An apple pie filling substitute may be needed for a number of reasons, be it an allergy, a lack of ingredients, or you just don't like apples! On this list there are plenty of other fruity pie fillings to try, as well as a recipe for making your own apple pie filling from scratch! There are even gluten-free and sugar-free alternatives!
Best Apple Pie Filling Substitutes
Fall is in the air, and that means fall flavors! Not just fall flavors, but the best flavors for the holidays. Including warm apple pie. If you love apple pie, then you may wonder why you may need substitutes for apple pie filling.
The holidays can be a hectic time. Therefore, you may end up in a pinch where you simply don’t have the time to make homemade apple pie filling. Moreover, you may find that despite all your planning you don’t have all the ingredients needed for apple pie.
- Best Apple Pie Filling Substitutes
- What is Apple Pie Filling?
- 1. Homemade Apple Pie Filling
- 2. Sugar Free Apple Pie Filling
- 3. Gluten Free Apple Pie Filling
- Easy to Use Gluten-Free Thickeners
- Alternative Fruit Fillings
- 4. Pears
- 5. Peaches
- 6. Cherries & Berries
- 7. Baked Cinnamon Apples
- 8. Fruit Pie Fillings
- 📖 Recipe Card
- 💬 Reviews
On the other hand, you may have always bought pre-made apple pie filling from the grocery store and were not able to get to the store.
It’s also possible that while other people love apple pie, it is not your favorite. Therefore, you may want an apple pie filling substitute to meet everyone’s taste bud preferences.
What is Apple Pie Filling?
Apple pie filling is the ooey gooey deliciousness that makes up an apple pie. Without it, you would just have a crust.
The filling is made with baked apples that are coated in sugar and spices. The most common spices used in apple pie filling are cinnamon and nutmeg. In addition, flour is added to the mixture.
The addition of flour helps create the thick syrupy consistency of the apple pie when it is cooked. Without the addition of flour (or another starch), the pie filling is too runny.
As mentioned above, there are two methods for getting apple pie filling. You can buy it or make it. Depending on which method, you normally use, the other can be a substitute.
If you typically make your own apple pie filling, then consider store-bought filling as a substitute. On the other hand, if you normally buy the filling try making my homemade apple pie filling as an alternative.
1. Homemade Apple Pie Filling
If you have always made your apple pie with a store-bought filling, then try homemade apple pie filling this year! This is a great choice if you can’t find the brand of filling you typically buy or if you didn’t have time to get to the store.
Moreover, it gives you flexibility with the flavor. Therefore, if you have never found a storebought flavor you love (it may be the nutmeg) then you can adapt the recipe to meet your preferences.
For example, use only cinnamon or just a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg. Simply leave out the spices you don't want. In addition, you can modify ingredients to make a sugar-free or gluten-free filling.
While it takes some extra planning and preparation, making your own pie filling is quite easy. Just check out my no-fail homemade apple pie filling recipe!
2. Sugar Free Apple Pie Filling
While the sugary sweetness of apple pie is one of the reasons we love it, it is also one of the reasons we may avoid it.
Whether you have a health condition and you want to manage by lowering your sugar intake. Or you are simply being more aware of your diet, you can still enjoy the taste of the holidays with a few modifications.
The sugar used in apple pie filling is not just for sweetness. It is also an important ingredient in getting the right texture for the thick syrupy center. Therefore, rather than just leaving it out choose a sugar substitute.
There are several sugar-free alternatives on the market. Any sugar free alternative that you enjoy can be used. A few examples are Splenda, stevia, or monk fruit.
The important thing to remember is that many sugar substitutes are extra sweet! Therefore, it is important to read the packaging for each type to see the suggested ratio when using it as a substitute.
Be mindful that many sugar alternatives have an aftertaste. I suggest only using a substitute that you have baked with before.
3. Gluten Free Apple Pie Filling
To get the nice ooey-gooey texture for your filling you need to create a thick syrup to coat the apples in. Many recipes use flour to create this thick syrup.
However, you don’t have to use flour. There are plenty of gluten-free thickening agents you can use instead.
Easy to Use Gluten-Free Thickeners
Corn starch is a common thickening agent used in baking. It is naturally gluten-free and has a neutral flavor that won’t impact the taste of your pie. Use it in a 1:1 exchange for flour in your pie filling.
