How to Can Applesauce!

Homemade Applesauce Recipe

September 20, 2019

Making homemade applesauce is a favorite fall tradition of ours. Here’s how to make applesauce–and how to can it for year-round deliciousness. Mix sweet and tart apples for a unique flavor.

Apples are in season, and they’re easy to can in a water-bath canner for year-round deliciousness. No pressure-canning needed.

When you can your own applesauce, you can also control the amount of sugar (or, you don’t need sugar at all if you use naturally sweet apples). 

Canning is also a good way to use up those imperfect apples too. Just cut away the bad spots before processing.

If you have orchards nearby, you may find a farm stand or farmers market offering bushels or half-bushels of “drops” (fell off the tree and will develop a soft spot, so can’t be sold for a premium price) or “seconds” (lack color, too small, weird shape, etc.) at bargain prices.

These may not keep well for fresh eating, but if you like the flavor, they’ll be perfect for canning as sauce, butter, or pie apples. 

Any apples will do, but if you can, try to assemble a mix of sweet and tart apple varieties for the best flavored product.

Getting started

  • Plan on around 21 pounds of apples for a 7-quart canner load; 13½ pounds for a 9-pint load.
  • Clear and wipe down your kitchen surfaces and sink.
  • Assemble your canning gear.
  • Scrub your jars and rinse well.
  • Wash new lids in hot, soapy water and rinse well.
  • Set clean jars (rim down) and lids on a clean kitchen towel while you prepare the apples.
  • Half-fill the water bath canner (with rack), set it on the stove, and turn the burner to medium heat. Fill a large teapot with water and set in on another burner to heat, in case you need extra water to cover the jars before processing.

On to the canning

Wash apples well. Remove stems, cut in quarters or slices, peel, and remove cores. Add apples to stainless steel stockpot with half a cup of water or apple cider to keep the apples from sticking to the pot as they begin cooking. If you like cinnamon, add a whole cinnamon stick to the pot.

Turn up the heat under the canner. Likewise, turn the heat under the pot of apples, and cook them until very soft, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Remove the cinnamon stick if you’ve used one, and run the cooked apples through a food mill into a large pot or bowl. 

Taste the sauce, adding sugar or brown sugar to taste, but only if you want a sweeter sauce. You don’t need added sugar for preserving applesauce safety. (I prefer to sweeten or add other ingredients just before serving)

Funnel the hot applesauce into the clean jars, leaving a ½-inch headspace (space between the top of the applesauce and the rim of the jar.) Wipe around the rim with a damp cloth or paper towel to remove any bit of sauce that might prevent the lid from sealing, then place the lid and tighten the screw band to hold it in place.

Using the jar lifter, carefully lower each jar into the water bath and into place on the rack. Add additional boiling water to ensure the jars are covered with at least an inch, preferably two inches, of water.

Cover the canner and bring the load to a full boil; boil continuously for the time recommended in the table below:

Table 1. Recommended processing time for applesauce in a boiling-water canner


Processing time at altitudes of

Jar size

0 - 1,000 ft

1,001 - 3,000 ft

3,001 - 6,000 ft

Above 6,000 ft


15 min









If the water stops boiling at any time during the process, start over again, and begin timing once the water comes to a vigorous boil. Maintain a continuous boil for the full time recommended in the table above.

When the processing time is up, carefully remove the cover from the canner. Using the jar lifter, carefully lift each jar straight from the water bath, making sure not to tilt it, and set it on a clean kitchen towel to cool. Don’t fiddle with or try to further tighten the screw tops. 

Leave the jars alone until they’ve cooled completely. You’ll know a jar has a tight vacuum seal if it has an indentation at the center of the lid. (Refrigerate any jars that haven’t sealed properly, and eat the applesauce within a few days, or pour it into a freezer container and freeze.) Remove the reusable screw tops from sealed jars, carefully wipe the rim with a damp cloth, and store the jars in a cool, dark place.

That’s it!

About This Blog

"Living Naturally" is all about living a naturally healthy lifestyle. Margaret Boyles covers health tips, ways to avoid illness, natural remedies, food that's good for body and soul, recipes for homemade beauty products, ideas to make your home a healthy and safe haven, and the latest news on health. Our goal is also to encourage self-sufficiency, whether it's relearning some age-old skills or getting informed on modern improvements that help us live better, healthier lives.