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Applesauce Recipe: How to Make Homemade Applesauce With NO Special Equipment

How to Make Homemade Applesauce with A Foley Food Mill or Sieve

OK, so you don't want to can a dozen quarts, you just want enough for a dinner meal?  Here's the quick and easy way to make applesauce with only a Foley Food mill or strainer. This assumes you have nothing else, besdies that and a pot, a $2 vegetable peeler and a knife. If you DO have a Foley Food Mill, see this page instead! And if you want to can larger quantities of applesauce for later, see this page instead.  If you want to make chunky applesauce, see this page.

The applesauce will taste MUCH better than anything you've ever had from a store, and by selecting the right apples, it will be so naturally-sweet that you won't need to add any sugar at all.

You don't need a fancy (and expensive food mill and sieve).  Here's how to do it without, complete instructions in easy steps and completely illustrated. I will forewarn you that it takes much more time to make it without a food mill, BUT it certainly can be done, and it certainly works for small batches!

If you decide to can the applesauce, the jars have a shelf life of 18 months to 2 years, and require no special attention.  And of course, you can freeze the applesauce instead (it keeps indefinitely in a good freezer).

Directions for Making Applesauce, With a Food Mill or Strainer, Sieve, etc.


  • Apples (see step 1)
  • Cinnamon


  • Very large pot
  • Foley Food Mill or strainer
  • Vegetable / fruit peeler ($1.99 at the grocery store)
  • Knife

Recipe and Directions

Step 1 - Selecting the apples

The most important step!  You need apples that are sweet - NOT something like Granny Smith's.  Yeah, I know you like them (why do sweet women like sour apples???) and even if I did, they still wouldn't make good applesauce - you'd have to add a lot of Selecting the applessugar. 

Instead, choose apples that are naturally sweet and flavorful, like Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp, McIntosh, Winesap, and always use a mixture - never just one type.  Here's my preference:

  • 25% Fuji,
  • 25% Honeycrisp, Ambrosia or Winesap. 
  • 25% Delicious (I'll give Yellow Delicious the edge over red here),
  • 25% Gala and

This meant it was so sweet I did not need to add any sugar at all.  And the flavor is great! The Fuji's, Honeycrisp's and Gala's give it an aromatic flavor!


Step 2 - How many apples and where to get them

You can pick your own, or buy them at the grocery store.  Grocery store prices for apples typically range from $1 to $2 per lb.  Of course, in larger quantities, they can be had for much less. They were available from late September at $12 to $24 per bushel (which is 42 pounds, so even at $24 per bushel, that's only 57 cents per pound).

If you're only making a small amount, figure about 3 to 4 pounds of apples per quart of applesauce you want to make.

Buying in bulk, you will get about 12 to 14 quarts of applesauce per bushel of apples. 


Step 3 - Wash the apples

I'm sure you can figure out how to wash the apples in plain cold water.

Apples being chopped upStep 4 - Chop the apples!

Chopping them is much faster if you use one of those apple corer/segmenters - you just push it down on an apple and it cuts it into segments. 

Using a paring knife, be sure to and any mushy or dark areas.



Step 5 - Cook the Apples

Cook the ApplesPretty simple! Put about 1 inch of water (I used either filtered tap water or store brand apple juice) on the bottom of a huge, thick-bottomed pot. Put the lid on, and the heat on high.  When it gets really going, turn it to medium high until the apples are soft through and through. As the apples cook, they will release more water (apples are 99% water!).


Step 6 - Sieve, mush or mix the cooked apples

Some varieties of apples are very watery - if you want thick applesauce, just pour or ladle off the excess water - but DO save it - it's apple juice and tastes great!  You can filter it through a coffee filter in a funnel if you want it clear!

Whether you pour off excess water or not, you can either put the soft cooked apples through a sieve, or simply stir them vigorously in the pot to mush them up! Obviously a Foley food mill or strainer helps a lot, but you can do it by hand trough a colander, metal sieve or mush mush them up with a potato masher, a whisk or even a stand mixer or hand mixer.

You can also put them into the food processor or blender to whip them into a smooth puree!

And by the way, that excess water is delicious apple juice!  Don't throw it out.  Save it and strain it or decant it and enjoy!




Step 7 - Season and keep the applesauce hot

Put the applesauce into a large pot. Add cinnamon to taste.  You should not need to add any sugar.  

The applesauce does not need any further cooking; just keep it hot until you get enough made to fill the jars you will put into the canner (Canners hold seven jars at once, whether they are quart or pint size). 

Of course, if you are going to eat the applesauce fresh, freeze it, or just store it in the fridge (lasts a week or two) then you're done!



If you want to can the applesauce:

Step 8 - Wash the jars and lids

The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle. Otherwise put the jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. I just put the lids in a small pot of almost boiling water for 5 minutes, and use the magnetic "lid lifter wand" (available from target, other big box stores, and often grocery stores; and available online - see this page) to pull them out.

Step 9 - Fill the jars and boil them in the canner

Fill them to within 1/4-inch of the top, wipe any spilled applesauce of the top, seat the lid and tighten the ring around them.  Put them in the canner and keep them cover with at least 1 inch of water and boiling. Boil them for at least 20 minutes (and no more than 30 min).

Step 10 - Done

Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight)  You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok.


Other Equipment:

From left to right:

  1. Jar lifting tongs 
            helpful to pick up hot jars
  2. Lid lifter 
            - to remove lids from the pot 
            of hot water 
  3. Lid 
           - disposable - you may only 
           use them once
  4. Ring 
          - holds the lids on the jar until after
          the jars cool - then you don't need them
  5. Canning jar funnel
          - to fill the jars


Mirro Stainless Steel Foley Food Mill 2Qt.


  • Heavy tin-plated steel
  • For applesauce, apple butter
  • Remove seeds from blackberries
  • Rice potatoes
  • Has supports for resting on top of bowl or pot
  • About $20 - click on the links at left for current pricing

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Do I have to use a sieve or food mill, if I peel the apples before I cook them for applesauce? I'm really one of the cheapest people ever and would rather do the extra work than go buy equipment!

A. Nope, if you peel the apples (and remove the stems, seeds, core) you can cook it and just stir it vigorously. It will never be a smooth as regular applesauce made through a sieve, but you can just call it "chunky applesauce"!

Q. Can I use a blender for making apple sauce instead of a food mill or food processor?

Certainly! Of course, you will need to peel, cut, core and manually remove the seeds first, before you cook the apples; unless  you want them all blended up into the applesauce. I get letters from people say they prefer it that way. I think I'll keep using the strainer.. But sure, aside from the extra work in preparation , you can use the blender.  Some people use a juicer, too. Of course, with a juicer, you will use the juice, not the bits that are trapped in the screen.


Home Canning Kits


  • Everything you need to get started with waterbath canning (fruits, pickles, jams, jellies, salsa, sauces and tomatoes)
  • 21-1/2 qt. enamel water bath canner
  • Funnel, jar lifter, lid lifter, bubble freer spatula
  • Ball Blue Book

This is the same type of  standard canner that my grandmother used to make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer, and the bible of canning, the Ball Blue Book. You will never need anything else except more jars and lids!


Deluxe Food Strainer & Sauce Maker

See this page for more information, reviews, descriptions of other strainers and supplies or to order!


Mirro Stainless Steel Foley Food Mill
3 1/2Qt size.

See the seller's website for features, pricing and user reviews!





Lids, Rings, Jars, mixes, pectin, etc.

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Above is the
2020 version of
the Ball Blue Book