Unsweetened Applesauce {Instant Pot Apple Sauce}

It’s so simple to make Unsweetened Applesauce at home! All you need is apples, a bit of water, and cinnamon if you like. Make Instant pot apple sauce in just 10 minutes or make your applesauce on the stove top in just a little bit more time. This recipe is freezer-friendly, and perfect to use in muffins, bars, and other recipes.

three jars of unsweetened applsauce on a wooden cutting board with apples and leaves

Can we talk about applesauce? 

I mean, what’s not to love? It sweet, it carries the delicious flavour of apples all throughout the year, and you can put it to use in so many delicious ways. 

I love to use it in baking, like in this delicious Applesauce Cake or in my favourite healthy Apple Granola recipe. I love it because it’s freezer-friendly, and because I can almost always pass it off as some sort of treat, especially for my smallest kid. 

But you know what I don’t get? Why so many applesauce recipes call for So. Much. Sugar. 

It’s bonkers, right? Apples are plenty sweet on their own! Plus, if I’m going to be using my applesauce as an ingredient in other recipes, I want to be able to control the sugar rather than add more, which is why I always make sugar-free applesauce

So today I’m sharing my favourite Unsweetened Applesauce Recipe. It’s got nothing but apples and a bit of water, maybe a bit of cinnamon if you want to spruce it up a bit. But that’s it! 

If you’ve been looking for a healthy applesauce recipe that’s also fast, easy, and super tasty, then let’s do this thing! 

a wooden bowl full of red apples

What’s in Unsweetened Applesauce?

Ok guys, you’re going to want to sit down for this one. You’ll need to get some:

  • Apples –> Whaaaaat?! 

That’s truly all you need for this healthy applesauce recipe! That’s it! One ingredient! 

You will also need a bit of water, and if you like to make spiced applesauce you can add a bit of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, or whatever floats your homemade applesauce making boat. 

What kind of apples are best for applesauce?

Truly, you can use any apples you like, although some varieties are more “saucy” than others. 

The best “saucing apples” include Braeburn, Fuji, Gala, and Golden delicious. Remember that sweeter apples will produce sweeter applesauce, so since we’re making unsweetened applesauce you’ll want to avoid tart apples such as Granny Smith, or do a mix of sweet and tart apples. 

sliced apples in a pyrex bowl

How do you make unsweetened applesauce?

I’m going to include instructions for making both Instant Pot Applesauce and homemade applesauce on the stove top. If you do have an Instant Pot I really recommend you use it for this recipe, as it’s fast, easy, and there’s very little mess. 

Should you peel the apples for applesauce?

This is totally up to you! So long as I’m using organic, unwaxed apples, I prefer to leave the skin on for three reasons. First, because I’m lazy and would prefer not to waste my time peeling all those apples. 

Second, because there are a ton of nutrients concentrated in the peel, and leaving the skin on also ups the dietary fiber content in our healthy applesauce. 

And lastly, there is also a good amount of pectin in apple peels, so leaving the skin on will yield a slightly thicker apple sauce. Note that the thickness of your sauce also depends on how much water you add and how long you cook it for. 

You can choose to leave the skins on during cooking and then strain them out as this will still eliminate the work of peeling the apples, or, like me, you can just whiz your applesauce in a high-speed blender (I have this one) and you’ll never even know they’re in there. 

If you prefer chunky applesauce you’ll probably want to peel your apples so you can get in there and mash it with a potato masher rather than blending the final product. 

photo collage of instant pot apple sauce being made

How do you make Instant Pot Apple Sauce?

Super easy, my friends! 

Step 1: Core and slice your apples. 

Step 2: Place your sliced apples into the Instant Pot with 1/4 cup of water. 

Step 3: Set your Instant Pot to manual high pressure for 10 minutes. When the pressure cooking cycle is done, let it release naturally for 10 minutes, then flip to venting. 

Step 4: Purée your Instant Pot apple sauce! I used an immersion blender right in the Instant Pot, but then later also ran it through my high-speed blender to get it very smooth. 

Step 4 is also when I add any seasonings, like ground cinnamon or any other spices. 

How do you make homemade applesauce on the stove top?

Great question! The process is essentially the same as with the Instant Pot above, but will take a bit more time. 

Step 1: Core and slice your apples. 

Step 2: Place your sliced apples into a big heavy-bottomed pot with 1 cup of water. 

