Slow Cooker Applesauce

Slow Cooker Applesauce

The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 6 hrs
Optional Canning: 20 mins
Total: 6 hrs 35 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 3 1/2 to 4 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
140 Calories
0g Fat
37g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 140
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 5mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 37g 13%
Dietary Fiber 5g 19%
Total Sugars 29g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 11mg 54%
Calcium 19mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 252mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Homemade applesauce is one of the easiest cooking projects you can undertake, made even easier by using the slow cooker. A staple in most American pantries, apple sauce is a versatile ingredient to have around. It's perfect to sweeten baked goods, to make pie fillings, to eat on its own or on toast, or to feed little babies who are starting on solids. Making and freezing apple sauce is a great idea, especially when the apple season begins and there is a bounty of fruit at a very low price.

For our recipe, there's just a short prep time and after a few hours of waiting, you'll have the perfect applesauce made to suit your taste—sweetened or unsweetened, coarse or smooth, spiced or plain. The end product can be frozen or water-bath canned for long-term storage. Because applesauce has no dairy in it, it freezes really well and can last for a few months when properly stored. If you prefer to can it, the instructions for it are provided, although freezing is less labor-intensive and equally effective in preserving the sauce.

This recipe doesn't require laborious peeling and coring of apples. A simple food mill will take care of all that at the end of the process. If you prefer your applesauce much chunkier or you do not have a food mill, then peel and core the apples first and simply mash with a potato masher at the end until the desired consistency. Use apple sauce to accompany pork dishes, to replace eggs in vegan baking, to moisten banana bread, to top vanilla ice cream, or to enjoy on its own, warm out of the slow cooker.

"This applesauce was smooth and flavorful. Not having to peel or core the apples made it super-easy. I used a food mill and ended up with about 3 1/2 cups of applesauce. It was delicious! The cut-up apples nearly filled my 7-quart slow cooker, but a 5-quart should be fine if you core the apples." —Diana Rattray

Slow Cooker Applesauce/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms) apples

  • 1/2 cup (118 milliliters) water

  • 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) lemon juice

  • 1/4 cup (57 grams) light brown sugar, or 3 tablespoons honey, optional 

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Slow Cooker Applesauce ingredients

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Wash the apples. If they feel waxy, scrub with a vegetable brush.

    If using a food mill, there's no need to peel and core the apples. If you don't have a food mill, peel and core the apples before slicing.

    Cut the apples into slices or chunks no larger than 3/4-inch.

    cut the apples into pieces

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Combine the water and lemon juice. If you are using honey rather than sugar, dissolve it in the water.

    Combine the water and lemon juice

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Put the prepped apple pieces into the slow cooker and mix them with the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, if using.

    Put the prepped apple pieces into the slow cooker and mix them with the sugar and spices

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  5. Pour the reserved water mixture over the apples. Give all of the ingredients in the slow cooker a good stir.

    Pour the liquid over the apples

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  6. Cover the slow cooker. Cook the apples until they are very soft on the low setting for 6 hours or on the high setting for 3 hours.

    Cook the applesauce on the low setting

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  7. Depending on the consistency you'd like, run the sauce through a food mill using coarser or finer screens as desired. If you want extra-smooth applesauce, purée it in a food processor or blender, or use an immersion blender.

    Slow Cooker Applesauce

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Use Caution When Blending Hot Ingredients

Steam expands quickly in a blender and can cause ingredients to splatter everywhere or cause burns. To prevent this, fill the blender only one-third of the way up, vent the top, and cover with a folded kitchen towel while blending.

How to Can Apple Sauce

To can applesauce:

  • Fill clean pint or half-pint jars with apple sauce, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace between the top of the food and the rims of the jars.
  • Use a butter knife or a small spoon to stir the sauce in the jar and release any air bubbles.
  • Wipe off the rims of the jars with a moistened paper or a clean cloth towel—any food stuck to the rims could prevent a good seal.
  • Fasten canning lids.
  • Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes—the jars need to be totally submerged. Adjust for your altitude if necessary.

Recipe Variations

  • Instead of water, use apple cider or apple juice concentrate.
  • For extra spice flavor, increase the cinnamon to 1 teaspoon.
  • If you love pumpkin spice flavor, add 2 to 3 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice.
  • Replace the brown sugar or honey with 4 tablespoons of maple syrup or granulated sugar.
  • Brighten the flavor with a splash of vanilla or a few drops of almond extract.

How to Store and Freeze Applesauce

  • Refrigerate homemade applesauce within 2 hours and consume within 1 week.
  • To freeze applesauce, transfer it to a freezer container or resealable freezer bag. Label the container with the name and date and freeze it for up to 2 months.
  • Defrost frozen applesauce in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 hours or overnight.

What Is the Best Apple for Apple Sauce?

Choose any apple of your liking, such as Gala, Fuji, Mcintosh, Gravenstein, Golden Delicious, Rome, Cortland, Jonathan, or Honey Crisp. All apples make excellent apple sauce, but the consistency and sweetness may vary, so adjust according to the sugar amount.