Homemade Apple Pie Filling is easy to make with fresh apple, brown sugar, and spices. It can be used in plenty of desserts, like homemade apple pie, and it tastes so much better than the store-bought version. Watch the short video tutorial attached below and see how simple this recipe is!
With fall on the horizon, there are plenty of apples around. Make this easy recipe and enjoy the filling in bars, cheesecakes, Pies, Danishes, or simply scoop it on your favorite ice cream! This is a staple recipe that you can make year-round and store leftovers in your pantry. Sweet and with warm spices, in a flavorful thick sauce, this homemade version will win you over.
Easy Apple Pie Filling Recipe
This recipe is very easy to make, and it will take you only about 30 minutes. The homemade version tastes so much better than the canned, store-bought one. Also, it is healthier as you can control the ingredients, and know for sure what is used.
I love recipe shortcuts, and I personally buy and use a lot of the canned versions. Because sometimes you can’t beat the convenience. However, if you have time, and want to try your hands to make your own delicious apple pie filling, this recipe is perfect for you. The best part is that you can make it in advance and store it in the fridge for later use.
The end result is sweet, flavored with classic fall spices, like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. I also added some brown sugar to it. Which gives it that rich caramel color and it combines with the soft apples so well. This filling is not only great in pies, but you can also use it on toast, cakes, or top it over ice cream.
The apples are soft, but not mushy, therefore it adds texture not only flavor to the recipes you will be using them for.
This recipe is pretty easy and ready in about 30 minutes, you will need only a handful of ingredients and spices:
- Apples – use your favorite apples, but look for the ones that are crisp and more on the tangy side.
- Lemon juice – to prevent apples from browning.
- White and brown sugar – if you a looking for a lighter in the color filling, replace the brown sugar with white sugar.
- Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice – to add delicious fall flavors.
- Cornstarch – acts as a thickening agent and it cuts down in time, otherwise to thicken the filling you would need more sugar and the cooking time would be much longer.
- Butter – this is optional to use, but it gives a nice aroma to the filling and makes the texture creamier.
How do you make homemade apple pie filling from scratch?
This is one of the easiest recipes you can make.
- Prepare the ingredients: First, start by gathering all the ingredients, and by prepping the apples for the recipe. You have to add them to a large bowl and drizzle the lemon juice on top, add the zest and toss to combine.
- Make the sauce: Simply, add the water, sugars, cornstarch, and spices to a saucepan, whisk and cook stirring occasionally over medium heat.
- Cook the apples: Then, and the apples, stir and cook them until tender but not mushy.
- Butter: Remove from heat and immediately stir in the butter if using.
- Cool: Finally, let the mixture cool and store or use as needed.
- Apples: First, decide what apples you will use as they influence the final taste and texture of the recipe. For example, Granny Smith apples are tangier, while Honeycrisps are on the sweeter side.
- Spices: Since this is a homemade recipe, you have control to adjust the spices as you like. Skip some, or use others more to adjust to your own taste.
- Sugar: Alternatively, use only brown sugar for a deep caramel flavor and color, or only white sugar for a lighter color and taste.
- Extracts: Also, try stirring in some vanilla extract or butter rum at the end.
- Other fruits: Actually, you can replace half of the apples with pears!
How to water bath can:
- Blanch: After you peel, core, and slice the apples, it is preferred to blanch them for 1 minute in hot boiling water. Because this is to ensure that the apples will be cooked through.
- Make the filling: Transfer to a bowl, drizzle with lemon juice and add the lemon zest if using. Please follow the recipe instructions from the recipe card to make the filling.
- Prepare the boiling water canner: Heat 2-3 (2 cups each) jars in simmering water until ready for use, but do not boil. Make sure the leads are clean, the best is to submerge them in hot boiling water for 1 minute.
- Add to jars: Next, ladle the hot apple pie filling into the hot jars leaving about 1-inch headspace. Also, look for air bubbles and remove them, wipe the rim, and jar clean. Center lid on the jar and apply band until fit is fingertip tight.
- Water bath: After that, process jars in a boiling-water canner for 25 minutes.
