Canned Apple Pie Filling + Printable Labels

There are many things that I have made from scratch, but I have to admit, I have never canned before. I often freeze fruit and vegetables, and even herbs, but have never tried my hand with canning. Growing up, I often watched my Mom can many vegetables from the garden, and fondly remember the popping of the lids coming from the kitchen. I often wish that I would have been interested in what my Mom was doing during those years.

We have been talking about canning for several years, and most recently have had several questions from readers about Homemade Apple Pie Filling. Since I’m a novice at canning pie filling, I knew exactly who I needed to ask…Doug’s Aunt Mary! She is an amazing cook and has canned for over 10 years. Not only was I not really sure which recipe to use, I had also read that cornstarch should not be used. But the alternative, Ultra Gel, was no where to be found.

Apples are in their prime right now! Ever wonder which apple is best for a specific purpose? You can read all about the different varieties and what kind is best for cooking and baking! We used Rome Apples.

We will take you through the canning process, it was a lot easier than I had anticipated. And be sure to stick around, I will share the cute Apple Pie Filling Jar Labels with you! Yep, I tried my hand at a little graphic design work. I’m pretty tickled with how they turned out. But first, let’s make the Pie Filling.

We bought everything at Walmart…the jars, lids and rings, utensil set and all the ingredients for the filling.

1.  After mixing the syrup in a pan on the stove, remove a small amount {1-2 cups} into a bowl, gradually add the cornstarch and whisk after each addition. Be sure there are no clumps at all after each addition.

2.  Add the cornstarch mixture to the syrup on the stove, heat until bubbly and thick

3.  Peel and slice apples, place in water mixed with lemon juice {8 cups water to 3 tablespoons juice}

4.  Begin by ladling the syrup into the bottle, using a funnel makes this step super easy. The funnel comes in the Ball Utensil Set.

5.  Add a couple spoonfuls of apples to the jar, and repeat the layers.

6.  Using the Headspace Tool from the Utensil Set, measure to be sure you leave enough room.

7.  Clean around the rim of the jar with a damp cloth

8. Boil the lids and rings, remove from the pan using the Magnetic Lid Lifter, place on jars and tighten slightly

9.  Place jars in a boiling water bath. We used a canning pot with a wire rack, we had this pot already. But you can find them at Walmart.

10. After 20 minutes, remove the jars using the Jar Lifter and place on a towel to cool.

Even though we are still beginners at canning, we did learn a few tips we would like to share…

  • Have all your jars and tools ready to go, the syrup thickened much quicker than we thought it would
  • We used about 10 apples, next time we will use more.
  • A Peeler-Corer-Slicer makes the apple peeling process much easier
  • After the jars are full, run a knife around the edge to remove air bubbles. We forgot this step.

Now let’s chat about the Apple Pie Filling Jar Labels. Here’s what you need to do…

  • Click to get the FREE Printables
  • Then click on the “Download Printables” link
  • Save and print
  • Cut apart, attach the label to ribbon with an adhesive {glue dot or stick work well}
  • Wrap twine around the jar then add the ribbon, secure with tape in the back if necessary

5 from 1 reviews
Canned Apple Pie Filling
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Give this Canned Apple Pie Filling a try, it's much easier than you might think. Recipe from Original Recipe from Aunt Mary
Serves: 4 quarts {see notes}
  • 6-8 pounds of apples
  • 4½ cups sugar
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 cups water
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  1. Peel and slice apples.
  2. Place in a large bowl with 8 cups of water and 3 tablespoon of lemon juice to prevent the fruit from browning.
  3. Add syrup ingredients, EXCEPT cornstarch and lemon juice to a large, heavy saucepan on the stove. Stir to combine
  4. Remove 1-2 cups of liquid and place in a large bowl.
  5. Gradually add cornstarch, whisking very well after each addition, making sure there are no clumps
  6. Add cornstarch mixture to the liquid on the stove
  7. Cook syrup until it bubbles and thickens
  8. Add 3 teaspoons lemon juice, continue cooking until syrup is thick
  9. Rinse apples and drain
  10. Begin ladling syrup into clean jars, add a large spoonful of apples, repeat layers until jars are full
  11. Use the headspace tool to measure the amount at the top
  12. Clean the rim of the jar with a damp cloth
  13. Boil lids, place lid and ring on jar and tighten slightly
  14. Process 20 minutes in a water bath.
  15. Remove to a towel until cool
We got 4 quarts of apple pie filling from the recipe with a couple cups of syrup left over. We only used 10 apples, but should have used a few more.

