Apple Pie Filling

10 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Cooling Time 15 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Homemade Apple Pie Filling spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg is easy and ready in just 30 minutes to fill fall pastries or top with ice cream.

Inspired by our delicious and easy Apple Pie, this homemade Apple Pie Filling is great for freezing or canning. Check out all our fruit Pie Recipes you can make ahead for a quick dessert.

Apple Pie Filling in bowl

A homemade Apple Pie Filling is just so much better than any canned pie filling you get at the grocery store! It’s filled with fresh ingredients, and there are no questionable preservatives. This recipe for Apple Pie Filling is so easy and delicious, you’ll never buy the canned stuff again.

The best Apple Pie Filling is all about fresh! Use fresh lemon juice instead of the bottled stuff. If you can find it, try using fresh, whole nutmeg and grating it yourself. Fresh ground nutmeg has way more flavor and whole nutmeg stays fresh in the pantry for a long time.

This recipe is enough for one 9-inch pie, however you can easily double, triple, or quadruple it for storing ahead of time. Freezing this delicious apple pie filling is the easiest way to store it, plus it lasts 6 months in the freezer! If you want to can this Apple Pie Filling recipe, there are instructions on how to use a water bath canning process in this post.

This Apple Pie Filling can be used in all your favorite recipes besides just apple pie. Try it baked with a brown sugar crumble for an easy Apple Crisp, or as the filling in any apple recipe. You can also just serve it warm in a bowl topped with Vanilla Ice Cream or Whipped Cream.

How to Make Apple Pie Filling

  • Peel, core and slice your apples, then toss them with lemon juice and add to a large dutch oven with water.
  • Whisk in the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt until well combined.
  • Bring to a boil on high heat, then simmer for 8-10 minutes on medium heat until the apples are soft and the sauce has thickened.
  • If canning, do so while hot, otherwise cool completely before using in your classic apple pie or favorite apple recipes.

More Apple Dessert Recipes

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best kinds of apples for Apple Pie Filling?

We use gala apples for this homemade pie filling, but you can also use any tart apples such as Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Gala Apples, Honey Crisp Apples, or Braeburn Apples.

How do I make an easy pie crust?

To make the Perfect Pie Crust, you’ll need 1 ¼ cups flour, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ½ cup unsalted butter that has been frozen and diced. Pulse in a food processor and then slowly spoon in ¼ cup ice water, one tablespoon at a time. The water and butter staying super cold is what gives you that flaky, golden brown crust for your pie. Continue to pulse until the dough is in tiny crumbles, do not let it form a ball. Empty it onto a sheet of plastic wrap and quickly form into a ball, being careful not to let your hands warm up the butter. Then refrigerate for at least 4 hours before rolling out your flaky pie crust.

Can I make Apple Pie Filling ahead?

Yes! In addition to canning this recipe for Apple Pie Filling, you can also freeze it. Keep your pre-cooked Apple Pie Filling in the freezer up to 6 months for a ready to go, easy homemade apple pie! Simply thaw and pour into a pie crust, top with a second crust and bake until the top is golden brown and the filling is hot. If your thawed Apple Pie Filling is too thin, use a cornstarch slurry of equal parts water and cornstarch to thicken it before baking.

How should I slice apples for Apple Pie Filling?

To make this Apple Pie Filling, you can either use apple slices or apple chunks. The important thing is to make sure they are even in size and width so they cook evenly. Your Apple Pie Filling will seem thinner right after cooking but it will thicken as it cools.

Key Ingredients in Apple Pie Filling

  • Apples: Any tart, crisp apple works well for Apple Pie Filling. Gala apples have the perfect texture and flavor for this simple pie filling recipe. This is also a great way to use up any extra apples you have on hand, especially if you’ve gone apple picking in the fall.
  • Sugar: Classic white sugar is an easy pantry staple, but you can also use half brown sugar or all brown sugar for a more caramel flavor.
  • Lemon Juice: When cooking and baking, try to use fresh squeezed lemon juice rather than the bottled kind. Tossing the apples with lemon juice will keep them from browning before the apples are cooked. You can also grate in a little of the lemon zest if you’d like the citrus flavor to shine through.
  • Spices: Cinnamon and nutmeg are the classic warm spices that are perfect for fall baking. Try using a whole nutmeg grated fresh for even more flavor.
  • Cornstarch: Cornstarch is essential for thickening the apple juice and creating that gooey, sticky binder for the tender cooked apples.

