Recipe – Applesauce Protein Cookies

These healthy applesauce cookies are a kid favorite, but are great for the whole family. They stay soft and can be made multiple ways and to suit special diets. A scoop of protein powder adds a kick of energy to them.

 Course: Dessert, Snack

 Prep Time: 20 minutes

 Cook Time: 30 minutes

 Servings: 24 Cookies

 Author: Jo Reardon


  • 1 cup Chunky Applesauce *I use my homemade applesauce. If using store-bought, look for an unsweetened, chunky variety.
  • 2/3 cup Maple Syrup or Raw Honey
  • 1/2 cup Organic, All-Vegetable Shortening *Butter or Coconut Oil may be used, but will result in soft, but flat cookies.
  • 1 large Egg
  • 2 cups Gluten-Free, All-Purpose Flour (Bob’s Red Mill, King Arthur, or brand of your choice)
  • 1/2 tsp Pink Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 rounded tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Ground Cloves or Ground Allspice
  • 1 level scoop Protein Powder of your choice (about 1/4 cup) *Protein powder adds both nutrients and thickness to the batter.
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Raisins or Dried Cranberries *Unsweetened Cranberries may be hard to find in a standard grocery store. I use a variety I found at Sterling Market in Johnson, VT that are sweetened with apple juice.
  • 1/2 cup Mini Dark Chocolate Chips (or your preference of chips or nuts)


  • If using raisins in this recipe, soak in hot water for 5 minutes and drain well.
  • Cream together Shortening and Maple Syrup (or Honey).
  • Mix in Applesauce & Egg.
  • Mix in the rest of the ingredients, except Raisins and Chips. Blend well.
  • Mix in Chips and Cranberries or pre-soaked Raisins.
  • Set oven to 350. Allow cookie batter to rest and thicken for 10-15 min, while oven heats to temp. Omitting this step will cause the batter to spread more, resulting in flatter cookies. Ending batter should settle slightly when placed on the pan, but mostly hold its form.
  • Using a #24 cookie scoop or 1/8 cup, drop batter onto parchment lined baking sheets, leaving 2″ between.
  • Bake 13-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cookie comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool on wire racks for about 30 minutes. These cookies are great warm or cold.
  • Store in an air-tight container.*Tip – If your cookies get too dry, add a slice of bread to the container and leave overnight.


The original recipe this is based on has been in my family for years. Over time, I have modified the ingredients to remove processed sugar, as well as to make it both gluten free and dairy free. Despite many modifications, these cookies always come out soft and remain a favorite in my house.

Notes on Substitutions:

  • These cookies can be made vegan by replacing the egg with a mixture of 2 tbls Arrowroot powder and 3 tbls Water (mix until dissolved, before adding). It will change the texture slightly, but is a great egg substitute in cookie recipes. 3 tbls of Nut Butter also works as a substitute and adds a different flavor to the cookie. 
  • This recipe contains 1.5 cups of mix-ins, which can easily be changed up. The favorite combination in my house is 1 cup Dried Cranberries with 1/2 cup Mini Dark Chocolate Chips, but we’ve found many combinations we like that add up to 1.5 cups. Try it with Chopped Dried Apples, Walnuts, Slivered Almonds, or Sunflower Seeds.
  • For a different flavor, try replacing the 1 cup applesauce with 1 cup pureed pumpkin or sweet potato.
  • Some substitutions require tweaking. Adding too much moisture may cause your cookies to turn into pancakes (see below). If the batter seems too thin, try adding a bit more flour or protein powder. Start with 2 tbls, mix well, and let sit 5 min to thicken.  

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