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Apple Pie Filling: How to Make Perfect Filling Every Time

Are you making an apple pie? Then these tips on the best filling will make your pie second to none.

By: Megan Horst-Hatch, Editor, TheBestDessertRecipes.com
Apple Pie Filling How to Make Perfect Filling Every Time

Using premade filling for an apple pie is one thing, but consider taking your apple pie-making skills to the next level when you make your own filling from scratch. If you’re picking apples this fall, then consider turning the abundance into a tasty filling that can be baked into your favorite homemade pie recipe. As you'll soon discover, making your filling from scratch is as easy as, well, pie!

In this guide on Apple Pie Filling: How to Make Perfect Filling Every Time, you’ll learn what it takes to make a filling the stuff of legend. Whether you plan to make a pie right away or plan to incorporate the filling in your favorite fall dessert recipe, you’ll love having these tips for making the best pie filling right at your fingertips.

If you’re looking for the classic take on the beloved apple dessert, then you’ll want to see this video for America’s Apple Pie!

Apple Pie Filling Ingredients: The Basics

When it comes to making the filling for an apple pie, you just need a few basic ingredients: crisp and fresh apples, granulated sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Using the freshest apples for baking will impart a taste and consistency in your pie that simply cannot be compared, while the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg will result in a taste that is synonymous with fall. Have you ever eaten a slice of apple pie with brown apples? If that sounds unappealing, then you'll want to use lemon juice to prevent the apples from turning brown.

How to Select the Best Apples for Your Pie Filling

How to Select the Best Apples for Your Pie Filling

When it comes to pie filling, not just any type of apple will do. You will want to select an apple that is firm, crisp, and tart, so steer your shopping cart towards Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, and other types of apples that are appropriate for baking. Just keep in mind that if the apple isn't firm, you'll be left with a consistency resembling applesauce in your pie. You can even add an interesting flavor profile to your filling if you use two or more types of apples. If you’re planning to use the apple filling in a pie, pastry, or turnover right away, then there is no need to cook the filling. It will bake perfectly after it is enrobed in the pastry. 

Add Pizzazz to the Filling

Add Pizzazz to the Filling

You’ve heard of using cinnamon or nutmeg in filling for apple pie, but what adding a splash of bourbon or some vanilla extract to the filling? If you’re ready to shake up your favorite filling recipe, then get creative by using whiskey, bourbon, or vanilla extract in the filling. Do you want to add some serious crunch to your pie? Then a handful of toasted walnuts or pecans sprinkled in the filling may be just what you need. In an email, Michelle Lettrich from the blog Brown Eyed Baker noted "The most unusual or unique ingredient I’ve seen added to an apple filling is to lay slices of cheddar cheese on top. It sounds crazy, but everyone I know who has tried it, swears that it’s delicious!" You can also top each slice with a scoop of Lettrich's Perfect Fried Ice Cream.

Canning Apple Pie Filling

Canning Apple Pie Filling

If you would like to lock in the flavor and freshness of apple pie filling to use at a later time, then canning is always an option. According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, you should select firm, crisp apples that are perfect for baking. You can also adjust the tartness of the mixture by adding lemon juice to the filling. Are you planning to use a unique ingredient in your homemade canned filling? You may want to research if it is feasible to include the ingredient at the time of canning, as some ingredients may not hold up to canning. In addition, don’t fill up the jar to the very top; you will want a headspace of approximately one inch, according to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If stored correctly in a basement or cool, dark, and dry area of your home, you may be able to enjoy the filling up to a few months after canning it. Just label the jar with the date it was canned!

Freezing the Filling

If you're short on time but would still like to have pre-made apple pie filling at your fingertips, then keep reading. According to The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M University and Auburn University), simply cook the filling according to the organization's instructions. After the filling is cooled, place it in freezer-safe containers and label it with the date it was made. University of Wisconsin-Extension notes another method for freezing your homemade filling. Place the filling in a lined pie pan and freeze until firm, then place the filling in a freezer-safe container. When you're ready to bake, just unwrap and place the filling in the pastry dough!

Baking a Pie with Filling: How Much Do You Need?

At long last, it’s time to start baking an apple pie! If you plan to use a filling that you have previously canned, then a one-quart jar should be sufficient for an 8-inch pie, according to the website Healthy Canning. If you plan to use a larger pie pan, then you will need to make more pie filling and adjust accordingly. You don’t want to overfill your pie pan, though, as it may leak out and over while baking. 

Desserts with Apple Pie Filling: Pie and Beyond

Desserts with Apple Pie Filling: Pie and Beyond

While there’s nothing wrong — and everything right — with using apple filling for pies, there are plenty of other ways to use this unique and delicious treat. You can make your next plain cheesecake a little more festive for fall by adding a dollop of the filling on the side or on top of each slice. Lettrich also shared a few suggestions via email. "If you have tortilla wraps, you could make little crepes — drizzle the apple pie filling with chocolate sauce. You could buy those little puff pastry cups from the freezer aisle and serve 'apple pie bites' as a fun and easy dessert." Of course, there’s nothing wrong with eating the filling as-is with a spoon! If you're ready to get baking with your favorite filling, then keep these recipes in mind! From the classic apple pie to dessert lasagna and more, these recipes use pie filling in delicious and unique ways.

Golden Apple Pie LasagnaThis dessert lasagna is an easy way to make dessert for a crowd this fall. You'll also love that this is a no-bake dessert!

Apple Pie EnchiladasQuick and easy to make, this dessert is sure to be a hit with everyone. Top each enchilada with whipped cream or your favorite vanilla yogurt. 

Grandma's Old Fashioned Apple Pie (pictured below): You can't go wrong with the classic apple pie. Comforting as can be, this pie can be baked for almost any occasion on your social calendar this fall.

OMG Apple Pie CookiesCombine apple pie and cookies, and you get this unique dessert that is easy to make — and eat! Everyone will love how easy it is to eat these cookies.

Deep Fried Apple Pie BitesIs there anything better than fried desserts? Probably not! This recipe takes the traditional apple pie and gives it a new twist that you'll love.

Grandma's Old Fashioned Apple Pie

What is your favorite tip for making apple pie filling?
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Thank you for this. My family loves Apple everything, especially things made with apple pie filling. I hate using canned filling, but for some things I felt I didnt have much of an alternative. I am going to keep this information with my cookbooks so I can easily get to it when needed.

This is great information! I love apple desserts, but I'm not as crazy about the goo in canned apple pie filling. I will definitely try making my own pie filling now. Thanks for the info!

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