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Recipe for Apple Butter Pie

September 6, 2023

Use the seasons freshly prepared apple butter to make this creamy custard like pie - Apple Butter Pie

Although it has the look and texture of an ordinary pumpkin pie, this recipe for Apple Butter Pie substitutes apple butter in place of pumpkin puree for a sweet apple flavor that can't be beat this fall!

COOK+BAKE   |   Updated September 4, 2023

Piece of apple butter pie on a plate with fork

Apple butter is an old-fashioned kind of ingredient, but it sure makes a great filling for a modern-day pie.

I’m always on the lookout for new recipes that sound different, but don’t require a lot of fuss, time, or use far-out ingredients. This recipe for Apple Butter Pie definitely qualifies and couldn’t be any more delicious!

If you’re looking for a way to change things up for fall, this dessert recipe will not disappoint. Each bite is sweet, creamy, and filled with intense apple flavor.

Whole apple butter pie and coffee

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What is Apple Butter?

Believe it or not, but apple butter is not a combination of apples and butter. There is actually no butter in it at all!

To put it simply, it is basically a very concentrated form of applesauce filled with sugar and spices like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg that has been slow cooked for a very long period of time. Most of the water is cooked out leaving you with a thick, dark brown spread packed with intense apple flavor.

What you’ll find on the store shelves now, and even what you can make at home, is nothing like the old-school apple butter of the past, however. It actually began as a shelf-stable product that didn’t even require canning or refrigeration. Families would gather together to all take part in the process that involved stirring the apples and boiled cider constantly for 8 to 10 hours.

It is believed that the Pennsylvania Dutch were the first to bring this concept to America as a way to preserve the apples. For an interesting read about the history and process behind this old-fashioned food, have a look at this research on making apple butter before the 1900s.

And What is Apple Butter Pie?

Apple Butter Pie is basically a classic pumpkin pie, only instead of using pumpkin puree, you use apple butter.

It has a smooth, creamy texture and very much resembles a pumpkin pie in appearance, but with sweet apple flavor packed into each bite of the custard filling.

For those that don’t like pumpkin pie, this is a great fall dessert option. It is really nice to serve early on in the autumn when the apples are in season before you get hit with pumpkin-flavored everything! Many like to also have it after Thanksgiving dinner as something different from the ordinary.

READ NEXT: A Collection of Apple Recipes Perfect for the Fall Season

Buttermilk Pie Crust and rolling pin on marble counter

Buttermilk Crust

While you can use any crust (even store bought – I’ve shared tips in the past for even making refrigerated pie dough look fancy) to make an Apple Butter Pie this fall, I chose to pour the filling into a homemade buttermilk pie crust. The tart flavor of the buttermilk pairs nicely with the sweetened apple butter.

If you’d like, you can find the recipe here for the Buttermilk Pie Crust that I used, along with tips for getting it golden brown and not shrinking as it bakes.


For your convenience, a full ingredients list, directions and a printable recipe option appear further down in the article.

  • apple butter – Look for something dark, thick, and highly spiced without high fructose corn syrup like Musselman’s or make your own favorite homemade recipe. Homemade will always give you the best flavor.

  • sweetened condensed milk – Provides sweetness paired with the apple butter so that no additional sugar is needed. This is not evaporated milk or regular white milk.

  • eggs – One of the ingredients to a custard filling, the eggs provide thickening and structure to help the filling set as it bakes.

  • cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger – the total amount you need may be more or less based on how much is included in the apple butter and the flavor that you prefer

  • vanilla

  • salt

  • buttermilk pie crust – My recipe for buttermilk pie crust is available on the blog. You can use your own favorite pie crust recipe or store-bought pie crust if you’d like.

Apple Butter Pie Slice topped with whipped cream with coffee

How to Make Apple Butter Pie Filling

This recipe for apple butter pie shows you how to make a custard pie which is a mixture of eggs and dairy that are mixed together with flavorings before being baked in a single pie crust to thicken. It is actually quite easy to put together.

STEP 1: Once your pie crust is prepared, you’ll want to use a hand mixer to beat the eggs until they are pale and fluffy. This should take about two or three minutes.

STEP 2: Then you’ll pour in the sweetened condensed milk and add the spices, salt and vanilla, beating everything together until combined. Then stir in the apple butter.

STEP 3: The filling is poured into your pie crust and baked until done.

How to Know When It Is Done Baking

Custard pies are typically a little tricky to get done right. Not leaving them in long enough means a running filling and leaving them in too long overcooks the eggs and leads to cracks and pulling away from the crust.

This recipe instructs you to do something special to help ensure that your filling is completely cooked without being overdone. After baking for one hour and fifteen minutes at a low temperature, you will turn the oven off and let it sit inside for an additional 15 minutes to finish off.

Once it is out of the oven, don’t slice into it right away. If you cut into it too soon, the pie will be thin and runny.

Custard pies need time to set during the cooling and refrigerating process. Let it sit on a cooling rack for about thirty minutes and then transfer the pie to the refrigerator to continue chilling at least two hours, but it is best to sit overnight.

Helpful Tips for Making Apple Butter Pie

  • This pie is best made the day before so that it has time to cool completely.

  • The amount of filling for this recipe will fit an ordinary 9” pie dish, not a deep dish pan. (I always opt for glass over aluminum.)

