Canning Apples Guide and Traditional Apple Canning Recipe

Apple canning supplies outside in apple orchard on table
Fresh apples are acidic and safe for pressure canning or processing in a water bath. Wash, peel, core, and chop the apples into 1/2-inch slices. Hot pack the apples into canning jars and process in a water bath for 20-35 minutes or in a pressure canner for 8 minutes.

Is it Safe to Water Bath Can Apples?

Yes – it’s safe to process apples in a water bath. According to Clemson University, these crunchy fruits have a pH of 3.3-4.0 and have enough acidity to prevent the growth of Clostridium botulinum bacteria.

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Sliced red apples on a cutting board

Traditional Sliced Apples Canning Recipe

  • Author: Regie
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes


Canning apples is a wonderful way to preserve your apple harvest for use all year long! Whether you wish to stock up your pantry or give homemade gifts for the holidays, this canning recipe for canning apples makes a tasty treat!


  • 19 pounds of apples (4055 medium apples)
  • Water, canning syrup, or fruit juice
  • Ascorbic acid or bottled lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar (if making syrup)


  1. Inspect your canning jars for cracks or any other defects.
  2. Wash jars, rings, and lids in hot soapy water and rinse thoroughly. Set lids aside to dry at room temperature.
  3. Prepare your water bath canner. Add a canning rack and fill halfway with water. Set it on a stove to preheat to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Submerge your clean jars in the simmering water as you work on the other ingredients.
  4. Prepare acidulated water in a large bowl by dissolving ½ teaspoon of ascorbic acid in 2 quarts of water.
  5. Select fresh, firm, spot-free, sweet, and tart apples. Wash them thoroughly under cool running water while scrubbing gently using a vegetable brush to remove dirt.
  6. Peel the skins using a sharp paring knife or apple peeler.
  7. Core the apples using a corer and cut them into uniform ½-inch thick slices. Drop the slices into the bowl of acidulated water to prevent browning when cutting the fruit.
  8. In a separate large pot, add 2 cups of extra-light canning syrup, apple juice, or water. Bring the canning liquid to a boil. To make light syrup, combine 1/2 cup sugar per quart of water, then heat the mixture until the sugar dissolves.
  9. Remove apple slices from acidulated water and drain thoroughly. Put them in the boiling syrup, water, or fruit juice and boil together for 5 minutes. Stir the mixture gently to prevent scorching.
  10. Pack the hot apples with the hot syrup into hot jars using a canning funnel. Leave 1/2-inch headspace.
  11. Run a non-metallic utensil along the jar edges to remove air bubbles.
  12. Wet a clean cloth with hot water and wipe the jar rims. Place warm lids on the jars, and apply screw bands until fingertip tight.
  13. Place filled jars into your boiling water canner using a jar lifter. Add more boiling water if necessary to cover the tops of the jars by 1-2 inches.
  14. Bring the water to a rolling boil, then cover the canner with a lid. The processing time is 20-35 minutes according to altitude for both pints and quarts:

Water Bath Processing

  • 0 – 1,000ft: 20 minutes
  • 1,001 – 3,000ft: 25 minutes
  • 3,001 – 6,000ft: 30 minutes
  • 6,001ft and above: 35 minutes

Post Processing

  1. Once your timer beeps, turn off your stove. Open the canner’s lid and wait for 5 minutes.
  2. Transfer the processed jars to a cake cooling rack or towel-covered counter using a jar lifter. Give them 12-24 hours to cool.
  3. After cooling, test seals by pressing the center of each lid. If the jars are sealed, the lids don’t flex up and down. Refrigerate unsealed jars and use the contents immediately.
  4. For sealed jars, remove the rings and wipe them with a damp cloth. Write the canning date and contents on the exterior of each jar. Store your canned apples in a cool, dark, clean, dry place and use them within 18 months.

Pressure Canning Directions

If you prefer to use a pressure canner rather than a water bath canner, prepare the pressure canner per the manufacturer’s instructions and process both pints and jars for 8 minutes using the correct pressure for your canner type and elevation:

Dial-Gauge Pressure Canner

  • 0 – 2,000ft: 6 lbs
  • 2,001 – 4,000ft: 7 lbs
  • 4,001 – 6,000ft: 8 lbs
  • 6,001ft and up: 9 lbs

Weighted Gauge Pressure Canner

  • 0 – 1,000ft: 5 lbs
  • 1,001ft and up: 10 lbs

Post Processing

  1. Once processing time lapses, turn off the heat. Allow the canner to depressurize fully before opening the lid.
  2. Remove the jars from the hot water using canning tongs and place them on a draft-fre, cushioned surface to cool at room temperature for 12-24 hours.
  3. Check seals, remove screw bands, wipe jars, and label the jars. Store the jars in a cool, clean, dry area away from direct sunlight.
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Canning Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes


  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 61kcal
  • Sugar: 12g
  • Sodium: 1.2mg
  • Fat: 0.2g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 16g
  • Fiber: 2.8g
  • Protein: 0.3g
  • Cholesterol: 0g

Can You Can Apples By Themselves?

