How To Make Apple Pie Filling For Canning

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Fall means canning apple pie filling at my house! Just think when winter gets here and you’ve got a craving for a fresh hot apple pie, all you have to do is open a jar from the pantry, pour it in your favorite pie crust, and bake.

The work has already been done! The apples are peeled, seasoned, cooked and the filling is really nice and thick! Easy peasy!

Homemade apple pie filling does make the best apple pies and muffins. There is really no comparison to the flavor of a homemade apple pie or apple crumble to that of one that is store-bought.

If you have not been canning your own apple pie filling, you are missing out! It’s easy to make and tastes so much better!

Trust me, once you’ve tasted homemade from scratch, you’ll never want what is bought at the store again!

Let’s get started…

apple pie filling in pint jars beside Pink Lady apples

What are the Best Apples for Making Apple Pie filling?

There are several kinds of apples that are great for making both apple pie filling and even applesauce.

My favorite is the Mutsu. This year I waited too late to go to the orchard and they were all gone. So I used Pink Lady and Cameo instead.

Other great apples for making apple pies and applesauce are Granny Smith, Gold Rush, Red Delicious, Jonagold, Honey Crisp, and the Gala.

Yield:

Makes 7 pints

Ingredients:

  • 12 cups of fresh apples – peeled, cored, sliced or chunked
  • 1 1/4 cup Stevia or Truvia
  • 3/4 cup Clear Jel (for Cooking-NOT instant)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cups COLD water
  • 2 1/2 cups UNSWEETENED apple juice

How To Make Apple Pie Filling for Canning

STEP 1: Prepare Boiling Water Bath Canner

Place 7-pint canning jars into a water bath canner and simmer until you are ready to use them. Do not boil.

Wash lids with soapy water and set them aside.

STEP 2: Prepare Apples

First of course, apples should be washed well. I put mine into a cool sink of water and gently wipe clean with a clean cloth. Some people like to use a vegetable wash, it’s up to you – I don’t.

Once apples are clean, lay them out on a towel to dry and prepare a place on the counter for working.

Next, peel, core, and slice or chunk apples. I use my apple/peeler/corer and can peel core, and chunk 12 cups of apples in about 15 minutes.

apple peeler with apple peels on a counter
Apple Peeler for peeling fresh apples

I will say though, I remove the corer and slicer from the apple peeler and only allow it to peel. We prefer our home-canned apple pie filling to be more like bite-size “chunks” rather than thin slices. I feel like the slicer slices them too thin. So this is a preference.

After I have ran them through the peeler, I use a sharp knife, cut off the ends, and then use an apple slicer/corer to slice and core them. I then cut them into bite-size chunks.

Fresh peeled apples trimming ends
Trim ends off before putting into the slicer

Cutting off the ends makes them go through the apple slicer easier.

By the way, did you know you can make apple scrap jelly using apple peels, so don’t throw them out? Put them into gallon freezer bags and store until you are ready to make jelly.

STEP 3: Blanching Apples for Apple Pie Filling

I know, you were hoping that you didn’t have to blanch the apples, but you do. I’ve been asked on a couple of occasions if this step can be skipped but the answer is no.

Honestly, no matter how the apples are shaped, they still blanch quickly and easily.

fresh peeled and chopped apples blanching in a large stainless steel pot
Blanch apples before making Apple Pie Filling

To blanch, pour apples into a large pot and cover with hot water. Place on the stove eye on high and leave while making the mixture for pie filling.

STEP 4: Mixing Ingredients for Apple Pie Filling

In a large pot, I use a 12-quart stainless steel stockpot. COMBINE sugar, Clear Jel, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir in apple juice and cold water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, and cook until mixture thickens and begins to bubble.

ingredients in a large pot for making apple pie filling
Ingredients for making apple pie filling

Add lemon juice, and return to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly with a kitchen whisk. Remove from heat and set aside.

STEP 5: Drain Apples

Using a large colander, drain apples and immediately fold into pie filling mixture. Stir well until apples are covered well with a filling mixture.

It’s important this is done quickly. The apples need to remain hot when going into the jars.

STEP 6: Fill Jars For Water Bathing

Ladle hot apple pie filling into pint jars leaving 1-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fingertip tight.

Headspace Note For Apple Pie Filling

It’s important to leave a 1-inch headspace. The apple and filling will “swell” during processing, and the headspace will help to give it room. Otherwise, you’ll have a lot of leaky jars when removed from the canner.

Place into water bath canner on rack and process at boiling for 25 minutes or adjust according to your area altitude on the chart below.

To find your altitude – type into google – altitude your City, your state. Mine for example is altitude Etowah, TN. Google gives me 807 feet. So in my area, I don’t increase processing time.

Remove jars and place a clean towel on the counter. Leave undisturbed for 24 hours.

ALTITUDE IN FEETINCREASE PROCESSING TIME
0-1,000None
1,000 – 3,0005 Minutes
3,001 – 6,00010 Minutes
6,001 – 8,00015 Minutes
8,001 – 10,00020 Minutes

If they have leaked, just leave them as is until they cool. The jar will more than likely seal anyway.

Test lids for seal. The center should not flex up and down when pressed.

If anything is going to siphon when processed, it will be apple pie filling. It never fails, I have at least one if not more siphon.

What is Siphoning in Canning?

Siphoning is when the liquid is “pulled or drawn” out of the canning jar due to a drastic change in temperature. It prevents jars from breaking. So it’s important to remove the lid from the water bath canner when time is up.

Then leave sitting for 5 minutes with rack raised from boiling water.

