Recipe Collection: Apple Pie Filling |

Recipe Collection: Apple Pie Filling

admin September 20, 2012

I made apple pie filling two years ago (2010) in an entirely different way and I can no longer remember how.  I do remember I used honey instead of sucanat and that it wasn’t quite sweet enough.  I had only made about 10 pints, but it took us two years to eat them all.  Last year we still had several so Ben said “Don’t make that again.”  I didn’t.

Then this spring, the kids suddenly decided apple crisp for breakfast was awesome, and we quickly went through the last of the pie filling.  I decided that it was such a quick and healthy breakfast (really!) that I needed to make a lot of pie filling this year.  So far I’m making quarts (the kids are a lot bigger and hungrier than they were two years ago) and I only have about 8.  I see many more apples in my future…

In the years since (2022 update), this has become a classic favorite breakfast of the whole family.  With a nourishing oat topping and some fresh whipped cream, it’s perfect!

Apple Pie Filling


  • 8 quarts apple slices (10 – 15 lbs.)
  • 2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 c. sucanat
  • 1/3 c. arrowroot powder
  • 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 c. filtered water


Step 1: Peel, core, and slice all the apples, and fill an 8-quart stock pot with them.  I am unsure how many apples this took, but I’m guessing 10 – 15 lbs.

Step 2: Add the spices, sucanat, arrowroot, and water.  Start with 1 1/2 c. and add more if you need it, 1/2 c. at a time.  Some apples release more liquid than others.  I used Jonathon, Macintosh, and some random heirloom apples, all fairly firm.

Step 3: Stir it all up, and put it on the stove.  Put a lid on the pot and turn it on medium.


Step 4: Allow this to simmer for a minutes, then stir it.  Check it often because it can burn easily.  Always stir up from the bottom so that the softening apples come to the top and the raw apples get moved down.

Step 5: It will only take 20 – 30 minutes and then it will be done.  The apples should be partially softened and the arrowroot and water should have formed a “sauce” around the apples.

Step 6: Fill clean jars with the hot pie filling.

Step 7: You may need to add a tiny bit of water, up to 1/4 c. per jar (this is additional from what is listed in the recipe).  I filled to about 1″ under the bottom rim of the jar.  My jars were floating in the water before I did this!  Plus, it makes just a little extra “sauce” around the apples and actually turns out amazingly well when it’s done.  I tried to add extra water to the filling the second time and I added less water before processing the jars but I still added a little.  You may not need to if your apples released more water than mine did.  I’m not very patient.

Step 8: Twist the jars around a bit to get the bubbles out.  Put lids on the jars and put them in a hot water bath for about 20 minutes.  Remove carefully with a jar lifter and set aside to cool.


That’s it!  Now you have yummy apple pie filling, to be used in pies, apple crisp (coming next week!) or whatever you like!

How do you use apple pie filling?

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  1. This is perfect timing! I just acquired 20 pounds of Granny Smith’s and was trying to decide what to do with them. Some will definitely go into this recipe. Thanks for sharing!


  2. i know apple skins are a matter of personal taste in applesauce, but what about pie filling? can i be lazy and leave them on if my family isn’t skin-averse?


  3. […] better if you can serve it with a little real whipped cream or coconut cream.  Since I have my own apple pie filling canned, it takes five minutes at night to mix the ingredients to soak, and another two minutes to […]


  4. Can you freeze the filling instead of canning it? I’ve never canned and at 7 months pregnant I’m not ready to tackle that! Also, what about the skins? Do they need to come off?


    • Well, you’d need to cook it longer before freezing because the canning process finishes cooking it. I peel the apples because I prefer it that way, but you don’t *have* to.


  5. Can I bake the apple pie filing in the soaked apple pie without canning it first? Of so, can I put the apples in raw??


    • You could probably put them in raw if you simply mixed all the filling ingredients together. It might need to bake slightly longer but it should work fine.


  6. I’ve never canned before (most of what we eat in abundance is easily frozen, so we tend to go that route for preserving). However, my husband’s hunting this year, and we’ll need most of the room in our chest freezer for meat (we hope!), so I’m interested in trying to fill my shelves with cans instead of my freezer this fall. The directions for this recipe seem pretty simple, but is there something I’m missing as a canning newbie? I can really just put the filling in the jars, put lids on the jars, put the jars in hot water for 20 minutes, and be done? That sounds so easy; I just had to make sure! 🙂

    How many jars and what size do you tend to use for this recipe? Thanks!


  7. Your recipes always make me drool and this one looks especially delicious and such good timing with it being prime apple season! Can’t wait to try it 🙂 🙂 🙂


  8. Really wish you had a print button.


  9. So excited to try this. I was sad because I thought I had to give up my (sugary) home-canned pie filling since I’m learning more about real food. This will be a great replacement that I wouldn’t mind feeding to my daughter. There should be a book on real food canning! I don’t consider it safe to make “real food” substitutes for sugar and such in canning because the process is so finicky.


  10. […] pie filling requires apples, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, sucanat, arrowroot, and water.  Here is my rough […]


  11. […] eaten fresh (and we do eat a lot of them!), sliced for salads (both sweet and savory), included in pies, apple crisp, made into sauce, apple butter, or added to muffins, apple dumplings, and other baked […]


  12. […] up, then together make your family’s favorite apple treats or stock the freezer: apple pie, apple pie filling, apple crisp, apple “groaning” muffins, apple crumble bars, or even honey caramel […]


  13. This recipe looks amazing!! I love that it doesn’t have a boat load of sugar in it! And it looks like it has lots of spice (YUM!!!). I just acquired about 3 bushels of apples and I wanted to try some pie filling this year instead of all sauce. How many quarts of filling per pie or crisp?


  14. Hi,

    Is it possible to can this without arrowroot powder, so that it would be GAPS legal?


  15. […] was in the process yesterday of canning some delicious Apple Pie Filling (from ModernAlternativeMama) yesterday when I started to realize how many scraps I’ve accumulated.  Usually, our bunny […]


  16. […] bought these apples with the intention of canning apple pie filling. I saw this recipe over at Modern Alternative Mama and I knew I wanted to make it. I had bought the jars I needed […]


  17. […] made lots of apple pie filling this year.  A few months ago, the kids discovered that apple crisp is a very yummy, and healthy […]


  18. […] – 40 pints apple pie filling (the kids decided apple crisp for breakfast is awesome so I could see us eating this a couple […]


  19. […] up, then together make your family’s favorite apple treats or stock the freezer: apple pie, apple pie filling, apple crisp, apple “groaning” muffins, apple crumble bars, or even honey caramel […]


  20. Can you use clear gel instead of arrowroot?


  21. I’ll be saving this recipe! Can you sub coconut sugar for the sucanat? I’m extremely sensitive to sugar and sugar subs. Just wondering if it work. Thanks for sharing.


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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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