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Canning Apple Pie Filling

Canning apple pie filling at home is a great way to preserve the harvest and have homemade dessert in the pantry. Best of all it’s easy project for beginner and experienced canners alike. 

2 jars of canned apple pie filling in front of a basket of fresh apples with text overlay.

Homemade apple filling is more frugal than store bought and can be customized for your family’s individual tastes. Spices can be changed, more or less sugar can be used. 

Best of all this same water bath canning recipe can also be apple pie filling to freeze if canning isn’t your thing or if you’ve run out of jars this preservation season.

Apples to Use

There are lists of apples that make better pie or sauce for example. However, as a person with a large apple tree right in my yard, I just use what I have available. Use whatever you have on hand or enjoy most.

fresh apples in a wooden basket.

To Peel or Not to Peel

I use a apple peeler and corer machine to make the process easy and quick. However, you could simply core and slice the apples leaving the peels on. The peeler does sometimes skip or miss the top and bottom. I leave those and don’t worry about it. 

An apple being peeled and cored on a rotary peeling machine.

This is completely a personal decision. Feel free to cut off every piece of peel or leave them on completely. 

Leaving the peels on means you won’t win a blue ribbon at the fair. If that’s important do a batch without peels. 

Do cut out any bad spots, bruises, bug bites, etc. I use organic apples there are plenty in mine but taking the time to clean up those bad spots will give you a better final product.

Treating for Browning or Not

Apples brown fairly quickly after peeling. Most canning books and websites will tell you to treat them for browning.

To treat apples for browning, you have several options:

Ascorbic acid: you can buy this like ‘Fruit Fresh’ right in the grocery store. Follow package directions but usually it is 1 teaspoon ascorbic acid dissolved in 1 gallon of water.

Lemon Juice: add ¼ cup lemon juice to 4 cups of water.

Simply add slices to water and remove with a slotted spoon to keep the fruit from turning brown.

2 jars of canned apple pie filling to the left of a basket of fresh apples

Let me be honest and say that I skip this all the time. Yes the fruit browns while it sits, however; once it heats up in the pots and jars the color returns. Again, personal decision do what works for you. 


This recipe only includes cinnamon. However, you could switch it up.

Use a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

Ginger and apples is a lovely combination.

Skip the spice entirely in the canning process and add it when you bake with it later, if desired.


Use up to 5 1/2 cups of sugar in the recipe. I generally use less because it simply doesn’t need to be that sweet in my opinion.

The sugar doesn’t do the preserving the canning process does so it is still safe. Less sugar, does mean that the syrup isn’t as going to go as far, however; keep this in mind as you make your recipe.

The recipe included here uses 4 cups of sugar and still made exactly 6 quarts. 


Grandma probably canned her apple pie filling using flour or cornstarch. The thing is flour and cornstarch are not approved for home canning. Flour and cornstarch will likely breakdown in the homecanning process.

A collage of photos with canned apple pie filling and fresh apples on top and a baked apple pie on the bottom with a text overlay in the middle

For these reasons, this recipe uses clearjel a modified cornstarch that is approved and stable in the home canning process.

Quarts or Pints

A quart jar is the minimum necessary to make a 9” pie, in my opinion. However, you could can this apple pie filling in pints. Follow the same instructions in the recipe.

Wide mouth canning jars will be easier to pour out the thick apple pie filling when you’re ready to bake. However, regular mouth jars will obviously work just use a spatula to get it out of the jar.

How to Use Canned Apple Pie Filling

Obviously, use it in a pie. Simply line a pie plate with a homemade pie crust add the apple pie filling, top with another pastry and bake as usual. You can also make a rustic cobbler by omitting the bottom crust and topping the apple pie filling with a crust made from make-ahead baking mix.

Dress up the homemade apple pie filling by adding a cup of raisins or dried cranberries and mix it up with the filling before putting into the pie crust.

A baked apple pie sitting next to a book and fresh apple.

Make hand pies or apple turnovers with pie crust and apple pie filling. Bake as usual. 

Bake it up in this tasty and easy Apple Pie Cake.

Use it for an apple crisp. Simply pour the pie filling into the bottom of a greased pie plate and top with your favorite crumble or crisp topping. Bake as usual.

Mix the apple pie filling into cooked oatmeal or yogurt for a special treat. Top pound cake or ice cream with the filling for extra flavor.

Here are a bunch of recipes using apple pie filling for you to try.

Tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comment section further down the page. We always appreciate your feedback. You can also save the recipe for later by pinning it or clicking on the heart in the lower right hand corner.

Yield: 6 Quarts

Canned Apple Pie Filling

2 jars of canned apple pie filling sitting in front of a basket of fresh apples

Perfect for pies, crumbles, and more can your own apple pie filling at home with the ideal amount of sugar and spice for your family.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Canning Time 25 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes



  1. Get the water bath canner ready, start heating the water, and prepare jars, lids, and rings.
  2. Boil the apple slices for 1 minute. Do this in several batches. Remove the slices from the pot and keep in a towel covered bowl to keep warm.
  3. In a heavy pot (one that won't scorch), combine the sugar, ClearJel, cinnamon, water, and apple juice. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cook until mixture thickens and bubbles.
  4. Add the lemon juice to the sugar mixture and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Stir constantly to prevent scorching.
  5. Drain the apple slices (don't add any extra water). Add the apple slices and stir to coat. Cook until the apples are heated through.
  6. Fill the jars with the apple pie filling leaving 1 inch headspace.
  7. Wipe rims, secure lids, and rings.
  8. Process in boiling water canner for 25 minutes (adjusting for elevation).

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Nutrition Information:


24 cups

Serving Size:

1 cup

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 216Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 7mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 3gSugar: 51gProtein: 0g
2 jars of canned apple pie filling sitting in front of a basket of fresh apples with text overlay

Thanks for sharing!

Jennifer Shaffer

Friday 13th of October 2023

Hi, is there a replacement for the clear gel. Thanks

Angi Schneider

Sunday 22nd of October 2023

There is no approved thickener for canning other than clear gel, and it's only approved for recipes that have fruit (meaning, there are no approved recipes for soup that uses clear gel.)


Wednesday 12th of October 2022

I cut back on the clear jel by 1/2 cup. I did a double batch. The reccomended amount of sugar was perfect. This turned out very good and I'll use this recipe again.

Angi Schneider

Tuesday 18th of October 2022

Glad you liked it!

Suzanne L Marsico

Sunday 25th of July 2021

Is there a lower sugar recipe or one with Steevia for diabetes

Angi Schneider

Friday 30th of July 2021

You can reduce the sugar as much as you want. It's the canning that does the preserving not the sugar. However, the sugar does help the fruit retain it's color and firmness. You might find this article useful,


Tuesday 23rd of February 2021

How long is the shelf-life for this recipe? I have thought about using this as gift ideas for my grandma and aunt!

Angi Schneider

Monday 1st of March 2021

The USDA recommends that home canned food be consumed within a year because over time the quality will deteriorate. That being said, as long as the canned food remains sealed it's perfectly safe.

Melinda Schenk

Wednesday 25th of November 2020

I made 2 batches of this recipe today,excellent ! I did have several jars that “oozed ” ,I left an inch of headspace and let them sit in the water bath for 15 minutes after turning the burner off. Do you think I can reprosse them or should I just refrigerate.

Angi Schneider

Wednesday 25th of November 2020

So glad you like it! As long as the jars sealed, they are shelf stable. I would take the band off and clean the ooze off the jar and then just use those jars first. If they didn't seal, put them in the refrigerator and use them first.

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