- Cool: Next, remove jars and completely cool, preferably on a cooling rack.
- Do a check: Finally, check lids for seal after 24 hours, they should not flex up and down when the center is pressed. If everything is fine store them in the pantry for 2-3 months. If the lids haven’t been sealed, store the jars in the fridge for 14 days.
How to store:
- Store: First, let the filling cool to room temperature. Then, transfer it to jars or to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for 10-14 days.
- Freeze: First, cool it to room temperature. Then, add it to an airtight container, or freezer gallon bags (lay them flat in the freezer). You can freeze it for up to nine months with minimal loss of flavor.
- Thaw: When ready to use, remove it from the freezer, and transfer it to the refrigerator to thaw gradually for 24 hours, or you can add it to a saucepan and heat it up.
- Reheat: If you decide to heat it up, and the filling is too watery, mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl until fully dissolved and add the slurry to the apple pie filling. Stir to combine, and let it simmer for 2 minutes until it thickens. When the filling will cool off it will thicken more.
How to serve:
- First, try to use it to fill pie crusts, pie plates, and tarts, just add to the crust and bake.
- Another option is to use it as a topping for pancakes and waffles.
- Similarly, use it as a topping for ice cream.
- Alternatively, use it in any recipes calling for it, like in these hand pies.
- Also, you can make apple pie coffee cake or apple pie cheesecake.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of apples should be used?
Technically you can use any apples, but I prefer to stick to widely available Gala, Fuji, Red Delicious, or Golden Delicious, or a mix of these. Honeycrisps, Granny Smith, and Melrose are also delicious options. As a rule of thumb, for the best pie, choose a mix of sweet and tart apples, to have the best of both worlds.
How do you prepare apples for apple pie filling?
- Wash, clean, and cut them: you have to wash and peel the apples. After that, you have to core them and either slice them or dice them. Whichever you prefer more. I like to cut mine into 1-inch chunks, so they maintain their shape and texture better.
- Squeeze some lemon on top: After you diced the apples, add them to a large bowl and squeeze one lemon over top. Also, you can drizzle with some store-bought lemon juice, stir to combine. This is done to avoid the apples from turning brown.
Do you cook apples before putting them in a pie?
There is no right or wrong as some recipes will ask for cooked apples and some no. For example, you can just toss the raw apples with lemon juice, sugar, and flour and make a tart. On the other hand, you can cook them using the recipe below and either can them for later or use them in other recipes.
More Apple Desserts:
- I prefer to cut the apples into about the same size pieces. This way it cooks uniformly and at the same rate.
- Feel free to substitute some ingredients. For example, you can add vanilla extract to it. Similarly, butter is optional and can be omitted. It adds a nice creamy flavor to the dish, so use it as you desire.
- Some people prefer making this recipe without cornstarch. However, by using the cornstarch, the filling will thicken and have the right texture and consistency. But feel free to skip it if not a fan. In that case, add more sugar and simmer the mixture until reduced and thickened.
Best Homemade Apple Pie Filling
- 6 medium apples (peeled, cored, and diced - 7 cups chopped)
- 1 lemon (zested and juiced)
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar (packed)
- 1/3 cup cornstarch (plus more if needed)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- pinch all-spice (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Wash, peel, and core apples. Chop them into 1-inch chunks.
- Add chopped apples to a large bowl and add lemon juice and lemon zest. Stir to combine.
- Place a medium saucepan over medium heat and add water, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, cornstarch, and salt. Stir to combine until the cornstarch is dissolved.
- Bring to a boil while stirring often, and boil for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the apples, reduce heat from medium to low, cover saucepan with a lid and let the apples simmer for 6-8 minutes, or until apples have softened, but are not mushy. Stir often.
- If the filling is too watery for your taste, in a small bowl mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water until fully dissolved and add the slurry to the filling, simmer for 2 minutes to thicken. Keep in mind that the filling will thicken more once completely cooled, so while it may look a bit watery when hot it will thicken more when chilled.
- Remove from heat and stir in the butter if using.
- Cool it to room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container or jars and refrigerate. The mixture will thicken more as it cools.