Canning Apple Pie Filling

with Sharon Peterson

Canning Apple Pie Filling

By canning apple pie filling you will have a dessert already half prepared.

Do you love pie but never take the time to prepare it? I'll bet if you start canning it, and have it all ready and waiting on your pantry shelf, you'll have it more than just at Thanksgiving.

This filling can also be used as is. Simply pour into a casserole dish and heat. Serve with ice cream for a quick easy treat.

You will need to use a water bath canner.

Prepare - Gather your canning supplies

Gather your canning supplies


  • apples - enough for 6 quarts sliced
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1 cup clear jel
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 10 cups water
  • 3T lemon Juice

Canning Procedure

 Peel, core and slice your apples. This is where the apple, peeler, corer, slicer may come in handy. It will cut your prep time in half. However keep in mind that it does slice your apples very thin.  I like thicker slices when I am canning apple pie filling.

  • For canning apples pie filling or other sliced apple canning, I've always recommend using an apple peeler corer slicer. But I have noticed that with the slices so thin the apples tend to get very soft after processing. You may want your pieces to be a bit thicker than the slicer will make. I still highly recommend the slicer. It is an incredible time saver, but using a knife the old fashioned way may just suit your needs better.
  • If you use an apple peeler, see instructions on that came with it. If you do not have one just prepare your apples with a knife.


If you will raw pack your jars (see below) keep your peeled sliced apples in a light syrup or water with some ascorbic acid. This will keep your apples from browning while you make your syrup. In this image the apples in the foreground are in a sugar syrup.  Except the top I had more apples than syrup but it is ok because I'll get them in the clear jel asap. 

Ascorbic acid can be purchased at most any grocery store or where canning supplies are sold. Follow directions on the box.

To make a light syrup simply heat water and sugar in a sauce pan until sugar dissolves - 2 cups sugar to 1-quart water

Make your thickener or syrup.

Make your thickener or syrup. Combine sugar, clear jel, cinnamon, lemon juice and nutmeg.

Stir into 10 cups water in a large stock pot. Heat and stir until thickened and bubbly.

If you use Clear Jel be sure you purchase the non-instant or regular type. Click here for more information. Click here for more information on Cear Jel

If you have not used clear jel.... I HIGHLY recommend it.  Really.... check it out. 

I used to list the directions for flour and or cornstarch as your thickener... but it is not recommended and Clear jel is soo much better. 

Raw Pack or Hot Pack?

There are two ways to fill your jars. Raw or Cold Pack and Hot Pack.  I recommend a hot pack.  Read through both methods below and decide what you think will work best for you. 

Raw Pack Apple Pie Filling

Peel and slice enough apples for one jar at a time. Fill the jars with the apples and then pour hot syrup over the apples.

This can be tricky if your syrup thickened a lot. You will need to be sure and use a thin spatula to remove air bubbles and be sure the syrup fills the jar. If it has thickened a lot it will not want to flow down between the apples very well.

Leave a 1 inch head space. Wipe the rims clean, remove any air bubbles and place your lids.

Hot Pack Apple Pie Filling

combine apples and clear jel

fill jars and top off with extra syrup if needed

When I am canning apple pie filling I prefer to hot pack. A hot pack seems easier and less messy, sticky.

Peel core and slice apples into a large pot with hot water. Bring to a boil for 1 minute. Drain.

Gently combine apples and thickened syrup.

Have you ever been canning apple pie filling and ended up short on fruit with lots of syrup left over? In order to avoid this, add most of your syrup to the apples, but don't just dump it all in. Reserve some and gently stir, adding more as needed. This way you will use only as much as needed to cover the apples.

You will have a nice filling with mostly apples and not too much thickened syrup. If needed you can always top off your jars with the extra syrup.

Fill jars with filling, remove air bubbles. Leave a 1 inch head space.


Wipe the rims clean, remove any air bubbles and place your lids.  For more details on processing follow water bath canning instructions.

Processing time for canning apple pie filling process quarts for 25 minutes.

Be sure to adjust processing time according to your altitude.

Altitude Adjustments for Boiling Water Bath Canner

Altitude in Feet - Increase processing time

1001-3000 - increase 5 minutes

3001-6000 - increase 10 minutes

6001-8000 - increase 15 minutes

8001-10,000 - increase 20 minutes

For more information on why this is important, see this altitude adjustments page.

How to make your Apple Pie.

After canning apple pie filling the work of making your apple pie is super easy.  You can buy a pre made crust and simply fill it with your filling.  Instructions for baking should be on the package.  

If you are making a homemade crust preheat your oven to 425.  Fill your crust and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the filling is bubbly and crust is lightly browned. 

One quart makes a barely filled 9 inch pie.  I usually will use one quart apple pie filling and then often add a pint of plain canned apples.  This makes for a very fruit filled pie.  Love it! OR I'll use a quart and a half of pie filling, saving the other half of the pie filling to top ice-cream or some such desert.

I also like to dab on about 2 T of butter on top of the pie filling and just below the top crust.  

Canning apple pie filling is for more than just pie. Pop open a jar and heat for a delicious treat, or add ice cream! Connect with to get some new ideas.


I was canning apple pie filling yesterday an and when I got up this morning, the jars had air bubbles and after taking the ring off, I noticed that the jars leaked out however, they did seal. This is my first time canning apple pie filling and I thought I packed it tight and I left a 1" head space and processed for 30 min. Are these jars safe? I put them in the frig not knowing as I didn't want to waste them. Thank you, Jane

Answer:  Yes, that happens often.  what happens is as you process the food expands, then as it cools it shrinks which is what causes the lid to seal down.  Your ingredients just expanded more than the headspace. Sometimes that will interfere with the seal butiIt is fine as long as it did seal.  Be sure and remove all the rings, lift the jar up by the flat lid to be sure it is sealed on and not just stuck with pie filling.

I am going to can Apple pie filling, in the recipe it calls for 1. cup of cornstarch, I am going to use regular clear jel instead. Do I exchange cup for cup or do I need a different measurement for the clear jel. Thank you so much for any help....Pam

Answer: Hi Pam, yes just substitute clear jel cup for cup.  Be sure you are using regular or cook type clear jel.  There is also an instant variety and it does not hold up will for processing. 

Sharon I have a half bushel of apples I want to make into pie filling. I need to make it right away while I have help (I have a broken ankle) but Clear Jel isn't available here. Can I use Sure Jel or Ball liquid pectin? I know not to use cornstarch. I can't wait for an online order to ship.
Any help is greatly appreciated. I have used several of your canning recipes with great success. Judy

Answer:  Judy, If I were you, I would can it without any thickener.  Then thicken it when you want to use it as a filling.  Here are directions for plain canned apples

You may have already seen this but, here is my comparison of the cornstarch vs clear jel.


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