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Apple Pie Goof - Forgot the butter!

Bottom Crust into 8" pie pan - check.
Apples Peeled and sliced (two Braeburns, one Honey Crisp, one Granny Smith) - check.
1/3 cup light brown sugar, 1/2 cup white sugar, 2 Tbsp flour, 1 tsp cinnamon, good grating of fresh nutmeg, all mixed together - check.
Heat oven to 375°F - check
Good squeeze of lemon juice over sliced apples - check.
Toss apples with sugar/flour/spice mixture - check.
Add filling to pie pan - check.
Trim bottom crust, add top crust, fold under and flute, cut four steam vents - check, check, check and check.
Place pie on baking pan and place in oven - check.

Ten minutes later - notice butter on counter! Check yourself! Grr.

Pie's done now...looks fine, filling bubbling slightly in steam vents. The long wait begins. I've never made an Apple Pie that *didn't* have butter in it; I know there are plenty of recipes that don't include it, but then again, they don't all have lemon juice in them, either.

Perhaps the brown sugar (which I've never used before) may make the lack of butter less obvious. I've never quite known; is the butter strictly for taste, or is it also in there for the flour thickening to work on? In a few hours when it's done cooling, I suppose I'll find out.

Good thing this wasn't going out to company.

(Apologies for the double post.)

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  1. Don't beat yourself up too much; I've made apple pie without butter before and while it will lack the butteriness you associate with the pie, flavorwise, it's still okay. Now, if you would have forgotten the sugar and spices, I'd say you were in trouble :)...Rub a bit of butter on the crust right before it's ready to brown and you'll probably not miss what you didn't put inside. By the way, you don't really have to have butter if your apples have enough juice; that'll steam out and mix with the flour, sugar and lemon juice so you'll have enough thickener..

    1. I rarely add butter to my apple pie, unless the recipe calls for it. Therefore, I don't see a problem. (I did, however, forget to add butter to my pie crust about a year ago and created armor-plated apple pie. Now, that was a problem!)

      1 Reply
      1. re: gfr1111

        I picture you tapping on your pie crust. "Hello, anyone in there?" :)

        Thanks for sharing.

      2. I always add a teaspoon or so of vanilla extract to my apples, along with all the other stuff you mentioned, and I always seem to forget the butter!

        1. Think of the calories you've saved! Let us know how it tastes. Maybe serve it with a full fat ice cream or cheddar?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Caroline1

            Tastes pretty good...a bit on the runny side tonight (will check it again tomorrow). Probably too much sugar. Don't miss the butter much.

          2. The butter is strictly for taste. It'll be fine. I love apple pie, and I almost never add this butter to the filling. I think the butter in the pie crust is enough, and if you use good-tasting apples, the filling tastes fantastic without it.

            However, I will tell you -- even though you didn't ask :) -- that I think your recipe has too much sugar. I usually use 8 or so apples in a 9" pie and maybe a 1/3 a cup of sugar. I do tend to like things tart, but 5/6 of a cup of sugar sounds really sweet. If you taste your pie and agree, you can always cut back on the sugar next time (and a few more apples won't hurt either.)

            Hope it came out well!

            2 Replies
            1. re: visciole

              You're right...Too much sugar. Quite juicy and then some. Don't miss the butter all that much, but It will go back in next time...with one more apple...and a bit less sugar.

              1. re: mcsheridan

                Yes, if anyone ever needs a reason to make an apple pie it's that you can skip most of the sugar and taste the *apples*!

            2. I *never* put butter in an apple pie. I bet you won't even miss it!

              1 Reply
              1. re: rainey

                Don't miss the butter too much. Will probably put it back anyway, though.

              2. Wait. The butter was only left out of the filling and the crust?

                Heck, you're good to go.

                For a minute there I thought you had made apple pie CRUST without the butter ... now, that would be a problem.

                22 Replies
                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Yup...just left the bits of butter out of the filling is all.

                  Having a piece now for breakfast - purely out of scientific curiosity, of course. :)
                  Less runny than last night, but still too sweet. Less sugar next time. As someone around here said more than once, even "mistakes" get eaten.

                  1. re: mcsheridan

                    Yes, next time try cutting back on the sugar and using brown sugar for that flavor boost with less actual sweetness. I also use a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom instead of plain cinnamon. Cardamom adds a nice soft flavor to the apples that's hardly distinguishable but still adds complexity. I also use a blend of apple varieties to get a broad flavor and texture profile.

