Food + Drink

Bourbon applesauce.

bourbon applesauce

This post was supposed to be about the wonderful latkes and applesauce I made for Hanukkah, but it’s just about the applesauce. I read something somewhere the other day about how you can save a bunch of time making latkes if you buy frozen pre-shredded potatoes. Since I gave my food processor to Daniel before I moved, I thought that sounded like a great idea. My knuckles cheered at the prospect of not having to use a grater! So I bought the frozen potatoes, and…well, my latkes turned out terribly. Way too bland and starchy. I don’t know why, because potatoes are potatoes, right? I still have half a bag of shredded potatoes left, so maybe I’ll give it another try.

So, this post is just about the applesauce.

Applesauce is one of those things I have no interest in when it comes from a jar, but when it’s homemade? Oooohhhh yeah. I love it warm, I love it cold, I love it for breakfast, I love it for dessert, I love it on top of oatmeal, I love it on top of ice cream…I love applesauce. And it’s really easy to make! I’m of the mind that pretty much any type of apple (or combination of apples) is good in applesauce, too. Even a crappy, mealy apple tastes acceptable when it’s sauced. And speaking of being sauced, why not add a little bourbon to your applesauce?

p.s. Warm bourbon applesauce on top of vanilla ice cream? OMG, YES.

p.p.s. Happy Hanukkah! If my next round of latkes is anything special, I’ll report back.

Yield: 4 servings

Bourbon Applesauce

bourbon applesauce

A little bourbon elevates homemade applesauce to a delicacy—at Hanukkah or anytime!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


  • 4 apples (I used Jonagold)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp bourbon
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil


Peel and core the apples. Cut into chunks. Combine in a pot with all of the other ingredients. Simmer over medium-low heat, uncovered, for about 45 minutes, or until the apples are soft. Use a potato masher or large fork to smooth out the applesauce to whatever texture you like! I used an immersion blender on low and kept it pretty chunky, but you do you. Serve warm or chilled, whatever you like.


I don’t put sugar in my applesauce. I don’t feel like it needs it. Apples are so naturally sweet, and even more so when they’re cooked. Maybe if I was using particularly tart apples I might consider adding a little brown sugar, but generally speaking I don’t think it’s necessary.

This recipe is easily doubled or tripled as needed!

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  • Reply Yael December 8, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    Oh this looks delicious! I’ve been wanting to try roasted applesauce too. Re: frozen potatoes, you might be able to squeeze out some of the liquid for a crispier finished product. I started squeezing the grated potatoes a few years ago and I’m never going back. I have also made latkes from julienned potatoes (using a mandoline with a julienne blade). Happy Hanukkah!

  • Reply Gillianne December 8, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    Oh, do I love applesauce! The orchard around the corner is one of the big things I miss about where we last lived. There is an easier way, though, if you have a food mill: don’t bother to peel or core the apples. Just quarter ’em, stick ’em in a large pot barely covered with water, cook ’em down, then put the lovely slushy mush through the food mill. It strains out the seeds, core bits, and skins and leaves the rest, to be seasoned as you wish. (I use my mother’s tip — add a can of concentrated, unsweetened apple juice.) And yah, there’s just no way around the whole endangered-knuckle thing and grating the potatoes to get a decent latke. I did, however, just see a recipe that claims parsnip latkes are to die for. Hmmm.

  • Reply Jen December 8, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    This is totally off the topic of this post (though I just bookmarked this recipe because I already made applesauce for latkes this year and have way too much to make more). I rarely visit blogs anymore and I don’t think I realized why until today when I visited a few of my old favorites. They’re almost all basically ads. Yes, they clearly mark them sponsored, but almost every single post is “in partnership with” or “sponsored by.” I fully support everyone being able to make a living off their blog but I visited them because of their voice and authenticity and I feel like that’s all gone out the window these days. Whenever someone recommends something I don’t believe they really use it, or do because someone gave it to them for free. Anyway, that’s a long way of telling you that I appreciate you and your blog and that no matter how many sponsored posts you might have up here, I honestly believe they are companies that you truly like and use and that you are 100% authentic. So, thank you for giving me at least one place to go. (and for introducing me to Daniel’s blog because that’s another one I still frequent).

    • Rayna January 7, 2016 at 11:15 pm

      For what it’s worth (and yes, this will read as a criticism, but I do still love this blog), I’m feeling’ ya. Three of my favourite blogs are all (well, frequently) partnership posts nowadays, where they get free beautiful clothes/furniture/whatever to ‘curate’ for our inspiration – at least one of the others also made holiday cards with Parabo Press. I still like the content generally, but it does feel less personal when whole living rooms are all this brand or that. Oh well. I’m still really looking forward to seeing what Anna will do here in her new place (hi Anna!).

