Best Homemade Chunky Applesauce

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Today, I’m sharing the Best Homemade Chunky Applesauce! I’ve been making this seasonal treat for a very long time. If you have access to fresh local Cortland apples, you’ll want to use them to make this super easy 5-ingredient recipe!

Two small glass bowls of homemade chunky style applesauce.

This applesauce is an excellent base for other baked recipes such as apple crisp, rustic galettes, quick apple pie or even this Apple Crisp Bread.

If you have kids that prefer a smoother sauce, purée their portion, or the whole batch, with a high-speed blender.

Ingredients to make chunky homemade applesauce: cortland apples, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and fresh lemon juice.
This is a 5-ingredient applesauce recipe that can be ready in less than 30 minutes.

Best Homemade Chunky Applesauce


The list of ingredients is short for this applesauce recipe. That’s why it’s so easy to make!

All you need is five Cortland apples, cinnamon, maple syrup, lemon juice, and nutmeg.

The Specifics

Adding cinnamon to the apples is almost a must! It creates the perfect flavours! If, for whatever reason, you can’t use cinnamon, pure vanilla bean powder or bean paste would be nice too!

The recipe doesn’t exactly need sugar like maple syrup but adds a special naturally sweet touch.

The lemon juice is not essential either, so if you don’t have any, please don’t worry. You can still make this applesauce recipe without it.

If you don’t have nutmeg, that’s ok too! It adds additional spice but using just cinnamon will be equally great!

Some even add a tiny pinch of sea salt to elevate the flavours. Although, please note that salt is not necessary.

As you can see, this is the easiest recipe ever! Making homemade applesauce is quick, and turns into an impressive last-minute dessert!

A drizzle of maple syrup added to a pot of cut apples with cinnamon to make applesauce.
Place all 5 ingredients in a pot, cook apples until soft and roughly mash!

The Process

Once your apples are peeled and cut up into smaller pieces, transfer them to a saucepot, add the rest of the ingredients and cook on low to medium heat for about 15 minutes, uncovered. At that point, they should be soft enough to mash.

Cortland Apples

Cortland apples are slightly tart, and juicy apples picked in late September to mid-October. They originated in New York, at least that’s what I read. They have always been my favourite apples to use in any baked recipes.

My maternal grandmother had a large Cortland apple tree and made me wait until later in the season to pick them. Often after the first frost. I did sneak a few throughout the summer, even if I knew they weren’t ready.

Waiting until later in the season was best because Cortlands can get pretty big, and once you wash and shine them, their beautiful deep red colour is impressive!

Other Apples to Use

If you don’t have Cortland apples in your part of the world, look for varieties that are a little tart and sweet. They should work equally well.

Process photos of cooked apples in pot to make roughly mashed chunky applesauce
After 15 minutes the cooked apples should be nice and soft and easy to mash.


You don’t need many tools to make this recipe. At the very least, you will need a medium to large saucepot and a knife to peel your apples.

If you don’t have a potato masher, use a fork to gently mash the larger pieces of apples to create a uniform texture that you enjoy!

YouTube Video

Watch this quick video to see how easy this applesauce is to make. With the same applesauce recipe, you can make yummy Apple Crisp Bread!

Sliced loaf of grain-free banana bread with chocolate chips decorating the top. A slice is off to the left side, spread with seed butter.

Previously on FiR

The last recipe on Fresh is Real was a gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free and vegan banana bread! It’s undoubtedly one of a kind as it’s also allergen-friendly and prepared without refined sugar and oil! Or watch the Grain-Free Banana Bread Video to help you make it!

A small bowl of homemade chunky applesauce with a sliced apple crisp bread.
With the same chunky applesauce you can bake this yummy Apple Crisp Bread.

Next on the Blog

If you make the Best Chunky Applesauce preparing a double batch is highly recommended. Reserve some to make this super delicious Apple Crisp Bread recipe!

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Questions Before You Start?

The best way to ask your recipe questions is in the comments of this post (scroll to the bottom) or the Facebook group.

The group is a great place to ask allergen-friendly baking questions, get tips, inspiration and share recipes! Join our amazing and friendly Gluten-Free Vegan Baking by Fresh is Real Facebook Group

Did You Make This Recipe?

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Two small glass bowls of homemade chunky style applesauce.

Best Homemade Chunky Applesauce

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  • Author: Chantal | Fresh is Real
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20-25 minutes
  • Yield: 5 servings 1x
  • Category: Snack, Sauce
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Plant-Based, Allergen-Friendly
  • Diet: Gluten Free


If you love all things apples, you will enjoy eating this super easy to make applesauce. Cortlands or fresh seasonal apples are what you want to use to make this recipe!

You can also use this applesauce to create other baked recipes like apple crisp, quick apple pie, rustic galette or my Apple Crisp Bread.


  • 5 Cortland apples* 
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg


Step 1 – To a saucepot, combine the apples (peeled and chopped) with the rest of the ingredients and cook on low to medium heat, uncovered for 15 minutes. 

Step 2 – Once the apples are soft, remove the pot from the heat and roughly mash with a potato masher or fork**. Enjoy!


TIPS: If you don’t have fresh lemon juice, you can leave it out. Adding nutmeg does add flavour, but if you only have cinnamon, it will be equally great! Don’t have any maple syrup? No worries, you can replace it with coconut palm sugar or any other type of natural sweetener you have on hand. If you can’t consume sugar, leave it out! If you omit the sugar, consider adding a tablespoon or two of water to your apples to prevent sticking.

*Or use your favourite baking apples. Cortlands are a little tart, but once you add some maple syrup and spices, it transforms into the perfect tasting applesauce.
**If some of your family members prefer a smooth texture, purée their portion in a small high-speed blender.

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Make sure the ingredients you purchase are prepared in a facility free from the top allergens YOU AVOID. Gluten-free products should be certified GF and clearly labelled. Consult your medical professional with your dietary questions.

Even certified gluten-free ingredients such as GF oats, corn, seeds, etc., can create health problems for individuals following a GF diet. Always consult a medical professional if unsure about ingredients for your needs.