Applesauce has been a beloved ingredient in baking and cooking for a long time.
Its versatility makes it a great addition to most recipes, and it has been known to help enhance the moisture, texture, and sweetness of plenty of baked products.
But despite the many great qualities that applesauce has to offer, sometimes you just don't have it on hand.
If you’ve found yourself in this situation, or if you’re looking to explore and experiment with new ingredients, then you might want to look into applesauce substitutes.
So if you're wondering, "What can I use instead of applesauce in baking?" you're in luck!
We will give you a list of the best substitutes for applesauce in various recipes that can help make your baked goods as soft, sweet, and moist as applesauce does.
Excited to see our recommendations? Keep reading!
What Is Applesauce?
Applesauce is basically just made of apples that have been cooked down and reduced to a sauce.
It’s made by boiling apples that have been cored, peeled, and sliced into smaller pieces in water.
It’s cooked with some spices, lemon, and sugar to add flavor as well, although some people skip the sugar to make unsweetened applesauce.
After the apples have been cooked, they are mashed or blended to create the sauce.
How Is Applesauce Used in Baking?
Enhances Moisture and Texture
Applesauce has a high water content, which allows it to contribute to the enhanced texture of your baked goods.
It gives your baked goods moisture to prevent them from becoming too dry or chewy. Instead, it helps make them soft and moist.
Serves as a Fat Substitute
Since it can help add moisture to your baked products, applesauce can serve as a healthier substitute for oil and melted butter as it has fewer calories.
As previously mentioned, it helps keep the moisture in your baked products. So like fats, it can lend an overall soft and tender texture to your baked goods.
However, it’s not advisable to use applesauce as a substitute for cold butter and other solid fats, as doing so can compromise the structural integrity of your baked goods.
Because apples contain naturally occurring sugars, the applesauce made from them is also sweet.
As such, applesauce can be used as a substitute for sugar in plenty of recipes, adding natural sweetness to a variety of baked goods.
Using applesauce for this purpose is specifically advantageous for those aiming to reduce their use of processed sugar.
Binds Ingredients in Vegan Recipes
In vegan baking, applesauce is commonly used as a substitute for eggs.
This is because, like eggs, it is an excellent binder that can give your baked goods structure and help them hold their shape.
When using applesauce as an egg substitute, the general rule is to replace one egg with a ¼ cup of applesauce.
What To Consider When Choosing a Substitute for Applesauce In Your Recipes
While applesauce has many uses in baking, there are times when you may not have it handy in your kitchen.
There are also instances when you may have to create baked goods for individuals allergic to apples or people with dietary restrictions, such as those with diabetes who may need to limit their sugar intake.
In these cases, you may need to use an applesauce substitute.
The good news is applesauce can be easily replaced by a variety of other foods and ingredients, but you need to keep some things in mind before using an alternative in its place.
Let’s jump to some important facts that you need to know before replacing applesauce with a substitute in your recipe.
Consider the Flavors of Your Replacement
The most important thing to assess when selecting a replacement for applesauce is the new flavor it can bring to your recipe.
Alternatives with a taste or texture similar to applesauce can be used in a 1:1 ratio in applesauce substitution.
However, replacements with a stronger flavor may end up overpowering the flavors of your original recipe.
To avoid this, check if the new flavor of your chosen substitute is compatible with your recipe.
You can also opt to add a little less than what the recipe calls for, but note that this can change the consistency and texture of your final product.
Adjusting your recipe and experimenting based on how strong you want your flavors to be can certainly help you reach your desired final product.
Look for Vegan Alternatives
Applesauce is a staple in vegan baking. The good news is that plenty of its substitutes are also considered vegan and vegetarian.
Substitutes for applesauce in vegan baking include sweet fruits and vegetables.
However, if you’re not going to use plant-based substitutes, you can always ensure that they are indeed vegan or vegetarian by checking if they have labels such as “vegan” or “contains no animal products.”
Quick Look: Top 10 Best Applesauce Substitutes
- Plain or Greek Yogurt
- Silken Tofu
- Coconut Oil or Milk
- Mashed Bananas
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Pumpkin Puree
- Peanut Butter
- Pureed Avocado
- Sour Cream
- Pear Puree
Ready to find out how to substitute applesauce in baking successfully? Below is a carefully curated list of some great alternatives for applesauce:
1. Plain or Greek Yogurt
Plain or Greek yogurt can serve as a great substitute for applesauce as it has similar properties, such as its high moisture content and ability to give recipes a creamy consistency.
Just like applesauce, it adds creaminess and moisture to your baked goods, which can help improve their texture.
