Canning apple pie filling is a great way to preserve the flavor of apples all year round. Whether you have a bounty of apples from your own trees or purchased them from the grocery store or local orchard, apple pie filling is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of desserts.
I remember when I first embarked on this canning journey several years ago. One of the first things I tried canning was apple pie filling. That first time was an experience, but one I didn’t try again for a very long time.
It’s not that canning apple pie filling is difficult, it’s really not. And it isn’t like we don’t use it… it’s so versatile to use in so many different things from topping pancakes and ice cream to making apple turnovers, apple dumplings, and of course… delicious apple pie.
I just never got around to making it again. But this year, I vowed to get back to it. Now, I’m happily canning quart after quart of the stuff from the bushel of apples we bought at the local orchard.
Tips for Canning Homemade Apple Pie Filling
While canning this decadent treat is super easy and you’ll probably go through the jars even more quickly than home canned applesauce, there are some tricks to make sure it comes out perfect every time.
Pick the right type of apples.
Be sure not to choose just any ol’ variety for canning apple pie filling. Some apples work out better than others.
You’ll want to choose fresh apples that will retain their shape and texture even after going through the canner. While this is a waterbath canning recipe, that doesn’t mean that a mealy apple is going to stand the test of time and heat.
The best apples are varieties such as Granny Smith, Jonathan, Honeycrisp, Cortland, and Braeburn for the best results, and don’t be afraid to mix up varieties! It really adds to the flavor when you use some sweet and some tart apples.
We used a mix of traditional Granny Smith apples as well as a variety only grown at our local orchard and it turned out fabulous.
Don’t slice the apples too thin.
Remember, this fruit is going to not only go through the canning process, it will then go on the journey of being baked onto a pie crust, so don’t go too thin. Around 1/2″ thickness works pretty well.
Refrigerate apples prior to making.
Refrigerating the apples before you make it helps to keep them nice and firm while slicing, slows down the browning process, as well as makes it so not quite as much of the apple comes off with the peel.
Use the right thickener.
I’ve seen many a recipe that calls for corn starch, tapioca starch, or even arrowroot powder. None of those are suitable for canning for various reasons. For canning apple pie filling, or canning any pie filling, you need to use Clearjel, cook type. There are two types of clear jel and you want the cook type.
This is a modified corn starch that is made to withstand the heat of canning. Using regular cornstarch or tapioca starch will affect the quality of the product by clumping up and making it runny. Plus, it may affect the safety of your canned apple pie filling. So play it safe and get the right thickener.
Ingredients for Apple Pie Filling Recipe
Apples. Peeled, cored, and sliced around 1/2″ thick. Use a mixture of sweet and tart apples that are suitable for canning and baking.
Unsweetened Apple Juice. This helps maintain the flavor of the apples instead of just drawing all the flavor out in plain water. A great substitution is some apple cider, if you have it.
Sugar. I suggest a mixture of both regular granulated sugar as well as brown sugar. You can absolutely use less sugar if you want to, or use all brown sugar or all white sugar, it’s up to you. Sugar is added for flavor, not safety.
Clearjel. Again, this is essential to keep the mixture thick, without it being too thick and stand up to the canning process without losing quality.
Seasonings. A blend of cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and allspice combine to really give this apple pie filling an amazing flavor without it taking too much away from the apples.
Lemon Juice. This not only keeps the apples from browning, it also maintains the safety of the recipe as the pH of different apple varieties varies quite a bit.
How to Can Apple Pie Filling
Prepare apples. Begin by peeling, coring apples. Then, slice apples into 1/2″ slices. Coat them in a bit of lemon juice as you work to prevent them from browning.
Prepare canner, jars, and lids. Wash the canning jars and lids in hot, soapy water. Fill them halfway with water and place them in a water bath canner with the rack. Bring everything up to 180°F and keep it simmering while you prepare the recipe.
Blanch apples. Working with 6 cups of apples at a time, blanch the sliced apples in a large pot of boiling water for one minute. Remove them with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a large bowl, covered with a lid, to keep them warm while you make the rest of the recipe.
Make the syrup. In a large saucepan, combine sugar, brown sugar, apple juice, cold water, Clearjel, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.
Cook the mixture until it begins to thicken and bubbles. Stir in the lemon juice and return the mixture to a boil. Boil it for one minute.
Add apples. After the mixture thickens, use a slotted spoon to transfer the warm apple slices from the covered bowl to the mixture. Heat until apples are heated through.
Pack jars. Ladle hot apple pie filling into hot jars, leaving 1.5 inch headspace at the top of the jar. Remove air bubbles and adjust for proper headspace if necessary.
Wipe rim with a damp cloth and center lid. Finger tighten screw band.
Process. Place jars in boiling water canner and make sure the tops of the jars are covered by at least 1″ of water. Place the lid on the canner and bring to a rolling boil. Process both pint jars and quart jars for 25 minutes. Adjust processing time for altitude if necessary. Check the notes in the recipe card below for intructions.
Remove the canner lid and wait 5 minutes before removing the jars to a towel-lined counter.
Note: leave the jars for 15 minutes if you’re concerned about siphoning.
Wait 12 to 24 hours before checking for proper seals. Remove the screw bands and wash jars before storing in a cool, dark place for up to 18 months.
Other Apple Recipes to Try
- Canning Applesauce: How to Can Homemade Applesauce
- No Churn Apple Pie Ice Cream
- Caramel Apple Cider Float
If you try this awesome homemade, canned apple pie filling, I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below! Also, I’d love if you could leave me a five star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ recipe review on the recipe card below and tag me on instagram @therusticelk!
Decadent and delicious, this homemade apple pie filling is perfect for canning.
- 12 Cups sliced, peeled, cored Apples
- 2 Cups White Sugar
- 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
- 3/4 Cup Clearjel
- 1 1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp Ground Allspice
- 1 1/4 Cups Cold Water
- 2 1/2 Cups Sweetened Apple Juice (substitute apple cider)
- 1/2 Cup Lemon Juice
- Peel, core, and slice apples into 1/2" slices and toss them in some lemon juice to prevent browning.
- Prepare canner, jars and lids.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and blanch apple slices, 6 cups at a time for one minute. Remove the blanched apple slices to a bowl and cover to keep warm and set aside.
- In a large saucepan combine sugar, clearjel, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, water, and apple juice. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Cook until the mixture begins to thicken and bubble.
- Add in lemon juice and return the mixture to a boil. Boil hard for one minute. Remove from heat and fold apple slices into mixture, using a slotted spoon. Return to heat and heat mixture until apples are heated through.
- Ladle hot apple pie filling into hot jars, leaving 1 1/2" headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust for proper headspace if necessary. Wipe the rims with a damp cloth, center the lids, and finger tighten screw bands.
- Place jars in canner and make sure the tops of the jars are covered by at least 1" of water. Place the lid on the canner and bring to a boil. Process both pint jars and quart jars for 25 minutes. Adjusting processing time for altitude if necessary.
- Remove the canner lid and let the jars sit for 5 to 15 minutes before removing to a towel-lined counter. Check seals after 12-24 hours.
0-1,000 ft 25 Minutes
1,001-3,000 ft 30 Minutes
3,001-6,000 ft 35 Minutes
6,000 ft+ 40 Minutes
Serving Size:1 Cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 260Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 10mgCarbohydrates: 67gFiber: 3gSugar: 62gProtein: 0g