Apples are a naturally sweet treat, at least most varieties are. It helps that they pack quite the nutritional punch, too. Making applesauce seems like an obvious solution to an apple-lovers dessert craving. But what about those of us who are trying to avoid added sugar? Traditional recipes for applesauce often contain white sugar or brown, which can add up quickly in terms of calories and carbs. That’s where this applesauce recipe with no sugar comes in. It’s a guilt-free applesauce that you can feel good about eating — and it still tastes great. This recipe combines all-natural ingredients, like granny smith apples and cinnamon, to create a truly sweet treat without any added sugar. It also contains plenty of fiber and antioxidants, making this dish an even healthier option when you need an occasional sweet treat.
Is Applesauce Sugar Free?
Applesauce is not inherently sugar-free due to the natural sugars present in apples.
When people refer to sugar-free applesauce, they generally mean that no additional sugar or sweeteners have been added during the preparation process. However, even sugar-free applesauce will still contain the natural sugars present in apples.
Store-bought applesauce often contains added sugars, which is used to enhance the flavor and extend the shelf life. These added sugars can contribute to increased calorie intake and high blood sugar levels, making them less suitable for individuals with diabetes or those trying to reduce their sugar consumption.
To ensure you’re consuming sugar-free applesauce, check the label for any added sugars or sweeteners.
Making homemade applesauce without added sugar is a great way to enjoy a healthier version of this tasty treat while still benefiting from the natural sweetness of the apples.
By using naturally sweet apple varieties like Fuji, Gala, or Honeycrisp, you can create a delicious and satisfying applesauce without the need for additional sweeteners.
Furthermore, incorporating various spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger can enhance the flavor of your sugar-free applesauce without adding any extra sugar.
How To Make Applesauce Without Sugar At Home?
- 2 medium honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored, and chopped in bite-size pieces (or other sweet varieties like Fuji, Gala // leave peel on for more texture and fiber)
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (plus more to taste)
- 2-3 Tbsp water
- 1 tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (for preserving / keeping fresh longer / tartness)
- 1-2 tsp maple syrup (or other sweetener of choice // optional)
- Wash, peel, and core the apples: Rinse the apples thoroughly under running water. Peel the apples using a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife. Remove the cores and slice the apples into small chunks.
- Combine apples and water in a saucepan: Place the apple chunks and water in a large saucepan. If you’re using lemon juice, add it to the saucepan as well.
- Cook the apples: Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the saucepan with a lid, and let the apples simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until they are soft and tender. Stir occasionally to ensure even cooking.
- Mash the cooked apples: Once the apples are cooked, remove the saucepan from heat. If you prefer a chunky applesauce, use a potato masher or a fork to mash the apples to your desired consistency.
For a smoother applesauce, use an immersion blender or transfer the cooked apples to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
- Add optional spices: If you’re using cinnamon or any other spices, stir them into the applesauce at this point. You can also adjust the thickness of the applesauce by adding more water if needed.
- Cool and store: Allow the applesauce to cool to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. Store the sugar-free applesauce in the refrigerator for up to one week or freeze it for longer storage.
Is No Sugar Applesauce Good For You?
No-sugar applesauce, which is made without any added sugars or sweeteners, can be a healthy and nutritious addition to your diet when consumed in moderation.
Even though it does not contain added sugars, it still contains the natural sugars from the apples, which can contribute to your overall sugar and calorie intake, however these sugars are not a health concern the way added sugars are.
As with any food, it’s essential to maintain a balanced diet and consume no-sugar applesauce as part of a well-rounded and varied meal plan.
Here are some reasons why no-sugar applesauce can be good for you:
1. Rich In Nutrients
Apples are a good source of essential nutrients, such as vitamin C, potassium, and dietary fiber (1).
No-sugar applesauce retains these nutrients, providing you with health benefits like supporting immune function, maintaining healthy blood pressure, and promoting digestive health. Leave the skin on the apples for more fiber and other nutrients.
2. Lower In Calories
Since no-sugar applesauce doesn’t contain added sugars, it has fewer calories compared to traditional applesauce recipes. This makes it a better option for those trying to maintain or lose weight while still enjoying a sweet treat.
3. Natural Sweetness
No-sugar applesauce relies on the natural sweetness of apples, which comes from fructose.
