There are some dishes that are so ingrained in what we’ve come to expect from a holiday meal that it simply would feel wrong not to include them.
Enter Grammy’s cinnamon applesauce. It is mandatory at both Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, and for good reason. It’s got four simple ingredients: apples, ground cinnamon, lemon slices, and a tiny bit of sugar (but this part is optional! Prefer an unsweetened applesauce? Leave it out!).
Homemade applesauce could not be simpler to make! Whole, unpeeled apples get cored and quartered, then steam with water on high heat in a microwave until soft enough to pass through a foley mill. Leaving the skin on is what gives the cinnamon applesauce it’s signature red color, so be sure to leave them on.
And don’t even try to compare this to Mott’s applesauce. Our homemade applesauce recipe is 1000x better, we promise!
Ingredients For Cinnamon Applesauce
Doesn’t take much to make the world’s best cinnamon applesauce! Grab the following ingredients:
- Apples (our top varieties for applesauce listed below!): duh! Gotta have fresh apples to make the best ever applesauce at home!
- Lemons: to help prevent the lemons from oxidizing, as well as adding a bright, citrusy flavor.
- Ground cinnamon: homemade applesauce is great, but homemade cinnamon applesauce is even better!
- Water: to help the apples steam and soften in the microwave
That’s it! We only add granulated sugar on a need to have basis. What that means is each batch of applesauce you make is unique and different based on the natural sweetness and sugars already in the apples used. Taste and add sugar at the end based on your specific preferences, or leave it out entirely for unsweetened applesauce.
Special Equipment For Making Applesauce
We inherited our foley mill from my husband’s grandparents over 10 years ago. It is a work horse, and I couldn’t imagine using anything else. If you don’t already own a foley mill (also known as a ricer), definitely look into purchasing one! Not only are they great for applesauce, but they make the creamiest mashed potatoes you’ve ever had in your life!
How To Make Cinnamon Applesauce
The process is straightforward: Core and cut 6-8 medium apples, place them in a large bowl with water, lemon slices, and ground cinnamon to taste. Microwave on high for 10 minutes, stirring once in the middle, then transfer to a foley mill and process.
When we make applesauce from scratch, it’s usually while we’re doing other things in the kitchen already. And the apples are so soft after microwaving that a young child could easily be put in charge of running them through the foley mill. Our kids do it every year and love to help!
Don’t peel the apples, leave the skin on! That’s what gives the applesauce a beautiful dark pink color!
How To Freeze Applesauce
Homemade applesauce freezes exceptionally well! We frequently make a double or triple batch, freeze them in small containers, then pull them out as needed. To defrost, thaw overnight in a fridge.
We make so much homemade applesauce around the holidays, both for Thanksgiving dinner (an absolute must) and to serve with latkes on Chanukah. There’s nothing better!
Have leftover applesauce? We never do (seriously, lol, our kids could eat this by the gallon!), but homemade applesauce bread sounds amazing!
Best Apples For Applesauce
Our top picks, in order of prefernce:
- Macoun apples
- Cortland apples
- Macintosh apples
Why does apple type even matter? It effects both flavor and texture. You could certainly experiment with other varieties!
Cinnamon applesauce is one of those simple recipes you never knew you needed until you make it at home. If you’ve got 15 minutes to spare, a microwave, and a foley mill, this can all be yours!Our family has been making this very same applesauce recipe for decades, truly! It is the absolute best and you will never, ever want to buy from a store again, pinky promise.
If you make our Cinnamon Applesauce, please let us know by leaving a review and rating below. We can’t wait to hear what you think!!
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For more holiday side dishes, check out the following recipes:
- Roasted brussels sprouts
- Cheddar biscuits
- Mashed butternut squash
- Focaccia stuffing
- Herby mashed potatoes
Cinnamon Applesauce Recipe
- 6-8 medium Macoun apples can substitute Cortland or Macintosh
- ⅔ cup water
- ¾ cup granulated sugar optional
- 1 lemon cut into ¼" slices
- ground cinnamon to taste
- Cut the apples. Wash but do not peel apples. Cut 2-3 apples into quarters, removing the core, then place apple chunks in a large microwave-safe bowl. Add 2 lemon slices, a sprinkle of ground cinnamon, then pour 1-2 Tbsp water right on top.
- Cook the apples. Microwave on high for 5 minutes, then stir. Cook an additional 5 minutes on high power. Repeat with remaining apples.
- Process the apples. Discard lemon slices, then use a slotted spoon to transfer cooked apples into a foley mill fitted with small-size holes. A slotted spoon is helpful, as it strains excess water. Process the apples, which should turn into sauce easily. As apple skin accumulates and blocks the holes, remove and throw away. Repeat with remaining apples.
- Optional: add sugar. Add sugar to taste — make sure to try the cinnamon applesauce before adding any in case your apples are sweet enough without! Then add a few tablespoons at a time, taste, and reassess. Cover, then cool in a refrigerator until needed.
- To freeze: store in small containers, then freeze for up to 6 months. To defrost, thaw overnight in a fridge.
Let us know your thoughts!