Canning Apple Pie Filling

by Merissa on November 30, 2010

in Canning and Preserving


Canning Apple Pie Filling

I've posted the recipe for canning apple pie filling before but here is a picture tutorial! I canned so many apples this year! But one of my favorite things to make with apples is apple pie filling. We use it for pies, crepes, empanadas, and more.

Canning Apple Pie Filling

What you need:

  • Apples
  • 4 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 c. cornstarch
  • 2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. apple pie spice
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • 1 t. salt
  • 10 c. water
Wash the apples. I always wash mine in produce wash.

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Mix together all the ingredients. Make sure you mix 1 cup of the water in with the cornstarch before you add it otherwise the cornstarch will be lumpy. Cook in a saucepan.
Peel and core the apples. I love my Norpro Apple corer slicer peeler!
Cut the apples up into smaller pieces.
Pack the sliced apples into jars leaving headspace.

By now the syrup mixture should be nice a thick and bubbly.
*Note depending on how many apples you have you may have to make more than one batch of filling. I did 6 quarts and 6 pints in this particular load and I had to make 2 batches of syrup.
Using a funnel, pour the syrup over the apples. You will have to use something to push the syrup down into the jar and get rid of the air bubbles. I just use the other side of a plastic spatula.
Clean off the rims of the jars and make sure they are dry before you put the lids on.
Put on the lids and lids. Make sure they are screwed on tight!
Put the jars in a hot water canner. Fill with water just enough to cover the lids of the jars. Get the water boiling or close to boiling before you set the time.
Process for 20 minutes. Take out and let cool. Do not touch the tops and accidentally seal the lids. If for some reason the jars did not seal(the lids didn't pop down) you can reprocess for the same amount of time. I like making both pints and quarts. The quarts are the perfect size for pie and the pints are nice to keep in the fridge for crepes and stuff!
Now that you are finished with that, make sure to check out these Canned Apple Pie Filling Desserts that you can make with this handy home canned item!

Please check with your local extension office for any changes on times/temps/high altitude.

Make sure you check out all the free Canning and Preserving Recipes we have on Little House Living! And don't forget to check out The Canner's Cookbook, it has recipes on how to use all your home canned goods!

I recommend a Presto Pressure Canner and the book Putting Food By for all your canning projects!

Have you ever tried canning apple pie filling?

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{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Momma Lew November 30, 2010 at 6:20 pm

That looks & sounds delicious!!!!! I am going to file this away for next year when I have lots of apples again!

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2 Debbie August 23, 2011 at 7:12 pm

The main question I have about the apple sauce and pie filling. How long do these last canned? I guess really that’s my question about alot of canning things.. how long will they keep? I know a long time, but I’m not sure is it more then a year or so? I want to go apple picking this fall and would love to get enough to do both!

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3 Merissa August 23, 2011 at 7:17 pm

I have apple pie filling from 2 years ago and it’s just fine. I’ve eaten canned things that were 3 or 4 years old and they were just fine. It all just depends on if the seal is still good!

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4 Debbie August 24, 2011 at 8:45 am

Thankyou! I’m trying to find somewhere that has an apple orchard, the closest one to me charges to $5 to park, and $40 just to get into the orchard.. and you have no idea what they have left. :( So I’m search of somewhere I can get some! I’m excited to try this.. Always wanted to try my own apple pie as well!

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5 Jean September 28, 2013 at 10:07 am

Try the internet. Do a search for you pick, to find orchards in your area. pickyourown.org is one.

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6 Jolene November 7, 2011 at 9:33 pm

I wanted to let you know— I was looking for an EASY way to can apple pie filling– and I found YOURS!!! I never understood why you needed to cook the apples and THEN process them….. So– I chose your recipe & LOVED the ‘sauce’, so I have confidence that when we pop the fillings open— we won’t regret it! We were eating the raw apples with your sauce BEFORE canning them! <3

I am thinking this will be my go-to when I need to go to! Thank you for sharing!!

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7 Tracy September 20, 2013 at 7:43 pm

I love this, the sauces was so good, I can’t wait to try the pie, I think I will give jars out for Christmas gifts, thank you . :)

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8 Jodi August 15, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Just a quick question. I just finished peeling a bushel of apples and saw this I have the same peeler and was told by my mom in law that it would get mushy if I used it because it slices too thin. I take it this is not true.