Additionally, it contributes to their overall flavor as its tanginess can complement certain recipes.
How to use Greek yogurt as an applesauce substitute: Substitute one cup of applesauce for ¾ cup of your favorite plain or Greek yogurt.
Top tip for best results: Since yogurt has its own unique flavor, you can experiment with adjusting the ratio of applesauce to yogurt to keep the flavors well-balanced in specific recipes that may not do well with excess tanginess.
2. Silken Tofu
Using silken tofu in baking might come as a shock to you, but it can actually be used in place of applesauce.
Since silken tofu has a high water content, it can provide the moisture applesauce gives to a recipe.
It also helps bind ingredients together and create a denser texture in your final product.
Additionally, silken tofu has a relatively neutral flavor.
So if you're looking for an unsweetened applesauce substitute that doesn't have a decadent or overpowering flavor, this is a great option.
How to use silken tofu as an applesauce substitute: You can use a 1:1 ratio to substitute silken tofu for applesauce.
Top tip for best results: When using silken tofu as a substitute for applesauce in baking, it's important to blend it to ensure it has a smooth and creamy consistency that goes with all kinds of baked goods.
3. Coconut Oil or Milk
Coconut products like oil and milk can also be used as an alternative to applesauce in baking.
Like applesauce, both contribute to the moistness of your baked goods and help them achieve a smooth, buttery texture.
They also lend a certain creaminess to different recipes. The distinct coconut flavor can complement other ingredients and elevate the richness and taste of your baked products.
How to use coconut oil or milk as an applesauce substitute: Use a half-cup of coconut milk for every cup of applesauce in your recipe. This is because too much coconut milk can make your final product a bit too dense.
On the other hand, you can substitute applesauce for coconut oil in a 1:1 ratio.
Top tip for best results: If your batter becomes too runny when you use coconut milk or oil in place of applesauce, you can add an extra egg to help bind the ingredients better.
4. Mashed Bananas
If you want to achieve a fruity flavor without applesauce, you can opt to use mashed bananas instead.
Just like apples, bananas also have a natural sweetness to them, so you can use them when you want to cut down on your use of processed sugar.
And since bananas have a similar moisture content to applesauce, mashed bananas can also make your baked product soft and creamy.
It can also act as a binder!
That said, note that using mashed bananas will impart a distinct banana flavor to your final product.
They're a good substitute for applesauce in muffins and other similar baked goods that the flavor of bananas can complement.
But if you don’t want your final product to taste like bananas, consider going for a different substitute.
How to use mashed bananas as an applesauce substitute: If the recipe you’re following uses applesauce for added sweetness, then you can replace it with mashed bananas in a 1:1 ratio.
If it uses applesauce as a substitute for oil or liquid fats, then you can replace one cup of applesauce with ¾ cup of mashed bananas to prevent the banana flavor from overpowering your recipe.
How to make mashed bananas: Simply place one to two bananas in a container, then get a masher or a fork to press them against the container until you reach your desired consistency.
Top tip for best results: It’s best to use overripe bananas as they are the sweetest.
5. Mashed Sweet Potatoes
In addition to mashed fruits, mashed vegetables with a natural sweetness can function as superb applesauce substitutes in different recipes.
One example of this is mashed sweet potatoes.
Not only is it a good source of nutrients like vitamins A and C, but its flavor also contributes to the overall richness of your recipe.
Its starchiness also makes it a great binder and adds to your baked goods’ rich and dense texture.
How to use mashed sweet potatoes as an applesauce substitute: You can substitute mashed sweet potatoes for applesauce in a 1:1 ratio.
How to make mashed sweet potatoes: Boil sweet potatoes until they're tender, add warm milk, and proceed to mash them until you achieve your desired consistency.
Top tip for best results: Because mashed sweet potatoes are naturally dense, they work best as an applesauce substitute in recipes for pound cakes, Bundt cakes, and other heavy baked goods.
6. Pumpkin Puree
Another good substitute in place of applesauce is pumpkin puree. You can opt to get store-bought canned pumpkin puree or make your own.
Just like applesauce, it helps lend moisture and a mild sweetness to your recipe. It also gives your baked product a soft to slightly dense texture.
This is a good substitute for recipes that use applesauce as their source of moisture and fat.
However, keep in mind that using pumpkin puree as a substitute can affect the overall flavor and color of your baked goods.
It can impart a yellow-to-orange tinge to your recipe and infuse it with a pumpkin flavor.
How to use pumpkin puree as an applesauce substitute: You can swap out applesauce for pumpkin puree in a 1:1 ratio.
