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Best Substitutes For Applesauce In Baking

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As far as baking ingredients go, applesauce ranks as one of the most widely used items around. It adds a crisp and tart flavor that many other ingredients just can’t beat.

That being said, home cooks need to understand the importance of knowing which ingredients work best in its stead. This way, you can be truly flexible in the kitchen.

Of course, this is often easier said than done. If you are just starting, you are likely wholly dependent on the recipes indicated in your cookbook. Luckily, we are here to help you out.

So what are the best substitutes for applesauce in baking? Depending on the recipe, the best substitutes for applesauce when baking are similar fruit purees, like banana, peach, and pear. You can also use vegetable purees such as pumpkin and sweet potato. Butter or yogurt may also work in a pinch.

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about the use of applesauce for baking. This way, you can fully understand why certain ingredients work best as substitutes. So, be sure to keep reading.

Applesauce Overview  

Applesauce is a simple relish that is made from apples that have been stewed to a pulp. By itself, it can be consumed directly as a filling snack or as a satisfying dessert.

However, it is a little-known fact that applesauce is incredibly versatile in the kitchen.

Apples are also incredibly healthy fruits. As you are probably aware, apples are known to carry several nutritional benefits, including the promotion of a healthy heart.

Apples are also fairly low in sugar content. At the same time, they boast high levels of fiber. They are also low-fat and carry zero cholesterol.

Pure applesauce isn’t any different, but if you’re picking some up from the store, there’s sure to be a lot more sugar added in.

Using Applesauce for Baking

Most of us know applesauce primarily as a nutritious and filling snack. It is a great way to finish off a meal and provide you with the right amount of sweetness after a hearty meal.

However, applesauce also plays a major role in several baking recipes. 

Listed below are some of the things you can bake with applesauce:

  • Cakes
  • Cinnamon Cookies
  • Crumb cake
  • Muffins
  • Donuts
  • Bread

This is far from a comprehensive list of the things you can make with applesauce, but it should give you a concrete idea of its versatility and usefulness in the kitchen.

That said, the next question that inevitably arises is: what does applesauce do in baking recipes?

To answer that question, we have listed down some of the main reasons why applesauce is used for certain baking recipes below:

  • Fat Replacement – Applesauce acts as a great fat replacement for many baking recipes. This means that instead of using butter or different kinds of oil, you can use applesauce instead. Applesauce works well in this regard, as it keeps the flour’s proteins from completely integrating with your recipe’s wet ingredients, effectively preventing your final product from becoming rubbery.
  • Provides Moisture and Consistency – Because of applesauce’s water content, it is known to help provide your baked goods with the desired moisture and consistency. Vegan recipes often recommend using applesauce instead of eggs for this very reason.
  • Improved Shelf Life – Another important reason why people use applesauce for baking is because it gives baked goods a longer shelf life. This is because applesauce lasts for a long time. So, instead of using ingredients that can turn quickly, the use of applesauce also helps keep your baked goods fresh.
  • Healthy Option – As stated earlier, applesauce is an incredibly healthy ingredient. For this reason, a lot of people opt to use it for baking. Remember, applesauce brings a lot of fiber to the table while also drastically reducing your calorie count.

Choosing the Best Applesauce Substitute 

There is a clear process that goes into choosing the right substitute for applesauce in your baking recipe. Before anything else, you need to understand what role applesauce plays in your recipe.

Knowing its exact purpose is vital, as it helps narrow your choices and effectively gives you a better idea of which ingredients you can use for that specific purpose.

So, look at your recipes closely. More than likely, you are using applesauce as a substitute for eggs and oil or as a means to add flavor to your recipe.

In some some cases, people use applesauce as a way to achieve the desired consistency and texture for their recipe. In other cases, people use applesauce as a prime ingredient for their baking recipe simply because it suits their diet.

For instance, applesauce is very popular with vegans. So, as you replace applesauce, you may also need to find other similar ingredients that meet such criteria. 

The same rule also applies to those looking to maximize their nutritional intake.

For example, applesauce is known as an effective low-carb option. As you replace applesauce in your baking recipe, you might want to try other ingredients that also fit the bill. 

With that being said, no ingredient is truly irreplaceable in the kitchen. Luckily, we are here to make things simpler. So, be sure to check out our recommended applesauce substitutes below.

Applesauce Baking Substitutes

At this point, we have firmly established how applesauce provides a healthy alternative to the usual approach to baking.

But what if you suddenly run out of applesauce? While this may seem like a major problem, the truth is that it doesn’t have to be. That is, if you know your way around the kitchen.

Fruit Purees

Of course, if you are using applesauce primarily as a source of flavor, then you should know that other fruits can also do that part of the job just as well.

