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Canning Apple Pie Filling {Low Sugar}

An easy step by step tutorial for beginners on Canning Apple Pie Filling. This simple low sugar guide teaches you how to preserve apple pie filling recipe in a water bath canner.

three jars from canning apple pie filling on a wooden board

I’ve reached the tail end of canning for this season, and I’m so excited that it’s almost over. For reals yo. Just a few batches of this canned apple pie filling, and I’m done!

I know I complain about canning a lot on here (you all must be sick of it, but hey, you seem to keep coming back to read, so who is the fool now? Suckah.), but seeing constant natural disasters on the news reminds me why I put myself through it.

Should something happen to our energy supply, my family will be set for a bit, and hopefully be able to help out our neighbors.

Unless there is an earthquake of course. Glass jars and all. Then, we’re screwed six ways till Sunday.

Can You Can Apple Pie Filling?

Yes, and there are many different ways to do so. Recipes for canned apple pie filling used to include flour or cornstarch, but the canning experts have determined that is an unsafe canning practice. You cannot use flour, cornstarch, arrowroot, or potato starch for your pie filling prior to canning.

For people who prefer a pre-thickened pie filling, you can use Clear Jel to create a traditional filling. Follow these steps for a safe and tested recipe.

The recipe I am sharing today is for a mostly unsweetened apple pie filling that hasn’t been pre-thickened. My preference is to keep the apples as close to their fresh state as possible. Doing so gives you more options for how to use them at a later time.

what kind of apples are best for apple pie filling?

Due to the nature of how the apples will be cooked during the canning process, you want to use a firm apple that will hold its shape. Fuji, Cortland, Jonagold, or Winesap are all solid choices.

How to Use Home Canned Pie Filling

The possibilities are endless! You can make apple pie (obvs), use it for apple crisp, as a topping for instant pot yogurt, as the starring ingredient in apple pie pancakes, or whole wheat muffins. Add it to fresh oatmeal or sprinkle some granola over the top for a sweet and crunchy breakfast.

Two quarts of the homemade canned apple pie filling will fill a 9-inch pie. To use, drain the apples, toss with your preferred pie seasonings (I use 1/2 cup brown sugar (related: how to make brown sugar), 1 tablespoon of organic cornstarch, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, and a pinch of nutmeg) and bake as normal.

How Long Does Homemade Apple Pie Filling Last?

I use my home canned goods within one year of canning. Of course, use common sense and monitor your jars for signs of spoilage, unsealed jars, etc.

Canning Apple Pie Filling {Step by Step}

Fill a bowl with cold water and 1/4 cup of lemon juice (or 2 tsp of citric acid). Set up your workstation with a peeler, cutting board, sharp knife, and a bowl for the peels and cores.

Clean your apples, and peel, core, and slice the apples thinly. If using a hand-cranked peeler, put the apple on the spikes and lock the peeler into place. Turn the crank slowly, and the peeler will begin to remove the skin.

Place the peeled apple on a cutting board and cut down once the middle. You’ll now have perfect apple slices.

Four step processing for using an apple corer for canning apple pie filling

Using a normal vegetable peeler? Cut the top and base off of the apple and remove the peel. Core the apple and make thin uniform slices.

Place the slices in the water/juice mixture.

Once you have a bunch of slices soaking, combine water and sugar (optional) and bring to a low boil.

Cook the apple slices in batches in the hot syrup, and boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Transfer the cooked apples into your hot and sterile canning jars. Pro tip: I found that tongs worked the best for this.

two steps in the process of canning apple pie filling

Cover the apples with some of the hot water or syrup, allowing for 1/2 inch of headspace. Headspace is defined as the space between the top of the food and the top of the jar.

Use a wet clean rag and wipe the rim of the jars to make sure it is free of any food.

Place a clean lid on the jar and tighten the ring to fingertip tight (tight enough that it won’t come off, but not so tight that a normal person couldn’t budge it).

the 3 step process of putting lids on jars for canning apple pie filling

Once the water is boiling, gently place your jars in one at a time using tongs (I prefer canning tongs, but you can use any rubber tipped tongs). Once your jars (typically 6-7 quart jars can fit in the canner) are completely covered with the boiling water, put the lid on and boil for 20 minutes (pints or quarts). For canning at different altitudes, check out this guide for adjusted processing times.

