This classic, old-fashioned apple pie recipe is an American classic. With a double buttery crust and a perfectly spiced, sweet filling, the only thing that can make this apple pie better is a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Serve as part of Thanksgiving dessert or another holiday spread, at an autumn potluck, or after a plentiful day of apple picking.
This homemade apple pie is extra easy if you use premade pie crusts, but feel free to make your own pie crust if you have the time. The simple but delicious pie filling of sliced apples, sugar, and spices doesn’t require any cooking before you bake the pie. Use flour or cornstarch to thicken the filling and help prevent a soggy bottom crust.
For an extra special treat, serve with vanilla or cinnamon ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream. A drizzle of caramel sauce is lovely, too.
- 5 to 6 , such as Cortland, Empire, or Granny Smith
- freshly ground
- ground optional
- beaten with 1 tablespoon milk or water, optional
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(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)
- Gather the ingredients.
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- Roll out the crusts. Wrap one crust in plastic wrap and chill.
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- Line the pie pan with one crust, cover with plastic wrap, and chill until apples are ready. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 450 F.
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- Peel, core, and slice the apples.
The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
- Put the sliced apples in a large bowl with the lemon juice and toss thoroughly.
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- Sprinkle the apples with the brown sugar, sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, cloves, and allspice (if using). Toss until apples are thoroughly and evenly coated.
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- Pour the apple filling into the crust-lined pie pan and dot with butter.
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- Place the second crust on top. Seal around the edge, trim the excess, and crimp the edges if you like.
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- Slice a few vents in the top crust for steam to escape. If desired, paint the crust with the egg wash using a pastry brush.
The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
- If using cornstarch instead of flour, make sure to mix in with the sugars to avoid clumping.
- Baking this pie at a high temperature first helps to prevent a soggy bottom crust. To further prevent this common pie problem, make sure the crusts are well-chilled and bake the pie as soon as you can after adding the filling. Positioning the oven rack towards the bottom of the oven will help, too, as it’s closer to the heating element.
How to Store and Freeze
- Tightly wrap any leftover apple pie and store for up to 2 to 3 days at a cool room temperature or in the fridge. The pie can be reheated in the oven.
- You can also assemble and freeze an unbaked apple pie. After sealing the top crust, tightly wrap the pie in a few layers of plastic wrap, making sure it is airtight. Freeze for up to a month. To bake, place the frozen pie directly in the hot oven and bake for 10 minutes at 450 F and around 90 minutes at 350 F, or until the apples are cooked through and bubbly and the crust is browned. If the edges are getting too brown, cover with aluminum foil.
What Is the Best Apple To Make Apple Pie With?
A good pie and baking apple is firm so that it doesn’t turn to mush when baked with good sweet-tart flavor. Try Braeburn, Cameo, Honey Crisp, Pink Lady, or McIntosh. For a tarter pie, try Granny Smith.
Do You Cook Apples Before Making Apple Pie?
No, apples do not need to be cooked before they are baked in an apple pie, as they will cook through when the pie is baking in the oven.
How Do I Keep My Pie Filling From Being Watery?
Ingredients like flour, cornstarch, and tapioca help thicken pie fillings and keep them from being a watery mess. Apples don’t release as much liquid as berries and therefore need less thickener. Flour and cornstarch both work well in an apple pie. For a tidy slice that doesn’t leak, let the pie cool completely before cutting.
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An easy Apple Pie recipe with step-by-step photos and tips for making homemade apple pie filling and apple pie crust (either traditional or lattice). This pie is the ultimate crowd pleaser, and just can’t be beat!
Do you love pie recipes as much as I do? Try my Lemon Sour Cream Pie, Triple Berry Pie, or Pumpkin Cheesecake!
Why I love this recipe
- Flavorful – Packed full of all the cinnamon and spices you love, this is really the BEST apple pie recipe!
- Perfect Crust – Buttery, flakey, and so EASY to make, this pie crust will make your pie stand out from the rest!
What type of Apples to Use
Choose tart apples for apple pie, and I always like to use more than one type of apple, to add variety of flavor. My go-to for apple pie is a combination of granny smith and honey crisp apples. I also like to use Janagold (a cross between Jonathan and Golden Delicious) or Northern Spy (red and green apple in season October/November and thought of as the perfect Apple Pie apple).
How to make Apple Pie Filling
Prepare Apples: Peel, core, and cut apple slices. (I use a johnny apple peeler to make this process extra easy as it does it all in one). Make sure your apple slices are cut relatively thinly.
Combine Spices: Whisk together the cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, salt and ¾ cup sugar, then set aside.
Coat Apples: Melt butter in a large sauté pan/skillet over medium-high heat then add the apples to the skillet and stir them to coat them in butter. Immediately add the spice and sugar mixture, stirring to coat the apples.
Cook Apples: Lower heat to medium then cook the apple mixture for 3-5 minutes.
Sprinkle the flour and cornstarch over the apples and stir well to coat.
Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Optional: Pour the mixture out onto a baking sheet to allow it to cool quicker, while you prepare your pie crust.
