Applesauce is an everyday cooking and baking ingredient. If you run out of it, there are plenty of options to replace it. At least one of these applesauce substitutes will work for your recipe and guarantee excellent results!
This fruity puree is widely consumed in the U.S., Canada, and some parts of Europe. In baking, it’s often used as a binder, to replace fat or eggs.
Applesauce also holds value in cooking as it can add sweetness, acidity, and texture to various dishes.
Luckily, if you’re trying to make a recipe calling for applesauce and you don’t have any, there’s no shortage of alternatives!
What Is Applesauce?
Applesauce is cooked apple puree that can sometimes be sweetened or contain added spices.
From using different sweeteners to adding spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla extract, storebought applesauce can be very different between brands.
I recommend you always check the label before buying applesauce to make sure it has the flavor you need and doesn’t contain potentially harmful additives.
There’s no replacement that has the exact taste of applesauce but considering its flavor is mild, substituting it shouldn’t have a significant impact on your recipe.
The options below include both plant-based and dairy alternatives, most of which are easy to find in stores. If you’re lucky, you might have some of them at home right now!
|Substitute||Ratio (Substitute: Applesauce)||Notes|
|Pureed Apples||1:1||Reduce the pureed apples over low heat for 15 minutes for the closest substitute.|
|Mashed Sweet Potatoes||1 cup of applesauce = 3/4 cup sweet potatoes + 1/4 cup water||–|
|Fruit Purees||1:1||Some fruit purees might need to be thinned with water.|
|Pumpkin Pie Filling||1:1||Check the label for the amount of sugar and adjust your recipe accordingly.|
|Mashed Avocado||1:1||Use a sweetener and lemon juice to adjust the recipe.|
|Pureed Veggies||1:1.||Bright-colored veggies such as beets will change your recipe’s color.|
|Silken Tofu||1:1||Must be blended to a creamy consistency before using.|
|Peanut Butter||1 cup of applesauce = 1/2 cup peanut butter + 1/2 cup milk (vegan or dairy)||Other types of nut butter can be used.|
|Plain Yogurt||3/4-1:1||Start with 3/4 of the volume required by the recipe and add more only if needed.|
|Greek Yogurt||1:1||You can add sugar or another sweetener to balance your recipe.|
|Sour Cream||1:1||May need to be diluted with milk (vegan or dairy).|
|Buttermilk||1/2-1:1||Start with 1/2 of the volume required by the recipe and add more only if needed.|
|Cream Cheese||1:1||May need to be diluted with milk (vegan or dairy).|
|Cottage Cheese||1:1||Must be blended to a creamy consistency before using.|
Plant-based Substitutes For Applesauce
Pureed Apples (Homemade Applesauce)
If you don’t have applesauce, but you have apples and a blender or a food processor, making homemade applesauce is the best option.
The beauty of making your own applesauce is you can choose the variety of apples you want, based on sweetness and acidity.
Simply puree the apples in a blender or food processor, and optionally cook the resulting mixture on low heat on the stovetop for 15 minutes to thicken it a little.
You can use cooked or uncooked pureed apples to substitute applesauce in a 1:1 ratio.
Ripe mashed bananas provide the perfect texture for an applesauce replacement. What they lack is the natural acidity of applesauce.
If you need some added tartness mix a small amount of lemon juice into your mashed bananas. Then, use an equal amount of mashed bananas to replace the applesauce called by your recipe.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are one of the best vegetables to use in mashed form as a replacement for applesauce.
Since you just need to bake and mash the sweet potatoes, this substitute doesn’t require much effort to make.
Not only will they add natural sweetness to your recipe, but their starch content also makes them an effective binder for baked goods.
Their consistency is a bit thicker compared to applesauce so mix 3/4 cups mashed sweet potatoes and 1/4 cups water to replace one cup of applesauce.
Other Fruit Purees
Other cooked fruit purees can successfully replace applesauce for both cooking and backing.
