15 Best Applesauces Ranked

While applesauce holds a humble reputation as a healthy afterschool snack, it is something of a dark horse in the kitchen. Need a quick and easy condiment to take your pork chops to the next level? Applesauce is there for you. Looking for a low-fat alternative to oil in your baking recipes? Applesauce has got your back. Beyond serving as a hydrating, glucose-boosting treat, the applications for applesauce are seemingly neverending — though you might not think so at first glance.

Consisting of little more than pureed apples, homemade applesauce recipes are still a little more involved, requiring a good deal of prep and watchful simmering to achieve optimal texture and flavor. When it comes to ready-made applesauce, however, options have greatly expanded beyond traditional recipes. Whether you're a fan of blueberries or bananas, you can find applesauce featuring nearly any fruit purée you please these days. 

That said, finding the finest applesauce out there requires going back to basics. At Tasting Table, we made it our mission to sample every unsweetened variety we could find to uncover the best applesauce money can buy.

365 by Whole Foods Market

It's hard to believe that Whole Foods Market began as a small Texas food store with only 19 team members at one point in time. Founded by John Mackey and Renee Lawson Hardy in 1980, the company is better known today as one of the most recognizable health food supermarkets in the world. Boasting over 500 store locations across North America and the United Kingdom, the grocery giant is a one-stop destination for specialty and organic foods, with many produced under its very own 365 label.

The 365 by Whole Foods Market brand is synonymous with quality and good value, so we had high hopes for the company's organic unsweetened applesauce. Unfortunately, a quick stir test revealed a rather pulpy product, which was later confirmed through a tasting. It may have just been a bad batch of apples, but 365's sauce was far too dry. 

With 18 grams of carbohydrates per cup, it came as no surprise to us that 365 was the starchiest sauce featured in our ranking. Looking past its objectionable texture, we discovered its flavor wasn't all there. We didn't pick up on much apple aroma, and the recipe's sweetness did nothing to distract from its unpleasant mouthfeel. Taking its above-average price into consideration, we had no choice but to deem Whole Foods' 365 the worst in our applesauce competition.

Bowl & Basket

Unless you're located in the Northeast, you might not know of Bowl & Basket. The store brand can be found in ShopRite supermarkets scattered across six states from Maryland to New York. But, even if you're lucky enough to live near a ShopRite, you could have some difficulty finding Bowl & Basket applesauce. Of all the sauces we sourced, Bowl & Basket's unsweetened variety proved to be something of a white whale. After several unsuccessful trips to local ShopRites, we finally obtained a six-pack of our own at a reasonable price.

Pulling out a container from its cardboard home, we were swiftly greeted by a message on Bowl & Basket's lid warning us not to resell the product for individual sale. With our dreams of a lucrative applesauce empire dashed, we dove in for a taste. Thankfully, our stir test showed that Bowl & Basket was juicier than 365 by Whole Food's product, but its flavor was only marginally better. 

Tasting Bowl & Basket applesauce was like biting into a forgotten apple at the back of the fridge, with stale and fermented notes at the forefront. Its texture may have been passable, but we couldn't get past how Bowl & Basket's recipe managed to capture the very essence of mealy apples. As such, Bowl & Basket tumbled toward the second-to-last place in our ranking.

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz started with simple roots in the early 1970s. An early advocate of upcycling, founder John Battendieri built the company by salvaging discarded orchard fruits and creating delicious pressed juices. Today, Santa Cruz still manufactures a wide variety of juices and lemonades, as well as grocery staples like organic applesauce.

Santa Cruz turned out to be the most expensive applesauce in our ranking. As the sauce with the highest cost, we were hoping it would be one of the better-tasting brands. But, we knew something was wrong by the way its aluminum lid peeled inefficiently leaving a thin strip of foil dangling across the cup like a tightrope. At first, all we noticed was the abrasive bite of ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, which slowly crept up on our tastebuds before delivering a final, loud bang. As it settled, we were left with a peppery, earthy aftertaste, not unlike beets or arugula — but entirely out of place for applesauce. 

The discordant duo from this premium-priced product left us with a bad taste in our mouths, and Santa Cruz landed around the bottom of our list as a result.


Shoppers in New England and New York should be well-acquainted with this wholesome grocer's store brand. Headquartered in Scarborough, Maine, there are Hannaford stores throughout the Northeast. It didn't take long before we found their unsweetened applesauce on our local store's shelves, a pink cardboard package retailing for a modest $1.95, at the time of publication.

Right away, we noticed some curious similarities between Hannaford and Bowl & Basket. Both products bore the same ominous black-and-white message on their lids, although Hannaford's actual sauce appeared to be slightly darker in color. That said, we found that Hannaford's applesauce was more palatable than ShopRite's, even if it was a bit bland. 

We wouldn't recommend it as our favorite sauce for snacking purposes, but it could certainly do well as a last-minute baking or recipe ingredient. In light of its underwhelming flavor and appearance, Hannaford narrowly inched past the bottom of our applesauce ranking.