 Linking to…Gooseberry Patch


  1. I think I am going to make some of these for little gifts for my family! I love the way it looks with the label and the recipe looks great! Angie @ Big Bear's Wife recently posted..Orange Soda Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes #SundaySupperMy Profile
  2. I have a question. I made apple pie filling yesterday, and had left over syrup as well. I was wondering what to do with the syrup? Can you freeze it, and then what do you use it for? This is my first time making the filling. Thanks and have a great day. Correna recently posted..Christmas Mini AlbumMy Profile
    • Hi Correna, we haven't tried to freeze it yet, so I'm sure if it's possible, although I don't see why you couldn't. If you don't want to freeze it, just keep it in an airtight container in the fridge to drizzle over ice cream or baked goods. Thanks for stopping by! ~Liz
      • Thank you very much. I think I will try freezing it as I have quite a bit and we wont use very much at one time. Over icecream sounds good, I will have to try that. I may add some caramels to part of it, melt them and mix in and then try that on some dessert. Have a great day and thank you again. love your blog. Correna recently posted..Make Your Band’s Site SingMy Profile
        • Hi! I canned my leftover syrup in 1/2 pint jars, and I have so far used it as a glaze on an apple crumb coffee cake, a sweetener in my refrigerator oatmeal, and I put some in my herbal tea the other morning, cause I ran out of honey. I love this stuff!!
  3. I love this. I can myself, but have never done apples. These will make beautiful useful gifts. Great idea!!!
  4. I was wondering if anyone has actually tried this in a pie yet?
  5. I tried this recipe, I have been canning for a few years. The first batch that I made turned out ok. but haven't been able to get them to seal properly since. It was a big waste of my time to try this one. The filling is very good but it is very hard to get them to seal for long term storage.
    • I would wonder for why it didn't seal is the prep process. I don't see where it says to have the jars hot, and the lids boiled in hot water to have them hot. You are putting hot apples in hot jars and capping them with hot lids and then screw them down. The put them in the boiling water bath. It is important, as I did not have my jars hot enough and I had one explode on me. Blessedly, the explosion happened in the water and thus the glass stayed in the water. But the sound was bad. The prep is really the key - making sure everything is hot! Have a blessed day!
  6. jackie ferris says:
    I made the pie filling, it's great !!! I made 7 quarts and had no leftover sauce, i also increased the nutmeg yo 1/2 tsp. and used brown sugar. Love it !! Great way to use the apples in my orchard !! My son want's pint jars just to eat, it's nice with granola and ice-cream too !! thank-you !
  7. I have been canning for years and one of the most important aspects of canning using the water bath method is timing. I think it is important for you to note that timing starts when water returns to boiling. This is a serious safe food issue. thanx
  8. Ceely King says:
    Hi. Just an FYI. For canning and preserving pie filling; try using clear gel or thermflo in place of the cornstarch. It will keep your filling clear and not turn funky after a while. Cornstarch is good for when you are cooking the pie filling right away. I hope I am not stepping on any toes. I just don't like to see such hard work go to waste. :)
    • Thanks for stopping by Ceely. I understand your comments about the cornstarch. This recipe is from a Great Aunt that used cornstarch for many years with no problems.
      • It is important to note that what might have worked for Great Aunt X doesn't necessarily mean its safe food handling practices. Check out the University of Georgia's Food Preservation guide. . Even Ball's new book talks about safety methods. Like lots of the foods our grandmas and great-grandmas canned in hot water baths should actually be canned in pressure canners. I understand tradition is important, but safety is even moreso. Also, boiling the lids can ruin the seal. LIDS should NEVER be boiled, only dipped in a simmering hot water bath. Rings do not need to be boiled or heated at all, and cornstarch does not allow for adequate temperatures to be reached throughout the mixture like ClearGel does. This is probably ok for short term storage or for freezing, but not for actual canning. I apologize if this comes across as rude, that is not my intention, Im merely trying to be informative.
        • Actually. I just did a ton of researching on the cornstarch debacle because I'm fairly new to canning. It appears it's more of a quality thing. NOT safety. Although it's nice that clearjel keeps it clear and not funky - I dislike that it's MODIFIED cornstarch. I've seen other recipes very similar and the best suggestion is "if you don't like the funky look or expect to keep filling longer put it (cornstarch) in when you make the pie". Just an FYI. I was also surprised to see water bath and not pressure can. But happy too as I prefer to water bath.
