This simple 5-Ingredient Applesauce Oatmeal Cookie recipe is simple to prepare and lower in sugar and fat than regular cookies. Easy to customize to fit your personal tastes, these applesauce cookies are perfect for everyday enjoyment!

White plate of applesauce cookies with an apple in the background.

For all those times you’re looking for a tasty baked good that won’t put you into a sugar coma, these cookies are gold!

We make various versions of these cookies almost weekly because we’re all about enjoying less sweet treats on a regular basis.

Which brings me to a question.

Have you tried baking cookies with applesauce instead of butter?

While I’m all about classic oatmeal cookies made with that classic buttery flavor, I’ve found replacing butter with applesauce works like a charm.

The end result is a soft pillowy cookie with a hint of apple flavor and a healthier treat that can be enjoyed each and every day without a modicum of guilt.

At a minimum, all we need is four ingredients to make applesauce oatmeal cookies: oats, applesauce, pure maple syrup, and almond butter. 

I also like adding cinnamon and sea salt to bring a boost of warm flavor.

All things considered, these cookies are vegan, gluten-free, flourless, dairy-free, and egg-free.

As you’ll see in the recipe card below, there are plenty of options to add into this easy recipe.

Why Make Cookies With Applesauce?

Replacing butter with applesauce lowers the calorie count and fat content of a cookie recipe. It also adds moisture and a subtle sweetness, which helps with both the chemistry and the flavor of the cookies.

Do we end up with show-stopping richness when using applesauce in oatmeal cookies? No.

We do, however, achieve a mindful treat that most people can enjoy daily without worrying about increases in blood sugar.

Apple sauce also replaces eggs, making these egg-free cookies a great vegan option.

Nevertheless, this cookie recipe isn’t suitable for diabetics, because it contains a decent amount of carbs from the oats, as well as sugar from the apple sauce and pure maple syrup.

For those who don’t have blood sugar dysregulation, these cookies have a great macronutrient profile. 

Plus, applesauce in oatmeal cookies creates a welcoming flavor profile, bringing you a sense of nostalgia for family baking.

One white plate and one wooden plate with applesauce cookies and a golden napkin and fresh apples to the side.

What Do These Cookies Taste Like?:

Because I designed this recipe to be lower in sugar and fat than a standard cookie recipe, the cookies are very lightly sweet and aren’t overly rich.

There is a very slight apple flavor (unless you add chopped apple, in which case the flavor is more pronounced), and a noticeable cinnamon flavor.

These cookies are very soft, similar to muffin tops. In this sense, they do not have the same texture as regular oatmeal cookies, but are instead much softer.

If you prefer sweeter, richer cookies, make my Healthy 6-Ingredient Apple Oatmeal Cookies, which are still made with wholesome ingredients but contain more pure maple syrup and almond butter.

Let’s discuss the 5 simple ingredients to make oatmeal applesauce cookies as well as some potential additions.

Ingredients for Applesauce Oatmeal Cookies:

Applesauce: Used to replace butter, applesauce provides moisture and natural sweetness to the cookies while lowering the fat content.

I use unsweetened applesauce, but sweetened applesauce can be used too.

Oatmeal: Whole grain oats replace regular flour to provide the base for this healthy cookie recipe. Quick cooking oats, instant oats, and rolled oats all work.

Old fashioned oats and rolled oats provide a heartier texture, whereas quick oats result in a softer texture.

For gluten-free applesauce cookies, be sure to use certified gluten-free oats. I use gluten-free sprouted oats.

Pure Maple Syrup: To keep the cookies refined sugar-free and to add a slight maple flavor, I sweeten the recipe with a touch of pure maple syrup.

As mentioned before, the recipe as written does not turn out very sweet. For a sweeter cookie, add 1 to 4 tablespoons of brown sugar or coconut sugar.

Don’t add more pure maple syrup because it will throw off the balance of liquid.

Unsweetened Almond Butter: While the cookies can be made without any added fat, a little almond butter brings some richness to the cookies which in turn levels up the flavor.

