Gluten-Free Vegan Applesauce Cookies

Vegan and gluten-free, these applesauce cookies are made with a wholesome dough of oats, nuts, berries, and apple puree. Apple puree helps you cut back on added fats and sugars for a healthier treat that's good for everyone!


Nutrition per serving
Net Carbs30.4 g11.1%
of which Sugars11.7 g13%
Fibers5.2 g18.7%
Fats8.7 g13.4%
of which Saturates0.8 g4.2%
of which Omega 30 g2.8%
Proteins6.8 g14.7%
Calcium114 mg11.4%
Vitamin A6 mcg0.9%
Vitamin C0 mg0%
Iron1.9 mg12.8%
Potassium223 mg6.4%
Sodium87 mg3.8%
Cholesterol0 mg0%
Kcal227 11.4%
Macro split
  • net carbs 60%
  • sugars 23%
  • fats 17%
  • saturates 2%
  • proteins 13%
  • fibers 10%
*RDA based on a 2000 kcal diet;
**Nutritional data sources: USDA, food labels.
227 per serving

Chewy, nutty, and bursting with flavour, these vegan applesauce oat cookies will surely become your new breakfast favourites! They require just a few simple ingredients to make, and they're incredibly healthy.

For this recipe, we wanted to bake cookies that would be both vegan and gluten-free, as well as lower in sugars and fats compared to classic cookies.

So, we prepared a flourless dough without eggs, butter, and refined added sugars.

We used rolled oats and ground them in a food processor for a gluten-free flour alternative for our cookies.

Then, we added chopped nuts and dried berries for flavour and texture, plus a little maple syrup to help bind it all together.

And to keep the cookies soft and chewy, we round it all up with wondrous applesauce!

A simple ingredient made from cooked and pureed apples, applesauce is a two-in-one marvel deal for bakes: you get a healthy substitute for both added sugars and fats.

Preparing healthy cookies with applesauce also means fewer calories and more fibres for you!

The result? Delicious cookies with no refined sugar and low in saturated fats, yet rich in hunger-curbing fibres and slow-release carbs. All for 115 kcal per cookie!

You can buy ready-made applesauce at the supermarket or prepare it from scratch using fresh apples and nothing else — we'll show you how below!

And if you're looking for more gluten-free oat cookies recipes, you'll love these sesame paste cookies, hemp seed cookies, vegan avocado cookies, and zucchini blueberry cookies!

Frequently Asked Questions

How many calories in applesauce cookies?

We calculated that a single cookie has around 120 calories. In absolute terms, the ingredients that add the most calories in classic cookies are flour, sugars and butter. Our vegan applesauce cookies are flourless, have no butter and no added sugars.

You may wonder why there are still quite a few calories in our cookies, even though we didn't use any of the high-calories ingredients mentioned above.

Not all calories are created equal. What matters is how our body gets those calories, the source. A woman could get all her 2000 kcal for the day by eating crisps and unhealthy supermarket snacks, or by eating wholesome and nutritious food. The result for your body would be quite different.

Our applesauce cookies give you a nutritious source of energy (calories) to get you ready for the day ahead. The main ingredients are apples, oats, nuts and raisins, all rich in fibres, vitamins and precious antioxidants.

Moreover, you get slow-release and low GI carbs that prevent blood sugar levels from spiking and make you feel satiated for longer. The easiest way to stay healthy and stick to our diets is by avoiding sudden moments of hunger. During hunger-attacks, we are more vulnerable to helping ourselves to unhealthy snacks to feel better quickly. We can prevent moments like this by consuming food that releases energy slowly so that we end up eating less and feeling full for longer.

Therefore, we have selected only wholesome ingredients for these cookies to give your body the right type of energy and lots of nutrients.

Can I use applesauce in cookies instead of sugar?

Applesauce can undoubtedly be used as a substitute for sugar, as we have done in our vegan applesauce cookies recipe above. We encourage you to try if you haven't already. Notice that it won't make your bakes as sweet as using an equivalent amount of added sugars. Let us tell you why below.

Our applesauce has no added sugars, only apples and water. Therefore, the amount of sugars in applesauce is equal to that of the apples themselves. On average, 100 grams worth of apples has 10 grams of sugar. In comparison, 100 grams of white added sugar has, unsurprisingly, 100 grams of sugar. So it's safe to say that replacing white sugars for applesauce in the same quantity, will result in less total sugars in the recipe.

