Homemade apple pie filling makes fall pie baking a snap! Impress your friends and family with a freshly baked pie without all the fuss.

Homemade Apple Pie Filling for Canning

This year I have really caught the canning bug. I can’t stop, I won’t stop. I intend to enjoy the freshness of summer long into the dreariness of winter.

When my fellow canning compatriot (and a huge reason for my new obsession) Kelly of Mountain Mama Cooks and I planned another day of preserving, we’d already covered jam, pickles, peaches, and tomatoes. We wanted to try something new and fun.

Homemade Apple Pie Filling for Canning

Kelley suggested an apple pie filling and I eagerly agreed. Peeling and slicing the apples was a little tedious (especially since we made a large batch), but otherwise the entire process of making the pie filling was very simple.

Homemade Apple Pie Filling for Canning

And this last weekend when I hosted a dinner party, this apple pie filling was my saving grace. I was able to make some pie crust ahead of time, so all I had to do the day of was roll it out, open a jar of filling and pour it in. It baked up beautifully and no one was the wiser!

Not interested in baking a pie? Try this apple pie filling on top of ice cream, pancakes, oatmeal, etc.

Homemade Apple Pie Filling for Canning

Using Clear Jel in canned pie filling

From the USDA (via PickYourOwn.org): “It can be used for canned fruit pie fillings because it does not break down in the acid food mixtures and does not thicken enough during heat processing to interfere with the intended effect of the heat on killing bacteria during canning. It is preferred for thickening canned pie fillings as well as other foods over other corn starches because it has less or no aftertaste, the thickened juices are smooth and clear, and foods thickened with ClearJel® may be frozen…There is no substitution for ClearJel® that can be made in these recipes. This means do not use other cornstarch  flour, tapioca, or other thickener in our recipes.”

Find Clear Jel online through Amazon.

Homemade Apple Pie Filling for Canning

Homemade Apple Pie Filling for Canning
Homemade apple pie filling makes fall pie baking a snap!
Yield: 2 quarts
  • 7 cups (800 grams) apples, peeled and sliced into ½ inch pieces
  • 1¾ cup (350 grams) sugar
  • ½ cup (113 grams) Clear Jel starch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 cup (237 ml) cold water
  • 1½ cup (355 ml) apple juice
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) bottled lemon juice
  1. Blanch apple slices by dipping them in a large pot of boiling water for 1 minutes. Drain and keep fruit warm in a covered bowl or pot.
  2. Combine sugar, clear jel, cinnamon, and nutmeg (if using) in a large pot with the cold water and apple juice. Stir and cook over medium high heat until mixture thickens and begins to boil. Add the bottled lemon juice and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add the blanched apples to the mixture and immediately ladle into hot jars, leaving 1 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles with a long knife or thin spatula. Wipe rims and cover with lids and ring bands.
  4. Process in a water bath for 25 minutes (see notes for high altitude processing time). Let cool and ensure lids have sealed. Store any unsealed jars in the fridge and use within a few weeks.
  5. To bake a pie, simply pour it into a prepared pie shell. Bake at 425 degrees F until filling is bubbling.
Notes: Store sliced apples in a solution of water and lemon juice (2 tablespoons lemon juice per large bowl of water) to prevent browning until ready to proceed with recipe.

Increase processing time for high altitude as needed: 1,001-3,000 ft 30 minutes, 3,001-6,000 ft 35 minutes, 6,001+ ft 40 minutes.

New to canning? See my post on Home Canning Tips and Resources.

Recipe from USDA Home Canning Guide.

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47 Responses to Homemade Apple Pie Filling for Canning

  1. Carrian says:

    Nothing like a nice warm pie to make the cold weather seem better! Yum!

  2. It looks delicious. I haven’t broke into my jars yet but this pie is tempting me!!

  3. Just beautiful, Annalise! Cannot wait to try your recipe. This is the way to preserve Fall…to enjoy thru the winter. Thanks ever so much for sharing, girl. Pinning!

