Why You Can't Replace Oil With Applesauce In Every Baking Recipe

If you're trying to eat healthier but don't want to give up your delicious baked goods, you may have tried one of the many oil or butter swaps that are trending right now. Considering that many baking recipes call for canola and other types of vegetable oil, which Healthline shares have been linked to chronic inflammation, heart disease, and arthritis, it may be beneficial to experiment with oil replacements in baking recipes.

And there are plenty of options out there, so it's likely you'll find one you enjoy. Mashed banana is popular in banana bread, but can also be used in a variety of cookies and cakes, as well as these zucchini banana bread muffins. You can also try avocado for added creaminess, canned pumpkin in fall-themed recipes, and even tofu for a boost of protein. When fall rolls around, you may also be tempted to add applesauce into apple-flavored baked goods as a healthier oil swap — and while this may work in some cases, be sure to follow these guidelines before making the switch.

Applesauce may change the texture of some baked goods

There's a good reason that applesauce can replace oil or butter in some cases — it has a lot of water, so it will keep your baked goods moist, and it works as a binder for the dry ingredients while adding a boost of fiber to your recipe. However, not all recipes are created equal when it comes to applesauce swaps.

Certain foods rely on cold butter or oil to make them work, and substituting applesauce would create a big difference in texture. When making pie crusts, for instance, it's crucial that you use cold butter for a flaky crust, and that you incorporate butter instead of other substitutes for the high-fat content. Any recipes that cream butter and sugar together won't work either — the goal of this step is to create pockets of air that lead to a light and fluffy texture, which applesauce simply can't accomplish in the same way.

So when can you use applesauce in baked goods? Try starting out with recipes that include oil or melted butter — but you'll only want to replace up to 50% of the oil with applesauce, as any more may change the recipe's chemistry. But recipes that already replaced the oil with a different puree, like mashed bananas, are fair game, as the applesauce shouldn't create a significant texture change.