Simple All-Natural Unsweetened Apple Sauce

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It’s so easy to make Unsweetened Apple Sauce from scratch…even easier than you might think! All you need is a big bag of organic apples, a little lemon juice, and water to make a big batch of this natural sweet treat. With this easy recipe for canning apple sauce, you’ll always have a jar or two on hand!

titled: Homemade Apple Sauce Recipe


Unsweetened Apple Sauce

This was one of Munchkin’s favorite snacks as a toddler — we’re talking happy dances in the high chair!

An organic and naturally sweet snack with just 2 ingredients? I was making it all the time.

It’s such a simple recipe that I didn’t even think to share it at first… but it’s just so good, I couldn’t resist.

While I designed this recipe for canning apple sauce, you can enjoy it right away if you’d like.

There are also tips below if you do plan on canning, or check out this complete guide if you’re new to the process.

I love having cans of applesauce on hand at all time, especially since I need one to make my Apple Bundt Cake with Caramel Glaze!

Want a quicker treat? You’ll love these super soft applesauce cookies packed with oats, nuts, raisins, and spices.

ingredients for sugar free apple sauce

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Apples – Organic Gala are my favorite because they’re nice and sweet, but feel free to use your favorite.

    I wouldn’t go all the way tart with Granny Smith, but you could combine those with a sweet variety for balanced flavor.

    Be sure to rinse them under cool running water first! And if your apples aren’t organic, start with a cold water and baking soda soak before rinsing.
  • Lemon Juice – You’ll want freshly squeezed to avoid any preservatives — it already acts as a natural preservative, after all!
chopped apples in a large pot

How to Make Sugar Free Apple Sauce from Scratch

  • Peel apples, then core and dice.

If you have one of those fancy machines that core and peel apples in one go, then by all means, save yourself the extra work!

Otherwise, throw on some tunes and get to prepping. I cut mine into ½-inch pieces so they break down a bit easier.

  • Adjust the texture to your liking.

Once the apples are soft and starting to break down, transfer them to a food processor or blender.

You may need to work in batches depending on the size of yours.

Blend until smooth, or leave the mixture a little bit chunky — it’s entirely up to you!

  • Play with spices or flavors.

Once blended, you’ll need to transfer homemade applesauce back to the pot and bring it to a boil so it’s safe for canning.

Here’s where you can get creative! Toss in some ground cinnamon or fruit purée for a flavorful twist.

cooked apples in a large pot

Prep Ahead

  • Wash and peel apples
  • Core and cut into small pieces
  • Juice lemon

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

  • 12 Quart Stockpot – Plenty of room for a big batch of unsweetened apple sauce!
  • Citrus Juicer – This gets every last drop out, which makes juicing lemons so much easier.
  • Blender or Food Processor – No need for elbow grease with this recipe.
  • Use a Heat-Resistant Spoon or Spatula to stir the apples as they cook, then a Ladle to transfer it into clean jars.
  • Mason Jar – I absolutely love these and use them for storing, prepping, drinking glasses, and especially canning apple sauce.

Tips for Canning Apple Sauce

  • Sterilize your jars first.

Remove the lids and collars, wash with hot soapy water, and set aside to dry.

Place clean jars in a pot full of cold water (or waterbath canner) so they are covered by at least a few inches of water.

Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. DO NOT remove and dry the jars — instead shake off the water before filling.

  • Leave some room at the top.

There should be a ½-inch gap between the top of the applesauce and the lid.

If you fill them all the way to the top, they won’t pressurize properly and your organic apple sauce will leak out — or worse, explode in your pantry!

But don’t overcorrect and leave too much space, or not all of the air will be removed from the jar.

  • Process for the full length of time.

Canning apple sauce takes about 20 minutes once the jars are filled, with some wiggle room for altitude and the size of your jars.

Don’t be tempted to take a shortcut! If the jars aren’t processed long enough, then they won’t seal properly.

So when you go to enjoy your homemade organic apple sauce, you’re likely to find a moldy mess. Yuck!

  • Cool before storing.

Transfer jars from the boiling water to a towel-lined countertop. Let them sit long enough until the jars are cool enough to handle comfortably.

Check the seals — the lids shouldn’t flex when pressed in the center — before storing in a cool, dark pantry or cellar.

cooked apples added to a blender

Storing Fresh Organic Apple Sauce

Canned sugar free apple sauce will keep for at least 18 months as long as it’s properly sealed and stored. Once opened, store in the refrigerator and use within a week.

You can also just store freshly made unsweetened apple sauce in the fridge and eat it right away!

It’s best if eaten within a week, though I’ve been known to stretch it to 10 days on occasion. Or, freeze it for up to 2 months and thaw in the fridge overnight.

Recipe for Canning Apple Sauce FAQ

Does unsweetened apple sauce need to be pressure canned?

It’s safe to seal your jars with a waterbath canner as long as there’s the right amount of acidity.

Since different varieties of apples contain different levels of acidity, I always add some lemon juice to be safe.

As a plus, it also creates a nice flavor and keeps the applesauce from browning. Win-win!

Can I can applesauce that’s been cooled?

Not safely. To make it shelf stable, hot applesauce needs to go into hot jars that are processed and sealed immediately.

If your sugar free apple sauce has already cooled, bring it back to a boil before canning or simply store it in the fridge to use right away.

How can you tell if canned applesauce is bad?

Use your senses — if it looks and smells okay, and doesn’t taste funky, then you’re good to go!

Watch the lid on the can too. If it isn’t sealed, is bowing out, or shows any side of mold, dump it to be safe.

adding homemade apple sauce to canning jars

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closeup of a red bowl full of unsweetened apple sauce

bowl of unsweetened apple sauce

Simple All-Natural Unsweetened Apple Sauce

Donna Elick
Make Unsweetened Apple Sauce from scratch with this easy 2 ingredient recipe. Plus, you'll find canning instructions for long-term storage.
5 stars from 2 reviews
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine American
Method Stovetop
Servings 7 pints


  • 10 pounds organic gala apples, washed, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2” pieces
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 cups water


  • In a 12 quart (or larger) stock pot, over high heat, add water, apples and lemon juice. Stir to combine and cover. Once boiling rapidly, reduce to medium high and cook until apples are soft, stirring often so apples do not stick to the bottom. Approximately 20 minutes.
  • Working in batches, transfer apples to blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Return to pot and bring back to a boil. Remove from heat and process for canning or refrigerate.
  • Process canning jars according to manufacturers directions or keep in refrigerator.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 338cal | Carbohydrates: 90g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 10mg | Sugar: 68g | Fiber: 16g | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Homemade Apple Sauce Recipe - PIN

Originally published October 2012, updated and republished May 2024

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  1. I just heard yesterday on the radio that there are many more benefits of an apple a day than originally believed. You prove that there are delicious ways of eating them!

  2. Home made apple sauce is the son will eat it all (I don't make huge batches as I'm not a canner)and he's 17. Strawberry apple sauce is just as good 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    This apple sauce recipe was so easy to follow and tasted amazing! My whole family loved it.

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