Apple Pie Filling

Apple pie or dessert filling recipe

The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 4 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
296 Calories
0g Fat
77g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 296
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 50mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 77g 28%
Dietary Fiber 6g 20%
Total Sugars 65g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 11mg 55%
Calcium 37mg 3%
Iron 0mg 3%
Potassium 280mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This apple pie filling makes enough to fill a 9-inch pie or can be used to fill apple turnovers or handheld pies, a cobbler, or apple crisp. You can chop the apples if you plan to use it for hand pies, or you could slice the apples thinly or chop them coarsely for a pie or cobbler. This apple filling is cooked, so it can be made ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen until it's time to make a dessert.

The recipe can easily be scaled up for more pies and treats. Keep some stashed in the freezer for a last-minute sweet treat.


  • 4 pounds apples (about 10 large apples)

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 1 cup brown sugar, light or dark, packed

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 dash nutmeg, ground or freshly grated

  • Dash kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Apple pie or dessert filling ingredients
    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii
  2. Peel and core apples. Dice coarsely or finely slice slice and put them in a large bowl. Use a larger dice for pies or a smaller dice for hand pies.

    Peel and core apples
    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii
  3. Toss apples with lemon juice.

    Toss apple juice in apples
    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii
  4. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cornstarch and stir to blend.

    Sugar in pot
    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii
  5. Add apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Bring mixture to a simmer while stirring constantly.

    Add apples
    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii
  6. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking, frequently stirring, for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until apples are tender and mixture is quite thick. Stir in vanilla.

    Reduce heat
    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii
  7. Let filling cool for about 30 to 45 minutes.

    Let the filling cool
    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii
  8. Use filling in a pie, in handheld pies, cobbler, apple crisp, or turnovers. 

    Use filling
    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

How to Store and Freeze

  • If you will not be using the filling immediately, store it in containers in the refrigerator for two to three days.
  • To freeze the filling, cool it completely. Measure the cooled filling into freezer containers leaving about 1/2-inch of headspace, or pack it into heavy-duty freezer bags. Seal and label with the volume, name, and date. Store it in the freezer for up to 12 months.
  • If freezing the pie filling in glass canning jars, choose wide-mouthed jars and leave 1 inch of headspace.
  • To thaw, leave it in the refrigerator in a bin until ready to use.

Recipe Variations

  • Spiced Apple Pie: Replace the cinnamon and nutmeg with an apple pie spice blend or pumpkin pie spice.
  • Pear Pie Filling: Replace the apples with cored, peeled, and diced or sliced fresh pears.

What apples make the best apple pie filling?

Apples in apple pie and baked desserts should become tender when cooked but not mushy while providing good flavor. Braeburn and golden delicious are both great choices. Gala apples are a sweet option, while Granny Smith apples will make a tarter pie with firmer fruit.