One of the quintessential recipes to make and stock up on in the fall is homemade applesauce. It is also one of those recipes you don’t realize the ease of until you try it, and when you toss it all in the slow cooker, it gets even easier! The most time-consuming part is preparing the apples, but if you invest in an apple peeler/corer like this one, even that part is easy! Plus, you can’t beat the way your entire home smells while this is cooking on your counter. It is truly fall-tastic!
A few tips for making your own applesauce:
Apples cook down dramatically! If you want to make enough to serve multiple people and/or stock up your freezer, you’re going to need more apples than you think. The formula to remember: one medium-sized apple makes approximately 1/3 cup of applesauce (less than a snack-cup size). It’s better to err on the side of too many apples as opposed to not enough. Besides, I think homemade applesauce gets better after a day or two in the fridge, so making more is always a good idea!
Deciding which variety of apples to use for applesauce can feel overwhelming. I always say to use the variety of apple you prefer to eat raw. Feel free to mix and match, as well! Some of the best apples for applesauce are Honeycrisp, Fuji, Gala, Macintosh, and Golden Delicious. But tossing in some Granny Smith, Braeburn, or Gravenstein for tartness really rounds out the flavor profile.
We’ve made the added sugar optional in our recipe. If you choose a sweeter variety of apple, you don’t actually need to add any extra sweetness. This makes applesauce an excellent treat for anyone watching their sugar intake. We prefer the sweetness of Honeycrisp apples for this idea.
This recipe is for cinnamon applesauce, but adding other fruits for flavors is easy, as well! Simply toss in a cup or two of whatever berries or stone fruits sound good to you to take your applesauce to the next level. Blackberry applesauce? Peach applesauce? Pomegranate applesauce? The sky is the limit! Frozen fruits work well for this idea, but they have additional moisture, so be sure to omit the additional water if you use frozen fruit.
As you are peeling and chopping your apples, toss them lightly in a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice to keep them from browning.
I use a potato masher or a Mix & Chop to break down my cooked apples into sauce, and it works wonderfully. If you prefer a really smooth applesauce, consider using an immersion blender.
Homemade applesauce traditionally calls for a little added water. However, we’ve made it optional, because we’ve found the slow-cooker retains enough moisture on its own. If your applesauce is thicker or dryer than you’d like, add the water. However, if it seems too thin, let it simmer in the slow cooker with the lid off until it thickens to your desired consistency.
Homemade applesauce freezes beautifully, so go ahead and double or triple that recipe!
Super Easy Slow-Cooker Applesauce
12 large apples of your choice: peeled, cored, chopped into chunks (we prefer Honeycrisp)
1 tsp cinnamon
OPTIONAL: ¼ cup white sugar
OPTIONAL: 2 TBSP water
Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker, cook on high for 4-5 hours. Mash with a masher. Tweak seasonings to taste.
* This recipe makes approximately 1 quart/4 cups of applesauce.