This slow cooker apple pear sauce, sweetened with maple syrup and seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg, is a versatile applesauce that can be used to top everything from oatmeal to ice cream. The big batch it makes means you’ll (thankfully) always have a jar on hand.
Say so long to mediocre applesauce you’ve been buying at the store. This intriguing apple pear sauce boasts a slight lilt, something just a little different than what traditional applesauce delivers, and can be conveniently tossed together with ease and left to slowly simmer at the back of your stovetop or in your slow cooker. You’ll end up with quite an ample amount, and that’s a good thing as it disappears quickly. And in a multitude of ways. Stir it into oatmeal or yogurt. Dollop it atop roast pork. Swirl it through ice cream. Or simply spoon it straight from the fridge.–Angie Zoobkoff
Apple Pear Sauce
- 5- to- 6-quart (4.7- to- 5.7-l) slow cooker or 6-quart Dutch oven
- Cooking spray or butter
- 2 1/4 pounds Golden Delicious apples (from about 5 medium apples) peeled and cut into slices 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick
- 2 1/4 pounds Gala apples (from about 4 medium apples) peeled and cut into slices 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick
- 2 1/4 pounds Bartlett pears (from about 5 medium pears) peeled and cut into slices 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
- If making on the stovetop, stir together the apples, pears, water, maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large pot or Dutch oven. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is very tender, 1 to 2 hours,If making in a slow cooker, coat a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray or butter. In the slow cooker, stir together the apples, pears, water, maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cover and cook on LOW until the apples and pears are very tender, 5 to 6 hours.
- Stir in the lemon juice. If a smoother texture is desired, you can either use an immersion blender to process the applesauce in the pot or cooker until it reaches the desired consistency or transfer the mixture to a blender, remove the center piece of the blender lid to allow steam to escape, secure the lid on the blender, place a clean towel over the opening in the lid to avoid splatters, and process until desired. Serve warm or cover and refrigerate for up to several days and serve cold.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This is an easy, delicious apple pear sauce. The wonderful scent of cinnamon emanating from your Crock pot for hours is reason enough to try it!
We enjoyed this fruit sauce 3 ways. Immediately upon completion, I spooned some over a bowl of vanilla ice cream. We then had it cold like a traditional applesauce. And finally warmed again over pork tenderloin with crisped sage leaves! All were fantastic. Definitely worth the time it took to peel and chop the fruit.
I’m a big fan of lazy cooking, thus I use my Crock pot on a regular basis. It was nice to discover a recipe for applesauce that I was not required to hover over to assure it didn’t burn. An added benefit was the sweet yet tart taste provided by this dish. The maple syrup added a fall taste while the lemon prevented it from being overly sweet.
There was only about 15 minutes worth of effort on my part. Six hours was more than enough to cook the apples as they were very soft by then. I used the immersion blender to further process the sauce and served it warm as a side to pork chops and mashed potatoes. I also admit to sneaking a little more to top some pre-bed ice cream.
I love using my slow cooker but typically use it for savory dishes, so this apple pear sauce recipe looked like a great opportunity to use it for a sweet recipe. As I was peeling and slicing apples and pears—rotating through Golden, Gala, and Bartlett—I realized it was filling up steadily with a lot of washed apples and pears still on my counter. This prompted me to review the recipe again, and I noted it clearly stated that a 6- to 7-quart cooker was needed. I checked and mine is a a 4-quart slow cooker. Rookie mistake, I guess!
I ended up doing a half batch of the recipe, dividing every single ingredient in half, and this fit nicely within my small slow cooker. Five hours later, the results were terrific. The fruit was tender and flavorful. I left mine unblended. The sweet apples were most distinct to my palate, but the flavorful undertones of the pears were there in every bite. The cinnamon was a bit strong—I think I added a bit more than what the recipe called for because I typically love cinnamon, but I felt I had added too much. The maple syrup was perfect in rounding out the sweetness and the lemon juice brightened up the flavors.
I served mine at Thanksgiving with vanilla ice cream and it made for a wonderful, tasty dessert, simulating the flavor of apple pie a la mode. This morning I topped my oatmeal with the apple pear mixture, which the recipe had offered as another suggested use, and it presented itself this time as a nice breakfast option, a slightly sweet fruit pairing with the warm oatmeal.
I liked the special take on applesauce that it offered and appreciate its versatility to accommodate using up the whole batch in creative ways.
The flavor is good. The texture is a little softer than I like but the recipe was incredibly easy to make. I shared some with the extended family and they really liked it. The quantity is too large for our small family but it does make a good gift.
Love this! It’s familiar yet a little different in the most fantastic of ways. I love the amount of spice in here and found that it had just the perfect amount of sweetness.
So far, I’ve had this as a snack and served it with pork, which was great. It also freezes very well, which is bonus in my book. The only change I might make is to finish with apple cider vinegar instead of lemon juice.
Couldn’t find golden delicious so I had to substitute ambrosia apples.
Used a 5.5quart dutch oven and it was full. I had to start it at a bit higher heat level to get it going and then turn it down.
This apple and pear sauce is absolutely yummy. I love that the recipe lets the natural sweetness of the fruit come through.
But I must alert you that it is unapologetically cinnamon-y. So halve the cinnamon if you prefer a less spiced result. The recipe yielded 9 1/2 cups—plenty for enjoying it by itself or as a sweetener for plain yogurt, for the Applesauce Bread (one of my all-time favorites on this site), and for stashing some in the freezer for later use.
I made a stovetop version of the sauce and encountered some challenges due to my misjudgment of the size the pot. (My eyeballing-in-the-brain skill was not as good as I thought!) The apple and pear slices were above the rim of my 5-quart pot, so I wasn’t able to cover it for about 15 minutes until the slices at the bottom cooked down a bit. And during the 1 1/2 hours of cooking on low heat, I needed to stir quite frequently so that the fruit would cook evenly.
Using my immersion blender directly in the pot, I processed all of the fruit at once; by the time the small blade reached all the chunks, the entire sauce was completely puréed. I didn’t mind the completely smooth texture at all, but if you’re not a fan of baby-food silken apple pear sauce, I recommend processing the cooked apples and pears in batches. It would allow you to control the consistency more precisely and have the sauce contain a variety of textures depending on how you want to use it.
This is a delightful recipe, and it makes quite a big batch of apple pear sauce. We ended up with 9 cups, plenty to share.
We found Gala apples and Bartlett Pears, but no Golden Delicious, so we used Pink Lady. The flavor of the sauce is terrific—not too sweet, a bit tart, in a wonderful way. We ate plenty right away, warm in little bowls. We easily can imagine the sauce on hot cereal, yogurt, with pork chops, but, maybe best, in a tart crust with a dollop of crème fraiche.
Since this makes quite a lot of sauce, use a large casserole or Dutch oven. We cooked on medium-low heat for about 40 minutes, until everything was easy to mash with a potato masher. Leaving the lid on while cooking seems important, as the fruit steams in the bit of liquid at the bottom of the pan.
Originally published January 14, 2019