This homemade apple pie filling is sweet, tart, and warm all the same time. Learning how to make the best apple pie filling is a no-brainer; the biggest obstacle is learning what the best apples for pie are. My apple pie filling recipe can be used for pie, muffins, and even turnovers!
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I have to say that my favorite pie of all time is an apple pie. There is something about a deliciously tart apple being turned into a sweet, spicy, and indulgent filling. I am an apple pie fanatic through and through.
However, nothing kills a delicious apple pie like a horrible apple pie filling! Let me give you some pointers on how to make the perfect apple pie filling so that you never have a horrible apple pie ever again!
What Are The Best Apples For Apple Pie Filling?
Before we go ahead with this recipe, let me go over a few basics of apples with you. There are toooooons of apple varieties but not all of them are created equal. Some are great just to eat straight up with some peanut butter, others are best cooked either in savory or sweet applications.
For cooking, the best apples to use, obviously, are Granny Smiths because they are super dense. This means that they won’t break down and crumble when cooked; unlike super soft apples like Red Delicious or even Fuji apples.
Now with that being said, I will suggest that if you have never used Pink Lady apples, you need to! These apples are very much like Granny Smiths, but they are a bit sweeter and they smell soooo amazing! Using a combo of Pink Ladies and Granny Smiths for cooked apple dishes is fantastic and something you must try!
Another fun apple to try has a slight cherry undertone to it and that is Black Arkansas apples! They have a skin that is very dark and a hint of a red tone to the meat of the apple. This would be fantastic for an apple cherry pie!
Apple Pie Filling Ingredients
Apple pie filling is pretty forward, as far as ingredients go, but some people like to add flair. Mine is simple because I don’t like to fuss over my apple pie too much.
A traditional apple pie filling has the following ingredients:
- Apples (duh)
That’s about it. But like I mentioned above about the importance of picking the best apples for making apple pie filling, you gotta have great apples to make the best apple pie filling. I like to peel the skins off of mine, just for texture reasons. If skins don’t bother you though, you can feel free to keep the skins on!
I also like adding nutmeg because it adds another layer of warmth and spice to the pie filling.
How To Make Apple Pie Filling on the Stove
When cooking apples to make apple pie filling, it’s important to reduce the amount of liquid in your pan without overcooking your apples and turning them to mush.
I love cooking my apples in a little bit of butter because butter just makes everything taste magical!
Adding the sugar in batches helps draw out the moisture of the apples and softens them. Remember to stir the apples well to prevent them from sticking to your pan (I prefer to do mine in a nonstick just to make sure it turns out well).
When the juices have started to reduce by half after the second batch of sugar and spices, that’s when I add my cornstarch to my filling to thicken it.
How To Thicken Apple Pie Filling
A word about the thickening process that will change the way you think about cooking and sauce making!
To thicken this amazing filling, you add water and cornstarch together to make what we call a “slurry. Yes, this is a technical term that we learned in culinary school… not even joking!
Typically we use slurries to thicken a liquid to a certain consistency. Now some of you may be wondering “why not just use flour?” well… you could use a roux in this application but roux’s are hard to control and are better for thickening chowders or gravies.
With something this light in texture and flavor, a roux would make a pie filing feel heavy and overly thick. Roux’s also need extra cooking time to cook away the flour taste and grittiness.
Slurries are great because you mix about equal parts water and cornstarch together and then you add it to a hot liquid while stirring and within a minute, you have a thickened liquid! Plus it’s a gluten-free thickener so it’s great for those who are gluten intolerant. So that’s why slurries are awesome in this pie filling recipe!
How To Thicken Apple Pie Filling Without Cornstarch
For those that want to thicken their apple pie filling without cornstarch, you have a few options
Each of these has their merits but it’s good to know about options, right?!
Tapioca is the most commonly used in place of cornstarch. Tapioca flour is what is mainly used to thicken sauces, fillings, and soups. This particular thickener can be found in supermarkets or you can grab it with this link.
Arrowroot is another option to look into. This one acts quite similarly to cornstarch in that you need to add it to a cool liquid before introducing it to a hot liquid. Arrowroot flour can be found in specialty markets or with this link!
Clear gel is something that my sister-in-law told me about. It gives the apple pie filling a much clearer appearance than cornstarch does. It has a great thickening power you would use a little less than half of the clear gel that you would cornstarch. You do need to sift it in with some sugar to avoid any clumping before adding to the filling. Read more about clear gel here.
Storing Apple Pie Filling
Now that you have this gorgeous and delicious apple pie filling, you may not be entirely ready to make a pie. That’s one of the great things about this apple pie filling, you can make it ahead of time until you’re ready to use it. Good thing there are a couple of ways to store this pie filling until you are ready to bake.
You can obviously store this apple pie filling in the fridge for up to 7 days in an airtight container; I like using these. If you date the container, that’ll make it easier for you to keep track of when it was made.
You can also freeze this filling. I use the same storage containers and place it in my freezer. It’s good for up to 3 months frozen. To use the apple pie filling, just let the container thaw over a few hours and it’s good to go!
If, however you want to keep the pie filling for a much longer time, you can always can the pie filling. This is what my sister in law has done recently and even has given her pie filling as Christmas gifts to us!
She starts off by making her apple pie filling recipe and then puts them into sterilized mason jars (you can sterilize the jars in the dishwasher or in boiling water). Once the jars are filled about a quarter of the way, she screws on the lid and boils the jar to seal the cap.
Canning apple pie filling is such a great way to store the filling because it can keep on the shelf, unopened for years. And like I mentioned before, she gives them as gifts and let me tell you… those jars have bailed me out when I’ve needed to make a quick dessert!
Things To Do With Apple Pie Filling
Once you have made this amazing apple pie filling, you may be tempted to think that all you can use this for is pie!
You can do so much with this filling. Muffins, turnovers, pie and much more. Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
These don’t use apple pie filling but are still awesome apple recipes, nonetheless.
This is such an easy recipe to make and I hope that you enjoy making it! If you really enjoyed it, feel free to leave a comment (with a rating) down below!
Happy eating everyone!
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- 2 pounds Granny Smith apples
- 1 ounce Butter
- 3 ounces Sugar
- 2 fluid ounce water
- 0.5 ounce cornstarch
- 3 ounce sugar
- pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- .25 ounce butter
- Peel, quarter, and core all apples. Discard all the scraps and slice apples
- Melt butter over medium heat in a skillet. Add apples and saute for about 15 minutes or until water starts to leech out from the apples. Once the water has almost evaporated, add sugar and dissolve. Do NOT caramelize.
- Mix water and cornstarch to create slurry and set a side. Once sugar has dissolved, add slurry to apples and mix well.
- Add remaining of ingredients to apples and cook until butter has melted.
- Allow mix to cool completely before storing.
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Nutrition InformationYield 2 Serving Size quarts
Amount Per ServingCalories 723 Saturated Fat 9g Cholesterol 38mg Sodium 134mg Carbohydrates 155g Fiber 11g Sugar 132g Protein 1g