Slow cooker baked apples are the easiest dessert you'll ever make

Our young family has begun to develop our own little traditions, and fall is the perfect time to embrace them. I love the annual trip to the pumpkin patch and drinking wine with the neighbors during Halloween trick-or-treating, but apple picking is by far my favorite. It's fun for every age group and gives me the perfect excuse to try out some new apple recipes. I'll usually start with an apple pie and a big batch of applesauce. This year I also wanted to try something new.

These slow cooker baked apples are the easiest dessert you'll ever make. They look impressive, but take just minutes to prepare. Your slow cooker will do the heavy lifting, which means more time for planning your next fall adventure. 

Gather your ingredients

Start by gathering your ingredients. I love this recipe, because it is so simple. Start by picking the right apples. You'll want big ones to be able to stand up to the slow cooker's heat. I used honey crisp, but Granny Smith apples would work as well. 

For flavoring, grab cinnamon, apple pie spice, pure vanilla extract, and maple syrup. If you don't have real maple syrup on hand, substitute brown sugar instead. We'll be creating a filling for the apples with old fashioned oats. They soak up the flavors perfectly and taste like comforting baked oatmeal inside the apple. If you don't eat oats, you could also try chopped up nuts.

A full list of ingredients and step-by-step instructions can be found at the end of this article.

Prepare the apples

Coring the apples is actually much easier than I'd imagined. Taking a sharp paring knife, carefully make slits all the way around the apple's stem. Make sure to not cut right through the apple. We want to keep the bottom intact so that it holds the filling. It may help to peel the top of the apple before slicing. 

Core the apples

Once you've prepared your apples with the slits, use a melon baller or small spoon to core the apple. I used a half-teaspoon measuring spoon, and it was perfect. Scoop out the core and any seeds, making sure to leave about 1-2 centimeters of apple at the bottom. Discard the core and seeds.

There's no need to peel the entire apple before baking. The skin becomes very soft in the slow cooker, and you won't even notice it.

Place in the slow cooker

Once your apples are prepared, spray your slow cooker bowl with nonstick cooking spray and place the apples in the slow cooker. Spread them out so they're not touching. 

Prepare the filling

Now we'll work on the delicious filling. Baked apples on their own are pretty good, but filling them with a gooey mixture of butter and maple syrup just puts them over the edge.

Start by melting the two tablespoons of butter in the microwave. Microwave for about 20-30 seconds. Make sure to check on it frequently and stir. Butter can easily burn in the microwave, so it's better to heat it in short increments. Once the butter is melted, you can add the remaining ingredients.

Mix in the oats

Pour in the one teaspoon cinnamon, two tablespoons maple syrup, and one-fourth cup old fashioned oats, and stir to combine. 

Fill the apples

Once your filling has been mixed, spoon it into the prepared apples. The filling will not completely fill the apple's core. This leaves room for a topping once the apples have cooked and are tender. Cover the slow cooker and bake on high for about three hours. 

Be sure to check on the apples after two and a half hours to make sure they're not overcooking. The apples should be tender, but intact. Cooking them for too long results in a soggy mess of deflated apples. 

Allow to cool

Once the apples are tender, remove them from heat and allow them to cool slightly. Once the apples are ready to serve, top them with a large dollop of vanilla Greek yogurt or vanilla ice cream. You could also make your own whipped cream if you're feeling fancy.

Directions

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 3 hours

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 large apples

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • ¼ cup old fashioned oats

  • ½ cup water

  • ½ teaspoon apple pie spice

  • 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt

Directions

  1. Start by washing the apples. Then taking a sharp paring knife, cut a circle around the apple's stem. Make sure to not cut all the way through. To core the apple, use a melon baller or small spoon to scoop out the core and seeds.

  2. In a small bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Add the cinnamon, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and old fashioned oats. Stir to combine.

  3. Place the cored apples in your slow cooker and fill with oat mixture. Pour in one-half cup of water to the slow cooker and sprinkle with apple pie spice. Cook on high for about three hours, until the apples are tender, but not falling apart.

  4. Allow to apples to cool before serving. Top with a dollop of vanilla Greek yogurt or ice cream and enjoy!