Step 3: Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until the apples are soft and breaking down. You’ll want to stir the apples regularly.

This could take up to 30 minutes, depending on your apples (how thinly they are sliced, apple type, etc).

Step 4: Purée your apple sauce! 

overhead photo of unsweetened applesauce

How long will unsweetened applesauce last for?

Since there’s no added sugar or preservatives in this healthy applesauce, it’s got a pretty short lifespan. Kept in the fridge in an airtight container this applesauce will last you 5-7 days.

You can also freeze applesauce! I like to freeze it in these reusable silicon freezer bags, but you can also use wide-mouthed mason jars – just remember to leave enough head space for the applesauce to expand in the freezer.

Frozen applesauce is good for up to 3 months (although I’ll admit to keeping it for much longer, and it’s always been perfectly fine).

If you’d like to can your homemade applesauce so it will last longer, my homegirl Sarah from Sustainable Cooks has got your back with how-to for Canning Applesauce

Hey Nutrition Lady, are apples good for you?

Does an Apple a day keep the doctor away? Well, they’re definitely good for your heart. Apples boast well-documented cardiovascular benefits. These benefits are associated with the water-soluble fiber (pectin) content, and the polyphenol mixture in most apples.

Both total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol are decreased through regular intake of apples. Another health benefit of apples is blood sugar regulation. This occurs in a number of ways, including slowing down of carbohydrate digestion, stimulating the pancreas to produce more insulin, and stimulating insulin receptors so that more sugar flows out of our bloodstream and into our cells.

Apples also appear to have anti-cancer benefits when it comes to breast, colon, and lung cancer. Apples are a good source of fiber (both soluble in the form of pectin, and insoluble), and vitamin C. The nutrients in apples are concentrated skin, so buy organic, give them a good wash, and keep the skin on whenever possible.

three jars of unsweetened apple sauce with a blue napkin and two cinnamon sticks

Other recipes you might enjoy:

Apple Granola
Cinnamon Roasted Apples
Whole Wheat Muffins with Cinnamon Roasted Apples
Vegan Applesauce Cake
Apple Pie Overnight Oats

Unsweetened Applesauce

It's so simple to make Unsweetened Applesauce at home! All you need is apples, a bit of water, and cinnamon if you like. Make Instant pot apple sauce in just 10 minutes or make your applesauce on the stove top in a little bit more time. This recipe is freezer-friendly, and perfect to use in muffins, bars, and other recipes.

Course Preserves
Cuisine American
Keyword Applesauce, Instant Pot Apple Sauce, Unsweetened Applesauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 cups
Calories 158 kcal
Author Katie Trant

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs apples cored and sliced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp cinnamon optional

Instructions

Instant Pot Apple Sauce

  1. Core and slice your apples.

  2. Place the apple slices into your Instant Pot with 1/4 - 1/2 cup water.

  3. Set to manual high pressure for 10 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes to come up to pressure.

  4. Once the pressure cooking cycle is complete, allow the Instant Pot to vent naturally for 10 minutes, then quick release the remaining pressure.

  5. Purée the applesauce using an immersion blender, or let cool slightly and transfer to a stand up blender to purée.

Unsweetened Applesauce (Stovetop Instructions)

  1. Place the cored sliced apples into a large heavy-bottomed pot with 1/2 cup water.

  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot.

  3. Stir every few minutes to break up the apples and move them around.

  4. Continue cooking until the apples are very soft and starting to break down. This can take up to 30 minutes.

  5. Purée the applesauce using an immersion blender, or let cool slightly and transfer to a stand up blender to purée.

Recipe Notes

  • Nutrition values are an estimate only. 
  • Since there's no added sugar or preservatives in this healthy applesauce, it's got a pretty short lifespan. Kept in the fridge in an airtight container this applesauce will last you 5-7 days.

  • You can also freeze applesauce! I like to freeze it in these reusable silicon freezer bags, but you can also use wide-mouthed mason jars - just remember to leave enough head space for the applesauce to expand in the freezer.

  • Frozen applesauce is good for up to 3 months (although I'll admit to keeping it for much longer, and it's always been perfectly fine).

Nutrition Facts
Unsweetened Applesauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 158 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 4mg0%
Potassium 324mg9%
Carbohydrates 42g14%
Fiber 7g28%
Sugar 31g34%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 163IU3%
Vitamin C 14mg17%
Calcium 22mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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