When the time is up, turn off the stove and let the jars sit for 5 minutes in the canner and then lift them out with canning tongs. Place on a towel where they can sit undisturbed for 12 hours.

Pretty soon you’ll start hearing some “pops and pings” which are the sounds of the jars sealing. Yay!! You did it!

After a few hours, to check for sealing, gently press down in the middle of the lid. If the lid has no give, it’s sealed. If you can press the lid in and it pops a bit, your jars are not sealed. You can reprocess them or store them in the fridge or freezer (only freeze jars that are wide mouth).

PRO TIPS/RECIPE NOTES

  • You’ll need about 21 pounds of apples for canning 7 quarts of apple pie filling.
  • This canned pie filling can be frozen in wide mouth canning jars. Leave 1 inch of headspace in the jars to allow for expansion during freezer. Allow to fully cool in the jar before freezing.

two jars of homemade canned apple pie filling standing on top of each other

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three jars from canning apple pie filling on a wooden board
Print
Canning Apple Pie Filling
Prep Time
50 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins
 

An easy step by step tutorial for beginners on Canning Apple Pie Filling. A simple low sugar recipe lets you preserve apple pie filling in a water bath canner.

Course: Canning
Cuisine: American
Keyword: canning apple pie filling, homemade apple pie filling, how to can apple pie filling
Servings: 7 quarts
Calories: 141 kcal
Author: Sarah Cook - Sustainable Cooks
Ingredients
  • 21 pounds apples
  • 12 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Fill a bowl with cold water and 1/4 cup of lemon juice (or 2 tsp of citric acid). Set up your workstation with a peeler, cutting board, sharp knife, and a bowl for the peels and cores.

  2. Clean your apples, and peel, core, and slice the apples thinly. If using a hand-cranked peeler, put the apple on the spikes and lock the peeler into place. Turn the crank slowly, and the peeler will begin to remove the skin.

  3. Place the peeled apple on a cutting board and cut down once the middle. You’ll now have perfect apple slices.

  4. Using a normal vegetable peeler? Cut the top and base off of the apple and remove the peel. Core the apple and make thin uniform slices. Place the slices in the water/juice mixture.

  5. Once you have a bunch of slices soaking, combine water and sugar (optional) and bring to a low boil. Because the NCHFP says you can use plain water, I felt safe canning these in only the lightest syrup. I did 6 quarts of water to 1 cup of sugar. I picked a syrup simply for the color preservation in the jars.

  6. Cook the apple slices in batches in the hot syrup, and boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

  7. Transfer the cooked apples into your hot and sterile canning jars. Pro tip: I found that tongs worked the best for this.

  8. Cover the apples with some of the hot water or syrup, allowing for 1/2 inch of headspace.

  9. Use a wet clean rag and wipe the rim of the jars to make sure it is free of any food.

  10. Place a clean lid on the jar and tighten the ring to fingertip tight (tight enough that it won’t come off, but not so tight that a normal person couldn’t budge it).

  11. Once the water is boiling, gently place your jars in one at a time using tongs (I prefer canning tongs, but you can use any rubber tipped tongs). Once your jars (typically 6-7 quart jars can fit in the canner) are completely covered with the boiling water, put the lid on and boil for 20 minutes (pints or quarts). For canning at different altitudes, check out this guide for adjusted processing times.

  12. When the time is up, turn off the stove and let the jars sit for 5 minutes in the canner and then lift them out with canning tongs. Place on a towel where they can sit undisturbed for 12 hours.

  13. Pretty soon you’ll start hearing some “pops and pings” which are the sounds of the jars sealing. Yay!! You did it!

  14. After a few hours, to check for sealing, gently press down in the middle of the lid. If the lid has no give, it’s sealed. If you can press the lid in and it pops a bit, your jars are not sealed. You can reprocess them or store them in the fridge or freezer (only freeze jars that are wide mouth).

Recipe Notes

Headspace is defined as the space between the top of the food and the top of the jar. 

 

You’ll need about 21 pounds of apples for canning 7 quarts of apple pie filling.

 

This canned pie filling can be frozen in wide mouth canning jars. Leave 1 inch of headspace in the jars to allow for expansion during freezer. Allow to fully cool in the jar before freezing.

