Canning Applesauce Recipe

with Sharon Peterson

Canning applesauce helps you take control back over your food and how it’s processed. Create a shelf stable food that adds variety to your pantry. Go to for recipes and inspiration!

What kind of apples are best for canning applesauce? Maybe you like extra sweet or extra tart.

We love a Jona-Gold apple we get from a local orchard. Especially for applesauce. Not only is it the best tasting (in our humble opinion). No sugar needed!

Though I always use just Jona-Gold I've read that using several types of apples will give your applesauce a nicer flavor. You might want to experiment and see what combinations will do for your family.

If you use a red skinned apple the applesauce will have a beautiful pink tinge. The jars you see here are 3 types of apples in canned applesauce. Can you pick out the Jona-gold? The Jona-Gold has a mottled red and yellow color which gives the applesauce a nice pink color.

The basic idea behind how to make apple sauce is to cook the apples, mush them up, add sweetener if desired, getting rid of the skins and cores somewhere along the way.

If you have a food mill or strainer, you can cook the apples before getting rid of the skin and cores. The strainer does the work of peeling and coring. If you do not then you must peel and core apples prior to cooking.

When canning apple sauce you may process in a Water Bath Canner


 Gather your canning supplies


  • Apples - You will need about 21 pounds per canner load of 7 quarts
  • Sugar -to taste
  • Cinnamon - optional, a nice addition

Canning applesauce if you have a Food Mill:

If you have a food mill it makes things very easy. 

Wash, and quarter apples. Place in large pot (approx. 5-6 quart).

Don't overfill your pot as you need to be able to stir the apples even before they have softened. Otherwise they will stick. (ask me how I know) I have two pots that I will sometimes get going at the same time.

Once (and only once!) I tried to cook all my apples at once in a huge stock-pot that I have... big mistake. I could not get the apples stirred up very well and they scorched to the bottom. I rescued the apples off the top and continued. Sometimes we can try to save time but only make more problems.

Add 1-cup water to help prevent sticking. Cover and simmer until tender, stirring often.

Press through your food mill. If you are canning applesauce with a red skinned variety of apple, it will pick up the color. Pink, gorgeous, and appetizing.

I use my Victorio Food Mill . Put the apples skins cores and all into the hopper, press down as you turn the crank and the skins will be pushed out the end while your applesauce will emerge from the strainer.

  Canning applesauce without a Food Mill:

If you don't have a food mill you just need to peel and core your apples before cooking.

First peel, core, and quarter apples.

This is where the apple, peeler, corer, slicer comes in handy. It will cut your time in half. If you use one, see instructions that came with it. Otherwise just peel core and slice the old fashioned way with a paring knife.

Tip: Thinner slices will soften much faster.

Place slices in a large pot, (see my over filled stock-pot fiasco above) add 1 cup water to prevent sticking.

Cook until tender, stirring often.

Mash with a potato masher. This works well especially if you like chunky applesauce. If desired you can use a wire whisk on the apples at the end of cooking to get a smoother consistency.

Finishing your applesauce

Add sugar to resulting applesauce to taste. I prefer not to put any sugar but it all depends on the type of apple. Go ahead and taste it and add sugar if you want. Cinnamon is another option.

Reheat sauce to a boil, again stirring often to prevent sticking.

Fill hot jars with hot applesauce leaving 1/2 inch head space.

Wipe the rims clean, remove any air bubbles and place your lids. For more details follow water bath canning instructions.

Final step is to process in a waterbath canner.  It is important to use the correct time for your altitude.  See the chart below to determine your processing time. 

For more information on Altitude Adjustments and why they are important check this page. 

Process Pints

0-1000 feet needs 15 minutes

1000 - 6000 feet needs 20 minutes

above 6000 feet needs 25 minutes

Process Quarts

0-1000 feet needs 20 minutes

1000 - 3000 feet needs 25 minutes

3000 - 6000 feet needs 30 minutes

above 6000 feet needs 35 minutes

You can pin Canning Applesauce here.

Source for canning applesauce procedures  NCFHFP

Questions from my inbox:

Question Is it safe to have peels in your applesauce (water bath canning)?  I always peel the apples, but my peeler slicer corer gadget has an issue and it didn't completely peel the apples. I planned on putting the apples & bits of peel in the food processor so there aren't chunks of peels, but thought I should ask you first if it's safe. Also, what's with folks not adding lemon juice?  Ball says it's not optional ... Am I being overly cautious here?  Lol

Thank you in advance, Sharon. So glad I found you on Facebook & Youtube.

Answer: Yes it is ok to have bits of apple peel in your sauce.  It doesn't hurt a thing.  It is just a texture thing.  

As far as lemon juice.  I know some directions call for it and some don't. It certainly doesn't hurt to use it so if you want to go right ahead.  I don't use it.  I double checked my source for information to be sure something had not changed and nope... they do not included lemon juice.  

And keep asking questions!  I love seeing folks searching for information and not just guessing when it comes to home canning.   

Canning applesauce helps you take control back over your food and how it’s processed. Create a shelf stable food that adds variety to your pantry. Go to for recipes and inspiration!

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by Sharon Peterson, Copyright © 2009-2019

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