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9 Merissa August 15, 2012 at 3:01 pm

No, they don’t get mushy. They are soft but any cooked apple is soft :)

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10 Sharon August 23, 2012 at 9:47 am

I canned some apple pie filling but some of he apples are not covered in the syrup. The jars are sealed, are the apples still ok to eat?

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11 Merissa August 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm

They should be just fine.

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12 Stacey September 27, 2012 at 1:02 pm

A friend and I recently came into a LOT of apples and decided we wanted to make pie filling so I immediately thought of your site. I don’t know a whole lot about canning but a friend of mine who recently went to a talk at the Mother Earth New Fair on canning said the expert there giving the talk make a big deal about not using cornstarch in any canning recipes. She said you should be using ClearGel instead. I’m not sure behind the reasoning but I did a search online and apparently the USDA also suggests not using cornstarch in canning. Obviously you’ve been using it and you have not had any problems, but I thought I’d mention it.

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13 Merissa September 27, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Interesting, I haven’t heard of that! I have heard of using Clear Gel though.

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14 Debora September 6, 2013 at 10:48 am

The Joy of Canning states:
“Do not use flour or cornstarch before canning. The density of pureed or thickened food makes it difficult for the heat to penetrate the contents of the jar.”
another web site posted this by the USDA:
Canning apple pie filling using tapioca or cornstarch as the thickener (outdated method.) Why is this risky? Botulism is not a major risk here because the high acid content of the apple filling. However, using cornstarch or tapioca may cause the filling to be too thick for the heat to penetrate and kill spoilage organisms throughout the product—a food safety issue. Cornstarch will break down during the canning process. Your pie filling will be runny—a food quality issue.

Current recommendations: Clearjel® is the only thickening agent approved by the USDA for canning. Clearjel® is a modified waxy food starch producing a smooth, heavy-bodied, gel-like product. Canned products retain a smooth texture with no liquid separation or curdling. Cornstarch and tapioca break down during the canning process causing the filling to be runny. Another option is to can the pie filling without any starch and then thicken it with tapioca or cornstarch before putting it in the pie shell.

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15 Terry September 9, 2013 at 5:00 pm

From what I have read on labels, ClearJel is cornstarch, just a different form that will dissolve in cold water. Here is the label information:

Ingredients: Instant Clearjel (modified food starch)

Taste and Aroma: Flavorless

Uses: Clearjel is a superior version of cornstarch tolerates higher temperatures, works well with all types of ingredients including acidic ones and does not clump. Used as a thickener in pies, stews, sauces, gravies and pudding. Clearjel Instant does not have to be mixed with cold water prior to use like regular Clear Jel.

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16 Christopher September 27, 2013 at 7:56 am

Sounds like the gov./someone has a vested interest in using a name brand item than something people have been using for decades with no problems. Forget that! FAR said thin-thin & a number of other things were safe only to find out not so later. Stick with what you know and works! Besides, has anyone seen what’s they did to the food pyramid? Get real!!!

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17 Christopher September 27, 2013 at 7:59 am

Sorry I MENT F.D.A. not FAR, my kindle changed it!

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18 Nora Rush October 27, 2012 at 9:32 pm

This sounds prefect. I am not very experienced with canning and was wondering how to make apple pie filling. I would also like to know how long the baking time would be for the pies.

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19 Merissa October 28, 2012 at 10:40 am

I just bake until the filling is bubbly and the crust is slightly brown. Since you’ve already cooked the apples in the canner it cuts down on baking time. :)

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20 Winnie November 15, 2012 at 1:58 pm

I made these last night and it was super easy, thanks! However I was chatting with a friend today and she said I needed to use a pressure cooker…I used my hot water canner and boiled the water for 20 minutes like you suggested. An I going to poison people if I don’t use a pressure cooker? Please help!

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21 Merissa November 15, 2012 at 2:14 pm

You should be fine. I use the book Putting Food By for my timing/canning instructions. Apples are an acidity level of 3.3-4 which means they are high acid (anything from 1-4.6 is high acid).

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22 Carla Patrick November 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Great Site!