Nutrition Facts
Canning Apple Pie Filling
Amount Per Serving (0.5 cup)
Calories 141
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 5mg 0%
Potassium 222mg 6%
Total Carbohydrates 37g 12%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Sugars 22g
Protein 0g 0%
Vitamin A 2.2%
Vitamin C 12.2%
Calcium 1.4%
Iron 1.4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This recipe was originally published in November 2012. It has been retested and updated with reader feedback. New photos have been added and the recipe has been made printable. For reference, this is one of the photos from the original post:

An easy step by step tutorial for beginners on Canning Apple Pie Filling. This simple low sugar guide teaches you how to preserve an apple pie filling recipe in a water bath canner.

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23 comments on “Canning Apple Pie Filling {Low Sugar}”

  1. I love reading your canning posts. You have inspired me to start canning. Your canning posts are so easy to follow. Thank You!

  2. That is awesome. I hope I get canning items for Christmas or at least this Summer so I can join in the hell of canning.

    So glad you and your family didn’t die after you ate the fly.

  3. Thanks for this post – I see a lot of canned apples in my future with the wee one at home. And, I would have done the same thing with the fruit fly jar 🙂

  4. I love your post. They always make me smile. Fruit fly in that simple syrup I bet was Yummy!

  5. I love reading this blog. I’m not a mum, and I have zero time for the fabulous canning and creating that you showcase. (Just started back at Uni as an older student) But it always reminds me I can do it again in summer, and when i graduate. Thanks for the motivation to get to summer! (and for usually making me hungry)

  6. Look at you and your “ol thing” (the table). It still looks fantastic. Oh, the apples do too! Makes me hungry for some apple crisp and vanilla ice cream… Sorry, can’t help you with divving up the fruit fly. I always eat for 1, so I don’t have to divvy my meals a lot… maybe play rock-paper-scissors, and last one standing gets it?

  7. Well…growing up, the fun rule when we had a big pot of chili or spaghetti with 1 bay leaf, whoever got the leaf in their bowl (by chance) got a kiss!
    So I say that should work with the fruit fly. 🙂

  8. i love you description of the canning hell…here in mississippi, it does get hot as hell while canning that is for sure…and God help you if you visit the kitchen on a dark night-your’re liable to break a toe on one of those big canners stowed on the kitchen floor. i peel and slice apples and pears using the thinga majig you have photoed here..and i use it even when preparing for applesauce….those sliced apples are wonderfully convenient…we go to a lot of trouble for convenience but lordy it sure is worth it. i cooked up the years worth of applesauce today and while doing that i got to thinking about roasting a huge pork roast to serve up with a helping of that applesauce. applesauce or sliced apples are great to serve up with the pork chops too.

  9. Too bad the fruit fly was already cooked….or you could have waited a couple hours and he’d have had some friends to throw in there!!
    But hey…PROTEIN!

  10. Good grief, lady! You make me laugh!

  11. I love your blog! I haven’t had time to read ALL the posts yet…but have you tried crock-pot applebutter…seriously! Easiest thing ever! Wash the apples or pears work also for this (but then it’s pear butter!). DO NOT PEEL! Cut out any spots you don’t like…quarter…at an angle…cut out the core! Throw unpeeled fruit into the crockpot…add apple juice about 3 cups…turn on medium and let it cook all night! House smells wonderful! Next day, add cinnamon, apple pie spices, brown sugar (abt 2 cups)…some vanilla…and remove the lid, (if there’s too much liquid)…take a stick blender and blend up. Just like Grandma’s apple butter from long ago! Can it in jars. Pressure can for about 10 minutes at 15 lbs. Makes great gifts also!

  12. Thanks! What a great post! After making tons of applesauce with sweeter apples I was left with about 100 pounds of granny smith apples. I figured I need an easy way to quickly preserve them to make into apple pie. I’m glad I found your blog! This is my first couple days of canning .

  13. Can’t wait to can some pie filling!! I didn’t realize you could can apples so that they will be so versatile later. I’ve never wanted to have just apple pie filling.

    Also- the Apple corer/peeler/slicer you linked to – I bought it a few weeks ago to dehydrate apples (per your recipe) and wow!! It’s magical! And it is so much better than my previous clamp-on peeler!! Thanks for the recommendation. 

    • “Just” apple pie filling is so limiting!

      Yes, that corer thing is so rad and easy! I’ve had mine for like 10 years and it’s still going strong.