Slow Cooker Butternut Squash with Apples

Michigan Apples

Last week I got the chance to attend a Michigan Apples cooking event. I took a train to Chicago (a fun experience!) and spent the afternoon cooking various apple recipes with Chef Paul and a few other apple enthusiasts.  The day was a ton of fun and I definitely picked up a few cooking tips (like the quickest way to chop apples!).  Not only was it a fun learning experience, but the food tasted INCREDIBLE. Seriously, we got a whole apple-centered meal at the end of the event and I want to re-create every single recipe.

Michigan Apples

Michigan Apples

Other attendees included Maris from In Good Taste and Maribel from Meijer. We had a blast chopping apples, making chutney, learning from Chef Paul, and of course eating the amazing food. The people from Michigan Apples were incredibly kind and sent us away with a goody bag filled with apples, tons of recipes, and even an unbaked pie in a cast iron skillet! (Yes, I carried it all on the train back to Michigan!)  I learned that apples are the largest Michigan fruit crop (I would have guessed blueberries or cherries), and all about the local family owned farms that produce the crop. This was highlight for me, since I live in the area and go apple picking every Fall.  Also check out the Michigan Apples recipe page for some great apple recipes!

One of the delicious Fall recipes we made was slow cooker butternut squash with apples. It was so good, I just have to share the recipe with you. This would be a perfect dish to serve with Thanksgiving dinner, but it’s easy enough to make even for a casual side dish. I never knew how well dried cherries complimented roasted apples until I tried this dish!

Maple Ginger Butternut Squash with Apples

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash with Apples


1 1/2 lbs buternut squash, peeled and chopped (about 5 cups)
2 medium tart apples, chopped (2 cups)
1/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries
1 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup apple cider


In a slow cooker combine all ingredients and stir together. Cover and cook on low setting for 3-4 hours or on high for 1 1/2 hours. If using a conventional oven, cover and bake at 325 degrees until fork tender.

*You can substitute sweet potatoes for the butternut squash.

*Michigan Apples invited me to this event, but all opinions are my own. They didn’t ask me to write about it, I wrote about it because I had a great time. 🙂

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  1. your apple event sounds so good! i love the butternut squash/apple combo so i’ll definitely have to try this out!

  2. Megan… oh, my! This looks amazing.

    I LOVE apples, and luckily MN is a big developer and producer of apples too, because if not, that, in combination with cherries & blueberries would seriously make me move back to Michigan! I’m so glad you had a chance to learn about cooking with apples — that had to be such fun. Can’t wait to try this recipe soon.

  3. Looks like such a great time. I can’t wait to try that recipe out and you are right, perfect for Thanksgiving.
    Chef Paul looks very serious. Maybe he’s just camera shy 😉

  4. What a fun event! The recipe looks wonderful, love that you can do it in a slow cooker!

  5. Whoa Megan, that sounds soooo scrummy! We just went apple picking this weekend. Will try!

  6. OMG – I did look serious – I take my salad dressings seriously – and make them in an heirloom ball jar ……… hahahhaha … Megan and all the folks rocked at the event – It was so much fun to meet you – Keep on cookin!!!!

    • Thanks Chef Paul! I had a blast meeting you and I learned a lot. And definitely enjoyed the food. 🙂 And yes – thank you for your invaluable advice on how to mix up salad dressing ingredients. 🙂

  7. Sounds like a fun trip, Megan! Dishes like this are what I look forward most to about fall. 🙂

  8. This dish looks amazing, I can’t wait to try it! I have 2 big butternut squashes ready to go plus some apples from apple picking:-)

  9. WOW! This looks great! I can’t wait to try it!

  10. Great blog Megan! We are so glad you had a great time cooking with Michigan Apples! The pictures look delicious! 🙂

  11. These are gorgeous photos! What a fun afternoon. I am so glad we connected in person and can’t wait to read more of your blog.

  12. That’s awesome that you got to attend this event! This dish looks fabulous and I love anything in my slow cooker. Makes my life easier 🙂

  13. Sounds like an great day. I bet you were getting super hungry from the amazing smells of the apples and spices!

  14. What a fun event. This sounds and looks amazing. Love anything you can do in a slow cooker! Perfect for Fall

  15. How fun would that be? Mind sharing that fast apple chopping technique?

  16. Oh yum! Made this last night. Unfortunately, it wasn’t completely done cooking when I left for work. My husband let it cook a bit longer in the crock pot before putting it in the fridge for me. Oh yum! This is so yummy and such a great comfort food during these cook fall days. Thanks for posting!

  17. Soooo up my alley! Looks almost like a dessert

  18. Yum! This dish has all my favorite things going on 🙂 Love the use of dried cherries, I throw them in my tzimmes (a dish I make for rosh hashanah with sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, dates, and a bunch of other yummy stuff!)

  19. being Dutch and in my home country the Neth.ds I have never ever had a taste of butternut squash. Just bought some a few days ago, not knowing what to do with them, I thought I will search the net till I find something I would like as a first taste. This looks delicious, now to find my dried cranberries (if not for sale yet I will try dried apricots with some T’s of cranberry or cherry jelly. Thank you for this recipe. I am sure I will like it.

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  22. How do you cook it without over cooking the apples. Do you put the apples in later so that the they both keep their consistency? Wanting to try this recipe for Christmas.

  23. Thanks for reassuring me of that, Megan. I wonder if I used pre cut up squash or frozen to save time Christmas morning. I’m planning on Granny Smith apples – would that work? I saw precut up at the store today, but they already had that orangy – golden color. I love the idea of being able to use the slow cooker.

    • yes, when we made this at the apple cooking class, we used already cut up butternut squash from trader joe’s and it worked fine. Frozen seems like maybe it would not take as long to cook? I’m not sure – I’ve never seen it frozen around here. And yes, granny smith apples would be perfect. I really hope you enjoy it. 🙂

  24. Hi Megan! This looks delicious! Do you think this is doable on a stovetop in a Dutch oven? Thanks for sharing this mouth-watering recipe!

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  26. What size crock pot did you use for this? Thanks!

    • We made it as a group (and made a lot of it) so I’m not entirely sure which size crockpot was used. However, I only have one size – a large oval one, so I’d probably use that. I think as long as the ingredients fit, it would be fine.

  27. I just made this today for Thanksgiving and it was excellent. Thanks for the awesome recipe.
    As to the stockpot size needed, I made it in our G E Trio, and they are 2.5 quart each.

  28. I’m making this for Thanksgiving this year…I doubled the cinnamon and added 2 T butter (influenced by Paula Dean :). Also, I didn’t have any apple cider so I substituted juice (orange strawberry banana). It smells wonderful already!

  29. really good!!! I love how there is no sugar necessary

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  32. I’m making this for a church lunch tomorrow. But I have a 30 minute drive to church and then sit for 1 & 1/2 hours before serving. Can I put this in the crockpot tonight for 4 hours, and then just leave it on “warm” during the 1 and 1/2 hour service before we eat? Or should I just start it at 6:30am and cook for 4 hours (with 30 min drive interruption)? Thank you!

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