Family Favorites - Homecanned Apple Pie Filling

This recipe is from my sister-in-law, Bonnie. It turned out really good. I sliced my apples into apple cider, an idea from my friend Effie, whose family owns a plant nursery and apple orchard where they sell hundreds and hundreds of pies every year. They peel and prepare apples on Wednesdays, soak them in their own apple cider overnight, and then make pies for the freezer on Thursdays.  You must use bottled lemon juice to get the correct acidity for safe canning.
I used my new super duper apple slicer (they sell them at King Arthur Flour and Williams-Sonoma) that slices either 8 wedges or 16 slices for pie. It made the job much easier and really works (the plastic center makes the apples go all the way through the slicer).
Apple Pie Filling
6 1/2 -7 quarts Apples -- peeled and sliced
1 1/2 cups Clear Jel -- or 1 cup cornstarch
10 cups Water -- or half apple juice or cider
4 1/2 cups Sugar
1 tablespoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Salt
3 tablespoons Bottled Lemon Juice
Bring ingredients except apples to a boil and cook until thick and bubbly like syrup. Turn drained apple slices into syrup and quickly pack into jars.  Add 3 tbsp bottled lemon juice to each jar.  Leave 1"-1 1/2" headspace; don't overfill or the filling will ooze out of your jars.
Process in a water bath 25 minutes for quarts or pints, add 5 minutes for 1000-3000 feet altitude.
7 quarts apple pie filling

Try stayman, rome, golden delicious apples.

Cost Summer 2013: $6.72 or 96¢ per quart with purchased apples.

I had a little filling left over; I made some apple crisp and topped it with homemade ice cream.  After baking, and cooling just a little bit, the filling was a perfect consistency and the apples were firm, not mushy.  Myrna tried a jar for apple crisp also, with good results.
Bonnie says her mother always canned apples, and then made juice for jelly from the peelings and cores.  Use it up,  do with less.


  1. I bought apples on sale yesterday and wanted to make up some pie filling for the holidays. Reading your recipe, it just dawned on me that I accidently tossed my clear gel. Oops! My favorite apples to use for pies are Jonathans. They are my favorite for eating, too. Wish I could get them year round!

    I like the idea of soaking them in apple cider. Sounds really good.
    Thanks for sharing. (perfect timing!)

  2. My sister has several apple trees and she's up to her armpits in apples right now! In addition to making applesauce she also makes the apple pie filling. It makes such a quick and easy dessert. I like to make a "dump cake" (cake mix and butter basically) when I'm in a hurry and the apple pie filling works great for that. My sister's husband has become an expert at making apple pies and to feed their large family he makes 3 at a time! She recently had a batch that had the filling ooze out during canning, so she started increasing the headspace, as you suggested.

  3. Does it have to be bottled lemon juice? Is the lemon juice necessary?

    1. Yes. The bottled lemon juice is a known acidity. It is necessary for water bath canning processing, to get the right acidity for the product to not spoil.
      Trust me, you won't even taste it in the finished product, and food safety is primary when canning at home..

  4. I assume as long as you refrigerate your apples overnight, you can re- use the same apple cider you soaked them in? In place of some of the water in the recipe...

    1. Yes. I don't soak my apples overnight for this recipe as our friends do for pies they make up and freeze to sell in their nursery, but I use half water half cider for the liquid in this recipe.
      I prepare my apples and make this recipe the same day.


Hi...we'd love to hear from you.
Comments are moderated before appearing...Thanks.