Using applesauce in baking is one of my favorite hacks for cutting back on oil. But what happens if you don’t have applesauce on hand? This article includes the best substitutes for applesauce.

Bowl of applesauce with apples and apple blossoms.

Apple Sauce Health Benefits

Applesauce is a delicious and healthy snack that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. It is made from apples that have been peeled and cooked down into a smooth, sweet puree.

Applesauce can be eaten on its own or used as an ingredient in recipes.

It is a good source of dietary fiber and Vitamin C, and it contains no fat or cholesterol. Applesauce can be store-bought or homemade, and it is typically available in sweetened, unsweetened, and cinnamon varieties.

Homemade Applesauce

To make your own applesauce, simply simmer peeled and diced apples in water until they are soft, then mash or puree them to your desired consistency using a food processor.

Add sugar or spices to taste, if desired. Or, see my recipe for Crockpot Unsweetened Applesauce.

While many people enjoy applesauce as a treat or snack, it can also be used in baking, especially to help displace vegetable oil, coconut oil, or butter.

In this article, I’ll share some of the best applesauce substitutes that you can use for this purpose.

Quick bread made with applesauce on cutting board.

How to Use Applesauce in Baking Recipes

You may not think of applesauce as a key ingredient in baking, but it can actually be a great way to add moisture and flavor to your recipes. It’s also a good way to cut down on fat and calories.

Here are a few tips on how to use applesauce in baking:

  • When substituting applesauce for oil or butter, use a 1:1/2 ratio. In other words, use one cup applesauce for every 1/2 cup of oil or butter.
  • If you’re looking for another lower-calorie option, you can use half applesauce and half yogurt. This combination will also add some extra protein to your baked goods.
  • Applesauce is a great way to add moisture to breads, cakes, and muffins. Try adding ¼ to ½ cup of applesauce to your favorite recipe.

With these tips in mind, next time you’re in the mood for some homemade baking, don’t forget to reach for the applesauce!

Best Substitutes

1. Pureed Apples

Pureed apples with fresh apple and spoon.
Apple puree.

Most people are familiar with apples in their whole, raw form. However, apples can also be pureed and used in a variety of different ways, from being added to smoothies and yogurt to being used as a base for pies and other desserts.

In addition, pureed apples or other pureed fruit like pears can also be used as a healthy alternative to sugary syrup on pancakes or waffles.

Pureed apples have a similar consistency to apple sauce, but the puree is generally not cooked.

The next time you have some extra apples lying around, I recommend pureeing them and experimenting with all the different ways this versatile ingredient can be used.

To substitute 1 cup of applesauce, use 1 cup of pureed apples (either store-bought or homemade).

2. Pumpkin Puree

Pureed pumpkin with fresh halved pumpkin.
Pumpkin puree.

Pumpkin puree is another great substitute for applesauce in baking.

Made from roasted pumpkin, this thick and creamy puree can be used in all sorts of sweet and savory dishes. Plus, it’s a great source of vitamins and minerals like Vitamin A, potassium, and iron.

One of the best things about pumpkin puree is how versatile it is. You can use it to make anything from soup to pie. Or, if you’re feeling really adventurous, you can even use it in pancakes or waffles.

Most likely, you won’t be taste the pumpkin if you use it to substitute for applesauce in baking. It may add an orange tint to your baked goods, but it really does blend in really well. It’s an excellent applesauce alternative.

Be sure to use 100% pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling (as it will be too sweet in place of applesauce).

To substitute 1 cup of applesauce, use 1 cup of pumpkin puree.

3. Mashed Bananas

Mashed bananas with fork and cut bananas.
Mashed banana.

Mashed banana is a type of food made by mashing ripe bananas with a fork or in a blender.

It is usually eaten as a side dish or as an ingredient in other dishes such as pancakes, muffins, and bread. Use it the same way you would use applesauce to help off-set some of the oil needed in the wet ingredients of your baked goods.

Mashed bananas can also be used as a natural sweetener in recipes. The mashed banana’s sweetness, creaminess, and smooth texture make it a popular choice for many people. It may be the best substitute for applesauce due to its mild flavor.

It is also a healthy option since it is packed with nutrients like potassium and fiber. In addition, mashed bananas are relatively easy to make and can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for later use.

To substitute 1 cup of applesauce, use half of a ripe mashed banana plus ¼ cup of water.

4. Pear Puree

Jar of pureed pears with whole pears.
Pear puree.

Pear puree is a smooth and delicious alternative to applesauce that can be used in many of the same dishes or baked goods.

While it can be made with any type of pear, the best results are achieved with ripe, sweet varieties such as Anjou, Bartlett, and Bosc. To make a pear puree, the fruit is first cooked until soft then passed through a food mill or sieve to remove the seeds and skin.

The resulting fruit puree can be used immediately or refrigerated for later use. Pear purees are often used as toppings for pancakes and waffles or as an ingredient in pies and other desserts.

To substitute 1 cup of applesauce, use 1 cup of pear puree.

5. Plain Greek Yogurt

Bowl of Greek yogurt on white towel.
Greek yogurt.

Applesauce is a popular ingredient in many recipes, but it can be hard to find a healthy version that doesn’t contain added sugar.

Plain Greek yogurt makes an excellent substitution for applesauce in both sweet and savory dishes. The yogurt’s tangy flavor complements sweet ingredients like honey and chocolate, while its thick texture works well in hearty recipes like sauces and tzatziki.

Best of all, Greek yogurt is packed with protein and calcium, so you can feel good about using it as a healthy alternative to applesauce. So, the next time your recipe calls for applesauce, reach for the yogurt instead. You can try a plant-based alternative if you are avoiding dairy products or you’re on a vegan diet.

To substitute 1 cup of applesauce, use 3/4 cup of plain Greek yogurt (regular or dairy-free).

Bonus Substitutes

If you are making a savory baked good like corn muffins, you may not want to use applesauce. In this case, a good substitute might be mashed sweet potatoes or other types of vegetable purees. You could also try olive oil, peanut butter, or coconut milk, but these alternatives will add a lot more fat to your recipes than applesauce.

Pros and Cons

Here’s a chart with a summary of the best alternatives to applesauce when baking. I hope this helps!

Pureed ApplesMimics applesauce closely, versatile in sweet and savory dishes.Requires preparation time to puree.
Pumpkin PureeAdds fall flavors, rich in vitamins and minerals.Flavor may not be suitable for all recipes, especially non-fall themed.
Mashed BananasNatural sweetener, adds moisture and nutrients.Strong banana flavor may overpower other ingredients.
Pear PureeSmooth texture, can be sweet, works in similar dishes as applesauce.Preparation involves cooking and pureeing.
Plain Greek YogurtHigh in protein and calcium, adds creaminess.Tangy flavor may alter the taste profile of some baked goods.


There are many substitutes for applesauce that can be used in baking. These include pumpkin puree, mashed bananas, pear puree, and plain Greek yogurt or more. Each of these substitutes has its own unique flavor and texture that can add something special to your baking. So, the next time you’re looking for a healthy alternative to applesauce, reach for one of these substitutes.

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About the Author: Carrie Forrest has a master’s degree in public health with a specialty in nutrition. She is a top wellness and food blogger with over 5 million annual visitors to her site. Carrie has an incredible story of recovery from chronic illness and is passionate about helping other women transform their health. Send Carrie a message through her contact form.