How to Substitute Applesauce for Oil in Baking

how to substitute applesauce for oil

Substituting applesauce for oil is one of my favorite healthy baking tips. Applesauce is inexpensive to buy, easy to make, and healthier for you than oil. You can substitute applesauce for oil in cookies, muffins, cakes, brownies, basically any baked good.

Substituting applesauce for oil is very simple. The ratio is one to one (applesauce to oil) however most of the cookbooks I’ve read say that you shouldn’t use more than 1/4 a cup of applesauce as a substitute for oil. Using more can change the chemistry of a recipe and it could flop.

To keep that from happening, my suggestion is to start with 1/4 a cup and increase it incrementally if the recipe calls for more oil. For example, if a recipe calls for 1/2 a cup of oil, then the first time I make the recipe I will use 1/4 cup applesauce and 1/4 cup of oil. If the recipe is a success and I don’t notice a big difference in taste or texture, I’ll increase the applesauce by 1/8 a cup the next time I make it. If it works again I’ll substitute applesauce for the the entire amount of oil.

For some recipes, you can substitute the entire amount and for some only half the amount and it still results in a delicious outcome.  Either way, using applesauce instead of the entire amount of oil called for in a recipe will save on calories and fat without altering the taste.  An easy (and inexpensive) healthy baking tip!

baking pro tip

When making muffins use a cookie scoop to scoop muffins into the muffin tins. This will ensure that all your muffin tins are filled evenly and you have less mess on the outside of the tin to clean up when you are done!

Here are a few of our favorite muffin recipes that I personally substitute applesauce for oil:

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Muffins

(substitute 1/4 cup canola oil with 1/4 cup applesauce)

brown sugar cinnamon muffins

Simple Banana Muffins 

(substitute 1/4 cup oil with 1/4 cup applesauce)

Mocha Banana Muffins

(replace 1/2 cup canola oil with 1/2 cup applesauce)

mocha banana muffins

What is your favorite healthy substitute in recipes?

See more recipe ideas here.


  1. If my recipe calls for a pureed fruit, I’ll put in more of the fruit and cut out some of the oil. For quick breads (ie, pumpkin and banana), I cut out the oil completely.

  2. Have you been sneaking looks at my Google history? I was just Googling all kinds of substitutions early tonight (this one – and also whole wheat flour for white flour, coconut oil for butter, honey for white sugar, and some others). Thanks for this! 🙂

  3. 4M'sNaB says:

    I will also cut out the oil in quick breads and will substitute juice, usually orange. They bake up very moist and I get rave reviews!

  4. I was just advising a friend to try this! Great minds…..

  5. I actually heard that you can also substitute pureed Beans for the oil in baking too.
    I have made a chocolate cake with pureed Black Beans instead of the oil and NO one had a clue. They told me that it was the BEST cake I have ever made.
    The rumor I heard is as long as you use the bean that matches the cake no one will know. For example: White cake ~White Beans, Spice cake~Pinto Beans and so on.
    Give it a try I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised.

    Just don’t tell the kids or your husband let them try it first. 🙂

  6. Dan Miller says:

    My wife was telling me that applesause replaced for oil is more unhealthy than using the oil due to the ecvess sugars in the applesause. Do you have any information as to which would be the more healthier way to go?

    • Buy the unsweetened version of applesauce. Most recipes have sugar in them so this will stay in line with the health aspect

    • Hi

      It depends on what your issue is. I found a recipe for classic bran muffins on I will sub some unsweetened apple sauce (which still has sugar from the apples) for oil but cut the sugar content in half (it calls for 2/3 cup of brown sugar). I would rather have some sugar from apple sauce than extra sugar from brown sugar, but it’s absolutely up to you. Also, some oil is not really a problem, it’s more about the package. For a treat use the oil and the sugar etc., for breakfast muffins use whole wheat flour, less oil or apple sauce, etc. That’s how I tend to bake anyway…

    • Applesauce is the more healthy way. You would use unsweetened applesauce when you are substituting.

  7. Katherine Haberlack says:

    I usually make my own applesauce or purchase the unsweetenend kind. I’d think that would cut sugar content a bit, no?

