Homemade Apple Sauce with Braised Onions

Bowl of homemade apple sauce with braised onions, and cooking apple in background

A homemade apple sauce with braised onions – perfect with a baked ham joint, or nut roast. Try it with my Slow Cooker Marmalade Glazed Ham or Pork Leg in Apple Juice. This dish isn’t over sweetened so is half way between condiment and side dish.

Do you live away from your family? When we were younger Christmas, for my husband and I, meant swapping between my parents and his. We always made sure we were home for New Year though- that was when we celebrated with our friends. We’d have our own little version of Christmas dinner on New Years’ Day with a slow cooked ham. With leftover chestnuts from Christmas baking, we took to cooking apples and chestnuts together as a side dish.

collage with apple sauce b owl and ingredients

Apple, halved apple and red onion on chopping board

A few years later, we bought our own home and began having Christmas there. Now I usually cook Christmas dinner for my pescatarian mother in law. The thing about Christmas dinner is that it’s not just the meat that contains the meat – if you see what I mean. Stuffing (dressing) is made with sausage meat, sprouts are sauteed with pancetta and potatoes cooked in goose grease. A fruit based side dish is perfect – it can be made totally vegetarian but it is also the perfect compliment to sweet meats like turkey, goose and ham. Adding slow braised onions into the mix just adds to the sweetness.

Celebrating Harvest

To me, harvest and Christmas are intrinsically linked. We love making chutney with lovely autumn fruit and veg, and dried fruit, to give as Christmas presents, and in recent years we have taken to visiting Nunnington Hall’s autumn festival. They grow their own organic apples and pears, and we were lucky enough to buy a few bags this year. The apple sauce pictured above was made with their Yorkshire Delight cooking apples. It’s now safely stowed in the freezer awaiting Christmas.

Last year we were even luckier – we had a small harvest from our own trained cooking apple tree, but our tree is having a rest this year but I’m sure the Nunnington apples will be just as tasty.

Pan of braising apples and onions

Recipe Tips for Apple Sauce with Braised Onions

Cooking apples vary a lot in terms of sweetness and water content. How much extra liquid you need will also depend on how lively your hob is. I make up a jug of vegetable stock that’s more than big enough when I start and add it as needed. This time I didn’t need to add any extra sugar, you really will need to taste it and see. If you’re not feeding it to vegetarians you can add some meat juices instead of the sugar. And the leftovers are great in a Boxing Day soup! I’ve used red onions here for an extra twist, but any onions would do.


close up of marmalade glazed ham
Click here for my glazed ham recipe


5 from 3 votes
Bowl of apple sauce with braised onions and cooking apple in background
Homemade Apple Sauce with Braised Onions
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins

A vegetarian condiment or side dish that compliments roast meats as well as nut roast.

Course: Side, Side Dish
Cuisine: British
Servings: 4
Calories: 125 kcal
Author: Lizzie
  • 2 cooking apples
  • 2 large onions
  • Butter for frying
  • 500 ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp brown sugar or to taste
  1. Peel the onions and apples and cut them into small chunks. Make up the vegetable stock in a jug.
  2. Heat up the butter in a saucepan, and when it has melted add the onions and apples. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pan becomes dry.
  3. Add enough vegetable stock to make the onions and apples moist, without being soupy. Turn the pan down all the way,and partially cover.
  4. Leave it to simmer for around an hour, stirring and adding extra stock as necessary several times.
  5. When you're just about to serve taste and sweeten accordingly.



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