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Make your Thanksgiving pies taste even better this year with some fresh apple pie filling! It has the perfect, glossy consistency and tastes absolutely delicious with the added cinnamon and nutmeg. The perfect substitute for canned apple pie filling. Plus, it’s easy to freeze for later.

Once you’ve got some tasty apple pie filling made, here are a few recipes to try it out in: apple turnovers, apple danish, or of course, homemade apple pie!

A mason jar filled with apple pie filling.

Homemade Apple Pie Filling

Apple pies are the absolute best, and even better when you use fresh, homemade filling! Homemade apple pie filling beats the store-bought stuff hands-down for a couple of reasons. First off, you get to pick the best, freshest ingredients, so your filling tastes like it came straight from the orchard, without any funky additives. Your pie ends up with that cozy, homemade flavor that’s just unbeatable.

Plus, going the make-it-yourself route lets you make the filling just the way you like it. You can adjust the sweetness and spices to match your taste perfectly. Not to mention, pick your favorite kind of apples! And using Clearjel as a natural thickener gives you the ideal consistency – not too runny like some store-bought fillings. Trust me, it’s going to make your homemade pies a hit. All you need is a pie crust from scratch (and I’ve got you covered if you’re looking for a great recipe!)

Ingredients Needed

I love that this easy apple pie filling uses such simple ingredients. All you need is some Clearjel so it has the perfect consistency! Check out the recipe card below for

  • Granulated Sugar: Adds sweetness to your filling. You can use brown sugar or honey instead, but it’ll change up the flavor slightly.
  • Apple Juice or Water: So everything stays nice and moist! Apple juice is best, but water works too.
  • Spices: Break out that spice rack, because ground cinnamon and nutmeg are what give this apple pie filling its signature flavor.
  • Salt: A tiny bit makes everything taste better.
  • Lemon Juice: Adds brightness that pairs perfectly with the apples and spices.
  • Apples: The main event! You can use any kind you want here, but my favorites for pies are Granny Smith and Honeycrisp.
  • ClearJel: The main thickener. I don’t recommend substituting it for regular cornstarch. Clearjel is modified cornstarch and what makes the filling just right in texture.

How to Make Homemade Apple Pie Filling

This apple pie filling recipe is something that anyone can make. You can use it immediately or can your extras so you have some on hand all throughout the holidays!

  1. Sugar Mixture: In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and clearjel. Then set aside.
  2. Boil Apple Juice: In a medium pot, bring the apple juice or water to a rolling boil. Once boiling, add the sugar and clearjel mixture and whisk until combined. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to whisk until the liquid thickens and turns opaque, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add Flavorings: Reduce the heat to low and add the spices, salt, and lemon juice.
  4. Stir in Sliced Apples: Add the sliced apples and stir until they are fully incorporated into the gel.
  5. If Using Immediately: If you will be using the filling without canning it first, return the mixture to the pot and cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, until it bubbles and the gel is clear. Then add to a homemade pie crust.

Canning Homemade Apple Pie Filling

  1. Canning: If you will be canning it, make sure your jars are clean and warm. Add the filling to the prepared jars, leaving ¼ inch head space. Wipe the rims clean and then wipe with white vinegar. Add the lid and screw on the band fingertip tight.
  2. Boil: Place the filled jars on a rack in your canning pot, being sure there is 1 inch of water over the tops. Bring to a low boil. Process for 30 minutes before turning off the heat. Let the jars sit in the water for 5 minutes before removing them to a towel, where they should cool for 24 hours.
  3. Store: Check the lid to make sure it is sealed and not flexing at all before storing apple pie filling in a cool, dark place.
2-photo collage of sliced apples being combined with the sugar, spices and clearjel.

Tips and Tricks

Make sure your apple pie filling turns out perfectly with these simple tips! Canned pie filling just won’t cut it once you’ve given this recipe a try.

  • Use Clearjel: Clearjel cannot be replaced with cornstarch. Cornstarch will break down if it is heated more than once, whereas Clearjel is a modified cornstarch and can withstand being heated twice. 
  • Whisk: To avoid the clearjel clumping, be sure to whisk it with the sugar before adding it to the water. 
  • Cook Until Clear: If the filling is still opaque, continue to cook for a couple more minutes. Sometimes the clearjel takes a little bit longer to fully cook.
  • Use The Right Kind of Lemon Juice: If you plan to can this pie filling, use bottled lemon juice and not fresh lemon juice. Bottled lemon juice has a consistent acidity level whereas fresh lemons will vary. In order to can safely, the amount of acid needs to be precise. If you plan to use the filling right away or freeze it, you may use fresh lemon juice. 
  • The Best Apples for Pie Filling: Pick the Right Apples! Not every variety of apple is good for baking. Granny Smith, honeycrisp, Fuji, and Braeburn are some of my favorites. You may use a variety of apples if you want!
  • Switch Things Up: The apples may be diced instead of sliced, if that’s how you prefer to prepare apples for pies. 

Ways to Use Your Apple Pie Filling

Not only is this filling great for pies, but things like danishes, turnovers, hand pies, you name it! Get creative and use this versatile ingredient for all of your favorite desserts!

Apple Tart

1 hr 35 mins

Apple Turnovers

38 mins

Apple Galette

1 hr 45 mins

Delicious Apple Hand Pies

1 hr 15 mins

Apple pie filling being stirred in a blue and white skillet.

Storing Leftover Apple Pie Filling

Depending on when you plan on using your apple pie filling, you have a few options for storage:

  • Canned: Water bath canned apple pie filling will keep on the shelf for up to 12 months. Once opened, it must be refrigerated and discarded after 7 days. 
  • Refrigerated: If you choose to not can the filling, use it within 7 days of making it. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Frozen: You can freeze the filling. Add it to a large freezer bag and keep for up to 3 months. Leave in the refrigerator overnight to thaw. 

Apple filling added to a pie crust.

Try These Amazing Apple Pie Recipes!

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  • In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and clearjel. Set aside.

  • In a medium pot, bring the apple juice or water to a rolling boil. Once boiling, add the sugar and clearjel mixture and whisk until combined. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to whisk until the liquid thickens and turns opaque, about 4-5 minutes.

  • Reduce the heat to low and add the spices, salt, and lemon juice.

  • Add the sliced apples and stir until they are fully incorporated into the gel.

  • If you will be using the filling without canning it first, return the mixture to the pot and cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, until it bubbles and the gel is clear.

  • If you will be canning it, make sure your jars are clean and warm. Add the filling to the prepared jars, leaving ¼ inch head space. Wipe the rims clean and then wipe with white vinegar. Add the lid and screw on the band fingertip tight.

  • Place the filled jars on a rack in your canning pot, being sure there is 1 inch of water over the tops. Bring to a low boil. Process for 30 minutes before turning off the heat. Let the jars sit in the water for 5 minutes before removing them to a towel, where they should cool for 24 hours.

  • Check the lid to make sure it is sealed and not flexing at all before storing a cool, dark place.

Calories: 224kcalCarbohydrates: 57gProtein: 0.4gFat: 0.4gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.02gSodium: 13mgPotassium: 209mgFiber: 2gSugar: 45gVitamin A: 42IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 20mgIron: 0.3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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