Canning Blueberry Pie Filling Recipe and Expert Tips

Blueberry pie with fresh blueberries
Prepare the blueberry pie filling by cooking fresh blueberries, sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, and salt until thickened. Fill sterilized canning jars with the hot blueberry pie filling, leaving ½ inch of headspace. Process the filled jars in a boiling water canner for 30 - 45 minutes.

Should Blueberry Pie Filling Be Pressure Canned or Water Bath Canned?

A boiling water canner is preferred when canning blueberry pie filling and other high-acid foods with a pH of less than 4.6. A water bath canner reaches 212°F at sea level, effectively killing dangerous bacteria that may be present. The natural acidity of the food also prevents the growth of the bacteria that causes botulism, ensuring safe preservation.

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Blueberry pie filling in a jar

Canning Recipe for Blueberry Pie Filling

  • Author: Adam
  • Total Time: 90 minutes
  • Yield: 8 pints 1x


This easy recipe for blueberry pie filling stands out due to its perfect balance of sweetness and tartness, highlighting the natural flavor of fresh blueberries. Its thick and luscious texture, combined with carefully selected ingredients, guarantees a delightful and irresistible filling for your pies.


  • 14 cups of blueberries, washed and de-stemmed
  • 3⅓ cups sugar
  • 1⅓ cups Clear Jel
  • ¼ cup of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp of nutmeg
  • 1 cup water


  1. Fill your water bath canner with two inches of water and set it on a stove over low heat.
  2. Sterilize the jars by boiling them in water with dish soap or using the sterilize cycle on your dishwasher.
  3. Clean the canning lids and bands with warm soapy water.
  4. Warm up the jars by placing them in the canner.
  5. Bring a large stainless steel pot of water to a boil and add blueberries, cooking for one minute.
  6. Drain the blueberries, saving the blueberry water in a bowl and keeping the blueberries covered.
  7. In the same pot, combine sugar and Clear-Jel, whisk in 4 cups of reserved blueberry liquid, and boil.
  8. Reduce heat. Simmer the mixture, stirring it constantly until it thickens. Add lemon juice and nutmeg, and cook for one minute while stirring.
  9. Remove from heat and gently fold in the warm blueberries.
  10. Take one hot jar at a time from the canner, and use a ladle to fill them with hot pie filling, leaving 1 inch of headspace.
  11. Remove air bubbles with a soft kitchen instrument.
  12. Wipe the jar rims with a damp paper towel, place the lid on, and screw the band down until fingertip tight.
  13. Submerge the jars in the canner, ensuring they are fully covered with water. Bring the water to a boil and process pint jars and quart jars for 30-45 minutes per elevation:

Water Bath Canner Processing Time

  • 0 – 1,000ft: 30 minutes
  • 1,001 – 3,000ft: 35 minutes
  • 3,001 – 6,000ft: 40 minutes
  • 6,001ft and up: 45 minutes

Post Processing

  1. Turn off the heat after the processing time and remove the canner lid. The jars should sit in the canner for 5 minutes.
  2. Carefully transfer the jars to a clean towel or protected surface using canning tongs or a jar lifter. Leave them to cool on a cushioned countertop for 12 to 24 hours.
  3. Test the seals by gently pressing the center of the lids with your thumbs to check for proper sealing. Remove the screw bands and store sealed jars in a cool, dry place. For unsealed jars, reprocess with new canning lids or refrigerate and use the contents within 7 days.


Clear-Jel is the preferred choice for canning blueberry pie filling over flour and cornstarch. It prevents clumping and maintains consistency when exposed to canning heat.

Frozen blueberries may be substituted for fresh blueberries in this recipe – simply thaw them first.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Canning Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes


  • Serving Size: 260g
  • Calories: 471kcals
  • Sugar: 98g
  • Sodium: 31mg
  • Fat: 0.5g
  • Carbohydrates: 115g
  • Fiber: 6.8g
  • Protein: 1.1g

Can You Freeze Canned Blueberry Pie Filling?

Yes, you can freeze canned blueberry pie filling. Once the filling has been properly canned and cooled, you can transfer it to a freezer-safe container or freezer bag, leaving some headspace for expansion. Once stored in a freezer, blueberry pie filling has a shelf life of one year.

Can You Can Blueberry Pie Filling Without Sugar?

