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Apple Butter Cookies Recipe – How to Make it in 12 Simple Steps

This is a wooden bowl filled with apple butter cookies.

Apple butter has been around for centuries. In the Middle Ages, monks in the area once called Limberg (this area is currently in Germany and the Rhineland) grew vast fruit orchards. Often, the fruit was made into cider, but in time, the monks found that they could preserve the goodness of the apples by cooking the fruit down into pulp along with spices and sugar. It wasn’t long before every village in that area had a factory dedicated to the creation of apple butter. German settlers who came to the United States brought their recipes for apple butter with them to Pennsylvania.

Apple Butter Cookies Recipe

April Freeman
With the spiciness of cinnamon and the sweetness of apples, apple butter is a wonderful spread for toast or biscuits. If you are a big fan of apple butter, this recipe for Apple Butter Cookies is sure to be a favorite. Soft and chewy, with a slight tang from cream of tartar, these cookies are an apple flavored version of a snickerdoodle cookie. While these cookies are good as a fall treat, with the warmth of cinnamon and flavor of apples, there is no reason that you cannot enjoy them any time of year.
Prep Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Baking Time 15 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Cuisine American
Servings 24 Cookies


  • Baking Sheet
  • Large bowl
  • Electric Mixer
  • Medium-Sized Bowl
  • Elastic Bowl Cover
  • Small bowl
  • Cookie Dough Scoop
  • Wire Rack


  • ¼ cup Butter softened at room temperature
  • ½ cup Apple Butter commercially made or homemade
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 pc Egg
  • ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • ½ teaspoon Cinnamon
  • cups All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ½ teaspoon Cream of Tartar

Cinnamon Sugar Mixture Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • ½ cup Sugar


  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat together the butter, apple butter, and sugar on medium speed. 
  • Add the egg and vanilla, mixing well until it is fully combined.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the cinnamon, flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. 
    The dry ingredients are mixed in a bowl.
  • Slowly, with the mixer on low speed, blend the flour mixture into the butter and egg mixture. Mix this dough until it is completely blended and there are no more areas of dry ingredients in the mixture. This should become a fairly thick dough.
    The dough is mixed in a bowl.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or an elastic bowl cover and put the bowl in the refrigerator to chill for about two hours. 
  • In a small bowl, stir together the ingredients for the cinnamon sugar.
  • When the 2 hours are up, use a tablespoon or a cookie dough scoop, scoop out walnut sized balls of cookie dough and use your hands to roll them into a ball. 
  • Roll the dough balls in the cinnamon sugar until they are well coated. 
  • Put the cookie dough balls on the parchment paper, spacing them about 2 inches apart.
  • Bake the cookies for 13 to 15 minutes. Let the cookies sit on the baking sheet for about 2 or 3 minutes to firm up before using a spatula to remove them from the cookie sheets. Place the cookies on a wire rack to complete cooling.
  • When the cookies are completely cool, you can store them in airtight containers for storage. These cookies will be good for about a week. 


Over the years, apple butter production spread from Pennsylvania all across the United States. In some areas, such as in the American Southeast, making apple butter became a family or even community event because of how labor-intensive it was. Large groups of people came together to pick apples, peel them, seed them, and chop them into pieces. The apple butter was cooked in large copper kettles outdoors over open fires. Large paddles were used for stirring the apple butter, and it cooked for hours before it was put into jars and sealed to be used the rest of the year. 
Even now, many communities in the United States celebrate the making of apple butter. These festivals generally take place in the fall at the time of apple harvest. It is not unusual for apple butter to be made on site at these festivals in the open air in the traditional copper kettles so that people can get a picture of how apple butter was made centuries ago.
There is no actual butter in apple butter. People use the word butter in this context to refer to the texture of the final product, which is thick and smooth, like a soft butter. 
Apple butter differs from applesauce in that it is cooked much longer and with richer, more fragrant spices like cinnamon, cloves, and other spices. The fruit pulp is cooked for a long time until the sugar from the apples caramelizes, turning the spread a deep, dark brown. Sometimes, if the apples are very sweet, the apple butter maker will stir in a quantity of vinegar or lemon juice to add a bit of interesting tang to the spread. Because the sugar is so concentrated, the apple butter can be stored for a much longer amount of time than typical applesauce. 
Generally, soft, sweet apples are used in the making of apple butter. Apples that break down easily when heated like McIntosh and Cortland are commonly used for apple butter.
Keyword Apple Butter Cookies, Recipe, Snack

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