Chess Pie
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Chess Pie is a delectable traditional recipe that is ideal for a party or holiday get-together. It is truly sublime with its multiple layers of indulgence, luscious texture, and sweet, rich flavor!

Chess Pie: What is it?

The English confection known as “chess pie” is a favorite in the American South. It has a crisp, browned topping in the shape of a custard pie.

It typically has a classic pie crust, and the filling is typically made out of eggs, milk or buttermilk, flour, sugar, and occasionally vinegar or lemon.

This pie is one of the simpler pies to cook, so you’ll adore it in addition to its deliciously sweet flavor.

No need to prepare a difficult curd or meringue, or peel and chop a lot of fruit.
Instead, you only mix a few common baking ingredients, pour them into a pie crust, and bake.

What Does Chess Pie Mean?

As to where the name’s origins are concerned, there are several theories. Three of them are discussed here.

Chess Pie
Chess Pie(Pinterest)

What Makes This Chess Pie the Best?

This variation is my favorite thanks to the browned butter. The ultimate improvement to chess pie is this hidden ingredient.

It gives the pie a flavor that is somewhat nutty and caramel-like.

And after you give it a try, I have a hunch that this is the only strategy that will work for you moving forward.

Chess Pie Filling

The best pie crust, of course, is homemade, but if time is of the essence, store-bought will do.

  • Butter that has been salted: In my opinion, salted butter tastes best after it has been browned. This pie is fairly sweet, so the salty butter helps to balance it out.
  • Granulated sugar: A traditional chess pie calls for TWO cups of sugar, but I’ve reduced that by 3/4 cups because I think it’s way too sweet.
  • Cornmeal: This contributes to the traditional southern chess pie’s top layer of golden brown crust.
  • Only a tiny amount of all-purpose flour is required to help with thickening.
  • To prevent the pie from tasting flat and to balance the sweetness, salt is a crucial element.
  • Milk: For added richness, I prefer whole milk.
  • White vinegar: This gives the pie a very subtle tang and gives it a flavor with many facets.
  • Vanilla extract: I frequently use a decent quantity of vanilla in my baking, but I don’t believe we want to go overboard and drown out the flavor of the browned butter here. Half a vanilla bean’s worth of seeds would also be wonderful in its stead.
  • Unfortunately, there are no alternatives for the ingredient eggs. To obtain the right flavor and consistency, eggs are a need. a picture of the ingredients for the chess pie. cornmeal, vinegar, eggs, sugar, flour, milk, vanilla, butter, and salt are all included in the pie crust dough.

How is Chess Pie Made?

  • Roll out the pie crust to a thickness of approximately 12 inches, then transfer it to a pie plate. Pie plate-shaped, with edges that can be customized.
  • Refrigerate the crust for about an hour, or until it becomes firmer.
  • Melt butter in a medium, pale-colored skillet to get brown butter. Stirring constantly, let it cook until it smells nutty and turns golden (careful not to burn it, it should be an amber brown).
  • Pour the butter into a plate and let it sit for one hour to cool.
  • A baking sheet should be placed in the oven, which should be preheated to 350 degrees.
  • Eggs should be lightly beaten in a mixing basin to combine.
  • Mix the dry ingredients separately: Combine the cornmeal, flour, salt, and granulated sugar in a separate mixing dish.
  • Add wet components and blend: Browned butter, milk, vinegar, and vanilla should be added. After that, beat the eggs well.
  • Pour into prepared crust and bake in preheated oven for 45 to 55 minutes, or until sides are puffed and set but the center still slightly jiggles.
  • Slice after allowing to cool: Place on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes before cutting and serving.

Recipe For My Favorite Pie Crust

The pie crust recipe I used here, without the sugar, is my favorite (since this pie is already plenty of sweet). Follow the recipe here as suggested after completing step 2 as instructed.

How Do You Store?

The pie needs to be kept in the fridge. I believe it is best served within two days.


  • Lemon Chess Pie: Use 3 Tbsp lemon juice in place of vinegar. Add 2 Tbsp lemon zest along with liquids. Butter does not need to be browned.
  • Chocolate Chess Pie: These ratios are quite a bit different, follow a recipe like this one.
  • Coconut Chess Pie: After adding eggs stir in 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut and 1 tsp coconut extract. Browning butter is optional for this version.
  • Buttermilk Chess Pie: Replace milk with 1/2 cup buttermilk.
  • Honey Chess Pie: Replace 1 1/4 cups of sugar with 1 cup of honey.
  • Optional garnishing variation: Dust pie with a little cinnamon or powdered sugar.

More Delicious Traditional Southern Pie Recipes

  • Pie with Chocolate Mousse
  • A Key Lime Pie
  • Nut pies
  • The Sweet Potato Pie
Chess Pie
Chess Pie(Pinterest)


  • 1 prepared pie crust (homemade* or store-bought, unbaked)
  • 1/2 cup (113g) salted butter, diced into 1-Tbsp pieces
  • 1 1/4 cup (250g) granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp (22g) cornmeal
  • 1 Tbsp (10g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs


  • Pie crust should be rolled out to a diameter of 12 inches, rolled up around the rolling pin, and placed on a typical pie plate. Roll out, form into a pie plate, and embellish the borders as desired. Cool for at least one hour or until the crust is hard.
  • In a medium-sized, pale-colored skillet, melt the butter. Stirring constantly, let it cook until it smells nutty and turns golden (careful not to burn it, it should be an amber brown). After pouring, let the dish cool for an hour.
  • Bake a sheet of baking in the oven while it is preheated to 350 degrees.
  • Lightly whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl to combine.
  • Mix the cornmeal, flour, salt, and granulated sugar in a different mixing basin.
  • Blend the sugar mixture with the browned butter, milk, vinegar, and vanilla. Add the eggs and blend thoroughly.
  • Pour into the prepared crust and bake on a baking sheet in a preheated oven for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the sides are set but the center still slightly jiggles.
  • 30 minutes after transferring, allow cooling on a wire rack before slicing and serving. The pie should be refrigerated.


  • *I’ve used my preferred pie crust recipe here, removing the sugar (since this pie is already plenty of sweet). Follow the recipe here as suggested after completing step 2 as instructed.