Add to pie crust: Add cooled pie filling into a pie dish with a cold, unbaked pie crust in it.
Add top crust: Cut the top crust into a few strips, to add a pretty lattice crust, or place the whole pie crust on top of the pie, and cut a few slits on top for seam to escape.
Brush lightly with an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake at 425 degrees F for 20 minutes. Leave the pie in the oven and reduce temperature to 375 degrees F. Bake for 30 to 40 more minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden.
Cool: Remove the pie from the oven and allow it to cool completely, at least 2-3 hours. This allows the filling to set up so it wont fall apart when slicing.
For best results, store baked apple pie on the counter for a day or in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Tips for a perfect Apple Pie Crust
- Use an unbaked crust – No need to blind bake this pie crust.
- Use two crusts– You’ll need two crusts, one for the bottom of the pie pan and one placed over the filling. I love my pie crust recipe to ensure I have enough crust to work with to make a lattice topping (you can also use a traditional pie crust on top if you’d like).
- Allow the hot apple filling to cool before adding it to the pie crust so that the fats in the pie crust stay cold, creating a flakey crust as it bakes.
- Two oven baking temperatures: We start with the pie at a high temperature to help set the crust. Then lower the temperature to continue cooking.
Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions
To Make Ahead: The pie dough can be made several days in advance, or frozen for months ahead of time. The pie filling can be made a day ahead, stored in a covered container in the fridge. The entire pie can also be made a day ahead of time. Once cool, cover and refrigerate.
To Freeze: The pie crust and apple pie filling can be frozen, separately, for up to 3 months. Thaw completely in the fridge and then assemble. Baked apple pie can also be frozen once it has cooled completely. Cover it well with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw for about 1.5 days in the refrigerator before serving.
More recipes using Apples
Cool baked pie
- , peeled, cored, and thinly sliced , (3 honey crisp and 3 granny smith)
- cup + 1 tablespoon
- homemade pie crust (My recipe makes dough for 2 crusts; 1 for top and 1 for bottom)
- Egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon milk
- Peel, core, and thinly slice apples. I use a johnny apple peeler which does all three at once. Make sure the apple slices are relatively thinly.
- Make apple pie filling: Whisk together the cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, salt and ¾ cup sugar, and set aside. Melt butter in a large pan/skillet over medium-high heat. Once melted, add the apples and sprinkle the sugar mixture over the top. Gently stir to coat the apples.
- Cook: Lower to medium heat and cook the apple mixture for 3-5 minutes, until the apples are slightly tender. Sprinkle the flour and cornstarch over the apples and toss until well combined. Remove the pan from heat and stir in lemon juice. Optional: Pour the apple pie filling out onto a baking sheet to allow it to cool faster while you prepare your pie crust.*
- Preheat oven: Place a large baking sheet on the middle rack of oven and preheat the oven (with the pan inside) to 425 degrees F. (This is optional, but cooking the pie on a hot baking sheet will help the bottom crust cook and not be soggy.)
- Add filling: Remove the pie crust from the fridge or freezer and pour the apple pie filling into it.
- Add Top Crust: Cover with the second, top layer of dough. You can either place the entire circle of pie dough over the filling and cut a few slits in it to allow the steam to vent, or you can make a simple lattice crust. Pinch and fold the bottom and top crust edges together to create a nice crust and seal them together. Crimp pie edge.
- Brush with egg wash: Lightly brush the top of the pie with egg wash and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of sugar.
- Cool: Remove the pie from the oven and allow it to cool completely, at least 2-3 hours. This allows the filling to set up so it wont fall apart when slicing.
Apple Filling: Allow it to cool a little before adding it to the pie pan so that the fats in the pie crust stay cold, creating a flakey crust.
Storing Instructions: Store baked apple pie on the counter for a day or in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Make Ahead Instructions: The pie dough can be made several days in advance, or frozen for months ahead of time. The pie filling can be made a day ahead, stored in a covered container in the fridge. The entire pie can also be made a day ahead of time. Once cool, cover and refrigerate.
Freezing Instructions: The pie crust and apple pie filling can be frozen, separately, for up to 3 months. Thaw completely in the fridge and then assemble. Baked apple pie can also be frozen once it has cooled completely. Cover it well with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw for about 1.5 days in the refrigerator before serving.
Recipe adapted from NY Times.
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Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.
Posted: Aug 7, 2022
Updated: Mar 21, 2023
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Make this incredible apple pie filling when you are ready to make a pie, tart, cake or any Fall dessert. This easy pie filling can be canned or frozen for later and is so much better than store bought!
Table of Contents
Apple Pie Filling recipe
Looking for a delicious apple pie recipe? Look no further, because we’ve got the perfect recipe for you. This apple pie filling is easy to make and will be a hit with your friends and family. Once you try this recipe, you’ll never want to go back to store-bought apple pie filling again. It’s that good!
We have a ton of Recipes with Apple Pie Filling that this recipe is perfect for and also delicious on vanilla ice cream.
- Apples- I recommend using granny smith or honey crisp apples. You can also use a combination for the two.