Apple Pie Filling top-down view


Variations on Apple Pie Filling

  • Brown Sugar: Substitute half the white sugar with a ½ cup brown sugar. Brown sugar will add a darker color to the Apple Pie Filling.
  • Caramel Apple Filling: For a Caramel Apple Pie Filling, use all brown sugar and no white sugar. Reduce the water to half for a thicker caramel apple sauce.
  • Fruit: This recipe can easily be adjusted using other firm fruits like peaches, plums, or pears.
  • Spices: Give this Apple Pie Filling more fall flavor by adding cloves and allspice. Try swapping 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Spice Mix for the other spices.

Ideas for Using Apple Pie Filling

  • Mini Apple Pies: Use a glass or biscuit cutter to cut a rolled pie crust into small circles. Line the cups of a greased muffin pan with the pie crusts, and fill with Apple Pie Filling. Top with another crust or crumble topping and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.
  • Apple Pie Pops: Follow this fun recipe for Apple Pie Pops to serve individual Apple Pie pockets on a stick. 
  • Spiced Apple Oats: Ladle Apple Pie Filling onto a steamy bowl of oatmeal for a cozy winter breakfast.
  • Apple Pie French Toast: Use this amazing apple pie filling as a topping on homemade French toast for a perfect fall brunch idea. Top with Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce for the ultimate holiday treat.

How To Can Apple Pie Filling

  • Prepare water bath canner.
  • Sterilize pint size mason jars (2 cups) and lids in boiling water, then reduce to a simmer while making pie filling.
  • Ladle hot apple pie filling, using a wide funnel, into the hot jars leaving about 1 inch headspace.
  • Remove any air bubbles and wipe any filling off the rim and the jar.
  • Center lid on the jar and screw on band until fit is fingertip tight.
  • Process jars in water bath canner for 25 minutes.
  • Remove jars and completely cool on a thick towel or cooling rack.
  • Check lids for seal after 24 hours, they should not pop or flex when pushed.

Delicious, Classic Fruit Pies

How to Store Apple Pie Filling

  • Serve: Apple Pie Filling needs to be stored or canned before 2 hours at room temperature.
  • Store: Store your Apple Pie Filling in a sealed jar or container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Freeze: Apple Pie Filling can be frozen for up to 6 months in a freezer safe airtight container. Cool completely before freezing and leave room (about ½ inch) at the top of the container.
Apple Cake topped with Apple Pie Filling slice on plate

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Apple Pie Filling

Homemade Apple Pie Filling made with cinnamon, sugar and lemons is an easy way to use up your apples. This dessert topping or filling is ready in just 30 minutes!
Yield 10 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 4 gala apples , peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  • Toss apple slices with lemon juice as soon as soon as you've cut them and add to large dutch oven with water.
  • Whisk in the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg until well combined.
  • Bring to a boil on high heat then lower to medium heat and simmer until apples are softened and sauce has thickened, about 8-10 minutes.
  • If canning, do so while hot otherwise cool completely before using in a recipe (especially pie).


Calories: 125kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 62mg | Potassium: 78mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 39IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg
Apple Pie Filling collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. I made this Apple Pie Filling today it was so delicious. I did add a little more cinnamon for my taste and a pinch of Vanilla Extract. Your recipe was the bomb. My husband loved it. Thank you so much. Can’t wait to try it with Pineapples. If you have recipe please send. Thanks again for Super Delicious Apple Pie Filling that can’t make it to preserve yet because we keep eating it up. Yum Yum ?

  2. Just made this. The flavours are lovely, but there is waaaaay too much liquid in this. I added extra starch when it wasn’t thickening, which still didn’t do enough, so I removed the apple to let the sauce reduce on it’s own and that barely saved it. I would probably halve the liquid next time.

