Canning apple slices at home is an easy way to enjoy the autumnal flavor of in-season apples throughout the entire year.
Best Varieties of Apples for Canning
Syrup for Canning Apples
Canned apples can be prepared using several different types of canning liquid. Fruit juices such as apple, pear, and grape as well as homemade canning syrups, are all good options to explore.
While it is possible to use plain water as a canning liquid, I find that it mutes the flavor of the apples considerably, undermining all your hard work and canning preparation.
Extra light syrup is my go-to liquid when I’m canning most kinds of fruit.
It’s sweet but not exceedingly so, and it matches the sweetness of the apples without covering up any of the fruit’s bright flavor profile. I typically use cane sugar but maple syrup and honey can also be substituted with excellent results.
How to make extra light syrup for canning apples:
For a 7-quart canner batch use 10 1/2 cups water and 1 1/4 cups sugar
For a 9-pint canner batch use 6 1/2 cups of water and 3/4 cup sugar
If you prefer a sweeter or heavier syrup for canning, check out this canning syrup table for further instructions.
How to Can Apples
Ways to Use Home Canned Apple Slices
Once the canning process is complete, it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor!
Top yogurt, muesli, or oats with canned apple slices, adding an optional sprinkle of golden raisins and pinch of cinnamon for a comforting breakfast on cold mornings.
Canned apples work particularly well in dessert recipes, especially in apple crumbles and crisps, quick breads, bars, and yeasted coffee cakes. Unless otherwise specified, I recommend draining the canned apple slices before using them in a baking recipe as they absorb (and release) a surprising amount of canning liquid.
My all-time favorite way to use home-canned apple slices is in a simple compote (such as this recipe for apple compote from the New York Times). Apple compote, which is essentially a less refined but equally-as-tasty take on fresh applesauce, is delicious when served warm on top of pancakes, folded into crepes, or piled onto homemade waffles.
In my opinion, however, there’s no better use for apple compote than spooning it over a generous scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream.
This easy method for making canned apple slices means you'll be able to enjoy the flavor of in-season apples all year round.
- 19 pounds apples (roughly 40 to 55 apples, depending on size)
- Canning syrup, juice, or water *see note
- (Optional: lemon juice or ascorbic acid to prevent browning)
1. Prepare a water bath canner.
2. Prepare apples for canning by peeling the fruit and then cutting it into uniform slices (approximately 1/2 inch thick).
3. As you work, place the peeled and sliced apple pieces into a bowl of cool water with a generous splash of lemon juice to prevent browning (or dissolve 1/2 teaspoon absorbic acid into 8 cups of cool water).
4. Bring a pot of your preferred canning liquid to a boil (see note below on canning liquids).
5. Remove apple slices from water and drain off any excess liquid.
6. Carefully add the apple slices to the boiling canning liquid and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples are heated through. Be sure to stir gently, so that the apple slices don't fall apart.
7. Pack the apples into canning jars, being mindful to leave 1/2 inch headspace. Ladle canning liquid over the top of the apple slices while maintaining a 1/2 inch headspace.
8. De-bubble canning jars and make any final headspace adjustments before capping the jars with 2 part canning lids.
9. Process the jars in a water bath canner for 20 minutes for both pints and quarts. (Recipe is written for a 7-quart canner batch below 1000 feet in elevation, see notes for other batch sizes and elevations).
10. Once the canning time is complete, remove the jars and cool on a towel on the counter. After 24 hours, check seals and store any unsealed jars in the refrigerator for immediate use.
Sealed jars of properly canned apple slices will maintain peak quality in the pantry for 12 to 18 months.
Batch Size ~ It takes roughly 19 pounds of whole apples to fill a canner batch of 7 quarts (about 2 3/4 pound per quart). For pints, estimate 12 3/4 pounds of apples for a 9-pint canner batch (or about 1 1/4 pounds apples per pint).
Canning Syrup for Apples ~ Apples can be canned in a variety of liquids, including plain water or fruit juices (apple, pear, or grape). Keep in mind that if you plan on using fruit juice, apple juice will preserve the flavor of the apples the most effectively.
Most people choose to can apples in a syrup of some kind, and I prefer canning in an extra light syrup that uses 10 1/2 cups water and 1 1/4 cup sugar for a 7-quart canner batch. For a table with various syrups from extra light to heavy, and various batch sizes (quart and pint) please see this canning syrup table.
Adjusting for Altitude ~ The standard processing times for canning sliced apples is 20 minutes for both pints and quarts if under 1,000 feet in elevation.
For 1,000 to 3,000 feet times are 25 min for pints and quarts.
For 3,000 to 6,000 feet times are 30 min for pints and quarts.
Above 6,000 feet times are 35 min for pints and quarts.
Ways to Preserve Apples
Looking for more ways to preserve apples this season?
- Canning Apple Cider
- Apple Cider Syrup
- Apple Butter
- Canning Applesauce
- Apple Wine
- Hard Cider
- Apple Jam
- Canning Apple Pie Filling
- Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar
Fall Canning Recipes