Make Homemade Peach Applesauce (With Less Sugar!)

Fall is finally here, and it feels like such a gift after our hot summer. I’ve been so excited to ring in my favorite season that I had to rush out to the local farm stand last weekend to grab some early apples for applesauce and homemade cinnamon apple chips.

A bowl of our low-sugar peach applesauce garnished with cinnamon, oats, dried berries, peach slices, and apple slices

The heat has been brutal on our early apple crop this year, and there were only a couple of rough-looking bags of seconds. Horrors! Fortunately, the same cruel heat that stole my apples provided a bumper crop of peaches, so I decided to experiment – and was so thankful I had!

A bowl of our low-sugar peach applesauce garnished with cinnamon, oats, dried berries, peach slices, and apple slices

This peach applesauce has the loveliest soft peach flavor with hints of smooth late summer apple tang. Like our lavender lemonade and DIY quick pickles, it has become a new seasonal classic (and Thanksgiving request!) in our household.

I swear, once you try it, it will be your new favorite too! So grab a bag of apple seconds and some lovely ripe peaches, and celebrate the coming of fall with this tasty treat!

Homemade Peach Applesauce Ingredients:

Yields: Roughly 8 pints of applesauce


  • 5 pounds of cooking apples, peeled and sliced (Jonagold, Zestar, Cortland, etc…)
  • 2- 2 1/2 pounds of peaches, peeled and sliced
  • 3 tablespoons lemon or orange juice
  • 1 cup apple juice (add more liquid as needed)
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon



  • 1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • A few pieces of apple peel for coloring if desired
  • Oats, dried cherries/fruits, or extra fresh peaches for topping

*A quick note on sugar: I don’t like to add sugar beyond the natural apple juice, but if you like your applesauce sweeter, you can either use a sweeter apple or try adding 1/4 cup brown sugar*

Note: The beauty of applesauce is that the apples don’t have to be the absolute best to give you a fantastic result. I almost always use seconds if you can get them at your local orchard, farm stand, market, or grocery store. It’s okay if they’re a bit bruised, early, late, or have been sitting in the heat a bit too long and are past their eating prime. The peaches are best ripe, at the peak of their flavor.

How to Make DIY Low-Sugar Peach Applesauce – Recipe Instructions:

barley and birch - 2016 - peach - applesauce - 7

This step-by-step recipe will guide you through making a delicious and low-sugar peach applesauce that both kids and adults will love as a healthy breakfast or snack.

Wash, peel, and cut the apples.

Make: a simple and low-sugar late-summer peach applesauce recipe | via barley & birch

The first step is to clean, peel, and slice the apples. You can do this all with a hand peeler, but I recommend the table peeler pictured below for anyone who plans to make large quantities. The most similar one to ours is here, but you can find them all over. For countless years it has worked like a dream to peel, core, and slice simultaneously.

Clean, peel and slice your peaches.

Fresh peaches peeled and sliced for peach applesauce.

Follow the same process for your peaches. If your peaches are fairly ripe, you can cut them into relatively large pieces (most of ours were quarters).

Combine all ingredients in a crockpot or dutch oven.

A dutch oven sitting on the stovetop cooking homemade peach applesauce

Throw the sliced peaches and apples in a crockpot, pour in the juices and cinnamon, and a couple of apple peels for color if you’d like (this turns a soft golden color without them, so I didn’t find it necessary). Simmer over high heat or leave on the high setting for about four hours. If you’d prefer to bake your applesauce, follow the directions here, courtesy of Ina Garten!

I like to gussy my sauce with oats, dried cherries, whole diced peaches, apple peel, chopped walnuts, and (of course) a generous sprinkling of cinnamon. OR, for my fellow oatmeal fanatics, try mixing some into your hot morning oatmeal. I can’t think of anything better on a chilly fall morning!

Homemade Peach Applesauce Recipe Tips and FAQs

Why make my own applesauce anyway?

When it comes to applesauce, there’s just nothing like homemade! But if you need a few more great reasons to make it yourself, keep these in mind: it’s cost-effective, you can customize the recipe, you can easily cut down on sugar, and it’s a fun and easy kitchen activity to try making with kids.

Why make low-sugar applesauce instead of sugar-free?

Making a lower-sugar applesauce for kids (or adults!) can balance sweetness and nutrition while still allowing for the enjoyment of this delicious and healthy snack. While sugar-free applesauce might seem like the healthiest option, it’s important to remember that natural fruit sugars are not the same as added sugars in processed foods.

What are some natural ways to sweeten my homemade applesauce?

Peaches are actually a great natural sweetener! In addition, there are several more ways to naturally sweeten applesauce without adding a lot of refined sugar. One way is to choose ripe and naturally sweet apples. Another is to add cinnamon, which enhances the natural sweetness of the apples.

Honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar can also be used as a natural sweetener in small amounts. Alternatively, you can try adding more sweet fruits, such as ripe pears or berries, to the applesauce.

What apples should I use for the tastiest homemade applesauce?  

Ultimately, the best apples for homemade applesauce will depend on personal taste, availability, and the season.

Generally, it’s best to choose sweet, tender, and juicy apples. Popular apple varieties that work well for applesauce include Gala, Honeycrisp, Jonathan, Fuji, McIntosh, and Braeburn. Each variety has a unique flavor and texture when cooked, so it’s a good idea to experiment with different types to find the one that suits your preference.

It’s also helpful to visit local orchards and ask which apples they recommend (they typically have bags of “seconds” you can get for quite a bit less, too!).