- Brown sugar– Brown sugar is needed to make the sauce of the apple filling. It adds a richness that white sugar can’t make.
- Cornstarch– Cornstarch is used to thicken the apple pie filling.
Slice the apples. Add the butter and cinnamon to a skillet and melt the butter. Add the apples, brown sugar, water and salt. Cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the cornstarch and water in a bowl. Add to the apples and mix well. Cook for about another minute.
Store the apple pie filling in mason jars or freezer bags.
How to Can Apple Pie Filling
Use clean sterilized canning jars. Add the apple pie filling to the jar and leave about 1 inch of space at the top.
Wipe the rim of the jar. Put on the lid and tighten the ring firmly.
Boil in a water bath for 25 minutes and turn off the heat. Let the jar sit in the boiling water for 5 minutes.
Let the jar cool for 12 hours before removing the rings.
Clean the jars and make sure they lids are sealed.
Label and date jars.
Store sealed jars in a cool, dark place for up to 18 months.
How to Store Homemade Apple Pie Filling
When you make the apple pie filling, you can store it a few ways. You can make the filling and store it in the refrigerator. It can be used right away for making pies and other apple desserts. If you are making apple pie filling to have on hand you can also preserve it.
You can use a canning process to save the apples. These apple will last for over a year as long as you have canned them correctly. I love to can the apple filling, so I have included the how to can the filling in the recipe card. You can also freeze the filling for later. Once the apple pie filling has cooled, place it in a freezer bag. Press the bag flat and make sure to write the name and date on the bag. The apple pie filling will last for about 6 months in the freezer.
When you make homemade apple pie filling, you want to use apples that will hold up well during the cooking process. You don’t want mushy apples in your pie, so it’s important to choose the right type of apple. I recommend using Granny Smith apples because they are tart and firm. They will hold up well during the cooking process and will give your pie the perfect flavor.
If you can’t find Granny Smith apples, you can also use Honeycrisp apples. These apples are also tart and firm, and they will work well in this recipe.
The Best Way to Peel Apples
There are a few different ways that you can peel apples. You can use a handheld peeler, a paring knife, or even a vegetable peeler. I recommend using a handheld peeler because it’s the easiest and quickest way to peel an apple. If you don’t have a handheld peeler, you can use a paring knife or a vegetable peeler.
How to Cut Apples for Pie Filling
Once you have peeled the apples, it’s time to cut them into small pieces. I like to cut the apples into small pieces because it helps them cook evenly. If you cut the apples into large pieces, some of the apples will be overcooked and mushy while others will be undercooked and hard.
To cut the apples, start by cutting off the ends of the apple. Cut the apple in half and then slice each half into thin slices. I like to cut the apple slices into small pieces so they are easy to eat.
The Best Way to Thicken Apple Pie Filling
There are a few different ways that you can thicken the filling. You can use flour, cornstarch, or tapioca starch.
To thicken the filling, you will need to add the starch to the apples before you cook them. I like to add the tapioca starch to the apples and then stir everything together so the starch is evenly distributed.
Once you have added the starch, cook the apples over low heat until they are soft and the filling is thick. This will take about 15 minutes.
If you want to use flour to thicken the filling, you will need to add it after the apples have been cooked. To do this, mix the flour with a little cold water to form a paste. Stir the flour paste into the apples and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the filling is thick.
If you want to use cornstarch to thicken the filling, you will need to add it after the apples have been cooked. To do this, mix the cornstarch with a little cold water to form a paste. Stir the cornstarch paste into the apples and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the filling is thick.
Recipes to Use Apple Filling
- Peel, core, and chop or slice apples.
- Store into mason jars or freeze in plastic bags. This mixture will fill 4 12 oz jars.
- Use clean, sterilized canning jars (sterilize jars in a dishwasher or by pouring boiling water in the clean jars).
- Leave 1 inch of space at the top of your jar.
- Wipe the rim of the jars before putting the lid on. Tighten the ring firmly
- Boil in a water bath according to USDA for 25 minutes.)
- When time is done, turn off heat and let jars remain in the boiling water for 5 minutes before removing.
- Let jars cool for 12 hours before removing rings.
- Clean jars to remove any sticky residue. Rings should be removed for washing.
- Make sure jars are sealed
- Label and date jars.
- Store sealed jars in a cool, dark place for up to 18 months.
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Having a homemade apple pie filling recipe ready to go makes dessert preparation fast and easy! Perfect for loading into a buttery pie crust, pastry dough, or top on cakes, pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, or yogurt.
When autumn hits, I can’t wait to start making apple-inspired recipes. My classic apple pie recipe is always on the top of my list. However, this can become an all-day event when made from scratch. To speed up the process, you can prepare the apple pie filling in advance to grab and bake it. It’s so much better than the store-bought canned options. It’s even freezer-friendly!
Nothing is better than using fresh and ripe ingredients to make the fruit shine. I use my favorite baking apples and cook them on the stovetop. The slices sauté with butter and a sweet, cinnamon-spiced mixture. If you want to add spiced apple flavor to any recipe, this is a quick and easy method. The glazed fruit is ready to use in just 30-minutes!