It's important to know that not all sugars are made equal. Some are healthier than others, much healthier. When you eat white refined sugar, you are getting 100% sugars and nothing else. Fruits like apples instead, also carry essential nutrients and fibres. These additional healthy elements are not just beneficial for you on their own. They also slow down the digestion and absorption of sugars in your body[3]. The result is less sugar in your blood, a paramount objective for people with diabetes and folks on a weight-loss diet. Foods that don't increase blood sugar level excessively or too fast are called Low Glycemic Index foods (low GI). They are your friends.

Apples are low GI foods so applesauce can be an excellent substitute to sugars for both people with diabetes or anyone on a low-sugar diet.

Now let's take a look at how much applesauce to use when replacing white sugars.

In theory, if a recipe requires 50 grams of white sugars and you want to keep the same, you would use at least 500 grams of applesauce. In practice, you would never do such a thing. Applesauce is very sweet, as fructose tastes sweeter than glucose[4]. Moreover, applesauce tastes fabulous, far better than plain white sugar. So there is no need to add as much.

If you are trying to cut on sugars, or you are already following a low-sugar diet, just use 1:1 applesauce to sugar and see how that goes. We like it that way as we barely ever use white sugars in our cooking and are used to it. You could go with 2 to 1 applesauce to sugar for something sweeter, or more.

If you want to make your applesauce sweeter without adding in refined sugars, you could:

  • Use apples with more sugar content, like the Gala or Fuji varieties.

  • Add in high-sugar fruits in the applesauce. For example, you could add the flesh of one fig for every four apples. Add the fig to the applesauce as it cooks, and then blend everything in the food processor.

It is critical when replacing sugar with applesauce that you adjust the liquids in your recipe accordingly. If you need a sticky and compact dough and too much applesauce makes it runny, then add more of the solid ingredients, like flour or nuts, in the same proportions used in the recipe.

Can applesauce replace butter in cookies?

Applesauce is an ingenious replacement for butter and fats as a whole. We love how simple and natural applesauce is, and just how easy it is to prepare. So even though it may not mimic butter as well as margarine, we think applesauce is miles ahead both margarine and butter when baking healthy food. It is also vegan, which means that it is suitable for people on a dairy-free and egg-free diet!

Don't get us wrong, butter is a critical component in tasty recipes, as is fat. But part of the challenge and fun of preparing healthier food or allergen-free food, is to find ingredients that do sufficiently well, or even better, than the originals.

And applesauce delivers quite well on that front. Just like butter, it helps bind the solids and gives a soft and chewy dough. Moreover, it is quite fun to experiment with applesauce, as the sweet and flavourful taste of apples combines with the other ingredients and delivers unexpected and fanciful new flavours.

So how much applesauce should you use to replace butter? We would suggest you stick to a 1:1 ratio. So if a recipe calls for 100 grams of butter, use 100 grams of applesauce instead.

Note that, as we explained in the above FAQ, you can use applesauce to replace sugars as well. In that case, you would use more of it. Just make sure you add enough solid ingredients to get the right consistency.

Can I use applesauce in cookies instead of eggs?

Applesauce can effectively replace eggs in cookies and bakes. We use eggs in cookies for binding of ingredients, colour and gloss, and taste. Let's see how applesauce can take on these requirements and let's compare it with other vegan egg replacements.

By far the most crucial objective of eggs is binding the ingredients to form a compact dough. When we beat egg whites and yolk together, we get a viscous liquid that proves very effective at tying the flour and the sugars together in a dense and sticky dough. Applesauce is also quite creamy and viscous, and so it can be used instead of eggs to make dough for cookies and cakes. Another common way to replace eggs is the so-called "flax-egg". We use it in recipes such as our vegan peanut butter chocolate cookies . Check that out for more info.

As far as colour is concerned, eggs give a beautiful yellow/orange look to the dough. Applesauce by itself cannot produce quite the same colour, but we have a neat trick that will get you closer: turmeric. By adding a bit of turmeric to your applesauce, you get a beautiful yellow colour that will make your dough stand out. Stir in half a teaspoon of turmeric at a time, until you get the desired colour.

