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Homemade applesauce made from the best apples and vanilla beans is an easy recipe! This simple crockpot applesauce recipe is also healthy since there is no sugar added.

This recipe is so delicious, it will knock your socks off. Plus its so sweet, you won’t believe it was made without sugar.

Applesauce recipe

Nothing says fall like homemade applesauce.  This recipe was the result of when I bought a pretty big (I think it was around 30 pounds) box of freshly picked organic honeycrisp apples at my farmer’s market.

I especially love this recipe because it’s only made from a few wholesome ingredients and it’s really easy to make. Plus, it’s something I feel good about serving my family.

Best apples to use:

The key components to making this wonderful applesauce are:

Good quality apples.  I only make my homemade applesauce with freshly picked organic honeycrisp apples.  I’m super particular when it comes to my apples and proud of it!  They are crisp, juicy, sweet and tart, which is why no sugar is required.  Take my advice on this one.

I’ve never put sugar in my applesauce.  I just make sure that I start with a delicious apple and not sugar is needed.

My two most favorite apples in the world are Pink Ladies and Honeycrisps.

Lucky for me, the honeycrisps are in their peak season late summer and the pink ladies are in the stores in the early spring, making for year round happiness for me.

box of organic honeycrisp apples used to make applesauce

Ingredients needed:

In addition to the apples, you only need the following:

  1. Vanilla beans.  Its one of my top ten most favorite things in the world and you’ll never see my pantry without them.  That’s a promise. The price of vanilla beans has skyrocketed since I first made this homemade applesauce, but I still think they’re worth it.
  2. Cinnamon sticks.  I love the flavor of cinnamon but I don’t always want the over powering flavor of powdered cinnamon.  I think using a cinnamon stick in this recipe not only flavors your applesauce perfectly, but it doesn’t change the beautiful light color of the apples.
  3. Lemon juice.  It keeps your apples tart, adds a bit of acid in case you want to can for later, and keeps your apples from turning brown from oxidation.

How to make this recipe:

You can certainly make this applesauce on the stove top or in an Instant Pot with a few minor tweaks to the recipe.

I personally like to use the slow cooker to make my homemade applesauce because no water is necessary, thus making the flavor the best it can be. Plus, your entire kitchen will smell like heaven.

  1. First step is to peel, core, and cut your apples thin. I’ve made applesauce without peeling the apples before, and although the skin adds to the flavor, I don’t like it in the applesauce.
  2. Combine the apples with the vanilla bean, lemon juice and cinnamon sticks in the Slow cooker. Give them a stir, cover, and cook on high for four hours.
  3. All you’ll need to do is give it a stir when its done and you’ll have perfect applesauce.  BAM!
how to make applesauce

Canning applesauce:

I filled up all different sizes of mason jars when I can using a water bath canning set simply because I like the way it looks.

If you plan on canning your homemade applesauce, just add the hot applesauce to sterile glass mason jars and leave just under an inch of head space at the top of the jar.

Attach a brand new lid and ring and place in a simmering water bath so that there is at least an inch of water covering the jars.

I let my jars of applesauce soak in the gentle simmer, covered, for about twenty minutes. Then, I carefully transfer them to the counter and you can hear the seals pop within a few minutes.

Once canned, your applesauce will last for several months, if not more, on the shelf.

canning applesauce

Vanilla Bean Honeycrisp Applesauce

Prep20 minutes
Cook4 hours
Total4 hours 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
This Vanilla Bean Honeycrisp Applesauce recipe is so delicious, it will knock your socks off. Plus its so sweet, you won’t believe it was made without sugar.




  • Put apple slices in large slow cooker.
  • Juice lemon, pour over apples, and toss to coat.
  • Add cinnamon stick to slow cooker.
  • Split vanilla bean and scrap seeds with knife. Add bean pod and scraped seeds to slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook on high for 4 hours. There should be no need to add water. When done, stir with large spoon to achieve desired consistency. Discard vanilla bean pod.


Can in water bath for 20 minutes for long term storage or store in refrigerator in airtight container up to 2 weeks.
Recipe can easily be increased based on volume of slow cooker.


Calories: 131kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Sodium: 2mg, Potassium: 280mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 24g, Vitamin A: 125IU, Vitamin C: 24.8mg, Calcium: 29mg, Iron: 0.5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you make this? Leave me a comment below

This recipe was originally published in September 2014 and was most recently updated in September 2019.

