This Crockpot Applesauce tastes completely different from storebought jarred applesauce, and is reminiscent of apple pie filling, but without the added sugar. It’s incredibly easy to make in the slow cooker.
My son eats a little bit of applesauce every night for dessert, so over the past couple of years, our family has become a bunch of applesauce connoisseurs.
I’m half joking, but we really have purchased and tried a ridiculous number of brands and types of applesauce.
Even having tried artisanal $7 jars of applesauce imported from the Brittany region of France, none of it compares to homemade.
Isn’t that amazing?
All things equal, I would always rather buy something at the store for the sake of convenience, but sometimes the freshness factor is so huge that I just can’t.
What’s so great about homemade applesauce?
The difference in flavor between homemade and storebought is astonishing. It’s hard to even call them by the same name.
The best way I can describe homemade applesauce is it’s like a scratch-made apple pie filling, but without the added sugar.
It’s still sweet, because apples have a lot of natural sweetness to them, but it’s pure and flavorful.
Homemade applesauce is also really easy to make. I use two ingredients here.
While I’ve made it in the past simply in a saucepan on the stove (see: Pink Lady Apple Sauce with Cardamom and Cinnamon), I’ve come to prefer the crockpot.
What Type of Apples to Use for Applesauce:
Equal parts Fuji apples with Pink Lady apples is my favorite combination.
Below you can see Fuji on the left, and Pink Lady on the right:
These apples have become pretty widely available. Fuji apples are very sweet, with a crisp bite, while the Pink lady apples are a bit more tart.
With these two varieties, you’ll get an applesauce with a complex flavor.
Can You Use Other Types of Apples?
Yes, please go ahead and use whatever your favorite is, whether it’s Honeycrisp or Gala or Granny Smith. I recommend combining a sweeter apple with a more tart apple, to give a more interesting flavor.
The only one I don’t recommend is Red Delicious, which generally isn’t recommended for use with baking or cooking.
How to Make Crockpot Applesauce:
Peel, core, and chop the apples into big pieces. The peeler I use in the photo above is the best peeler I’ve owned, it’s this Rosle peeler on Amazon (affiliate).
Then I use a chef’s knife to cut straight down the core, and use a melon baller to scoop out the seeds in the middle, and the stem at the top. Then just chop it up.
I like to sprinkle ground cinnamon on top too, though this is optional. The apples have enough flavor on their own, but I’m a sucker for cinnamon in all things.
Should You Add Water or Not?
I don’t add water to my applesauce because I enjoy a thicker texture, and it’s not necessary for the slow cooker.
If you’re cooking applesauce on the stovetop, you absolutely need water. But here, so long as you stir the apples partway through cooking as instructed below, you shouldn’t have trouble with burning.
If you like a looser, more watery applesauce like the kind they sell at the store, go ahead and add water. Amounts are in the recipe card below, but 1/2 cup is a good place to start. You can always thin it more at the end after pureeing.
Put the lid on and cook the apples for 2 hours, until the apples soften slightly:
This is when I stir and mash the apples lightly with a fork. They won’t be completely soft, and you can still see some chunks:
Put the lid back on and keep cooking for another hour, which should soften the apples even further:
Give it another stir and mash, and cook for 1 more hour, until completely soft.
Decide on texture: Do you want ultra smooth or chunky applesauce?
Once the apples are completely done cooking, you can decide if you want to puree the applesauce or if you prefer a chunkier texture.
For an ultra smooth applesauce, puree in a food processor or blender.
I like it on the chunkier side, so I simply mash it to my liking with a fork or potato masher.
Chill the applesauce completely in the fridge, which should take about 4 hours. Then it’s ready to enjoy!
Crockpot Applesauce FAQs and Tips:
- How to store leftovers: Keep the applesauce in the fridge for up to 5 days. After that the flavor really goes downhill.
- How to freeze: This stuff freezes beautifully! Store in an airtight container for up to two months. When ready to enjoy, thaw in the fridge the night before you want it again.
- You do not need a fancy crockpot to make this. The one I use, I bought for $17 about 10 years ago (it’s now out of stock, but was made by Proctor Silex).
- Don’t have a crockpot? You can make this on the stove instead. See this recipe here.
- 3 lbs apples (I had 4 Fuji apples and 4 Pink Lady apples)
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup water (optional, see notes)
- Peel the apples, then slice in half through the core. Use a melon baller to scoop out the seeds and stems, and discard them.
- Chop the apples into small chunks about 1" big. It doesn't matter too much if the pieces are bigger or smaller, so don't stress about making them completely uniform.
- Combine the apple chunks and cinnamon in the crockpot, and the water, if using. Cook on high for 2 hours, then give the apples a stir and a rough mash with a fork.
- Cook for another hour, then stir and roughly mash the apples again. The apples may not be fully soft yet, and that's okay.
- Cook for one more hour, until the apples are completely tender. Mash the apples well with a fork or potato masher, or run the applesauce through a food processor or blender to make it completely smooth.
- Chill the applesauce for at least 4 hours before serving, to ensure it's completely cold. Enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.