Save a major step in your holiday baking with our taste-test winners.

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As much as I love to bake, sometimes the muss and fuss is more than I can handle. Not every occasion requires a from-scratch moment, whether it is a casual weeknight dessert or a holiday gathering when you have way too much on your plate to add one more thing to the to-do list. 

Thank goodness for apple pie! Everyone loves it, it's perfect this time of year, and it's a dessert that lends itself to a few shortcuts. Obviously, pie crusts and shells can be easily sourced at your grocery store and stored in your freezer to have on hand for these moments. But crust is only half the battle when it comes to pie, and fillings are often where the real effort comes in.

Apple pie
Credit: Getty / chas53

Which made me wonder: Are grocery store apple pie fillings worth using? Can I use this shortcut that takes away the peeling, coring, and slicing? I tested all the available brands of apple pie fillings, and the answer is yes! Sure, it won't taste exactly like homemade, but you'll be surprised at how good they can be. Here are the 6 best apple pie fillings to stock up on this season. 

Apple pie fillings
Credit: Courtesy Duncan Hines, Kroger

Best for the holidays (tie!): Duncan Hines Comstock Simply Apple and Kroger Apple Pie Filling

These two canned fillings had everything you want in a pie filling. Packed with apples, not-mushy texture, a hint of cinnamon, and a clean gel with no added artificial flavors. Either of these makes a terrific pie that you can be proud to serve.

Buy it: Duncan Hines Comstock Simply Apple ($21.92 for pack of 8), amazon.com

Buy it: Kroger Apple Pie Filling ($1.99), Instacart.com

Duncan Hines
Credit: Courtesy Duncan Hines

Best for weeknights: Duncan Hines Wilderness More Fruit Apple Pie Filling

As with the Simply Apple, this Duncan Hines filling has a generous amount of apples suspended in a fresh tasting gel. With slightly less spice than the other version, this is a solid choice to keep in your pantry for emergency pies.

Buy it: Duncan Hines Wilderness More Fruit Apple Pie Filling ($34.67 for pack of 12), amazon.com

Lucky Leaf
Credit: Courtesy Lucky Leaf

Best organic: Lucky Leaf Organic Apple Pie Filling

If organic is important to you, never fear, Lucky Leaf has your back. This is an excellent pie filling, and while the apples do not have quite as great a texture as the other winners, they are abundant, and the gel is well-spiced and fresh tasting.

Buy it: Lucky Leaf Organic Apple Pie Filling ($16 for pack of 2), amazon.com

ALDI apple pie filling
Credit: Courtesy ALDI

Best budget: ALDI Baker's Corner Apple Pie Filling 

ALDI always has great stuff at affordable prices, and their canned pie fillings are no different. If you want to stock the larder with some products you know will satisfy on a budget, the Baker's Corner brand at ALDI will fill a pie deliciously for under $3.

Buy it: Baker's Corner Apple Pie Filling (price varies), Instacart.com

Musselman's Apple Pie Filling
Credit: Courtesy Musselman's American Grown Apples

Best in a pinch: Musselman's Apple Pie Filling

Musselman's had a nice number of apples, but was also the least sweet of the options, and felt a little bland to me. Add a little sugar and spice to pull this one into the zone—you've still saved all the peel/core/slice time!

Buy it: Musselman's Apple Pie Filling ($12.99 for pack of 2), amazon.com

6 great apple pie recipes to try

Ready to rock your next shortcut apple pie? Try any one of these great recipes to get going!