Learn how to make quick and easy homemade apple pie filling recipe from scratch on the stovetop. Made with simple ingredients and ready in just 30 minutes. Perfectly flavored with cinnamon and hint of nutmeg and allspice.
This is my Grandma's recipe that uses delicious fresh apples and I have even used it in this Apple Pie Cake. This recipe also freezes very well, meaning you can store any leftovers and enjoy it whenever the cravings hit! Homemade pie fillings taste so much better than store bought cans. You need to try my homemade versions for Strawberry Pie Filling and Blueberry Pie Filling and Cherry Pie Filling and Raspberry Pie Filling and obviously this Peach Pie Filling. Trust me, you will never go back to canned fillings again!
Table of contents
Key ingredients for best homemade apple pie filling
- Apples- Granny Smith and Honeycrisp apples are the best, because they are firm and keep their shape better than other varieties.
- Lemon juice- Helps apples from browning and also gives a slight tang to the sweetness.
- Granulated sugar- This is a key ingredient to baking and is often referred to as table sugar.
- Brown sugar- Similar to granulated sugar, but with added molasses, giving its color.
- Cornstarch- Used as a thickening agent.
- Cinnamon- This is the best spice to use here.
Add extracts- Like vanilla, almond, coconut, or maple.
Try other spices- Like pumpkin pie spice, cardamom, ginger, cloves, or star anise.
Adjust quantities of spices- This is based on your preference.
Replace apples- With pears and make a different flavor.
Add zests- Such as lemon zest or orange zest.
Cornstarch substitute- You can use Clear Jel or tapioca flour instead.
How to make easy apple pie filling recipe with fresh apples on stovetop?
- Toss- The apples and lemon together. Set aside.
- Heat up- A mixture of water, cornstarch, sugar and spices in a saucepan.
- Add- Apples and cook until thickened.
What to make with pie filling besides pie?
- Cake filling- This filling would compliment my Ginger Cake perfectly.
- Cupcake filling- Check out this post on How to Make Filled Cupcakes (Stuffed Cupcakes).
- Turnovers- Check out this Easy Apple Turnover recipe that's made with puff pastry.
- Hand pies- These are a cross between a pie and a turnover.
- Strudels- Have a look at these Mini Apple Strudels.
- Crisps and cobblers- Check out my Easy Apple Cobbler and Apple Cranberry Crisp.
- Cookie sandwiches- Use store bought cookies or check out my Snickerdoodles, Cream Cheese Cookies, or Cinnamon Cookies to make a sweet sandwich. You can even mix the filling with Cream Cheese Frosting, Whipped Cream, or Dulche De Leche.
- Dump cakes- These are super easy. All you need is the pie filling, a cake mix, butter, and maybe some spices to dump in a pan and bake.
- Ice cream topping- This filling would be a great addition to top off ice cream with a drizzle of Caramel Sauce.
- Topping for pancakes, waffles and crepes- Check out these Easy Crepes and Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes.
Tips and techniques
Canning- This was something my Grandma loved to do with this recipe. You simply sterilize canning jars with boiling water and pour the filling into the jars with a half inch space at the top. Then, tap the jar to gently remove air bubbles, screw the lids on, and process in a water bath for 20 minutes.
Don't skip the cornstarch- Because it will be very thin otherwise and does not have the correct consistency.
To prevent apples from turning brown- Mix together lemon juice and apples and let it sit for 10 minutes.
Don't replace granulated sugar for brown sugar or vice versa- Both types of sugars are required for the perfect sweetness.
Don't overcook apples- Or else they will become over-cooked, soft, and "mushy."
Use in my Apple Pie recipe- The process is very simple: Line a pie pan with pie crust. Then, add the filling. Cover the top with another layer or pie crust. Bake until crust is golden brown and enjoy.
Don't use canned apples- Because they are way too soft and start to break apart while cooking.
Cut slices of apples- Rather than dicing them very small. This allows them to hold their shape better while cooking.
Use a nonstick saucepan- Because it prevents the mixture from sticking and burning.
The best apples to use are firm and crisp because this allows them to they keep their shape and texture while cooking and later baking in a crust. I like to use Granny Smith apples since they are firm and also their flavor is slightly tart, which balances all the sugars in the recipe perfectly without making it overly sweet. You can also use a combination of Granny Smith and Honeycrisp apples.
I like to use cornstarch or cornflour to thicken the filling but people have their own preferences. I have seen recipes with tapioca flour, gelatin, instant ClearJel and even pie filling enhancer. Cornstarch is just easily available at our homes and grocery stores too.
A combination of brown sugar and granulated sugar is best. However, you can sweeten it with honey, maple syrup, corn syrup and even agave syrup.
It's runny because it wasn't cooked long enough to allow the excess liquid to evaporate. It's dry because there is not enough water in the recipe.
- Refrigerate- Store in a sealed container for up to 1 week.
- Freeze- Making a large batch of this filling to freeze is a great idea! You can freeze it for up to 3 months. Once your filling has cooled down completely, pour the mixture into freezer Ziploc bags and freeze. When you are ready to use it, just place the freezer bag on your countertop and let it come down to room temperature naturally, or you can leave the bag in the fridge overnight.
More apple desserts
- Easy Applesauce Cake
- Easy Caramel Apple Pie (No Bake)
- Chocolate Caramel Apples
- Easy Apple Cake (Recipe With Cake Mix)
Homemade Apple Pie Filling
- In a deep bowl, mix together the apples and lemon juice and keep aside. This prevents them from turning brown.
- In a saucepan, add water, cornstarch, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice.
- Cook on medium heat and bring to a boil, while constantly mixing (or else you will end up with lumps).
- Add the apples and bring to a boil again.
- Lower the heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Your apples should be soft but not "mushy."
- Turn off the heat and allow the filling to cool down completely. It will thicken as it cools down.
- Pour this mixture into jars with sealed tops and refrigerate for up 1 week.
- If you are freezing this filling, pour it into freezer bags once it fully cools down. Seal it properly and freeze up to 3 months. Enjoy!
- You can replace apples with pears and make another filling flavor.
- Adjust the quantities of spices, based on your preference.
- Don't overcook the apples or else they will become too soft and lose their shape.
- Leftovers can be stored in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to 1 week.
- Read additional tips and variations above.