Apple pie filling recipe ingredients
For the best flavor balance, I use two types of apples for the filling. Granny Smith apples keep their structure when cooked and have a pleasant tart taste to balance the sugars in the filling. However, they aren’t very juicy. Therefore I also add Honey Crisp apples to give a burst of sweetness, balanced with malic acid, and they hold their texture well when heated.
Other types of apples like Fuji, Braeburn, and golden delicious are good cooking apples for the filling. Avoid using varieties that break apart into a mushy texture, like Red Delicious.
Prepare the apples
Purchase 3 pounds, about 7 medium-sized (3-inches wide). Peel, core, and slice them. For a pie, cut the apples into 1/2-inch thick pieces. You could go to as thin as 1/4-inch, depending on the application. If you plan to use them in a small-sized pie crust or puff pastry to make individual servings, dice them into 1/2-inch cubes.
The smaller size will cook much quicker. If you are not cooking right away, try my tips for preventing apples from browning. My favorite quick solution is submerging them in cold water after cutting them. You should yield about 9 cups for the recipe.
Step 1. Prepare the apples
Cook the apple pie filling
Use a large skillet with high sides or a dutch oven. It starts with 9 cups of apples, but as they lose moisture, they reduce to about half the volume. Saute the apples with dark brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt over medium heat in melted butter.
Cook, occasionally stirring, until the apples are crisp-tender and still retain their shape. This process takes about 8 to 10 minutes for thick slices. A cornstarch slurry mixture is added at the end of cooking to thicken the juices into a glossy sauce that glazes the fruit. Vanilla is mixed in last so that the aroma is preserved.
When to stop cooking the apples
If adding to a pie, you want to retain some moisture and structure, as it will cook further inside the pie crust. Stop cooking when the fruit reaches 160°F (71°C). This temperature helps the pectin in the cell walls become more stable, preserving its shape, especially as it bakes.
If you are using the apples for a topping, you can cook them for a few more minutes for a softer bite. Don’t heat past 185ºF (85ºC). Above that point, the enzymes that help to strengthen the pectin in the cell walls to hold its structure will inactivate, creating a mushy texture better for applesauce or apple butter.
Step 2. Cook the Apple Filling
Step 3. Thicken the Filling
Storing the filling
If you don’t plan on using the filling right away, you have a few storage options. Make sure to let the filling cool to room temperature. Then, you can refrigerate it for up to 7 days or freeze it for up to 3 months. Remove as much air as possible from the plastic bag to reduce freezer burn. I like to defrost it in the refrigerator the night before, so it’s ready to use the next day immediately.
Substituting for canned filling
This homemade apple pie filling makes about 5 cups, or about 2 pounds (908 grams). Store-bought canned filling typically comes in 20-ounce cans (1 pound 4 ounces, 567 grams, about 2 ⅓ cups). This recipe can be swapped for two 20-ounce canned fillings.
Ways to use the apple pie filling
- Use them for apple crisp or apple crumble
- Use my pie crust recipe for apple pie, dutch apple pie, mini pies, or hand pies
- Top them on oatmeal, overnight oats, yogurt parfait, or ice cream
- Add them to waffles or pancakes
- Fill them in apple turnovers
Step 4. Ready to serve
Is it better to cook apple pie filling first?
There are benefits to pre-cooking apples. They are about 80% water, which will release when sliced and cooked. Cooking concentrates the juice to reduce the chance of a soggy crust. This prevents gaps between the filling and the crust, giving a more dense layer of fruit because the volume is already reduced. If you prefer a crisper texture of the apples, you can skip the pre-cooking.
What is apple pie filling made of?
Apple pie filling is composed of apple slices, brown sugar, and granulated sugar mixed with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Lemon juice and vanilla extract balance the flavor of the fruit. A thickening agent is added, like cornstarch or flour, so that the juices glaze and stick to the apples.
How do you thicken apple pie filling?
The create a sticky sauce that clings to the apples in the filling, you can either add a cornstarch slurry or all-purpose flour. The starches will absorb the moisture, swell up, and thicken as it cooks so that the juices aren’t runny. Cornstarch gives a more glossy sheen compared to flour. You need about half the amount of cornstarch for the same thickening power as wheat flour.
Can I preserve the filling by canning?
This recipe was not developed for home canning. A specific type of modified cornstarch, the right amount of sugar and acid, using sterilized jars, and proper canning techniques to ensure the apple pie filling is safe to eat unrefrigerated is required.
Why do you put lemon juice in apple pie?
The citric acid helps to balance the sweetness of the sugars. It also lowers the pH of the apple mixture, making the pectin in the cell walls of the fruit stronger so that it holds its shape and retains some moisture. This is important because you don’t want a mushy filling. A little bit goes a long way, so only a few teaspoons are needed. Too much, and this will throw off the taste of the filling.