It is possible to can blueberry pie filling without sugar. However, sugar serves multiple purposes in pie fillings, including providing sweetness, helping to thicken the filling, and enhancing the flavor of the blueberries.

You can explore alternative sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, or artificial sweeteners if you omit sugar. The texture and taste of the filling may be different without sugar, and it may affect the canned filling’s overall quality and shelf life. Always follow a tested canning recipe when substituting ingredients for the best results.

Types of sweeteners including honey, agave, maple syrup, and table sugar

Is Pectin or Cornstarch Required for Canning Blueberry Pie Filling?

Pectin or cornstarch is typically used in canning blueberry pie filling to thicken the mixture and create the desired consistency. Pectin is a natural thickening agent derived from fruit often used in making jams and jellies. Cornstarch is a starch extracted from corn that also acts as a thickener.

Adding pectin or cornstarch helps prevent the pie filling from becoming too runny or watery during the canning process. This allows the filling to be set properly and maintain its texture when canned. Pectin gives a smoother and more gel-like consistency, while cornstarch produces a slightly thicker and more pudding-like texture.

What is the Best Way to Thicken Blueberry Pie Filling?

The optimum method for thickening blueberry pie filling is using a thickening agent like cornstarch, Clear-jel, or tapioca starch. It is advised to thicken the filling before canning rather than attempting to reduce it after canning. Thickeners like cornstarch require heat to activate their thickening properties, and the canning process involves high heat.

However, it is important that the contents are liquid enough to drip easily off of a spoon to ensure proper heat penetration during the canning process. Do not over-thicken fillings.

Blueberry pie filling on a plate with a spoon with large chunks of fruit and a thin, sauce like consistency
Blueberry filling consistency

What are the Benefits of Canning Blueberry Pie Filling?

  • Convenience: Canning blueberry pie filling allows you to have ready-to-use filling on hand, saving time and effort when making pies.
  • Extended shelf life: Canning extends the shelf life of blueberries far longer than other methods.
  • Portability: Canned blueberry pie filling is easily transportable, making it convenient for picnics, gatherings, or gifts.
  • Preserving nutrients: Canned blueberry pie filling has potassium, calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin C, the same as fresh blueberries.
  • Seasonal availability: Canning allows you to enjoy blueberry pie filling even when blueberries are out of season, as you can preserve them at their peak freshness.
  • Versatility: Canned blueberry pie filling can be used for various recipes beyond pies, such as a topping for desserts like cheesecake or ice cream.

How to Store Canned Blueberry Pie Filling

  1. Store canned blueberry pie filling in a cool, dark place to maintain quality and shelf life.
  2. Choose a location with a temperature range of 50°F to 70°F for optimal storage conditions.
  3. Ensure the storage area is dry and free from direct sunlight, as exposure to light can cause the filling to deteriorate.
  4. Keep the jars upright to prevent potential leakage or damage.
  5. Keep jars stored at least 6 inches off the ground to prevent metal corrosion of canning lids.

How Long Is Canned Blueberry Pie Filling Good For?

Canned blueberry pie filling has a shelf life of 1 to 2 years when stored properly in a cool, dark place. For best results, use the blueberry pie filling within one year from the canning date.

Blueberry pie filling in open jar with a spoon
Blueberry pie filling

Is it Possible to Can Any Kind of Pie Filling?

While many types of pie fillings can be successfully canned, there are certain considerations and limitations to keep in mind:

Pie Fillings That Can Be Canned

  1. Fruit-based fillings: Fruits such as blueberries, apples, and cherries are commonly canned as pie fillings.
  2. Acidic fillings: Pie fillings with high acidity levels, such as those made with citrus fruits or added lemon juice, can be safely canned using a water bath canning method.

Pie Fillings That Should Not Be Canned

  1. Dairy-based fillings: Pie fillings that contain dairy products, such as cream or custard fillings, cannot be safely canned due to the risk of bacterial growth.
  2. Low-acid or dense fillings: Thick puree like pumpkin cannot be safely canned due to low acidity and dense consistency.
  3. Meringue toppings: Pie fillings topped with meringue cannot be canned as the meringue loses its texture during the canning process.


Adam was fascinated from an early age by his father's car and his mum's kitchen. His love of home food preparation stems from her. From baking to roasting and freezing to canning, he has always followed the lessons she taught him all those years ago.

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