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Canning Applesauce: How to Can Homemade Applesauce

Canning applesauce is a fantastic way to preserve the flavors of autumn for use all year. A few simple steps and you’ll have the best-tasting applesauce you’ve ever tried that can be stored right on the shelf!

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Canning applesauce like the jars of homemade applesauce pictured here is easy.

While we don’t have much room for fruit trees on our acre, we do have four amazing apple orchards nearby to keep us in fresh, local apples all autumn long.

One of our favorite fall field trips for our homeschool is a trip to one of those local orchards and picking our own apples by the bushel, bringing them home, and canning them into various canned goodies.

Canning applesauce is just the tip of our preserving iceberg. We also can lots of apple butter, pickled apples, apple jelly, apple pie filling, and apple slices along with dehydrating apple slices for a fun snack.

What type of apples are best for canning applesauce?

Every single apple will make applesauce, but their texture, taste, and their response to heat are all different. Which apple variety you choose depends a lot on your personal taste.

Some folks say the softer kind of apples such as McIntosh or Golden Delicious work better since you’re cooking it down, but I don’t find that to be true. In fact, I think it’s better to select a variety of apples that you like the flavor of.

While firmer, baking types will take longer to cook down, in the end, it doesn’t matter if you use softer varieties. While you wouldn’t want to use those softer varieties when canning apple slices it doesn’t hurt to use them here, but it isn’t necessary.

I prefer to mix some tart apples such as Granny Smith with some sweeter Fugi or Gala. Doing this gives the final product a lot more flavor than using just one variety or another.

How many pints of applesauce does a bushel of apples make?

Jars of applesauce on a counter

A bushel of apples weighs 45 pounds, but how many pints or quarts that produces will vary based on the variety. Some varieties will cook down more than others.

That said, you’ll get approximately 14 quarts of applesauce from a bushel. But again, this will vary greatly depending upon the varieties used.

Every single apple will make applesauce, but their texture, taste, and their response to heat are all different. Which variety you choose depends a lot on personal taste. I usually grab whatever is available from the local orchard in large quantities. Depending on when we get to the orchard dictates what’s readily available for the picking. 

The apples that are best are going to be soft, not firm like baking apples. So, when given the choice opt for the soft apples. They simply cook down quicker and puree more easily than a firmer baking apple like Granny Smith. 

Over mature, soft, and minimally damaged apples are great for making applesauce. While you don’t want to use excessively bruised or worm-infested apples, using apples that are a bit past their prime for making apple pies still works wonderfully in applesauce.

Do you have to sweeten applesauce?

Again, this is a personal preference. You can completely omit any sweetener and still have a perfectly safe applesauce for canning. You can add more, or less, depending on your personal tastes as well as the varieties of apple used.

If you’re using a particularly tart apple, such as granny smith, you may want some sweetener just to tone down the tartness. Maybe you won’t… It’s really up to you.

We used to sweeten our applesauce with maple syrup, but it made it too thin. So, we use organic granulated sugar or maple sugar to sweeten it instead. Again, you can completely omit sweetener and it won’t affect the safety of the recipe.

How to Puree Applesauce

Running softened apples through a food mill for canning applesauce.

There are as many ways to puree applesauce for canning as their are applesauce recipes. Seriously, though there are several ways.

Food Mill. Personally, I use a food mill. Yes, it takes a bit of work and sometimes the food mill doesn’t cooperate. But, it is fairly easy to use and creates a consistency we are all satisfied with, so I continue to use it.

Immersion Blender. This will produce a nice, smooth applesauce without having to use another bulky contraption to get it to that point. A couple of other ideas are a traditional blender or a food processor. They’ll all work virtually the same, but make more, or less, of a mess depending on which you choose.

Electric Food Strainer. I’d love to have one of these because it would make things like canning pizza sauce, applesauce, and tomato sauce so much easier to make. Alas, I do not.

Potato Masher. If you want chunky applesauce, this is a great way to achieve that goal.

Tips for Canning Applesauce

Jars of home canned applesauce on a counter surrounded by fresh apples, cinnamon sticks, allspice and nutmeg.

Peel before heating the apples. Unless you’re using a food strainer, I recommend removing the peels. Yes, they add a little nutrition, no it’s. not enough to deal with the weird texture apple peels provide. Maybe that’s a personal thing, but I don’t care for apple peels in my applesauce.

Heat the applesauce before packing jars. Not only is the processing time based off of hot applesauce, but if you want to prevent siphoning, you need to bring the applesauce to a boil and keep it at a 180°F simmer while packing.

Remove air bubbles. While you should be doing this every time you can anything, be sure you’re removing air bubbles when canning applesauce. Since applesauce is naturally thick and full of air bubbles, you’ll want to be sure to not skip this step. This will help prevent siphoning and ensure proper processing.

Use lemon juice. This brightens the flavor, helps the apples keep their color, and assures the acidity of the finished product since every variety as well as every harvest produces apples of different acidity.

Try different varieties. Mix and match to make the best applesauce! Using a few tart varieties with some sweet apples really changes the flavor and makes it so much better.

Canning Applesauce Equipment

Ingredients for Canning Applesauce

You can just can pureed apples if you’d like to, but using these ingredients will result in the best applesauce you’ve ever tasted… promise.

Apples. Again, a mixture of both sweet and tart makes for an excellent sauce. My favorites are gala and granny smith.

Lemon Juice. Technically optional, this helps maintain the color of the apples after processing and it helps assure acidity levels. While apples are plenty acidic, it’s just an extra security. Plus, it brightens the flavor just enough and isn’t overpowering.

