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Best Homemade Apple Pie Filling Recipe without Cornstarch

Make homemade apple pie filling with all of autumn’s bounty of apples! Fill your home with the smells of apple pie all year long!

Make homemade apple pie filling with all of autumn's bounty of apples! Fill your home with the smells of apple pie all year long! |

I spent all weekend testing apple recipes and I can’t wait to share them with you.

I got so excited, actually, that I managed to injure myself and had to go to an immediate care center.

Fun stuff. Note to self and anyone else making caramel from scratch: do not let hot spoons and melted sugar stick to your finger(s).

It results in a sticky and unpleasant situation.

Burns aside, the fall flavors and smells of apple pie filled my home this weekend and that was very pleasing to my senses.

Other apple recipes I tried this weekend included Spiced Apple Muffins, this Savory Apple Galette that is sooo good, and Easy Baked Apples Slices.

Make homemade apple pie filling with all of autumn's bounty of apples! Fill your home with the smells of apple pie all year long! |

Homemade Apple Pie Filling Recipe

If you’re a fan of that mouthwatering apple pie scent (who isn’t, right?), this recipe is your golden ticket.

With a batch of homemade apple pie filling, you’re in for a season-long, year-round apple pie extravaganza.

One of the reasons to make apple pie filling is you can store it in the freezer for months and make apple pie whenever you want to.

That means apple pie whenever your heart desires!

Plus, it’s a fantastic way to tackle the surplus of apples that inevitably piles up after a day of apple picking.

Another great reason to make apple pie filling from scratch – your pies bake faster with from-scratch pie filling!

There is no need to wait around forever!

Whether using your favorite homemade crust or going with store-bought, the pre-cooked filling lets you crank up the oven heat and shave off some precious baking time.

So, it sounds like your future is full of homemade apple pies. Enjoy the sweet rewards!

Make homemade apple pie filling with all of autumn's bounty of apples! Fill your home with the smells of apple pie all year long! |

What Ingredients Are Used in Apple Pie Filling?

  • Diced Apples: We start with diced, peeled apples. These sweet gems are the star of the show, ready to infuse your pies with irresistible apple goodness.
  • Lemon Juice: To balance the sweetness and add a touch of zing, we’ve got lemon juice. It’s that secret ingredient that brightens up the flavor.
  • Brown Sugar: For that rich, caramel-like sweetness, we use packed brown sugar.
  • Butter: Two tablespoons of butter bring a luxurious note to the mix. They add that delightful, creamy texture we all crave.
  • Cinnamon: We couldn’t make apple pie filling without cinnamon. It’s the quintessential spice that adds warmth and familiarity to every bite.
  • Nutmeg: A teaspoon of nutmeg joins the party, contributing a nutty, aromatic essence that elevates the overall flavor.
  • Kosher Salt: To balance out the sweetness and spice, we use salt. It enhances all the other flavors.
  • Cardamom (Optional): If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, you can add cardamom. It’s an optional twist that introduces exotic notes to your filling.
  • Water: Finally, we include water to bring everything together. It’s the liquid binder that helps create that saucy consistency.
Make homemade apple pie filling with all of autumn's bounty of apples! Fill your home with the smells of apple pie all year long! |

How to Make Homemade Apple Pie Filling

Make homemade apple pie by following these simple, easy-to-follow steps:

Begin by tossing your diced, peeled apples in lemon juice. This not only adds a touch of zing but also keeps those apples looking fresh. Once they’re nicely coated, transfer them to a large pan.

It’s time to introduce the remaining ingredients to the mix.

Sprinkle in packed brown sugar, drop in the butter for that creamy indulgence, and generously dust cinnamon and nutmeg for that classic spice kick. Add a pinch of salt to balance it all out.

Are you feeling adventurous? Go ahead and include cardamom for that exotic twist.

Finally, pour in the water, which serves as the liquid binder.

Give everything a good stir, ensuring the apples are coated with the flavorful mixture.

Make homemade apple pie filling with all of autumn's bounty of apples! Fill your home with the smells of apple pie all year long! | Finished Apple Pie

It’s time to heat things up!

Place the pan over medium-high heat and watch the magic unfold. As your apple pie filling heats up, it’ll bubble and simmer.

Bring it to a rolling boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Let it work its magic for the next 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

The apples will soak up all those delightful flavors during this time, transforming into the perfect pie filling.

Once the simmering is complete, turn off the heat. Allow your apple pie filling to cool down before you even think about storing it.

This cooling-off period lets the flavors meld and intensify.

How to Freeze Apple Pie Filling

Freezing homemade apple pie filling is a convenient way to preserve it for future use. 

After you cook your homemade apple pie filling according to this recipe, let it cool completely. Ensure it’s at room temperature before freezing.

Choose Freezer-Safe Containers: Use airtight, freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags for storing liquids. Make sure they’re clean and dry. 

Portion the Filling: Spoon the cooled apple pie filling into the containers or bags. Leave some space at the top to allow for expansion during freezing. It’s helpful to leave about an inch of space to avoid the containers bursting.

Remove Air: When using freezer bags, squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing. If using airtight containers, press a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper directly onto the surface of the filling before sealing the container. This helps prevent freezer burn.

