How To: Replace Butter with Applesauce

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Butter has been one of the most fundamental ingredients in the cuisine of many cultures for a long time. Although it’s a culinary heavyweight, there are some situations where butter cannot or will not be used. Enter applesauce, which actually makes a great butter substitute in baking. So what makes applesauce such a great butter substitute, and how does one replace butter with applesauce in recipes?

What is Applesauce?

apple sauce on pink tiles

Applesauce is simply a puree of cooked apples. While apple sauce typically available already made at grocery stores, it can be easily made at home. By adding a sweetener or not, you can determine whether the apple sauce is sweetened or unsweetened. Applesauce is also versatile in that in can be incorporated into baking and can serve in place of butter. 

Applesauce can be swapped for butter in many different recipes. It isn’t, however, a perfect substitute for butter. This means that you can lose certain elements, like the taste and richness, when using apple sauce in place of butter. But, this also doesn’t mean that applesauce in place of butter will ruin your baking or cooking; it is simply different

How to Substitute Butter for Applesauce

When using applesauce as a substitute for butter, you will need as much applesauce as you would butter. 

You can also mix applesauce and butter in your recipe and still get good results. Your baked good will be lighter, lower in calories yet still have some of the qualities of butter. Most recommendations will have you go 50:50 for both butter and applesauce. However, you can experiment with different ratios until you find the one that best suits your requirements. 

Tips for Substituting Applesauce for Butter

  • Baked goods using applesauce for butter will be moister than usual, so keep that in mind and don’t over-bake
  • Use unsweetened applesauce, as even unsweetened applesauce is sweeter than butter, and will add sweetness to your dish
  • Thoroughly combine the applesauce with the liquid ingredients before adding to dry

Why would you Substitute Butter for Applesauce?

Apple sauce comes with several benefits as a substitute for butter. Some of these benefits include:


One limitation butter has is that some lactose-intolerant or dairy-allergic people cannot eat it, as butter has milk proteins in it. So instead of missing out on your favorite meals because you are lactose intolerant or dairy-allergic, you can easily replace butter with applesauce.  

Natural Sweetener

Applesauce, even unsweetened applesauce (which is recommended for butter replacement), has natural sweetness from the fructose sugar in apples. This mild fruity sweetness can enhance and complement desserts, and the texture of applesauce also provides moisture in the baked treat. Applesauce sweetness and water content can be a refreshing change in desserts that may often be greasy or heavy from fatty butter.


Butter is around 80% fat while applesauce has zero fat. If you’re watching your fat intake, applesauce in place of butter is a good way to cut down on fat.

Recipes Where Applesauce Replaces Butter Perfectly

Applesauce is a great substitute for butter, but it is important to note that not all recipes are a great option for applesauce. In some cases, you may be better off sticking with butter. However, there are some meals where applesauce not only replaces butter perfectly but may even be a better option. Some of the best recipes where butter replaces applesauce perfectly include: 

Oatmeal Cookies

These oatmeal cookies are not your conventional oatmeal cookies, but they are a low-fat option, as you use applesauce in place of butter. With cookies being notoriously high in calories, reducing the butter or removing it entirely can help lower the calorie content. Also, applesauce is a great fit for baking oatmeal cookies due to the amount of water it has naturally. 

Applesauce Cake

Butter is usually one of the main ingredients in cakes. By substituting applesauce for butter, you get a recipe that is lower in calories and has a lighter, fresher taste. Be sure to use unsweetened applesauce, as using a sweetened one could make the cake too sweet.  Applesauce cake is not too sweet and is very moist, especially when compared with normal cake.  

Banana Bread

It’s hard to think about making any kind of cake-like bread without butter, but when you are looking for the healthiest bread option, then banana bread with apple sauce is ideal. Thanks to the moisture content of apple sauce, the banana bread will be both soft and moist. The applesauce perfectly complements the banana, and this banana bread has the perfect amount of sweetness. 

Apple sauce is an excellent substitute for butter in your recipes. Whether you are looking to cut down on sugar or simply reduce your calorie intake, apple sauce is a great option. Best of all, if you are looking to cut down on spending, you can make your apple sauce at home. 

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