Applesauce Cookies: A Soft-Baked Classic Family Recipe


Several years ago, a reader named Phillip emailed in this traditional and time-tested recipe for dairy-free applesauce cookies. He said, “My Mom, Muriel, got this from Laura Goddard, a friend of hers.” I decided to give this recipe a test myself and take some pictures.

Dairy-Free Applesauce Cookies Recipe - A Spiced, Soft-Baked Family Classic

These applesauce cookies are very soft and a bit cake-y, almost like muffin tops. And they have just the right sweetness. I enjoyed them with hot tea or almond milk. The apple theme gives them a school-time vibe, and they are perfect for tucking into lunchboxes. But I think these tender bites are also nice for gifting over the holidays or simply baking on a special day.

You can enjoy these dairy-free applesauce cookies plain, or spike them with dried fruit and/or nuts for some extra interest. I chose to stick with the apple theme by adding Bob’s Red Mill diced dried apple pieces. I re-hydrated the bits for a few minutes, and then stirred them into the dough for lovely apple spice cookies.

Dairy-Free Applesauce Cookies Recipe - A Spiced, Soft-Baked Family Classic

Special Diet Notes: Applesauce Cookies

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, optionally nut-free, peanut-free, optionally soy-free, and vegetarian.

For vegan, I would recommend just omitting the egg. The batter is rather loose as is.

For gluten-free, you might have luck swapping in your favorite gluten-free flour blend for the flour. But I would keep the egg and add in a little extra starch if the dough is too moist.

5.0 from 5 reviews
Dairy-Free Applesauce Cookies
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These soft, cake-y cookies are a dairy-free family favorite that was shared with us by a reader named Phillip. I have tested the recipe and adapted it by adding more spice and clarifying the directions.
Serves: 48 cookies
  1. Preheat your oven to 375ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Put the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, allspice or nutmeg, and cloves in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. Put the buttery spread or margarine and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until creamed, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the applesauce and egg to the butter-sugar mixture, and beat with the hand mixer until combined. Stir in the flour mixture until combined.
  5. Fold in the dried fruit and/or walnuts, if using. The dough will be somewhat loose and moist. If it is too wet to work with, you can refrigerate it for 1 hour before baking.
  6. Drop the dough by the tablespoonful onto your prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.
  7. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, depending on how golden you like your cookies.
  8. Immediately remove the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely while you bake the next batch!
Sugar Options: You can substitute coconut sugar for less sweet dairy-free applesauce cookies, but I recommend grinding it in a spice grinder or food processor first. For sweeter, richer cookies, you might try substituting part or all brown sugar for the sugar.

Fruit Note: If your dried fruit is very dry, re-hydrate it in some hot water for 5 minutes. Drain the fruit and gently press out any excess moisture, before adding it to your batter.

Key Pantry Supplies: Dairy-Free Applesauce Cookies

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Dairy-Free Applesauce Cookies Recipe - A Spiced, Soft-Baked Family Classic

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. These cookies are exactly that….yummy muffin tops!
    I made a few substitutions to make them vegan and gluten-free, and they turned out absolutely delicious!
    I used gluten-free flour, 1tbsp ground flax + 3tbsp water instead of the egg, only half the sugar (brown) and lastly, I used fresh shredded apple rather than dry diced.

  2. I like the idea of grinding the coconut sugar to get a finer texture. I’ll have to try that in this recipe. They look great! and I love that there are real fruit pieces in there!

  3. I used butter, as I’m not dairy free but I love your recipes. I am short of eggs and trying to make as many cookies as I can before company. Our roads are currently covered in ice with freezing rain making travel perilous. I skipped the eggs. I don’t have dried apples. I made half with raisins and half with mini chocolate chips. Refrigerated dough overnight. Absolutely wonderful cookies. I used my smallest cookie scoop. Made 55 cookies.

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