Similar to apple purees, you are free to use any kind of fruit and berry puree that is readily available to you. 

That said, you may want to consider ideal flavor pairings before settling on your choice of fruit.

For instance, raspberry purees work well in brownie and chocolate cake recipes. Banana and pear purees work best with nutty or syrupy baked goods or with recipes that require a lot of cinnamon or nutmeg.

If you don’t have any apples sitting around to turn into apple puree, you may have these.

Here’s a list of similar fruits you can try:

  • Pears: Pears are the perfect alternative to applesauce. Despite having more water content than your typical apple, pears can still pack a punch in the flavor department while giving you that same level of moisture you need for your recipe. Pears also have a very similar texture to apples.
  • Bananas: Bananas serve as another perfect example of the sheer versatility of fruits in the kitchen. As a rule, you will want to use ripe or even brown bananas for baking recipes. This is because they become significantly sweeter as they ripen. In addition to this, their moisture level also improves. 
  • Apricot: Pureed apricots also serve as an effective applesauce substitute. Not only do they provide baked goods with a great deal of moisture, but they also infuse them with a distinct tangy flavor. 
  • Peaches: Peaches work well as an applesauce alternative because they provide the same kind of texture and moisture to your baked goods. However, be ready for a slight change in flavor, as peaches have a notably stronger taste compared to applesauce.
  • Prunes: Before you say anything, we know this one is out there. But bear with us, because pureed prunes can work just as well as applesauce in certain recipes. For instance, they work especially well for spice cake. This is because their flavor profile works seamlessly with the other ingredients for that particular recipe, and the prunes will give your end product a rich, bold flavor.

The list of fruits presented here is far from an exhaustive one. The point, however, is to explore all the options available to you.

So, if you have any extra fruits lying around, then you might want to look into how you can use them as an applesauce replacement.

Just remember: fruit purees work best if you are using applesauce as a source of flavor and additional moisture for your recipe.

With that in mind, pay close attention to the moisture levels and flavor profile of your fruits. You may not arrive at the same point, but sometimes change can be a good thing. 

Don’t be afraid to play around with different flavors. However, you need to be precise when it comes to the ratio. After all, baking is a science that leaves little room for improvisation.

Just remember that the applesauce-puree ratio is 1:1

Vegetable Purees

As you are probably aware, getting your family to eat their vegetables can be challenging, to say the least.

However, everyone loves dessert. So, why not hit two birds with one stone and swap out your applesauce from your baking recipe and start using veggie purees to make their favorite baked goods?

Now, this may seem a bit strange, but believe us when we say that this is a viable solution to your problem. Just remember that this certainly won’t apply to all of the vegetables out there.

So, be sure to choose the ones with a similar flavor profile to that of applesauce. 

Listed below are our recommended vegetable purees to use as applesauce substitutes:

  • Pumpkin – It may come as a surprise that pumpkin is one of the most commonly used ingredients when it comes to baking. Pumpkins are perfect as substitutes, as they effortlessly recreate the results that you would typically get when working with applesauce.
  • Sweet Potatoes – Sweet potatoes are another great applesauce alternative by way of vegetables. They come packed with great flavor and will only enhance any baking recipe. However, make sure that you bake your sweet potatoes first before mashing them into a puree. 

We specifically chose pumpkins and sweet potatoes because they have a hint of sweetness that goes well with baked goods.

To be more specific, they work best if you are working on something with a bit of weight to it like muffins and cakes, as these ingredients lend density to the mixture.

Similar to fruit purees, the possibilities are endless with vegetables. You just have to explore all the options available to you.

For instance, squash would also undoubtedly make for a great applesauce replacement. Again, it is all about exploring different flavor profiles and figuring out which works best with your specific recipes.

Dairy Products

Dairy products can also serve as applesauce substitutes. This is hardly surprising considering the sheer versatility of dairy products.

Moreover, you are practically spoiled for choices. That said, if you are looking to cut down on your calories, then consider using the low-fat variants of the items presented below.

Here are two dairy products you can substitute for applesauce:

  • Butter – A staple ingredient for any baking recipe, butter can also serve as a stand-in should you find yourself short in the applesauce department, considering that applesauce is often substituted for butter anyway. Just remember that unlike applesauce, butter has loads of fat and calories. 
  • Yogurt – If you insist on using a healthy alternative in place of applesauce, then you should look no further. Yogurt comes with high levels of nutrients and minerals, not to mention lots of protein. Moreover, its thick and creamy texture makes it a wonderful source of moisture for your baking recipe. 

There you have it: our comprehensive guide to replacing applesauce in your baking recipes.

Remember, the key to becoming a great cook is thinking on your feet. It never hurts to know which ingredients you can use, should you run out of something as important as applesauce.

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