When I was growing up my Grandma's house always had homemade bread for every meal, a homemade cake for every birthday and a container of homemade apple pie filling in the refrigerator.
Now you may be asking yourselves why does someone need so much apple pie filling? Well, it wasn't for pie! We used her apple pie filling on toast and rolls, on waffles, even spread onto oatmeal cookies. It was more of a spread than a pie thing. Thinking back on it now, I'm pretty sure my childhood was magical.
My Grandma didn't just make any old pie filling, she made Kleeman's apple pie filling. After some digging I was able to find out that Kleeman's was a restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee that was apparently well known for their apple pie. When the restaurant went out of the business, the recipe was published in the newspaper. I have no idea how my Grandma got that recipe, since she didn't live in Tenneesse, but whenever she made apple pie it was always Kleeman's apple pie. She even shared the recipe in her cookbook that was published in 1988.
If you're looking to make an apple pie, this filling is a great one to use with my gluten free pie crust recipe. I also have some other apple pie variations, like my apple cherry pie, apple pear pie, and apple blueberry pie which might interest you!
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Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Easy to make - This recipe just takes a few minutes to cook on the stovetop.
- It's gluten free & vegan!
- There are only 7 simple ingredients and no added weird fillers like you might find in storebought pie filling.
Just a few simple ingredients make up this delicious apple pie filling.
- Vegan Butter - I've used Country Crock Plant Butter to make this recipe dairy free. If you're not dairy free, you can use regular butter in the same measure.
- Apples - as you can see from Grandma's recipe, she calls for tart apples. I recommend using Granny Smith apples. You'll need 3-4, but the liquid part of the filling could support as many as 7 apples if you want to fill a deep dish pie.
- Sugar - To sweeten the tart apples. You could use brown sugar if you want a richer flavor.
- Orange Juice - You can use storebought juice or fresh squeezed. The sweetness from the juice pairs perfectly with the apples and the citrus acidity helps to maintain the color of the pie filling.
- Nutmeg & Cinnamon - Grandma says cinnamon is optional, but I always add it.
- Tapioca Starch - Tapioca starch is the ingredient that causes the filling to thicken when cooked. Tapioca starch in particular is nice because it provides a silky smooth sauce that stays thickened even after it has been refrigerated. Some other starches will become watery in storage. If you don't have tapioca, you can replace it with cornstarch or gluten free flour.
See recipe card for full ingredient list and quantities.
How to Make Homemade Apple Pie Filling
This easy stovetop apple pie filling only requires a few minutes of cook time.
STEP 1: Peel and cut your apples.
- Chop in food processor for a fine spread.
- Cut into ¼" cubes for a chunkier filling for cinnamon rolls, etc.
- Cut into slices if using for a pie.
STEP 2: Add your butter to a saucepan over medium heat. Make sure the pan is large enough to fit all of the apples.
STEP 3: Once the butter has melted, add the apples, sugar, orange juice, nutmeg and cinnamon to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the apples have softened, about 10-15 minutes.
STEP 4: Once your apples have cooked, make a slurry with your tapioca starch and 1 Tablespoon water. Whisk it into the liquid with the apples until it thickens.
STEP 5: Once the mixture has thickened, continue to cook it for about 3 minutes to set the starch. Then remove from heat and cool.
Cool to room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator.
How to Use Apple Pie Filling
- Classic Apple Pie: Of course, the most classic way to use apple pie filling is to bake it in a pie crust. Top it with a second crust or a crumb topping, bake until golden brown, and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
- Apple Turnovers: Fill gluten free puff pastry squares with apple pie filling, fold them over, and bake until golden brown for delicious apple turnovers.
- Apple Pancakes or Waffles: Spoon apple pie filling over your favorite pancakes or waffles, and top with a dollop of whipped cream or a drizzle of maple syrup.
- Apple Pie French Toast: Make a delicious breakfast by covering baked French toast with apple pie filling and serving it with a dusting of powdered sugar.
- Apple Parfait: Layer apple pie filling with vanilla yogurt and granola in a glass for a healthy and satisfying dessert or breakfast option.
- Apple Pie Smoothie: Blend apple pie filling with yogurt, a banana, and a pinch of cinnamon for a tasty apple pie-flavored smoothie.
- Apple Pie Oatmeal: Add a spoonful of apple pie filling to your morning oatmeal, along with a sprinkle of cinnamon and some chopped nuts.
- Ice Cream Sundae: Top a scoop of vanilla ice cream with warm apple pie filling, caramel sauce, and chopped nuts for a delicious sundae.
- Apple Pie Crepes: Fill crepes with apple pie filling, fold them into triangles, and drizzle with caramel sauce or a dusting of powdered sugar.
- Apple Pie Stuffed Baked Apples: Core apples and stuff them with apple pie filling, then bake until the apples are tender and serve with a scoop of ice cream.
- Apple Hand Pies: Cut pie dough into circles and fill with a couple of tablespoons of pie filling. Fold the dough circles in half, crimp the edges and bake.
- Apple Dump Cake: Use a box cake mix, butter and apple pie filling to make a super easy apple dessert.
Store pie filling in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or transfer to a freezer container and store for up to 12 months.
Other apple recipes to consider:
If you try this recipe, please leave a 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 star rating and let me know how you liked it in the comments below.
Homemade Apple Pie Filling
- Peel and cut your apples. See note below.1 ½ pound Granny Smith Apples
- Add the butter to a saucepan over medium heat. Make sure your pan is large enough to fit all of the apples.4 Tablespoons Vegan Butter
- Once the butter has melted, add the cut apples, sugar, orange juice, nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir well. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the liquid is simmering and the apples have softened to your desired texture.1 Cup Sugar, ¾ Cup Orange Juice, ½ teaspoon Nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon Cinnamon
- Make a slurry with the tapioca starch and water. Using a whisk, make an opening in the apples. Add the starch slurry to the apples while whisking. Continue to stir the apple mixture until the starch is completely incorporated and it begins to thicken.1 Tablespoon Tapioca Starch, 1 Tablespoon Water
- Reduce the heat to low. Continue to cook the apple mixture for three more minutes to set the starch.
- Remove the apple pie filling from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator.
- Place the apple pie filling in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before using.
Tiffany is the recipe developer, stylist and food photographer behind Well Fed Baker. As a lifelong baker who had to go gluten free and dairy free in 2016, Tiffany strives to share allergen friendly recipes that never feel like they are free from anything.