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Red Hot Applesauce

If you haven't tried adding red hots to applesauce, learn how in this delicious recipe!

Red Hot Applesauce
Red Hot Applesauce
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If you haven’t yet tried the vintage classic that is red hot applesauce (and even if you have), you’re in for a real treat! Apples and cinnamon are a classic flavor combination, and whoever started this trend knew it. But there’s something special about the bold, sweet flavor and unmistakable cherry red color of this dish that sets it apart. Red hot applesauce is a classic for a reason, and we hope you’ll enjoy taking this recipe and making it a part of your own recipe collection for years to come.

From the Chef: "When I was growing up, our next-door neighbors gave out jars of their homemade, retro-inspired red hot applesauce every year around Christmastime. It always looked so festive with its bright red coloring complementing the green ribbon around the jar. Those cinnamon red hots were first introduced in the 1930s, and once people realized they could be incorporated into gelatins and applesauce, they were an even bigger hit."
- Addie Gundry

This recipe is from RecipeLion's 103 Cookbook series, Retro Recipes from the ‘50s and ‘60s: 103 Vintage Appetizers, Dinners, and Drinks Everyone Will Love.

Preparation Time15 min

Cooking Time1 hr 10 min


  • 5 pounds cooking apples (see note), peeled, cored, and cut into eighths
  • 1 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 cup sugar (see note)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons candy red hots
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. In a 6-quart stockpot, combine the apples, cider, sugar, vanilla, candy red hots, and salt. Stir. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil, about 18 minutes. Reduce the heat to the lowest simmer and cook, uncovered, for 45 to 60 minutes, until the apples are soft.

  2. Use a wire potato masher to mash the apples for the consistency you like: less for slightly chunky applesauce and more for smooth. Or use an immersion blender to make a smooth sauce. Pour into bowls and serve.


  1. Cooking apples, like McIntosh or Empire, will make a sweeter sauce; add a tart apple, like Granny Smith, to make the flavor more complex. Depending on the type of apples used, the cook time will vary, so check after 40 minutes to determine how much longer to cook. The apples should be quite soft and easy to mash.

  2. Different apples will also have different degrees of sweetness—remember that the red hots will also add a bit of sugar as well. You may wish to use slightly less than 3/4 cup sugar in the cooking process and taste after the sauce is mashed, adding a tablespoon or more as desired to the final product.

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I live in Michigan, which is one of the largest apple growing states in the country. Right now apples and cider are on sale just about everywhere, since they are in such abundance! I've been looking for some new ideas for them, and this looks like a real winner for the kids and kids at heart - especially with Halloween just around the corner!

Omg, I can't wait to try this recipe. I love anything cinnamon flavored...and with apples, yes, please! I've never really been an applesauce fan but like you said you have the option of leaving the apples chunky. I'm thinking of leaving out the sugar completely since the red hots probably have enough sweetness in them for my taste. I generally use Honeycrisp apples for pies and well, they're just you think they would be ok for this recipe?


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