3-Ingredient Applesauce (No Sugar Added)

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Spoon in a jar of homemade applesauce beside a lemon wedge, cinnamon sticks, and an apple

If you’ve never made your own applesauce, you’re missing out! It’s one of those foods that tastes better homemade than store-bought.

Plus, it’s super simple to make! Our 3-ingredient applesauce requires just 25 minutes and 1 pan to prepare. And it’s made without any added sugar. Just apples, lemon, and cinnamon. Let’s do this!

Cutting board with apples, lemon, and cinnamon for making homemade applesauce

How to Make Applesauce

We told you it’s easy, but “How easy?” you might ask!

  1. Peel and chop apples. You don’t even need to peel them if that’s more your style!
  2. Add to a saucepan with cinnamon.
  3. Cook 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Mash with a spoon or potato masher and add lemon juice.

That’s it!

How to Make Applesauce in the Instant Pot

  1. Add all ingredients to inner pot and pressure cook on high for 8 minutes.
  2. Once timer goes off, carefully quick release pressure.
  3. Use the back of a wooden spoon, potato masher, or immersion blender to mash into a loose sauce.
  4. If there is too much liquid, turn on the sauté mode and stir frequently to encourage evaporation (cover with the lid if there’s splattering).
  5. Press cancel when desired consistency is reached.

Best Apples for Applesauce

We prefer applesauce that doesn’t need any sugar added. Honeycrisps (or other sweet varieties) work well for creating a naturally sweet sauce.

For a tart applesauce, you can choose Granny Smith apples instead.

Diced apples and cinnamon in a saucepan for making our simple homemade applesauce recipe

We hope you LOVE this applesauce. It’s:

Naturally sweet
Super simple
Great for freezing
& SO delicious!

It’s incredible by the spoonful but would also pair well with coconut yogurt, vegan vanilla ice cream, coconut whipped cream, oats, waffles, pancakes (or vegan pancakes), and so much more! We think you could even use it as an alternative topping for our Caramel Apple Cheesecake Tart.

Using a potato masher to smash apples in a saucepan for easy homemade applesauce

Recipes with Applesauce

Some of our vegan baking recipes use applesauce as an egg replacement. To use this homemade applesauce in such recipes, we recommend puréeing into a smoother texture.

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Using a wooden spoon to stir a pot of homemade unsweetened applesauce

3-Ingredient Applesauce (No Sugar Added)

Unbelievably simple applesauce made right on the stovetop with 3 ingredients. Ready in less than 30 minutes, no added sugar, delicious applesauce every time.
Author Minimalist Baker
Using a wooden spoon to stir a pan of our easy Applesauce recipe
4.95 from 34 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 (1/4-cup servings)
Course Condiment, Snack
Cuisine American, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 4-5 Days


  • 2 medium honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored, and chopped in bite-size pieces (sweet apples are best // 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)


  • To a medium saucepan (see notes for Instant Pot instructions) add peeled chopped apples, cinnamon, a dash of water (~2-3 Tbsp / 30-45 ml as original recipe is written), and lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Stir.
  • Cover and cook over medium heat until it simmers, then reduce heat to low / medium-low and continue cooking until the apples are very tender and slightly caramelized — about 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  • Use the back of a wooden spoon or potato masher to mash into a loose sauce. You could also blend with an immersion blender, in a food processor or high-speed blender for smoother texture (optional) – a helpful step if you left the skins on. Add a dash of maple syrup or sugar of choice to sweeten (optional – depends on sweetness of your apples).
  • Enjoy fresh, or store cooled leftovers in the refrigerator up to 4-5 days, or in the freezer up to 1 month. Enjoy cold or reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop over low heat until hot (add more water as needed if dry).



