Stuffed baked apples are a terrific slow-cooker dessert. These cinnamon-spiced Granny Smith apples are made without butter! Instead, you’ll combine brown sugar, chopped walnuts, and dried cranberries, and let the crockpot work its magic. Start the crockpot-baked apples before dinner, and you’ll have a comforting, warm dessert ready when you’re done. Yields 4-6 stuffed apples.
We have a saying in our home that “just because it’s vegan, doesn’t mean it’s healthy”! And while I do love the smooth buttery goodness of vegan butter in vegan dessert recipes, oftentimes what I am really looking for are (still) decadent no-butter desserts like oil-free and cinnamony-sweet air fryer apple slices or these yummy baked apples!
When I’m planning for a special meal and thinking of easy vegan dessert recipes, I do sometimes enjoy a rich and buttery dessert like Slow Cooker Apple Spice Cake. But when I’d rather lighten the fat (but not the flavor), I’ll opt for this delicious slow cooker apple dessert.
When meal planning, using a vegan slow cooker meal ideas just makes sense! Find a recipe that you can set and forget using your Crockpot so that you can concentrate your time and efforts on the other meal components.
Fall recipes like these spiced baked apples and Crockpot Pear Butter are extra comforting when made in the slow cooker because the spicy smells fill your home with the promise of the season.
This warm and comforting Crockpot apple dessert is perfect to make because you can start it in your slow cooker, set it and forget it. Before long the warm spicy sweet aroma of spiced baked apples will be wafting through your home, making everyone wonder what’s for dessert!!
Ingredients needed to make slow cooker stuffed apples
- Granny Smith Apples – I love to use Granny Smith because of their flavor and texture when baked. If you have a favorite baking apple then feel free to substitute. This recipe calls for 4-6 apples depending on the size of your slow cooker and the size of the apple used. If you are using smaller bagged apples, you will be able to fit as many as six apples in a medium-sized crockpot. If you are using the larger, individually purchased apples, then you will only be able to fit four. It’s best to place the apples in first to test it out when you are planning for your dessert servings.
- dried cranberries – I like to use Craisins because they are a little bit sweetened too.
- brown sugar – Use light brown sugar or dark. It does not matter for this recipe. (Today I used light brown sugar.) You could substitute coconut sugar if that is your preference. They both have a similarly rich flavor. Just don’t substitute white sugar for brown sugar.
- chopped walnuts – You can substitute chopped pecans if you prefer them over walnuts.
- ground cinnamon and nutmeg
- You will also need a slow cooker. Crockpot is the brand I use for this recipe. Use any brand you have!
- Optional toppings like caramel sauce or vegan vanilla ice cream, or another topping of choice.
How to make Crock Pot baked apples
The exact ingredients with measurements can be found in the recipe card below along with more concise abbreviated instructions. Read on for more details, tips, and tricks so that you will feel confident making this recipe.
Step 1: Prepare your slow cooker
You need to either spritz your cooking pot with cooking spray or line it with a plastic liner made for your pot. The brown sugar will be very sticky when it cooks and lining the pot or spraying with cooking spray will make for easier cleanup.
Step 2: Prepare the apples
I use Granny Smith apples for this recipe and for most of my baked apple recipes. Granny Smith apples have a nice tart flavor that contrasts well with the sugar. They also bake up nicely without falling apart or getting too mushy.
Feel free to substitute another type of baking apple if you’d like. You might find this article about the best apples used for baking by Bon Appetit useful.
Wash and dry each apple. Use a melon baller to remove the core from the apples. If you use another device to core the apples, make sure that it does not go all the way through the apple or the fillings will fall out when the apples are cooking.
A melon baller is handy to use because you can just scoop out the parts you don’t want and not worry about going all the way through like you would if you used an apple corer.
Did you notice that we are not peeling the apples for this recipe? Leave the apple skins on for baking in the slow cooker. The skins will lend a perfect texture when fully cooked and help hold the baked apple together.
Step 3: The filling
Chop the walnuts if you did not buy yours prechopped. You can substitute chopped pecans if that is your preference. Place the chopped nuts into a small bowl.
