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Homemade crockpot cinnamon applesauce has never been easier. With just 3 ingredients and your slow cooker, you can whip up this aromatic, delicious side dish that will make your home smell like apple pie.
What to Do With Leftover Apples
Apple Butter Weekend has been a tradition in our family for decades and is one of my favorite fall activities. On the rare years that I can’t make the event, I make my own crockpot apple butter or Crockpot Baked Apples in the slow cooker.
Many years, there are leftover apples that don’t get used in the apple butter recipe. Since the apples are already peeled and cut (thanks to this handy apple peeler), I love to use them up in this 3-ingredient Crockpot Apple Sauce or in our Cinnamon Applesauce Bread, Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats, or Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal.
As mentioned above, the ingredients are SO simple. Here are the 3 ingredients needed:
- Apples – I’d suggest using firmer and tarter apples like McIntosh, Jonathan, or Granny Smith, but really whatever you have on hand will work. You don’t have to peel them, but you will see peel in the finished product if you don’t.
- Brown Sugar – If you want a slightly less processed sweetener, try coconut sugar instead.
- Cinnamon – This can be adjusted depending on how much cinnamon flavor you want!
How to Make Crockpot Applesauce
The full recipe with ingredient amounts is below, but here’s a quick overview of how this recipe works.
Step 1: Peel and Cut the Apples
To get that smooth applesauce consistency, you’ll want to peel them. I know, it’s a pain. If you plan to puree the apples when you’re done, however, you can cheat and leave some peel on. If you do plan to make recipes like this or apple butter frequently, I’d for sure buy an apple peeler.
In my picture below, the apples are cut up into small pieces. While this will help them cook faster, this isn’t really necessary. You can toss them in as normal slices and come out with the same result.
Step 2: Season the apples
Sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon over the apples and toss until coated. Go ahead, sneak a few bites of them before they are cooked. They are yummy! I usually add 1/2 cup of water or apple cider just to have a little moisture in there. The apples will release a lot of moisture while cooking so you shouldn’t need more than that!
Step 3: Cook Your Applesauce
This is the easy part. Slow cook the apples on low for 4-6 hours, until the apples are very soft and mashable, and your home will smell like an apple pie (yum!).
When the apples are done, you can mash them into the consistency that you prefer. For a chunky consistency, use a potato masher. If making a smooth applesauce, you’ll want to use a blender, immersion blender, or food processor to puree the sauce.
Apples that are slightly tart and firm, such as Granny Smith, Jonathan, or McIntosh, are most popular for applesauce but any kind will work. For a more complex flavor, try using a mix of different apple varieties.
This is up to you. Peeling the apples will yield a smoother texture and look like traditional applesauce in the end. However, leaving the peels on adds more nutrition. When leaving the peels on, I recommend using an immersion blender to get the sauce smooth after cooking.
Ingredients such as cinnamon, white or brown sugar, lemon juice, or vanilla extract can enhance the flavor of the applesauce.
Yes, applesauce freezes and thaws just fine. It might become a touch more liquid-y after freezing and thawing, but the taste of it won’t be affected. Freeze it in an airtight freezer container with lid (here are some of the best freezer containers) or in a freezer bag. If using a bag, lay it flat on a sheet pan in the freezer until frozen solid and then stack in the freezer.
Let the applesauce cool after cooking. Then, transfer to an airtight jar or container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or freeze for 3-6 months. You can also can or preserve applesauce. Follow proper canning procedures to ensure safety and shelf stability. This involves using sterilized jars, proper sealing, and following recommended processing times.
What Goes Well with Cinnamon Applesauce?
This is a kid-friendly side dish that will play nice with all sorts of recipes. Here are some ideas to get you started!
Did you make this? Snap a photo and tag us on Instagram at @thrivinghome so we can see your creations and cheer you on!
- 8–10 apples (any variety), peeled* and cut into 1/2 – 1 inch pieces
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (optional)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup water (or apple cider)
*Alternately, leave the peel on and then use an immersion blender at the end.
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Make It Now:
- Stir together the apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, and water together in a crock pot.
- Cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 2-3 hours. Mash with a potato masher or blend with an immersion blender to desired consistency. Eat warm or cold. Store in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.
Freeze For Later: Let the apple sauce cool completely. Place applesauce into freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to 3 months.
Prepare From Frozen: Thaw the apples overnight in the fridge. You can also thaw them in a bowl of water if you’re in a hurry.
- Apples that are slightly tart and firm, such as Granny Smith, Jonathan, or McIntosh, work best for this recipe. For a more complex flavor, try using a mix of different apple varieties.
- If blending the sauce after cooking, be careful not to over blend. It can turn into baby food quickly!
- The apples can overcook in the crockpot, becoming darker and taking on a caramelized flavor. So keep an eye on them and turn off the slow cooker once they are soft enough to mash.