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slow cooker applesauce (sugar free)

I hope each and every one of you had a wonderful holiday. We’ve been snowed in for a few days here on the East Coast. It’s been so much fun: doing puzzles, crafts, reading books and playing with the kids. My husband is on vacation all week (woot woot) and it’s a free for all – we are eating up each and every moment with Daddy!

These past few weeks of December, my slow cooker has been getting a fair amount of usage. It was a challenge to find time to make hearty nutritious dinners between Christmas concerts and general holiday hoopla. In the late afternoons, the house would fill with the most delicious smell, as the scent of root vegetables and chicken cooked in wine wafted from the kitchen.

Is there anything more comforting than that?

I have been making applesauce each autumn ever since we read The Apple Doll by Elisa Kleven. At the end of the book, she shares the secret to achieving her grandmother’s perfect applesauce: using three different varieties of apples. According to Klevin, the applesauce is more balanced this way. There really is no hard fast rule as to which varieties work best. I use whatever I have on hand. Today that was Fuji, Honeycrisp and Gala.  Last time, local Macoun apples (from my CSA) were the shining stars.  So darn good.

The beauty of this recipe is that you can’t go wrong. Any combination works. Happy experimenting!

4 Fuji apples
4 Honeycrisp apples
4 Gala apples


1.) Peel, core and chop the apples into 1/2 inch pieces.
2.) Place apple chunks in the crock pot (mine has a single temperature setting)
3.) Set crock pot for 8-10 hours. (I set mine overnight)
4.) When finished, stir with a wooden spoon to break up the apple chunks. (At first the apples will appear as they did when you put them in the pot. As you stir, they will break apart).

Makes 1 quart (4 cups).

1.) It’s not necessary to add water to your crock pot.
2. ) Feel free to sprinkle a touch of cinnamon over the top before cooking.

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13 responses to “slow cooker applesauce (sugar free)”

  1. Jennie said:

    What a wonderful and easy recipe. I’m a big fan of using different varieties for a balanced flavor and natural sweetness too. Happy New Year!

  2. Stephanie said:

    Thanks Jennie! You hit the nail on the head – it is really easy. The best part – the house smells SO divine.

    all the best for a Happy New Year….

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  4. Shirley @ gfe said:

    Wow, how cool is that … no sweetener at all! Brilliant, as well as the idea of using three different types of apples. I’ve never heard of that before, but it makes sense. :-) You might have me making slow cooker applesauce for sure, Stephanie!

    Enjoy the snow and post-holiday time with hubby and family! Re: last night’s tweet, I sure hope your power is back on though.


  5. glutenfreeforgood said:


    It seems we’re often on the same wavelength. I made a big batch of applesauce for Christmas dinner out of my last batch of my CSA-share of local apples. It was a mix of fuji and honeycrisp. I added a touch of Madagascar vanilla, some orange zest and a mix of spices (almost like a Chinese 5-spice blend). Oh, and just a touch of organic, grade-B maple syrup. It was divine. I love homemade applesauce. Whatever is left over gets used in baking. It’s a must for GF muffins. =)

    My daughter is here from NYC (Brooklyn). We’re wondering if she’ll be able to fly back tomorrow. We’ve been watching the snow fall in your “neck of the woods.” It’s been nice around here. Almost too nice.

    Wishing you peace, love and lots of good food in the New Year.

  6. Dinners & Dreams said:

    Wonderful that it’s sugar-free and so easy to make. I love homemade applesauce. Bookmarked.


  7. Stephanie said:

    Hey Shirley,

    yes, I’ll have a convert on my hands for sure. One taste, you’ll be smitten!

    Thank you so much for your sweet message. Yes, our heat did come back on late last night. It got pretty cold in the house – we were all bundled up in our jackets. Luckily we have gas (it’s a rental home) so I was able to boil water for tea and make some dinner. Seriously, it was a great lesson to teach the children about how grateful we should be that we have a roof over our heads.

    We are so enjoying our down time. Wishing you, your hubby and your son all the best for a wonderful New Year. xo Stephanie

  8. Stephanie said:


    Ok, now you’re talking — vanilla? That has to be one of my all-time favorite flavorings. I use it all the time: in my tea, in savory recipes, etc. Where you get me (once again) is on the orange zest and the chinese 5-spice. I can just taste the warmth of that. So yum. And the maple syrup is the cherry on top of the perfect applesauce Trifecta. Sigh.

    How wonderful you were able to spend Christmas in Colorado with your daughter. Hopefully, she won’t have a hard time getting back tomorrow. To be honest, I think she’ll have a better time flying into NYC than if she were attempting to fly out. The roads were not as bad as I thought they would be. But, I do think the coastal areas were hit much harder than “our neck of the woods.” Talking to my brother and sister (in CO) on Christmas Day, they said the mountains have been getting pummeled (the most in 40 years). Funny how that happens the very year we move away. What I wouldn’t do for some Snowmass or some champagne-delight at Steamboat right about now! Hoping to get out to Colorado in summertime – will keep you posted.

    Thanks so much for the kind wishes. Sending you lots of love and best wishes for health and happiness in 2011.
    xoxo stephanie

  9. The Teenie Foodie said:

    This looks incredible, my mouth is watering just thinking about warm applesauce… I will for sure try this as my slow cooker is not getting much use. I’d probably throw in a cinnamon sticks, and some star anise for a spicy version. Great recipe, and I like the idea of combining lots of apples for a more interesting flavour. Thanks for sharing, and its great to find a recipe with no sweetener in it!

    I just discovered your blog as I am new to the gluten/dairy free blog scene and just started my own. Really great recipes!

    Have a wonderful new year

    Teenie Foodie x

  10. Stephanie said:

    Hello Teenie Foodie and welcome!

    How exciting to start your own blog — congratulations! I guess we’ll be seeing quite a bit of each other!

    The GF bloggers truly are an amazing community of people who have brightened my days and taught me so much not only about GF food but about GF living. P.S., there is another GF teen blogger, Lauren of CeliacTeen. She’s wonderful! She’s hosting “Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free” this month. You should join us — it’s really a lot of fun.

    This applesauce is such a fun recipe — there are no rules. I love the idea of adding some spices or vanilla as Melissa suggested. It’s great to be able to control the level of sweetness depending on which apples you choose. I almost always put Granny Smith in there – the tartness really balances the sweet so it’s not so over the top.

    Thanks again for stopping by :) and Happy 2011 to you!

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