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23 Joy Boyette January 21, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Great site… Newsy… Affordable recipes… Very informative
Thanks for bring here…

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24 Trina Mechling April 13, 2013 at 9:44 am

Thanks for sharing. This looks alot easier than the way I do it so I look forward to trying it this fall when we pick apples.

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25 Reagin August 1, 2013 at 10:10 pm

I love the idea of this apple recipe, when I have unexpected guest I can pull out a jar and make apple Betty, apple crisp, apple pudding, or just warm and serve with vanilla ice cream, Think I’ll try this next week.Thanks for sharing.

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26 P Smith August 5, 2013 at 9:55 pm

Yummy! Just made 4 quarts of pie filling for quick pies this year. Have left over sauce, so I am on my way to go get peaches to make a peach pie with the left overs. :)

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27 Tanna August 17, 2013 at 6:08 pm

Is using cornstarch ok? I mean the Internet says its not safe canning. They say use sure jel. What’s your opinion on this?

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28 Merissa August 17, 2013 at 7:49 pm

I’ve not heard of that and haven’t had an issue with it. If you don’t feel comfortable though, just use Sure Gel.

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29 kelly August 19, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Can you substitute honey or maple syrup or coconut palm sugar? I don’t touch the refined stuff anymore…any ideas on substitution amounts? I LOVE YOUR BLOG, I cannot tell you how helpful it has been!
-Kelly

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30 Merissa August 19, 2013 at 4:17 pm

I would use the coconut palm sugar in this recipe instead of the liquid sweeteners…I’m not sure how safe those are to can something like this with but coconut palm sugar would be very similar.

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31 Erin @ The Shabby Shamrock September 1, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Thanks so much for your recipe – I just linked it to my blog! Your blog is awesome by the way! :)

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32 Annette September 9, 2013 at 9:54 pm

Have you tried using this recipe with peaches and making “Peach Pie in a Jar”?

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33 Merissa September 10, 2013 at 6:39 am

Yes and it works great!

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34 Donna September 13, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Where can you buy ClearJel?

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35 Merissa September 13, 2013 at 8:34 pm

You should be able to find it at your local hardware store.

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36 Krista September 15, 2013 at 6:12 pm

Donna I just bought some from Amazon.com and also bought an apple/peeler/corer !!

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37 Brenda Adkins September 16, 2013 at 5:21 am

If i substitute sure gel for the cornstarch, how much should I use. This will be my first time to can this, also are the measurements in teaspoon or tbs?

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38 Sherry September 20, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Do you still use cornstarch and is it gmo free . Does pie set up ok? Is that organic cane sugar ok to use that is less processed and has the mild molasses taste. Also what do you store in for long term storage? Do you use mylar bags for rice or beans. You have a good site and am enjoying reading it

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39 Merissa September 20, 2013 at 5:00 pm

I use potato starch since we’ve since found out we are allergic to corn. Yes, I use raw sugar (cane sugar or turbinado) for everything. You may want to check out our page on Stockpiling to learn all about long term storage.

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40 Sherry September 21, 2013 at 5:39 pm

So I take it that the apple pie in a jar is made now with potato starch flour to thicken and can the filling. How well does the pie set up with the potato starch in it?

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41 Merissa September 21, 2013 at 5:40 pm

You can use any starch (although I wouldn’t use arrowroot). We just personally use potato starch because we are allergic to corn.

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42 Rosa Vasquez September 27, 2013 at 6:12 pm

Ok, I want to try canning ! But I don’t like hard apples in my pies filling ! Do I cook the apples a little already cut ?

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43 Merissa September 27, 2013 at 6:15 pm

These apples will soften when they are canned so there’s no need to cook first. :)

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44 Sonya September 29, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Can I make this without using any thickener and just simply thicken it when I’m ready to use it? If so, is the processing time in the water bath the same? Anything else I should know? I’m new at canning and want to try this recipe.

