It is so easy to make your own Apple Pie Filling using your Ninja Foodi or Instant Pot, you will never reach for the canned kind again!
Not only is it easy, it's absolutely delicious! I made one of the BEST Apple Pies I've ever had using this filling. It's perfectly spiced, not overly sweet, and the apples have the perfect texture!
What Variety of Apples are Best for Apple Pie Filling?
You can use whatever apples you like the best, but keep in mind that some apples hold their shape better for baking than others.
Red Delicious, Golden, and McIntosh apples are going to break down a lot more than some of the firmer apples, so if you want to include them in your pie filling, I would only use 1 pound of them along with 3 pounds of a firmer apple. If you used all softer apples, you would end up with an applesauce pie.
For example, Granny Smith apples are one of the best apple pie apples to use because they are not overly sweet and hold up really well during the baking process. Since we pressure cook the filling, Granny Smith apples are a great choice.
HoneyCrisp and Braeburn are also good choices for a firm apple that holds up well under pressure and are not overly sweet.
Fuji and Gala are also good for baking and they add a nice flavor and sweetness to apple pie.
Some apples will break down more than others during pressure cooking, so I like to combine 2-3 different varieties for the best texture and flavor.
I always use half Granny Smith and then half of either one or two more varieties. My favorite mix to date has been 2 pounds of Granny Smith, 1 Pound of Gala, and 1 pound of Ambrosia apples.
Feel free to use any combination you like and if using all sweet apples you might want to decrease the sugar in the filling a bit.
What are Some Uses for Apple Pie Filling?
At the risk of sounding silly, it is great for making apple pie! I think you knew that though, so here are some other uses.
This recipe is great as a chunky applesauce and the flavor is unreal. Of course you can omit the spices if you want a plain applesauce.
Ice cream topping! This would so good on top of my recipe for Vanilla Ice Cream!
You can also use the homemade apple pie filling as a stuffing for a pork tenderloin or for baking on top of a pork chop.
I made little apple hand pies with my Homemade Pie Crust and they were unbelievable! Easy too! Here is a video of me making and baking them.
It would be wonderful as a topping for cheesecake even! I'm sure there are many more uses that I just haven't thought of yet. What would you use your apple pie filling for? Let me know in the comments!
Frequently Asked Questions
This recipe yields about 4 cups of filling and it filled my 9" Fat Daddio Pie Pan perfectly!
It will definitely last 3-5 days in the refrigerator and you can freeze it for longer storage. Make sure the pie filling is cold before freezing for the best results.
Yes, you certainly can. I suggest adding ¼ cup of liquid, either water or apple juice to the pressure cooker to ensure you have enough liquid to build the pressure because I am not sure if the sugar substitute will create as much liquid as the sugar does.
Can I Make a Double Batch of Apple Pie Filling?
Absolutely! In either the 6.5qt or an 8 qt pressure cooker a double batch will fit without any problems. If your pressure cooker is smaller, I do not recommend trying a double batch, because you may end up with the apples being too high in the pot and then when you release the pressure, you will have a stream of sticky apple juice coming out of the vent. No one wants to deal with that!
For that same reason, I don't recommend making a triple batch in a 6.5qt or even an 8qt pressure cooker, either.
To double the homemade apple pie filling, simply double the ingredients and keep the pressure cook time the same. Because you will have more liquid, you might have to thicken the apple pie filling, but that is very easy to do.
How to Thicken the Homemade Apple Pie Filling
There are various things that might cause your apple pie filling to be thinner than mine.
Different apples will give off more or less juice during the pressure cooking process and we can't plan for that, but we can fix it.
I also know that some of you may not be completely comfortable with using only 2-3 Tbsp of orange juice and might just HAVE to add a little water and that is perfectly fine.
In fact, if you are using the 8qt Ninja Foodi, I would suggest using ¼ cup of water or apple juice because you need more steam to build the pressure.
