Apple Pie Filling


Fall is in the air. The temperature is beginning to drop, along with the leaves, and that means it’s time to make apple pie filling! This has become a tradition in our family that we began while living in New England. We would load up the car, head to the nearest apple orchard, pick until our arms could not carry anymore, then head home to get cooking! There are no orchards to pick apples where we live now, so we head to the local mom and pop store that carries local produce and buy several boxes of honeycrisp apples. For me, the ONLY apple for pie filling is a honeycrisp apple. They are a hybrid apple that is sweet, crisp, juicy, and just a wee bit tart–all the items that make a perfect apple, in my book. The recipe that follows if for a canned pie filling that makes about 8 quarts of filling to be enjoyed throughout the year to come. This post may be a bit of horse-before-the-cart because you need a basic understanding of water bath canning to complete the whole process. Water bath canning is very easy: you just need a LARGE pot filled with water, and some time to let the filled cans sit in the boiling water for the necessary time. Of course, those are just the very basic of instructions. Here is a great PDF put out by the Virginia Cooperative Extension that is detailed and easy to understand. I learned how to can the old fashioned way, a friend had me come over to her house to help her preserve five bushels of peaches. We had fun, she got her peaches canned pretty quickly, and I learned a lifeskill that has helped to stretch our family budget a time or two. With all that said…here is the recipe (oh, and it just happens to be gluten free, if that matters to you).

Canned Apple Pie Filling

  • 4 1/2 Cups white sugar
  • 1 Cup cornstarch
  • 1 TBSP ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 10 Cups cold water
  • 3 TBSP lemon juice
  • 6 pounds of peeled, cored, and sliced honeycrisp apples


  1. Clean and sterilize 8 to 10 quart sized jars and lids (widemouth are easier to use with this recipe). Pack apples in jars leaving, at least, 1/2 inch of headspace.
  2. In a large pan mix sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt until the cornstarch is not lumpy and completely mixed in.
  3. Add water and stir consistently until boiling. Once mixture is thick and bubbly, remove from heat and add lemon juice.
  4. Ladle liquid over packed apples. Periodically, it is helpful to run a plastic implement down the side of the jar to remove air bubbles and help the liquid get all over the apples. *Note: PLEASE use a plastic implement and not a metal one! Metal can cause micro etches in the glass jars that cause them to break when placed in the water bath…trust me, it really happens!!!
  5. Make sure that the jar mouths are completely clean, place lids on, and secure tightly.
  6. Process jars in water bath for 25 minutes, remove, and allow to cool completely. Make sure to mark your jars with the date and enjoy.

I hope you and yours enjoy this pie filling as much as we have!

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