Apple purée or apple sauce can be smooth, chunky, sweet or slightly tart. It's quick and easy to make and has more uses than you think. And it's definitely not just for babies!
With autumn upon us and apples aplenty I try and look for ways to use them in my kitchen in slightly different ways.
Delicious cakes like my Polish apple cake (szarlotka) is one way of doing it but I was after something a bit more versatile and that's where this simple apple puree comes in.
Apple puree or apple sauce is hardly an innovation but it's definitely a great staple and I will show you how I make it.
🍎 Apple purée or apple sauce?
Call it what you like and you can use these names interchangeably if you want.
It's basically all about gently stewed apples with or without sweetener, smooth or chunky, with added flavourings or without.
Apple sauce (at least here in the UK) is mainly associated with condiment used to accompany meat dishes (especially pork).
It is, however, so much more than that and can be used in a variety of ways but more on that below.
✔️ Why you'll love this recipe
- It's a n easy way of incorporating more apples into your diet.
- Super simple and really versatile recipe that can be adjusted depending on the way you intend to use it - sweet or more savoury.
- It keeps well and is freezer friendly.
- Sugar free version makes perfect weaning food for babies.
- Can be used as egg or oil/butter replacement in vegan baking.
- It's naturally vegan and gluten-free.
Here's what you will need to make my Apple Purée:
Apples - Feel free to use either cooking or dessert apples here or both. I went for both as that's what I had.
***Quick Tip***Slightly tart apples might be best if you are after an accompaniment to savoury dishes. You can still sweeten them but they will give you more balanced sweet and tart flavour combination.
Spices - I am a huge cinnamon fanatic and so this is my number one spice here. However, a bit of ground ginger, mixed spice or just a touch of nutmeg and allspice will work nicely too.
***Quick Tip*** If you intend to use apple puree/sauce with savoury dishes, you might want to leave out or limit the spices altogether and keep things simple.
Lemon juice - It can be used for creating that balance of flavours and (especially when using really sweet apples) cutting through the sweetness with a bit of acidity.
***Quick Tip*** Lemon juice will slow down the oxidation of your apples (browning) if you'd like to keep their nice and light colour as you peel and cut them. Bear in mind though that adding ground spices will turn your puree brown(ish) colour anyway.
Sweetener - Feel free to use sweetener of choice. I opted for maple syrup for that extra maple flavour but honey (if not vegan), agave syrup or simply sugar are great too.
***Quick Tip*** Adjust the amount of sweetener according with your intended use of apple puree and your taste preference. Don't use any sweetener at all if preparing it as a puree for babies.
Water - Just enough to get the apples going (couple of tablespoons) as they'll release their own juices soon enough.
Ingredient quantities & detailed instructions to be found in recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Peel, core and chop the apples into chunks.
Put them in a pan with water and spices (if using).
Give the apples a good stir, especially when using spices, to get them nicely covered and cook on a medium heat (uncovered) until they start to sizzle.
Lower the heat to medium low, cover the pan and simmer for 15-20 minutes stirring frequently or until you reach desired consistency.
Now is the time to taste and add sweetness and/or acidity to your preference with your sweetener of choice and some lemon juice.
***Quick Tip*** Liquid sweeteners are great here as they only need stirring in. If adding some sugar you will have to simmer your puree for couple more minutes, stirring, for sugar to dissolve.
Once you are happy with the flavour of your apple puree you can leave it as is or mash it a bit more with potato masher.
Alternatively, if you prefer smoother consistency, feel free to puree it with a stick blender or in a food processor.
Store: Apple puree will keep in the fridge for up to a week.
To prolong their fridge shelf-life you can put hot puree into sterilised jars and once cooled down put them in the fridge.
Freeze: If you'd like to store it for longer I would recommend freezing it. Silicone ice cube trays are great for that as they make it easy to portion the puree.
Once frozen solid you can remove the puree cubes from the trays and onto freezer friendly bag for easier storage.
Use within 3 months.
