If you have extra apples on hand this fall, you HAVE to try canning apple pie filling! This recipe is so easy to make and no, you do not need a pressure canner to do it. You can use a water bath instead. This Amish canned apple filling is the perfect way to enjoy your apple harvest all year round. Keep reading for not only the recipes, but the canning safety instructions you’ll need.
Why I Love Canning Apple Pie Filling
Years ago, we lived in Ohio and I could buy 25-pound bags of the most beautiful apples for only $2.50 each. That first fall, I was swimming in so many apples. It was amazing. That is when I purchased my beloved food strainer to make and can applesauce. 50 quarts of applesauce later and I still had SO many apples left over.
That’s when my friend shared with me her Amish canned apple pie filling recipe. I was hesitant to try it because I’d never tried canning apple pie filling before. But boy oh boy, we cranked through that pie filling much faster than the applesauce because it was just so delicious. I’ve been making it every fall since then.
If you have never tried to can before, it can seem a bit intimidating. Ok, it is really intimidating. Since we’ve been friends since 2008, I hope you know you can trust me when I say that canning this pie filling is simple. I think it is the perfect way to try canning because you don’t need a pressure canner….just your largest pot using the water bath method.
Canned Apple Pie Filling Ingredients
Unlike other canning recipes, you can play around with the ingredients and the amounts based on your personal preferences. Just keep the lemon juice amounts the same to keep the needed acidity levels where they need to be for food safety measures.
- Fresh, unbruised apples
- Granulated sugar
- Kosher salt
- Fresh lemon juice
Equipment for Canning Apple Pie Filling
No matter what recipe for canning apple pie filling you use, there are some basic supplies you need before beginning:
- Apple Peeler and Corer – while this tool isn’t required and it isn’t perfect, it greatly reduces the large amount of work it would take to peel, core, and slice so many pounds of apples by hand.
- Quart or pint-sized canning jars – the size is dependent on how quickly you will use the apple pie filling once opened. Pick the size you will use within a few days.
- Jar lids and screw tops – be sure the size you order matches the size openings of your jars. There are either wide-mouth or regular jar openings.
- Canning tools – these tools are essential for canning safely! It includes a funnel, jar lifter, magnetic lid lifter, and jar wrench.
- Pressure canner or large canning pot – pressure canning is the quickest option for preserving apple pie filling, but water bath canning in a large pot can also be used.
How to Make Canned Apple Pie Filling
Learn how to approach canning pie filling for the first time with this step-by-step guide.
Time needed: 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Learn How to Make Canned Apple Pie Filling
- Prepare the canning supplies
Sterilize the jars, lids, and screw-on bands. Get the water boiling in either your pressure canner or water bath pan.
- Prepare the apples
Peel, core, and slice the apples into ½ inch slices. This can be done faster with a mechanical peeler and corer tool.
- Fill jars with apple slices
Use the end of a wooden spoon to cram as many apples as you can into every jar.
- Make the sauce and fill each jar
Top each jar with a sterilized lid and screw-on band.
- Process the jars in a water bath or pressure canner
Remove the jars from the water and allow them to sit at room temperature for 24 hours before storing.
Canning Apple Pie Filling FAQs
If stored in ideal conditions of dry, dark, and cool, home-canned apple pie filling will be the best quality for the first 12 months. Even though it begins to lose a bit of quality after that, it is still delicious and safe to eat for 24 months from the time you canned it.
Yes, pie filling can be easily canned at home. Apple, cherry, and peach pie filling can all be canned using the water bath method, or a pressure canner if you have one. Just be sure to follow all the safety guidelines for home canning listed in this post and you are good to go!
Home Canning Safety Guidelines
Preserving foods by canning is a great way to save money and extend the harvest of your garden or farmer’s market. However, there are some safety guidelines that will keep you healthy and out of the emergency room.
- Only use water bath canning for jams, jellies, relish, pickles, apples, peaches, and cherries. Pressure canners must be used for all other vegetables and salsa because of their low acidity levels.
- Use high-quality, ripe produce. Canning produce will not make it better tasting or better quality.
- Sterilize everything very carefully. And I mean everything. Your canner, tools, jars, lids, bands, work surfaces, and of course, your hands.
- Don’t shorten processing time. Ever. That time kills organisms and pathogens that can make you very sick.
- Cool your jars at room temperature for 24 hours and test the seals to be sure each jar is safe to go on the shelf.
Choosing the Best Apples for Canned Apple Pie Filling
While there are benefits to different varieties of apples, it is best to use the apples you have on hand. All types of apples will work. However, if you do have a choice, there are certain apples that will yield an improved result when canning apple pie filling.
- Choose fresh apples. This is the most important characteristic to look for when selecting your apples because fresh apples are the most crisp and have the best texture right after being picked. Make canning apple pie filling a fall event when apples are the freshest otherwise your pie filling could turn out more like applesauce.