*To prepare in Instant Pot, add all ingredients to inner pot and pressure cook on high for 8 minutes. Once timer goes off, carefully quick release pressure. Use the back of a wooden spoon, potato masher, or immersion blender to mash into a loose sauce. If there is too much liquid, turn on the sauté mode and stir frequently to encourage evaporation (cover with the lid if there’s splattering). Press cancel when desired consistency is reached.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 quarter-cup servings Calories: 21 Carbohydrates: 5.7 g Protein: 0 g Fat: 0 g Saturated Fat: 0 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 0 mg Potassium: 45 mg Fiber: 0.5 g Sugar: 4 g Vitamin A: 26 IU Vitamin C: 2.31 mg Calcium: 1.71 mg Iron: 0.1 mg

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My Rating:

  1. Sahara says

    I make applesauce with 3 medjool dates for every 2 apples plus finely sliced ginger and sometimes cinnamon. Love to you.

  2. Aileen says

    I cannot tell you how good this smells right now. I tripled the recipe except for the sweetener. I used up left over apples and it was a mix of apples so some broke down into applesauce goodness but some pieces stayed firm for the chunk factor. Cannot wait to taste this. I used local honey for sweetner, & organic roasted Saigon cinnamon am not mashing it. I mixed everything together at the beginning and let it go, oh and used 6 tblsp water and 1 1/2 Tblsp lemon juice. Sooooo Good!!!!!!

  3. Madison Ray says

    Instead of mashing the cooked apples into apple sauce, I cook them just until they are soft and use it as a topping for oatmeal, pancakes, etc. To me, it’s doesn’t need any sweetener. So good!

  4. Barbara says

    Super simple. I’m in the middle of dehydrating our Spartan crop, and I used the odd bits that are too small to put in the dehydrator. Threw some slices of raw ginger in, instead of cinnamon. Smelled fantastic while cooking down!

  5. Bonnie Mac says

    We absolutely loved this recipe! I used honeycrisp apples, apple cider vinegar and apple pie spice. Perfection! I doubled the recipe for six people and we had *just enough.* I plan to make it again for Thanksgiving (if not before) and triple the recipe to make sure we have some leftover!

  6. Diane Barrieau says

    This looks delicious! I just wanted to share our idea of the perfect apple sauce, we cut up one or two apples, put them in the Vitamix with some spices and maybe some sweet cherries and blend it up. The only drawback is it doesn’t keep but it’s so simple and delicious that we just eat it right away so it’s not an issue for us!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Ruby, in step 1 it says: “To a medium saucepan (see notes for Instant Pot instructions) add peeled chopped apples, cinnamon, a dash of water (~2-3 Tbsp / 30-45 ml as original recipe is written), and lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Stir.” Hope that helps!

  7. Allie says

    This was so easy and came out great! Was a great way to use a bunch of apples that I had that were going to go bad soon. I made a large batch and will freeze half for later!

  8. Tanya says

    I ferment the apple sauce so it keeps for many months in the refrig. I use whey, drained from organic yogurt, for the fermenting. Too simple not to do especially if you have access to a lot of apples.

  9. Catherine says

    I have been making a recipe like this for years I recently began using my pressure cooker yummy! The only thing I do different is i use apple pie spice

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lori, no, we don’t include optional ingredients in the nutrition information. Hope that helps!

  10. Lauren says

    This is a staple for me, I buy discounted apples off the “going bad” rack at the store (that are always completely fine) and make this every week. I put it in small mason jars and freeze them and have one thawed for breakfast every morning. So nice on the tummy to get digestion going in a gentle way, I love love love it. Roughly cut up the apples with the skin, add some water to the pot, stew the apples, then let them cool and transfer to the blender, roughly blend so still a little chunky & add a bunch of ceylon cinnamon and fresh lemon juice! The lemon is essential, once I forgot to add lemon and it was good but just not the same. Thanks for this lovely easy recipe it’s truly become one of my little rituals!

  11. Aaliyah says

    What if you don’t have a medium honey crisp apple can u do any apples to do it and will it still be 21 calories or less to do this applesauce?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Aaliyah, it shouldn’t make much difference. But just know the nutrition information is a rough estimate.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Emily, most apples will work! The taste will vary a bit depending on the flavor and tartness/sweetness of the apples. Honeycrisp apples are our favorite!

