Pie Guide: Thickeners

Fruit Pie Thickener Guide

How to make your best filling.

    You eagerly cut into your gorgeous fruit pie and… No! Its filling is awash in a sea of juice. Did you misjudge how much thickener to use? Ensure that your apple, blueberry, cherry, and other fruit pie fillings are perfectly thickened by following this handy guide.



    All-purpose flour is an easy solution, as you’re sure to have it in your pantry. Since it’s lower in starch, you'll use more of it than you would higher-starch thickeners.

    Quick-cooking tapioca makes filling bright and clear, but also gives it a stippled and somewhat sticky texture. Filling mixed with tapioca needs to rest 15 to 30 minutes before baking, for the tapioca to soften.

    Instant ClearJel keeps fillings thick through a great range of temperatures, making it ideal for pies that are frozen, before or after baking.

    Pie Filling Enhancer thickens fruit pie fillings the same way Instant ClearJel does. Its advantage is added ascorbic acid (which adds a bright, tart note), and superfine sugar, which prevents it from clumping. Pie Filling Enhancer is about half sugar; so you'll want to reduce the sugar in your recipe accordingly.

    Cornstarch has thickening power similar to Instant ClearJel. Like flour, it lends a cloudy, semi-transparent look to filling. It can also give filling a starchy taste. For full effectiveness, make sure the pie filling is bubbling up through the crust before removing your pie from the oven.

    Fruit Thickener For 1 Cup of Fruit For one 9" pie (8 cups of fruit)
    Apples

    Need the least amount of thickener, since they're less juicy. They're also high in natural pectin; pectin helps filling thicken.

    All-purpose flour 1 3/4 tsp 1/4 cup + 2 tsp
    Instant ClearJel 1/2 tsp 1 tbsp + 1 tsp
    Cornstarch 1/2 tsp 1 tbsp + 1 tsp
    Quick-cooking tapioca 3/4 tsp 2 tbsp
    Pie Filling Enhancer 1 1/2 tsp
    Reduce sugar by 3/4 tsp
    1/4 cup
    Reduce sugar by 2 tbsp
    Blackberries & Raspberries

    Are very juicy, and release even more liquid if they've been frozen; they need more thickener than apples.

    All-purpose flour 1 tbsp + 1 tsp 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp + 1 tsp
    Instant ClearJel 2 3/4 tsp 1/4 cup + 3 tbsp + 1 tsp
    Cornstarch 1 tbsp 1/2 cup
    Quick-cooking tapioca 1 tbsp 1/2 cup
    Pie Filling Enhancer 1 tbsp + 2 tsp
    Reduce sugar by 2 1/2 tsp
    3/4 cup + 2 tsp
    Reduce sugar by 6 tbsp + 1 tsp
    Blueberries

    These have a lot of pectin; they'll need a little less thickener than other berries.

    All-purpose flour 1 tbsp 1/2 cup
    Instant ClearJel 2 tsp 1/3 cup
    Cornstarch 2 1/2 tsp 6 tbsp + 2 tsp
    Quick-cooking tapioca 1 1/2 tsp 1/4 cup
    Pie Filling Enhancer 1 tbsp + 1 tsp
    Reduce sugar by 2 tsp
    1/3 cup
    Reduce sugar by 2 tbsp + 2 tsp
    Cherries

    Fresh cherries will need slightly less thickener than canned or frozen.

    All-purpose flour 1 tbsp 1/2 cup
    Instant ClearJel 2 1/2 tsp 6 tbsp + 2 tsp
    Cornstarch 2 1/2 tsp 6 tbsp + 2 tsp
    Quick-cooking tapioca 1 1/4 tsp 3 tbsp + 1 tsp
    Pie Filling Enhancer 1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp
    Reduce sugar by 2 tsp
    1/2 cup + 1 tbsp + 1 tsp
    Reduce sugar by 1/4 cup + 2 tsp
    Peaches, stone fruits

    Don't have quite as much pectin as apples; they're also juicier, so will require more thickener.

    All-purpose flour 2 1/2 tsp 6 tbsp + 2 tsp
    Instant ClearJel 2 1/2 tsp 6 tbsp + 2 tsp
    Cornstarch 2 1/2 tsp 6 tbsp + 2 tsp
    Quick-cooking tapioca 1 1/2 tsp 1/4 cup
    Pie Filling Enhancer 1 tbsp + 2 tsp
    Reduce sugar by 2 1/2 tsp
    3/4 cup + 1 tbsp + 1 tsp
    Reduce sugar by 6 tbsp + 2 tsp
    Strawberry/rhubarb

    The juiciest fruit with the least amount of pectin; these will require the most thickener.

    All-purpose flour 1 tbsp + 1 1/2 tsp 3/4 cup
    Instant ClearJel 2 1/2 tsp 6 tbsp + 2 tsp
    Cornstarch 1 tbsp + 1/4 tsp 1/2 cup + 2 tsp
    Quick-cooking tapioca 2 1/2 tsp 6 tbsp + 2 tsp
    Pie Filling Enhancer 2 tbsp
    Reduce sugar by 1 tbsp
    1 cup
    Reduce sugar by 1/2 cup

    Disclaimer: The information on this chart may differ from other recipes. If you’re following a King Arthur Flour recipe, follow the quantity listed on the recipe for the best results.

    Tips

    Through thin and thick

    • Remember that fresh farmers market fruit, especially berries, is often juicier than fruit you buy at the supermarket. Adjust your thickener accordingly.
    • Because steam from the filling is able to evaporate more quickly in streusel- or lattice-topped pies, as well as in those topped with pastry cutouts, these require a bit less thickener than pies made with a solid top crust.
    • To prevent your filling from clumping, mix thickener with the sugar in your recipe before adding to the fruit.
    • A just-baked fruit pie’s filling will be very hot out of the oven, and quite messy to serve. The filling will set as it cools; be sure to let your pie cool completely before cutting and serving.

    Connect with us

    Receive Recipes & Special Offers

    Our Social Communities

    Facebook Instagram Pinterest Twitter YouTube

    Get in Touch

    Chat | Email

    Certified B Corporation Logo
    100% Employee-owned logo
    1% For The Planet Logo
    100% Committed to Quality Logo