All the applesauce flavor, no sugar necessary.
This no-sugar applesauce recipe is the only one you need. The secret to really good applesauce? Choosing the right apples. Below, learn the best apples for sugar free applesauce, which spices to add, and how to make this easy recipe for unsweetened applesauce.
Meet this no-sugar applesauce recipe
Homemade applesauce is so easy, and much more flavorful and fresh than anything sold in a jar, that it seems unfair to even compare the two. In fact, it is easier to say what you do not need in a homemade applesauce recipe: no peeler, no list of ingredients, no length of time, no sugar, no masher, no stress.
This sweet but gently tart homemade applesauce recipe cooks itself in no time and needs to sugar. It needs only a dash of cinnamon to make it otherworldly good — and it’s a sugar-free applesauce because you’ll chose the right apples for applesauce. The apples break down naturally into thick, soft chunks, which makes for a much more satisfying result than thin, processed applesauce.
Homemade Applesauce vs. Jarred
We all know bad applesauce: the mushy, grainy, flavorless blob that sits in the plastic container with the foil top. This applesauce is the stuff of school lunch plates, the color reminiscent of expired silly putty or industrial sand before it gets mixed into cement.
But let’s focus on homemade sugar free applesauce — applesauce that’s so naturally sweet and satisfying it’s closer to apple pie filling than side dish.
No-sugar applesauce ingredients
In addition to not needing added sugar for this recipe, this unsweetened applesauce benefits from three additional ease factors: 1) you don’t have to peel the apples, 2) you don’t need many ingredients, and 3) the applesauce practically cooks itself. Here are your ingredients:
- A pinch of salt
That’s it. You could add a pinch of ground nutmeg, or a pat of butter at the end if you’d like a little richness, but it is not necessary.
Instructions for this recipe for unsweetened applesauce
Homemade sugar-free applesauce requires little more than the following easy steps:
- Cut the apples into chunks and add them to a pot.
- Add a splash of water, the lemon juice, and cinnamon.
- Bring just to a boil. Lower the heat and cook at a simmer over medium heat, partially covered with the lid, until very soft, stirring occasionally.
- Stir well. If any remaining pieces of apple do not seem cooked down into applesauce, use a potato masher, immersion blender, or food processor to mash or blend the applesauce to your desired consistency and texture.
- Add a dash of cinnamon to the top, maybe a pat of butter, and enjoy.
If you choose the right apples, you need zero added sugar. More on that below.
The best apples for applesauce (and the worst)
Choose the right apple varieties for your homemade applesauce. Apples very greatly in texture, skin thickness, and flavor. It’s important to choose the best apples for making applesauce.
The best (and worst) apples for making this applesauce recipe
- The worst applesauce apples: Avoid Red Delicious (the exterior is too leathery) and Granny Smith (too green and tart for applesauce, though I love Granny Smith for apple pie).
- The best applesauce apples for unsweetened applesauce: Choose a crisp, sweet-tart seasonal apple with a pretty pink skin such as Honeycrisp, Fuji, Pink Lady, Gala, Macintosh, or Macoun.
You do not have to peel the apples for applesauce. Here’s why.
This recipe for unsweetened applesauce does not require peeling the apples if you use the right apples. The skins will break down and incorporate right into the applesauce, turning the applesauce color beautiful and ruddy. The skins of sweet apples like Macintosh, Gala, and Honeycrisp will soften enough in the cooking process to not be tough.
Here’s the exception to a no-peel applesauce: You’ll want to peel tough-skinned apples such as Granny Smith or Red Delicious apples.
No Sugar Apple Sauce Recipe
If you choose from the apples suggested above, you should no added sugar to this applesauce recipe is needed. I add only a pinch of salt and some cinnamon. But if you taste it and think it could use a little sweetening, add light brown sugar one teaspoon at a time.
How long will homemade applesauce last?
Unless you go through a full canning and preserving process, this fresh, sugar free applesauce will keep in the refrigerator for a little over one week or so. Applesauce also freezes well. Applesauce. Homemade. No sugar. It just doesn’t get better than this.
Love this sugar free applesauce recipe? You’ll also like:
Homemade Chunky Applesauce (No Peel)
- 6 medium apples, such as Macintosh or Honeycrisp, washed
- 3/4 cup water
- pinch kosher salt
- 1/2 lemon, juiced (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pat of butter (optional), to finish
- Chop the apples into a medium dice and add them to a pot. Discard the cores.PRO TIP: The best apples for unsweetened applesauce are naturally sweet ones, such as the ones suggested above. Apples like Granny Smith, while great for pie, will be too tart.
- Add the splash of water, salt, lemon juice, and cinnamon and bring just to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, and cover with the lid slightly ajar. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples are very soft and melted, but still have a chunky appearance. The apples should cook at a steady simmer.
- Stir to emulsify everything into a thick sauce and taste. PRO TIP: If you want a less chunky applesauce texture, use a potato masher, immersion blender, or food processor to mash or blend the applesauce to your desired consistency.
- Serve your chunky applesauce warm, topped with a pinch of cinnamon and a pat of butter.