How to make pumpkin puree: To make pumpkin puree, cut a pumpkin open, remove the seeds and the pulp, cover it in foil, bake it until tender, and then scrape the flesh and puree it.
Top tip for best results: Want to substitute applesauce with pumpkin puree in multiple recipes?
Make a large batch of pumpkin puree, store it in an airtight, food-safe container, and freeze it. This way, it can last for up to a month, so you can use it for different recipes.
7. Peanut Butter
Another alternative that is a little more different from the others is peanut butter.
Like applesauce, it can impart richness and sweetness to baked goods like cookies and muffins.
It also provides a similar consistency to applesauce. However, it can be heavier.
As such, when using peanut butter in place of applesauce, note that its thickness may make your final product denser. It can also add a strong and heavy peanut flavor to your baked product.
How to use peanut butter as an applesauce substitute: You can use a 1:1 ratio for the substitution.
Top tip for best results: It’s best to use peanut butter in recipes where it won’t clash with the other ingredients’ flavors. Brownies are a good example of this.
8. Pureed Avocado
Just like other fruits, pureed or mashed avocado is another suitable substitute for applesauce.
Avocados are rich in healthy fats, which contributes to the moisture content and creamy texture of your recipe.
So if you don't mind adding fat to your recipe, this will add a certain richness to it.
Its creaminess can also improve the mouthfeel of your final product and prevent it from being dry.
The benefit of using avocados is that they don't have much of a distinct flavor and only absorb those of others.
It's crucial to note, however, that just like other substitutes, avocados can impart color to your recipe.
How to use pureed avocado as an applesauce substitute: You can substitute applesauce in your recipe for pureed avocado in a 1:1 ratio.
How to make pureed avocado: Whip up your own pureed avocado by peeling your avocado, removing its pit, and pureeing it until smooth.
Looking to give your pureed avocado a sweeter taste that's similar to applesauce? Add a drizzle of honey to your avocado before you puree it.
9. Sour Cream
Another substitute you can use instead of applesauce in baking is sour cream.
Applesauce and sour cream also have a similar consistency, and they both provide a soft and smooth texture to whatever you're baking.
Additionally, sour cream is high in fat, so it can enhance the moisture of your recipe.
How to use sour cream as an applesauce substitute: You can replace applesauce with sour cream using a 1:1 ratio.
Top tip for best results: You might want to consider adding more sweeteners to your recipe if you use sour cream in place of applesauce, as sour cream is more tangy than sweet.
10. Pear Puree
Pureed pear can also work as a replacement for applesauce since they're in terms of texture and flavor.
Like applesauce, pear puree's high water content provides the moisture needed for a smooth texture and helps prevent dryness.
It also has a natural fruity sweetness similar to that which applesauce provides.
How to use pear puree as an applesauce substitute: You can use a 1:1 ratio of pear puree to substitute for the amount of applesauce required in the recipe.
How to make pear puree: Create your own pear puree by boiling pears in water, chopping them up, and then pureeing them in a food processor or blender.
Top tip for best results: When making pear puree, use ripe pears. Not only are they, but they also create a smoother texture when pureed.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Know If the Applesauce Substitute I’m Using Is Appropriate for a Certain Recipe?
Finding the best substitute for a recipe may require some trial and error.
To find the most appropriate alternative, you will need to think about the flavor profile of your original recipe to see whether your substitute is compatible with it or not.
For example, if you want to substitute applesauce in a recipe where it’s used to add sweetness, you can go for similarly sweet replacements, such as mashed bananas.
On the flip side, if your recipe calls for applesauce as a source of moisture, then fat-heavy substitutes like yogurt or sour cream that can make your final product rich and moist will work well.
Is It Possible To Use Applesauce Substitutes for Savory Recipes?
It’s true that applesauce and its substitutes are used traditionally for sweeter recipes. But you can also try them out for savory foods.
Just take note of the flavor profile and the amount of sweetness it can bring in when you adapt the substitutes to more savory recipes.
For instance, pork chops are often paired with applesauce.
If you’d like to swap out applesauce in this scenario, pumpkin puree or mashed sweet potatoes would make a great substitute.
They have the same thick texture and slight sweetness that complements the meatiness and juiciness of pork chops.
Try Using Applesauce Substitutes for Your Next Recipe!
As you can see, not having applesauce on hand shouldn't stop you from whipping up your favorite delectable baked goods.
Although applesauce is a wonderful ingredient, it can be easily replaced with substitutes that have the same properties and provide the same benefits.
The variety of substitutes you can use allows you to experiment and come up with creative culinary solutions.
So what are you waiting for? Try and see for yourself how the different substitutes listed above can work just as well as applesauce — or even better in some cases!