Here are some of the best options:
- Berries – pureed raspberries, strawberries, and other berries offer the right balance of flavors and consistency to substitute applesauce. Before you decide to use berries, consider the changes in color and flavor they’ll bring and whether that works with your recipe or not.
- Pears – It’s safe to say pureed pears is one of the closest applesauce substitutes and it works well even for baking.
- Apricots – A little tangier than apples, pureed apricots work well in various recipes, including sauces and meat glazes.
- Pineapple – This moist fruit provides the right amount of sweet and sour with a mild flavor that will complement most recipes.
As a general thumb rule, the substitution ratio for most fruit purees is 1:1. If the puree is too thick, you can always add a small amount of water to adjust the consistency until it resembles applesauce.
The humble pumpkin puree is widely used in a whole range of sweet and savory recipes, including baked goods.
You can swap applesauce for baked pureed pumpkins in a 1:1 ratio. Chances are, you baked more than you need in which case I recommend you portion and freeze what’s left.
It’s also possible to make homemade pumpkin puree in the instant pot. You’ll be surprised how easy it is!
Trust me, you’ll be happy to have some pumpkin puree next time you need it for a recipe.
Pumpkin Pie Filling
When you’re in a rush and you’re looking for a ready-made, 1:1 applesauce replacement, pumpkin pie filling makes a wonderful option.
It contains more sugar and also some spices which may or may not work for what you’re trying to make.
Always check the label for the amount of sugar before using pumpkin pie filling as an applesauce alternative. Use this information to adjust the sugar in your recipe.
Tip: Apple pie filling would also work, if you happen to have it in your pantry. It’s a wonderful ingredient for making quick treats, like these air fryer caramel apple hand pies or this easy apple strudel!
Avocado has a very mild flavor (think of it as “plant butter”) which is why it works perfectly as an applesauce replacement.
It works surprisingly well for baked goods. Try these excellent avocado brownies for a healthier, gluten-free treat!
There are some notable differences between applesauce and avocado. First, avocado has a higher fat content. Unless you’re trying to cut down on calories, these extra healthy fats should be no reason to worry.
Also, avocado lacks the tartness and sweetness of applesauce, and that can be fixed with a little sugar and lemon juice if the recipe needs it.
With or without these adjustments mashed avocado can substitute applesauce in a 1:1 ratio.
Other naturally sweet veggies such as beets, carrots, and zucchini can be cooked and pureed to replace applesauce.
Unless your puree is significantly thicker or thinner than applesauce, a 1:1 substitution ratio should work.
It’s also worth noting that bright-colored veggies such as beets, will definitely change the color of baked goods and other recipes.
This soy-based alternative comes in various textures but when it comes to finding a close match to applesauce, silken tofu is the one you should choose.
Once you blend the silken tofu it will have a creamy consistency, just what we need to replace applesauce.
In general, a 1:1 ratio gets the job done but if you’re using silken tofu for baked goods, expect the treats to come out a bit denser than usual.
The consistency of canned coconut milk makes it a viable applesauce substitute including for baked goods.
A ratio of 1:1 works in most cases but only if you use full-fat canned coconut milk.
Avoid the one sold in a carton or other canned options that have “light” in their name. These types of coconut milk are much thinner so they won’t work as replacements for applesauce.
If it’s hard to find in your area, you easily make homemade coconut milk from shredded unsweetened coconut, which is usually more available.
The coconut flavor is mild although it might not work for some recipes, so take this into consideration before using coconut milk as a substitute.
One thing that coconut milk lacks compared to applesauce is acidity. To add some to your recipe, use a bit of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.
Just like coconut milk, coconut oil will add a subtle coconut flavor. It works particularly well in cases where applesauce is needed to replace another cooking fat or oil.
As long as you don’t mind the extra calories, coconut oil makes an excellent 1:1 alternative for applesauce.
Tip: Always measure your coconut oil in a melted state to get the correct volume.
