Learn how to make unsweetened applesauce! This unsweetened applesauce recipe has only two ingredients with no sugar added. You can use the slow cooker function on your Crock Pot, Instant Pot, or Ninja Foodi to make homemade unsweetened applesauce. You’ll love how easy this crockpot applesauce recipe (no sugar) is to make, and how delicious it is. Slow cooker applesauce is a snack or side dish you can feel good about feeding the whole family!
This versatile homemade apple sauce has just a touch of cinnamon. It’s absolutely delicious served warm from the slow cooker or chilled.
If you haven’t made sugar free applesauce, you need to try it. I think it’s going to become a regular addition to your menu!
(And yes, by “sugar free,” I’m talking no added sugar, such as honey, maple syrup or white sugar. Apples are full of natural sugars, so a true sugar-free applesauce recipe would have to completely omit the apples! Haha)
You can use this unsweetened applesauce recipe for babies who have started solids, along with the rest of the family. Everyone from toddlers to the older folks will love this sweet and healthy snack.
Though this is unsweetened cinnamon applesauce, you’re welcome to skip the cinnamon. You can leave the applesauce plain, or add some nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, or another seasoning.
And if you don’t like apples at all or have an allergy? Don't miss this substitute for unsweetened applesauce. It might be just what you are looking for!
For the rest of us, let’s talk about this healthy applesauce recipe!
- ⭐ Applesauce Recipe (Unsweetened) Benefits
- 🥘 Unsweetened Applesauce Ingredients
- 🍎 What types of apples are best in homemade applesauce?
- 🍽 Equipment
- 🔪 How to Make Applesauce without Sugar
- ⏲️ Cooking Time and Temperature
- 🌡️ How long does homemade applesauce last in the fridge?
- 📋 Homemade Unsweetened Applesauce Nutrition
- 💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
- 👩🏻🍳 Recipes with Unsweetened Applesauce
- 👨🍳 Other Apple Recipes
- The Disclaimer…
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
⭐ Applesauce Recipe (Unsweetened) Benefits
Why is this the best applesauce recipe with no sugar? Here are a few reasons:
- Ninja Foodi Applesauce: You can make applesauce in Ninja Foodi for a hands-off cooking experience. No tending (and stirring) a pot of applesauce on the stovetop for an hour or two! (Really, you can use just about any slow cooker you own that's big enough to hold all the apples.)
- Crock Pot Applesauce (No Sugar): Slow cooking the apples all day really lets their natural sweetness shine through. You might wonder why you haven’t tried making applesauce without sugar sooner!
- Two Ingredient Applesauce: Not counting the water, you only need two ingredients to make this recipe. Slow cooker applesauce without sugar doesn’t get any easier than this!
- All Natural Applesauce: No additives, no preservatives, this applesauce is all natural. If you subscribe to a “clean eating” philosophy, this whole food recipe will fit.
- Vegan Applesauce: Applesauce is the perfect snack or side dish for certain special diets. Applesauce is a vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, and whole food plant based food.
- Healthy Homemade Applesauce: Apples provide fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and other essential vitamins and minerals.
- Delicious: IMVHO this homemade unsweetened applesauce is so much tastier than store-bought. It’s almost like having dessert!
🥘 Unsweetened Applesauce Ingredients
All you need are some apples, water, and a cinnamon stick to make some of the best applesauce that you can imagine. You don’t have to put anything else in unsweetened applesauce! As an added benefit, the cinnamon will make your home smell absolutely heavenly as it cooks.
Some put fresh lemon juice in their applesauce to help stop the apples from browning. I think this is unnecessary, so I don’t do it!
If you bought a bag of apples and some are bruised, use them in this recipe. I promise, no one will know unless you tell them. This is a great way to use up those apples your pickier household members won’t eat.
You can use one type of apple or a mix here. There are certain apples that are better choices for applesauce than others. IMHO, the best apples for applesauce are Cortland apples, but you have lots of other options.
🍎 What types of apples are best in homemade applesauce?
This table from a local orchard will help you pick a good apple for this recipe. Avoid the apples that get an “F” in the sauce category.
To summarize, here are the apples that are best for applesauce:
- Jersey Mac
- Paula Red
- Ginger Gold
- Jona Mac
- Honey Crisp
- Gold Delicious
- Ida Red
- Granny Smith
Here are some apple types that are bad for applesauce:
- Red Delicious
Of course, some of the information in the chart is subjective, particularly in regards to which apples are best for eating. Most charts will list Red Delicious as a good eating apple, but I am inclined to disagree on that one. Haha
Something else to think about when making applesauce with no sugar is how sweet the apple is. Tart apple varieties (such as Granny Smith) will give you an applesauce that’s not as sweet. Sweeter apples yield sweeter sauce.