    • Anna @ D16 January 7, 2016 at 11:25 pm

      I don’t read any blogs other than Manhattan Nest, so I honestly don’t think AT ALL about whether or not I’m partnering with a company that could have also worked with other blogs in the same vein as mine. I only do 4-5 sponsored posts a year, so my only rule of thumb is whether I truly love, use, and endorse the products. That’s the same guideline I follow for non-sponsored posts, by the way! Even if Parabo hadn’t printed my cards for free, I still would have written about them—in fact, they *didn’t* ask me to write a post, they just asked for me to give them my feedback. So…I don’t know what other bloggers may or may not be doing, but it is VERY rare for me to put a post on this blog in exchange for money or product. I’ve only actually done that a handful of times in all these years.

    • Anna @ D16 January 7, 2016 at 11:28 pm

      (FWIW, that comment was written without any feeling of defensiveness, and without the intent of criticizing other bloggers who do accept a lot of sponsored posts. It’s a choice whether to read or not read a blog, and if I’ve learned anything in the past 18 years of blogging, it’s to not worry about what anybody else is doing…)

  • Reply Jasmine December 8, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    While you’d think all potatoes were equal, frozen, pre-shredded potatoes are not the same as regular fresh potatoes. Frozen potato products are usually treated with something to make them not clump together, to keep them white, and may or may not also be partially fried, boiled, pureed and extruded, etc, etc. Ah, science! I’d skip the second try honestly and just make a small batch with real potatoes and stop grating before you get too close to your knuckles. Sorry.

  • Reply Simone December 8, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    Applesauce! Delicious. I use concentrated (organic) apple juice with water. So if I want it a bit sweeter I add a bit more. Pieces of lemon peel with a bit of juice is also nice in applesauce.
    I hope you are enjoying yourself in New Mexico.

  • Reply Arielle December 8, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    Well this looks fantastic. I didn’t even bother with latkes this year – I’m terrible at making them (my non-Jewish husband, however, is fantastic – I think his southern roots help with the frying), and they are a bit of a hassle. Homemade applesauce, now, I can get behind. Maybe next year I’ll get back to it.

  • Reply Jane December 9, 2015 at 9:28 am

    Happy Hanukkha to you! I love home made applesauce. Sometimes I leave some of the red peel on and when it cooks down, you get a pinkish hue and a chewier texture, I use very little water and no sugar, cinnamon and sometimes a pinch of cloves. (I like variety) Worth a try. Best of luck in your new home.

  • Reply Rheeds December 9, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Love your recipes.

    My mom made a gargantuan apple pie today & brought it over for my kid’s birthday. Thought of you.

    Have loved your chilli recipes and some of the nut-milk-coffee-trips to the fridge posts….

    Thanks for the share

  • Reply CC December 10, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    Can you pleeeease, pretty please, make the latkes? I know, I’m selfishly asking you to sacrifice your knuckles, but you put the idea into my head and now I want the recipe! That apple sauce would be the stellar on top of Greek yogurt (or suitable vegan alternative) topped off with my grain-free granola. Mouth. Is. Watering. Thinking of it.

    Theory on the frozen potatoes… My Nanna always said never freeze any leftovers with potatoes in them. They’re like lettuce. So much water content all their water filled cells burst when they freeze and when it defrosts the water separates from the fibery stuff. So you’re left with potato water and potato mealy yuck. Never heard of frozen potatoes being available for purchase (other than oven fries). They don’t sound like a good thing to me.

  • Reply Rosie December 11, 2015 at 3:13 am

    I might have to try this apple sauce recipe. I’ve never been big on apple sauce, but yours looks really good!

  • Reply tess December 12, 2015 at 10:35 am

    I wanted to let you know that I made this last night for a ‘latkepalooza’ we are headed to this evening. I made the recipe as you published and had to stop myself from continually taste testing or there wouldn’t be enough to bring. Really delicious, super easy. Thanks so much!

  • Reply k December 16, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    We just made apple sauce for thanksgiving and it was great – and are now making some to give away: will be incorporating your bourbon and vanilla additions to the mix tonight. Thank you, Anna! (Have you tried using a foodmill? We just got one: amazing – you don’t have to peel or core the apples: after they cook down, the mill separates the inedibles out – and the texture is fantastic: very pleasantly chunky….)

  • Reply Alison January 10, 2016 at 11:36 am

    Thank you for this recipe. My grandmother used to make applesauce, and I loved hers, but never wanted to go through what I perceived as the whole canning ordeal. (She was a farmer and had a lot of apple trees.) I didn’t know I could do this on my stove with 4 apples.

  • Reply Helen March 4, 2016 at 2:35 am

    This sounds awesome. I have to try this. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

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