How to Thicken a Pie Filling

A watery pie filling is a definite no-no. Yet, it’s one of the most common problems bakers encounter when baking a pie. Luckily, many ingredients can help to thicken up your pie filling. The key is to choose the right one and use it correctly.

To thicken a pie, begin by choosing the thickening agent. Cornstarch and flour are the two most common choices. Then, stir the thickener with the fruit and sugar before baking. How much thickener is required depends solely on the type of fruit used.

Hello! My name’s Michelle. I’m a home baker with over ten years of experience. I’ll be honest that I don’t make pies as often as other treats. However, I’ve made enough of them to know how to thicken them correctly. After all, nobody wants a sea of filling when slicing their baked goodie!

Keep reading to discover how to thicken a pie filling.

How to Thicken a Pie Filling in 3 Easy Steps

Your pie filling should be juicy – not just juice. That said, if you notice that your pie filling is lacking in the “thick” department, you might be looking for a helping hand.

Here’s how to thicken your pie filling with ease.

Step 1: Choose a Thickening Agent

Your first step is to choose a thickening agent.

There are many options to choose from. Let’s take a closer look.


Cornstarch is undeniably the most popular (and common) choice for thickening pie filling. It works like a charm – and you don’t even need to use that much! When used in the right amount, and provide a lovely gloss to your filling. It’s a win-win.


The runner-up thickening agent is flour. Needless to say, most people have flour stored in their cabinet, so it’s a handy option. However, it’s not as powerful as cornstarch, so you’ll need to use a little more. It produces a matte finish, which isn’t too noticeable or undesirable.

Instant ClearJel

Not a whole lot of people have Instant ClearJel in their pantry. But if you do, you should definitely use it to thicken your pie filling – especially if you plan to freeze it before or after baking. Instant ClearJel thickens beautifully and can handle a range of temperatures.

Pie Filling Enhancer

Pie filling enhancer is designed to, well, enhance pies. Is it really any wonder why I added it to this list of the best pie-filling thickeners? A pie-filling enhancer will definitely thicken your pie filling. It adds a tartiness while fending off clumping. However, it’s loaded with sugar – so you’ll need to cut down the sugar content in your recipe.

Step 2: Decide How Much thickener to Add

By now, you’ve likely decided what type of thickener you’ll add to your pie. That’s great and all, but how much do you add?

That comes down to the type of pie you’re baking.

Pies that are made with apples and blueberries don’t need as much. That’s because they’re loaded with pectin, a natural thickener.

Other fruits, like raspberries and blueberries, will need a bit more help. Frozen fruits are also more watery and juicy, so they’ll require some more of the thickening agent to thicken up.

Generally, you’ll only want to add a teaspoon per cup of fruit for high-pectin fruit fillings. Frozen fruits and those with low pectin content will need about a tablespoon to thicken up correctly. 

If you’re using flour, you’ll need to double the amount.

Step 3: Mix With the Sugar and Fruit

Now that you have your thickening agent, it’s time to finish the job.

The best time to add your thickener is when you stir the fruit and sugar together. This will allow it to distribute correctly before you bake your pie.


Thickening a pie filling is as easy as pie. (Yes, I just went there.) And if you’re not entirely put off by my hilarious jokes, I recommend checking out these frequently asked questions. You might learn a few more things about this topic!

Is flour or cornstarch better for thickening pie filling?

Honestly, flour and cornstarch are both excellent options for thickening pie filling. However, cornstarch seems to take the number one prize. That’s because you don’t need to use as much of it. You will also enjoy a glossier finish, which is always enjoyable when gazing at pie fillings.

What happens if my pie filling is too runny?

If your pie filling is too runny, don’t panic – you can still save it. The best thing to do is to get rid of any of the excess juices and bake the pie for a little while longer. Then, allow it to cool entirely. The pie filling will thicken as it cools, so don’t try to rush the process.

Will the pie filling thicken as it cools?

Pie filling thickens as it cools. That said, you shouldn’t try to slice your pie prematurely. If you cut into your pie before it’s done cooling, your pie filling will not have the opportunity to thicken as it is supposed to. Be patient!

Thickening a Pie Filling is Essential – and Simple!

To thicken a pie filling, all you need to do is decide on the type of thickening agent you’ll use and mix it with the fruit and sugar. Viola! Perfectly thickened pie!

What type of thickening agent do you use for your pie fillings? Do you have any tips or tricks to share?

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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