  12. Sahara says

    Here’s my applesauce—you’re welcome to share:

    8 good-sized apples, 12 medjool dates*, 1/4 c finely sliced ginger root
    Dash of salt, teaspoon of cinnamon optional (*3 large dates for every 2 large apples, ginger to taste)

    Place chopped apples and ginger into pot on low heat with 1/8 inch water (salt, cinnamon) Let simmer until soft.

    Meanwhile, pit and quarter dates and place in single layer in pan with 1/4 inch water on low heat to soften.

    When apples are soft, toss in dates and stick-blend to sauce.

  13. Sandra D says

    This is how I make my applesauce (minus the lemon/vinegar) – for sweetness, I add a Bartlett pear to it. Since I started adding the pear, I no longer add any sugar, and it’s not missed at all! I don’t peel my apples (I use whatever apples I have, usually Gala or Ambrosia) and just use a potato masher. Nobody minds the peel, even the grandson. :)

  14. Francesca says

    I’ve made this so often I feel like I should leave a review! Super easy to make and so good to definitely doesn’t need any extra sugar! I always add it to my oatmeal.

  15. Hannah says

    So much better and healthier than store bought apple sauce. I feel so much better eating it without preservatives and “natural flavors” aka lab made. I’m so following you for new recipes, thanks for making it simply and easy directions.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Hannah. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  16. Leslie says

    So easy! I left the skin on, and I also added a little ginger. I’ll be snacking on this for the next few days. I’m also planning to make more and put it in my freezer. I love your website!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yes, a reader told us she pressure cooks on high for 8 minutes and instant releases and it’s delicious. However, to avoid a burn warning I’d imagine you’d need to add enough water to just cover the bottom of the pot so the apples don’t burn on the bottom. Let us know if you try!

  17. Julie Bramwell says

    I’m just curious why you don’t add just a little water to the applesauce. I did, it was very good. Thanks for the recipe 😀🍎

  18. Tammy Thiele says

    How lovely that one of my favorites showed up on one of my favorite daily newsletters, The Daily Good! Adding this to my Fall recipes!

  19. Alex says

    I didn’t know applesauce was so easy to make! I left the skin on and used an immersion blender to mix. Once blended together, there were no traces of the skin.

  20. Claire says

    Oh man, this was so easy and will be my go-to apple recipe from now on! I tripled the recipe and used Fuji apples. Added a full teaspoon of cinnamon because I love it, and I didn’t bother to peel the apples to keep the fiber. I also like chunky/textured applesauce, so it worked out perfectly. According to the original proportions, it should be 12 “servings” but I’ll be lucky if I can save any for the freezer ;)

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for sharing, Libby! Is it possible they were cooking at a higher temp? Or were a variety with less moisture?

  21. Ein says

    I love this applesauce recipe! Could you please tell me how to preserve it. Should I use the traditional water bath canning method sterilizing the jars first? Thank you.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      I think that would work but admittedly we’ve never done that! If you try it let us know how it goes!

  22. Vivian Panou says

    This applesauce was so easy to make and tasted super yummy! I used it for a vegan vanilla birthday cake! Thank you for this easy recipe!

  23. Mari says

    Thank you very much for this easy, yet delicious recipe!! I’m always looking for “easy” recipes because I am not an avid cook but still strive to cook healthy. This one is now a my go-to in the morning, mixing in my oatmeal, or a quick snack before/ after workout. :)

  24. Lieske Mikulich says

    Since I’m over seventy, I’ve always used 3 pippin apples a cinnamon stick with 1/4 cup of water, simmer for 7 to 10 minutes. Put it through my antique sieve…delicious appelmoes

  25. Alessia says

    Just made this and it’s delicious! So easy to make and so yummy! It definitely did not need any sugar, the apples were so sweet I couldn’t believe I didn’t add any sugar myself. I like it pureed so I used my hand blender for a nice and smooth texture. I’ll probably make it again tomorrow :)
    Just a question: I added the lemon juice before cooking, and then noticed you specified in the instructions to add it after cooking the apples. What’s the difference?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Alessia, we find it gives a bit more of a bright flavor when added after. Also, it likely helps retain more of the vitamin C. Hope that helps!

