Easy Homemade Applesauce

This year, I am going to try very hard to give away as many homemade holiday gifts as possible. Every year I try to do more and more homemade projects, and one of these years, every gift I give will be homemade.

I thought a good place to start would be with a big case of fresh, organic apples — I’m lucky enough to have a great local CSA subscription service where I can include a huge case of certain types of produce along with my weekly box of delicious items.


Using my trusty slow cooker, I made 12 quart jars of delicious spiced apple butter.

apple butter jar

Check out my recipe for apple butter, as well as other great crock pot recipes, here.

I also found a way to use my slow cooker for applesauce, which was easier than I ever could have imagined. Luckily, my appliances did all of the work: my crock pot simmered the ingredients, my immersion blender pureed everything, and then it was done.

Crock Pot Applesauce

(using a 5-quart slow cooker)

  • approx 4 lbs of apples, chopped (enough to nearly fill the crock pot)
  • 2-3 tbsp raw, organic honey
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 splash vanilla extract (optional)
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon (optional)

Yes, you read that right. Only three ingredients, unless you opt for additional flavoring. Just apples (of any type), a bit of acid (lemon juice) and some honey. You don’t even need to peel the apples, just scrub them and chop them. The crock pot does all the work, and 6-8 hours later, the apples will be soft enough for your immersion blender to puree into a smooth applesauce.

homemade applesauce

Note: a longer slow-cooking time will make the applesauce sweeter. If you prefer your applesauce less sweet, cook for 4-6 hours. Cooking for 8 hours or more will make the sauce extra sweet.


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applesauce recipe card

Easy squash and vegetable soup (perfect for the holidays)

This is a great, easy soup that is perfect for Thanksgiving or other family dinners. It’s vegetarian (although it can be adapted to include chicken or meat stock), and it’s great for an appetizer or as part of your holiday meal.

As usual when cooking with butternut squash (or any squash or gourd that has a very hard outer shell), I made the process easier on myself by cutting the giant squash into a few manageable chunks, then I dry-roasted it on my grill until the peel was charred. Let it cool down until you can handle it with your bare (clean) hands, and it’s super-easy to peel the rind off and cut up the sweet squash inside.

Butternut squash and vegetable soup

Easy Squash and Vegetable Soup

  • about 2 lbs of butternut squash, roasted, peeled and chopped
  • one container (about 14 oz.) soft tofu, chopped
  • one large onion, diced
  • 2-3 carrots, diced
  • 2-3 small red potatoes, diced
  • 3 heads garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. dried sage
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tbsp. ginger
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 1 bottle of good beer
  • salt and pepper
  • crumbly feta cheese or blue cheese, for serving

Feel free to clean out your fridge when picking the vegetables to use … I just used the few items I had on hand, but a few stalks of celery, maybe sweet potato, some fresh fennel, or some fresh leek(s), would be a great addition to this recipe.

I simply added all of the ingredients (no pre-cooking needed except for the butternut squash), and cooked everything together in my slow cooker overnight. Cook it for at least 6 hours on the low setting, but the longer you cook it, the more the flavors will develop. Then puree the entire contents of the pot with your trusty immersion blender, taste the soup, add more spices if necessary, and serve.