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How to Make Apple Pie Filling

Making your own apple pie filling can be a fun and rewarding experience. Not only is it a great way to use up any extra apples you may have, but it also allows you to customize the flavor to your liking. With this easy recipe, you can have homemade apple pie filling in no time.

apple pie filling in a mason jar with a spoon.

While crisp apples are enjoyed all year around, the best time to enjoy apple recipes is the fall when apple season is at its peak.

If you love apples, then you will love this fresh apple pie filling paired with a buttery pie crust.

This recipe is perfect for those who want to make apple pie filling without any fuss. 

With just a few simple steps, you can have a delicious and easy apple pie filling that you can use in a variety of recipes. 

Whether you’re making a classic apple pie or experimenting with new dessert ideas, this homemade apple pie filling is sure to be a hit.

If you enjoy this recipe, be sure to also try my cinnamon apple pie croffleclassic French apple pie, or apple turnovers with puff pastry.

chopped apple and cinnamon in a bowl

What is Apple Pie Filling?

If you’re a fan of apple pie, then you know that the filling is one of the most important parts of the pie. 

Apple pie filling is a mixture of sliced apples, sugar, spices, and sometimes thickening agents like flour or cornstarch. The filling is what gives the pie its flavor and texture.

When making apple pie filling, you want to choose the right type of apples. You want apples that are firm and crisp, with a sweet-tart flavor. 

Some good varieties to use include: 

  • Granny Smith
  • Honeycrisp
  • Braeburn. 

These apples hold their shape well when baked and have a nice balance of sweetness and tartness.

The sugar and spices used in apple pie filling can vary depending on personal preference. Cinnamon is a popular spice to use, but you can also add nutmeg, allspice, or cloves for extra flavor. The sugar helps to sweeten the apples and balance out the spices.

Thickening agents like flour or cornstarch help to bind the filling together and give it a thicker, more cohesive texture. However, it’s important not to overdo it with the thickener, as too much can make the filling gummy or starchy. 

A good rule of thumb is to use about 1-2 tablespoons of flour or cornstarch per 6 cups of sliced apples.

Overall, apple pie filling is a simple yet delicious mixture of sliced apples, sugar, spices, and thickening agents. 

By choosing the right type of apples and balancing the flavors, you can create a filling that will make your apple pie truly shine.

apple pie filling in a mason jar with a spoon.

Choosing the Right Apples

When it comes to the best apple pie recipe, choosing the right apples is crucial. 

You want apples that are both flavorful and will hold up well during baking. 

Here are some factors to consider when selecting apples for your pie:

Taste and Texture of Apples

The taste and texture of apples can vary greatly depending on the variety. 

Some apples are sweeter, while others are more tart. 

Some are crisp and firm, while others are soft and juicy. 

When it comes to making apple pie filling, you want a balance of sweet and tart flavors, as well as a texture that will hold up during baking.

Apple Varieties for Pies

Here are some apple varieties that are commonly used for making pies:

Apple VarietyFlavor ProfileTexture
Granny SmithTartFirm
Golden DeliciousSweetSoft
HoneycrispSweet and TartCrisp
BraeburnSweet and TartFirm
JonagoldSweet and TartFirm

Granny Smith apples are a popular choice for apple pies because of their tart flavor and firm texture. 

Golden Delicious apples are another good option, as they are sweet and hold up well during baking. They are soft, so if you’re wanting to create a structured pie or beautiful design with the apple slices, it’s best to choose one of the different kind of apples so the pie turns out the way you’d like.

Honey crisp, Braeburn, and Jonagold apples are also great choices for apple pies, as they have a good balance of sweet and tart flavors and a firm texture. This makes them great for those pies that have a spiral design on the top of the pie.

When selecting the best apples for your pie, it’s important to choose fresh apples that are free from bruises and blemishes. If you’re able to go apple picking, look for apples that are ripe and ready to be picked.

By choosing the right apples for your pie, you’ll be on your way to making a delicious and flavorful apple pie filling.

apple pie filling in a small mason jar.