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- granny smith apples
- , Fuji, or Braeburn
- dark brown sugar,
- Prepare the Apples – Peel, core, and cut the apples into ½” thick slices. Alternatively, cut into ½” dice for smaller pastries or to use as a topping.
- To Serve – Use immediately for a topping while still warm. Alternatively, cool completely and store in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to use.
- Serving Size: ½ cup filling
- Storing: Cool and store in a glass jar or airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
- Freeze: Transfer to a large resealable plastic bag. Press out the air and flatten the filling, then seal. Freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost before using.
- Sweeter Filling: Double the amount of sweetener. Add ½ cup brown sugar and ½ cup granulated sugar.
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Filed under: American Christmas Desserts Fall Fruit Make Ahead Pie Stovetop Thanksgiving
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I’m a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.
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Apple pie can never be complete with the filling. Usually, apple pie filling is made using apples, cornstarch, water, sugar, and cinnamon. The primary use of cornstarch here is that it acts as a thickening agent.
However, there could be times when you don’t have any cornstarch. Or, you don’t have enough of it for what the recipe demands.
Maybe you don’t want to take another trip to the store, or you have some other ingredients that you’re thinking of as possible substitutes.
So, how to make apple pie filling without cornstarch? We can use one of these five thickening agents to replace it: arrowroot powder, instant tapioca, potato starch, wheat flour, and instant-mix flour.
However, we must first learn why cornstarch is such a good ingredient for apple pie filling.
Let’s dive in!
Why Is Cornstarch Used in Apple Pie Filling?
Cornstarch is a gluten-free ingredient that thickens the apple pie filling to a delicious, gooey consistency. It gives a semi-transparent and cloudy appearance to the filling.
In addition, cornstarch will also lend a starchy taste. Other than that, though, cornstarch is almost tasteless, which allows it to greatly improve the texture of the filling without shifting its flavor too much.
Cornstarch Substitutes in Apple Pie Filling
There are five suitable substitutes for cornstarch in apple pie filling: Arrowroot powder, tapioca, all-purpose flour, potato starch, and instant flour. They all have their pros and cons, which we’ll be exploring next.
1 – Arrowroot Powder
Arrowroot powder is perhaps the best alternative to cornstarch when it comes to making apple pie filling. The differences between arrowroot powder and cornstarch are negligible at best.
It’s a white and fine powder with a similar texture to cornstarch when you touch it. Arrowroot powder will give your filling a nice, thick consistency. It also doesn’t have any strong smell or flavor, just like cornstarch.
As such, it produces about the same results as cornstarch when used in apple pie filling.
2 – Instant Tapioca/Cassava Root Extract
Extracted as starch from the roots of the cassava plant, tapioca is another suitable replacement for cornstarch in making apple pie filling. Just like arrowroot, tapioca has a fine texture and an appearance that’s almost identical to cornstarch.
Tapioca also doesn’t possess a keen flavor or fragrance, so it creates the same results as cornstarch. It thickens well, but it does leave gelatinous balls in your apple pie filling.
To avoid getting these balls in your filling, you can grind instant tapioca in a spice grinder beforehand into powder. However, it’ll be stringy in consistency.
3 – Potato Starch
In its powdered form, potato starch is a good substitute for making apple pie filling. Like tapioca and arrowroot powder, it has similar characteristics to cornstarch.
However, it doesn’t give the same kind of thickness as these other substitutes do. Your filling won’t be as thick, but potato starch will impart a cheesy consistency.
When you use potato starch, it’s recommended to add around 1 tbsp of water before mixing it into the can, as it’s somewhat dryer in its texture.
4 – Wheat Flour
If the apples that you prefer on your pies are the long-cooking and dense types, then wheat flour is a good substitute for cornstarch. It’s not a purified starch, so wheat flour doesn’t have the same thickening properties as cornstarch does.
When you swap out cornstarch for wheat flour, you should use two tablespoons of flour for each tablespoon of cornstarch.
Should you be using a liquid sweetener, such as agave nectar, put the flour with the apples first. Then, drizzle them with the sweetener.
However, in the case of sugar or another crystalline non-sugar sweetener, first, mix the flour with it. And then, toss in the apples.
5 – Instant Flour
The main drawback of wheat flour is that it takes a long time for it to fully thicken the filling. During that time, the juices of the apples could boil away.
A quicker alternative would be to use instant-mixing flour, or “gravy” flour.
Instant flour is pre-cooked in the mill, so it begins thickening as soon as the hot juices are released from the apples.
This means that you don’t have to be selective about what apples you use. There won’t be a risk of a starchy, uncooked taste in the finished apple pie filling.
Each of these replacements for cornstarch has its drawbacks and advantages. Arrowroot powder is almost the same as cornstarch and can be reliably used as a substitute.
Instant tapioca can leave behind gelatinous balls in the filling, but grinding it beforehand can prevent that. Filling made with potato starch isn’t as thick, and wheat flour takes a long time to thicken.
As for instant-mix flour, it’s also a reliable substitute, though the result won’t be as thick either.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.
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This delicious vegan apple pie recipe is the perfect fall dessert to bring to a special occasion or to make after you’ve gone apple picking and have too many apples laying around!