With a thicker consistency compared to applesauce, peanut butter, and other kinds of nut butter, make good substitutes with some adjustments.
You’ll have to thin it out a bit and that can be done by combining it with milk, be it regular milk or a vegan type.
Mix 1/2 cup of peanut butter with 1/2 cup of milk to substitute one cup of applesauce.
Dairy Substitutes For Applesauce
These dairy alternatives to applesauce offer the flavor and acidity we need but not the sweetness.
Adding a small amount of sugar, honey, or another sweetener to your recipe makes a quick fix.
Other than lacking the sweetness of applesauce, plain yogurt works in the same way for baked goods and other types of recipes.
It has a neutral flavor, and the perfect consistency to thicken sauces and add moisture to baking recipes.
Since yogurt has a higher water content compared to applesauce, start with 3/4 of the volume required by the recipe. This means you’ll need to add only 3/4 cup of plain yogurt for every cup of applesauce.
If needed, you can add the rest, up to a 1:1 ratio, and balance the moisture in your recipe.
The creamy texture of Greek yogurt makes it suitable as a 1:1 substitute.
Sweetness is the only thing lacking and you can adjust the amount of sugar or another sweetener your recipe might be calling for.
Another versatile applesauce replacement, sour cream increases the fat content of recipes calling for applesauce which also translates into more flavor.
It’s obviously a good option for situations in which applesauce was replacing fat but the mild flavor means it works with other recipes as well.
Being slightly thicker than applesauce, you can dilute sour cream with any milk, if needed, and use it as a 1:1 substitute.
Similar to yogurt, this fermented dairy product offers moisture and acidity to recipes calling for applesauce.
Buttermilk contains more water than applesauce. I recommend you start with 1/2 of the required amount and add more if needed.
Also, don’t forget to adjust the sweetness of your recipe, since buttermilk lacks it.
Denser and creamier than applesauce, cream cheese makes a good alternative for almost any kind of recipe, but especially for baked goods.
If you’re willing to spare half an hour you can easily make homemade cream cheese in the Instant Pot and save some money in the process.
Depending on the recipe you’re trying to make, you might want to dilute the cream cheese with some milk or another liquid.
Even in pure form, cream cheese can replace applesauce in a 1:1 ratio. Keep in mind that using it as is will produce denser and richer-tasting baked treats.
You can use creme fraiche as an applesauce substitute the same way you would use sour cream.
In general, replacing applesauce with the same volume of creme fraiche will work perfectly.
As with other high-fat substitutes, creme fraiche will produce denser baked goods and in some cases, you might need to add more sweetener to your recipe.
If you use this 1:1 substitute, you’ll need to add more sweetener to most recipes.
Cottage cheese lacks the sweetness of applesauce and it also needs to go through a blender or a food processor to get the creamy consistency we’re looking for.
If peanut and other types of nut butter work as an alternative to applesauce, so does regular dairy butter!
The mild flavor and high-fat content make it suitable for most recipes in a 1:1 ratio. The only downside is the higher calorie count.
Butter really shines in recipes where applesauce was used to replace fat or a cooking oil. It will make your baked treats denser but also deepen their flavor.
As for all dairy substitutes, some extra sugar or another sweetener will also be needed to balance the taste.
Using a food processor, making homemade butter can’t get any easier! Butter freezes well so you can make a larger batch and store it portioned in the freezer.
There are many plant-based alternatives to applesauce, including pureed pears and other fruit purees, mashed bananas, mashed sweet potatoes, peanut butter, coconut milk, and coconut oil.
It’s possible to replace one egg with 3-4 tablespoons of applesauce but only for recipes where eggs are used for moisture, not for binding or leavening. See our egg substitution printable for more options!
Replacing oil with applesauce is a way to reduce the total calorie count while adding back some moisture to the original recipe.
It’s worth mentioning the texture of your baked goods won’t be the same, especially if they required a higher amount of fat or oil.