Baking/ Canning/ Desserts

Apple Pie Filling

October 29, 2020

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Preserve your  apple harvest and make apple pie filling and can it in canning jars to use at a later date! Canned apple pie filling allows you to make delicious apple desserts with homemade pie filling all year long. 

Quart sized canning jars filled with apple pie filling.

I love apple pies! My favorite is made with tart fresh apples. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time to make a pie and this apple pie filling really comes in handy.  You just make a quick pie dough, open a jar of filling, pour it in and bake! Instant dessert!

Apple pie filling is also amazing in cobblers, crisps and warmed and spooned over ice cream! And I’ll let you in on a little secret – this pie filling is delicious just scooped right out of the jar and eaten with a spoon!

A peeled and cored apple on a small wooden cutting board.

I love canning and preserving our own food. We grow a lot of apples and while I do love them best fresh, I also love canning apples and using them all year long. Some of my favorites include apple butter, apple sauce and this canned apple pie filling.

Green apples on a tree ready to be picked

Type of apples to use

Almost any type of firm apple will work fine for this canned apple pie filling. You do want an apple that is going to hold its shape when cooked. Some good options are Granny Smith, Braeburn, Honey Crisp, Macintosh and Gravenstein.

Many of our apples are old trees that were planted several decades ago. We don’t know the true variety, but when you bite into them, they have a great crispness to them.

Ribbons of apple peel piled on a cutting board with more apples behind the peels.

Peel and core your apples

To peel, core and slice the apples, I used an apple peeler.  If you don’t have one, no problem! Just use a small paring knife. The apple peeler makes canning this filling a bit quicker! It not only peels the apples, but it cores and slices the apples too. Once the apples are all peeled, I slice the stack in half. It make it easier to fit half moon slices into the jars.

Don’t worry if your apples begin to discolor a bit. You can add them to a large bowl filled with water to help stop discoloration if desired. Once added to the thicken mixture, the sliced apples will take on the golden color from the cinnamon and nutmeg.

A pile of peeled and cored apples.

Clear Jel

Clear Jel is a modified corn starch that is designed for commercial bakeries and home canning.It is a USDA approved thickener for canning pie fillings at home. Clear Jel is heat tolerant and can be reheated again and again, which makes it perfect for canning and then baking again into a dessert.

Look for Clear Jel at some grocery stores and small markets that specialize in repackaging and selling bulk food items. You can also buy it online and have it shipped directly to your home.

A pot filled with apple slices with a thick gelled sauce.

Canning guidelines

  • Use clean, sterilized canning jars (sterilize jars in a dishwasher or by pouring boiling water into clean jars)
  • Select the best fruit you can find (you can cut off any small bruised areas)
  • Use a small spatula to remove air pockets in filled jars
  • Always wipe rim of jars before putting lid on
  • Tighten ring firmly
  • Boil in a water bath according to USDA recommended times (adjust according to your altitude)
  • When time is done, turn off heat and let jars remain in the boiling water for 5 minutes before you remove. This helps prevent the filling from leaking out of the jar when it hits a cooler room temperature. Tip from Ashley at Practical Self Reliance.
  • Let jars cool for at least 12 hours before removing rings
  • Wash jars to remove any sticky residue. Rings should be removed for washing.
  • Check to make certain jars are sealed
  • Label and date jars
  • Use any unsealed jars right away
  • Store canned goods in a cool, dark place for up to 18 months
Glass canning jars filled with an apple filling.
How long will canned apple pie filling last?

These canned apples should last for 18 months if stored in a cool dark place.

How can I tell if the apple pie filling is still good?

Anytime you open a jar of canned goods, you want to examine the jar first. Look for anything unusual – foaming, bubbles, leaking are all signs that the contents are not good. Also make certain the lid is fully sealed. If mold and discoloration occurs on the top, discard the contents. When in doubt, throw it out! Never taste a product that you are unsure of.

What do I do if one of my jars didn’t seal?

If a jar didn’t seal, you have two options – Place it in the refrigerator and use up within one week or remove lid wipe down surface of rim. Place a new lid on and process in water bath again.

Why do processing times vary by elevation?

The temperature for water to boil varies by elevation. The higher you go, the lower the temperature for water to reach a boil. In order to compensate for this lower boil temperature, time is added to your processing time.

If you are looking for other canning recipes, try Canning Tomatoes, Homemade Blackberry Jam and Apricot Jam.

Use this pie filling as a topping on these cream cheese danish!

Don’t forget to PIN for later!

Canning jars filled with apple pie filling with fresh apples in front of the jars.

If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment below and snap a picture and tag me on Instagram @beyondthechickencoop

Check out all my canning recipes.

Quart sized canning jars filled with apple pie filling.