  8. Sam Russell says:

    @Dan Miller – It depends on if you’re more concerned about sugar or fat. The sugar in unsweetened apple sauce is all fruit sugar which is better for a person than refined sugar. If I was worried about sugar, I wouldn’t be eating store bought pumpkin bread anyway.

  9. @don and sam. That is true about the sugar. Again, unsweetened would be the route. Butr Sam, in your semi-sassy response, what about those out there that DO have to watch sugar intake AND fat. more Americans are on this train than just the fat watching one.

  10. @Jen and others. Sugar is a sugar is a sugar regardless of whether it’s from a fruit or not – body treats them all the same. The only difference is that if you are using unrefined sugars, there are trace minerals.

    Think about it though – applesauce is boiled apples blended with no added sugar and no waste if you leave the skin on. Juice is fruit or produce stripped of skin and most fiber with very little end-product and a good % of waste. Because of volume, you end up juicing more fruits which increases the sugar content, rendering it the same as any soda on the market as far as sugar content is concerned. Oil is an unnatural state for the seed or nut. If you eat a peanut, it is not the same benefit as eating peanut oil. I am not anti-fat, but there are better ways to get your fat than through oils! Once you change the state of the food, you increase absorption of higher calories and sugars, and the heart healthy benefits of those foods in their, whole, natural state is reduced or lost altogether.

    It’s not a bad thing to consume these products, necessarily, in moderation if you are healthy and active. So, in response to Jen’s question, if you are at the point where you have to watch sugar intake AND fat, why don’t you just eat healthier and stop eating desserts altogether if food is such a problem. I know people want to fit in and enjoy the many foods of our culture, but seriously, if you are worried about your health, skip the processed desserts, even if they have “healthy” ingredients. Sorry, but that is the ONLY solution that WORKS! You can’t really live in the middle on this one as you are playing so dangerously close to the edge.

    • Rudi Pittman says:

      I realize this is a late reply but still wanted to point out a few things for other readers to consider.

      I don’t think the diabetics would agree with you that “a sugar is a sugar is a sugar”. The glycemic index would seem to indicate there ARE differences in types of sugar.

      Additionally why do you assume the person is making a dessert just because they want to do an oil substitution. I came here from a search to see if applesauce could be used to replace the oil in making white bread in the bread machine. I’m not diabetic but I do prefer keeping things healthy such as using ground up flaxseed to replace part of the oil and flour.

      …and no I don’t consider totally eliminating all bread forever a “solution”.

  11. Modesty aside, I make chocolate cake to die for using applesauce and plain yogurt, absolutely NO butter or oil, yet incredibly moist and healthful. I use half caster sugar and half brown sugar.

  12. cynthia says:

    My mom makes a chocolate cake that has sauerkraut in it! I don’t think it is necessarily in the healthy category although you could probably so some further substituting. Anyway, it is so moist and delicious! She chops the kraut so that if you can find it in the cake it looks like coconut. Typically, I would not touch sauerkraut but gobble it up in that cake! Yum Yum!

  13. Irene – would you please share your recipe for this awesome sounding chocolate cake? Thanks!

  14. I am looking up recipes for my friend who cannot eat any type of oil. It’s something she can eat that she can add to change a recipe to something she can actually eat and not get sick. Applesauce I had heard of, but juice is new and I’m eager to try it. And the beans. Who would have ever thought? Not to mention the nutritional value of them. Thank you!

  15. Diana Klingenberg says:

    My Mom made the best chocolate cake with mayonnaise instead of eggs and oil. It was a dense dark chocolate cake.And on top she made a dark chocolate cooked fudge icing. A real after school treat!!

  16. Ummm, Diana. You do realize mayo is an emulsion of egg yolks and oil. Most likely your mom made the cake less healthy.

  17. *Guy, you are funny!!!!, and right!!!!

  18. This is becoming more and more common for our test kitchen recipes. Adding healthier options in place of oils, using avocado, quinoa, etc. These recipes look delicious!

  19. James Malenfant says:

    You can also use pear puree. Same as applesauce, but the crumb on the cake is better with applesauce. I am out of both, and trying cranberry sauce today with a cake mix. The kitchen is a laboratory. Let’s see.

  20. It looks so yummy. I and my sister will try to do it. Thank you .

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