Slow cooker applesauce is an easy way to make your own homemade applesauce. The long slow cooking brings out the natural sweetness of the fruit, and there's little preparation required.
I make this slow cooker applesauce recipe in near industrial quantities. We are lucky enough to have 3 apple trees in our garden, and there's always plenty of windfalls to keep me supplied.
Making applesauce in the slow cooker (or crockpot) means that you can easily make large quantities without having to watch over a pan on the stove. When I've made applesauce on the stovetop, I've often ended up with burnt apple and a scorched pan. Long slow cooking in the slow cooker also results in deliciously tasty apples, and the skin softens perfectly.
This recipe is for unsweetened applesauce, made without sugar or any other sweetener, so there's just two ingredients - apples and water.
Frequently asked questions
You can use most varieties of eating apples to make this delicious homemade applesauce. I mostly use Golden Delicious as that is what I have, but although they are not my preferred eating apple, they make a lovely sauce. The slow cooking process will bring out the sweetness and flavour in the apples. If you use cooking apples, you'll find that your sauce is a bit more tart, so taste it and if necessary, add a tablespoon or two if honey. Applesauce is a great way to use up apples that are slightly past their best. Wrinkled apples will work perfectly well, and if there are brown patches, just trim them off.
No (huge sigh of relief!). I find that when the apples have been slow cooked, the skins become so soft that they are unnoticeable. The peel also provides additional health benefits as it is high in fibre, in particular pectin. Pectin is a type of soluble fibre which is really beneficial to your digestive system and can help to control blood sugar levels. (See here for more information about pectin). So unsweetened applesauce is really good for your health:)
I've experimented with a few different ways of preparing large quantities of apples, and I've found that the quickest way is to cut the apple off the core. With the apple upright, make one cut alongside the core, turn the apple 90 degrees, and continue until you've done 4 sides. You'll end up with a square core. There's no equipment required other than a large knife.
In my slow cooker, a 3kg batch takes 4 hrs on medium. However, slow cookers do vary, so you might need to experiment the first time. The apples should be completely tender, but not absolute mush.
If you like, you can blitz your applesauce with a handheld stick blender for a super smooth apple puree.
Absolutely. I don't usually include cinnamon when I cook it, as I use the sauce for many different recipes, but for dessert or breakfast, cinnamon applesauce is delicious. For this quantity of apples, add a tablespoon of cinnamon, or ideally use a cinnamon stick. Spices such as ginger, allspice, nutmeg and cardamom will also go perfectly with the flavour of apple.
Unsweetened applesauce or apple puree is a great way of adding natural sweetness to your baking. These healthy apple flapjacks, quinoa breakfast muffins and adzuki bean brownies all use applesauce as a sweetener. These recipes also tend to be low in fat, as the applesauce adds moistness without the need for lots of butter or oil. If you want to experiment yourself, generally you can replace an equal amount of oil or butter with applesauce, and then cut right down or omit the sugar.
Homemade applesauce is also delicious served for breakfast, or as dessert. Try it on top of porridge or muesli, or stirred into natural yogurt, and topped with flaked almonds. This low sugar granola recipe also uses apple puree. Or use it to whizz up this spinach and apple puree smoothie.
Applesauce is also traditionally served with roast pork and cold meats, as the acidity of the apple helps to cut through the richness of the meat. You can serve it either cold or warm.
You can store your unsweetened applesauce in the fridge for up to a week. Applesauce also freezes brilliantly. I freeze nearly all of the applesauce that I make, and it remains in perfect condition. Store it in an airtight plastic container, or if you are short of freezer space, spoon it into plastic bags and freeze until solid.
- Remove the cores, and cut the unpeeled apples into chunks around 2 cm square
- Ideally, you'll want your slow cooker or crockpot to be about two thirds full. 3kg of apples is just right for my 6.5l slow cooker, but adjust the quantities to suit. If you cook a smaller batch of applesauce, reduce the cooking time
- You'll need to add a small amount of water to avoid the possibility of the apples sticking to the bottom of the pot. Depending on the variety of apples, you may well end up with some syrupy liquid at the bottom of the cooking pot. This is great for adding an apple-y sweetness to your baking
Slow Cooker Applesauce
- 3 kg apples, cored and chopped see notes above
- 200 ml water
- Add the cored and chopped apples to the slow cooker, along with the water. Cook on medium for 4 hrs, until the apples are completely tender to the point of a knife. Check after 3 hrs, especially if you are making a smaller quantity.
- If you prefer, you can blitz your applesauce with a hand blender to turn it a smooth apple puree.