Measure out the dried cranberries, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and add to the mixing bowl with the chopped nuts. You can prepare this step ahead of time. Just cover your mixing bowl well to keep the brown sugar from drying out and clumping.
Spoon the mixture evenly into each prepared apple. You need to press the mixture down as you are going so that all of the sweet filling mixture goes where it belongs.
If you have some extra filling that didn’t fit into the cored apples then pile on top and press down the best you can. Please do use all of the delicious sugar filling for the yummiest baked apples!
Next, place all the apples into the prepared slow cooker pot. Place the apples upright and as evenly as possible so that they don’t fall over and lose their filling when cooking.
Final Step: Cooking the slow cooker baked apples
Cook on low in your Crock Pot for about two – two and a half hours. Every slow cooker is a little bit different and different apples cook differently. The first time you cook this slow cooker dessert, start checking at about one-and-a-half hours and then frequently to make sure the apples aren’t falling apart. You want them soft, but whole. You aren’t making apple sauce!
When the slow cooker baked apples are fork tender but not totally falling apart then they are done!
These Crock Pot baked apples would be delicious served with your favorite ice cream. We are a vegan family and so luckily I have lots of yummy vegan ice creams I can make! Some of my favorites that would be perfect with this tasty baked apples dessert are my Sweet Cream Ice Cream, Frozen Yogurt, and Apple Pie Ice Cream. All winners!
Totally optional BUT baked apples are also delicious with salted caramel sauce drizzled on top. Try my vegan salted caramel sauce made with coconut cream. It’s delicious!
If you have any leftover baked apples, save in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. You can warm the baked apples in the microwave for a minute or two before serving, or enjoy them cold.
For a health-ish breakfast, I spoon some protein vegan yogurt on top and sprinkle pumpkin spice granola or crunchy granola with cashews and coconut on top. And toss in a few extra chopped walnuts and dried cranberries, of course. Yum!
What might go wrong?
If your slow cooking process is too long or your slow cooker cooks too hot, your crockpot apples might become over-cooked apples and resemble mush – not baked apples! You can save this.
Mash your overly cooked apples and serve over a scoop of ice cream – you’ve just made a festive fall ice cream topping! Stir into some yogurt or make overnight oats. Just don’t throw them out!
The Printable Recipe Card
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Stuffed Crockpot Baked Apples (No Butter)
- slow cooker
- 4-6 Granny Smith Apples see notes
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup brown sugar packed
- 2 Tablespoons chopped walnuts
- ¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Prepare the cooking pot of your slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray or with a liner.
- Wash and dry each apple. Use a melon baller to remove the core from the apples. If you use another device to core the apples, make sure that it does not go all the way through the apple.
- Chop the walnuts if not already chopped. I think the smaller the better.
- In a small bowl, mix together the chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- Spoon the mixture into the middle of each cored apple. Press down when the core fills to make more space for ingredients.
- Arrange the filled apples around the bottom of the slow cooker pan.
- Cook on low for about 2 – 2½ hours. Every slow cooker is a little bit different and different apples cook differently. Start checking at about one and a half hours and then frequently to make sure the apples aren't falling apart. You want them soft, but whole. You aren't making apple sauce!
For more delicious apple recipes from Veggie Fun Kitchen, try:
- Homemade Apple Cider Made in the Instant Pot – an original recipe using fresh apples
- Rustic Caramel Apple Tart – an easy recipe made with puff pastry
- Apple Rose Tartlets – also made with puff pastry
- Sour Cream Apple Pie Dump Cake – made with canned apple pie filling
- Autumn Spinach Salad made with Roasted Pumpkin – and raw apple slices, pecans, and cranberries
- Easy Apple Cinnamon Dumplings – made in the Instant Pot
- Purple Cabbage Slaw with Miso Dressing – made with chopped apples, shredded carrots, edamame, and pomegranate seeds
- Apple Spice Cake – made in the slow cooker with a cake mix and canned apple pie filling