You can make applesauce out of any apples, but if you have a choice, go with soft apples. They'll cook down faster and get you out of the kitchen sooner. For the best flavor, opt for a mix of apple varieties.
Sweet and Mildly Sweet
The Washington Apple Commision advocates for all apples. But the trade group says that several varieties are clearly sweeter than others, including:
- Crispin (Mutsu)
- Golden Delicious
Tart (With a Hint of Sweetness)
If you like your apples to be cross between sweet and tart, these apples are for you. The heirloom variety Gravenstein might just be the best apple for making applesauce, but their short season and dwindling orchards make them more difficult to find.
Crisp, Tangy, and Sharp
These apples have a bit of a bite, which is not surprising because several originated in New York state.
- Ida Red
How to Turn Your Apples Into Applesauce
Making applesauce requires a lot of peeling and coring. If you plan to make applesauce on a regular basis, invest in an apple corer/peeler. With the turn of a handle, it'll remove the peel and core at the same time, saving you a ton of knife work. Some models will slice the apples for you too, which is even better.
Once your apples have been peeled, cored, and chopped, you're ready to start cooking them down into a sauce. You can make your applesauce on the stove, or you can make it in a slow cooker. You may prefer the stovetop method because it allows you to make bigger batches; if you're pressed for time, the slow cooker method allows you to be more hands off. Both ways work well, so it's really just a matter of choosing the one that works best for you.
If you opt to make your applesauce in a slow cooker, there's no need to add water to the pot. Just pile your apples in, add a splash of lemon juice to prevent browning, and sprinkle in any sugar or spices that you'd like. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the apples become soft enough to be mashed up. Use a potato masher for chunky sauce or an immersion blender for smooth sauce.
Apples are often plenty sweet on their own, so you may want to wait until you've tasted your finished sauce before you decide if it needs sugar. If you want sweeter sauce but are trying to limit your sugar, use sugar substitutes instead.