The almond butter flavor doesn’t shine through, which I like. Peanut butter can be used to replace the almond butter, although you will be able to taste it.

Ground Cinnamon: A generous amount of cinnamon brings warm flavor to the cookies. I don’t recommend skipping it, as the cookies don’t have much flavor otherwise.

Sea Salt: A pinch of salt is a nice flavor enhancer, making the cookies taste sweeter and bringing out the apple cinnamon flavors. 

Optional Additions:

  • Add ⅔ cup of chopped walnuts or chopped pecans for nutty crunch.
  • Mix in ⅓ to ½ cup of dried fruit such as raisins or dried cranberries.
  • Finely chop or grate half of an apple and mix the chopped apple into the cookie dough.
  • If you have pure vanilla extract on hand, add 1 teaspoon. 
  • Add 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup of chocolate chips for sweeter, fudgy chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.
  • Use apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice instead of cinnamon if you have it on hand.

Now that we’re familiar with the healthy ingredients and possible customizations, let’s bake cookies!

How to Make Applesauce Oatmeal Cookies:

If your almond butter isn’t room temperature (if it has been sitting in the refrigerator), either bring it to room temperature before starting the recipe or microwave it for 20-40 seconds, or until it is easy to stir.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Add all of the ingredients for the applesauce cookies to a food processor and process until a thick batter forms.

Ingredients for oatmeal applesauce cookies in a food processor, ready to be blended together.

The mixture will be thick and sticky but much wetter than regular cookie dough. This is normal.

Food processor with applesauce oatmeal cookie batter inside.

If you’re adding any solids (like nuts, dried fruit, or chopped apples) to the cookies, stir them into the batter now.

Note: if you don’t own a food processor, you can prepare this easy cookie recipe in a large bowl by mixing everything together well. If you go this route, I recommend allowing the cookie dough to sit for 10 minutes prior to baking. 

Use a spoon to drop dough onto the prepared baking sheet.

Applesauce cookie dough on a large baking sheet, ready to go into the oven.

The cookie dough doesn’t spread very much while baking and doesn’t change shape. For this reason, form the mounds of dough into circular cookie shapes or whatever final shape you’re going for.

I like making 12 cookies, but you can easily make fewer large cookies for a more substantial healthy snack.

Bake on the center rack of the preheated oven for 9-12 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown around the edges and appear set up.

Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool at least 15 minutes before removing them from the cookie sheet.

Store leftover cookies with applesauce in an airtight container or a zip lock bag in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. You can also freeze the oatmeal cookies for up to 3 months.

Hand holding an applesauce oatmeal cookie, ready to take a bite, with the rest of the baking sheet of cookies in the background.

These soft cookies taste even more flavorful the next day after they have had time to sit.

The next time you find yourself craving oatmeal cookies or a healthier baked good, make a batch or three of these healthy applesauce cookies!

They disappear so quickly in my household that I would consider them to be a staple. 

Nutrient Information:

When made into 12 cookies, each cookie contains 111 calories, 4 grams of fat, 17 grams of total carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.

This equates to 14 grams of net carbs (total carbs minus fiber). Not too shabby for a sweet treat!

​You can check out the recipe card below for the complete nutrition information to see the daily values. 

Putting lower sugar recipes like this on repeat keeps the sweet tooth at bay so that we’re less likely to nosedive into a pan of brownies.

It is one of my favorite recipes when I’m craving traditional cookies but want a quicker recipe with less excess sugar.

Also perfect for a lower calorie diet, the fact that these yummy cookies are made with whole grains instead of all purpose flour ensures they won’t spike your ghrelin (hunger hormone) and cause you to get hungry quickly.

Bake a double batch or a triple batch if you’re wanting to keep them on hand!

If you enjoy healthier easy cookie recipes like this without as much added sugar, also try out these reader favorites.

Applesauce in oatmeal cookies?! Let’s go!

White plate of applesauce cookies with an apple in the background.

