Do you have a favorite unsweetened applesauce recipe? Homemade applesauce tastes a lot better than store-bought, and it's super easy to make! You can whip up a batch to use straight away or make it in bulk and preserve it to use over weeks or longer.
There are many uses for applesauce. It is a tasty, low-fat snack full of vitamins. Serve it as a nutritious treat between meals or use it with savory dishes. Unsweetened applesauce even has some interesting uses for baking!
How to Prepare Unsweetened Applesauce
When it comes to applesauce, unsweetened recipes are the healthiest and the easiest to make. All you need are apples and water, an apple peeler, a paring knife, and a saucepan.
Here are the basic steps:
- Peel your apples (or leave the peeling on for extra fiber, but know that your sauce will have a slightly different texture).
- Halve the apples, remove the cores, and slice them. Don't worry about them turning brown – it's perfectly natural and won't affect the flavor!
- Put the apples in a large saucepan and add water (not too much, though – you don't even have to fully cover the apples!)
- Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until soft. Remember to cook it low and slow, so the apples fall apart. This makes the most magical sauce ever!
- If you kept the peels with your apples, it’s time to blend the cooked apples for a smooth texture.
There are many easy applesauce recipes, but this is the simplest way to make applesauce by far.
Below are two other recipes for applesauce. With homemade recipe after homemade recipe, it’s worth it to try them all out. They are excellent!
Caramelized Unsweetened Applesauce Recipe
- 2 x medium Honeycrisp apples, chopped
- 1 x Granny Smith apple, chopped
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- ¼ tsp cinnamon, ground
- 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
NOTE: Don't use water in this recipe!
- Melt the coconut oil in the saucepan and add apples and cinnamon.
- Cover the pan and cook on low to medium heat, stirring frequently.
- Apples should be slightly caramelized after around 20 minutes.
- Stir in lemon juice.
Sweet and Spicy Unsweetened Applesauce Recipe
- 5.5 lb McIntosh apples, chopped
- 2 tsp cinnamon, ground
- 1 tsp ginger, minced
- ½ tsp clove powder
- Juice from ½ lemon
- ¼ cup of raisins
- ½ cup of water
- Add all ingredients, except lemon juice, to a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Turn the heat down, cover, and simmer for around 25 minutes.
- Stir in lemon juice.
All of these recipes are easy and reasonably quick to make. Best of all, once you've prepared the applesauce, your creative options really open up!
Applesauce is Super Versatile
There are some excellent alterations to a basic applesauce recipe. Easy variations can elevate your sauce like you won't believe!
Try using apple cider instead of water to boil the apples in. Add some lemon juice for tartness and acidity. Use other types of fruit for a different flavor, or spice it up with nutmeg or cinnamon!
Besides variations, you'll be amazed at what else you can do with applesauce. Here are some interesting ideas!
Use it to replace the fat in baked goods
Are you out of butter or oil, or simply want a healthier alternative? You can replace fat in cakes, cookies, and bread 1-to-1 with applesauce. It makes it a bit lighter and keeps it moist!
Vegans will also be happy to hear that applesauce can be used as a substitute for eggs in a recipe. This is because apples contain pectin, which acts as a binder!
Use it as a delicious topping
Did you know that serving potato latkes with applesauce is a tradition in many countries, including Israel, Sweden, Ireland, and England? You can also use it on pancakes as a healthier alternative to syrup, or on slices of roast pork or pork chops.
Use it as the perfect base for dressings
For extra flavor and sweetness, use applesauce instead of oil in a strawberry vinaigrette. This is great for harvest salads!
Make a sweet and tangy vinaigrette with applesauce, apple cider vinegar, a dash of balsamic vinegar, some miso, cinnamon, cumin, and dijon mustard.
Use it to elevate your overnight oatmeal
Overnight oats has become the ultimate grab-and-go breakfast for many. In case you don't know, it's basically soaking oatmeal overnight instead of cooking it.
Using applesauce as the liquid will give your oatmeal a decadent sweetness and also add fiber and vitamins to your diet!
Health Benefits of Applesauce
What is one of the best things to do with an apple? Sauce (homemade especially!) is always a good idea.
Apples are packed with nutrition, and unsweetened applesauce is no different. After all, it's just cooked apples, and they're great for you!
Here are some of the reasons why applesauce every day keeps the doctor away:
- You may have heard that apples are high in sugar, but these are naturally occurring sugars and not processed, so it's a healthier way to satisfy those cravings for dessert.
- Apples contain polyphenols, which may reduce blood pressure.
- Apples also contain antioxidants that can help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.To get the most antioxidants in your sauce, use the entire apple, skin and all!
- Your lungs will thank you because these antioxidants are also believed to lower the risk of asthma.
- There’s the same amount of fiber in sauce as in unprocessed apples. This type of fiber is soluble, which means it helps lower blood cholesterol levels and can also help treat digestive issues.
- The type of fiber in apples is pectin, a prebiotic that promotes good gut bacteria.
- Apples also contain Potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Calcium, and Magnesium.
But before you begin cooking your sauce, let's talk about which types of apples are best to use.
Which Apples Should I Use to Make Sauce?
In an ideal world, you'll have an apple tree nearby, and it will always be in season, so you'll have a supply of delicious fresh apples all year long! Of course, that's not realistic. If you don't have a tree, the next best thing is to visit your local market or orchard and get some apples.
If you use freshly picked, ripe apples, your sauce will have a natural sweetness that will make it stand out from other sauces! If this is not possible, get your favorite apples from the store, and experiment with some varieties.
You can make any type of apple into sauce! Here's a list of popular apple options you could consider and the type of flavor they would bring to your sauce:
- McIntosh - Sweet and Spicy
- Jonagold - Sweet
- Fuji - Sweet
- Golden Delicious - Sweet
- Gala - Sweet
- Fuji - Sweet
- Granny Smith - Sweet and Tart
- Honeycrisp - Sweet and Tart
You can use one variety of apple in your unsweetened applesauce recipe, or you can combine different types for a different flavor profile. Any naturally sweet apples will make a naturally sweet sauce, so if that's what you like, go for it!
Using only tart apples will make the sauce a bit tart, and some people may be tempted to add sugar to it! Making unsweetened applesauce with tart apples is perfect for someone who doesn't have a sweet tooth, though.
Using McIntosh apples with a few Honeycrisps thrown in makes a rich and sweet sauce with a tiny bit of tartness, while using only sweet varieties will give you the sweetest sauce possible without adding sweetener.
How do You Store Applesauce?
Once you've perfected making your sauce, you'll want to do it again and again, especially during apple season! And if you have a large supply of apples, making sauce makes perfect sense, even if you make a lot of it.
Storing applesauce is just as simple as making it. Here's how:
Refrigerate it - Store unsweetened homemade applesauce in the refrigerator for around two weeks. This means you can make small batches every couple of weeks.
Freeze it - Remember, you are not limited to small batches. You can freeze the sauce for as long as two months! Remember to label them with the date you freeze them.
Can it - To preserve your sauce in canning jars, add a tablespoon of lemon juice to every 3 lbs of apples to get the right level of acidity. This will keep even longer than freezing!
Applesauce is Wonderful, Versatile, Tasty, AND Healthy!
Once you begin making applesauce, you’ll discover that it’s not only tasty, but also offers plenty of applesauce benefits for health. Plus, there are so many ways to use it!
With these handy guidelines, and some imagination, you'll be making delicious applesauce in no time. Whether you have a sweet tooth or prefer savory dishes, the options are limitless!