No more canned pie filling! Learn how to make homemade apple pie filling from scratch using fresh apples. Use it to make apple pie, apple turnovers, and more!
Every fall, Dad and I find time to go to a local Pittsburgh farm and pick our own apples. That’s when you know fall has begun.
The first thing I usually make is this easy Homemade Apple Pie Filling from scratch, very similar to my cherry pie filling and peach pie filling I’ve made before but with different fruit and a little more spice.
It’s made without corn syrup or preservatives, which I personally don’t care about those last two items, but I know others do. Whatever you believe, this recipe is easy and delicious.
In fact, it’ll take you longer to peel and chop the apples than to actually cook the filling. Almost as easy as…apple pie.
What are good apples for pie?
The hardest part about making apple pie is deciding which apples to use for baking.
You’re usually good with most apple varieties except red delicious. Red delicious is strictly a snacking apple and best eaten when raw.
At the store and can’t decide which apples to choose? Look for Fuji, Gala, Jonagold, Cortland, or Golden Delicious. For a bit of tartness, mix in some Granny Smith.
Should you peel apples for apple pie?
In order to achieve a delicately soft apple pie filling you want in a pie, you need to peel the apples. Otherwise, you’ll be left chewing tough pieces of skin that get stuck in your teeth.
How to make apple pie filling with fresh apples
This recipe is as easy as boiling water, mostly because that’s exactly what you’re doing to make homemade apple pie filling.
First, whisk together water, sugar, cornstarch, spices, and lemon juice then bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens thanks to the cornstarch.
Once thickened, remove from the heat and stir in the apples and vanilla.
Since you’re more than likely baking the filling in another recipe, you don’t need to cook the apples before making apple pie.
Cool the filling to room temperature before using as desired.
Can you can homemade apple pie filling?
I’ve had people ask if my fresh apple pie filling is suitable for canning.
The answer is no because of the cornstarch. Cornstarch breaks down after awhile, which affects bacteria growth.
Keep this pie filling stored in the refrigerator for 2 weeks. You can also freeze it for future baking.
How to freeze apple pie filling
Much like apple pie itself, you can freeze apple pie filling. This method is super helpful if you’re making apple pie for Thanksgiving and want to prep ahead of time.
There are two ways to freeze apple pie filling:
- Line a freezable pie plate (not glass as it may shatter when baked at a cold temperature) with pie dough. Fill the dough with the peach pie filling then cover the top with another piece of pie dough. Fully cover with plastic wrap then place in a freezer-safe plastic bag.
- Transfer the pie filling to a freezer-safe plastic bag. Place the bag inside an empty pie plate and spread out so it takes the shape of the plate. Freeze until firm. Because it’s the shape of the plate, it should be easy to transfer and bake when ready.
Whichever method you choose, freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, cut three slits into the top of the crust and bake at 400F for 45-60 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
What To Do With Apple Pie Filling
Now you made a jar of apple pie filling, what should you make with it? Here are recipes using apple pie filling:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup cornstarch*
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups chopped peeled apples
- In a large saucepan, whisk together sugar, water, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Cook until thickened, about 2-3 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla and apples. Cool to room temperature then use as desired or store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks**.
To make an apple pie:
- Preheat oven to 375F. Spoon the filling into a prepared 9 inch pie crust (homemade or store bought). Top with another 9 inch pie crust, making slits to let steam escape, or streusel. Bake 40-45 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Cool completely before serving.
*This recipe is not suitable for canning because of the cornstarch.
**The filling will separate when stored in the refrigerator. Reheat everything back up in a saucepan until smooth again.