When the seasons give you apples, make this slow cooked apple sauce. I adore the art of leisurely picking apples and then turning them into a soft, comforting batch of apple sauce. So delicious.

For more homemade sauce recipes, check out my tomato sauce recipe and this vegan gravy

Slow Cooked Apple Sauce

Why you’ll love this easy slow cooked apple sauce recipe

  • Simple ingredients: This apple sauce recipe requires just a few basic ingredients. You’ll know exactly what has gone into your sauce!
  • Homemade goodness: Making your own apple sauce allows you to control the ingredients and customize the flavor to your liking.
  • Versatility: Use it as a condiment, a healthy snack, or as a versatile ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes. It works well as a topping for vegan pancakes and oatmeal, and even serves as a wholesome baby food option.
  • So easy to make: The slow cooker does most of the work for you, making this recipe great for busy days. It’s a set-it-and-forget-it kind of recipe that yummy results with minimal effort.
  • Homemade Goodness: Creating your own apple sauce is not only delicious but also more economical compared to store-bought versions.

Ingredients and substitution notes

  • Apples: When choosing apples, consider a mix of sweet and tart varieties like Granny Smith, Fuji, or Honeycrisp. A mix like this helps create a balanced taste. 
  • Lemon juice: The lemon juice serves by adding a bright, citrusy flavor to the apple sauce and helping to prevent the apples from browning. I recommend using freshly squeezed lemon juice. 
  • Apple cider or water: The choice between apple cider and water depends on how sweet you like your cooked apple sauce. Apple cider will give a richer, sweeter flavor to the sauce, while water will result in a milder, more neutral taste. 

Recipe variations and add-ins

  • Cinnamon spice: Add 1-2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon to the apples while they cook. My personal favorite is Ceylon cinnamon.
  • Maple syrup: Start with 2-3 tablespoons and adjust depending on how sweet you like your homemade apple sauce.
  • Vanilla: A splash of pure vanilla extract (about one teaspoon).
  • Berries: Add a handful of fresh or frozen berries like blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries for a burst of color and a mixed-fruit flavor profile. Berries also add vitamins and antioxidants to the mix.
  • Citrus: Stir in a little citrus zest. Try orange zest for a refreshing twist.

Top tips

  • Apple selection: Choose a combination of sweet and tart apples for a more balanced flavor profile. Mixing varieties like Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, and Fuji works well.
  • Preparation: You can leave the apple skins on for added texture and nutritional value or peel them for a smoother sauce. This is totally up to you. 
  • Adjust the liquid: Tailor the amount of apple cider or water to achieve the consistency you would like. Less liquid will mean a thicker sauce.
  • Taste testing: Always taste your apple sauce before serving and adjust the seasonings, sweetness, or texture if needed.

Make ahead of instructions and storage

Make-ahead instructions:

Allow the apple sauce to cool to room temperature. This is important to avoid moisture build-up inside the storage container, which can lead to freezer burn.

Once cooled, transfer the apple sauce to airtight containers, leaving a little space at the top to account for expansion if you plan to freeze it.

Label each container with the date and the contents so you can easily identify and rotate your apple sauce in the freezer or refrigerator.

Storage instructions:

You can store your slow cooker apple sauce in the refrigerator for up to a week. Keep it in a sealed, airtight container to maintain freshness.

For longer-term storage, freeze the apple sauce. It can be kept in the freezer for up to 6-12 months without significant loss of quality. Here’s how:

Place the airtight containers in the freezer, ensuring they are tightly sealed to prevent freezer burn. It’s best to use containers with minimal headspace to reduce the risk of ice crystals forming.

Serving suggestions 

Warm apple sauce for breakfast? Served warm over oatmeal or cold with granola? Yes, please! It really doesn’t get much better than this.

Serve your slow cooked apple sauce warm as a side dish or dessert, or enjoy it chilled as a topping for various dishes. Here are a few fun serving ideas that I hope you’ll try:

Breakfast delight:

  • Enjoy a dollop of warm apple sauce on top of your morning oatmeal or cereal.
  • Use it as a topping for vegan pancakes or waffles, along with a drizzle of maple syrup.
  • Incorporate it into your smoothie bowls for a fruity twist.
  • Dip fresh apple slices, pretzels, or your favorite vegan crackers into a bowl of apple sauce for a wholesome and sweet snack.
  • Spread it on whole-grain toast or rice cakes, and sprinkle with cinnamon for a quick and satisfying treat.

Dessert time:

  • Use your slow cooked apple sauce as a vegan-friendly dessert sauce. Drizzle it over dairy-free ice cream or a slice of pie.
  • Layer it in parfait glasses with dairy-free yogurt, granola, and fresh berries for a delectable dessert parfait.
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Slow Cooked Apple Sauce

Slow Cooked Apple Sauce

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star No reviews
  • Author: Chef Ani


When the seasons give you apples, make this slow cooked apple sauce. I adore the art of leisurely picking apples and then turning them into a soft, comforting batch of apple sauce. So delicious.


  • 4 pounds of apples
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup apple cider or water


  1. Peel and slice apples.  If you prefer light colored apple sauce, avoid any peel.  Toss the apples in the lemon juice and liquid.
Cook in slow cooker on low overnight, 8-10 hours,  or on high for 4-5 hours.
  2. Use a potato masher to make the apple sauce less chunky.  If desiring smoother apple sauce, pulse in the food processor.


  • Flavor alternative: vanilla, maple syrup, cinnamon, cardamom, and sugar.