Do you have questions about using applesauce when baking? If you do, we are here to help.
In this article, we try to answer the questions people most often ask about baking with applesauce and offer some suggestions of substitutes you can use in its place.
Best Substitutes for Applesauce
Applesauce is a healthier alternative to fatty oils and animal products like eggs, milk, cheese, and butter commonly found in baked goods. If you should find yourself short of applesauce for a recipe, don’t lose hope. Here is a list of other ingredients you can use in place of applesauce in your baking.
1. Mashed Bananas
Many people consider mashed bananas to be the best substitute for applesauce. They naturally have a creamy texture, are sweet, fruity, and very nutritious. Slightly overripe bananas work the best, but any will suffice. Simply place the banana on a plate or in a bowl and mash with a fork. Remember that mashed bananas are drier than applesauce, so you might want to add a little water or other liquid to the mix.
2. Vegan Yogurt
Made from soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk, oat milk, cashew milk, and other non-dairy sources, vegan yogurt is now widely available. As a substitute for applesauce, vegan yogurt works well in cakes and other goods that benefit from its creamy texture. Some chefs even add it to pizza dough.
3. Almond Butter
If you were replacing oils or eggs in a recipe with applesauce, then almond butter is an excellent stand-in. High in monounsaturated fats, protein, fiber, iron, and calcium, almond butter adds high levels of nutrients without adding a lot of sugars. When using almond butter to replace applesauce, do so at a 1:1 ratio.
4. Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Mashed sweet potatoes work best when used to replace applesauce as a binding agent. It gives cakes and other baked items a medium crump adding texture, but keep in mind it is higher in starch and sugars than some other applesauce alternatives. To prepare, peel your sweet potatoes, steam or boil till soft, and then mash with a fork till smooth. An alternative method is to puree in a blender.
5. Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is a versatile non-dairy alternative to applesauce, milk, and cream. Slightly denser and sweeter than applesauce, it gives baked goods a finer crump than many other applesauce substitutes, making it ideal for cookie, brownie, bread, and pie recipes. If you need to thin your coconut milk, coconut oil is best when using it as an applesauce substitute.
6. Mashed Stewed Apples
Stewed apples actually have some advantages over applesauce in many recipes. Apple sauce is generally sweet, but apples come in many flavors ranging from sugary to highly tart. Using stewed apples as an apple sauce alternative allows you to gain greater control over the taste of your baked goods. To make, slice your apples into small chunks. Place cubed apples in a saucepan and add water at roughly 1 part water to 3 parts apples. Add whatever seasonings you might choose, and then bring to a slow boil. When apple skins start to shimmer, remove them from heat and mash.
7. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is one of the healthiest applesauce substitutes you can use. It contains high levels of protein, fiber, iron, calcium, and many micro-nutrients. When using peanut butter as an applesauce replacement, you should do so at a 1:1 ratio. Keep in mind when using peanut butter in place of applesauce, many people have peanut allergies and may not be able to enjoy your baked treats.
8. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is higher in fats than some of the other applesauce substitutes in this list. However, these are in the form of medium-chain triglycerides. Coconut oil is also high in cholesterol, both HDL and LDL. Still, many people consider it healthier than butter or hydronated oils when used as an applesauce substitute.
9. Silken Tofu
Tofu is an ideal applesauce substitute that most vegans should have readily at hand. It is high in protein, minerals, and vitamins and low in fat and calories. To use silken tofu as an apple sauce replacement, drain it well, then mash with a fork till you have a creamy texture. Tofu works best as an applesauce replacement in carrot cake, bread, and muffins.
10. Mashed Avocados
You can use mashed avocado as a one-to-one substitute for applesauce, and it contains large amounts of healthy fatty acids and other nutrients. Avocados also have a lighter flavor and creamier texture than most applesauce, which can be advantageous in many recipes.
You can use honey as a substitute for applesauce if you keep a few things in mind.
- Honey is much sweeter than applesauce, so you will need to reduce other sweet ingredients.
- Honey contains less water than applesauce. You will need to add a bit of extra liquid.
- Honey can be challenging to mix with dry ingredients, and it is best to combine it with other liquids first when using it as a substitute for applesauce.
12. Pumpkin Puree
Pumpkin puree is very similar to applesauce in texture, consistency, and sweetness, making it a natural substitute. When using pumpkin puree, the main thing to remember is that it doesn’t contain any of the spices usually found in applesauce. Whether this is a plus or minus will depend on the recipe.