                    1. re: rainey

                      I love apple pie so much I think I need to start a new post... on what apples people like best for pies and for eating (so I can compare with my own favorites). Though all this posting is merely a poor substitute for actually eating apple pie.

                      1. re: visciole

                        Maybe you're a good candidate for homemade applesauce. I make it all the time because it tastes like apple pie without the fat of pastry.

                        As for apple varieties, I suspect that will vary with what's available in any given area. In Los Angeles I always use a yellow delicious for its firm texture, some Braeburns, a Fuji, a couple Granny Smiths and then whatever else is available at any given moment.

                        1. re: rainey

                          Interesting combo....

                          Yes, I make lots of applesauce! I do like it a lot, but unfortunately it's not *quite* as great for me as pie. I make cobbler a lot because it's quicker and has less butter.

                        2. re: visciole

                          There are already several threads on preferred varieties of eating and pie apples.

                    2. re: ipsedixit

                      I thought so too. I've never even heard of butter in apple pie filling! Is this typical? Have I just been making weird apple pies all these years? Nobody's ever complained. How do you incorporate the butter?

                      1. re: Pia

                        I think it depends on the recipe. Some say just dot the apple pie fiiling with cold butter before baking (or before you layer on the top crust); others suggest making a butter-sugar syrup to drizzle or incorporate into the sliced apples.

                        I just prefer to have my apples speak for themselves when making apple pie. Plus, there's plenty of butter in the crust ...

                        1. re: Pia

                          I think the most traditional method is to "dot" the filling with a T or two of cold butter.

                          Hey, mcsheridan, since you agreed with me about the sugar now let me tell you my other unsolicited apple pie suggestion: use Minute Tapioca instead of flour to thicken. I prefer the texture obtained this way; just be sure to let the fruit sit in the bowl with the tapioca for ten or fifteen minutes if you try this.

                          Have fun making many "experimental" pies!

                          1. re: visciole

                            Hey, where would internet boards *be* without unsolicited suggestions? :D

                            I've seen mentions of Tapioca to thicken berry pies, but rarely apple pies; but hey, I'll try anything once. I've also seen mentions of potato starch or cornstarch.

                            1. re: mcsheridan

                              Ha-ha, you're right, the internet exists for unsolicited suggestions!

                              Yes, you can use tapioca effectively for most fruit pies: apple, berry, peach, cherry, rhubarb, etc. Just be warned, the tapioca box tells you to use too much -- big surprise.

                              Cornstarch -- brrr! Worst fruit pie thickener, IMHO.

                          2. re: Pia

                            I've never seen a recipe that didn't specify something like "dot with butter" but that doesn't mean it's really necessary.

                            Personally, I don't even know what butter is supposed to add to the flavor.

                            1. re: rainey

                              I think added fat always amps up the flavor experience, but that's not to say you can't enjoy the filling without it. I always add some salt to sweet stuff, and lemon juice to fruit desserts.

                              1. re: rainey

                                Adding butter is not so much for flavor but rather mouthfeel; butter adds richness, but how would I know, I always forget the butter (see my post upthread!)
                                Thanks for the cardamom suggestion, I've got to try that.

                                  1. re: rainey

                                    Bookmarked, thanks!
                                    Have a great holiday if I don't run into you again before Christmas!

                                    1. re: bushwickgirl

                                      Wishing you a lovely one too. Hope everything is delicious and warms the soul.

                                    2. re: rainey

                                      rainey, I like it! Thanks for the link.

                                    3. re: bushwickgirl

                                      For years I would forget to dot my apple pies with butter, but lately I have been using the butter and I must say I prefer them this way—richer flavor, better mouthfeel. If I'm going to the trouble of making crust and peeling and cutting apples, etc., then I want the pie to be the best it can be, and quite frankly if you're eating pie crust, I can't see worrying about the added calories of a couple of tablespoons of butter.
                                      Which is not to say that apple pie is bad without butter. Just better with it.

                                      1. re: missmasala

                                        Right on! The next time I make an apple pie, I swear I'm going to tape the butter to my forehead first so I don't forget it.

                                        1. re: bushwickgirl

                                          That way even if you forget some will probably drip down your face and end up in the pie ;)

                              2. I did the exact same thing this afternoon, not only did I forget to dot the top with butter, I also left out the lemon juice and to add insult to injury, I think I added too much flour to the apples. Once it was cooked and came out of the oven I tasted the juice that had overflowed onto the cooke sheet and it seems fine. On the bright side, I did remember to bake the pie on a parchment lined cookie sheet! Enjoy your pie, I'm sure it will taste wonderful and no-one will be any the wiser.