Delicious freezer apple pie filling features sweet, tart, juicy apples. Cook it for 5 minutes on stovetop. Freezing apple pie filling is a great way to prep for the holidays. When you need a dessert, just add it to a pie crust and bake.
Stovetop apple pie filling helps prevent a soupy situation – a runny apple pie with a soggy crust. Seasoned bakers know that precooking apple pie filling on stovetop before spooning it into the crust is an important step to reduce excess liquid inside the pie shell as it bakes.
We’ll cook the mixture on stovetop just until slightly tender. Under heat, the fruit will begin releasing juices and the cornstarch will start thickening things up. Later, the filling (in the pie crust) will continue baking in the oven.
The best time to make stovetop apple pie filling is during prime apple season – September and October. We want to preserve that crisp delicious flavor right now, then freeze the filling to lock in freshness for later.
I recommend doubling or tripling this recipe. Just divide it among several freezer bags so you’ll have plenty on hand for the holidays and for the upcoming months when apples are no longer in season.
WHAT TO MAKE WITH FREEZER APPLE PIE FILLING: Try an apple galette, caramel apple tartlets, apple pop tarts, or apple strudel. Enjoy it as a topping for oatmeal, yogurt, pancakes or apple cinnamon waffles.
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
- Easy Make-Ahead Recipe: Just peel, core and slice the fruit. Cook the apple pie filling on stovetop until slightly tender, about 5 minutes.
- Simple Ingredients: Just apples and some basic pantry staples.
- Super Convenient: It saves time when making holiday pies. See the Recipe FAQ section on this page for a fabulous kitchen hack.
- Freezing Preserves Fresh Flavor: Made with freshly-picked apples, this recipe preserves their bright clean flavor and natural sweetness.
- Prevents Food Waste: When you have an abundance of apples on hand, this stovetop-to-freezer recipe helps use up that fruit, saving money and preventing food waste.
- Butter: Enriches the apple pie filling with a delicious buttery flavor.
- Lemon Juice: The citrus acid helps balance the flavors.
- Water: Provides an initial touch of moisture in the pan (before the apples start releasing their juices) for easy mixing.
- Granulated Sugar: Provides the ideal amount of sweetness. If desired, you can use half granulated sugar and half brown sugar.
- Cornstarch: Thickens up the fruit filling so it’s not watery thin.
- Ground Cinnamon: Adds delicious fall flavor and aroma.
- Kosher Salt: This seasoning enhances the flavor of the other ingredients. Add salt to taste.
- Apples: This crunchy fruit is the of the show for this freezer recipe. Use whatever type you have on hand, or see “Recommended apples for apple pie filling” in the Recipe FAQ section below.
- Vanilla Extract (optional): Enhances the flavor of the apple pie filling while adding a yummy bakery aroma.
RECIPE PREP: Peel and core the apples. Slice them into 1/4 inch pieces or 1/2-inch cubes. While slices are perfect for pies, cubes are more versatile. They can be used as a topping and to assemble smaller desserts.
- STEP 1: Melt butter on stovetop over medium heat.
- STEP 2: Stir in sugar, lemon juice, water, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt.
- STEP 3: Add apples to the pan and fold them in. With a wooden spoon, stir frequently for 4 to 6 minutes or until the apples are slightly softened (with just a bit of firmness remaining), and the filling has thickened. Remove pan from heat. If desired, add a splash of vanilla extract.
- STEP 4: Let the mixture cool completely. Transfer to a zip-top freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
These are the most commonly-asked questions for making the BEST freezer apple pie filling, and the most helpful answers for recipe success.
Absolutely. Apple-picking season is September and October. For apples, these are the prime months for taste and texture. During the rest of the year, apples sold at supermarkets come straight from cold storage. Their cell structure has been broken down during this process. They’re no longer at their peak state for making the best fruit pies and desserts.
Golden Delicious have a balanced sweet/tart taste. Braeburn (a descendant of Granny Smith) is lightly sweet with a pear-like taste. Jonagold (a cross between Jonathan and Golden Delicious) are sweet, tart and crunchy. Granny Smith apples keep their shape but are on the bland side. It’s best to pair them with sweeter, more flavorful apples.
Golden Delicious, Braeburn, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp and Jonagold are some of the best varieties for apple pie. Their texture holds up well when cooked and frozen.
Four medium apples will yield about the same amount of apple pie filling as 1 store-bought can. But when making it from scratch I use 5 apples instead of 4. That way we’re sure to have an ample amount.
You can bake an apple pie with frozen apple pie filling. But in many cases, partial defrosting is recommended so you can manipulate the apple pieces when assembling pies and other desserts.
Fill a zip-top freezer bag with the amount of apple pie filling needed to make a pie. Arrange it inside a metal pie pan, shaping the contents to fit the pan. Squeeze out excess air from the bag and seal it well. Put the pan with filling in the freezer. Once the apples are frozen solid, remove the pan. The freezer apple pie filling is now perfectly shaped for a pie.
Stored in a jar with a tight-fitting lid, it will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 1 week. For longer storage, freeze it in a zip-top freezer bag with any excess air pressed out. It’ll stay good in the freezer for up to 3 months.
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Taste testers rated this the BEST apple pie filling recipe. It’s simple to make and super delicious. The stovetop mixture boasts a lightly-firm texture with delicious flavors that are perfectly balanced. And it smells so good.
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This super-delicious apple pie filling is thick, buttery and sweet with the ideal amount of tart. Assemble it on stovetop, then freeze it for later. Make multiple batches for the holiday season.
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 5 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced
- Optional: 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
RECIPE PREP: Peel and core the apples. Slice into 1/4 inch pieces or 1/2-inch cubes. While slices are perfect for pies, cubes are more versatile for smaller desserts.
- Melt butter on stovetop over medium heat.
- Stir in sugar, lemon juice, water, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt.
- Add apples to the pan and fold them in. With a wooden spoon, stir frequently for 4 to 6 minutes or until the apples are slightly softened (with just a bit of firmness remaining), and the filling has thickened. Remove pan from heat. If desired, add a splash of vanilla extract.
- Let the filling cool completely.
- Transfer it to a zip-top freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
For more apple flavor: Use fresh apple cider (not apple cider vinegar) instead of water.
If more thickening is needed: Create a cornstarch slurry. In a ramekin, stir together 2 tablespoons water and 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Add it to the filling, just a little bit at time. Stir to incorporate. You may need just some of the slurry, not all of it.
If the filling is too thick: Stir in melted butter to thin it out.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: apple pie filling, stovetop apple pie filling, freezer apple pie filling, apple pie filling recipe
Apple Pie filling > join the conversation
Do you enjoy baking farm-fresh apple pies? What do you think about this quick and easy stovetop apple pie filling? Will you be freezing yours or using it right away? Share your thoughts in the comments below.