13. Fruit Puree
You could use any number of pureed fruits as a substitute for applesauce when baking. Pears, apricots, raspberries, and even pineapple are possibilities. As is often the case in the kitchen, the only limit is your imagination. If you experiment, you might find some exciting options by using pureed fruit in place of applesauce in baked items.
14. Vegetable Puree
Like using pureed fruits to replace applesauce in baked items, many pureed vegetables can fill the bill. Any vegetable with similar sweetness and texture should be considered candidates as applesauce substitutes. Carrots and beetroots are just two that immediately come to mind.
When all other options have been exhausted, using water as a substitute for applesauce is always an option. While it provides the moister of applesauce, keep in mind that it doesn’t contain any flavor, oils, or sugars. You may need to resort to adding some fattier ingredients like vegetable oils or sweeteners to compensate. Dire times call for drastic measures.
Can I Skip Applesauce in Baking?
It is not a good idea to simply skip applesauce or any other ingredient in a recipe.
Instead, you should use a suitable replacement. Applesauce contains a lot of moister and is considered a liquid ingredient. If, for whatever reason, you cannot use it when baking and have nothing to place it with. You will need to add extra oil, water, or other moist ingredients to compensate. Otherwise, your baked goods will come out too dry.
What Does Applesauce Do in Baking?
Applesauce gives baked goods a moist, rich texture and provides added nutrition to recipes that often lack healthy ingredients. It offers large amounts of fiber, vitamins, minerals and is low in sugar, cholesterol, and fat.
Items backed with applesauce also hold moister well and tend not to dry out and go stale as fast.
Common Replacement Applications of Applesauce for Baking
One of applesauce’s best uses is replacing fatty items like oils or as a vegan alternative to animal products such as butter, eggs, and milk. It is high in moister, contains large amounts of fiber, and acts as a binding agent.
A few things should be kept in mind when using applesauce as a replacement.
- Applesauce has a distinct taste and will change the flavor of your muffins and cakes.
- Low-fat recipes tend to come out dry. Be careful not to overcook your baked items.
- Applesauce is sweet; you may need to reduce the amount of sugar in your recipe
- When using applesauce to replace oil or melted butter, do so on a one-to-one basis; if the recipe calls for one cup of oil, use one cup of applesauce.
- If you use applesauce to replace softened butter, you will need to drain the excess moister first. Cheesecloth is the best tool to use for this.
- It is best to use unsweetened applesauce when baking.
- Applesauce works best in cakes, bread, and muffins.
- ¼ cup of applesauce equals one medium egg.
What’s the Best Substitute for Applesauce in Carrot Cake?
The general consensus among professional chefs is that coconut milk makes the best substitute for applesauce when baking carrot cakes. It can be a little denser and sweeter than apple sauce which you will need to compensate for.
Coconut milk is also an excellent replacement for animal-based milk and cream when converting regular recipes for a vegan diet.
What’s the Best Substitute for Applesauce in Banana Bread?
Mashed sweet potatoes and pumpkin both make an excellent applesauce alternative in banana bread recipes. Their flavors meld well with the caramelized banana flavor of the bread and the spices added by most bakers.
What’s the Best Substitute for Applesauce in Brownies?
There are several options worth exploring as a substitute for applesauce in brownies. Which is best is a matter of taste. Peanut butter, your favorite fruit pureed, and mashed bananas all offer unique flavor profiles you might find enticing in a brownie.
What’s the Best Substitute for Applesauce in Muffins?
There are many different types of muffins. This makes it very difficult to recommend any single apple sauce replacement over another.
Some that are worth considering are:
- Coconut butter (best for bran muffins)
- Peanut butter
- Pureed fruit
- Purred vegetable
- Mashed bananas
What’s the Best Substitute for Applesauce in Vegan Baking?
There is no single best applesauce substitute for vegan baking. Baking encompasses too broad a variety of possibilities. Cakes, pies, cookies, Danishes, brownies, and a massive assortment of breads are all baked goods you can use applesauce to make.
The best substitute for applesauce will depend on the specific recipe and what traditional ingredient you were using applesauce to replace. Our “Best Substitute” list at the top of this article offers many possibilities.
Let common sense be your guide, and don’t be afraid to experiment.
Applesauce is a beautiful ingredient that you can use as a healthier alternative to fats when baking. You can also use it to replace several different animal-based products when eating a vegan diet.
Even if you find yourself without applesauce, there is no reason to return to unhealthy ingredients. No matter how you were using applesauce in your recipe, you can likely find a suitable substitute right there in your kitchen.