Apple Pie Filling

Kathy
Preserve your apple harvest by canning your apples with this apple pie filling.
5 from 17 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 6 quarts
Calories 122 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 6 quarts apples (peeled, cored and sliced – approximately 30 medium sized apples)
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups Clear Jel
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 7 1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Instructions
 

  • In a large pot, combine sugar, Clear Jel, cinnamon, nutmeg and water.
  • Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens. Stir mixture often to prevent scorching.
  • Add lemon juice and continue cooking for one minute
  • Add apple slices and stir carefully
  • Heat for 3-5 minutes on low until apples are heated through.
  • Remove from heat and fill prepared jars with mixture. Leave at least 1 inch head space in each jar.
  • Use a small spatula to get rid of any air pockets or air bubbles in jars
  • Wipe jars. Place canning lid and ring on jars.
  • Process for 25 minutes (adjust for altitude) in a boiling water bath

Notes

Canning Guidelines
  • Use clean, sterilized canning jars (sterilize jars in a dishwasher or by pouring boiling water into clean jars)
  • Select the best fruit you can find (you can cut off any small bruised areas)
  • Use a small spatula to remove air pockets and large bubbles
  • Always wipe rim of jars before putting lid on
  • Tighten ring firmly
  • Boil in a water bath according to USDA recommended timesΒ 
  • When time is done, turn off heat and let jars remain in the boiling water for 5 minutes before you remove. This helps prevent the filling from leaking out of the jar when it hits a cooler room temperature.
  • Let jars cool for at least 12 hours before removing rings
  • Wash jars to remove any sticky residue. Rings should be removed for washing.
  • Check to make certain jars are sealed
  • Date and label jars
  • Use any unsealed jars right away
  • Store canned goods in a cool, dark place
Nutritional value is estimated at 1/2 cup serving.
Recipe adapted from The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cupCalories: 122kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 3mgPotassium: 62mgFiber: 1gSugar: 26gVitamin A: 29IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 6mgIron: 1mg
Keyword apple pie filling, canning apple pie filling
Tried this recipe?Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

This recipe was originally published in October 2016. The recipe and pictures have been updated.

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79 Comments

  • Reply
    Cristi Williams
    November 11, 2020 at 2:17 pm

    Just curious how long the jar unopened and in the pantry can stay fresh?

    • Reply
      Kathy
      November 11, 2020 at 4:15 pm

      Hi Cristi,
      The pie filling should last for 18 months. Always check the filling when your first open to make certain there isn’t any mold or off putting odor.
      Kathy

      • Reply
        Cristi
        November 13, 2020 at 9:00 am

        5 stars
        Made 12 quarts yesterday to give as gifts. My husband couldn’t wait to try it so we opened a jar and is now baking beautifully in a pie crust! Can’t wait !

        • Reply
          Kathy
          November 13, 2020 at 3:54 pm

          Yay!!! What a treasure you will have in your pantry!
          Enjoy πŸ™‚
          Kathy

  • Reply
    Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
    November 2, 2020 at 4:19 am

    5 stars
    I’m thinking this is such a great idea to gift to friends too! I’m not sure my own would make it into the pie crust! So tasty Kathy!

    • Reply
      Kathy
      November 2, 2020 at 4:26 am

      It would make a lovely gift! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Valentina
    November 2, 2020 at 12:01 am

    5 stars
    Not sure this will make it into a pie crust at my house. I might just eat it right out of the jar. No joke! πŸ™‚ ~Valentina

    • Reply
      Kathy
      November 2, 2020 at 4:26 am

      No judgement here! And who says there’s anything wrong with that anyway! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Laurie F
    October 31, 2020 at 2:29 pm

    I’m not familiar with Clear Help. Is that lik Ball’s Classic Pectin?

  • Reply
    Dawn - Girl Heart Food
    October 30, 2020 at 9:20 am

    5 stars
    Such a delicious way to preserve those apples (and get to enjoy delicious apple pie whenever πŸ˜‰ ). I’m suddenly craving a slice…with a big scoop of vanilla ice-cream! Have a great weekend, my friend!

  • Reply
    David @ Spiced
    October 30, 2020 at 4:41 am

    5 stars
    Every time I see your canning posts, it makes me want to learn how to actually can! I love the idea of keeping jars of apple pie filling stashed away in the pantry. These look amazing, Kathy! Thanks for the tips and tricks.

    • Reply
      Kathy
      October 30, 2020 at 4:59 am

      Thanks, David. Canning isn’t all that difficult. It’s best to start with foods that can be water bathed instead of pressure cooking. You might check your local county extension office and see if they offer canning classes.

      • Reply
        Kelly Dougherty
        November 3, 2020 at 6:40 pm

        Made a pie tonight with the little bit I had left over. Delicious!!! Can’t wait to share with family and friends. Thank you😊😊

        • Reply
          Kathy
          November 3, 2020 at 6:43 pm

          Hi Kelly,
          So glad you loved it! What a great gift to share with family and friends! Thanks for your comment πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Carmen
    October 13, 2020 at 5:59 am

    Can I use therm-flo instead of clear jel?

    • Reply
      Kathy
      October 13, 2020 at 6:01 am

      Hi Carmen,
      I’m not familiar with therm-flo.
      Kathy

    • Reply
      Laurie F
      October 31, 2020 at 2:31 pm

      Never mind, just looked it up on the internet:
      Clear Jel is a modified corn starch made to withstand the heat of canning. Use it just like you would flour. The wonderful difference is… it stirs in much easier and no clumping. Be sure you purchase the non-instant or regular type. The regular is made to withstand the high temperatures of canning.

      • Reply
        Kathy
        October 31, 2020 at 2:50 pm

        Hi Laurie,
        Thanks for all the information! I’ve also included a link in the recipe if you need help finding Clear Jel.
        πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    VMoore
    September 29, 2020 at 8:55 am

    Just got finished making this and it’s delicious πŸ˜‹

    • Reply
      Kathy
      September 30, 2020 at 5:16 am

      Thanks! Enjoy πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Rebecca Snyder
    May 23, 2020 at 4:21 pm

    People have given this a five star but nobody’s said that they’ve actually made it and its good. So has anyone made and tasted this?

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