Best Apples to Use
I like to use the crispiest kind of apples that I can find when making homemade apple pie. My favorite is honeycrisp, but they tend to be so expensive that I don’t like to use them in recipes.
I think that pink lady, gala, and McIntosh apples work great because they’re both crisp and sweet. I like to use sweet apples instead of tart apples, but you can also try this recipe with Granny Smith apples.
Freshly-picked apples of any kind are also great to use! My favorite thing to do is to make a delicious vegan apple pie after getting a huge bag of apples after going apple picking with friends in the fall!
How to store the pie
To store the pie, cover it with plastic wrap or cling form, or place it in an airtight container and store in the fridge. When taking it out of the fridge to enjoy, microwave each slice to warm it up first.
Vegan Pie Crust
I used a store bought pie crust for this recipe because I find that they turn out great and are also much easier than making your own. However, if you prefer to make the whole apple pie from scratch and make a homemade crust, here is a great recipe for a traditional pie crust made vegan by Nora Cooks.
In this vegan pie crust recipe, she uses all purpose flour, but if you wanted to use gluten free flour, here is another great recipe for a gluten free pie crust from My Quiet Kitchen.
Many stores also sell gluten free crusts, if you prefer going that route. I usually get mine at Whole Foods- this is the one I purchase and I find it works great.
Just to make my pie look a little bit fancier, I transferred the store bought pie crust to a glass baking dish from the pie tin it came in originally. This is, of course, completely optional.
Keeping it lower in sugar than traditional apple pie, but still just as delicious
I tested this recipe so many times because I wanted to make the best vegan apple pie recipe, but also try and keep it as healthy as it can be, without sacrificing on the taste. I tested this recipe with less sugar, and I found that it’s perfect with the ¾ cup of total sugar that I added in this recipe, but with any less sugar, it turns out a little bit dry and the apples don’t soften up enough that way.
Many classic apple pie recipes call for 1 cup or at least ⅔ cup sugar, but I found that ¾ cup sugar works just as well and actually keeps the pie from being too sweet. You’re welcome to try the recipe with even less sugar than I added, but for best results, I recommend adding the full ¾ cup of sugar.
What you will need for your vegan apple pie recipe
- apples (3 lb)
- 2 store bought pie crusts
- lemon juice
- lemon zest
- brown sugar
- white cane sugar: you can use coconut sugar instead of the white & brown sugar combo, if you prefer.
- vegan butter: you can also sub for coconut oil, but I love this recipe with vegan butter, personally.
- ground cinnamon
- vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
The full ratios are listed in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
How to make the best apple pie
Preheat the oven to 375*F/ 190*C.
Start by washing and peeling the apples. Remove the core and slice. Make the apple slices about ¼ inch in width.
peel the apples
Place the sliced apples in a large bowl, then squeeze out the lemon juice and zest the lemon peel on top. Add the white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. Mix everything well.
add apple slices to a large mixing bowl
add lemon juice and zest
cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger
mix the ingredients
In a large pan over medium heat, add the vegan butter. Cook it for about a minute, until the butter melts. Then add the apple mixture to the pan.
Cook the apples for about 10-15 minutes, until the they have released their juices and they have become softer. While cooking, cover the pan with a lid and remove it to stir the apples every few minutes.
About 2-3 minutes before taking the apples off the heat, add in the corn starch and stir until the clumps are gone.
Add your homemade apple pie filling to the pie pan. Make sure you pour in all of the apple juice from the pan too. Use a spoon to make sure the apple filling is packed in the bottom of the pie crust and that it’s flat and leveled on top.
heat up vegan butter/ vegan margarine
add the apple filling to the pan
transfer to the bottom pie crust
Now it’s time to add the top crust. You can either add the second pie crust on top of the pie and cut slits into it, or you can make an easy pie lattice.
Making a pie lattice
To turn your normal pie crust into a beautiful lattice, start by using a rolling pin to roll out the pie dough on a clean surface. Then use a pizza cutter to cut up the dough into ½ – ¾ inch strips. Line five strips vertically on top of the pie.
To add the second layer of lattice strips, lift back every other strip of dough. Then place a strip horizontally over the pie and roll the strips back down. Repeat this with all of the other strips of pie crust.
This is much easier to understand when looking at a photo or video than when describing in words! You can look at the photos below, or check out this video that shows the process very slowly step by step.
lay five strips of dough vertically
lift up every other strip of dough
lay down a strip perpendicularly
lay the vertical strips back down
repeat this with two more strips on one side
now do this on the other side of the pie
To make a vegan egg wash, I used a pastry brush to brush on some aquafaba and dairy free milk on top of the lattice crust.
Note: aquafaba is the water from a can of chickpeas and is a great vegan egg substitute.
Place the ready to bake pie on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, incase any of the juice from the filling starts to bubble out.
You can also add a foil ring around the edges of the pie crust because the outside edges of the pie can tend to burn before the pie is ready. This blog post shows how to easily do this.