Simply Nature

By now, most of us know about Aldi, the German affordable grocery store chain that's spawned numerous fan pages praising its private-label products. Aldi is home to several types of puréed fruit products, though we settled on their Simply Nature line for our taste test. The outer packaging is attractive with the same colorful graphic design printed on each individual cup's lid. Although Aldi doesn't supply much information about where its apples were sourced, it does promise a "Twice as Nice" guarantee of a refund and replacement product if it fails to meet one's expectations.

Simply Nature is one of the least expensive sauces on our list — but how did it taste? In sum, there was nothing remarkable about the applesauce itself. While we wouldn't describe it as bad, Aldi's applesauce has a noticeable bitter undertone and watery texture. Though it might be more affordable than other private-label products, we feel that there are plenty of sauces that surpass Aldi in quality for the price. Simply Nature isn't likely to disappoint diehard Aldi fans, but it's not what we'd call the ideal applesauce.

Field Day Organics

We happened upon Field Day Organics by chance while shopping at our local health food co-op. Little is known about the origins of the brand, though it supplies American grocers and co-ops with everything from sustainable household goods to organic pantry products. One of the few brands to feature a four-pack in lieu of a six-pack package, we procured our Field Day applesauce for $3.99 — making it one of the most costly products on our list.

Our initial impression of Field Day was positive in spite of its steep price tag. Upon giving it a stir, we noticed that this applesauce had a denser consistency than others, with little juice to speak of. It's not uncommon for applesauce to contain ascorbic acid or vitamin C, but Field Day's recipe tasted exceptionally tangy — a surprising feat, given its very low vitamin C content at 2% per serving in contrast to the standard 100%. Overall, we felt Field Day had a clean and bright flavor profile, but its dry texture detracted from its final score.

Great Value

What sets Walmart apart from other stores is its reputation for low prices. Or so we thought. The Great Value Organic applesauce isn't exactly cheap by applesauce standards. It features a straightforward ingredient list of organic apples, water, and ascorbic acid, but no information on where its apples were sourced.

Perhaps some of Walmart's applesauce budget went toward its packaging, a colorfully-printed cardboard sleeve. We hoped to see the same design printed inside, though we were met with plain silver lids that were difficult to tear off. Oddly, the sauce inside possessed a strange, mottled surface with cornmeal-colored flecks. These odd discolorations disappeared as we stirred, though we remained skeptical of what lay ahead. 

Fortunately, Great Value made up for its bizarre appearance in taste with a sweet, slightly acidic bite and well-balanced moisture content. While it lost a few points for its steep price, Great Value still earned a respectable position among the rest.


Anyone who regularly strolls down the canned fruit aisle has some awareness of Musselman's. Established in 1907, the company specializes in everything apple-related, from pie fillings and ciders to farm-fresh sauces. With great enthusiasm, we picked up Musselman's unsweetened applesauce six-pack from Price Chopper for $2.99.

As we dug into Musselman's unsweetened applesauce, we detected a slight hint of fruity fragrance emanating from its cup. After giving it a good stir, we went in for our first spoonful of sauce. Although Musselman's contains both freshly-picked produce and a generous amount of vitamin C, we felt its flavor was very faint. Its shining achievement was the fact that it had no strange aftertaste, the bane of several other sauces in our ranking. 

For a company with such a strong emphasis on all things apples, we felt underwhelmed by Musselman's offering in the applesauce department. Consequently, the brand fell several places behind other competitors.

Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's is the type of store that doesn't need much introduction. Whether you're a weekly Trader Joe's shopper or just beginning to discover the best Trader Joe's products, it's safe to say that this grocer's acclaim is well-deserved. 

Opening Trader Joe's applesauce requires a little extra effort, courtesy of its tightly-sealed silver lid. Of all the sauces we sampled, we observed that TJ's had the darkest color by far, a deep caramel flecked with tiny pieces of apple peel. Another interesting point about Trader Joe's applesauce? It's the only product we tried that listed natural flavor in its short ingredient list. 

Still, based on our taste test, the additional flavor didn't do much to elevate Trader Joe's applesauce. It's an average-tasting sauce, the same kind you'd expect to find on a standard styrofoam school lunch tray. When stacked against other organic applesauce, however, Trader Joe's has a significant advantage: it's the most affordable by a long shot, giving it an edge over the competition.

Good & Gather

In case you weren't already aware, Good & Gather is mega-chain Target's private label. We've had many fine experiences in the past with Target's own line of groceries, from frozen goat cheese pizzas to grab-and-go charcuterie bites, but we were curious to see what the company could accomplish with a product as simple as unsweetened applesauce.

Keeping with Good & Gather's laidback branding approach, the applesauce's packaging is cool and minimalistic. Peeling back its lid yielded little in the way of scent, but revealed a striking yellow sauce underneath. Its thick, juicy consistency passed our stir test with flying colors — there's no soupy applesauce splashing around here. 

Good & Gather doesn't have a remarkable depth of flavor, but what it does project is sweet, mild, and almost floral in nature. What's more, there's a refreshing bite from the inclusion of vitamin C, though it isn't overstated like in other applesauce recipes. Good & Gather's above-average attributes and reasonable price secured this applesauce a spot toward the top of our list.

