Spiced Cider Crock Pot Applesauce

spiced cider crock pot applesaucOne of my most vivid and earliest memories of my childhood was going to an apple orchard when I was in preschool. The thing I really remember is watching all the apples on the bouncy conveyer belt and then the most delicious apple juice I’d ever tasted (turns out the apples also tasted like no other apples I’d ever tasted. Which, I guess, is kind of what happens when you eat it straight off the tree rather than from the other side of the world. Also, not from our kitchen counter, which is where my mom kept our apples because she liked them mealy. As I got older, I made lots of these culinary discoveries that led to a life of food blogging: butter instead of margarine, grilled cheese not made in a microwave, cold cereal that wasn’t plain Shredded Wheat sprinkled with All-Bran.)

That whole experience led to a life-long obsession with apple cider. Not the drinky-drink kind of cider, just the fresh-from-an-orchard-tasting murky brown stuff. I love it. Like, last meal kind of love. And brew it up with spices? It doesn’t get better.

I feel the same way about applesauce that I do about apple juice–I’ll eat it in a pinch, like in the hospital after I have a baby or when I lock myself in the bathroom while hiding from my children. But really, it’s pretty low on my list of snack foods, kind of in the realm of Goldfish crackers and bubblegum-flavored yogurt in a tube. But this apple sauce? I could eat it with for every meal of every day. It’s like a mug of spiced cider, only applesauce. Does it have stuff in it that regular applesauce doesn’t (vanilla…a little brown sugar if you want…a tiny bit of butter, because, you know, butter)? Yes. But that’s what makes it so amazing. And your house will smell so amazing that you may or may not try to imagine ways you could make this every day.

You’re going to need 5 pounds of apples. Stick with apples you would actually want to eat, and mix and match them however you want. Good choices are Braeburns (tart-ish and crisp), Fujis and Honeycrisps (a good balance of sweet and tart) and Golden Delicious (sweet). I made this particular batch with mostly Braeburns because they were on sale, with a few Honeycrisps thrown in for sweetness and I probably would have made it more half and half, at least, because I ended up sweetening it up quite a bit at the end.

bowl of apples for spiced cider applesauce

Peel, core, and thinly slice the apples. This will be painful and feel like punishment if you’re doing it all by hand, but if you have an apple corer peeler, it will be like a carnival. Just kidding, it won’t, but it will be very easy and fast (and absent of clowns, which is a plus.) Place the peeled, cored, thinly sliced apples in a large Crock Pot.

spiced cider apple sauce

Squeeze the juice of a small lemon over the apples, add about 1/3 cup of water, then sprinkle with cinnamon, cloves, ground ginger, and a little nutmeg.

sliced apples in crockpot with cinnamon cloves ginger and nutmeg

Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or until the apples easily fall apart into an applesauce-like consistently. Add a teaspoon each of butter butter and vanilla as well as a pinch of salt and blend with an immersion blender until desired consistency is reached. Add brown sugar or maple syrup to taste (I probably wouldn’t add more than 1/2 cup, but that’s me; a lot of it depends on what type of apples you used. Also, keep in mind that it will taste sweeter when it’s cold, so less is more here.) Serve warm or refrigerate until ready to use (you can refrigerate this up to a week or freeze it for several months.) I also bet you can can it, but I’ve never made quite that much and we go through it so fast that it’s never come to that. This makes about 6 cups of applesauce.

Spiced Cider Applesauce from Our Best Bites

Spiced Cider Apple Sauce
Pretty sure I could eat this with (or for) every meal. My go-to fall snack!
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Ingredients
  1. 5 pounds apples (Braeburns, Fujis, Golden Delicious, and Honeycrisps are good options), peeled and thinly sliced
  2. 1/3 cup water
  3. Juice of 1 small lemon
  4. 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  5. 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  6. 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  7. 1/4 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
  8. 1 teaspoon butter
  9. pinch of kosher salt
  10. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  11. Brown sugar or maple syrup to taste (optional, see recipes notes)
Instructions
  1. Place peeled, sliced apples in a large crockpot.
  2. Add lemon juice, water, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg.
  3. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or until the apples easily fall apart into an applesauce-like consistently.
  4. Add butter, vanilla, and salt and blend with an immersion blender until desired consistency is reached.
  5. Add brown sugar or maple syrup to taste (I probably wouldn't add more than 1/2 cup, but that's me; a lot of it depends on what type of apples you used. Also, keep in mind that it will taste sweeter when it's cold, so less is more here.)
  6. Serve warm or refrigerate until ready to use (you can refrigerate this up to a week or freeze it for several months.)
Adapted from Allrecipes
Adapted from Allrecipes
Our Best Bites http://ourbestbites.com/
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29 comments

  1. I did this yesterday but I took the lid off and reduced it until it was thick and ended up with apple butter! Yum!

  2. Kate, where do you keep your apples? I keep mine on the counter but I don’t like mealy apples either :).

  3. New York State outlawed non-pasteurized apple cider a few years ago and I’ve actually considered lobbying my state representative to get it reversed. It makes me SO SAD because the non-pasteurized just tastes SO. MUCH. BETTER. Plus, it put dozens of mom & pop cideries out of business because they couldn’t afford the pasteurization equipment. We used to go to the local orchard on the first day of the season and they would be serving free fresh pressed cider (you could literally go into the room and watch them press it) and homemade cider doughnuts fresh out of the hot oil and it was the day I looked forward to the most every year….more than Christmas. Now I have to go to the grocery store and buy a jug of brown colored apple juice and pretend I’m happy about it. Sorry…that’s my rant. I made 5 quarts of applesauce over the weekend…maybe I’ll spice it up a bit per this recipe for something new!