Applesauce Oatmeal Cookies

5 from 1 vote
A tasty treat with a fabulous macronutrient profile, these easy applesauce cookies are lower in sugar and fat than regular cookies and help quench your sweet tooth without sending blood sugar sky high! There are plenty of ways to customize this healthy cookie recipe!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings: 12 Cookies

Ingredients

Optional Additions:

  • cup (84g) finely chopped or grated apple
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract optional
  • ½ cup (65g) walnuts or pecans chopped

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • If your almond butter isn’t room temperature (if it has been sitting in the refrigerator), either bring it to room temperature before starting the recipe or microwave it for 20-40 seconds, or until it is easy to stir.
  • Add all of the ingredients for the applesauce cookies to a food processor and process until a thick batter forms. The mixture will be thick and sticky but much wetter than regular cookie dough. This is normal. If you’re adding any solids (like nuts, dried fruit, or chopped apples) to the cookies, stir them into the batter now. Note: if you don’t own a food processor, you can prepare this easy cookie recipe in a large bowl by mixing everything together well. If you go this route, I recommend allowing the cookie dough to sit for 10 minutes prior to baking.
  • Use a spoon to drop mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheet. The cookie dough doesn’t spread very much while baking and doesn’t change shape. For this reason, form the mounds of dough into circular cookie shapes or whatever final shape you’re going for. I like making 12 cookies, but you can easily make fewer large cookies for a more substantial healthy snack.
  • Bake cookies on the center rack of the preheated oven for 9-12 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown around the edges and appear set up.
  • Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool at least 15 minutes before removing them from the cookie sheet.

Notes

*For sweeter cookies, add 1 to 4 tablespoons of brown sugar.
If you’re aiming for more apple flavor, definitely add the finely chopped apple!
Store leftover cookies with applesauce in an airtight container or a zip lock bag in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. You can also freeze the oatmeal cookies for up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Cookie (of 12) · Calories: 111kcal · Carbohydrates: 17g · Protein: 4g · Fat: 4g · Sodium: 99mg · Fiber: 3g · Sugar: 4g
Author: Julia Mueller
Course: Cookies, Desserts & Treats
Cuisine: American
Keyword: applesauce oatmeal cookies, gluten free cookie recipes, gluten free dessert recipes, healthy cookie recipe, oatmeal cookie recipe, vegan apple cookies, vegan dessert recipes
Did You Make This Recipe?I want to see it! Tag @the.roasted.root on social media!

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Julia Mueller
Meet the Author

Julia Mueller

Julia Mueller is a recipe developer, cookbook author, and founder of The Roasted Root. She has authored three bestselling cookbooks, – Paleo Power Powers, Delicious Probiotic Drinks, and The Quintessential Kale Cookbook. Her recipes have been featured in several national publications such as BuzzFeed, Self, Tasty, Country Living, Brit.co, etc.

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Questions and Reviews

  1. We make some rendition of this recipe almost weekly because we love how healthy and tasty they are. Not too sweet and easy to adapt to different flavors or levels of sweetness!

    1. Hi Cassie! You shouldn’t need to change anything when omitting the pure maple syrup since it’s only a small amount 🙂 As a heads up, the cookies won’t taste very sweet but if you’re okay with that, I say proceed forth! My husband and I prefer our treats on the less sweet end of the spectrum too. Enjoy! xo

    2. @Cassie, I don’t care for maple so I used dark Karo. I will try them again with molasses the results should be the same with any syrup.

  2. Pretty good cookies. Also, for your edification syrup is refined sugar it just isnt dehydrated and granulated. It is made by refining maple sap until it reaches an 80/20 sucrose to water ratio.

    1. Hi there! If it were me, I would replace it with 2 tablespoons of melted butter or 1 tablespoon of avocado oil or melted coconut oil. The goal is to get just a small amount of fat in there for some richness. Nevertheless, you could just omit the almond butter altogether without adding anything else and the cookies will still turn out – they just won’t have as much flavor. I hope this helps! xo