Label and Date: Label the containers or bags with the date and contents to quickly identify them later. It’s best to use the frozen pie filling within 3 to 6 months for the best quality.

Freeze: Place the containers or bags flat in the freezer, ensuring they’re only stacked once completely frozen. Once frozen, you can stack them to save space.

Thawing and Using: When you’re ready to use the frozen apple pie filling, transfer it to the refrigerator and let it thaw overnight. You can then use it in your pie recipe as directed.

Remember, the texture of apples might change slightly after freezing, but they should still work well for pies and other baked goods. It’s a great way to preserve the homemade pie filling when needed.

homemade apple pie filling without cornstarch in a mason jar next to some apples and cinnamon sticks

Can I use mason jars to freeze apple pie filling?

You can use mason jars, but remember, using glass jars for freezing has risks because liquid expands when frozen. To prevent breakage, follow these precautions and guidelines carefully.

  1. Use wide-mouthed Mason jars specifically designed for freezing. Regular jars might crack due to the expansion of the filling as it freezes.
  2. Leave enough headspace: Fill the jars with the cooled pie filling, leaving at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) of space at the top to allow for expansion during freezing. Filling them too full might cause the jars to break.
  3. Ensure the filling is completely cooled: Warm or hot filling can create thermal shock, breaking the jars in the freezer.
  4. Leave the lids slightly loose: Don’t tighten the tops completely when sealing the jars. Leave them a bit loose to allow air inside the jar to escape as the filling freezes.
  5. Label the jars with the date and contents using freezer-safe labels or markers.
  6. Place the filled Mason jars in the freezer. It’s essential to arrange for them to only touch once fully frozen to prevent potential breakage.
  7. Once the apple pie filling is frozen solid, you can tighten the lids securely. Storing them with tight lids helps maintain the quality of the frozen filling.
  8. To thaw the frozen apple pie filling, transfer the jar from the freezer to the refrigerator and let it thaw overnight.

How Many Pies Does This Recipe Make?

You’ve just whipped up enough apple pie filling to make two 9-inch apple pies.

Now, it’s ready to star in your next baking adventure!

With these straightforward steps, you’ve mastered crafting homemade apple pie filling brimming with flavor; you’re ready to turn your pies into sensational delights.

Make homemade apple pie filling with all of autumn's bounty of apples! Fill your home with the smells of apple pie all year long! | Apple Pie Slice

What kind of apples are good for homemade apple pie filling?

  1. Granny Smith: Known for their tart flavor and firm texture, Granny Smith apples hold up well during baking and provide a nice contrast to the sweetness of the pie filling.
  2. Honeycrisp: These apples offer a perfect balance of sweetness and tartness. They are crisp and juicy, adding great flavor and texture to your apple pie filling.
  3. Jonagold: A cross between Jonathan and Golden Delicious, Jonagold apples have a good balance of sweet and tart flavors. They are also firm enough to hold their shape when baked.
  4. Braeburn: These apples have a sweet-tart flavor and a firm texture that holds up nicely in pies. They add a pleasant complexity to the pie filling.
  5. Fuji: Fuji apples are sweet, crisp, and juicy, making them a popular choice for apple pie. They may be a bit sweeter than other varieties, so adjust the sugar in the recipe accordingly.
  6. Cortland: Cortland apples have a slightly tart flavor and are juicy with a tender texture. They work well in pies and turn smooth when baked.

Ultimately, a mix of apple varieties can work wonderfully in pie filling, blending flavors and textures. Experimenting with combinations can create a unique and delicious homemade apple pie.

homemade apple pie filling pinterest image

Homemade Apple Pie Filling

Make homemade apple pie filling with all of autumn’s bounty of apples! Fill your home with the smells of apple pie all year long!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Servings: 2 pies
Calories: 797kcal


  • 8 cups diced peeled apples
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom optional
  • 1 cup water


  • Toss the apples in the lemon juice and then place them in a large pan. Add the remaining ingredients (brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, cardamom, and water).
  • Stir well and heat over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Turn heat off and let cool before storing.


Makes enough apple pie filling for two 9-inch pies.


Calories: 797kcal | Carbohydrates: 181g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 423mg | Potassium: 733mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 160g | Vitamin A: 629IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 154mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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4.51 from 118 votes (118 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating


Thursday 29th of September 2022

Can i use gluten-free flour and plant base milk?


Wednesday 20th of October 2021

If you want to make British style apple pies use Bramley Cooking Apples which have a strong tart flavour and are sweetened during cooking. Perfect with English custard.

Diane Fitzpatrick

Wednesday 23rd of June 2021

A question Please very Delious ! Can this recipe be canned instead Frosen? Thank you


Saturday 24th of October 2020

Where is the thickening agent??? You need at least a couple of tablespoons of flour or cornstarch. Good idea but way too much water. Why not try apple juice or apple cider as your liquid

Nora Miller

Wednesday 21st of October 2020

This was very soupy ,tried thickening it with a little flour without much luck . Next time I’ll try less water.


Monday 2nd of November 2020

@Nora Miller, same here. I added cornstarch and removed some of that golden deliciousness unfortunately