Bake the pie for 45-50 minutes at 375*F/ 190*C. It’s ready when the crust starts to become slightly golden brown.
Once you remove the pie from the oven, give it plenty of time to cool at room temperature. The filling will still be setting while the pie is cooling, so don’t dig in just yet! I like to let mine cool for about an hour.
Once the pie has cooled, slice and enjoy it with some vegan vanilla ice cream!
apple oat bars with caramel topping
vegan pumpkin pie
This delicious vegan apple pie recipe is the perfect fall dessert to bring to a special occasion or to make after you’ve gone apple picking!
- store bought pie crusts
- juice and zest
- dash of salt
- Preheat the oven to 375*F/ 190*C.
- Place the apple slices in a large bowl, then squeeze out the lemon juice and zest the lemon peel on top. Add the white and brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. Mix everything well.
- Add the apple filling to the uncooked pie crust. Use a spoon to make sure the apple filling is packed in the crust and that it’s flat and leveled on top.
- Now it’s time to add the top crust. You can either add the second pie dough on top of the pie and cut slits into it, or you can make an easy pie lattice by using a pizza cutter to cut up the dough into ½ inch strips. Instructions on how to make a lattice are in the recipe section above.
- To make a vegan egg wash, I used a pastry brush to brush on some aquafaba and dairy free milk.
- Place the ready to bake pie on a sheet pan, incase any of the juice from the filling starts to bubble out.
- You can also add a foil ring around the edges of the pie crust because the outside edges of the pie can tend to burn before the pie is ready. Details on how to do that are also in the post above.
- Bake the pie for 45-50 minutes at 375*F/ 190*C. It’s ready when the crust starts to become slightly golden brown.
- Once the pie has cooled, slice and enjoy it with some vegan vanilla ice cream!
apple desserts, apple pie, vegan apple pie, vegan fall dessert, vegan pie recipes
Let us know how it was!
If you’re thinking about making a sweet, delicious apple pie, or you’re in the middle of baking a tasty pie right now but you have some questions about thickening your pie filling with cornstarch, then keep reading.
Here’s Whether Cornstarch Is Necessary for Apple Pie
Apple pie doesn’t require cornstarch. However, some type of thickener is necessary to ensure the pie filling doesn’t come out too runny. Cornstarch is the most popular thickener for apple pie. However, you can use an alternative like all-purpose flour or tapioca starch.
Do You Need Cornstarch for Apple Pie?
No, you don’t need cornstarch to create a delicious apple pie. However, you absolutely need to make sure you’re using a thickening agent. While most apple pie recipes will call for the use of cornstarch to thicken your pie filling, you can get away with using a few alternatives.
Other thickening agents you could use include flour and tapioca starch. Just remember, these thickening agents aren’t as powerful when it comes to thickening pie filling as cornstarch is. You’ll want to use twice the amount of flour or tapioca. For instance, if your recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of cornstarch, start with 4 teaspoons of flour.
If you do decide to use cornstarch rather than an alternative thickening agent, one tip is to mix your cornstarch with sugar to help prevent clumping and smoothen out your filling.
How Much Cornstarch Should You Put in Apple Pie?
How much cornstarch you need in your apple pie depends on a variety of factors. For instance, if you’re baking a pie with a lot of filling in it, you’ll need a bit more.
Also, if you prefer a recipe with a thicker filling, then you’ll also want to add more.
The general consensus is to use about 1 tablespoon of cornstarch for your apple pie recipe. Start there, and if you find you’re needing a bit more, add one teaspoon (which is 1/3 of a tablespoon) at a time. Most apple pie recipes won’t require more than 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
Why Do You Put Cornstarch in Apple Pie?
When you’re baking an apple pie—or any other fruit pie like cherry or strawberry rhubarb—there’s one certainty: fruit is extremely juicy!
And, fruit gets even juicier when you put it in the oven and bake it into a pie! Apples are a particularly juicy fruit (just look at all the apple juice in the stores!).
Cornstarch helps your apple pie from getting too juicy, runny, and soggy. Cornstarch is a thickening agent that binds to a liquid to increase its viscosity (which is how thick a liquid is).
Similar to flour, cornstarch is a white, powdery ingredient that turns semi-cloudy or transparent when added to a pie filling. If you add too much, it can give your filling a starchy taste though, so you have to be careful not to add too much.
Does Apple Pie Need Flour or Cornstarch?
Apple pie can be thickened with either flour or cornstarch.
If you just pile a bunch of fruit into your pie crust and throw it in the oven, you’ll wind up with a mess. This is because fruit has a ton of juice locked up inside of it. While squeezing fruit unleashes the juice within it, heating it up is another way the juice gets released.
When you heat up an apple pie, the juices are released and the mixture will be extremely liquidy without flour or cornstarch.
When it comes to whether cornstarch or flour is better, the general consensus is to use cornstarch. This is because cornstarch is finer, and has a greater ability to bind and thicken pie filling for a nice, thick consistency throughout your entire pie.
