Learn how to make a delicious apple butter pie with this easy recipe. This would make a great pumpkin pie alternative for Thanksgiving, made with apple butter instead of pumpkin purée or canned pumpkin!
If you've never made pie crust before, please read about how to make an all-butter pie crust in the food processor. This pie crust is easy with simple ingredients and holds its shape when baked.
You don't need too many tools to make a pie, thankfully, and if you don't want to use a food processor to make the dough, you can make pie dough in a stand mixer if you prefer, or just use a bowl and your fingertips! All roads lead to pie.
Apple Butter Pie Ingredients
Like pumpkin pie, this apple butter pie is made from an all-butter pie crust with a custard filling, meaning it is made with cream and eggs, which help it set into a creamy but sliceable pie.
- flour, preferably bleached all-purpose flour
- sugar—granulated and light brown sugar, as well as a little maple syrup
- butter, preferably unsalted butter. If using salted butter, you may want to cut back on the salt in the pie crust recipe
- Diamond Crystal fine kosher salt
- eggs, preferably large eggs otherwise your filling might not set properly
- apple butter
- spices, specifically a combination of warm spices, including ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, ground cloves
- cream, specifically whipping cream (with 35 % fat content)—lower fat cream may result in a looser filling that is less rich
Please refer to the recipe card for exact quantities.
Substitutions and Variations
With its simple list of ingredients, changes to this recipe are limited obviously, but here are a few to consider:
- Pie crust: instead of making pie crust from scratch, you can use a pre-made all-butter pie crust from your local bakery. You may be able to find a crust that is already rolled out
- Spices—instead of a mixture of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves, you can replace these with a pumpkin spice mix that you like or even an apple pie spice mix.
- Apple butter—you can use homemade apple butter or store-bought. If you can't find apple butter and don't want to make it, your best bet would be to replace it with canned pumpkin and make a pumpkin pie instead
How to Make Pie with an Apple Butter Filling
The process of making a pie with an apple butter filling is similar to making a pumpkin pie! It's quite easy!
If you are unfamiliar with pie crust, please read this post about how to make pie crust in the food processor, which includes step-by-step photos of the process.
If making pie crust from scratch scares you, be sure to check out my pie crust masterclass, which includes video tutorials for making pie crust in the stand mixer, food processor, and by hand!
Alternatively, you could use a store-bought pie crust for this recipe if you are short on time.
Step 1: Combine the ingredients of the apple butter pie filling in a medium bowl using a small balloon whisk. I like to first mix the eggs and brown sugar together (image 1), then incorporate the apple butter and spices (image 2), and finally the cream (image 3). Whisk until completely smooth (image 4). Cover the bowl and set aside the filling for later.
Step 2: Par-bake the pie crust in a metal pie plate on a sheet pan, lining the chilled unbaked crust with parchment paper (image 5) and pie weights or beans. Bake the pie crust until the edges are set (image 6), then remove the pie weights and parchment (image 7), and continue baking until the bottom of the pie looks dry (image 8).
Step 5: Bake the pie at 375 °F on a sheet pan (image 12) until the pie has set and the centre still jiggles slightly (image 13).
Step 6 (optional): You can decorate the pie before serving using a stencil and icing sugar. Chill the pie completely (image 14), then place a stencil over the filling (image 15) and dust lightly with icing sugar before carefully removing the stencil (image 16).
Apple Butter Pie FAQs
Read the label of your apple butter and choose wisely. This apple butter pie is made with pure apple butter sold at local markets in the fall and specialty stores. It's made from apple sauce and apples cooked down into a very thick, sweet apple spread. It is not a compound butter of apple sauce mixed with butter. Sometimes, you may see apple juice on the ingredient label of apple butter.
When you make a pie, you will inevitably be left with a pile of pie dough scraps. Gather them up and press them together to shape them into a disk and use them to make pie crust cookies!
If you are looking for a pumpkin pie alternative for Thanksgiving dinner, this apple butter pie is a welcome change, but not a total deviation. It would be great served alongside this gorgeous maple apple pie. And for those who insist on following tradition, you can still make a more traditional pumpkin pie without evaporated milk.
More Pie Recipes to Try
If you love to bake (and eat) pies, here are a few more pie recipes to try:
If you tried this apple butter pie recipe (or any other recipe on my website), please leave a ⭐ star rating and let me know how it went in the comments below. I love hearing from you!
Apple Butter Pie
Easy all butter pie dough
- 258 grams bleached all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon Diamond Crystal fine kosher salt
- 2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 173 grams unsalted butter cut into cubes, cold
- 83 mL cold water
- 1 large egg(s)
- 5 mL water
- 1 pinch Diamond Crystal fine kosher salt
All-butter pie crust
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour with the salt and sugar. Add the butter and pulse to form a coarse crumble with butter lumps.
- Add the water, and pulse to combine. You can continue to run the processor to form a ball of dough or do this on your work surface by hand.
- Divide the dough into two disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 1 hour.
- Roll out the first disk of dough to about a 12 inch diameter disk or so on a floured surface with a rolling pin. Transfer to a metal pie plate and make sure to work the dough into the corner edges of the pie plate. Trim the edges and place the pie shell in the fridge.
- Roll out the second disk of dough to a very long rectangle that is about 15 inches long and ⅛ inch thin. Cut thin strips of dough, then braid the strips together, three at a time.
- If you don't want a braided edge, you can cut out some leaf shapes (or apple shapes!) with the dough instead.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg with the water and salt.
- Brush the edges of the chilled pie shell with the egg wash, then press the braids (or cutout shapes) to the brushed edges to stick them onto the edge. You can weave the ends of the braids together for a seamless look.
- Place the pie shell in the fridge and chill for 20 minutes.
- Make sure you have the bottom oven rack set at the lowest position. Preheat the oven to 425 ºF (220 °C).
- Line the chilled pie crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans.
- Bake the pie crust for 20 minutes until the edges are set.
- Remove the pie shell from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Carefully lift off the parchment with the pie weights. Set aside. Put the pie shell back in the oven and continue to bake for another 3–5 minutes until the bottom looks dry and set. The edges will be a light golden brown.
Make the filling and bake the pie
- Drop the oven temperature to 375 °F (190 °C).
- In a large bowl, whisk together all the apple butter pie filling ingredients. When the pie shell has chilled, carefully pour the pie filling into the shell.
- Place the pie in the oven and bake until the edges of the filling are set but the centre still jiggles a little (this takes 35 to 45 minutes). The crust will be deep golden brown and the pie filling will finish setting as it cools.
- Place the baked pie on a wire rack to cool completely before serving.
- Optionally, you can stencil the top with a decorative pattern using a doily and a dusting of icing sugar
- For the pie crust, I used a Cuisinart 11-cup food processor. I quite like it. You can find it on Amazon.
- I like to bake my pies in a metal pie dish, like this dark metal pie plate available on Amazon or a USA pie pan (my new favourite pie pan!). The metal is a good heat conductor so the pie crust heats up fast and bakes to a lovely golden brown colour.
- Par-baking the pie crust before filling with the apple butter pie filling ensures the crust is properly baked and golden brown on the bottom.
- I used Eden organic apple butter for the filling, which you can find on Amazon or at organic food stores in Canada. If you are in the US, you might have an easier time finding Musselman's apple butter on Amazon, but note that Musselman's apple butter may be sweeter.
- To achieve the look you see in the photos, I stencilled a lace pattern onto the surface of the pie by gently placing a piece of lace on the surface of the pie and dusting it generously with powdered sugar.