  9. Is it 3 teaspoons or 3 tablespoons or lemon juice? Once you say 3 tablespoons and once 3 teaspoons, in the directions.
    • Hi Amy, there are 2 different amounts of lemon juice. The tablespoons are in the water when you soak the apples to keep them from browning. The teaspoons are added to the syrup. Hope that helps! ~Liz
  10. It is unsafe to use cornstarch for canning, instead use ClearJel. Check out SB canning site for explanation and the recipe using ClearJel. Sorry I can't remember the recipe.
    • Thanks for stopping by Debbie. I understand your comments about the cornstarch. This recipe is from a Great Aunt that used cornstarch for many years with no problems.
  11. How long will this keep in the cupboard?
    • Hi Janet, Depending on where the cans are stored, you can keep it 3-6 months or up to 1 year. We found this helpful -
  12. Hey Liz, thanks for the recipe, I put up 32 qts of this apple pie filling. I plan on handing some out at Christmas. This year there is an over abundance of Apples here in east central Illinois. I made my husband some small tarts out of this and he said that it was good. I still work with apples and pears, as long as I don't eat them I am find. Allergies to both what a bummer, but on a good note the syrup tastes good over ice cream, so thank you again.
  13. Will it work if I put the jars in the bath and let them warm up to boiling together or not I plan on doing Apple's on Saturday or Sunday (14th or15th) thanks
  14. What is the substitute for using clear gel vs cornstarch? I'd like to make this in the next day or 2. How much clear gel would I need to use? My first time canning apples! Thank you :)
    • Hi Sam, Here is the recipe that is similar to ours but uses clear gel -
  15. I'm freezing in bags, any suggestions on the cooking?
  16. I do make pie filling every year and I use clear jel rather than cornstarch it does make a better filling as for lasting longer on the shelf you can find in on line or in bulk food stores it also keeps well in freezer for next year make sure you leave room in jars for the apples to cook they do expand and will over flow in the jars and not seal if this happens I put them in the freezer
  17. Hope much head space should you leave? We have had some seal and some not. We have just been recanning it. We love this recipe!
  18. Hi there, I was wondering does a quart make 1 pie or 2 pies.?
  19. Would honeycrisp apples work well for canning apple pie filling? Am wanting to place an order for apples yet today & can pie filling this weekend?? Thanks
    • Hi Nicki, I have not used honeycrisp for pie filling before. I would suggest a more tart apple like granny smith, but if you love honeycrisp and have them available, you can certainly use them. ~Liz
  20. This looks so good and easy to make. Are the 3 tablespoons of lemon juice mandatory or just for flavoring? My boyfriend is highly allergic to citrus and even the smallest amounts make him break out. Thanks!
    • Hi Mary, the lemon juice prevents browning of the apples, you could also use apple juice although the acid in lemon juice is what prevents the browning. Here are a couple articles I found -
  21. I purchase the clear gel at SB Canning. She has a page on Facebook under that name. Sometimes the corn starch with clump after a while when canned. The clear gel can also be used in place of corn starch anytime. It has no taste or smell.
  22. Hey there! Just wanted to chime in that I made this recipe last year and put them in the freezer to last the next year. However, they did not make it through the new year because everyone kept requesting my apple pies! This is an excellent recipe and if anyone wants to freeze- it freezes beautifully! I add a little bit extra cornstarch to soak up the apple water that escapes from freezing but they are still great! Another tip- I replace half the water with fresh pressed apple cider and it kicks it up a notch with great apple flavor! Happy fall!
  23. I don't use the water. I make apple juice from the apple peels and cores (boiling them) , doing the same thing. and use the juice instead. Gives it better taste. Any leftover juice can be made into apple jelly. Have been doing this for years. You can also can PEACH pie filling also , doing the same thing.
  24. Hi, A friend uses this recipe. I like it but I wonder about using cider instead of water to help with a more 'appley' taste? I always use cider when making applesauce.

  25. How long do you think the filing will stay good for in the cans? A couple months or longer?
    • Hi Tiffany, yes the apple pie filling will last at least a couple months. Often times canned goods will last up to 6 months. ~Liz

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