Canning Apples

with Sharon Peterson

Canning apples is one of those things that keeps on giving! Turn it into apple pie filling, use in oatmeal or over ice-cream. The best part is YOU control the sugar. Learn more at

Jona-Golds are what we use for canning apples. But there are MANY varieties that will work. Gala, Granny Smith, Honey Crisp…..mmmmm. Honey Crisps are my favorite for eating fresh.

Fruits are a high acid food and can be safely processed in a waterbath canner.


Canning Tip

An Apple Peeler Corer Slicer is a great tool when you are working with apples. However, I have noticed that with the slices so thin the slices tend to get very soft after processing.

If I you are going to use these apples for apple pie you may want your pieces to be a bit thicker than the slicer will make. But it works fine for apple crisps or just heating and sprinkling on some cinnamon sugar.

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. 

Gather your canning supplies


  • Apples - You will need about 19 pounds for one canner load of 7 quarts
  • Sugar to taste

Make your Syrup

Prepare light or medium syrup. I prefer light syrup. Simply heat water and sugar in a sauce pan until sugar dissolves.  The best way to do this is in a tea kettle. Then you can just pour your syrup over the apples in the jar.  Super easy and way less mess.  And I'm all for less mess.  

  • Light – 2 cups sugar to 1-quart water
  • Medium -3 cups sugar to 1-quart water

You can also make a syrup with honey if you don't want to use processed sugar.

  • light - 1 1/2 cups honey to 4 cups water
  • medium - 2 cups honey to 4 cups water


Peel, core and slice your apples. Use an apple peeler or just a knife. 

To prevent browning you can treat your apples with ascorbic or citric acid. This should be available at the grocery store. Follow the instructions on the package. 

After peeling, coring and slicing apples, place in a large pot with a light syrup and bring to a boil. 

Fill jars with hot fruit and cooking liquid, leaving 1/2-inch head space.

Place your canning rack in your water bath canner but have it up out of the water. When each jar is full remove air bubbles by using a small tool to run down in the jar. (like the picture) They sell a canning bubble remover tool for this purpose... but I like using my orange peeler.  Works perfectly.  

Then clean the rim with a wet paper towel to be sure any syrup will not interfere with the seal, and put the lid on.

Place jar in the rack above the hot water in the canner to keep warm while you are preparing your next jar.  Continue until all jars are packed and ready to be lowered into your canner.  

Then lower jars into canner heat water to boiling and process.  

For more details on how to use a water bath canner follow these instructions. 


Either Pints or Quarts are processed for 20 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.

Canning Apples instruction adapted from NCFHFP

Canning Apples Questions from my inbox

Question from Ruby

I canned too many sliced apples for pies and not enough apple butter.  How can I turn the apples into apple butter?  The apples are canned in a simple syrup.  Thanks!  Ruby


I have not done this before but it seems like you could simply place them in a crockpot and continue cooking.  

You might want to drain out the juice from your apples.  Watch it as it cooks and add a bit back in if it looks like they will need it.   Then just continue cooking and whisk until it is the texture of apple butter.  You could add in cinnamon or other seasonings to taste.  If you used sugar in your apples, you may not need to add sugar to the apple butter.  You'll just have to do a taste test to check.  

Then don't forget to reprocess if you want to store it on the shelf. Use the processing directions from this page.   Canning Apple Butter

Hope this helps! 

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by Sharon Peterson, Copyright © 2009-2019

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