Since I always make more than enough applesauce, I always enjoy incorporating it into other recipes. Here are some of the best recipes to make with applesauce:

Hi! I’m Krissy.

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    1. I’ve never frozen applesauce but I’ve frozen most everything else. I’d like to say yes, you can, but I can’t tell you that with 100% certainty.

      1. I’ve frozen applesauce in ziplock bags and I have some left from last year that is still fine. It freezes very well. Just thaw in the fridge or with warm water when you want to eat it.

  1. Hi there….

    My kids are begging me to make this… but I need to make one substitution. My hubby has diverticulitis, and can’t eat small seeds. (I cut the seeds out of his tomatoes for a salad…can’t be too careful!) Since I can’t use vanilla bean, I use quality extract, but I was wondering if you might give me an estimate of how much might equal a bean that’s simmered in the crock pot?

    Thanks so much!

  2. I love homemade applesauce – it is so good! And so satisfying knowing you made it yourself 🙂 I also have vanilla beans that I brought back from Madagascar and haven’t used yet – I think this is the perfect recipe to try them!

    1. Hi Betty, Absolutely! Just cook it over medium heat with the lid on and give it a stir every so often. – Krissy

        1. Hi Meredith. It completely depends on how big your apples are. I fill my slow cooker (6 quart) and it cooks down by up to half. At that point, I’m able to can 3-4 quarts. But I end up making batch after batch because I buy my apples in bulk. – Krissy

  3. I am curious if you have ever used any other types of apples for the apple sauce. I have some Fuji apples right now that I think I might try.

    1. I’ve only ever made my applesauce with honeycrisps. I’m a total food snob and will only eat honeycrisps or pink ladies. I’m sure Fuji would work perfectly, though. They’re sweet enough that I might want to give them an extra squeeze of lemon. You can’t go wrong! Krissy

  4. How long will the applesauce last when water bath canned? I have wanted to learn and this just might be the recipe to start with!!

    1. We’re still eating applesauce that I canned well over a year ago! I have no idea how long it will or should last, but I know that the lemon helps add acidity to an already acidic fruit, so there’s low risk. I’m not an expert canner, but I’ve done a ton of peaches and applesauce. Hope that helps! Krissy

      1. Hello I’ve just come across this recipe and can’t wait to try it! I’m wondering if you could please tell me a bit about canning it. Does it need anything else or do you just ladle it in jars and process it? Headspace? Also do you recommend bottled or fresh lemon juice? Thanks so much!

        1. Hi Shianna, I just followed standard water bath canning procedures which do call for head space. I prefer fresh lemon juice but I’m sure bottled would work just fine. -Krissy

        1. Hi Gail, You can definitely us Stevia as a sugar replacement. I’m personally not a fan. You left this comment on my applesauce recipe, but were referring to my peach cobbler. The applesauce doesn’t call for any sugar.

    1. Yep! I peel them by hand and make sure every last bit of peel is gone because I don’t use a food mill to remove them. – Krissy

    1. Hi Sandi, Unfortunately I have no idea about the nutritional information of anything I cook. I just make things that taste good and share the recipes. My guess would be to find out the number of carbs in a honeycrisp apple and multiply that amount by how many apples you cook down into sauce. Because there’s no additional sugar, I would think you’d be able to enjoy it, but I am not able to give you an accurate number. – Krissy

    1. Hi Saundra, I buy my vanilla beans in bulk online. I got this batch from a company called Olive Nation. I have no idea how many WW points this dessert is, but its definitely rich so a small slice satisfies!

      1. Olive Nation is a great source and they often run discount sales. I have an unopened packet of 25 vanilla beans in my pantry; the fragrance is so sweet and strong that it permeates the packaging. 🙂

          1. I was wanting to can this applesauce in pint jars. How much does it make and can I double it in the crock pot?

            1. Hi Kelley, Pint jars work great! If you fill your crock pot, expect it to cook down by as much as half. If you have a 6 quart, you’ll get 3+ quarts of applesauce, or 6-8 pints. -Krissy

      1. Oh yes. Single vanilla beans are always outrageously priced. I buy mine in bulk online. Olive Nation or Beanilla have been more sources. They last forever if you keep them moist. -Krissy