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).
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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!
Comments on Make Megan-simple applesauce in the slow cooker
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.
And this link has great ideas for how to use your applesauce.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
Agreed! It is SO good over ice cream.
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!
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.
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.
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…
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!
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!
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.