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ATK Kids

For the Apple-iest Applesauce, Don't Peel the Apples at All

Skipping the peeling step means extra apple flavor—and so much more.
By Published Oct. 8, 2021

So you went on your yearly apple-picking outing with the family, and you’re already plotting out how to use that overflowing bag of apples: a crisp here, a crumble there, and plenty of apples for snacking in between.

But why not add homemade applesauce to the party? Our recipe, which we designed with kid chefs in mind, takes you from apples to sauce in less than an hour. And unlike many apple treats, you don’t even have to bother peeling (or coring) the apples, which can also be dangerous for kids.

Forgoing the peeling step doesn’t just cut down on prep time—it also means bolder apple flavor and naturally pink applesauce. That’s because the skin is full of flavor and aroma compounds, as well as pigments. Another a-peel-ing benefit? Less food waste—just crank the cooked apples through a food mill and discard the spent peels and seeds. 

Apple-iest Applesauce

  1. Add 2 pounds quartered apples, ⅔ cup water, pinch salt, and pinch cinnamon (optional) to large saucepan.
  2. Cover and cook over medium heat until apples are soft and broken down, 20 to 25 minutes, stirring a few times during cooking.
  3. Uncover and let apples cool off heat for at least 15 minutes. Crank apples through food mill into bowl, discarding skins and seeds left in food mill.
  4. Add sugar to applesauce, 1 teaspoon at a time, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Cooled applesauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.)

You can learn more about those impressive peels in this article. With a few tweaks, America’s Test Kitchen Kids Senior Editor Afton Cyrus streamlined that Cook's Illustrated recipe into the more kid-friendly version above.

Know a curious young cook who might want to make this applesauce—and so many more snack-aisle favorites—completely from scratch? Find this recipe, along with 100+ do-it-yourself recipes developed just for kids, in The Complete DIY Cookbook for Young Chefs from America’s Test Kitchen Kids.

Hey! Did you know ATK Kids has its very own YouTube channel? Subscribe now and watch great, funny, silly, and delicious cooking videos for the whole family.

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