  4. You crack me up! Thanks for the laugh. We also used to make cheese sandwiches in the microwave–not sure if they would be classified as grilled cheese since it was just melted cheese on bread with no butter, but ew, why would we want a soggy cheese sandwich? But we loved them, so I guess that what matters!

  5. Gah! Mealy apples! (shudder) My mom, who is a fantastic cook, made absolutely everything (sloppy joes, chilli, macaroni and cheese) really, really wet and soupy. My mind now has an ironclad insistence on things being thick and holding together. Funny how our childhood food experiences can either turn us in the other direction completely, or set us on a path for life. (I love the cheap tuna fish and cheap Little Caesar’s pizza we grew up eating.)

    But this apple sauce looks excellent. You are a soldier for peeling your apples, too. I never peel things. Ever.

  6. “Add a teaspoon each of butter butter and vanilla”
    OOooo I LOVE “butter butter”! πŸ™‚

    making this tomorrow!

  7. where we live, in the Bitterroot Valley of Mt., Macintosh apples make the best sauce…and you need a “Victoria strainer” or other brand to make sauce. There is NO PEELING of the apples…and that’s the key to beautiful pink sauce, is cooking the apples WITH THEIR SKINS ON; all you do is remove the stem & blossom end, cut them in quarters, YES, LEAVE SEEDS in them…put in a pan with little bit of water (or u could crockpot them), cook, stir, watch so it doesn’t stick to the bottom..then you put spoonfuls of the softened fruit in the funnel top of the strainer, turn the handle, and MAGIC!!!.. out comes the sauce, and at the side chute comes the skins and seeds!!! I will can or freeze up lots of sauce..I’ve even added a handful or so of red hots to make it more pink…we love apple sauce on pancakes too….the Victoria strainer also can be used for tomatoes, or squash…all 4 of my dtrs make lots of sauce with this…best investment to share in a family of sauce lovers. Love your recipes..

  8. I love homemade applesauce, so I couldn’t resist making this today. The whole house smelled amazing and it was so tasty! We love to have it warm with a splash of cream stirred in. I would classify this as a health food, so it is perfectly acceptable that I had two bowls, right?

  9. This sounds amazing and perfect timing since I have a box of golden delicious apples that I need to do something with. I will be making this tomorrow. Thank you!!!

  10. I grew up on a farm. Apples were not a crop, but we did grow our own fruit.
    So even though I live in town now, I did plant an apple tree. There is a connection with that fruit and Americans—-good ol’ apple pie is an obvious
    reference.

  11. I’ve been searching the internet for weeks looking for the perfect slow cooker applesauce recipe. Weeks. Needed a way to finish off all the odd apples from our apple tree and here it is.just loaded up the slow cooker and it smells fabulous already … Thanks again for posting the recipe I’ve been looking for πŸ™‚

  12. I am about to rock your world! I use the apple corer that slices the apple at the same time into segments. I plop the segments with the skin on into the crockpot. I don’t add any liquid and crank that puppy onto high. It is very forgiving if you happen to leave it on all day at that temperature. Then I use the immersion blender and zhiz it til it is nice and smooth. I add sugar (brown and white) and spices to taste. THEN…I melt some caramels in the microwave a bit just to soften them.Add that to the crock and stir it in til it is all melted. Do NOT add them if you happen to burn them in the microwave. It takes less than 30 seconds to soften. After it is all thick creamy and yummy then you can refrigerate, freeze it or can it…or eat it with a spoon right there on the spot! It is AMAZING on grilled cheese sandwiches! Enjoy….:)

  13. Made this today- instant hit!! This stuff is divine, and it makes your house smell like heaven for hours. I used golden delicious apples and just under 1/4 cup brown sugar.

  14. Yum!! I made this today with Fuji apples, didn’t bother to peel them (I’m not adept enough to peel 5 pounds of apples with a 1 yr old and 2 1/2 year old at my heels). Didn’t add the butter, but everything else as per your recipe, and it was fantastic! We ate it over Umpqua Caramel Cone ice cream, and it was SO GOOD. Such a nice change from a straight-up-sugar syrup, and so easy to make. Ours had a very smooth, runny texture, not thick like other applesauce I’ve had. I guess our apples had a lot of water in them. Not a problem though. I’ll definitely make this one again!

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