Fall for Flavor: Easy Homemade Canned Apple Pie Filling

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Ah, the crisp air, the vibrant leaves, and the aroma of freshly baked pies – it must be apple season! And what better use of apples than to preserve some apple pie filling for the colder months ahead.

I’m forever tied to the apple country of Washington State. I was born among the orchard of Tonasket, our first home set in a sea of hills lined with rows and rows of fruit trees in all directions.

My grandma’s first name was Judy, after the Judy apple. And her last name was Apple, but spelled Appel.

Her father, my great grandpa Appel, planted his namesake trees all over the Pacific Northwest, especially in Tonasket where he finally settled. Tending orchards goes back several generations for us. To say apples are in my blood in a bit of an understatement. They’re part of who I am.

When we moved to Tennessee, I quickly realized apples were not as big of a deal here. And I was shook. I missed them so much and promptly planted several trees. (Learn how to plant apple trees here)

There’s something so magical about this time of year among the apple orchards, trees laden with ripe, juicy fruit, just waiting to be transformed into so many yummy things. Embracing the spirit of the season, I’m here to share a delightful recipe that perfectly captures the essence of fall: Easy Homemade Canned Apple Pie Filling.

Simple ingredients, yummy food

In a world filled with convenience, there’s something truly special about crafting your own apple pie filling from scratch. By using fresh, seasonal apples and wholesome ingredients, you not only elevate the flavor but also avoid unnecessary preservatives. Plus, having a jar of homemade canned apple pie filling in your pantry means spontaneous baking sessions are just a step away, filling your home with the irresistible scent of warm spices and sweet apples.

Mother walking into an apple field with kids

What apples should you use

Here are some apple varieties that work best for apple pie filling:

  1. Granny Smith: These apples are firm, tart, and hold their shape during baking. Their tartness adds a nice contrast to the sweetness of the pie filling.
  2. Honeycrisp: Honeycrisp apples are crisp, juicy, and have a balanced sweet-tart flavor. They add a pleasant sweetness to the filling.
  3. Jonagold: Jonagold apples are a hybrid of Jonathan and Golden Delicious. They are both sweet and tart, making them a popular choice for pies.
  4. Braeburn: Braeburn apples have a spicy-sweet flavor and hold up well when baked. They provide a nice texture and taste in apple pie filling.
  5. Fuji: Fuji apples are sweet, firm, and crisp. They add a natural sweetness to the filling and maintain their shape nicely when cooked.
  6. Cortland: Cortland apples are slightly tart and resist browning, making them ideal for pies. They have a tender texture, which works well in a softer pie filling.

Truthfully, any of these will work, or maybe you have a combo of a few different types. Mix and match as needed. Experimenting with a mix of tart and sweet apples can result in a personalized, flavorful filling for your pies.

Water Bath Canning Basics: Preserving Your Apple Pie Filling

Water bath canning is a popular method for preserving homemade apple pie filling, ensuring it stays fresh and flavorful for months. Here’s a quick guide to mastering the basics:

1. Sterilize Jars and Lids:

  • Wash jars, lids, and bands in hot, soapy water.
  • Sterilize them by boiling in a large pot of water for 10 minutes. Keep them hot until ready to use.

2. Prepare the Filling:

  • Follow the apple pie filling recipe, ensuring it’s hot and freshly made.

3. Fill Jars:

  • Using a funnel, ladle hot filling into hot jars, leaving about 1/2 inch headspace.

4. Remove Air Bubbles:

  • Slide a non-metallic spatula or bubble remover tool between the filling and the jar to release trapped air bubbles.

5. Wipe Jar Rims:

  • Clean the jar rims with a damp cloth to ensure a proper seal.

6. Apply Lids and Bands:

  • Place sterilized lids on jars, then screw on the bands until fingertip-tight – not too loose, not too tight.

7. Process in Boiling Water:

  • Submerge jars in a boiling water canner, ensuring they’re covered by at least 1-2 inches of water.
  • Process for the specified time (20 minutes) based on your recipe and altitude.

8. Cool and Check Seals:

  • After processing, remove jars carefully and place them on a towel-covered countertop.
  • Let them cool completely. You’ll hear a satisfying “pop” as the lids seal.

9. Check Seals:

  • After 12 hours sitting on the counter cooling, press down on the center of each lid; if it doesn’t flex, the jar is sealed. If it does, refrigerate and use that jar promptly.

10. Store Properly:

  • Label sealed jars with the contents and date.
  • Store in a cool, dark place. Properly sealed jars can last up to 2 years or more.

By following these simple steps, you can confidently preserve your delicious homemade apple pie filling, ensuring that the taste of apple season lingers long after the trees have shed their leaves.

I had the incredible opportunity to showcase my passion for apples and homemade recipes on a special episode of Washington Grown TV last year.

During the episode, I shared the magic of creating this Homemade Canned Apple Pie Filling right on air. The aroma of cinnamon-spiced apples filled the kitchen, and I can’t wait for you to experience the same warmth in your home. If you’re curious to see the process in action, you can watch the episode clip (linked below) for a visual guide. It was probably one of the funnest clips to film during that season of Washington Grown TV.

Learn more about farming in the PNW with me in WAGrown Season 10!

That’s right, I’m on the big screen! In season 10, we cover local to the PNW farms, recipes, farming in general, and even the restaurant industry. Its expertly put together and very fun to watch. You’ll learn something from each episode. Binge watch them now on their YouTube channel!

Materials needed


  • 6 pounds cored and sliced apples
  • 4 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup clear jel powder
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 7 cups water

Shop materials:

Canned Apple Pie Filling

Canned Apple Pie Filling

Yield: 6 quarts
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 13 hours 5 minutes

Get ready to savor the delightful flavors of freshly baked apple pie any time of the year with this Homemade Canned Apple Pie Filling! This recipe captures the crisp, sweet apples, blended with warm cinnamon and nutmeg, making a filling that's bursting with autumn flavors you can enjoy any time of the year.


  • 6 pounds cored and sliced apples
  • 4 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 7 cups water
  • 3/4 cup clear jel powder


  1. Prepare the Apples: Peel, core, and slice the apples into thin wedges. Aim for around 6 pounds of sliced apples. I use a kitchen scale to get it close.
  2. Combine Ingredients: In a large stock add together all dry ingredients, stiring to evenly mix together. Then add liquids and combine. Bring to boil.
  3. Mix in Apples: Add the sliced apples to the stockpot, stir until well incorporated into sugar mixture. The mixture will help thicken the filling as it cooks.
  4. Cook the Filling: Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring often until it thickens and the apples are tender, about 20 minutes. The filling should have a glossy appearance.
  5. Canning Process: Fill warm sterilized jars leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Process in a hot water bath canner according to canning guidelines for 20 minutes. Make sure water is at a continual boil and covering the lids of the jars by at least 2 inches.
  6. Remove from canner: Place jars on folded towel on the counter together and place another towel over the tops of the jars. Leave on the counter untouched for 12 hours. You may hear pops as the jars seal.
  7. Usage: This canned apple pie filling is ready to use for your favorite pies, crisps, tarts, or even as a topping for pancakes or ice cream. Enjoy the delicious taste of homemade apple pie all year round! Make sure to add date each jar was made on the top of the lid, and use within 2 years of processing. Always make sure before using that lid was still completely sealed on jar, contents look good, and no foul order is coming from jar, which would indicate a failed seal.

Did you make this recipe?

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Other apple recipes:

Cinnamon Apple Bread

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