Yes – it’s safe to can plain apples in a water bath or pressure canner. Apples are relatively acidic and can be sliced and heat-processed safely.

Many types of apples are well-suited for canning. Pie apple varieties are the best, including Honeycrisp, Fuji, Cortland, Braeburn, Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Pink Lady, Granny Smith, and Jazz are the best apples because they are sweet and don’t lose their shape.

Apple harvest on a farm with crates full of different types of apples
Apple harvest

Do You Have to Use Lemon Juice When Canning Apples?

No – you can use ascorbic acid or vitamin C tablets instead of bottled lemon juice to make acidulated water when canning apples. According to the University of Illinois, ascorbic acid is more effective than lemon juice since it prevents discoloration while enhancing the nutritional value of apple recipes without changing the flavor.   

Can You Raw Pack Apples When Canning?

Yes, but it is not advised. According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, raw packs produce a poorer quality product when canning apples.

Apple sliced and cinnamon sticks and star anise placed raw into canning jar
Raw pack apples

How Long Does it Take to Can Apples?

The processing time for processing apple slices in a water bath is 20-35 minutes for both quarts and pints. Pressure canning the same apples takes 8 minutes in both weighted-gauge and dial-gauge canners.

Canning apple chunks and whole apples outdoors
Canning apples

Can You Can Apples Without a Canner?

Yes – you can make pickled apples and enjoy them for up to three months. Other methods of preserving apples include dehydrating them and making applesauce, apple butter, or apple jam.

How to Make Pickled Apples

  1. Wash 12 pounds of firm, tart apples with a maximum diameter of 2 and 1/2 inches each in cool, running water. Rinse well.
  2. Peel the apples, cut them into ½ inch slices, and remove the core part. Put the slices into an ascorbic acid solution or lemon water to prevent discoloration.
  3. In a separate pot, make a flavored syrup by combining 12 cups sugar, 1 and 1/4 cups white vinegar, 6 cups water, 3 tablespoons of whole cloves, 8 cinnamon sticks, and one teaspoon of red food coloring, if desired.
  4. Bring the mixture to a full boil before simmering for 3 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent burning.
  5. Put the apples in a colander and drain thoroughly. Add the drained fruits to the simmering spiced syrup, stir, and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  6. Transfer the apples into sterilized wide-mouth jars and wait for them to cool to room temperature before sealing them and stacking them in your refrigerator for up to 3 months.
Bowl of pickled apples
Whole pickled apples

What are the Benefits of Canning Apples?

  • Convenience. A jar of canned apple slices is an ingredient perfect for breakfast or dessert!
  • Health benefits. Apples are healthy, and a recent study linked apples’ phytochemicals, vitamin C, fiber, vitamin K, potassium, and minerals to increased lung function and weight loss.
  • Saves money. Canning apples in season prevent waste and are cheaper than buying fresh apples from the grocery store.
  • Saves space. Home-canned apples are shelf-stable and save valuable freezer space.
  • Versatility. Sliced apples can be eaten straight from the jar or added as an ingredient in apple cakes and crumbles or used as a topping for ice cream or yogurt!

How to Store Canned Apples

Store canned apples in a cool, dry place around 50°F – 70°F, away from direct sunlight or fluctuating temperatures. Keep the jars in a well-aerated space to prevent dampness which may corrode metallic lids. Further, ensure the pantry or cabinet shelf is clean to avoid contamination.

How Long Do Canned Apples Last?

Home-canned apples have a shelf life of 12-18 months if stored properly. However, the USDA recommends a best-used-by date of 1 year from the canning day for best quality. Opened canned jars last up to 7 days in the refrigerator.


Growing up as a farm girl, Regie assisted her grandparents in canning sheep meat and helped her mother sell canned carrots. This grew her passion for canning from a young age. As a writer, she uses her canning experience to give creative, practical ideas for preserving different foods to canning enthusiasts.

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