However, you’re not out of luck if you don’t have (or don’t want to use) cornstarch. You can certainly replace cornstarch with flour. However, you will likely need to increase the amount of flour you’re using.
Cornstarch has twice the thickening power of flour. So, if your apple pie recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, you’ll want to start with 2 tablespoons of flour. Just remember, flour can get really clumpy inside a pie filling if it’s not properly mixed. Remember to mix the flour into your filling and stir well so it doesn’t get lumpy.
How Much Flour Do You Use to Thicken an Apple Pie?
Are you looking to use flour to thicken your apple pie instead of cornstarch or tapioca starch? Well, just remember you’ll probably need to adjust your recipe a little bit.
Flour has about half the thickening power that cornstarch has. This means you’ll likely have to double the amount of cornstarch required. For instance, if your apple pie recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, start with 2 tablespoons of flour.
The same is true if you’re using tapioca starch instead of cornstarch. You should use twice the amount of tapioca starch as cornstarch to get the same consistency.
You may find that your pie filling is still not thick enough when using flour. If you feel like you need a bit more than double the amount of cornstarch, slowly and carefully add one additional teaspoon of flour at a time to get the desired consistency.
What Can I Use Instead of Cornstarch in Apple Pie?
Well, don’t give up on your apple pie recipe just yet. There are a couple of handy cornstarch alternatives you can use to ensure your apple pie has a thick and delicious filling.
Here are a few of the most popular cornstarch alternatives:
- All-purpose flour
- Tapioca starch
- Arrowroot powder
- Potato starch
- Rice flour
- Xanthan gum
Why Isn’t My Apple Pie Filling Thickening?
Are you struggling to get your apple pie filling to thicken? This can be one of the most frustrating parts of baking pies! If you’re asking yourself, “Why is my homemade apple pie watery,” don’t worry, there are a few reasons why your apple pie filling might not thicken:
Homemade apple pie filling takes just minutes to make, and it tastes so much better than canned filling! This easy recipe is perfect to have in the fridge or the freezer for whenever you need it.
Homemade apple pie filling is so easy to make! This simple filling is made with just a few ingredients, and it takes just minutes to put together.
Homemade apple pie filling is so much better than canned filling, and with this quick recipe, you can have it on hand any time!
What type of apples are best for apple pie filling?
Cooking apples, like Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, or Fuji, are perfect in apple pie filling. Using a combination of apples helps to add more flavor to the filling.
How to make homemade apple pie filling
Step 1: Peel, core, and thinly slice the apples.
Step 2: Drizzle the lemon juice over the apple slices.
Step 3: Add the water, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cornstarch, and apple pie spice in a large pot.
Step 4: Whisk until well-combined.
Step 5: Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, and cook for 1 minute or until just thickened.
Step 6: Add the apples to the pan, and stir to incorporate.
Step 7: Reduce the heat, and cook until the apples have softened, about 10 minutes.
Step 8: Remove from heat. Let the apple filling cool for 10 minutes before using.
How to make the filling thicker
The filling is great as-is, but if you’d like to make it even thicker, it’s easier to do so. There are a couple of ways to get a thicker filling.
You can add more cornstarch, or you could use less liquid (water, juice, or cider). Either one will result in a thicker filling.
Can I can this filling?
No, this apple pie filling uses cornstarch as a thickener, and it isn’t recommended to can pie filling that has been thickened with cornstarch. However, you can freeze this filling.
Can apple pie filling be frozen?
It can! Simply let the cooked filling cool to room temperature.
Place the cooled filling in freezer-safe containers. You’ll need about 4-5 cups for a 9″ pie.
Ideas for using apple pie filling
Apple pie filling can be used in breakfast and dessert recipes like:
- Apple pie
- As a shortcut base for apple crisp
- As a topping for pancakes, waffles, or French toast
- Stirred into oatmeal
The filling can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 days. The filling can also be frozen for longer storage.
More apple recipes!
If you’ve tried this homemade apple pie filling recipe, don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below. I love to hear from people who’ve made my recipes!
Delicious homemade apple pie filling is so easy to make! You’ll never want to buy canned filling again.
- peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
- fresh lemon juice
- apple juice, or apple cider
- apple pie spice
- Drizzle the lemon juice over the apple slices.
- Add the water, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cornstarch, and apple pie spice in a large pot.
- Whisk until well-combined.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, and cook for 1 minute or until just thickened.
- Add the apples to the pan, and stir to incorporate.
- Remove from heat.
- Let the apple filling cool for 10 minutes before using.
- Apples: Baking apples like Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, or Fuji work well. Using a combination of apples makes for a more flavorful filling.
- Water: You can use water, apple juice, or apple cider. Also, feel free to use a combination of liquids.
- Apple pie spice: Apple pie spice gives the filling great flavor. Feel free to use more or less spice to taste.
- Nutrition values are estimates.
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Kate got her first cookbook when she was five years old, and she hasn’t stopped cooking since then! Her delicious recipes have been featured on Food Network, MSN, Better Homes & Gardens, Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post, and more. When she’s not cooking or baking, she can be found on her mini farm with her husband and her five kids.