Preparing the Apples

When it comes to making the perfect apple pie, be sure to pay attention to the preparing of the apples. I’ll cover how to cut apples for pie and how to store cut apples.

How to Cut Apples for Pie

  1. To start, you’ll want to wash your apples and dry them thoroughly so you don’t have any extra moisture added to your homemade pie filling. 
  2. Then, core them and slice them into thin, even slices. If you’re not sure how thin to slice them, aim for thin slices that are about 1/4 inch thick. You can use a mandoline slicer to help you get even slices, but a sharp knife will work just as well.
  3. As you slice your apples, place them in a large bowl. It’s important to use a large bowl so that you have plenty of room to mix the apples with the other ingredients for your pie filling.

Storing Cut Apples

If you’re not going to use your cut apples right away, you’ll want to store them properly to prevent them from browning. 

  • One way to do this is to toss them with a little bit of lemon juice. The acid in the lemon juice will help prevent oxidation and keep your apples looking fresh.
  • Another option is to store your cut apples in a container with a tight-fitting lid. 
  • You can also place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the apples to help prevent air from getting to them.
ingredients for apple pie filling and puff pastry.

Ingredients for Apple Pie Filling

  • Apples
  • Sugar
  • Butter
  • Cinnamon or other spices
  • Cornstarch
  • Water

How to Make Apple Pie Filling

Mixing Ingredients

To make your own apple pie filling, you will need a few key ingredients: apples, brown sugar, warm spices, and a little bit of cornstarch. 

  • Begin by peeling and slicing 6-8 medium-sized apples, making sure they are at room temperature before you start.
  • Next, combine 1 cup of white or brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of warm spices (such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice) in a large bowl. 
  • Add the sliced apples to the bowl and toss to coat them evenly with the sugar and spices.
  • Finally, pour a cornstarch slurry over the apple mixture and stir until the cornstarch is fully incorporated with the apples. This will help thicken the filling and give you the best results.

Cooking the Filling

  • To cook the apple pie filling, you will need to heat it over medium heat until the apples are tender and the filling is thick and bubbly. This should take about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  • Once the filling is cooked, you can use it to make the best homemade apple pie. Simply pour the filling into a 9-inch pie crust, cover with a top crust, and bake according to your favorite apple pie recipe.

With this simple recipe, you can make your own apple pie filling that is sure to impress. 

Whether you’re a seasoned baker or just starting out, this homemade apple filling is a great way to take your pies to the next level.

apple pie filling in a mason jar with a spoon.

Storing and Using the Filling

Freezing Apple Pie Filling

If you have leftover apple pie filling, you can freeze it for later use. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Let the filling cool down to room temperature.
  2. Transfer the filling to a freezer bag or an airtight container.
  3. Label the bag or container with the date and contents.
  4. Place the bag or container in the freezer.

When you’re ready to use the filling, let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. 

You can then use it to make apple turnovers or your favorite classic apple pie recipe.

Using Apple Pie Filling

There are many ways to use apple pie filling besides making a classic apple pie. Here are a few ideas:

  • Use it as a topping for ice cream or pancakes.
  • Mix it with yogurt for a quick and easy breakfast.
  • Use it as a filling for crepes or turnovers.
  • Use it as a topping for cheesecake or other desserts.

When using apple pie filling in a recipe, keep in mind that it has a strong apple flavor. 

You may need to adjust the amount of sugar and spices in your recipe to balance out the flavor.

Overall, storing and using apple pie filling is simple and convenient. 

With a little bit of planning, you can enjoy the best apple flavor all year round.

puff pastry stacked on a wooden cutting board.

Additional Apple Desserts

If you’re a fan of apple pie filling, you’ll be happy to know that there are many other apple desserts you can make with it. 

