Make Megan-simple applesauce in the slow cooker

October 9 | Guest post by PlanningAhead
By: Stacy Spensley - CC BY 2.0
By: Stacy SpensleyCC BY 2.0
This dead-easy version of homemade applesauce has no added sugar and only a couple of ingredients. You don't need to watch it, you don't need to know how to can, and the only special ingredient you need is a slow cooker. (You could also do this on the stovetop, but it's more complicated then.)


  • A bunch of sweet apples. You can use all one type or mix them up: try Fuji, Gala, Yellow Delicious, etc. Granny Smith are probably too tart for most people; Red Delicious get kinda mushy.
  • Some cinnamon. I didn't measure, but probably put in a couple of tablespoons. Use more or less — or none at all — depending on your taste.
  • Up to a cup of liquid — water, juice, apple cider.


Step One: Fill your slow cooker with whole apples, just so you can get an estimate of how many you need. (My 8-quart model took four big apples and six small ones — you want the crock to be at least 3/4 full, and they will reduce in size as they cook.)

Consider your storage plans: the applesauce will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days, but if you make more than your household can eat in that time, you'll want to have some freezer space available.

Step Two: Peel and core the apples. If you have a fancy tool, I envy you. If you have a less-fancy tool or two, you'll be done sooner. But if you just peel with a knife or veggie peeler, then quarter the apples and slice out the cores, that works too.

However you cut them — chunks or slices — at least get them smaller than halves. Smaller pieces will cook more quickly.

Step Three: Put the apple pieces (minus cores and peels) in the slow cooker and add the cinnamon. Pour in a small amount of liquid (I had leftover juice from some canned pears in my freezer, so I used that).

Step Four: Cover and set your slow cooker to Low.

Step Five: Cook for 4-5 hours on Low. Your kitchen will smell like apple pie!

Step Six: Around the four-hour mark, take a peek and stir the apples to see how easily they break apart. When they are soft enough to break down, you can mash them with a fork or use a whisk for a couple of minutes to make chunky applesauce. (If you'd prefer a smoother texture, you can transfer small batches of applesauce to a blender or food processor, or use an immersion blender right in the slow cooker.) Careful — it's HOT!

Eat warm or let it cool (and then store in the fridge or freezer). You might want to freeze the applesauce in small plastic containers or zip-top bags for single-portion lunch packing.

I think this would be really good on vanilla ice cream, or maybe German pancakes (have you seen this adorable muffin-tin mini version?), but I ate a couple bowls of applesauce all by itself. It was so sweet and delicious, even without extra sugar. I may never get store-bought again!

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  1. Homemade applesauce is the best. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

    I do it a little different- on the stove top and with a food mill. With the food mill you don't have to peel the apples but then you have to store a food mill in your kitchen all year! Personally I like tart applesauce with cinnamon.

  2. Yum! I like to do this too. I don't like peeling apples so I leave the peels on. Sometimes I leave the apples in big chunks then I pull the peels out after the applesauce is done cooking. Sometimes I cut the apples into smaller chunks (hence the peels are smaller) and I just leave the peels in and eat them with the applesauce.

    2 agree
  3. I can't recommend honeycrisp apples enough for apple sauce. They are a naturally sweeter apple so they work out wonderfully for any recipe that doesn't call for sugar or any time you wouldn't want to add any/much sugar to a recipe and still like a sweet taste!

    2 agree
  4. I got a peck of Honeycrisp apples at the orchard recently and made both applesauce (on the stove) and apple butter (in the slow cooker). Both recipes were really easy and delicious, and I had plenty to eat, freeze, and share.

    This is the apple butter recipe I used; it even has an instructional video! Apple butter is very similar to applesauce but a little thicker. I used honey instead of sugar.

    1 agrees
  5. I love homemade applesauce, although I do mine on the stove. I make apple butter too, just cook down the apple sauce more. It's also really good to throw a couple of pears or some strawberries in.

  6. Helpful hint – Place extra applesauce in freezer bags, lay flat and freeze. You can store a whole lot more applesauce in your freezer this way!

    2 agree
  7. I just had homemade applesauce for the first time a few weeks ago. My friend made it. I can attest that it tastes very delicious over vanilla ice cream! I never would have thought to try it that way if she hadn't suggested it.

    1 agrees
  8. I JUST made applesauce right before this was posted. Someone left a small bushel (peck?) sized basket of apples on the side of the road that said, "FREE cooking apples". They were ugly, but once peeled they were fine. I think this family's trees must have cross pollinated or something because about a third of the apples LOOKED like apples, but smelled exactly like pears and had the same sort of grainy flesh as pears. Kind of neat. I was also pleased that I was able to "pay it forward" by inviting a stranger (thank you Facebook swap/sell groups!) to come pick the beautiful crab apples off of our trees to make into crab apple jelly. Yay!

    2 agree
  9. I just do mine in the microwave, peel and chop apples of your choice (I usually use royal gala, or granny smith, or a combo of both) place in mirowave safe container, add enough water to just cover, microwave for 10 minutes (or until tender) mash with potato masher. done.

  10. This is also a really great and easy way to make homemade baby food! My kiddo has been eating so much applesauce this autumn since I got some free apples.

    I hear you can do pretty much the same things with pears, plums, etc.

    1 agrees
  11. Made this on the weekend and we loved it! Although in my slow cooker on low it only took 2 hours. We had it on ice cream, on its own, and I used it as filling for little apple tarts since I had some extra pie pastry dough to use up. I bought two extra bags of apples this week so I can fill the freezer with the stuff. Seems I'm kind of obsessed…

    1 agrees
  12. I used this recipe yesteday with some tweaking. I used cranberry juice and added a dash of nutmeg and ginger in addition to the cinnamon. SO good. I never would have thought to eat apple sauce warm, but i had some straight out of the crock pot and it was amazing!

  13. Ooh, my husband is a fan of applesauce… it's one of the only ways to get him to consume vegetables (I don't know either). We'll have to give this a try!

  14. I love making applesauce on the stove, with apples, cinnamon and lemon juice. Sometimes I add raisins or dried fruits. Sometimes I use half apples and half pears or I make plain pear sauce.

    With leftover pearsauce, I make traditional French "rissoles", which are basically fruits pasties (shortcrust pastry filled with pearsauce and raisins). It's a great way to eat the excess sauce. I'm sure it would be delicious with applesauce too.

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