  4. Erin R. says:

    Nice! I’ve always liked chunky apples in pies better than the little, thin slices. This looks lovely. Apples are so readily available this time of year, too. Anyone who has an apple tree in their yard is always more than happy to give the apples away as we have found out in the last few years. We notice rotting apples all over the sidewalk when we’re walking our dog, and the next time my husband sees the owner out in their driveway he’ll just go right up and ask. Try it some time if you can work up the nerve (I haven’t yet). You’ll be up to your eyeballs in free apples instantly. I’ll have to buy a package of ClearJel and try canning some pie filling soon. Thanks!

    • Annalise says:

      What a fabulous idea, there are fruit trees all over my city and most of them just seem to fall to the ground unused. 🙁 Time to get up the nerve to turn them into something yummy!

    • Kimberly says:

      I was about to say the same thing about just asking for apples! This time of year they’re usually a pretty good price, but even $.69/lb. is not as good as free! I live in Washington State and there are always thousands of trees that go unharvested all over the place. Just drive around for a little bit, see one from the road and ask the owners if you can pick. I’ve never had anyone say no and I also trade my own fruit for other fruit too since I have plums and walnuts.

  5. Janet Wilson says:

    Is clear jel the same as sure jel? I`ve always used corn starch.

    • Chef Roger says:

      No, clear jel is not the same. When I couldn’t find clear jel except online I remembered a nearby Mennonite store and sure enough, they had plenty on hand.

  6. Patty says:

    It would be nice if you’ve gotten free fruit to bring the donor a jar of the processed food whether applesauce or this apple pie filling.

  7. You have definitely inspired me to get crackin’ and can some apple pie filling! 🙂 It looks wonderful!

  8. Deborah says:

    I cannot wait until we move so that I can try this!!

  9. Kathy says:

    How many quarts does this recipe make?

    • Annalise says:

      2 quarts, it’s listed in the recipe!

      • Theresa says:

        Why do you blanch the apples? I’ve always just used raw apples and the filling comes out great! I also juice the core and peels of the apples to use instead of water, or use apple juice. Adds a lot of flavor. I love having the apple pie filling on hand!!!

  10. Rebecca says:

    Am I supposed to use both quarts for a single pie? Since I am starting with only 7 cups of apples and my normal apple pie calls for 6 cups of apples. Also, that seems like a lot of liquid – but then again – I have never done any canning like this before. Thanks!

    • Annalise says:

      It will be enough to fit a small 8-inch pie. If you plan to make a larger pie, plan on using 2 quarts. And it didn’t end up being too much liquid! The pie I baked turned out great!

  11. Ann-Marie says:

    can i use any type of apple? and is clear jel easy to find?

    • Annalise says:

      It’s best to use a good baking apple, like granny smith, gala, honey crisp or pink lady. And clear jel may be difficult to find, you may have the best luck shopping online.

  12. Kristen says:

    I’m thinking of giving these as little Christmas gifts for family! How long is the filling good for once it’s canned & how should I store it?

    • Annalise says:

      I recommend consuming all home-canned foods within one year, though some may last even longer. They’re best stored in a cool dark place, like a pantry or cupboard.

  13. Lanah says:

    If you are fortunate enough to live anywhere near a Cash and Carry, I bought a 25lb bag of ClearJel at ours for $51. That’s $2.00 per pound vs $10 or so per pound on Amazon!!! Take a road trip with some friends and split it up. 🙂

    • Missy says:

      If you find apples are too expensive, try looking to friend in the northern states, a fresh bushel in November is $8 for 48lbs. I am glad to find a good pie filling recipe i can can!!!! soooo many apples@.@

  14. Kristina says:

    I have an apple/peeler/corer/slicer that makes this process a lot quicker! Also, I just canned 32 quarts of applesauce yesterday. I have used my Back to Basics applesauce machine for many, many years and that makes canning applesauce a cinch! I also have been canning, canning, canning. I garden did fantastic this year. I canned salsa, tomatoes, carrots, green beans and froze corn. I have also roasted sunflower seeds. Ready to can pumpkin and Hubbard squash. Love, love, love my garden!