Here are two delicious options:

Making Apple Crisp

Apple crisp is a classic dessert that’s easy to make and always a crowd-pleaser. To make it, simply follow these steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. In a bowl, combine 4 cups of apple pie filling with 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1 cup of rolled oats, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, and 1/2 cup of melted butter. Mix until everything is evenly combined.
  3. Pour the mixture into a greased 9×13 inch baking dish.
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
  5. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
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Creating Apple Butter

Apple butter is a spreadable apple dessert that’s perfect for toast, pancakes, or waffles. To make it, follow these steps:

  1. In a large pot, combine 8 cups of apple pie filling, 1 cup of apple cider vinegar, 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon of cloves. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened and turned a deep brown color.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Use an immersion blender or transfer the mixture to a blender and blend until it’s smooth.
  5. Pour the apple butter into jars and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

Both of these apple desserts are easy to make and perfect for any occasion. 

slices of apple pie on a cutting board

Variations on Apple Pie Filling

Looking to switch up your apple pie filling recipe? Try out some of these variations to add a new twist to your classic dessert.

One of the best ways to enjoy apple pie is with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. 

But why not take it up a notch by pairing your apple pie with a unique flavor? Here are a few options to consider:

  • Salted Caramel: The sweet and salty combination of salted caramel pairs perfectly with the warm spices in apple pie filling. Plus, the caramel flavor adds an extra layer of richness to the dessert.
  • Cranberry Apple: If you’re looking for a tart and fruity pairing, try serving your apple pie with cranberries. The cranberry flavor complements the sweetness of the apples and adds a pop of color to the dish.
  • Apple Bourbon: For an adult twist on the classic dessert, try serving your apple pie with a tablespoon of bourbon. The smoky, oaky flavor of the bourbon compliments the spiciness in the pie filling. Simply add a tablespoon to the pie filling before adding the filling to your homemade pie dough.

When serving your apple pie with ice cream, be sure to consider the temperature of both components. 

Warm apple pie and cold ice cream create a delicious contrast, but if the pie is too hot, it can melt the ice cream quickly. 

Let the pie cool slightly before serving to ensure the perfect balance of textures.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the apple pie filling made of?

The apple pie filling is made of sliced apples, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and cornstarch or flour to thicken the mixture.

Should you cook apples before putting them in a pie?

It is recommended to cook the apples before putting them in a pie. This helps to soften the apples and ensure they are fully cooked throughout the pie.

How do you make apple pie filling thicker?

To make apple pie filling thicker, you can add more cornstarch or flour to the mixture. Mix the cornstarch or flour with a small amount of water before adding it to the filling to prevent lumps.

Is flour or cornstarch better for apple pie filling?

Both flour and cornstarch can be used to thicken apple pie filling. However, cornstarch is a better option as it creates a clearer and more translucent filling compared to flour.

Best apple pie filling recipe with brown sugar

For the best apple pie filling recipe with brown sugar, mix sliced apples with brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Cook the mixture until the apples are soft and the filling is thickened. The brown sugar adds a rich and caramel-like flavor to the filling.

How to make apple pie filling from scratch

To make apple pie filling from scratch, start by peeling and slicing apples. Mix the sliced apples with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and cornstarch or flour. Cook the mixture until the apples are soft and the filling is thickened.

Apple Pie Filling Recipe

apple pie filling in a mason jar with a spoon.

Apple Pie Filling

Liz Quick
The best apple pie filling that works every time and has the perfect combination of warmth, sweet, and spicy.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 1 pie
Calories 100 kcal


  • 1 mandoline slicer or sharp knife


  • 7 cups sliced apples
  • teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup sugar


  • In a saucepan on medium heat, melt the butter.
  • While the butter melts, whisk the water and cornstarch together in a bowl.
  • Slowly whisk the cornstarch slurry into the butter.
  • Turn up the heat until you get a low boil and whisk continuously until the mixture begins to thicken.
  • Remove from heat.
  • In a large bowl, add your apples, cinnamon, and sugar. Mix to coat the apples.
  • Pour the butter mixture over the apples and stir thoroughly.
  • Once cooled, use in a prepared pie crust or store it for later in a ziploc bag in the freezer or a large mason jar.


If you’re going to use the pie filling right away, it’s best to cook it on low heat in a large saucepan until the apples soften and cook a bit. 
Cool it and pour it into a pie crust to bake the rest of the way.
Keyword apple pie, apple pie filling

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