Vermont Village

As apple aficionados, we had sweet memories of Vermont Village's ready-made applesauce in mind when selecting this Stonewall Kitchen brand. In the past, we'd tasted some otherworldly applesauce from Vermont Village that could serve as a stand-alone dessert option, thanks to its unbelievably smooth texture. We couldn't help but wonder if it was as good as we recalled, especially when compared to a slew of other apple sauces.

What we can say is that Vermont Village is still a cut above the majority of store-bought applesauce on the market. The quality is evident as soon as you crack open a cup, as it fills the air with a fresh apple scent. Though the flavor wasn't as bold as we thought it would be, it's definitely more enjoyable than your garden-variety applesauce brand. 

Its texture was our biggest concern, as we so fondly remembered Vermont Village's velvety consistency in the past. Sadly, the puréed perfection we yearned for wasn't there this time around. Instead, we found Vermont Village's texture wasn't all that different from any other applesauce. In spite of our disappointment, the brand managed to earn high marks for its bright apple flavor.


Prior to planning our applesauce expedition, we'd never heard of Applesnax. The brand is available in the grocery section of Dollar Tree stores, but finding the unsweetened version was a tedious task. It took us two tries before we tracked down Applesnax, a cheerful four-pack of sauce retailing for $1.25 at the time of publication. Oddly, by purchasing an unsweetened variety, Dollar Tree shoppers lose out on the extra two cups provided in corn syrup-sweetened Applesnax applesauce.

Considering Applesnax was the lowest-priced product on our list, we were thoroughly pleased by its performance. The applesauce itself has a uniform sheen and color with few, if any, visual imperfections to be found. We must warn you, however, that this applesauce isn't for the faint of heart — or tastebuds. Applesnax contains a particularly potent form of vitamin C that shocks the tongue with its tartness, almost verging on the sour or tannic territory.  

Although we'd shy away from using its aggressive flavor in baking recipes, Applesnax is a real treat for sour snack fans at an unbeatable price. With this in mind, the Dollar Tree delicacy earned sufficiently high marks.

Pics by Price Chopper

Pics is a regional grocery chain Price Chopper's store brand, and it just so happened to be one of the easiest products to find on our list. The Pics by Price Chopper generic sauce was also one of the most affordable to boot. Its modest cardboard label conceals one of its best features — the retro red apple stamped on each silvery Pics cup could easily win the best lid design of the bunch.

Every cup of Pics jiggles furiously when you lift it due to the abundance of juice kicking around inside. It has the potential to be extra hydrating, but it also creates a spill hazard if you aren't careful, which we learned the hard way. User failure aside, Pics rapidly grew on us. Among all of the applesauce we sampled, Price Chopper's product had the most classic apple flavor, a crisp and sweet finish with just the right amount of tartness. The impressively fresh-tasting sauce outperformed every other store brand on our list, nabbing a high spot in our overall ranking.


You don't need to know much about Mott's to know the brand is synonymous with shelf-stable applesauce. But it's worth pointing out that Mott's has been dealing with apples for nearly two hundred years. Most importantly, we have Mott's to thank for the invention of individual plastic applesauce cups, released in 1985. It makes sense that Mott's is behind the original single-serve design, considering the extraordinary attention to detail in its present-day cups. If you look closely, you'll see that each Mott's container is molded to resemble the shape of an apple barrel, complete with textured "wooden" grooves.

We chose to try the Granny Smith variety, a twist on the typical unsweetened applesauce. In our stir test, Mott's appeared noticeably thicker than other sauces, holding a peak, whereas others fell flat. Regretfully, the appeal of a fresh Granny Smith apple doesn't quite translate as an applesauce — at least, not to our palettes. In lieu of its sweet and sour tang, there's an almost bubblegum or anise-like flavor present in Mott's sauce. Some may appreciate its unique characteristics, but it wasn't for us. 

Nevertheless, its texture was superb, and we can't overlook Mott's contributions to the applesauce community as a whole. Thus, Mott's managed to receive a handsome overall score.

GoGo Squeez

Introduced in 2008 by Materne, GoGo Squeez was a pioneer in the realm of handheld fruit pouches. Though you could choose from an array of GoGo Squeezes containing tasty fruits like mango and passionfruit, we settled on the brand's Apple Apple flavor for obvious reasons.

Although GoGo Squeez looks a little different than your typical puréed fruit product, we'd argue it's applesauce nonetheless. After all, it contains little more than apples, apple purée, and lemon juice inside. After cracking open a pouch adorned with unicycling apples, we instantly realized we'd found a winning sauce. 

First and foremost, lemon is far preferable to vitamin C extract as a preservative thanks to a mellow acidity that complements crushed apples beautifully. On top of that, GoGo's blend of crushed and puréed apples was deliciously smooth, resulting in a truly harmonious tasting experience. Classic cups of applesauce will always have a place in our hearts, but GoGo Squeez had this competition in the bag.