This Homemade Unsweetened Applesauce is the perfect healthy snack for kids. Made with a drizzle of vanilla extract, a pinch of cinnamon, and no added sugar! Easy to make on the stovetop and freezes well!
Medically reviewed and cowritten by Jamie Johnson, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), and Lauren Braaten, Pediatric Occupational Therapist (OT).
Homemade Sugar-Free Applesauce
When apples are in peak season in the fall, you’ll be glad you saved this easy homemade unsweetened applesauce recipe!
Made in less than 30 minutes, with only 3 simple ingredients – apples, vanilla extract and cinnamon – this easy to make applesauce delivers big on flavor. And because we simmer the naturally sweet apples down, there’s no need for added sugar!
If you are looking for more easy and healthy applesauce recipes for your family, then be sure to check out our reader fav Strawberry Applesauce, Carrot Applesauce, Beet Applesauce, or these delicious 8 5-Minute Applesauce Combos for Kids. You can also find more recipes and information in my best-selling cookbook Little Foodies: Recipes for Babies and Toddlers with Taste.
Reasons to Love Unsweetened Applesauce
- healthy, simple ingredients
- makes for an easy side to have with meals or as a snack
- budget-friendly alternative to storebought applesauce
- easy to make a double batch and freeze extra as needed
- freezer friendly
- a fun recipe to make with kids
- endless flavor combinations – you can add in strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc.
Make sure to read the recipe card below for full ingredients and instructions!
- Apples: the base of the recipe is fresh apples. Make sure to use apples that are ripe and sweet, such as Fuji, Gala, Honeycrisp, McIntosh, Pink Lady or Golden Delicious.
- Vanilla Extract
- Peel apples. This step is optional. Peeling apples will give the applesauce a crisper taste, while not peeling them will give the applesauce an earthier taste and texture. Both are great.
- Core, and roughly chop the apples.
- Place them apples, cinnamon, vanilla and water into a medium or large saucepan. Cover.
- Heat over medium heat-low heat for 15 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
- Transfer all ingredients into a blender.
- Pulse for a chunky applesauce or blend for 15-30 seconds for a smoother applesauce. You can also use an immersion blender for this step.
- Serve and enjoy!
Health Benefits of Homemade Applesauce: This applesauce is bursting with flavor and nutrients with all of its fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants. For even more fiber, leave the skin on the apples. What you won’t find in this homemade applesauce is additives, preservatives and added sugar.
What Type of Apples to Use
Applesauce can be made out of any apples. But if you can choose, pick a sweeter variety of apples, as they will make this applesauce have more natural sweetness (without adding in sugar). If you really want to bump up the flavor, go for a mix of apple varieties. Here are a few examples:
- Sweet and Mildly Sweet: Fuji, Kiku, Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp, Gala, Jazz Ambrosia
- Tart (with a little sweetness): Pink Lady, Jonagold, McIntosh, Jonathan, Empire, Granny Smith
- Crispy, Tangy and Sharp: Braeburn, Liberty, Ida Red, Rome, Pacific Rose, Opal
How to Store Homemade Applesauce
Unsweetened Applesauce will keep for 1 week in the fridge (if it lasts that long!) or for 3 months in the freezer.
The great thing about homemade applesauce is that it offers a solid base to get creative with many other kinds of fruit. You can even include a combination of a couple of fruits in your fridge or freezer that need to be used up, like these:
How to Serve this Unsweetened Applesauce
Besides eating this straight out of the container after your kids go to bed, there are so many fun ways to enjoy this applesauce.
- Easy Dessert: warmed with a dollop of coconut whipped cream.
- Yogurt Parfait: Spooned over yogurt and sprinkled with granola.
- School Lunch: add this delicious applesauce to your kids air-tight lunch box (or container) and send it for school lunch.
- Oatmeal: spoon into a bowl of warm oats and top with some chopped pecans, sprinkle of hemp seeds and a little brown sugar.
- Reusuable Pouch: spoon into a reusable food pouch for an easy on-the-go toddler or kid snack.
Cooking with Kids
Kids love helping in the kitchen and this applesauce recipe is a great way to get them involved.
- They can help pick out and measure the ingredients.
- Toddlers can help chop the apples into small chunks, with a child-safe knife.
- With assistance, they can add cinnamon and vanilla to the cooking apples.
- They can gather and measure all of the ingredients.
- Kids can help peel and chop the apples with a child-safe knife.
- They can help spoon the cooled sauce into a container.
- You can use any apples you have on hand or prefer, though the sweeter apples will give you naturally sweeter applesauce.
- If adding another fruit, you can use fresh or frozen in this recipe.
- This recipe will thicken up once it cools down in the fridge for a few hours.
- To make this applesauce into a baby puree – simply blend for 1-2 minutes or until smooth.
- You can add this applesauce to reusable pouches for an on-the-go toddler snack.
Storage: Unsweetened Applesauce will keep for 1 week in the fridge (if it lasts that long!) or for 3 months in the freezer.
Apples: Make sure to use apples that are ripe and sweet, such as Fuji, Gala, Honeycrisp, McIntosh, Pink Lady or Golden Delicious.