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The best, most delicious applesauce?

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In all my years of cooking I've never gotten around to making applesauce (!) but the craving is on me. What are the best, most flavorful apple varieties to use? Peel or don't peel? What seasonings (cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, etc) work best? Which sweeteners -- maple syrup, honey, sugar, brown sugar? Cook in oven or on cooktop?

Any other tips or secrets?

Thank you, dear hounds....

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  1. My favorite apples for applesauce is the honey crisp or cox orange. I cook them with a bit of apple juice, and add maybe a bit of white sugar after tasting, but often I add no sugar at all.
    I'm a purist .. I like just apples, no spices.
    Both varieties will cook up pinkish if the skin is left on.

    1. I peel, core, and rough chop a variety of apples and add enough cider to cover the bottom to start the reduction process and occasionally add 1 tsp of Penzeys Ceylon cinnamon at the end.

      McIntosh, Johnathon, Winesap or Northern spy are the best but you can use almost anything but red delicious. I don't use any sweeteners and don't miss it.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Kelli2006

        You can reduce apple juice to give more flavour and sweetness. When it starts getting syrups you can add the apple chunks. You can add pectin if you need to form the sauce, but that's not usually necessary.

        Spices and texture depend on the use for the sauce, whether to accompany meat, desert, cheese, fill crepes, inject into choux, mix with yoghurt or even use in cocktails.

        1. re: Kelli2006

          This is nearly exactly what I do, only I might add a splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice to the apples at the beginning to avoid over browning, and just a bit of sugar. In addition to cinnamon, I might add smaller amounts of nutmeg, or a pinch of ground cloves. Just used Northern Spies that were too bruised to add to my storage box, and it's delicious!

        2. The only seasoning I add is a half dozen Red Hot candies, comes out just right for me.