You need an apple peeler or Y-peeler, a good knife, and a slow cooker for this recipe. Here are the slow cookers I’ve tested this recipe on:
- Crock-Pot SVC700-B, an oval slow cooker with a generous 7-quart capacity
- A round-based Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker (using the slow cooker function)
I've found that the oval crock pot doesn’t tend to heat foods as evenly. If I don’t give dishes like this applesauce a stir every few hours, they burn along the steepest sides of the oval. You may not need to stir the applesauce until the end if you use a cooker with a circular base.
Another benefit of multi-purpose cookers like the Ninja Foodi is that you can use them for more than slow cooking. You can pressure cook, air fry, steam, and take advantage of their other features as well. But I digress.
This recipe involves no mashing, blending, food milling, etc. Slow cooking the apples naturally breaks them down without you having to dirty another kitchen appliance. Stirring the apples every few hours can help encourage them to fall apart.
If you’re using an apple variety that doesn’t fall apart on its own, you’ll need something to mash them. An immersion blender, food processor, hand potato masher, or a simple fork can all work for mashing. I’ve found that I don’t generally need to mash slow cooked Cortland apples.
🔪 How to Make Applesauce without Sugar
Peel, core, and chop your apples into large pieces. I cut my medium-sized apples into eighths. It is fine to throw in some extra apples if you wish, this is an extremely flexible recipe. I used approximately 8 cups of apples.
Put the prepared apples in your slow cooker. Tuck in the cinnamon stick. Pour the water over the top.
Cover the slow cooker with the lid. If you’re using a multipurpose cooker, leave the steam vent open.
⏲️ Cooking Time and Temperature
Slow cook unsweetened applesauce for 6-8 hours on low. If using an oval cooker, give the apples a stir every 2-3 hours to prevent sticking.
Most varieties of apples will fall apart on their own, no mashing necessary! If your particular variety of apples does not seem to be breaking down, don't be afraid to crank your slow cooker up to the high setting for a couple of hours to get the process going.
The applesauce shown in the photos was cooked for 6 hours. Longer cooking times result in a thicker, sweeter, and darker-colored applesauce, similar to apple butter.
When you feel the applesauce is ready, give it a good stir, and remove the cinnamon stick. You can mash the apples if they are still too chunky for your liking. This applesauce can be served warm or chilled.
🌡️ How long does homemade applesauce last in the fridge?
You can keep leftover unsweetened cinnamon applesauce in a covered container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
You can also freeze unsweetened applesauce. Applesauce keeps in the freezer for 2-3 months. Store it in partially filled glass jars (to leave room for expansion) or food-safe plastic containers.
Another option for freezing applesauce is to freeze portions in ice cube trays. After the cubes have frozen, pop them out and store in freezer bags with the air pressed out. The applesauce cubes are a great size to use in smoothies and nice cream recipes.
It is safe to can unsweetened applesauce. Here are directions for canning applesauce from the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Canning your food the right way can help prevent serious food poisoning.
📋 Homemade Unsweetened Applesauce Nutrition
How many calories in homemade unsweetened applesauce?How many carbs in unsweetened homemade applesauce? One half-cup serving of unsweetened applesauce has 50 calories, 11 grams net carbs, and 0 grams protein.
💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 1 recipe (may help support fat loss). Unsweetened applesauce contains only 50 calories per ½-cup and makes a delicious side dish for a variety of meals. I enjoy it with pork entrees, but it is great as a standalone snack as well.
One thing to keep in mind is that cooking the applesauce longer will concentrate the sugars. The more concentrated your applesauce is, the higher the energy density will be. The difference isn’t too significant, but cooking your applesauce down to the consistency of apple butter will mean more calories by volume.
So now, let’s answer a few questions...
Is unsweetened applesauce fattening? Is unsweetened applesauce good for weight loss?
Remember, you need to maintain a calorie deficit to lose weight. Applesauce is not uniquely fattening and can be used as part of your diet during weight loss. However, if your strategy to lose weight is keto (i.e., restricting carbohydrates), apples are not considered a low carb food.
Is applesauce without sugar healthy?
“Healthy” always depends on what your individual needs are and what you’re looking for. Unsweetened applesauce is about as healthy as apples with a few key differences. You lose some vitamin C when heating applesauce, and you lose fiber when you discard the apple peels.
