Homemade 3-Ingredient Applesauce (No Added Sugar!)

An easy unsweetened applesauce recipe you can make in the crockpot with only 3 simple ingredients. Add cinnamon to the natural sweetness of the apples to create a deliciously healthy snack!

3 Ingredient Applesauce

Nothing beats a bowl of your own applesauce! This 3 ingredient recipe elevates the dish from the mushy flavorlessness of store-bought applesauce to a complex set of flavors — the sweetness of the apples, tang of the lemon juice, and the richness of cinnamon and nutmeg. And, since there’s no added sugar, you can feel good about eating it. It’s the perfect simple recipe for apple season!

This applesauce can work as a snack or a side dish. Serve it on it’s own or with with pork, chicken, or turkey dishes. It also goes well mixed into yogurt or on top of pancakes or potato latkes!

This recipe does not contain any added sugars — it’s a completely natural, homemade unsweetened applesauce recipe. This means that nutritionally, it’s not that different from the apple itself. It’s full of fiber, vitamin C, and phytochemicals that promote health. And it’s low-calorie at only 85 calories per serving. If you have a craving for a sweet snack, this is an excellent go-to!

What type of apples should I use?

Which apples are best for 3 Ingredient Applesauce?

The number one consideration for this is choosing fresh apples that are at the peak of ripeness. Beyond that, there are many different types of apples that will work, some sweet apples and some more tart. Here are a few varieties of apples that give the best results in easy homemade applesauce:

First off, we have the delightful McIntosh apple. Its tender flesh practically melts in your mouth, and when cooked down, it transforms into a sauce that’s bursting with sweet-tart goodness.  

Another superstar in the applesauce game is the Golden Delicious. These sweeter apples bring touch of magic to your sauce. It’s like adding a sprinkle of edible sunshine! 

Another fantastic option is the Jonathan apple. With its perfect balance of tanginess and sweetness, it adds a delicious twist to your homemade creation. 

If you prefer a bit of texture in your sauce, the firm and flavorful Rome Beauty or the crisp Fuji apple might be just what you need. 

I also love Granny Smith — they’re a create a more tart applesauce than the rest, but I love the bite it gives! 

What do I need for 3-Ingredient Applesauce? 


This easy recipe has been tested with Fuji apples, Granny Smith apples, and the unknown variety from my backyard apple tree. Other apples that work well for applesauce include Gala apples, Pink Lady, McIntosh, Braeburn, and Golden Delicious. Each of these will give you a slightly different flavor! Try mixing and matching to find your favorite. 

Lemon Juice

This keeps the apples from browning. It also helps maintain the acidity of the apples. Apples lose a little of their tang and flavor as they cook down. The lemon juice brightens the flavor and brings out the sweetness of the apples. Fresh lemon juice tastes fantastic in this, but you can use the bottled juice as well. If you don’t like lemon juice, you can replace this ingredient with the same measurement of lime or orange juice. 

Spices (optional)

Cinnamon and nutmeg are optional, but I highly recommend them. Their flavors compliment the apples perfectly and give this recipe a warm richness. 


This helps your apples to soften and keeps everything from burning during the long cooking time.

How do I make applesauce?

How to make 3 Ingredient Applesauce

Step 1 | Prep the Apples

Start by peeling and coring your apples, then chopping them into small pieces. This would be a great place for your apple peeler and corer. If you’re like me and not very fancy, a potato peeler and a knife will do the trick!

Step 2 | Into the Crockpot

Next, combine apples, water, lemon juice, and spices in the slow cooker. Stir them well before putting on the lid!

Step 3 | Cook on Low

Then, you get to leave things alone. The applesauce will cook on low for 2 hours. The apples will begin to soften, and your house will smell heavenly.

Step 4 | Cook on High

After a couple hours, you’ll need to give the applesauce a good stir, then turn the crockpot to high. You’ll leave it to cook on high for 2 more hours. This finishes softening the apples, allows the flavors to get friendly, and yields that gorgeous golden color. 

Step 5 | Mash

When your applesauce is done cooking, you can mash it with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon. This will give you a chunky applesauce. If you like really smooth consistency, you can throw it in a food processor or use and immersion blender to blend until you get the consistency you want. 

Step 6 | Serve

This applesauce is fantastic served warm on ice cream, or over a variety of foods, like pancakes, latkes, and pork chops. You can chill it and serve it as a mix-in with yogurt, or use it in overnight oatmeal. It’s also fantastic at room temperature for a quick and healthy snack!

3 Ingredient Applesauce

How do I store my 3-Ingredient Applesauce?


Unsweetened applesauce will store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Before you put it in the fridge, allow it come to room temperature. It will set up while it sits in the fridge, so while the fresh product will be slightly watery, after an hour or two in the fridge, it will be pretty well set up. 


Can you freeze applesauce? Yes! It will keep for about 6 months in the freezer. Make sure that you are using a freezer-safe airtight container to keep it fresh and avoid freezer burn, then pour your room-temperature applesauce into leaving some space at the top. Applesauce sometimes expands when it freezes, and you don’t want it to bust your container open! You can keep the applesauce in the freezer for 6 months.


When you’re ready to use the applesauce, you can take it out of the freezer and leave it in the fridge to thaw. 


This recipe can be used for canning. I’m no canning guru, so if you’re interested in this, I’d recommend following Serious Eats’ Beginner Guide to Canning series. Done properly, you can keep your applesauce for 1-2 years!

Variations on 3-Ingredient Applesauce

More Fiber: You actually can make this with the skins still on the apples — you will just have more fibrous pieces in the finished product. If that’s something you think you’d like, you can skip the peeling.

Add Extracts: You can add vanilla, almond, maple, or orange extract for an easy change!

Fruit Flavored Applesauce: Try adding other fruits to your applesauce to create new flavors:

  • Peach Applesauce: Add 2 pitted and chopped peaches
  • Strawberry Applesauce: Remove the tops from 1 lb of strawberries and add them. I prefer this version with Granny Smith apples because the tartness of the green apples balances the sweetness of the strawberries.
  • Mango Applesauce: Add 1 cup chopped mango (Frozen mango chunks work too!)
Unsweetened Applesauce
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3 Ingredient Homemade Applesauce

Delicious homemade applesauce with no added sugars!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 85kcal


  • 8 medium apples
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg


  • Peel, core, and chop apples.
    8 medium apples
  • Put apples into crockpot. Cover with water, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice.
    1 cup water, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 Tbsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • Stir to evenly coat apples.
  • Cook on low for 2 hours.
  • Stir, then cook on high for 2 hours.
  • For smoother sauce, mash with a potato masher, or use a hand mixer or food processor.
  • Serve either hot or cold!
Tried this recipe?Mention @homanathome or tag #homanathome


Calories: 85kcal
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  1. I have yet to made homemade applesauce…I know, shameful, lol. It looks like I just might give it a try. Thanks for the recipe and inspiration! ~Blessings~

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