  15. Jan Liebsch says:

    Wondering how to use the pie filling when making a pie. Do you still need to add the other ingredients to the apples—or just dump in a pie crust and bake?

  16. Leona says:

    I worry about having a soggy pie when using canned apples. How can I avoid that?

    • Annalise says:

      When you’re working with a double-crusted pie (like this apple pie), par-baking the crust to prevent sogginess doesn’t really work. So what I do is I minimize the amount of time the filling is sitting in the pie outside of the oven. So I roll out the bottom crust and put it in the pan, then roll out the top and have it standing by. I’ve already prepared my egg wash, the oven is preheated, and my sheet pan lined with parchment paper to catch any liquid overflow is ready. Does that make sense? That way the filling as less time to make the bottom crust soggy. So far it’s worked well enough for me. I haven’t had a soggy problem with this particular filling. Hope this helps!

  17. Claudette says:

    Your recipe looks great, but your website has so many annoying pop up ads, I can’t even read through it.

    • Annalise says:

      Hi Claudette! Thank you for your feedback. These ads have just been brought to my attention and I’m working on getting the popups taken down. I apologize for the annoyance!

  18. sandra says:

    About your apple pie filling. Clear gel? . I have never heard of that in Canada. Do they even sell it here?

    • Annalise says:

      I had a little trouble finding it as well, eventually had to find in online. Glad you were finally able to locate it! Happy canning!

  19. sandra says:

    About clear jel. Found it GTA Golda’s.

  20. Debbie says:

    To avoid a soggy crust, try preheating a cookie sheet and put your pie pan on that when it’s time to bake. The heat from the cookie sheet will help cook the bottom crust a little faster. You could probably use a pizza stone too, which retains even more heat. Just hope the pie juice doesn’t run off the edge!

  21. Lulu says:

    Can you substitute the clear gel?

    • Annalise says:

      I’m always hesitant to play around with canning recipes, as I’m afraid to mess up their shelf stability. I don’t know any great substitutes for clear jel so I can’t make any recommendations. Sorry! But, Clear Jel is easy to find online! Hope this helps.

  22. Bente says:

    hi, this recipe sounds sooooo great…. but I was also wondering if you could sbstitute the clear jel….?? I read about the cornstarch, but if sounds that it’s not possible to re-heat the mixture afterwards ( it goes gooey!!)…. I wonder if you could just leave it out and then when you want to make the pie, you add the cornstarch??? I’ve got 2 appletrees in my garden, this year I’ve had more than 100 kg … I just don’t know what to do with them…. after giving away… I still have MANY apples left…. last year it was my pear tree…. 2 years ago it was my plum tree… love my garden!!!

    • Annalise says:

      I’m always hesitant to play around with canning recipes, as I’m afraid to mess up their shelf stability. I don’t know any great substitutes for clear jel and I’m not sure I would recommend one. Clear Jel is easy to find online! Hope this helps.

  23. Annette says:

    I don not have Clear Jel and do not know where to look. I do not have the fund to order in on line. I was wondering if I could use Sure Jel. Also to keep the apples form browning could I use Ball Fruit fresh? Thank you

  24. Brad says:

    Just made this recipe this past weekend. It was fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!!. Everyone that has tried it loved it. I have been asked for this recipe and gladly gave it to them. something this good should be shared.

  25. Gotta love this old school classic, great recipe, thanks for sharing.


  26. Karen says:

    How much corn starch do I use in place of the clear jel starch?

  27. Diana says:

    Will fresh lemon juice substitute for the bottled juice?? If so, shall I assume the same amount of juice bottled to fresh??

    • Annalise says:

      Bottled lemon juice is preferred for canning as it has a consistent acidity. Fresh lemon juice will vary lemon to lemon. I won’t say you can’t use fresh lemon juice, because it may be just fine, but since acidity is crucial to preserving the pie filling at room temperature, bottled is your safest bet. Hope this helps! 🙂

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