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Choosing Applesauce Substitute (Best 13 Options)


What happens when you suddenly realize that you need to find an applesauce substitute for a recipe and you need to do it quickly? There are plenty of options that you can use to replace this ingredient, and these options range from other fruits to veggies and oils. Below, you’ll find the best substitute to ensure your baking session goes smoothly.

small glass dish filled with yellow sauce and glass jar with label "applesauce"

What Is Applesauce?

Applesauce is a mixture of apples with water, apple juice, or apple cider. This mixture is cooked down until it creates a sauce-like consistency. It often includes sugar and spices like cinnamon for added flavor and sweetness.

This delicious, sweet sauce provides a fresh apple flavor when eaten. Applesauce is used as a side dish, snack, or topping for savory potato dishes (like potato pancakes). It’s also commonly used in recipes where you want to avoid oil, butter, or eggs, because of an egg allergy, health reasons, or dietary requirements.

Applesauce Varieties

There are multiple varieties of applesauce available at the store, starting with unsweetened applesauce. This option also has variations; some include spices, and others only use apples and apple juice, water, or cider.

Other types of applesauce include chunky apple sauce, flavored ( with mango or raspberry), and some varieties which use different apples.

Best Applesauce Substitutes

1. Unsweetened Applesauce

Unsweetened applesauce is a top option to substitute for standard applesauce. This variety has no sugar added, so it works perfectly for recipes that you want to be less sweet.

You can also use this option for baking, though you might want to add some sweetener like sugar or other natural sweetener based on the recipe.

Pros

Use unsweetened applesauce for any recipe that calls for standard applesauce.

Cons

Depending on your location, it may be more difficult to find in stores. You can also make it at home, though it will take longer to make your recipe.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio to swap traditional applesauce with an unsweetened version.

2. Homemade Applesauce

If you have extra time, you can make homemade applesauce. You’ll need apples, water, apple cider, sugar, spices, and lemon juice. Simmer the ingredients together and mash or blend until desired consistency.

Pros

This option is ideal as you can adjust the ingredients to your desired taste.

Cons

Making homemade applesauce adds steps to your recipe and requires additional time for cooling before you can bake with it.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio to replace homemade applesauce with the store-bought variety.

3. Pureed Apples

Pureed apples are the most straightforward homemade swap, as you only need one ingredient (apples). This option does not require any cooking either. You’ll need to add washed and peeled apples to the blender or food processor and blend on high until the desired texture is reached.

Make sure to remove the seeds and core before blending; some say it’s unnecessary to remove the skin in this instance.

Pros

This option is quick and provides a similar consistency and flavor. You can use this option for any recipe that calls for applesauce.

Cons

The spices and sweetness will be lacking from pureed apples that you usually find in applesauce. If you’re using this option for baking, you’ll need to add some form of sweetener along with spices.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio for this swap.

4. Pureed Fruits

Adding fruit puree is a great option to replace applesauce in baking recipes and when used as a snack. You can easily create this swap at home by using fruit and berry puree. Feel free to use pureed pears, pureed prunes or other fruits to create same consistency replacement.

Pros

The natural sweetness present in pureed fruit mimics the applesauce.

You likely already have some fruits or berries in your kitchen, making this an easily accessible option.

Cons

Creating fruit purees will add time to your recipe. You can use the same process as creating pureed apple. Depending on the fruit type, you might notice a more liquid consistency, so it will be necessary to adjust the quantity of the other ingredients.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio to replace applesauce.

5. Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Mashed sweet potatoes are another excellent apple sauce replacement. Sweet potatoes have a sweet taste that you can enhance with sugar if needed for a closer taste to applesauce.

Pros

It’s easy to find sweet potatoes at the grocery store, and they are pretty low in price. This option allows you to adjust the flavoring by adding spices or keeping it simple with only a sweetener. Use this option when you need to replace applesauce in cakes and muffins.

Cons

You will need to bake the sweet potatoes and mash them before including them in recipes. The whole process including cooking sweet potatoes could add 5 – 20 minutes to your timeline.

Cooking Tip:

Use ¾ cup mashed sweet potato mixed with ¼ cup water to replace 1 cup of apple sauce in recipes.

6. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a great alternative in recipes when you are initially used applesauce to replace another oil or butter. This option either provides a coconut flavor or a very subtle taste, depending on the grade of the oil you buy.

This option works well in baking recipe. You can use coconut oil in a melted or hardened state to better mimic the original recipe’s oil or butter.

Pros

Coconut oil is easy to find in local grocery stores and it adds richness to recipes.

Cons

This oil is on the pricier side and might be out of the budget.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio to swap the applesauce with coconut oil.

7. Coconut Milk

Like coconut oil, coconut milk provides a light coconut flavor to recipes. This flavor accents baked recipes really well – especially those that are chocolate flavored. This option is best when you’re using applesauce to replace oil. This option will provide a moist interior to any dessert.

Pros

You can find coconut milk easily. If your grocery store doesn’t carry it, you can blend fresh coconut pieces with water and strain them for an accessible homemade version.

