Apple Pie Filling

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Each year we pick pounds and pounds of apples to process. These aren’t things that we grow on our own but they are locally grown. I think the part of preserving that everyone forgets is that you don’t necessarily have to grow it all on your own. It’s still worth it to buy locally grown foods and preserve them. This supports your community and also helps to support your own family still too. The cost is also better than buying everything from the store. Buying locally grown foods in bulk can still be a bargain and the local farms can be great to work with. This year in addition to a lot of applesauce we decided to can pie filling. We loved this apple pie filling recipe so much we decided to share it!

This recipe makes 7 quarts of pie filling. Approx. 1 lb of apples = 1 quart of filling. You can scale the recipe up or down based on how much filling you want to make. We always end up picking way too many apples so we have to scale up. 

Apple Pie Filling Ingredients:

  • 18 ½ cups of peeled, cored, and sliced apples (this is around 7lbs or 28 medium apples)

In a pot combine:

  • 2 ½ cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup pure cane sugar
  • 1 cup cornstarch or arrowroot powders
  • 1 – 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ – ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 10 cups water

If you are new to canning or doing this on your own you may want to do one step at a time. We had many hands working so we could do everything at once. I’ll try to break it down as best as I can to make it manageable both ways. I say this only because if you leave the apples in the quarts too long without anything on them they will turn brown. I don’t think it impacts the flavor too much but it could make your apples more mushy. Let’s face it, no one wants brown apples. We all want crisp fresh apples in our pie. 

If I was doing this on my own I would recommend trying to do both tasks at once if possible just to keep your apples fresh. The easiest way is to get the pot going and then start coring, peeling, and slicing. This, of course, also means it would be much easier to have an apple corer/peeler/slicer. I like to use the KitchenAid attachment because it makes this process go very quickly and easily. They do make small manual devices for the counter that also work very well too and this process is still pretty quick. If you are cutting, coring, and slicing by hand it may take much longer. I’m sure it can still be done and if you are doing it the manual way I give you even more credit! 


  1. Clean and sterilize your jars. I assume if you are reading this you know exactly what to do for this step so I won’t give advice. 
  2. Peel, core, and slice apples.
  3. Pack them into quart jars.
  4. Bring the mixture in the pot to a boil. Make sure to stir it constantly as it heats up. It will start to thicken into a syrup and that is exactly what you want.
  5. Once the mixture is boiling remove it from the heat and pour over the apple slices in the jars. This is actually a little difficult. Use a knife to slice into the apples to make sure the mixture gets down in between the slices.  Let it settle and then add more of the syrup gradually making sure to get the bubbles out. Stay about ¼” below the hips of the jar. I realize this isn’t the normal standard but it’s what we’ve found works best to make sure that the jars don’t overflow in the water bath. 
  6. Prepare lids as you normally would. 
  7. Wipe down the rim of the jar and apply the lids.
  8. Start your water bath so that the water is boiling. Place the jars inside so that the water is just covering the lids. Process the jars for 20 minutes. The jars need to be hot from the filling still to help protect their integrity. Don’t let them sit on the counter and cool too much before getting them in the bath.
  9. Remove jars and leave on the counter to seal for 24-48 hours. 
Canned apple pie filling.

Tips & Tricks

One helpful little trick that probably isn’t Ball or USDA approved is to flip the jars upside down if you notice they aren’t sealing within about 30-40 minutes. They should seal fairly quickly so if they aren’t sealing they may need a little bit of assistance. Again, this isn’t an approved practice so follow at your own risk. My theory is that they have been processed so they have been cooked to get out any bacteria. This practice just helps them seal up if they are having trouble. I’ve heard of a lot of people having issues with their lids this year. I would have for someone to go through all of the work to can their food to have their lid not work. 

Broken Jars

Being honest on this we also had two jars break in this process. I don’t attribute that to the recipe though. We had two jars that came out of a different box and we think they were compromised before they came out of the box. We processed 14 jars total and only two out of a different box broke. That led us to believe that something was wrong with those jars before we put them into the water bath. It makes for a really yucky mess though because they exploded in the bath so we had to restart processing them. 

I’ve heard of more issues with Ball canning jars this year than ever though. We have decided we will buy all of the old jars that we can possibly find to try to avoid this issue. I think with the shortage and everyone needing jars they were just trying to produce as quickly as they possibly could and possibly not doing the best job. I’ve also heard a rumor that they had some of them that were made in China instead of the USA with our standards and that could be causing the issue. Further conspiracy theory says that the government is trying to make it so that we can’t be as self sufficient so they are trying to sabotage our efforts. I’m not sure what it is but I know a lot of people have had trouble so this is just a word of warning.


You can also freeze the apple pie filling if you need to instead of canning. If I scared you off with my canning horror story there is another way. We are trying to can as much as possible because we are conspiracy theorists too. We are worried that the government is going to somehow turn off our power and we are going to be stuck without electricity. To us, there is a risk associated with freezing food but it is a perfectly safe way of preserving too. Plus, it saves you a lot of extra steps! The process would change to put the apples in your favorite freezer container and then add the syrup to that. Then just put it in the freezer, easy as that!

There are few things better than a hot slice of pie on a cold winter night. We’d love to know what you are doing with your apples this year, and hope you enjoyed this apple pie filling recipe! Do you grow them or buy them locally? Let us know in the comments! 

Canned apple pie filling.

Apple Pie Filling

This is a canning recipe so you can preserve your apples.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American


  • 18.5 cup peeled, cored, and sliced apples


  • 2.5 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup pure cane sugar
  • 1 cup cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • 1-1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 10 cups water


  • Clean and sterilize your jars.
  • Pack each jar with apple slices up to the hips of the jar.
  • Put all sauce ingredients into a pot and bring to boil.
  • Stir this constantly until it thickens up.
  • Once it is thickened to your desire remove it from the heat.
  • Fill each jar with sauce up to the hips of the jars.
  • Once jars are filled put the lids and rings on.
  • Water bath process the jars for 20 minutes.


It may be hard to get the sauce into the jars. Use a spoon or knife to help move around the slices so you can get it down into the bottom. You can also bang them on the counter a little bit to get it to move down.
Your water bath should be boiling before you put the jars in the water. The sauce is hot enough that it should not shock the jars and break them (hopefully). 
Keyword Apple, Canning, Pie

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