apples in a pan 820

Roasted Applesauce with Spices

To me, applesauce is the quintessential fall food.

One of my favorite autumn memories is of wandering an antique apple orchard outside my hometown of Portland, Oregon, bundled up in scarves and layers for the first time of season, picking up windfall apples with my mom and sister. We’d bring our dog with us, and she’d run between the trees, tossing apples up in the air with her nose and then chasing after them.

apples in a roasting pan

Once our bags were full to the top, we’d head home to preserve our gathered fruit. My mom would cover counter tops with newspaper and we’d begin to peel. When the apples were ready, they’d go into her biggest soup pot with a splash of orange juice, cinnamon and grated nutmeg until they’d cooked down into a homey sauce (the peels and the newspaper would go to the compost bin).

roasted apples with spices

Though I live on the other side of the country now, it still doesn’t feel like autumn until I’ve spent an afternoon tramping around an orchard, picking apples and then taking them home to the canning pot.

I make my sauce much like we did when I was young, with plenty of spices and without any added sweetener. The one difference is that instead of cooking my apples down on the stovetop, I peel, core, chop, and roast.

mashed apples

I find that when you roast the apples, they caramelize on the edges, which enhances the natural sweetness and brings extra depth to the sauce.

Once the fruit is soft, I add a generous sprinkle of cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg and use a fork or potato masher to work the tender apples into sauce (I like a nice, chunky applesauce). On those occasions when I want something smoother, a few zaps with an immersion blender does the trick.

roasted applesauce

Roasted Applesauce
5.0 from 3 reviews
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Ingredients
  • 3 pounds apples
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Peel, core and chop apples. Lay them out in a single layer in an heatproof baking dish.
  3. Place the baking dish in the oven and roast the apples for 25 to 30 minutes, until the apple segments are fork tender and have begun to caramelize on the edges.
  4. When the fruit is soft, remove the pan from the oven. Evenly sprinkle the spices over the warm fruit.
  5. Using a fork or potato masher, work the apples into a chunky sauce. For a smoother sauce, scrape the fruit into a tall container and puree with an immersion blender.
  6. This sauce will keep for 7 to 10 days in the refrigerator. For longer storage, it can either be frozen or canned in a boiling water bath canner.
Notes
Recipe can be doubled or tripled. Sugar or honey can be added if a sweeter sauce is desired. Makes approximately 4 cups.

How are you preserving apples this year?

About Marisa

Marisa McClellan is a food writer, canning teacher, and dedicated small batch canner who lives in Center City Philadelphia. Find more of her jams, pickles and preserves (all cooked up in her 80-square-foot kitchen) at her blog, Food in Jars. Her first book, titled Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round, is now available.

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Comments

  1. Ohhh I bet this roasted applesauce is amazing! Roasting fruits always brings out the best flavors.
    Julie @ Table for Two’s last post: Crockpot Turkey Pumpkin Chili

  2. Yum! Sounds delicious – thanks for sharing! :)

  3. I have been wanting to make homemade applesauce, thank you for showing me how to roast it too!

  4. Roasting makes everything better! I can imagine that that roasted flavor in an applesauce. Such a great idea!
    Jan’s last post: Three great cookbook trailers

  5. Roasting the apples really brings out their flavour!
    Kevin @ Closet Cooking’s last post: Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

  6. Marisa, this looks lovely!
    Marian (Sweetopia)’s last post: Decorated Cherry Pie Cookies

  7. Hi Aimee,
    I just got 2 bushels of apples yesterday. Can I cam this applesauce? I don’t know if it would preserve different because it is roasted.
    Thanks,
    Sami

  8. Can’t wait to make this! Caleb loves applesauce!
    Maria’s last post: Taco Salad with Homemade Tortilla Bowls

  9. Anita Robertson says:

    I live in Albany, Oregon….It is the the end of apple season & the picking is almost over. We love “chunky” sauces & butters also. This is a great idea for something different to do with the apples…Thank you for this recipe.

  10. What a great idea to roast the apples! Do you think this would work with pears as well, or maybe a blend of the two? I may have to try it out and see…
    Julia’s last post: Pineapple Almond Muffins

  11. What a great homemade gift this would be! Love!!
    Jenny Flake’s last post: Double Chocolate Junior Mint and Chip Cookies

  12. I can’t seem to keep apples in the house long enough to preserve them. They’re one of our favorite snacks. I’m hoping to go apple picking soon so that I can get loads of them to make apple sauce, and I can’t wait to try this roasted version.
    Courtney Champion’s last post: Tex-Mex Chicken and Rice Casserole

  13. I’m definitely adding this to my Thanksgiving menu! What type of apple works best for making roasted apple sauce?

  14. I’ve done plain applesauce, gingered applesauce, crabapple sauce with maple syrup, apple-pear sauce, apple-quince sauce, so far. I was debating what to do with the enormous bag of apples I picked at a friend’s house Sunday. It’s cool here and having the oven on will be nice. I’m going to try this.

    • You’re on a roll!! Apple-quince sounds incredible. I can’t wait to try it!

    • I tried this tonight. Even after 30 minutes some of my apples weren’t tender, but everything was starting to dry out. I ended up scraping it all into a pan and adding a bunch of water (didn’t have cider in the house). It’s super thick now and chunky, and still a lot drier than I was expecting. Verdict is still out for me.

      • Sara, I’m so sorry to hear it! I’ve used this technique many times and it’s always worked well for me. Were your apples quite dry to start with?
        Marisa’s last post: Giveaway: Progressive International Lid Lifters

        • They didn’t seem particularly dry. I had a mix, so perhaps some drier than others. I couldn’t decide if I should keep roasting them and maybe have them really start to soften up and release some juice or if they were just drying out more. The real test is tomorrow at breakfast : )

        • I in the end, I really liked the taste of this applesauce and the chunkiness of it. I did can several jars, but because it was so thick, it was hard to really pack the jars well. I ended up with huge air pockets. Bottom line: I’d make this again, but I’d put it in the fridge or freezer rather than can it.

  15. There is hardly anything better this time of year than homemade applesauce! I can’t believe I have never tried roasting the apples first – delicious idea!
    Allison’s last post: Chocolate Waffle Bread Pudding

  16. I feel like I can already taste this :) looks so tasty!

  17. I have been wanting to make applesauce for too long now. It is tim to change that and this is the recipe! I sounds and looks so good. I love that the apples are roasted!
    Tieghan’s last post: Roasted Garlic Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats

  18. I love the flavors of roasted applesauce ~ great recipe!!

  19. I had my first home canning experience with friends a few weeks ago. We quartered our apples and threw them in a huge pot to simmer, then ran them through a Victorio strainer. It was so much easier and faster than I had expected because we didn’t have to peel and core the apples.
    Erin @ Small and Simple Things’s last post: This week’s menu

  20. I love that you optimistically state the applesauce will keep for a week in the fridge. Clearly you haven’t seen me eating an entire batch straight from the pot. :)
    Casey@Good. Food. Stories.’s last post: Oolong Has This Been Going On? The Last Tea Houses in Philadelphia

  21. Love that this is roasted. I have so many apples sitting here awaiting their fate, and my kids requested I make another batch of applesauce. I guess now I know which one it will be.
    Shaina’s last post: Pain d’Epi {Wheat Stalk Bread}: The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

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