This homemade apple pie filling is made with sliced Granny Smith apples, brown sugar, spices and butter, all simmered together until thickened. The best pie filling that also works great for a variety of other desserts and pastries.

Apple pie filling from scratch tastes SO much better than the canned version and can be used in dishes such as fried apple pies, cream cheese danishes and plenty of other dessert recipes.

Apple pie filling in an unbaked pie crust.

Fall is here and there is an abundance of apples at the stores, which means it’s time to make apple pie! Or in this case, homemade apple pie filling. I’m not so good with homemade pie crusts, so typically I purchase the crust and load it full of my own apple pie filling for an amazing fall treat. This recipe is also great for tarts, cake or pour it over pumpkin pancakes, baked oatmeal, buttermilk waffles or a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Apple pie is one of my favorite fall desserts. When I want fall treats, I make this filling or other fantastic fall pies like pear custard pie, pumpkin meringue pie or pecan pie cheesecake. There are so many great fall desserts to enjoy! If you love homemade apple pie filling, you’ll also love my from scratch cherry pie filling recipe.

Apple Pie Filling Ingredients

Bowls of ingredients including apples, sugar and spices.

This recipe contains apples, lemon juice, water, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cornstarch, ground cinnamon, nutmeg and butter.

How Do You Make Apple Pie Filling?

Start by coating your apple slices in a little lemon juice to keep them from browning. Make the sauce by placing the sugars, water, cornstarch and spices in a pan, then bring the mixture to a simmer. Stir in the apples and cook until the apples are tender. Add a little butter, then you’ll be ready to bake your pie or other apple treats.

Step by step process shots showing how to make apple pie filling.

Tips For Perfect Results

  • You can cut your apples into any size or shape that you like, just be sure to cut them uniformly so that they all cook at the same rate. If you cut your apples into small pieces they may cook quicker. Be sure to peel your apples for the best texture.
  • Need ideas on how to use this filling? Check out my amazing Dutch apple pie recipe.
  • Freshly grated nutmeg has so much more flavor than the pre-ground variety. Whole nutmegs keep for years when stored in a cool dry location. Buy a bottle and shave off a little nutmeg as needed for your dishes.
  • I use butter in this pie filling because it makes the finished product taste a little richer. You can omit it if you prefer.
  • Homemade pie filling can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also put it in the freezer for up to 2 months

Quick Tip

If you prefer a very thick pie filling, add an extra tablespoon of cornstarch.

A jar of apple pie filling.

Recipe FAQs

What kind of apples are best for apple pie?

For apple pie, you want apples that will hold their shape and have a nice well rounded flavor. I use Granny Smith apples for this apple pie filling because they stay firm after being cooked. They also have a tart flavor that works well with the sweetness of the brown sugar. You can use other apple varieties for this recipe, such as Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious, Pink Lady and Braeburn apples.

Is it better to cook apple pie filling first?

I recommend making apple pie filling rather than just placing raw apples into a pie shell. When you make your own filling ahead of time, you can better control the consistency of the filling, as well as how soft the apples are. If you simply place apples and sugar in a pan, you won’t exactly know how much liquid the apples will release when cooked, or if they’ll come out tough.

What is apple pie filling made of?

This homemade apple pie filling is made with sliced Granny Smith apples, brown sugar, spices and butter, all simmered together until thickened.

A slice of apple pie topped with ice cream.

Flavor Variations

While this filling is fabulous as-is, you can add other ingredients to customize the flavors to your tastes.

  • Fall Fruit Filling: Use half apples and half pears in the recipe. You can also substitute half of the water for apple cider.
  • Cranberry Apple Filling: Add 1/2 cup of dried cranberries or fresh cranberries to the pan when you add the sliced apples. If you choose fresh cranberries, you may need to add more sugar.
  • Caramel Apple Filling: Omit 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Stir 1/3 cup of caramel sauce into the filling during the last 2 minutes of the cooking time.
  • Berries: Substitute one of the cups of apples with berries such as raspberries, strawberries or blackberries.

Now that I’ve had homemade pie filling, I’ll never be able to go back to the store bought kind. The flavor of this version is SO much better, so even if you have to cheat and use a pre-made pie crust like I do, you’ll still end up with an amazing pie.

More Great Apple Recipes

Apple Pie Filling Video

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4.95 from 80 votes

Apple Pie Filling

AuthorSara Welch
Apple pie filling in an unbaked pie crust.
This homemade apple pie filling is made with sliced Granny Smith apples, brown sugar, spices and butter, all simmered together until thickened. The best pie filling that also works great for a variety of other desserts and pastries.
Time
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Serves 8

Ingredients 

  • 4 cups apples peeled and thinly sliced, I used Granny Smith
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg freshly ground if possible
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Instructions 

  • Drizzle the lemon juice over the apple slices.
  • Place the water, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large pan. 
  • Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 1 minute or until just thickened.
  • Add the apples to the pan and stir to coat with the sauce. Lower the heat to medium and cook until the apples have softened, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the butter to the pan and stir until it has melted.
  • Cool the apple filling for 10 minutes, then transfer it to containers and refrigerate or freeze until you’re ready to use it.

Notes

  1. You can cut your apples into any size or shape that you like, just be sure to cut them uniformly so that they all cook at the same rate.
  2. Need ideas on how to use this filling? Check out my amazing Dutch apple pie recipe.
  3. Homemade pie filling can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months

Nutrition

Calories: 166kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 22mg | Potassium: 85mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 80IU | Vitamin C: 3.4mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 0.2mg

Hello! I’m Sara!

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Comments

  1. It says the Baking times for the apple pie filling for Pie is in the recipe I cannot see it to put my filling in crust a nd Bake?

  2. 5 stars
    I love apple anything, this is perfect we just got a bushel and it couldn’t have better timing I am going to try this tomorrow! thanks

  3. Help! I doubled the recipe for two pies, and overnight in the fridge it turned into jello! I’m not sure how this happened and I’ve tried reheating it and adding more water but it’s still holding the jelly consistency

    1. It sounds like maybe too much corn starch was added as I haven’t seen something like this happen before! How did you reheat it?

      1. I put the filling back on the stove, first at low heat to see if it would help anything, and then on medium high to see if I could remelt the jelly-like bits