The gloss you get by brushing the top of cookies or pie crusts with egg whites, also known as "egg wash", cannot be replicated with applesauce, unfortunately. But this is not as critical as the binding of ingredients, so no big deal. If you are looking for a vegan alternative to "egg wash", try melting a teaspoon of honey in warm almond milk and brush it on your bakes.

Finally, let's consider the flavour. Well, applesauce doesn't taste like eggs. But it is delicious, and surely more satisfying than other vegan egg replacements, like flax-egg. For those that find the taste of eggs overwhelming, applesauce will be a great alternative.

We recommend you give applesauce a try next time you fancy egg-free cookies and bakes. It will make your dough sticky enough to be easy to mould, add a delicate apple flavour, and provide healthy nutrients and fibres.

Can applesauce replace oil in cookies?

Applesauce can be used as a substitute to oil as well as butter when baking cookies.

Whether you are already replacing butter with oil or not, you can make your bakes even healthier by giving applesauce a try. The one we made in the recipe above is nothing more than apples and water. So, there are no fats, and as we explained in the FAQ above, the sugars in apples are also quite healthy.

You can use a ratio of 1:1 when replacing oil with applesauce. So if your recipe uses 50 grams of oil, use 50 grams of applesauce instead.


Measuring System
Rolled Porridge Oats170 g
Baking Powder1 tsp
Mixed Nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts)80 g
Oat Milk4 tbsp
Maple Syrup2 tbsp
Sugar-Free Applesauce50 g
Dried Cranberries50 g

Step 1

In this step, we'll show you how to make applesauce from scratch if you want to prepare it yourself or can't get sugar-free applesauce.

A medium apple (130g / 4.5 oz) yields about 85g (3 oz) of applesauce, so use 1 apple (golden delicious or gala), and you'll have a little extra left.

Using more than one apple, though, makes it easier to blend all into a sauce, and you can use the leftover applesauce for other recipes like this healthy chocolate frosting.

Peel, quarter, and core the apple(s). Chop into chunks and add them to a pot with water.

Bring to a boil and simmer covered for 10 minutes over low heat until the apple chunks are soft and spongy (1).

Then, drain them well and blend them in a food processor into a smooth puree (2).

apple chunks boiled in a pot for applesauce
homemade applesauce in a bowl

Step 2

Soak the dried cranberries for 15 minutes in a bowl of water to soften them, make them plumper, and prevent burning in the oven.

Then, drain them well and gently squeeze out excess water.

dried cranberries soaked in water before baking cookies

Step 3

In a food processor, blitz half of the oat flakes until ground into fine flour.

Add the oat flour to a bowl along with the remaining oat flakes.

Tip in the baking powder, a pinch of salt, and finely chopped nuts and mix well.

Then, incorporate the oat milk, maple syrup, applesauce, and cranberries.

oat flakes, oat flour, and chopped nuts in a bowl for cookie dough

Step 4

Work the ingredients until they come together into a compact, moist, and slightly sticky dough.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes to help it set, so it'll be easier to shape into cookies.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (355°F) static and line a baking tray with baking paper.

To make one cookie, lightly grease your hands with oil and scoop a small handful of oatmeal dough.

Roll it into a ball and then flatten it down on the prepared tray, pressing down with your fingertips to spread the dough into a thin, round cookie.

applesauce oat cookies shaped on a tray

Step 5

Bake the oatmeal cookies for 12-15 minutes until they're golden.

Once ready, transfer the cookies over to a wire rack and let them cool down completely — they'll crisp up as they cool down.

Your vegan gluten-free applesauce cookies are ready!

They're delicious dipped in a glass of fresh milk or savoured with a spiced hot chocolate!

baked applesauce oat cookies cooling on a rack and plate


  • Instead of chopping the nuts, you can blitz them in a food processor until they're finely ground.

  • As an alternative to maple syrup, you can use golden syrup or runny honey (if not vegan).

  • You can swap dried cranberries with dried blueberries, blackcurrants, raisins, or Goji berries, or use extra-dark chocolate chips for an indulgent finish.

  • Store these applesauce oat cookies in an airtight container (preferably tin or glass) for up to 4 days.

  • You can use the applesauce cookie dough to make gooey oat balls, ready to eat and no baking needed. Simply roll the dough into bite-sized balls and store them in the fridge until set!