Canning Apple Pie Filling

apple pie filling1Canning pie filling is a fun way to preserve apples that are abundant right now. Each quart jar will make one 8-9 inch pie.

Table 1. Apple Pie Filling.
Quantities of Ingredients Needed For
1 Quart 7 Quarts
Blanched, sliced fresh apples 3-1/2 cups 6 quarts
Granulated sugar 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp 5-1/2 cups
Clear Jel® 1/4 cup 1-1/2 cup
Cinnamon 1/2 tsp 1 tbsp
Cold Water 1/2 cup 2-1/2 cups
Apple juice 3/4 cup 5 cups
Bottled lemon juice 2 tbsp 3/4 cup
Nutmeg (optional) 1/8 tsp 1 tsp
Yellow food coloring (optional) 1 drop 7 drops
Table 2. Recommended process time for Apple Pie Filling in a boiling-water canner.
Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size 0 – 1,000 ft 1,001 – 3,000 ft 3,001 – 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Hot Pints or Quarts 25 min 30 35 40

Use firm, crisp apples. Staymen, Golden Delicious, Rome, and other varieties of similar quality are suitable.  If apples lack tartness, use additional ¼ cup of lemon juice for each 6 quarts of sliced apples.

apples in lemon juice1

Wash, peel and core apples. Cut apples into slices, ½ inch wide.  Place in an anti-darkening solution.  I used ½ cup bottled lemon juice to 2 quarts of water.

blanching apples1

Remove from antidarkening solution and drain well. Next blanch the fruit by placing small amounts in boiling water.  Boil each batch for one minute after the water returns to a boil.  Remove the fruit from the blanch water, but keep the hot fruit in a covered bowl or pot while you prepare the Clear Jel mixture.

pie filling 11
Combine Clear Jel, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large saucepot with water, apple juice and food coloring. Stir and cook on medium high until mixture thickens and begins to bubble.  Add lemon juice to the boiling mixture and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.

pie filling1

Immediately fold in drained apples slices and fill hot jars with hot mixture. Leave 1 inch headspace.

removing bubbles pie filling

Remove air bubbles with a plastic knife. Wipe jar rims.


Put on lid fingertip tight and process immediately in a Boiling Water Bath.  Make sure that the water is at least 1 inch above the top of the submerged jars.  Use the chart above for processing times according to your altitude.

Beth Marrs

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Adult Home Economics Education. I love to cook and entertain and spend time with my family.

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14 thoughts on “Canning Apple Pie Filling

  1. Are there any other healthy recipes for the apple pie filling that don’t use so much sugar? Can I use honey or cut back in the amount of sugar?

  2. There are no other safe, tested, and approved recipes for canning apple pie filling. The amount of sugar listed in the recipe is required to make a safe product. Honey could NOT be substituted as it will change the texture/thickness of the product significantly. Also, honey is just a different form of sugar, not a healthy option.

  3. why are apples blanched before adding to the spice sugar mixture? I’ve seen many recipes that do not mention that?

  4. Rose, The recipe used in the Canning Apple Pie Filling blog is from the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Yellow food color as well as nutmeg are optional ingredients. The small amount of food coloring used helps to enhance the color of the pie filling. I personally do not use it. Because the variety of fruit may alter the flavor and color of the pie, it is suggested that you first make a single quart, make a pie with it, and serve. Then adjust the sugar and spices in the recipe to suit your personal preferences. The amount of lemon juice should not be altered, as it aids in controlling the safety and storage stability of the fillings. If in making this test, you are pleased with the color of the filling, omit. Also, omit if there is an allergy to food colorings or dyes.

  5. Can this be frozen instead of canned? What ingredient changes would be recommended to freeze?

  6. Lori, any apple pie filling recipe can be frozen. Pie filling can be frozen in a container or bag or in a pie shell ready to bake. Check out this piece from Michigan State University which explains how to do both.

  7. Your recipe never mentions when to add the sugar. I do believe one or more of the steps requires review/revision. Thank you for the recipe. I am looking forward to canning some apple pie filling.

  8. Hi, when you can apples for pie filling without using Clear Jel, you simply add the thickener at the time of use. When you go to use the pie filling for baking, simply add a thickener to your filling such as cornstarch, flour, arrowroot, Clear Jel or an egg.

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