Okay, maybe the Fourth of July or the Twenty-fourth of November is getting closer. Or, perhaps you’d just like to cook apple pie for today’s dinner dessert.
Whichever the case, you’re trying to come up with ways to up your apple pie game. Right now, you’re looking for cooking methods to thicken your recipe’s filling.
Well, you’re in luck!
In this post, we’ll teach you seven easy ways how to thicken apple pie filling. Plus, we’ll only use ingredients you can easily get your hands on!
Interested? Continue reading, and let’s help you improve your apple pie recipe.
Holiday or not, a deliciously made apple pie is the perfect way to end every meal. That said, what makes a great apple pie but a thick and firm fruit filling?
Without further delay, let’s look at the best ways you can make your apple pie filling thicker.
When it comes to thickening fillings, cornstarch is at the top of our list. For years, cornstarch has been the usual choice as a thickening agent for many pie recipes.
It’s a basic baking ingredient, and you probably have a box or two sitting inside your pantry or cupboards. Well, it’s time to put it to good use and thicken that pie.
To achieve the right thickness of your apple pie, you need to have the right amount of cornstarch in every cup of fruit you use.
The suggested starch-to-fruit ratio is to use half a teaspoon of cornstarch for every cup of apple.
So, say you’re cooking a 9-inch pie and using 8 cups of apples. This means you’ll need to use 3 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to get the right thickness of filling.
Another thing to remember is to make sure that the apple pie filling is bubbling up through the crust before you take it out of the oven. This is to ensure that your thickener is working and that you won’t end up with soup rather than a pie!
Like cornstarch, flour gives you that semi-transparent, cloudy-ish pie filling that’s so appetizing to look at.
On top of that, flour is also a typical kitchen ingredient, so getting your hands on it would be easy enough. You may even have some sitting in the dusty corners of your kitchen right now!
Well, how do we use all-purpose flour to thicken that apple pie filling?
Unlike cornstarch, flour has a lower amount of starch. For that reason, you’ll need to use more of it to achieve the same thick result as cornstarch and other high-starch thickening agents.
For this method, use 1⅓ to 2 teaspoons of all-purpose flour for every cup of apples. For a regular 9-inch pie with 8 cups of sliced apples, you’d need 14 to 16 teaspoons of flour.
Instant tapioca, also known as quick-cooking tapioca, is a granulated starch from the cassava plant. It’s typically used as a thickening agent for gravies, doughs, soups, and pies.
Compared to cornstarch and flour, instant tapioca gives your pie stuffing a sticky texture with a translucent and bright look. It’s a good starch for a stable pie filling!
One thing to remember, though, is that instant tapioca is a par-cooked ingredient. Hence, when using it as a thickener for your apple pie, allow the filling to sit for about 15 to 30 minutes before putting it in the oven.
For a fruit pie filling, you can use 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoons of instant tapioca per fruit cup.
So, let’s say you want a bigger 12-inch apple pie with 11 cups of sliced apples. For that, you’d need 5½ to 8¼ teaspoons of instant tapioca.
Clear Jel is one of the most recommended apple pie filling thickeners out there. It’s a modified cornstarch used in both canned and baked fruit pie fillings.
It’s a great thickening agent that keeps your apple fillings thick in cold or heat, before or even after baking. This means that even if you store your apple pie in the freezer, its stuffed filling will retain its consistency and not turn into a gooey mess.
Use Clear Jel like how you’d use regular cornstarch. Mix in 1/2 teaspoon of it for every cup of apple.
Pie filling enhancer can thicken your apple pie filling, similar to what Clear Jel does. Hence, it’s another great way to make that firm and appetizing pie stuffing!
One of its distinctive properties is that it adds a tart flavor because of the added ascorbic acid. It also contains super-fine sugar that helps prevent clumping while baking.
When you use a pie filling enhancer for your apple pie, remember that it already contains a considerable amount of sugar. For this reason, you’ll need to adjust the sugar you put into that pie accordingly.
For every cup of apples, use 1½ teaspoon of pie filling enhancer and reduce 3/4 to 1 teaspoon of sugar.
Arrowroot powder, or arrowroot flour, is a starch made from the roots of the arrowroot plant, which is native to Indonesia. It’s an ideal thickening agent for apple pie filling, as it could endure prolonged high-temperature cooking.
When used, arrowroot powder produces a glossy-clear, but somewhat sticky texture, that helps to hold the apples in your filling. It also has a neutral flavor.
The starch-to-apple ratio when using arrowroot as a thickening agent is similar to cornstarch. That’s 1/2 teaspoon of arrowroot powder per cup of apple.
As the name suggests, our next ingredient is a starch powder that’s extracted from potatoes. It absorbs moisture well, making it a great thickening agent for fruit pies.
One of the advantages of potato starch is that it can endure high cooking temperatures better than cornstarch. It’s also a great way to hold that apple filling, minus the pasty or chalky texture that your typical flour gives.
If you want this starch for your apple pies, use an amount similar to the amount you’d use as your flour. That’s 1⅓ to 2 teaspoons of potato starch per cup of apple.
Since we’re talking about filling thickness, is there a standard for how thick apple pie filling should be?
Well, there’s a general agreement among bakers that fruit pie fillings should never be runny or watery. Your filling’s consistency should be enough to hold the apples inside as you slice through your pie.
One thing to note, though, is that apples contain a lot of pectins. Pectin is the “glue” that helps the fruit retain its shape and juice when you bake them, and it helps thicken your apple pie filling.
For that reason, when you use apples as a base for your pie, it needs the least amount of thickener than, say, strawberry or blueberry pies.
Still, there are a few things you could do to ensure that your apple pie filling is firm enough.
To get your desired thickness, you can try precooking the filling or reducing the apple juice. Or, you can try putting vents on your crust, and let your pie cool down for a few hours.
Most importantly, let your pie bake thoroughly!
Even a pie that’s made with the perfect ratio of ingredients may appear excessively soft or juicy the moment you take it out of your oven.
However, as we said earlier, letting the pie cool down will help with the filling’s thickness.
If you intend to refrigerate your pie, use thickening agents that work well at both moderate and cold temperatures. Clear Jel and instant tapioca would be your best choices.
So, the next time you’re thinking of cooking apple pie for your family dinner, make sure to hold your appetite and let it sit for a few hours before serving it.
Making your apple pie filling thicker would improve the overall pie experience. After all, who wouldn’t prefer a smooth, firm filling over a runny, watery mess?
Remember the seven methods we discussed here whenever you’re wondering how to thicken apple pie filling. That’s cornstarch, flour, instant tapioca, Clear Jel, pie filling enhancer, arrowroot powder, and potato starch, for you.
Through this guide, we hope you’re now able to make the perfect thickness of apple pie filling worthy of a holiday treat. Bon appétit!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.