Do I Have To Use Clear Jel for Making Apple Pie Filling?

Clear Jel is modified cornstarch that is used as a thickener for cooking fruits, stews, gravies, and more. It holds well with canning and has a long shelf life when cooked.

It can be heated and cooled multiple times. From the hot canner, to cooling and storing on the shelf and then reheated in a hot apple pie later.

You cannot substitute cornstarch or flour or another thickener for Clear Jel.

When you purchase Clear Jel, make sure it is labeled “for cooking” and not instant. Instant will not hold up on shelf life. Most grocery stores do not carry Clear Jel, but it can be ordered. Hoosier-Hill-Farm is my favorite.

Note: Clear Jel is different from Sure-Jell too. So make sure to get “cooking” Clear Jel.

How Long Will Canned Apple Pie Filling Last?

This is the good part. Since making sure that you used cooking Clear Jel, homemade apple pie filling if sealed properly, will store on the shelf for about 3 years. Of course, ours never lasts this long.

If you happen to have a jar that does not seal, no problem! I actually had one on my last run. Just place the jar in the refrigerator and it will keep for about 2 weeks!

But trust me, it will be eaten before then! Grab yourself a bowl of homemade vanilla ice cream or whip up a quick gluten-free pie crust and bake a homemade apple pie and enjoy.

Can You Freeze Apple Pie Filling Instead of Canning?

Yes, you certainly can! I always can mine because my freezer space is so limited. But all you need to do is mix the blanched apples into the filling mix. Let it sit and cool to room temperature.

Then ladle into quart or gallon size freezer bags. Quarts will most likely not fill a pie pan but would be a great treat with homemade ice cream.

If you plan to make pies, I would recommend gallon size Ziploc bags.

Frozen apple pie filling will freeze well for about 6 months provided all the air is removed from the bag.

To learn more about safe freezing and how to get the longest life with freezing, my book the Quick Start Guide to Freezing Food At Home is really helpful. Grab yourself a copy.

To use it after it has been frozen, defrost it in the refrigerator overnight and then use it as you wish.

So, are you starving for a homemade apple pie using your very own canned apple pie filling recipe? Yum! Bet you didn’t know it was so easy to make!

More Delicious Recipes

Yield: 7 pints

Homemade Apple Pie Filling for Canning

apple pie filling in pint jars

This delicious pie filling can be used for more than just pies. You can also make muffins, pastries, and more with this homemade filling.

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12 cups fresh apples - peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1 1/4 cup Stevia
  • 3/4 cup Clear Jel (for cooking)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 cups Unsweetened Apple Juice
  • 1 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 7 pint canning jars with lids and rings
  • Water bath canner

Instructions

  1. Fill water bath canner with water and place clean jar inside to heat while working apples.
  2. Peel, core and chop apples put them into a large stainless steel pot of hot water. Blanch for 2-5 min (they will slightly change color when done). Remove and place into a large colander to drain.
  3. While apples are blanching, combine sugar, Clear Jel, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large stainless steel pan. Stir in apple juice and water. Bring to a boil stirring constantly, cook until mixture begins to thicken. Add in lemon juice and bring back to a boil.
  4. Remove from heat pour in blanched apples. Mix well until all apples are well covered.
  5. Ladle hot apples into hot pint jars, remove air bubbles leaving a 1 inch headspace. Clean rim, and place lid and ring on jar. Tighten to finger tight.
  6. Process jars in water bath canner for 25 minutes. (Adjust for altitude) When done, lift rack from canner and allow to sit for 5 minutes to prevent siphoning.
  7. Place on towel on counter and allow to rest for 24 hours undisturbed.
  8. Label and store after 24 hours.

Notes

If you choose, regular sugar can be used in place of Stevia. Still the same amount. This is a low sugar recipe and can be increased to as much as 2 3/4 cups if you prefer.

apples blanching for making apple pie filling

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10 thoughts on “How To Make Apple Pie Filling For Canning”

  1. I wish that you had included some information about the altitude directions, it said to adjust for altitude but I don’t know how to.

    1. Hi April,

      I apologize for that. I have gone in and added an altitude chart. I’ve also included how to find your altitude via google. Let me know if you have any more questions. Thanks for reading
      Dianne

  2. Hello,
    Can you recommend where to find a water bath canner? And also what brand? I’m not a fan of aluminum cookware; prefer stainless steel. Thanks. V.

  3. I know in your comments it mentions no other thickener will work besides modified corn starch. I’m wondering if that includes gelatin from beef. We really try to avoid corn if at all possible. I appreciate the sugar free method which is uncommon.

    1. Hi Tamara,

      I’ll be honest, you’ve stumped me. I cannot answer your question about using beef gelatin instead. Our family too does all we can to avoid corn and grains of any sort. Since I wrote this post – I have found Gum Arabic Powder – its a dried tree sap and is gluten free. I am doing some research on it now as an alternative to the clear jel (corn based). If you find out more, I’d love if you’s share the info with me.

      I’m sorry I’m not any help.

  4. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I made it tonight and it seems yo have turned out. I did notice that your recipe instructions do not indicate when to add the sugar. I forgot to add it and I’m glad I realized right before I put the mixture in the jars. I then just added the sugar and boiled the mixture until I knew the sugar was blended well. About 1-2 min.

    1. Hi Ragan,

      Thanks for pointing this out. I have fixed the error. I had it in the “post” area but failed to put in the printable recipe. You’ll love this recipe! I not only make pies and tarts with it, but we just heat it up and put in on vanilla bean ice cream for a quick treat.

      Happy Fall Canning

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