Baked Applesauce

Now that apple season is beginning, it’s a good time to stock up at the market and make some applesauce. I think it’s a great idea to prepare applesauce by roasting because the flavor is concentrated. And it couldn’t be easier! This is my version of a recipe I found in a newspaper article a few years ago. It’s from The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook: Seasonal Foods, Simple Recipes, and Stories from the Market and Farm by Amelia Saltsman. Thanks to this simple method, our freezer will have a supply of applesauce  for serving alongside holiday brisket or latkes, or to use in desserts from a French apple tart to good old American applesauce bundt cake. I find it almost irresistible as a healthy snack eaten just plain!


Makes 4 to 5 cups

3 lbs (8-9) Fuji apples
Few sprigs thyme (optional – it doesn’t seem to add a lot)
Lemon juice to taste (optional)


Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with heavy foil (for easy cleanup). Cut apples in half vertically, cut out the stem and little black bits at the blossom end and remove the cores (a melon baller does a good job).


Place the halves, cut side down, in prepared pan. If using, scatter thyme among apples. (I left the thyme in the recipe because it is in the photographs. No harm done if a few of the leaves get mixed into the final product.) Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil. If apples are very large you may need more than one pan.

Bake apples until very tender, 30 minutes up to an hour. When cool enough to handle, slip the skins from the apple halves, scraping any pulp back into the pan. Discard skins and thyme. (Or, like Larry and me, you can snack on the warm chewy skins while completing the task!)


Mash apples with a fork, stirring in a bit of water or lemon juice if you choose to lighten the texture of the applesauce. I like the thick rough texture from mashing, so I don’t add any liquid. If there are any brown bits clinging to the foil, be sure to incorporate them into the applesauce. This can be prepared several days ahead and stored in the refrigerator. It also freezes very well; I’ve kept it up to a year. The sweetness of the applesauce seems to intensify when it’s defrosted, so the “Not very sweet” notation on the pictured container was no longer true when we tasted it this week!

Applesauce in bowl For a seasoned, sweeter approach to applesauce, see Elise Bauer’s recipe recently posted on Simply Recipes.

You might also like the chunky applesauce with variations suggested in Chana Billet’s recipe in the Jew and the Carrot blog of the Jewish Daily Forward.

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18 thoughts on “Baked Applesauce

  1. What a great idea to roast the apples first! That would definitely intensify the apple flavor, and you would get some caramelization notes from the browning of some the apples’ natural sugars. I love it.

  2. Sounds delish! Can’t imagine applesauce without sugar and cinnamon, but I’ll give it a try. Fits nicely into my current vegetarian mood.

  3. I’ve made my applesauce in the pressure cooker for years, but this is worth a try. I might use different varieties of apples. I can get a quart container’s worth from 6 huge apples or 8 big ones. We have excellent NY State apples in our farmers’ markets: Cortland, Granny Smith, honeycrisp, greening, and many others. I don’t add anything to the apples but water or apple juice from a previous batch of applesauce; I like the flavors of the different varieties, and one can always add sugar, lemon juice, or other flavorings after the rest of the recipe. Could your recipe be processed in a Foley food mill instead of being mashed with a fork?

    • Definitely you could put the apples through the mill. I think it would be smoother than the fork treatment, but if that’s what you prefer–and if you don’t mind washing the mill–then by all means do it that way. You wouldn’t really have to remove the skins, either; you could just put the roasted halves in the mill and twirl away. Please post the results if you do make your next batch using the food mill.

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  5. Having never prepared applesauce in this manner, I’ll soon give it a try. Baked apples were a favorite dessert of mine while growing up.

    • Helena, roasting the apples really is simple, and you can have the applesauce any texture that suits your fancy. Let me know if you like it and if you have any ideas of ways to use it (other than just enjoying it straight–by the spoonful).

  6. I did try it with mashing instead of using the food mill, and I like both methods. Clean-up is easier with roasting than with the pressure cooker, so now I’ll have to find another use for the pressure cooker! It turns out you can teach an old cook new tricks!

    • I wouldn’t call any of my readers “old cook.” How about “experienced cook” as an alternative? Glad you liked the roasting! Easy cleanup is always an important element as well.

  7. This recipe is super-delish! Thank you so much for posting it! I adapted it ever so slightly, by squeezing lemon over the apple halves and putting the thyme sprigs under them while they baked. I used Granny Smiths, and baked them for 45 minutes. When they came out of the oven, they had sort of melted all over the pan. I was a little bummed out at first, thinking I’d screwed it up and would have to go buy another bag of apples, but then I went ahead anyway. I scraped whatever was still stuck on the skins, separated out the thyme sprigs and scraped the apple pulp off the pan. It was a little tart and I added a heaping teaspoon of brown sugar. It’s wonderful! I can’t wait for the latkes now!! Thank you!

    • I forgot to mention, I can totally taste the thyme, as a subtle note that finishes the bite. I’ll never buy apple sauce again.

    • What’s so wonderful about this recipe is the many possible variations and how they satisfy our individual tastes while maintaining the ease of preparation! I am so glad you liked the result–and just in time for Hanukkah!

  8. Thanks Evie. I am from Cheddar, Somerset in England. I decided to make my own apple sauce today as I used to years ago for friends coming for a roast pork dinner (I have bought a hand of pork). (now called shoulder). Your recipe of roasting the apples really appeals to me so will definately be cooking them in the oven. My Mother would have loved this too. Thank you once again.

    • It’s always a delight to know that my recipes are seen and appeal to people quite far away! What kind of apples do you have in Somerset? Of course everyone knows that apples and Cheddar are a wonderful combination. I hope my recipe met your expectations!

  9. i live in israel. the apples here are not the best apples in the world. your recipe made the applesauce miracles good. i add some raw almond paste and it make a very tasty healthy dessert.

    • Amnon, I am surprised that Israel’s apples aren’t among the best; so much delicious fruit grows there. It’s great that you have found a way to improve upon what you have! Thank you for sharing the almond paste tip!

  10. I’ve always put a little knob of butter in my apple sauce to make it silky smooth, so I’m going to give that a go with your oven baked version. I can imagine the ” caramellly” taste of the apples will be gorgeous.

    • Sounds delicious to me. I can’t imagine what could be wrong with adding butter to anything!

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