Arrowroot powder has a similar consistency to cornstarch. However, it is made from starchy tropical root vegetables. Many people prefer this substitute because it is not a corn byproduct. It can be used in a 1:1 swap for flour.
There are several gluten-free flours you can be at the grocery store. Look for one that is suggested for baking.
Follow the directions on the package for the right conversion. Be mindful that depending on what the gluten-free flour is made with it may have a mild taste (such as coconut flour).
In addition to these three easy gluten-free thickeners, there are several other alternatives. If you don’t have access to any of the ones mentioned above, look for another option in my all-purpose flour substitutes.
Once you have a gluten-free filling, make your favorite gluten-free pie crust or pick up a frozen one at the store. Many health food stores have different gluten-free pie crusts that are quite tasty.
Alternative Fruit Fillings
If you want an apple pie, then there is no substitute for real apples. However, if you want something with a warm fall flavor that resembles apple pie you have a few options for alternative fruit fillings.
Of all the fruit substitutes, pears offer the closest flavor and texture to apples. Therefore, if you want a similar taste to apple pie you can substitute pears.
Pears can be used in the same way that apples are used when making your own apple pie filling. Simply sub in an even 1:1 exchange of sliced or chopped pears.
Apples and pears have a similar flavor profile that will pair the same way with other flavors. So, you can use the same spices called for in the pie filling recipe when subbing in pears. You can also use pears to make a sugar-free or gluten-free filling.
Peaches tend to be more of a summer fruit than a fall fruit. However, they can be a yummy way to change an apple pie into a peach pie.
This is an especially great substitute for apple pie filling if you have extra canned peaches from the summer.
One thing to consider when subbing peaches for apples is the difference in sweetness. Peaches are naturally sweeter than apples. Therefore, while you still want to make a sweet syrup to bake them in you won’t need it to be quite as sweet.
Use about ¾ the amount of sugar if using fresh peaches. If using peaches that have been canned in syrup, start with ½ the amount of sugar.
Peaches pair well with cinnamon, but not as much with nutmeg. Therefore, leave the nutmeg out of the spices and consider adding an extra dash of cinnamon.
In addition, peaches have a softer texture than apples (and pears). To avoid having mushy peaches lower the cooking time by several minutes.
6. Cherries & Berries
Like peaches, cherries and berries are typically used in summer pies or cobblers. They can be a lovely swap for apples though if you have extras on hand (or if you don’t like apples). Here are a few of my favorite cherry and berry pie filling recipes:
For a fall flavor, explore a mixed berry pie that includes darker berries like raspberries and blackberries. You can elevate the warmth of the flavor with a dash of cinnamon. However, the nutmeg used in apple pie filling will not pair well with the berries. Avoid adding extra spices if using cherries.
As with a peach alternative, cherries and berries are naturally sweeter than apples. Therefore, use ½ to ¾ the amount of sugar depending on your desired level of sweetness.
*All of these can be made into gluten-free or sugar-free pies.
My tasty baked cinnamon apples are flavor-packed and an ideal candidate for filling any apple pie. Make a double batch to fill a pie and serve with my apple cider pancakes!
One recipe, as written in the recipe card (using 4 apples) can fill 1 apple pie. I usually like alot of apples in my pies, so I would most likely make more!
8. Fruit Pie Fillings
In addition to the store-bought apple pie filling, there are many other fruit fillings to choose from. These can be a great apple pie alternative if you already have a different fruit pie filling on hand at home.
This will change your pie from an apple pie to cherry, peach, or other fruit pie. Depending on what’s available and your flavor preferences any of these are good choices for a tasty holiday dessert.
Any of these apple pie filling substitutes will help you make delicious holiday (or just because) desserts! Tell us which substitute you chose and how your pie turned out by leaving a message below!
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📖 Recipe Card
Best Apple Pie Filling Substitute: Homemade Apple Pie Filling (+ More Great Alternatives!)
- Use my homemade apple pie filling, a sugar-free store-bought canned apple pie filling, or my tasty baked cinnamon apples to fill 1 apple pie.1 batch apple pie filling, 42 oz sugar-free canned apple pie filling, 1 batch baked cinnamon apples
- To see more gluten-free alternatives in your homemade apple pie, see the post section linked here.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!