You can find unsweetened applesauce at Walmart, Trader Joe’s, and most of your favorite grocery stores like Tesco. Musselman’s unsweetened applesauce and Mott’s unsweetened applesauce are two popular brands. Some applesauce from the store has added vitamin C, so its vitamin C content is much higher than homemade applesauce.
You can use this recipe to make applesauce that’s lightly cooked and juicy, or thicker, similar to apple butter. To make no sugar apple butter, simply cook the apples longer, until they turn darker brown. This took about 8 hours in my crockpot. Stir occasionally towards the end of the cooking time.
Some varieties of apples break down less easily, making a chunky applesauce if not mashed well. Golden delicious and Empire apples are firm apple varieties that work well for chunky applesauce.
To make unsweetened applesauce for baking, choose a variety of apples that is good for both sauce and baking. A few options to use include McIntosh apples, Cortlands, Mutsu, and Gold delicious.
For recipes where applesauce is a minor player, you can swap unsweetened applesauce for regular without consequences. When the applesauce is the main feature in a recipe (such as for applesauce cookies), unsweetened applesauce will make the recipe taste less sweet.
Dress up unsweetened applesauce with a sprinkle of granola, nuts, or sunflower seeds. You can also stir it into yogurt for a creamy snack, or add dried raisins, cranberries, or cherries for sweetness.
👩🏻🍳 Recipes with Unsweetened Applesauce
Wondering how to use unsweetened applesauce in recipes? Here are a few recipe ideas for applesauce:
Applesauce also lends itself well to desserts and baked goods, such as applesauce cake and this delicious Cinnamon Applesauce Bread. One of my favorite uses for applesauce is as a side dish for breaded pork chops. Warm apple sauce is also AMAZING over vanilla ice cream.
👨🍳 Other Apple Recipes
Looking for more ways to use apples? I’ve got you! Try these:
- Sugar Free Apple Crisp
- Low Calorie Baked Oatmeal
- Kale Apple Slaw
- Chicken Salad with Apples and Pecans
- Cinnamon Apple Steel Cut Oats (Crock Pot)
- Dehydrated Cinnamon Apples
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All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats no sugar post. Let's get cooking!
Homemade Unsweetened Applesauce Recipe – No Sugar Added!
- 8 cups apples, peeled, cored, and chopped into large pieces
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 tablespoons water (can add more, if needed)
- Peel, core, and chop your apples into large pieces. I cut my medium-sized apples into eighths. It is fine to throw in some extra apples if you wish, this is an extremely flexible recipe.
- Put the prepared apples in your slow cooker. Tuck in the cinnamon stick. Pour the water over the top.
- Cover the slow cooker and set it on low. Let the apples cook for 6-8 hours, giving it a good stir every 2-3 hours to prevent the apples from sticking to the pot. The apples will fall apart on their own, no mashing necessary! If your particular variety of apples does not seem to be breaking down, don't be afraid to crank your slow cooker up to the high setting for a couple of hours to get the process going.
- The applesauce shown in the photos was cooked for 6 hours. Longer cooking times result in a thicker, sweeter, and darker-colored applesauce, similar to apple butter.
- This recipe makes 2½-3 cups of applesauce, depending on how large you chop the apples and how long you cook them. Remove the cinnamon stick prior to serving warm or chilled.
lilli stephenson says
I only have cinnamon powder not cinnamon sticks well synonym powder work too grated cinnamon
Summer Yule says
Hi Lilli, that's wonderful! Thank you for the feedback 😀
Terrified Amateur says
Another winner, Summer! Especially as I definitely love me some applesauce, and it's so simple, well....even a caveman could do it. And I should know.
When making pies, it's advisable to use two different varieties, one tart, one sweet. Does the same principle apply to applesauce? What about Granny Smith and Gold Delicious?
You're right, by this time here in the northeast, our apple selection is limited to whatever New Zealand and Chile are shipping, though your recipe shows how we can make do quite nicely anyway!
How do I like them apples? In this case, quite a bit, actually.
Summer Yule says
Thank you kindly! Yes, I've heard that it is best to mix apples in pies. I don't think I've ever done it because then I'd have to replace some of my beloved Cortlands with another apple. Haha
I bet the Granny Smith/Gold Delicious mix would make a fabulous sauce! Although now I'm wondering whether all apple varieties will break down easily in the slow cooker. I recently tried this recipe with some firm pears and I had to mash them after cooking.