Fructose has a lower glycemic index than refined sugars when it is naturally occurring in fruit, meaning it has a smaller impact on blood sugar levels (4). This makes no-sugar applesauce a healthier alternative for individuals with diabetes or those watching their sugar intake.
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Consuming no-sugar applesauce allows you to benefit from these antioxidants without the negative effects of added sugars.
No-sugar applesauce is a versatile ingredient that can be used in various dishes or enjoyed on its own. It can be used as a substitute for sugar or fat in baking recipes, mixed into oatmeal or yogurt for a healthy breakfast, or served as a topping for pancakes or waffles.
What Is No-Sugar Applesauce Good For?
No-sugar applesauce is incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed in numerous ways. Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. As A Topping For Pancakes, Waffles, Or French Toast
Elevate your breakfast game by using no-sugar applesauce as a topping for pancakes, waffles, or French toast. The natural sweetness of the apple sauce pairs perfectly with these breakfast favorites, providing a healthier alternative to syrup or other sugary toppings.
2. Mixed Into Oatmeal Or Yogurt For A Healthy Breakfast
For a quick and nutritious breakfast, mix some no-sugar applesauce into your oatmeal or yogurt. The apple sauce adds natural sweetness and flavor, turning your ordinary breakfast into a delicious and satisfying meal.
3. As A Substitute For Sugar In Your Favorite Baking Recipes
As mentioned earlier, no-sugar applesauce is an excellent substitute for sugar in various baking recipes. Try using it in place of sugar in recipes for muffins, cookies, or cakes for a healthier and naturally sweet result.
4. Spread On Toast Or As A Filling For Crepes
No-sugar applesauce makes for a tasty and wholesome spread on toast or as a filling for crepes. Pair it with nut butter, cream cheese, or other toppings for a delicious and satisfying snack or meal.
5. Enjoyed On Its Own As A Delicious, Guilt-Free Snack
Of course, one of the simplest ways to enjoy no-sugar apple sauce is on its own. Serve it chilled or at room temperature for a refreshing and naturally sweet treat that’s perfect for any time of the day.
How Much Applesauce To Substitute For Sugar?
When using applesauce as a substitute for sugar in baking recipes, it’s essential to consider the specific recipe and desired texture of your baked goods.
Generally, you can replace sugar with applesauce at a 1:1 ratio, meaning one cup of applesauce can be substituted for one cup of sugar. However, there are a few crucial adjustments you should make to ensure the best results:
Reduce Liquid Content
Applesauce adds moisture to your baked goods due to its higher water content compared to granulated sugar.
To compensate for this, you should reduce the amount of other liquid ingredients in your recipe, such as milk or water, by about 1/4 cup for every 1 cup of applesauce used.
Adjust Baking Time
Baked goods made with applesauce may require slightly longer baking times due to the increased moisture content. Keep an eye on your baked goods and test for doneness using a toothpick or a cake tester. Be prepared to adjust the baking time accordingly.
Consider Texture Changes
Replacing sugar with applesauce can alter the texture of your baked goods, making them denser and more moist. While this can be desirable in some recipes, such as muffins or cakes, it might not be ideal for others like cookies.
If you prefer a lighter texture, consider only replacing half of the sugar with applesauce and keeping the other half as granulated sugar.
Applesauce is less sweet than granulated sugar, so substituting applesauce for sugar may result in a less sweet final product.
If you prefer a sweeter taste, consider adding a small amount of another natural sweetener, like honey or maple syrup, to compensate for the reduced sweetness.
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The no-sugar applesauce recipe is a delicious and healthy alternative to traditional applesauce recipes that often contain added sugars.
By using naturally sweet apple varieties and incorporating optional spices, you can create a delightful treat that caters to your taste preferences while keeping your sugar intake in check.
This versatile applesauce not only serves as a nutritious snack but also acts as a valuable ingredient in various dishes and baking recipes.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 3-Ingredient Applesauce (No Sugar Added) – Minimalist Baker Recipes (n.d., minimalistbaker.com)
- A Comprehensive Review of Apples and Apple Components and Their Relationship to Human Health (2011, sciencedirect.com)
- Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits (2004, biomedcentral.com)
- Food sources of fructose-containing sugars and glycaemic control: systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled intervention studies (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”: The potentials of apple bioactive constituents for chronic disease prevention (2022, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)