  3. Agree to use less water and I cut the apples too thin and I guess because it turned out to be more like applesauce

  4. i guess ill just use my apple soup as a pancake topping , this recipe just makes apple soup , i dont want to offend you

  5. i think you really need to tell people thiers way to much water , this makes apple soup……?????i actully read your reviews and thank god i did , so i added way less water that your recipe.and still its a little waterery ,, thanks for listning , ms onshin

    1. Oh no! It sounds like it might not have gotten to a full boil or not cooked long enough at a medium heat.

  6. This is my go to recipe for apple pie. I use 2 to 4 different types of apples (as I buy when on discounted shelf). It give a good taste /texture to pie.
    I have also used brown sugar at times and is just as good as white ,(I prefer brown).
    Thanks for your recipes. I would rate this a 10 if I could.

  7. This is super easy to make and DELICIOUS. I had a ton of apples I needed to do something with. I wanted apple pie filling, but I really only like this type of pie filling (sorry not sorry).

    It’s a perfect canned filling texture with a nice freshness you don’t get from the can. The apples are a great texture even after baking with them. Not overly sweet, but just right.

    I have a degree in baking and pastry from le cordon Bleu, so I bake often. Somehow never made this. Adding it to my recipe book to use as my go-to apple pie filling.

    Thank you so much for this recipe!

  8. what difference dose it make when making a pie with this recipe as apposed to regular pie recipe( baking time and so on)

    1. I am so sorry, I am just seeing this tonight. I am sure the recipe has long been cooked/or not but I still want to try to help.

      This pie filling is intended to have the texture and flavor of apple pie without having to actually make an apple pie. It can be used for toppings (it’s great over vanilla ice cream!) If you’re looking for an apple pie recipe, you can find mine here:

  9. So you have to cool the filling before you put it into jars to can?? Could I can the apple caramel recipe???

  10. I wanted to try this recipe, however the directions are not clear. For instance where does the 21/2 cups of water come in?

  11. I noticed this recipe and was about the try it. However, I was told golden delicious and gala apples are not good for baking. The apples turn to mush.

  12. I’ve use cornstarch in canning before and it was just fine, even after 14 months. BUT, it did clump together, pretty bad. I’ve also used Clear Gel, and I didn’t have that problem. Today, though, I am planning on freezing my filling as canning lids are scarce. Corn starch is a lot cheaper, I’ll save my Clear Gel for now.

  13. Canning recipe says to put hot filling into jars.

    The filling recipe says to cool completely before using “in a recipe (especially pie) or canning”.

    I’m thinking you would want to use the filling hot when you are going to can it…..?

    1. Thank you for catching that. If you’re canning, you’ll want to do while it’s hot. I’ve edited it to read correctly now.

  14. Hi Sabrina, I want to can the apple pie filling but I dont want to much sauce, more apples then sauce, can i eliminate most of the water? and still can the pie filling or freeze? thanks 🙂

    1. I’ve not tested it that way so I’m not sure if that would work or not. If you decide to try, I’d love to know what works.

    1. You might be talking above my pay grade now, haha! From what I can find, the processing time is around 8 minutes but you also need to factor in altitude and PSI.

  15. Just tried this recipe and after taking jars out of canned the apples are floating to the top … are they going to go down in the sauce again? I’m thinking the slices out of the sauce will kind of dry out? Help??

    1. Oh no! It sounds like the apples needed to cook longer. They usually float because they still have air in its tissues.

  16. While this recipe looks delicious for fridge or freezer, it is absolutely UNSAFE TO CAN it because it contains corn starch. The National Center for Home Food Preservation and Ball recipes all indicate that thickeners are unsafe for canning (except for a special canning ingredient called “clearjel”). Please remove this suggestion from your directions before someone gets sick. (Also, you really would not ever be putting cold fruit into hot jars,)

    1. Thank you so much for letting me know. Do you have a substitute that would work for people wanting to can them? I’d love any advice you have or point me to a good resource. Thanks!

      1. The easiest thing to do is prepare the recipe without cornstarch and can it. When you are ready to use the filling, you reheat and add cornstarch right before baking. I have canned with cornstarch before and had no issues. You need to water bath it a bit longer and it can clump up or get cloudy so I quit doing it and started just adding the starch later while baking. This recipe is a delicious one, btw!

      2. I have canned with cornstarch for years with no problem before companies wanted to to buy their clearjel. This is not the only canning recipe involving cornstarch.

  17. Hi Sabarina,
    Just stumbled on your site and I’m enjoying your recipes.
    I will definitely follow you.

    Thank you and happy cooking!