Cons

This swap also does not provide an apple flavor to recipes. However, you can mix coconut milk with one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar for a closer taste.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio to swap the applesauce with coconut milk. Adjust as needed.

8. Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkin puree is another excellent choice to substitute for applesauce. Like mashed sweet potatoes, it does lack an apple flavor. However, it provides a moistness to baked goods as applesauce does. It’s also offers similar creamy consistency, making it easy to swap one for the other.

Pros

This puree is easy to find at grocery stores in the canned vegetable aisle. There’s no need to bake and mash this option; it comes already prepped in the can and ready to use. Use this option in baking recipe.

Cons

You will need to add sweetener and spices to this substitute to create a similar sweet flavor.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio when using pumpkin puree as an alternative to applesauce.

9. Pumpkin Pie Filling

This is another great alternative to applesauce. This replacement is similar to pumpkin puree, though it already has sugar and spices mixed in, saving you the work of altering it for recipes. Keep in mind this substitute could be sweeter than applesauce, depending on the brand.

This lessen the sweetness, you might want to thin it with ¼ cup of water for every ¾ of pumpkin pie filling.

Pros

This pie filling is an easy alternative to applesauce as you’ll be able to find it easily at the grocery store, especially during holiday season.

Cons

Since it is already seasoned, it will not bode well with all recipes. This option does not provide an apple or fruity flavor to recipes.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio of filling + water when swapping it for applesauce.

10. Almond Butter or Nut Butter

Almond butter (and other nut butter) is an excellent option as a replacement for applesauce in baked goods. Their smooth, thick and creamy texture is a perfect alternative when you’re replacing applesauce with oil in a dish.

Pros

This substitute will add richness and nutty flavor to baked goods for a more decadent dessert.

Cons

This option does require you to mix the nut butter or almond butter with oil before using it as a replacement, so recipes will not be completely oil-free. You’ll need to mix an equal almond butter and oil ratio for this swap.

Cooking Tip:

Once the nut butter is combined with oil, use a 1:1 ratio.

11. Vegetable Purees

Veggie purees are a great substitute in a pinch. This option includes anything from beets to zucchinis. It not only provides moisture to baked goods but is a great way to incorporate some extra veggies into dishes.

You’ll likely need to cook and mash these vegetables yourself, as they’re not commonly sold in this manner at the grocery stores.

Pros

You can use them in sweet and savory recipes like bread and cakes.

Cons

If you’re making a sweet recipe, you’ll need to alter the purees by adding sweetener and spices. Depending on the recipe you’re making, these vegetables might change the color of the dish.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio.

12. Mashed Bananas

Mashed bananas are a fantastic option to use as an applesauce replacement. Not only do they provide a sweet, fruity taste, but they’re also affordable and easy to find.

Plus, there is no cooking required for this swap. You’ll need to mash ripe bananas before using them in recipes.

Pros

This option is especially great in banana bread, enhancing the banana flavor. However, you can also use it for other baked goods and desserts. As bananas hold a similar color to applesauce, there will not be a noticeable appearance difference colorwise.

Cons

You will need to add water to mashed bananas to create a more similar consistency to applesauce before using it in recipes.

Cooking Tip:

Use one medium banana for every ½ of applesauce the recipe calls for.

13. Yogurt

Yogurt is a great replacement for applesauce in baked goods. It adds a delicious creaminess to items and provides a tangy taste which can help cut the sweetness in recipes. This tangy flavor works with many recipes like sweet bread, muffins, and even cakes (chocolate cakes or carrot cake).

Using this substitute will provide a deliciously moist interior for any baked goods.

Pros

This option is readily available in grocery stores. With the many flavor options available (strawberry, vanilla, etc.), you can choose one that complements your recipe.

Cons

Yogurt does not provide an apple flavor like what you expect from applesauce.

Cooking Tip:

Use ¾ cup of yogurt to replace applesauce.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is There a Substitute for Apple Sauce in Baking?

Yes, there are many options for substituting applesauce in baking recipes. The swap you use will be different depending on what type of baked goods you’re looking to create. You can use coconut oil or even mashed bananas if you’re making banana bread. When creating muffins, dairy products like yogurt will be your best bet.

How to Substitute Applesauce for Eggs?

Swapping applesauce for eggs is quite easy, as you won’t need to supplement the applesauce with another product for most recipes. Use ¼ cup of applesauce for each egg you need to replace in a recipe. If you want a fluffier or less dense consistency, you can also add some baking powder to help the baked good rise more.

How to Substitute Apple Sauce for Oil?

If you’re using applesauce to replace oil, the ratio for this swap is is 1:1 swap. This substitute will help keep your baked goods moist and delicious.

How to Substitute Apple Sauce for Butter?

Replacing butter with applesauce is a little bit trickier; you’ll want to continue using half the amount of butter that the recipe requires. The rest, you can swap with applesauce in an equal ratio.

Summary

Finding the best applesauce alternatives is much easier than you might think! Many of these replacements are already have in your kitchen. They’re also easy to find at the grocery store, making them convenient.

When choosing best applesauce substitute our top picks are mashed bananas or other pureeed fruits.

More Ingredient Substitutes

Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!

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