The Best Spiced Vanilla Homemade Applesauce Recipe – make applesauce on the stove, slow cooker applesauce, or even Instant Pot applesauce.
EDIT OCTOBER 2019 // I’ve made this recipe multiple times every fall for 10+ years. This is still my family’s favorite apple sauce recipe and I absolutely love making it. I love it when someone walks in the door and is immediately stopped in their tracks because of the smell. I usually stick pretty close to this exact recipe, but if I am feeling really saucy, I might add a little orange juice and zest, some nutmeg, or some pie spice.
It is not fall without applesauce. I make it many times throughout the season, even into winter. Can you have latkes without homemade applesauce? Or roast pork? I just don’t think you can. This recipe is one I make time and time again, and it is fool-proof and always so comforting.
Apple sauce is really easy to make. And, wait for it… a thousand times better than the stuff that they put in jars! No offense to Motts. Seriously. Homemade apple sauce is so good and so easy and just plain wholesome. It makes me feel all Laura Ingalls Wilder.
The beauty of this homemade applesauce recipe is that you can make it to your taste. Like a less sweet applesauce? Reduce the sugar. Want to use some honey or maple syrup? Go right ahead.
Like it extra spicy? Add more cinnamon. Add more spices. Nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cardamom – any warm spice would love this applesauce.
There are a few things that I think make my applesauce recipe better than the jarred variety:
1. I use a variety of apples. Honeycrisp, Gold Delicious, Gala, Fuji. I like to use a combination. Each apple brings something different to the table flavor and texture-wise.
2. I add some vanilla bean paste at the end. I love seeing the flecks of bean throughout the applesauce. If you don’t have any, vanilla extract works great too.
3. I leave some texture in it. I like my applesauce to have some bite to it. I use a potato masher and leave it pretty chunky. Feel free to puree it to your desired texture.
What you need for this homemade spiced vanilla applesauce recipe:
- Approximately 5 pounds apples, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
In a large pot or Dutch oven add the apples, water, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and lemon juice.
Let the apples cook over medium to low heat until the apples are soft, about 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and add the vanilla bean paste.
You can either put the apples in a food mill, food processor or use my weapon of choice – a potato masher. I like my apple sauce to have some chunks, but you can make it as smooth or as chunky as you like.
Looks pretty wholesome, doesn’t it? Give it a taste. You can add more sugar if you like a sweeter sauce. I like a medium sweet sauce, but I like a lot of lemon and cinnamon.
I made this apple sauce to accompany roast pork. It was absolutely delicious with it.
Have some leftover applesauce or want to use in something else? Try my incredible Applesauce Bread recipe. Super easy and another amazing smell will come out of your kitchen while it’s baking.
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST SPICED VANILLA APPLESAUCE //
– I like to make applesauce on the stove in a Dutch oven because it makes me feel very domestic and I like the smell. But you can make slow cooker applesauce by putting all of the ingredients except vanilla in a slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 4 hours. When it is done, add vanilla, and puree.
– Alternatively, you can make Instant Pot Applesauce. Add everything except for the vanilla and close the lid. Cook on HIGH PRESSURE for 5 minutes. Natural release, and add vanilla.
– My tool of choice to puree is a potato masher. My family likes their applesauce on the lumpy side, but you can use an immersion blender, food mill, or blender.
– Feel free to play with the amount of sweetness. If you prefer less sweet, reduce the sugar, sweeter add more. Just make sure to taste as you go. If I find my applesauce could use a little sweetness after it’s been cooking I add a few splashes of maple syrup or honey.
– Don’t forget the salt. It might seem strange to add salt, but it balances the sweetness and brings out the flavor in the apples.
– Vanilla bean paste is something that I use all the time, but if you don’t have any, an extract is totally fine.
– You don’t have to peel your apples. If I was going to puree it smooth, I probably wouldn’t bother. But since mine is chunky, I take the time to peel them. My kids love using my old-fashioned apple peeler, so they are happy to do it for me.
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