What kind of peaches should I look for?

Look for ripe and juicy peaches. Choose fragrant peaches and give slightly when gently squeezed. Freestone peaches are typically easier to work with because the pit comes out easily, but you can also use clingstone peaches.

Some popular peach varieties for applesauce include O’Henry, Elberta, and Red Haven.

Can I use canned or frozen peaches?

Absolutely – especially if you can’t find fresh local peaches or they’re out of season in your area!

If using canned peaches, drain them first and look for peaches packed in their own juice instead of heavy syrup. If using frozen peaches, thaw them first before using them.

Do I have to peel the apples and peaches?

It’s OK to leave the skin on both apples and peaches; just be aware that it may cause the applesauce to have a chunkier, more fibrous texture.

How do I store it?

Peach applesauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for four to six days.

Can I freeze it?

You can freeze peach applesauce in an airtight container, quart freezer bag, or small single servings for up to three months.

A bowl of our low-sugar peach applesauce garnished with cinnamon, oats, dried berries, peach slices, and apple slices

10 Ways for Kids to Help Make Peach Applesauce

This is a great late summer or early fall kitchen activity for kids to help with! Here are a few ways to get kids of all ages involved in your applesauce-making…

  1. Go produce-picking: Invite kids to go apple-picking or pick a few ripe peaches out at the store.
  2. Wash the peaches and apples: Have your child help you wash the peaches and apples in cool water with a produce scrubber. This is a safe and easy task for kids of all ages.
  3. Peel the fruit: If your child is old enough, they can help peel the fruit using a kid-safe vegetable peeler. Make sure to supervise them and keep their fingers away from the blade.
  4. Cut the fruit into chunks: Older children can help cut the fruit into small pieces using a child-safe knife. Younger children can help by placing the fruit into a bowl.
  5. Mash the fruit: Once the fruit is cooked, your child can help mash it using a potato masher. This is a fun and easy task that most kids will enjoy.
  6. Measure the ingredients: Let your child help measure out the ingredients, such as sugar and cinnamon, using measuring cups and spoons or weigh the apples and peaches.
  7. Stir the mixture: Once all the ingredients are added, let your child help stir the mixture together using a wooden spoon.
  8. Taste test: Let your child taste the peach applesauce to see if it needs any additional seasoning, and invite them to plan special flavors they’d like to add – cinnamon, vanilla, or ginger, for example.
  9. Package the applesauce: Once the peach applesauce is finished and has cooled, your kids can help you package it into jars or containers. Let children fill jars with applesauce using a small bowl, kid-sized spatula, and funnel – great pouring practice!
  10. Clean up: After cooking, let your child help with the cleanup by washing dishes or wiping down the counters. This is a great way to teach kids responsibility and good hygiene habits.
Fresh peaches and apples washed and stacked for homemade peach applesauce

Perfect Occasions for Serving Peach Applesauce

  • For late summer brunches: Peach applesauce is a great addition to any brunch menu, whether you serve it alongside pancakes, waffles, or French toast.
  • For a BBQ, picnic, or harvest party: Peach applesauce makes a great side dish for any outdoor gathering, whether it’s a backyard barbecue or a picnic in the park.
  • For school lunches: If you have kids, consider packing some peach applesauce in their lunch box as a healthy and delicious snack.
  • As a summer dessert or back-to-school treat: Peach applesauce can be used as a topping for ice cream or as a filling for pies and cakes.
  • For a fall potluck or host/hostess gift: If you’re attending a potluck or a holiday party, consider bringing a batch of peach applesauce as a unique and flavorful side dish.
  • As an afternoon snack anytime: When looking for a healthy and satisfying snack, reach for a bowl of peach applesauce. It’s a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth without indulging in junk food.

Easy Ways to Use Your Peach Applesauce

  • Make DIY Peach Applesauce Puffs for Toddlers. Parents, caretakers, and friends of toddlers: you can make your own applesauce bites (just like the Gerber puffs!) out of this! Start by lining a cookie sheet with wax paper, spoon little dabs of the applesauce onto it, then freeze the trays overnight.A healthy seasonal option for kids!

Simple Additions That Will Make Peach Applesauce a Full Breakfast

  • Add Greek yogurt. Adding a dollop of plain Greek yogurt to your peach applesauce will not only make it creamier, it will also add protein to your breakfast, keeping you full longer.
  • Add granola. Sprinkle some granola on your peach applesauce for a crunchy texture and extra fiber.
  • Add almond butter. Stirring in a spoonful of almond butter will add healthy fats and a delicious nutty flavor to your breakfast.
  • Sprinkle with chia seeds. Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and protein. Sprinkle them on top of your peach applesauce for a healthy boost.
  • Top with cinnamon. Adding a pinch of cinnamon to your peach applesauce will give it a warm and cozy flavor, perfect for a comforting breakfast.
  • Add fresh fruit. Top your peach applesauce with fresh sliced fruit, such as berries or bananas, to add extra vitamins and antioxidants to your breakfast.

And to channel Miss Ina Garten herself…now, how beautiful (and easy) is that?!?

For a BIG collection of more kitchen play activities, our favorite kids’ kitchen tools, and printable safety rule templates, visit our hands-on kitchen learning list!SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave


Amanda Eldridge
Amanda Eldridge

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help kids and families discover their creative potential through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. Amanda has a background in graphic design, environmental design, and art curation. When not playing with ideas and designs for barley & birch, she enjoys working in freelance design, art, and illustration.

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