Sugar. While also technically optional, a bit of sugar really helps balance the flavors. We use organic cane sugar another great option is maple sugar.

Spices. A blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger combine to make this taste amazing… like apple pie, but better.

Best Homemade Applesauce Recipe

Canning applesauce is pretty straightforward. You’ll simply peel, core, and slice the apples then cook them down and run them through a food mill. Season everything up, heat it, pack, and process.

Pouring homemade applesauce into a jar for canning.

Peel, core, and slice apples. If you have an apple peeler, corer, and slicer then you have an easy job. Otherwise, peel, core, and slice the apples by hand using a paring knife.

Heat apples. Place the apples in a large stockpot with just enough water to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally until the apples are tender. This will take approximately 5 to 20 minutes, depending on the type of apple used.

Prepare canner, jars, and lids. After the apples have become tender, prepare your canner, jars and lids by washing jars and lids in hot soapy water and placing them full of water in a canner also full of water. Bring everything to a simmer over medium heat and keep it around 180°F while you prepare the rest of the recipe.

Puree the apples. Using a food mill and working in batches, puree the apples into a large stockpot until smooth.

Make the applesauce. Combine apple puree with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, sugar and lemon juice in a large pot and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat stirring frequently to prevent sticking.

Once boiling, reduce heat to low and continue a gentle boil while you pack the jars.

Pack the jars. Carefully ladle hot applesauce into hot jars, leaving half inch headspace. Remove the air bubbles and adjust for proper headspace if necessary. Wipe the rim of the jar with a damp cloth. Center the lid and tighten the screw band to finger tight.

Process. Place the jars back into the waiting water bath canner, making sure the tops of the jars are covered by at least an inch of water. Place the lid on the canner and bring everything to a boil over high heat to start the canning process.

Process both pint jars and quart jars for 20 minutes. Remove the lid from the canner and allow the jars to sit for an additional 5 minutes before removing to a towel-lined counter.

Allow jars to sit for 12 to 24 hours before checking for proper seals. Remove the screw bands and store in a cool, dark place for up to 18 months.

Other Apple Recipes to Try:

If you try this canning applesauce recipe, I’d love to hear your questions and thoughts in the comments section! Also, feel free to leave me a recipe review on the recipe card below and tag me on instagram with your creations @therusticelk!

Jars of home canned applesauce. Canning applesauce at home is easy
Yield: Make 8 Pints or 4 Quarts

Best Applesauce Canning Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Processing Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Canning Applesauce is easy and delicious. This applesauce tastes amazing and is a great pantry staple to can up for amazing flavor all year!


  • 6 Lbs Gala Apples (sub other sweet variety), peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 6 Lbs Granny Smith Apples (sub other tart variety), peeled, cored, and sliced
  • Water
  • 2 Cups Organic Cane Sugar (optional)
  • 4 Tbsp Bottled Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Nutmet
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Allspice
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Ginger


      1. Peel, core, and slice the apples and add them to a large stockpot with just enough water added to the bottom to prevent sticking.
      2. Bring the apples to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to low and cook until the apples are tender, stirring occasionally. This will take around 5-20 minutes.
      3. Once the apples are tender, remove the heat and allow them to cool slightly while you prepare the canner, jars, and lids.
      4. Working in batches, place the tender apples in a food mill and puree them until smooth.
      5. Place the apple puree in a saucepan along with sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and continue simmering while packing the jars.
      6. Ladle the hot applesauce into the hot jars, leaving 1/2" of headspace. Remove the air bubbles and adjust for proper headspace if necessary.
      7. Wipe the rims with a damp cloth, center the lids, finger tighten screw bands and place the jars back in the waiting boiling water canner.
      8. Place the lid on the canner and bring to a rolling boil. Process both pints and quarts for 20 minutes, adjusting processing time for altitude. Turn off the heat and remove the lid from the canner, allow the jars to sit for 5 minutes before removing to a towel-lined counter. Check seals after 12-24 hours.


    Altitude Adjustments:

    0-1,000ft 20 Minutes

    1,001-3,000ft 25 Minutes

    3,001-6,000ft 30 Minutes

    6,001ft+ 35 Minutes

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1/2 Cup

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 294Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 5mgCarbohydrates: 72gFiber: 9gSugar: 59gProtein: 1g

Nutrition information may not be accurate

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Elizabeth Klassen

Wednesday 29th of November 2023

I am just curious if I decide not to add 2 cups of cane sugar, if this recipe would still be considered safe to can.

Danielle McCoy

Wednesday 29th of November 2023

Yes, you can omit the sugar, it isn't utilized for safety, only flavor. The lemon juice does need added, however.


Wednesday 20th of October 2021

I cant wait to try this recipe!

Danielle McCoy

Friday 22nd of October 2021

I hope you love it as much as we do!


Saturday 12th of January 2019

I just made my first canned applesauce this past Fall. I have access to an abandoned orchard and I made a *lot* and kept some for myself but also gave as Christmas gifts. They were a mix of several types of very flavorful apples and I used very minimal sweetener bc some of it will be used in baking. I discovered something interesting: without a tiny pinch of cinnamon, it was kind of flat and 1-dimensional. I suppose you could use nutmeg, allspice, or Ginger bc the amount I added (about a half teaspoon in 6 lbs of apples + half cup each of cider and sugar) wasn't even detectable but it perked the sauce up like you wouldn't believe.

Danielle McCoy

Monday 14th of January 2019

Interesting! I like the flavor the maple syrup adds. It's not so much sweet as it just adds some dimension, like you said.

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