Slow Cooker Applesauce

This slow cooker applesauce requires no work and only four ingredients: apples, brown sugar, ginger, and apple juice. You’ll never go back to jarred sauce again.

Two bowls of slow cooker applesauce with two spoons nearby

This recipe is gonna change your mind about store-bought applesauce. And not just because it lets you use your slow cooker and walk away. It also surprises with the mellow warmth of ginger, a mild sweetness, and a pristine, pure apple flavor based on whatever local apples you happen to fancy. Try it. And be ready to say so long to store-bought applesauce.–Renee Schettler Rossi

*To Peel Or Not To Peel Your Apples?

Doesn’t really matter if you peel your apples for this recipe or not as everything is blended together into a mush anyways. Leaving the peels intact will result in a slightly darker applesauce with perhaps a few more antioxidants from those colors. Up to you.

Slow Cooker Applesauce

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 6 H, 15 M
  • Makes 6 cups

Special Equipment: Slow cooker

4.5/5 - 2 reviews
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Ingredients

  • 5 pounds mixed ripe apples, preferably local, peeled or unpeeled*
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 inches fresh ginger, unpeeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup water or apple juice

Directions

  • 1. Squarely cut the apples off their cores. Roughly chop the apple wedges to make them approximately the same size and toss them in your slow cooker. Don’t forget to compost the apple cores. Add the sugar, ginger, and water to the slow cooker and stir a bit to coat the apples evenly. Cover and cook at any setting for 6 hours or so, until the apples are incredibly soft.
  • 2. Process the apple mixture through an old-fashioned food mill or a new-fangled food processor until you reach the desired consistency. (The benefit to a food mill is it will remove any small pieces of peel.)
  • 3. To refrigerate the applesauce, cover and stash it in the fridge for up to 6 days.

    To freeze the applesauce, portion it into 1/2-cup servings, tightly seal in resealable plastic bags, and freeze for up to 6 months.

    To seal the applesauce, get out your canning gear, follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and store at room temperature for up to 1 year.

Recipe Testers Reviews

This is a solid applesauce recipe. The ginger gives it a twist that's different than the usual applesauce seasoning and, to my taste, better. It's bright and full of zing. It's a really simple, easy applesauce that I would happily make again.

I used a mix of local apples which included Mutzu, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, and a mystery variety. I used water instead of apple juice and a 6 quart-slow cooker, actually an electric multi-function pressure cooker, but on the slow cooker setting, and not under pressure. I used this at the "normal" temp setting, which I think correlates to "low" on a slow cooker. For blending, I just used an immersion blender in the pot.

The recipe tells you to core the apples but not to peel them, so I didn't peel. That works fine for taste, but will result in a slightly darker sauce. Decide for yourself what your preference would be. I also didn't peel the ginger, again per the recipe, and that works just fine as well. The 5 pounds of apples filled the 6-quart pot to the rim but they did cook down quite a bit.

The canning instructions are annoyingly vague (a pet peeve of mine), but applesauce is acidic enough that you can use a hot water bath to can it. Go to the National Center for Home Food Preservation for processing times for hot water bath or pressure canners.

One-line description: This foolproof applesauce is the perfect combination of spicy and sweet.

I wasn’t sure if a slow cooker applesauce recipe could really improve upon my 30-minute stovetop applesauce standby, but this was fantastic! The ginger added a welcome zing and the long, slow simmer gave the applesauce a deeper flavor and richer color than my usual recipe. We ate some for dessert then split the rest over two jars—one for the fridge, one for the freezer.

I've never applesauce with the peels intact so I ended up peeling the apples. Additionally, apples vary greatly in size and so just cutting them off the cores yields chunks of various sizes. I cut the apples so that the pieces were roughly the same size. Lastly, I was skeptical about the unpeeled ginger and it took a lot of will power for me not to peel it before tossing it in the slow cooker. I set it on low for 6 hours and stirred a few times throughout the process to aid in breaking up the apple chunks. It worked out fine, though in the future I will process the applesauce so that it’s less chunky as I encountered a few too-large pieces of ginger while eating.

This is a perfect twist on traditional applesauce! The addition of fresh ginger gives the applesauce that beloved holiday flavor without the traditional spices.

I used Gala and Red Delicious apples. I used water instead of juice as I think the juice might have made it a little sweet for me. I cooked the apples on low for 6 hours and and they were nice and soft. I used an immersion blender to blend the apples.

The applesauce is good in terms of texture and everything.

I used Fuji, Golden Delicious, and Honey Crisp. I used apple juice rather than water. I used a food processor but would use a food mill in the future. Even though I thought I'd processed for a long enough time, there seemed to be very small pieces of skin still.

If I make this again, I'll likely just use more cinnamon (or maybe throw a cinnamon stick into it). The best part is that it's easy to make.

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Comments

  1. Who needs a recipe for applesauce, right? Well, I’m always looking for new ways to use my slow cooker and had a bounty of apples from my farmer’s market, so I thought I’d give this recipe a try.

    First of all, I love the economy of words used at the very beginning of the recipe. “Squarely cut the apples off the cores.” I knew immediately what they meant by that, and what a brilliant way to cut apples. I’d never done that before. And not peeling the apples? Loved that as well. I’lll admit that I didn’t use the fresh ginger called for as I wasn’t willing to commit since it was a large amount of sauce.

    I used a food mill to process the apples in order to keep the skins out. I found that this method produced a beautiful sauce with a great caramel color due to the brown sugar and just the right amount of thickness and body that I want in an applesauce.

  2. Fall for me is all about apples, so I fully expected to love this recipe. A neighbor had given some windfall apples from her orchard. There was a mix of Crab Apples, Ginger Golds, Macintosh, and either Cortlands or Spies.

    I cooked it during the day while I was at work, about 10 hours on low in an 8 1/2-quart slow cooker. I used a handheld immersion blender to puree it as we like a little texture in our applesauce. The apples were soft and browned from the cooking and there was a strong aroma of ginger when I lifted the lid. We could definitely taste the bright notes from the ginger but felt something was needed to balance the flavor. I took 6 jars and added different spices to balance the ginger flavour.

    Jar 1- Vanilla balanced the sharpness of the ginger, we liked this one.
    Jar 2 -5 Spice Powder was too spicy but it would be nice with a roasted pork or chicken.
    Jar 3- Cardamom was ok but perhaps a little floral for us.
    Jar 4- Cinnamon was another favorite and tasted like the applesauce we know and love.
    Jar 5- Apple pie spice was a nice addition but did seem to make the ginger a little more pronounced.
    Jar 6- Cloves worked well with the ginger and rounded out the flavor. We really liked this one.

    All in all pretty nice applesauce recipe but you could personalize it with a spice or spices that you like to balance the flavors to make it perfect for your taste.

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