Defrost: Take out the required amount of cubes from the freezer and onto a container and defrost in the fridge overnight. Alternatively, put them in a pan over a low heat or use a microwave.
💭 Pro Tips
To use less or no sweetener at all, use sweeter eating apples rather than cooking ones. No added sugar version is perfect for babies.
Adjust the amount of water depending on consistency of apple puree you'd like and juiciness of your apples.
For added flavour that is more subtle use whole spices which you can easily remove (cinnamon stick, piece of fresh ginger, star anise, allspice berries). Added bonus is that they won't affect the colour of the puree.
For a bit of a twist try adding a touch of vanilla extract or vanilla pod when you're cooking the apples.
Why not try apple and pear puree instead? Same principle, two different fruits.
It's all about your flavour preferences so tweak the recipe until it suits YOU.
🍴 Serving suggestions
Apple puree or apple sauce is a very versatile condiment and can be used in a number of ways.
Spread it over crepes or serve with potato pancakes (recipe coming soon).
Have it on its own or with some vanilla ice cream and cinnamon biscuit on the side.
Use it as a flavour enhancer in your vegan sausage rolls. Simply spread it in thin layer over the pastry before putting on the filling. You can also serve it on the side.
📋 Other uses
Use unsweetened apple puree instead of eggs in vegan baking (60g of puree per egg). Please note that there is a bit more to it than just replacing like for like. To keep the lightness of the bake and help with the rise you might need to increase the amount of raising agents (depending on the bake).
Try using apple puree to replace some of the oil/butter in your sweet bakes. I would not recommend replacing all of the fat with puree (unless you are completely oil-free) but replacing some of it will work really well by reducing fat and providing moisture.
That will depend on your preference or what you have available. Any type of apple will work well and sweetness and acidity can be easily adjusted.
If making apple puree for babies, however, I would recommend using naturally sweeter apples as you won't be adding any sugar.
Again, personal preference but I like to peel apples for my apple sauce.
Personally, I like maple syrup not only for its sweetness but also flavour but you could use honey (if not vegan), agave or date syrup. Standard sugar is of course an obvious choice but make sure to cook the puree for a couple of minutes after adding it to allow for it to dissolve.
Have you tried my Apple Puree (Apple Sauce) recipe?
Please consider giving it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in recipe card below and share your views or tips in the comments.
Apple Purée (Apple Sauce)
- 1 kg mix of cooking and eating apples peeled, cored and chopped into chunks; see notes
- 2 tablespoon water to help apples release their juices, see notes
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon see notes
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup see notes
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice see notes
- Peel, core and chop the apples into chunks. Put them in a pan with water and spices (if using). Give the apples a good stir, especially when using spices, to get them nicely covered and cook on a medium heat (uncovered) until they start to sizzle. Lower the heat to medium low, cover the pan and simmer for 15-20 minutes stirring frequently or until you reach desired consistency.1 kg mix of cooking and eating apples, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 2 tablespoon water
- Now is the time to taste and add sweetness and/or acidity to your preference with your sweetener of choice and some lemon juice.***Quick Tip*** Liquid sweeteners are great here as they only need stirring in. If adding some sugar you will have to simmer your puree for couple more minutes, stirring, for sugar to dissolve.1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Once you are happy with the flavour of your apple puree you can leave it as or mash it a bit more with potato masher. Alternatively, if you prefer smoother consistency, feel free to puree it with a stick blender or in a food processor.
- Nutritional information is approximate, per serving (based on 7x60ml servings) and should be treated as a rough guideline only.
- Feel free to adjust the amount of water based on how juicy your apples are and the consistency of puree you're after.
- You can use other ground or whole spices (see Ingredients above).
- Feel free to use your sweetener of choice and adjust the amount to suit your taste, same goes for lemon juice.
- Apple puree will store in the fridge for up to a week or can be frozen for up to 3 months.
- Putting hot apple puree into sterilised jars will extend their shelf life in the fridge.