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45 Merissa September 29, 2013 at 8:41 pm

Yes, you can skip the thickener if you’d like. It won’t change the canning temps and times :)

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46 Redman September 30, 2013 at 8:27 am

Everysite i see talks about waterbathing the sauce. I like to pressure cook everything, i feel safer. I do realize that apples are withing the safe range but better safe than sorry. Have you heard of pressure cooking the apple filling and if so do you think it will affect the flavor, texture, etc? And how long would you suggest?
THanks

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47 Sherry October 1, 2013 at 1:21 am

I am not to computer savey but what are those colored designed squares to the right side of our questions. Each person has a different one. Why? You still did not answer my main question. When you open a jar of the canned apple filling and bake the pie does it come out of oven and set up or will it be runny. Many people tell me if you can with the cornstarch and then bake the pie that the cornstarch breaks down and will not thicken the pie but will thicken only once. Since I have not canned any I don’t know what is true. I like the ladies idea of not putting in any thickener and then do it when you make the pie. One thing I did is I put spices in each jar and then added liquid. I had a lot of syrup left over so I knew they would not be sweet enough so the next batch I think I will put sugar also in each jar and put boiling water over it all and water bath. I also used organic apple juice that had no high fructose corn syrup as part of liquid. Do you know if the clear gel that is corn based is gmo. Some say that it can cause havoc to your health. Maybe that is why you are allergic to cornstarch. Thanks for taking time to respond.

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48 Merissa October 1, 2013 at 6:26 am

I have not found the pies to be runny, but like the other ladies have mentioned you could always add it afterwards to make sure it would be thick. The colored squared are just automated pictures that the site generates to go next to each comment.

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49 Brenda October 8, 2013 at 9:06 am

I’ve been making apple pie filling for years and use “cooked” ClearJel, not “instant” for my thickener. It works fantastic and maintains it’s thickening power even after canning and cooking the pie.

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50 sharon October 25, 2013 at 12:26 pm

this looks like a perfect recipe but how many apples do i need to use….

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51 sharon October 25, 2013 at 12:28 pm

how many apples are needed for this recipe

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52 Merissa October 25, 2013 at 12:49 pm

It takes at least 3lbs of apples to fill a jar and this recipe makes at least 7 pints.

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53 Ebie November 8, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Found your recipe for the apple pie filling and had a bunch of apples, so decide to give it a try. Made the sauce the why your recipe detailed and tastes very good. My question is that after the hot water bath and after the jars cooled I noticed that one of the jars the syrup settled about an inch below the rim band. The apples at the top of the jar are not covered by syrup at all. Is this to much air space and will cause this jar to spoil?
Your help is appreciated.

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54 Merissa November 8, 2013 at 7:58 pm

The apples should be just fine :) I have different things that absorb the liquid sometimes in canning also and they’ve always been fine for me.

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55 Amy Dean November 9, 2013 at 5:41 pm

I have come into 200 pounds of apples, never ever ever canned or frozen anything before. So here goes. Made the applebutter in a crockpot and canned it and it was great. So now on to apple pie filling.

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56 Amy Dean November 9, 2013 at 5:44 pm

one more thing, when water bathing does the water HAVE to be over the jars? I don’t have a pot that big. Thanks in advance

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57 Merissa November 9, 2013 at 6:56 pm

Yes it does. For hot water canning jars need to be completely submerged to build up the proper pressure to seal them.

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58 Jessica November 30, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Hi,

I followed your tutorial to a tee and it tasted delicious! However, they have been sitting on a shelf in their jars for about two months now and I’ve noticed that there is a lot of liquid separation. I made them to give out as Christmas gifts and am worried because they look a little unsightly. It kind of looks like the apples are in the top 2/3rd of the jar and the brownish liquid on the bottom is pretty liquidy. The lids are still sealed and don’t appear to be spoiled, but I’m unsure as I am new to canning. Is this normal? If someone could give me some advice that would be great. I’m on the verge of throwing them all out just to be safe :(

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59 Merissa November 30, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Apple Pie Filling tends to look a little odd after a while, I’d take a picture but we are all out right now! It should be fine as long as they were properly sealed.

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60 Jessica November 30, 2013 at 8:13 pm

Thanks for getting back to me! Good to hear. So, should the liquid mix in fine without making the pie too runny? Love your site by the way!

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61 Merissa December 1, 2013 at 8:19 am

Yes it will, maybe once you pour it out of the jar just put it in a small bowl first and mix it back up, then add it to your pie crust.

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62 Patty February 24, 2014 at 9:44 am

I found this recipe on Pinterest. I’m trying it except I added caramels to the mix. Now I have caramel apple pie filling. Hope it’s good.

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63 Chantal July 22, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Does adding caramel before processing adversely affect the acidity of the final product and make it unsafe?

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