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What is the Filling in a Fig Newton?

Let me preface the answer to this Filling in a Fig Newton question with a disclaimer: I don’t work for Nabisco!
But I have made a LOT of homemade fig newtons in my time.

Fresh Fig Newtons piled on a plate to share with friends!

Homemade Fig Newton Filling is made with fig paste, and while I can’t tell you what happens at the magical cookie factory, I CAN break down how I made my fig cookie filling with fresh figs.

How many figs do you need to make Fig Newtons?

This will largely depend on the size of your figs. Since your fresh figs are going to vary widely in size, measuring by weight is the best way to go.

A bowl loaded with ripe fresh figs ready to be cooked down into fig paste for Homemade Fig Newtons

In my original recipe for Fresh Fig Newtons, I called for 16 figs.

The figs I used in my initial recipe development were HUGE though, at least compared to the figs my tree puts off. if you read through the comments in that post, you will find lots of readers with helpful tips on weight and size. So I decided to help us quit all the guesswork and get some real measurements.

A fresh fig, a cherry tomato, and a quarter all lined up in a row so that you can see the size of the fig to scale.

This is one of the figs I picked from my tree before the beetles ate it. We need a whole other post on battling the bugs that eat figs. For scale, you can see it is larger than a cherry tomato, and the cherry tomato is just slightly larger than a quarter.

16 common fresh figs in a bowl on a food scale, weighing in at 9 7/8 ounces

This bunch of 16 figs weighed in at NOT QUITE 10 ounces.

Once I cooked them down though, I needed about twice as many to properly fill the dough for the cookies. So 20 ounces of figs is the sweet spot, and will yield 24-30 “Newton”-sized cookies.

How do you make the fig filling?

Ugh – it is SOOOOO easy. All you need to do is cook down the fresh figs with:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

You will need to simmer the mixture over medium heat for about 40 minutes. The figs need to break completely down.

j. g.

Thursday 16th of September 2021

We have a Negronne Fig tree planted 8 years ago. It's finally producing some absolutely wonderful fruit. This year, we have a nice amount and so though to try your filling recipe. The figs from my tree are about medium sized, black skinned, and dark red flesh. The result is a very, very dark jam. I decided to double the recipe. However, because these figs are so incredibly sweet to begin with, I cut the sugar by half and used the entire zest of a small lemon. The result was so incredible, I just wanted to eat it straight out of the jar! Don't ask me why, but I decided to make Hamentaschen (these are triangle shaped, filled cookies, often with lemon zest in the cookie dough). The taste was over the moon perfect. I will definitely keep this in mind for Purim. Assuming I can save enough jam until then!


Monday 26th of July 2021

do you think if I pureed my figs in the sugar and cooked down will be OK? thanks


Friday 18th of September 2020

What recipe for the cookie part do you use? This sounds delicious!

Heather Tullos

Friday 18th of September 2020

Shari Parillo

Sunday 13th of September 2020

You fresh fig newton recipe says to cook for 40-50 min. Is 4 min shown enough?

Heather Tullos

Wednesday 16th of September 2020

40-50 is correct! Updated - thank you Shari for catching my typo!