Apple Pie Filling

| | |

This post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure.

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 in a small pie dish next to fresh Granny Smith apples.

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.

Homemade apple pie filling in a white ceramic pie pan with fluted edges.

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.

A hand setting down a pie plate full of stovetop apple pie filling.

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.

A hand with spoon scooping up some freezer apple pie filling.


  • 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.
A spoonful of apple pie filling.


  • 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.
Ingredients for stovetop apple pie filling recipe.


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.
How to make stovetop apple pie filling in 4 easy steps.


These are the most commonly-asked questions for making the BEST freezer apple pie filling, and the most helpful answers for recipe success.

Are in-season apples better?

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.

Recommended apples for apple pie filling?

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.

Which type of apples hold up well in the freezer?

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.

How many apples in 1 can of apple pie filling?

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.

Do you need to defrost freezer apple pie filling?

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.

Best hack for freezer apple pie filling?

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.

How long will apple pie filling stay fresh?

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.

A pie plate of apple pie filling on a tabletop with 2 green apples and a jar of cinnamon.


If you love homemade desserts, add these classic recipes to your collection. Pin them to Pinterest. They’re must-have recipes every baker needs.


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.

If you love this recipe too, give it a 5-star rating in the comments. Then don’t keep it a secret. Share it with friends. Pin it to Pinterest.

Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration |
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Stovetop apple pie filling in a small pie dish next to fresh Granny Smith apples.

Apple Pie Filling

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 24 reviews

Save Recipe


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.


Units Scale
  • 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.

  1. Melt butter on stovetop over medium heat. 
  2. Stir in sugar, lemon juice, water, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt. 
  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.
  4. Let the filling cool completely.
  5. 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
Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration |

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.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Best apple pie filling ever! The perfect amount of sweet. I used Golden Delicious apples and doubled the recipe. My pies came out great. I also used your pie crust recipe. So buttery and flaky.

  2. Hello, I followed this recipe, it did need a bit more water and lemon juice for a hint of tartness. It is yummy. I freeze the filling and then pop it into a crust and instant pie for a last minute desert. perfect.

  3. I just followed your recipe…. and omg the best apple pie I ever had and made !! This is my second time making a pie ever!!! And the difference in recipes and apples made such a huge difference for me. Thank you so much

  4. This looks amazing and so sophisticated. I am not sure my version would look as good as yours! But fall and winter is nice to try out new recipes :)

  5. This looks like it tastes amazing. I have never made my own filling before but I should definitely start.

  6. It looks so yummy and quite easy to do. I love things made from apple and this recipe really attract me. I will try this for my weeken.
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hello Zane. When stored in an air-tight glass or plastic container, your yummy apple pie filling will last for up to one week in the refrigerator.

  7. i havent made apple pie in such a long time! this makes me want to bake one! we are going apple picking, so we will certainly have all the apples! :)

  8. apple pie is not big in asia but now that i have moved to north america, i now realize how yummy and addicting they are! i think it is now time for me to start making my own especially when it is this easy!

  9. I love homemade apple pie filling. Sometimes the filling doesn’t even make it to the pie shell before it’s all gobbled up! Your’s looks delicious.

    1. Lori, you and your family are going to love this scrumptious apple pie filling! Thanks so much for stopping by for this sweet recipe. I appreciate the comment!