Apple Pie Filling

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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!

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 apple filling you get at the grocery store! It’s filled with fresh ingredients and there’s 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.

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.

This recipe is enough for one 9-inch pie, however you can easily double, triple, or quadruple it for storing ahead of time. Freezing the 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 method in this post. 

Keep your Apple Pie Filling in the freezer for a ready to go, easy homemade apple pie! Simply thaw and pour into a store bought pie crust, top with a second crust and bake until the top crust 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.

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.

Best Apples for Apple Pie Filling:

  • Granny Smith
  • Golden Delicious
  • Gala Apples
  • Honey Crisp Apples
  • Braeburn Apples


Apple Pie Filling top-down view

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  • Brown Sugar: Substitute half the white sugar with a 1/2 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 for 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.

How To Can Apple Pie Filling

  • Prepare water bath canner.
  • Sterilized 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.



  • 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 1/2 inch) at the top of the container.

Apple Cake topped with Apple Pie Filling slice on plate

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Apple Pie Filling

5 from 2 votes
  • Yield: 10 servings
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Course: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder

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!


  • 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


Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Toss apple slices with lemon juice as soon as soon as you've cut them and add to large dutch oven with water.

  2. Whisk in the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg until well combined.

  3. 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.

  4. Cool completely before using in a recipe (especially pie) or canning.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 10 servings, Amount per serving: 125 calories, Calories: 125g, Carbohydrates: 32g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 62mg, Potassium: 78mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 28g, Vitamin A: 39g, Vitamin C: 4g, Calcium: 6g, Iron: 1g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert.

Keyword: Apple Pie Filling

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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

    Thank you and happy cooking!