Schnitz un Knepp

Schnitz und Knepp is quintessential Pennsylvania Dutch; an old recipe, the name translates to “Apples and Buttons”.  The dish consists of schnitz (dried apples), ham, and knepp (the dumplings or “buttons”). It gets its “sweet/sour” flavor from the tart apples and the brown sugar in the broth. Not difficult to prepare, it does take some time due to the cooking of the ham piece and the soaking of the dried apples, but both those steps can occur fairly simultaneously.

Cool weather season is a great time to make this dish, but it is certainly enjoyable year round!  If you do not want to make dumplings from scratch, you could use a baking mix and make the dumplings using the recipe on the box. I encourage you to make the scratch version though.

In some areas of Pa Dutch country, you will find schnitz un knepp on the menu at restaurants and diners. It is often served accompanied by a salad of greens with Hot Bacon Dressing.

Some things to keep in mind

  • This dish can also be made with ham hocks, or even some slices of smoked ham.
  • Make sure to use TART apple schnitz in this dish. Commercially available schnitz comes in two versions — tart or sweet.
  • Schnitz can often be found in Amish and Pa Dutch area markets in bags, ready to soak.
  • Schnitz can be purchased online, but can be expensive that way.
  • You can make your own! Dried tart apples can be made in a food dehydrator or in your home oven if you have a dehydrating setting..

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Schnitz un Knepp

Recipe by A Coalcracker in the KitchenCourse: EntreeCuisine: Pa. Dutch, Coal RegionDifficulty: Intermediate

Schnitz und Knepp is quintessential Pennsylvania Dutch; an old recipe, the name translates to “Apples and Buttons”.  The dish consists of schnitz (dried apples), ham, and knepp (the dumplings or “buttons”).


  • 1 pound dried apples

  • 2 to 4 tablespoons brown sugar (depending on your personal taste)

  • 1 chopped medium onion

  • 3 pounds end piece smoked ham

  • 2 cups sifted flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • 3 Tablespoon melted shortening

  • 4 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

  • 2/3 cup milk


  • Place dried apples in a bowl and cover with enough water to cover. Set aside and soak for 3 hours.
  • Place ham piece in large pot that has a tight-fitting lid. Add enough water to just cover meat and simmer 1-1/2 to 2 hours covered.
  • When ham is tender, remove from pot, pull ham from the bone, and cut into cubes, return to pot and add the onion and dried apples along with the water in which the apples were soaked.
  • Add the brown sugar and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes OR until apples are tender.  When apples are tender, make the knepp.
  • For the knepp: In a bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper.
  • In another bowl, mix egg and milk well, then add to dry ingredients.  Drizzle in the melted shortening and mix just enough to dampen dry ingredients.
  • With the ham broth in the pot boiling, drop the dumpling batter (knepp) from a table spoon on to the boiling broth.  Cover tightly, reduce heat but keep the broth bubbling lightly and cook 18 to 20 minutes without lifting lid.
  • Serve hot with broth.