This homemade crockpot applesauce recipe is cooked low and slow and creates a deep, caramel flavor with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg.
What are the best apples for applesauce?
You want apples that will cook down and mash well and as well as a variety of apples that range from sweet to tart. My favorite apples include: McIntosh, Honeycrisp, Grannysmith and Jonagold.
Pro tip: use a combination of sweet and tart apples to create a robust flavor and dimension to your applesauce.
Do you need to peel the apples?
Peeling the apples for applesauce is really a personal preference. I chose to peel them here because that's nostalgic for me and I love the way it came out. I also like to leave mine chunky which tends to highlight the peels more.
However, the peels do cook down quite a bit and when you blend the applesauce with an immersion blender they melt into the applesauce so you can leave them on and get all the fiber and benefits from the skin.
Bottom line for me: Leaving it chunky? Peel them. Blending it smooth? Don't peel.
What's the difference between apple pure and applesauce? Apple pure is a form of applesauce because it's the silky smooth, blended version all of the time. Applesauce can be wither chunky or smooth.
How to make homemade crockpot applesauce:
- A variety of sweet and tart apples
- Pure maple syrup
- Corntarch or tapioca starch
- Cinnamon and nutmeg
5 Simple steps:
- Peel (optional) and slice/dice apples.
- Add the apples to the crockpot with the rest of the ingredients.
- Cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 2-3 hours
- Blend with an immersion blender or mix well and mash with a fork to leave it chunky.
Should you blend or leave it chunky?
There is no right or wrong decision when you're deciding to leave your homemade crockpot applesauce smooth or chunky and is simply a personal preference.
If you want to blend it smooth the best option is an immersion blender. You can also leave it chunky and use the back of a fork to break up any large pieces.
Tips for crockpot applesauce:
- Cut the apples the same size for even cooking—1-2 inches is good
- Use a cinnamon stick if you have one for a deep cinnamon flavor
- Opt for pumpkin pie or apple pie spice instead of all the separate spices to save time
- Keep a close eye on your applesauce towards the end of cooking to avoid overcooking. If they're squishy with no give, they're done.
- Add less sweetener to begin with because you can always add more at the end. The sweetness of your applesauce depends on the variety of the apple you use.
- Allow the mixture to cool a bit before blending it so very hot applesauce doesn't fly out.
How long does homemade applesauce last?
Homemade applesauce will last in the refrigerator for 7-10 days. It can also be frozen or canned for a longer shelf-life.
Freezer instructions: Place the applesauce in an air tight container and keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight and eat cold or serve reheat.
Can you can crockpot applesauce? Yes, canning this homemade applesauce follows the same canning process as typical recipes.
- Fill canning jars all the way up, leaving a little less than 1 inch of space at the top.
- Wipe the lids of the jars completely clean and place the lids on.
- Process in water bath for 20 minutes. Learn more about the full process here.
- Store the canned applesauce for up to a year!
How to make apple butter out of applesauce in the crockpot:
Just cook the apples for a few hours longer and they'll turn a dark amber color and becomes apple butter.
Can you overcook crockpot applesauce? If you cook the apples too long they will start to lose their flavor. On the other side, if you cook them wayyy too long they caramelize and turn a dark amber color and becomes apple butter.
If you love this recipe as much as I do, don't forget to follow me on Instagram and tag me with @what_mollymade so I can see it and feature you.
More apple recipes:
Homemade Crockpot Applesauce
- 2 1/2 pounds (6-7 medium) apples peeled* then chopped or sliced
- 2-4 tablespoons pure maple syrup (omit completely if desired for kids)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch (tapioca starch for paleo version)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice *
- Add the apples, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, cornstarch (or tapioca flour) pumpkin pie spice, vanilla and salt to the slow cooker and gently toss with a spatula until the apples are evenly coated.
- Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 2 hours. Start checking it at 4 hours to make sure it doesn't overcook. If the apples are soft with no give they're done.
- Taste the applesauce for sweetness then add more 1 tablespoon at a time if you like it more sweet. Allow to cool slightly then blend together with an immersion blender or food processor. If you're leaving your chunky, mix well with a for to break apart and use the back of the fork or a potato masher to mash up any larger chunks.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days for follow the directions in this post for canning.
We made this for a fall treat and it’s SO GOOD! We ended up cooking it in the instant pot on high for 30min and mashing with a potato masher! Chunky and super sweet! My husband and I both agree that it would be good heated up on top of vanilla ice cream! Thanks Molly!