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Canning Chunky Applesauce

Recipes for applesauce abound, I know, but this chunky applesauce recipe is quick and easy when time might be short. 

Canning chunky applesauce is done with minimal equipment and open to customization. It is also a great way to reduce waste and save time in your preservation efforts.

A jar of chunky applesauce on a dark table with fresh apples and a napkin. Includes text overlay

Skip the Peeling

I know this is going to sound odd to many folks and certainly to applesauce purists but there’s no reason to peel in most cases.  If someone, is really opposed, by all means peel but around here we don’t. 

Just cut out the bad spots, core and quarter those apples.

You will not likely win a blue ribbon at the fair if you skip the peeling. However, you will get a bunch more done in a hurry if that’s important.

To Pre-Treat or Not?

Apples brown and quickly too, once cut. This is way the standard canning advice is to pre-treat them prior to canning.

I honestly, skip this step. Yes, the apples will get a little brown but once they’re boiled, the color is just fine and normal to me. You can see in the photos that the applesauce isn’t some weird brown color that is unappetizing.

Apples in a basket surrounded by fall leaves.

If you want to pre-treat do so by dipping the slices into a bath of either:

Ascorbic acid: you can buy this like ‘Fruit Fresh’ right in the grocery store. Sometimes health food stores will sell it in the bulk section. Follow package directions but usually it is 1 teaspoon ascorbic acid dissolved in 1 gallon of water.

Lemon Juice: add ¼ cup lemon juice to 4 cups of water.

Simply remove slices with a slotted spoon and then proceed with the rest of the recipe.


Toss those apple quarters into a pot with about two inches of water in the bottom.  Add some lemon juice. Put a lid on the pot and bring to a boil.  Cook until the apples are very soft. 

The time is going to vary based on a number of things just keep an eye on the pot.

Remove from heat.


Use a potato masher and mash those apples to a desired level of chunky. 

Chunky applesauce in a bowl with a spoon, a napkin to the left and fresh apples behind it.

Return the pan to the stove and sweeten and add spice, if desired. 

Sugar & Spice

If you want to add sugar and/or spice to your applesauce, do it after mashing.

How much and what is completely up to you. The sugar does not do the preserving, the canning process does. So you can skip it if you want. I usually do.

If you’d like to make a spiced applesauce – add up to 3 teaspoons of spice for every 12 pounds of apples.

Ground cinnamon, ginger, apple pie spice, etc. all work well. Use what you like or skip it entirely.

If you’re unsure of how you’re going to use the applesauce later – leave it plain. You can always sprinkle it with spice when serving.

Make a batch of plain and a batch of spiced if you so desire to have options on your pantry shelves.

Another Boil

Bring the mashed and sweetened / spiced applesauce boil again. You want the mixture boiling before ladling into your jars.

Put in Jars

Add the chunky applesauce to hot jars leaving 1/2″ headspace for canning (1″ headspace for freezing). Process in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes (adjusting for elevation).

A jar of chunky applesauce on a dark table with fresh apples and a napkin.

Freeze Instead

If you don’t want to can, freezing is an option. Simply put into freezer safe containers, leaving room for expansion. Eat within 6 months.

How to Use Chunky Applesauce

Around here, we just eat it as a side dish or a snack a great majority of the time. Sometimes it gets mixed with yogurt or eaten over pancakes. But plain is generally it.

A slice of chocolate applesauce cake on a white plate with a napkin and fork next to it, entire cake sitting behind.

However, I also use applesauce in a number of sweet and savory ways. Generally, when baking with applesauce one wants it smooth not chunky. On those occasions, I just puree the chunky applesauce in a blender and proceed.

Easily Doubled or More

Use the recipe as merely a guideline.

Feel free to double, triple, or more. Unlike jam you don’t need to worry about it setting so simply put as many apples as you can fit into a pot and proceed.

That’s exactly how we did around here because we’re trying to get as much done as quickly as possible.

Yield: 8 Pint Jars

Canning Chunky Applesauce

A jar of chunky applesauce on a table with fresh apples, a napkin, and a spoon.

Save the freshness of fall by canning chunky applesauce to eat throughout the winter.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Canning Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 12 lbs apples, cored, quartered
  • Water
  • 4 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Sugar, optional (up to 3 cups)


  1. Put the apples into a heavy pan with two inches of water and the lemon juice. Cook until the fruit is soft.
  2. Once the fruit is soft, remove from heat. Mash to the desired texture.
  3. Return the mashed fruit to the pan and reheat. Add sugar, if desired. Heat until just boiling and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.
  4. Pour the sauce into hot jars, leaving ½” headspace at the top. Process for 20 minutes, adding time for elevation.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 Cup

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 179Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 5mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 8gSugar: 36gProtein: 1g

We try our best but cannot guarantee that nutrition information is 100% accurate.

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Saturday 8th of October 2022

I have an apple pealed to use. I peals, sliced, and removes core, it takes 50 seconds per apple. No mashing needed. Chickens get the peelings. I like to use a mix of gala and red delicious, no sugar needed.


Monday 9th of September 2019

Please can you explain something for me? Love the recipe and advice but I'm a complete newbie to all this. I've got my apples cooked and made into a sauce and put into glass jars with metal screwtop lids. But then you say "Process for 20 minutes, adding time for elevation". Am I right that you are saying to put the closed jars in a large saucepan full of water, and boil them for 20 minutes? Won't the glass crack? I wasn't sure what a "canner" is. I think it's a language thing as I'm in the UK. The ones on Amazon look like my giant pasta saucepan or like my steamer. Is that what you mean? Put the glass jars in the cage inside the steamer and steam for 20 minutes? Again, what about the glass? Also, "adding time for elevation". I'm really sorry but I don't understand what you mean. What does this refer to? Does the apple sauce rise inside the jar or is it because it bubbles when heated? Thanks so much for anyone's advice. Apples coming out of ears here!

Kathie Lapcevic

Tuesday 10th of September 2019

You do want to submerge the full jars into boiling water. If you're using canning jars they're made to do this and should not break. Elevation changes how long something needs to be boiled. Check out this website for comprehensive canning instructions:

I think in the UK, you call it bottling instead of canning but I could be wrong there...


Saturday 19th of September 2015

what a great treat on a cold winter day

Kim Campbell

Saturday 19th of September 2015

I would can some sort of apple relish!


Thursday 17th of September 2015


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