- Use tart apples. Because the Amish canned apple pie filling recipe uses sugar, a tart apple choice will help balance out the sugar and keep the end result from being too overly sweet. A few of my personal favorites are Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Braeburn, and Cortland.
- Consider mixing apple varieties. When possible, consider mixing two different varieties of apples in your batch of canned pie filling. The variety of different flavors, sweetness, and texture will only enhance your end result. I love doing 1/2 Granny Smith and 1/2 Fuji apples but play around with it and find a combo that is your favorite!
Tips for Canned Apple Pie Filling
- Keep your apple slices thicker. Aim for 1/2 – 3/4″ in thickness so as the apples are processed, they don’t become overcooked and mushy. You want some bite left in the center of each apple slice.
- Jam as many apples as you can into each jar. Use the handle of a wooden spoon and don’t be afraid of the apple slices breaking a bit. You want each jar to have a high apple-to-filling ratio but you have to really pack in those apples for that to happen.
- If the color of your filling is important to you, feel free to add a few drops of yellow food coloring to the pot of apple pie filling after it has thickened up. Otherwise, it naturally has a beautiful brown hue to it from the spices.
- After your jars have completely cooled, be sure that the jars are sealed properly by tapping on the lid of each. They should have a tight, high-pitched sound to them when tapped. If it sounds hollow and lower-pitched, you can process the jar again with a new lid or put it in the fridge to be used over the next week.
Canning Methods for Apple Pie Filling
Water Bath Method
- Wash jars and bands in the dishwasher. Keep jars in the dishwasher with the door closed (to keep them warm) and remove them as needed.
- Sterilize new lids (you must use new lids each time you do canning; bands can be reused if in good condition) in a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to a simmer (180°F). Lids must be simmered for 10 minutes to “activate” the sealing compound that helps achieve a vacuum seal. Keep lids in simmering water until ready to use. (Do not boil: simmering the lids in water hotter than 180° may interfere with proper sealing.)
- Fill hot jars will apples and filling. Wipe the rim well to ensure a good seal.
- Place the lids and band on the jars. Tighten bands just until you feel resistance. Don’t over-tighten.
- Fill the water canner (or large, deep Dutch oven fitted with a round, metal cooling rack on the bottom) about half full with water. Bring to a full simmer. Lower the filled jars into the simmering water one at a time. Check the water level. If the water does not cover the jars by 1 to 2 inches, add boiling water as needed. Bring to a rolling boil, cover the canner and boil for 20 minutes.
- Remove jars and cool on a towel for 12-24 hours. Check to be sure each jar is sealed by pressing down on the center of the lid to be sure it doesn’t pop up.
The pressuring canning method is the quickest and safest option. The increased pressure inside the sealed canner creates a much hotter temperature when canning apple pie filling. So, that higher temperature kills bacteria present and produces a much more reliable seal on the jar.
- Follow the manufacturer’s directions on how much boiling water is needed at the bottom of the pressure canner. No need to cover the jars with water completely.
- Start the timer after the canner has reached the proper 10 pounds of pressure and keep an eye on the pressure gauge, adjusting the temperature as needed to keep it at 10 pounds for the full 8 minutes.
- Do not open the canner or manually remove the pressure until the gauge reads 0 pounds of pressure. Doing so will crack all the jars inside and cause severe burns when the scalding steam comes out.
- Let the jars sit for 24 hours after removing them from the canner. Tap and push on each lid, testing the seal.
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Easy canned apple pie filling that will make you ditch the store-bought stuff forever!
6–7 pounds fresh apples, peeled and sliced
1 cup cornstarch
4 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
10 cups water
3 tablespoons lemon juice
- Sterilize your jars, lids, and bands for canning. Fill your large pot half full of water and bring to a simmer.
- Fill each jar with as many apple slices as possible. Use a wooden spoon to jam them in tight and don’t be afraid of breaking a few slices to do so.
- In a large pot, mix together the cornstarch, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Add water and cook on high, stirring often, until bubbly and thickened.
- Remove from heat and add lemon juice and stir well. Add hot syrup to each jar, leaving about a 1 inch space at the top.
- Wipe off each jar rim, add the sterilized lid and band, then add to the simmering water. Be sure there is at least 1 inch of water on top of jars. Bring to a roiling boil, cover the pot, and process for 20 minutes.
- Remove jars and let them cool on a towel for 24 hours. Check to be sure each lid is sealed by pressing down in the center.
A few drops of yellow food coloring can be added to the filling mixture with the lemon juice to enhance the color of the filling.
- Serving Size: 1/2 quart
- Calories: 432
- Sugar: 94.5 g
- Sodium: 315 mg
- Fat: 0 g
- Saturated Fat: 0 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 112 g
- Fiber: 5 g
- Protein: .5 g
- Cholesterol: 0
Keywords: canning apple pie filling recipe