      • Fran says

        In one place you say to add the lemon juice after, but when you jump to the recipe there is no mention of lemon juice after cooking. Do I add lemon juice before or after cooking???

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

          Hi Fran! You can add it anytime. We’ve been adding it at the beginning but you can add it later! We will clarify in the recipe.

          • Fran says

            Thank you! I did add it at the beginning and it turned out delicious! My new go to for something sweet with no added sugar.

  26. Patrick Murray says

    Never buying applesauce from a store again!!! Just made this recipes with 10 gala apples and it easily became my favorite applesauce! I had never made my own before so I was pleasantly surprised with how easy yet delicious it was :) Highly recommend it!

  27. Faith V. says

    So delicious and SO easy! Seriously, could not be any easier. I doubled the recipe because I was flush with apples, and I made this recipe with Fuji apples. I also love that there are only THREE ingredients, and they come together amazingly to form this delicious applesauce. I will continue to make this using this recipe!

  28. Tay says

    I made 5 five minutes ago. I used a cinnamon stick instead of cinnamon. I also put it through the fine blade on my food mill.

    It is really good with a slight taste of cinnamon

  29. Louise says

    Perfect, easy dish to accompany rosemary and garlic pork chops. It was so easy to make and tasted great. I didn’t miss the sugar at all. This will definitely be a great recipe to repeat for many occasions. Next time I will try other bakers’ suggestions for building on the base recipe.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Louise. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  30. Alison Erickson says

    The tastiest snack! I double mine and use whatever kind of apple I have on-hand. I like to serve and eat it warm off the stove with a dollop of coconut whip, yogurt, or even ice cream. So good!!

  31. Kimberlee says

    I just made this recipe last Saturday. I had cinnamon on hand, but also had a large jar pumpkin pie spice on hand. That and a tablespoon of granulated sugar was a perfect balance with the ginger that was in the pumpkin pie spice. I am not vegetarian or vegan, I absolutely love love your site!

  32. Kristen says

    This tastes amazing over vanilla coconut ice cream (half way to apple crisp). I wonder how it might taste with that homemade mashed frozen banana (ice cream), not that you need the ice cream to enjoy this, it’s amazing on its own! Thank you so much for these simple ideas, gonna make this for my family!

  33. John C says

    In case anyone else is wondering like I was… I doubled the recipe and it worked just fine using the same cook time. The apples were a little on the larger size, and I left the skin on. The yield was about a pint and a half. Super delicious and could not be more simple!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for sharing, John. We are so glad you enjoyed this recipe! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  34. Sachi says

    I just made this with four apples. Simple, healthy, sweet, it was a hit with my friends for breakfast. Loved the cinnamon smell in the morning too. Thank you!

  35. Chris says

    I’ve been making this recipe for years in a slow cooker. I set it on low for 6 hours. Advantage to slow cooking, it makes the house smell amazing!

    I alway throw in 4 apples, each a different variety. Sometimes I’ll get fancy and use a cinnamon stick or Penzy’s cake spice.

    It’s so simple and I’ve yet to be disappointed.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, we aren’t sure! It would likely take quite a bit of time for them to fully soften. Let us know if you try it!

      • Lori says

        So I tried it. Softened the apples in the microwave and blended it in a little smoothie blender. Added just a splash of water because the blender I was using is not high power. It worked perfectly. Delicious!

  36. Lisa S says

    Yum! I love homemade applesauce. Chunky applesauce is especially good too. When I’m in a hurry though, I will core and chop my apples without peeling before cooking. Then I put the cooked apple sauce in my food mill – it takes out all the peels and leaves me with a smooth sauce great for baking recipes or whatever. Could also use an electric pressure cooker to reduce cooking time.

  37. Sonja says

    So, you don’t need to add any water or anything to the pan with the apples? They won’t burn or stick to the pan?
    I’ve made applesauce before but have always added water, but this dilutes the flavour and the sweetness, so I am curious to try this.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      We find that covering them with a lid produces enough steam to prevent sticking/burning. But perhaps if your apples are a variety with less moisture that could be more of an issue? Let us know if you try it!