The easiest way to thicken the apple pie filling is with a cornstarch slurry. Simply use ½-1 Tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with 1-2 Tablespoons of water. Make sure to mix it well so there aren't any clumps.
After the pressure cooking time is up and you release the pressure, turn on the sear/sauté on high and pour in the slurry. Let it heat up and it will thicken your filling.
You can also just use the sear/sauté on medium-high to simmer until the excess liquid has burned off.
How to Make Homemade Apple Pie Filling in a Pressure Cooker
I used the Ninja Foodi to make this apple pie filling, but any electric pressure cooker will work.
Since I don't know the specifics of every different type of pressure cookers, I would recommend using ¼ cup of water or apple juice as the thin liquid in any pressure cooker except the 6.5 qt Ninja Foodi.
I tested the recipe 5 times in the Ninja Foodi 6.5qt and never had any issues with getting the water notice, but it is fine to add it even if you are using the 6.5qt. You may have to thicken it at the end, but that is easy to do.
Zest the orange into the inner pot or a large bowl.
Squeeze the juice from the orange into the inner pot or the bowl. To make this really easy, I use a Citrus Press from Pampered Chef. If you squeeze a lot of citrus, this really comes in handy!
Add the sugar to the bowl.
Peel and quarter the apples and place in the pot or bowl. You want them in large chunks so they don't overcook, so quartering them works best. If you are using softer apples, you can even put them in in halves instead.
I like to stir around the apples every once in a while to coat them with the sugar and orange juice to prevent browning.
Sprinkle your spices over the apples and give a good stir.
Place the pressure lid on and turn the valve to seal. Set the pressure to high and select the time for zero minutes. We don't actually want to PC the apples for any time because they can overcook quickly. So, setting the time to zero minutes will result in the pot heating up, building the pressure and then immediately going to the keep warm function.
When it switches to the keep warm function, do an immediate release of the pressure. Break up any large pieces of apples that are left. I do this with my Mix 'N Chop and it works great!
Add the vanilla extract and give the mixture a stir, let it cool a bit and taste it for seasonings. Add more if you like or add more sugar if needed. Thicken it up with a cornstarch slurry or simmer until any extra liquid is gone, if needed.
Allow the pie filling to cool down at least 15 minutes if you are going to place it into your pie shell and bake.
I absolutely LOVE using this pie filling in a homemade PRE-BAKED pie crust and then using a crumb topping.
Here is my recipe for a Homemade Pie Crust.
Here are the instructions for pre baking it: How to Pre-Bake a Pie Crust in the Ninja Foodi
Homemade Apple Pie Filling
- 4 pounds apples
- 1 orange zest & juice
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp fine grind sea salt
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp allspice
- Zest and juice the orange into the inner pot of the Ninja Foodi. Add the sugar to the inner pot.
- Core, peel and quarter the apples. Add them to the inner pot. Stir a few times while you are adding the apples to prevent browning.
- Put the pressure lid on and turn the valve to seal. Set the pressure to high and the time to ZERO minutes. After the pot builds pressure, it will beep that it is done. Do an immediate release.
- Stir the apples and break them up into smaller pieces if needed. I use my Mix 'N Chop and it works great.
- Add the vanilla extract. Stir and taste for seasonings. Add more seasonings and/or sugar if desired. Allow to cool until you are ready to use your pie filling.
- if you are using an 8qt Ninja Foodi or other pressure cooker, add ¼ cup of water or apple juice before pressure cooking.
ABOUT THE RECIPE AUTHOR, LOUISE LONG
Louise is a full-time recipe creator and food blogger @ The Salted Pepper. She has over 30 years of experience with cooking and recipe development. She owned a restaurant for several years and was a full-time RN until retiring to blog full-time.
She published her first cookbook in the Fall of 2018 and is very interested in writing several more.
Louise is also the creator of an online Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooking Course with over 100 instructional step-by-step videos. People absolutely rave about the course and all the value they have received from it.
Louise has several very active Facebook groups that help people with the basics of cooking and getting the most out of the Ninja Foodi.
