GAPS Slow Cooker Apple Pie Filling (+ Lauren’s Story)

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Hey, everyone. I’m just tickled to introduce you to Lauren. Below you’ll read her blessed GAPS healing story, and then she shares an easy slow cooker apple pie filling made without sugar or starch. Here in Oregon, it is beginning to feel like fall already and the apples are coming on. I think you can guess what I’ll be making soon. :) –Wardee

Hi, Gnowfglins readers! I’m Lauren, a 19-year old real food fanatic, and I blog at Empowered Sustenance. I’m excited for this opportunity to tell you a bit about my healing journey and share a GAPS recipe with you!

No, I don’t randomly dance on the beach in pointe shoes!
It’s my high school senior photo!

My Real Food Transition

Five years ago, as a freshman in high school, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. For a while, I held my colitis under control by obliviously popping prescriptions to suppress any symptoms. Unfortunately, my colitis advanced aggressively while prescriptions muted my body’s attempts at communicating with me. “You are probably looking at a colon resection in the future,” my doctor solemnly told me. Horrified tears streamed down my face as I promised myself that I would never lose my colon.

Last fall, with that vow, I left for college — armed with potent immune-suppressing medication and a plan to eat and sleep well in the dorm. During that first semester at college, my colitis flared constantly. I struggled to mask my health issues, but I could no longer hide my dwindling energy or humiliating hair loss caused by my medication and distressed intestines. At the end of the fall semester, I signed up for online college courses, headed back home, and ditched my medication. I threw myself wholeheartedly into treating my colitis with nutrition.

I eagerly read all the healing books I could get my hands on,
in an effort to find the solution to my colitis.

The SCD and GAPS Diet

I started the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) after researching its track record for colitis treatment. After only two weeks, my flare stopped and I felt energy seeping into my muscles. With additional research, I realized that I was basically following the GAPS diet, since I was incorporating fermented foods, healing fats, homemade broth, and detox baths into my healing regimen. Following the SCD/GAPS diet is the most effective, important step I have made on my healing journey.

GAPS Means Cooking… A Lot

Since starting GAPS, I find myself spending exponentially more time in the kitchen. Granted, more real food resources are finding their way to grocery store shelves. I visit Whole Foods for Bubbie’s naturally fermented pickles and sauerkraut, as well as raw milk cheeses. I love Trader Joe’s commitment to purity and great prices in their store brand products. But even with GAPS-friendly store-bought foods, the concept of “convenience foods” radically changes on the GAPS diet. Now, I interpret this term as something I’ve already cooked that is available in my fridge.

GAPS Cooking Shortcuts

With a few smart moves and prudent planning, I stock my fridge with these “convenience foods” each week for an easy meal or snack. The secret to reducing GAPS food prep time? Cook in bulk and find hands-free recipes. Grain-free meatballs fit this bill perfectly, for example: I make a couple pounds at a time and cook them in the oven, instead of tediously tending to them on the stove top. My Slow Cooker Apple Pie Filling also uses these time-saving shortcuts.

Creamy, GAPS coconut milk over tender apple pie filling.

Perfect Slow Cooker Apple Pie Filling Sans Sugar and Starch

Slow cooker apple pie filling provides the soul-warming taste and fragrance of an apple pie without the effort of making a crust. Additionally, the slow cooker produces tender, juicy apples without heating up the house like the oven. Unfortunately, slow cooker apple pie filling recipes call for starch–such as cornstarch–and sugar. Here, I’ve subbed honey for the sugar and added the step of reducing the cooking liquid. This perfectly replicates the thick, velvety filling from a “normal” recipe.

The perfect bite!

GAPS Slow Cooker Apple Pie Filling

  • 8 baking apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (I recommend Gala or Fuji)
  • 3 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter, ghee, or coconut oil (plus more, if desired)
  • GAPS Crumble Topping, optional
  • GAPS coconut milk, optional
  • Raw milk cheddar cheese, optional

Serves about 8.

Toss together the apples, honey, lemon juice, and cinnamon in a slow cooker. Dot with the butter or coconut oil. Cover and cook on High for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until the apples are tender. With a slotted spoon, remove the apples from the cooking liquid.

Carefully transfer the cooking liquid to a saucepan. Reduce the cooking liquid by simmering it over medium heat; it will take just a few minutes. The cooking liquid should reduce in volume by about 2/3 and should resemble syrup. If desired, stir in another tablespoon of cold butter, ghee or coconut oil for a richer dessert.

Pour the reduced liquid over the apples. Top with Crumble Topping or coconut milk, if desired. I also love this with a chunk of raw milk cheddar cheese.

For more great GAPS friendly recipes, head over to Empowered Sustenance. Eat well and heal!

Wardee: I bet this would be delicious with pears, too! Be sure to welcome Lauren in the comments and let us know what you think of this recipe when you try it.

