe and home.

Apples at the N.C. Farmers' Market

Homemade Applesauce

1 cup apple cider (apple juice or water can be substituted)
8 large apples, peeled, cored and thickly sliced
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer over medium low heat.
2. Cook the apples, stirring often, until they are soft and falling apart (about 1 ½ hours).
3. Mash apples to desired consistency with a wooden spoon or potato masher. For extra smooth applesauce, use a blender.

Makes about 4 cups of applesauce.


  • Use a mixture of apple varieties for best results. Some N.C. varietals that work well in sauce include: Gala, Fuji, Golden or Red Delicious, Rome Beauty, Jonagold, Empire, and Pink Lady. Include a couple of Granny Smiths for a touch of tartness.
  • You can leave the apple peels on and blend them into the final sauce, though this is only recommended if you are using organic apples.
  • For something a little different, use pears instead of apples.

Holly Taylor, a mom of one in Raleigh, is an owner of Pullen Place Cafe & Catering, which focuses on serving fresh, local, seasonal fare in the heart of Raleigh's historic Pullen Park. The cafe, which also caters events, has a kids menu and a wide variety of gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options.

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