Louise is also a YouTube creator and you can find most of her recipes in video format on The Salted Pepper YouTube channel.
She is very responsive to messages and eager to help in any way she can. Get more Information about Louise & contact information
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I should have read the reviews. Best Applesauce recipe! 😂😂😂 Used granny smith apples and opened the lid to find applesauce. I should have stuck to the traditional and not shortcut the process. But does make a tasty applesauce.
Many people have followed the recipe and it turns out perfectly for a pie filling. When I troubleshoot with people who experienced what you did, 9 times out of 10 they cut the apples into wedges instead of quarters. You have to keep them in big chunks or you will end up with chunky applesauce because the smaller apple pieces cook too quickly. I only quarter them. I will also say that this year the granny smith apples are tiny compared to the ones I used when testing the recipe so that might have something to do with it. To fix your issue, I would sauté some more apples and mix them into the "applesauce" and put it in your pie, it will be delicious!
Oy! 1 little error on my part…left me with applesauce 😢. I’m currently making this for Thanksgiving tomorrow, and was SO excited to try it…it was going great…until it wasn’t! I used 4 lbs. of Granny Smith’s, followed the recipe “exactly,” PC for 0 min, QR…and when I opened the lid, it was a big white fluffy mess of I didn’t know what!! I paused, reflected, re-read…and realized my error! I forgot to add the additional 1/4 c. liquid for the 8 qt. pot! Ugh! This is still amazing and it will still be made into an apple crumble tomorrow, but I thought it critically important to let others know what will happen if u forget to add the extra liquid in an 8 qt!!! Take it from me, it’s REEEALLY important!!! It will literally be the difference between what you are expecting (perfectly cooked, large chunky apples) and what you will get (delicious, but disappointing, applesauce). It’s still so absolutely delicious, that I don’t even really care, but it took me so by surprise, that I was like oh my word…this is a rookie mistake on my part, but others are sure to fall victim to the same error and then complain that they “followed the recipe to a T” and still got applesauce…well…if you forgot to add the additional liquid, like I did…u DIDN’T actually follow the recipe to a T, now did u? I printed out the recipe and had to note on the front, in large letters, NOT to forget to add the extra liquid! 🤣. Can’t wait to put it all together tomorrow…crust, crumble and *applesauce* filling…it’s gonna be awesome! I can’t wait to try it again….and actually follow the recipe to a T!! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! 😊
Did you quarter the apples? The extra liquid is to prevent the apples from burning to the bottom and giving you the water notice in the 8qt, but the size of the apples is super important so you don't end up with applesauce. My friend used her 8qt and made this recipe and the first time she cut her apples in 8 slices instead of 4 like the recipe calls for and had the same experience as you. I would love to know if your apples were quartered or cut smaller, if you don't mind letting me know.
Hi Louise! Thank you for the reply. Yes ma'am, I only quartered the apples. I used 6, rather large GS apples. I weighed them prior to cutting and coring them, and they weighed just about 4 lbs. That was one thing I wasn't sure of in your recipe, the 4 lbs. of apples, was that before or after cutting nd coring? I have another recipe I make and the author of the recipe specifically calls for the weight to be before cutting and coring, so I just assumed the same here. Based on your reply, I wonder now if the issue wasn't because of the additional liquid I didn't add, but because I maybe had too much liquid already from the orange. I used a rather large navel, and juiced the whole orange as you did. I didn't, however, measure the juice once I squeezed it to know how much actual liquid it produced. In your video, your orange produced about 2 1/2 TBS, I'm guessing based on my result, mine was much more. I'll make some adjustments the next time and see if I can figure out how to make it work. It was absolutely delicious none-the-less. I didn't have a pie pan that fit in my ninja, so I just used my Fat Daddio's 8' cake pan - it was more of a deep dish pie in the end, but it totally worked! I used your crust recipe and the crumble topping - and absolutely nothing about it was disappointing!!