New to our GAPS series? Get up to speed by browsing past posts in this series or reading what the GAPS diet is.

This post may contain affiliate links. We only recommend products and services we wholeheartedly endorse. Thank you for supporting Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS with your purchases. Our family thanks you!


  1. says

    Hi Lauren! I was just thinking of making apple pie for my dad’s b-day! My mom just like the “filling” so this will be perfect, I can just set some aside for her! Now to just find a grain free crust…

    • says

      Hey Caroline! I hope your family enjoys this apple pie filling. I am sure whatever you create for a grain free crust will be delicious. We’ll all be waiting for you to share it with us on Gutsy! And happy birthday to your Dad!

  2. Megan says

    Wardee, I wanted to let you know about this warning I got when trying to go to contains content from, a site known to distribute malware. Your computer might catch a virus if you visit this site.
    Google has found malicious software may be installed onto your computer if you proceed. If you’ve visited this site in the past or you trust this site, it’s possible that it has just recently been compromised by a hacker. You should not proceed, and perhaps try again tomorrow or go somewhere else.
    We have already notified that we found malware on the site. For more about the problems found on, visit the Google Safe Browsing diagnostic page.

    • says

      I’ll let Lauren know. I just scanned Lauren’s site through and it came up clean. But, the WAPF site did not come up clean.

      So, I would advise everyone to use caution and not click any links through to the Weston A. Price Foundation at this time. I’m sure they’ll correct that soon. Hackers are so vicious. :(

      • says

        Oh dear! I don’t know what to do about that. Should I temporarily remove all my links to I don’t want to scare people away from my site!

  3. Jessica says

    I’m thinking this would be SO good with the vanilla coconut milk ice cream on thenourishinggourmet. Gonna have to put that on the menu!

    • says

      That is a great idea, Jessica! I love that coconut milk ice cream recipe, too. Vanilla ice cream and warm apple filling… you can’t beat that :)

  4. says

    This is a God send thank you! I love love love apple pie and crisp and now I feel I have something to make for myself when I make my men theirs. All your post on GAPS has been very helpful, thank you so much.

    Blessings in Him<

    • says

      I’m glad you enjoy this recipe, Mary! I know how hard it is to feel left out when your family is eating non-GAPS things. I am sure your family members will enjoy this apple pie filling just as much as a conventional, white-sugar filled version!

  5. Patricia Dance via Facebook says

    This looks fabulous- but I don’t have a slow cooker- could the recipe be used on a conventional stove top- if so- any suggestions?

    • says

      This recipe also works in the oven, but I don’t think it would on the stovetop. Just slice the apples and toss with the honey and cinnamon. Put it in a casserole dish and dot with butter. I can’t remember how long it took the apples to bake in the oven–I think I cooked mine at 350 for maybe a hour. Just bake until the apples are soft, and give them a stir every 30 minutes or so. I don’t think you will have to reduce the juices after cooking, because the oven allows the steam to evaporate. I hope this works for you!

    • says

      Patricia, I’ve cooked apples on top of the stove in a heavy metal pot with a lid on a very low flame. However, I needed to pay attention to it, and make sure it didn’t burn–lots of stirring. Instead of honey, I used apple juice, and cooked it down until I got a thick and sweet apple butter. Can use as a pie filling or on toast–yum, yum.

    • says

      You are so right! This is a great recipe for those who just want a non-processed, healthy treat. The rest of my family doesn’t eat a special diet, and they really enjoyed this!

  6. Robin Morgan says

    I made this today and it was wonderful! The only thing – I didn’t have any “liquid” to reduce. I also poured a couple of Tbsp of raw cream over the top! YYYYUUUUMMMMMM!!

    • says

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this, Morgan! The liquid amount will vary, depending on the kind of apples and your slow cooker. I’m glad you could skip that step–it makes the recipe all the more simple! Mmmm… the raw cream topping sounds divine!

  7. Carol G says

    I am now looking for a slow cooker. I would love some input as to what brand and model you have been happy with. Also, I have heard there is measurable lead in all slow cookers. Does anyone know which ones have the lowest lead content? Are there any other kinds of kitchen devices simular to a slow cooker without the issues of lead that will perform the same tasks or are perhaps even more versitle? I want to be able to make bone stocks and cook meals and do not need all the bells and whistles, but do want something where I can control the temps so it is not too hot on low. I am willing to spend decent money to get a good rock solid device. Any advice would be very appreciated. Thanks!

    • Joan says

      I wish someone would comment here regarding Carol G.’s concern about lead leaching from crock pots into food, and what crock pots y’all use. Thanks!

  8. says

    I definitely plan on trying out this recipe. My office is planning a Southern-Style potuck and I wanted to being something as healthy as possible. I hope it’s a hit!

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