  • If you find your crust is getting too brown, cover the edges with strips of aluminum foil or a silicone crust shield (seriously one of the best inventions ever in my opinion!)

  • The pie is baked at a low temperature and is left in the oven to continue baking after the initial baking time is complete. This allows the pie to maintain a smooth texture without overcooking.

Apple butter pie with server


Although it has the look and texture of an ordinary pumpkin pie, this apple butter pie substitutes apple butter in place of pumpkin puree for a sweet apple flavor that can’t be beat this fall!



  • Buttermilk pie crust (Click here for the recipe.)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup apple butter


STEP 1: Preheat oven to 325°.

STEP 2: Roll out your pie crust dough and press it into a 9-inch pie dish. Place in the refrigerator until completely solid (about 30 minutes).

STEP 3: Meanwhile, using a hand mixer, beat two eggs until they are pale and fluffy. This will take a couple of minutes.

STEP 4: Pour in the sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, and vanilla. Beat everything until fully combined. Then add the apple butter and stir until well combined.

STEP 5: Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust and set pie plate onto a cookie sheet before placing it into the oven.

STEP 6: Bake the pie for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Then turn the oven off and let it sit inside for another 15 minutes.

STEP 7: After the 15 minutes have passed, remove the pie from the oven and place the dish on a rack to cool completely. Refrigerate covered after the pie is cool.

Frequently Asked Questions


Not all apple butter is the same. Store bought is different than homemade, and everyone’s homemade contains differing amounts of sugar and spices. But here are a few tips:
  • Thicker is best to give your pie a firm, pumpkin-pie like texture.

  • Darker apple butter has a deeper flavor and is typically a bit sweeter.

  • If using store-bought, look for something like Musselman’s that has no high fructose corn syrup.

  • Good quality brands are normally made with better ingredients and have a more intense flavor.

  • Homemade may not be as thick as needed for this recipe, but you can heat it on the stovetop over medium low heat until it is reduced to a thicker consistency.


You can find apple butter in any grocery store most likely in the jelly and peanut butter section. Or look for it in specialty shops that sell canned goods from smaller packaging companies. In the fall, you'll often find homemade canned versions at your local farmer's markets.


Fruit butters are all basically very thick fruit purees, so free to change out the flavor that you want. Something like a peach butter would be really delicious. Just make sure whatever you are using is thick and if not, cook it on the stove over medium low heat until it is reduced to a thicker consistency.


This recipe for apple butter pie can easily be made a day or two ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until you are ready for it. Remove it from the refrigerator about an hour before serving for best results.


The pie can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days or in the refrigerator for up to one week.


Apple butter pie can be frozen, which makes for an easy to bake holiday pie.

Allow the pie to cool completely. Then place it directly into the freezer for a few hours before wrapping it with plastic wrap and putting it inside an airtight container or aluminum foil. The pie can stay in the freezer for four to five months.

When you are ready to eat the pie, remove it from the freezer the day before and allow it to thaw completely in the refrigerator. Take it out of the fridge about an hour before serving for best results.


You do not need to bake this crust before adding the pie filling, but you can if that is the way you prefer to do custard pies. I’ve always found that the crust gets browned and crispy without par-baking.


Yes, you can! Any apple butter that you have left over from the pie will last for a few weeks in the refrigerator. But it can also be frozen if you don’t have a use for it at the moment. If stored properly, it will last for up to a year or even longer.

  • Transfer the apple butter into freezer-safe containers with amounts that you know you’ll be able to use (like 1 cup for doing this recipe in the future or a small amount if you’d like to use it on toast.)

  • You’ll want to remove it from the commercially produced bottle that it comes in as they are normally thinner and not suitable for freezing. Choose instead airtight plastic, glass mason jars, freezer safe zip-loc bags, or silicone bags.

  • Regardless of what you choose, be sure to leave a little space for the apple butter to expand as it freezes.

  • To thaw, place the container in the fridge and leave it to defrost for about 24 hours or until the apple butter’s original consistency has returned. You may need to give it a stir.

  • The apple butter can be refrozen if you remove too much, but the texture will change with time. While the flavor won’t be negatively affected, it will get more watery.

Slice of Apple Butter Pie topped with whipped cream

More Delicious Fall Dessert Recipes to Try

Easy, old-fashioned recipes of the past are often the best you’ll find and this recipe for Apple Butter Pie is one you’ll want to be sure to add to your upcoming fall dessert menu with its spicy apple custard base sitting inside a buttermilk crust.


My Tastes of the Season friends below are also sharing their favorite apple flavored recipes . There is truly something for everyone so be sure to take a few moments and visit their blogs for the recipes they've worked so hard to put together.

Click here to see all of my previous Tastes of the Season posts.

Slow Cooker Baked Cinnamon Apples by Ella Claire & Co.  |  Mini Apple Pies by French Country Cottage  |  German Apple Cake by Inspired by Charm

Apple Butter Pie by anderson + grant  |  Apple Cake by Boxwood Avenue  |  Apple Blossom Mini Pies by Handmade Farmhouse

A delicious apple flavored pie similar in appearance and texture to pumpkin but with a great sweet apple flavor!
The best new fall dessert recipe - Apple Butter Pie

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