Rosemary and Brown Butter Applesauce

I can’t write much today. My migraines continue to take their toll, and this past weekend we took a trip to Southern California to see our nephew, getting back on Monday and not catching up on nearly enough sleep yet. I should probably be sleeping right now, really. But I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t tell you about this recipe in time for your Thanksgiving shopping list.


The recipe is for rosemary brown butter applesauce.  If the name alone doesn’t make you want to drop everything and head to your nearest orchard, let me say it again: Rosemary. Brown butter. Applesauce.


If you’re still reading this, and not running out to purchase your apples, or maybe even wondering why I’d be putting rosemary in my applesauce, let me explain.  Brown-butter applesauce tastes similar to something you’d find in a delicious apple pie: sweet and buttery, with a background warmth and nuttiness from the browning and the cinnamon.  It kind of tastes like a warm blanket, with a cup of hot chocolate, on Christmas morning, if you were five years old and staring at the biggest pile of presents you’d ever seen.  Or rather, dang delicious.


The thing is, though, that cinnamony-sweet brown butter in your applesauce can taste a little too apple pie if you’re not careful.  It would be fine for breakfast or a midday snack, but placing a bowl of apple pie filling on the Thanksgiving table just doesn’t work so well. This is where the rosemary comes in, taking the dessert level down a few notches by adding a woodsy, Christmas-tree aroma and savory side notes.  The perfect, wintry foil.  If I don’t speak with you before then, Happy Thanksgiving!


Rosemary and Brown Butter Applesauce

adapted from Bon Appétit, Dec 2008

3 cups unsweetened apple juice
3 4-inch fresh rosemary sprigs
1 1/2 cinnamon sticks
3 1/2 pounds (7 to 8 medium) Braeburn apples or other tart-sweet apples, peeled, cored, and chopped into chunks (or cut into eighths)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

In a large pot, combine the apple juice, rosemary, and cinnamon.  Add in a big pinch of salt and put the heat on medium, to bring the juice to a boil.  Reduce the juice by half.  Mix in the apples.  Cover the pot, and cook for about 35 minutes, or until the apples are mushy.  Uncover and discard the rosemary and cinnamon.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat until it browns, stirring occasionally.  Mix butter into applesauce. (Can be made a few days ahead.)

17 thoughts on “Rosemary and Brown Butter Applesauce”

  1. oh my… yes, this must be added to my holiday table. thank you for standing bravely in the kitchen while not feeling well to continue sharing with us. hope your gift this year is health.

  2. Ok – I know this sounds crazy, but I was just about to post this same recipe on my site. It’s proof that this is really, really good… not that anyone who has tried it needs any proof. Who could pass up apples, rosemary and brown butter?

  3. I am ABSOLUTELY making this. Thanks Robin!
    I’m sorry to hear about your migraines. I suffered from them once a long time ago. I still remember the pain. Poor thing!

    1. Oh, goodie! You’ll love it!

      And I can’t stop my giddy congratulations to you–for the beautiful wedding, the beautiful new etsy shop! You go on, girl! heh.

  4. What an interesting recipe! Rosemary and I have a distant but friendly relationship; I find a little goes a long way. It’s fun to see rosemary pop up in places where you don’t expect it. I love it in rich fall stews with lots of vegetables, especially potatoes.

    I have to tell you, though, I’ve become such a purist when it comes to applesauce. Just peeled, chunked apples, straight up, cooked with a little water, and mashed into a coarse sauce: heaven! My favorite bloggers are all posting these delicious, gussied-up applesauces, and I just can’t bring myself to add anything to my pot of apples. Maybe next year I’ll advance to their level… 😉

    Hope your migraines leave you alone over Thanksgiving! xo

    1. I definitely don’t think it’s about a level, your way of making applesauce is perfect. With the migraines, and jaw pain, I can’t eat fresh apples though, so I have a lot of applesauce in my house now, and lots of varieties of it. I usually do apples with a little applejuice, a pinch of salt, and when the apples cook down, I sometimes add some candied ginger. This rosemary applesauce, however, was a different story–a special occasion applesauce.;)

  5. Hi! I just found your blog and I love it! I am a a huge foodie and live in northern jersey! Glad to see how fresh and wonderful your recipes are! I am studying to be an RD and getting my masters now, so to see you using farm fresh ingredients makes me so happy! Keep up the great blog, I am definitely going to check back very often!!

  6. This looks gorgeous, and, decadent? Applesauce, decadent? Can it be? Yes, it can. I’m running to the orchard, will be back soon with my wooden spoon in my hand. Thank you for a lovely post despite the migraine. I’ve heard Ume Plum is good for migraines, although I’m sure you’ve tried everything as everyone who has migraines has done. So sorry! They are the worst. On a lighter note, all best for a great Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. This looks amazing, can’t wait to make it this weekend. Your photos are so lovely as always. I’ve also been a migraine suffer since I was about 15 (now 32) and can sympathize, it’s pretty debilitating and can get depressing at times. Best of luck, I have yet to find the miracle remedy myself.

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