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!

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
Quick
Versatile
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
Print
Using a wooden spoon to stir a pan of our easy Applesauce recipe
4.95 from 17 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

Ingredients

  • 2 medium honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored, and chopped in bite-size pieces (sweet apples are best // for tart applesauce, use Granny Smith // organic when possible)
  • 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)

Instructions

  • To a medium saucepan 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 a potato masher to mash into a loose sauce. You could also blend in a food processor for smoother texture (optional). 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).

Video

Notes

*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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  1. 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 😀🍎

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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 ;)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

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

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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. :)

  8. 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

  9. 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?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ 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!

  10. 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!

  11. 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!

  12. 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

  13. 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.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ 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

  14. 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!!

  15. 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!

  16. 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!

  17. 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!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ 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

  18. 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!

  19. 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.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ 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!

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ 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!