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Chess Pie

Chess Pie is an old-fashioned Southern favorite custard-type pie made from a few simple ingredients. It's easy and everyone loves it!

Chess Pie is an old-fashioned Southern favorite custard-type pie made from a few simple ingredients. It's easy and everyone loves it!

This chess pie recipe is a conglomeration from a couple of different old church cookbooks, with some changes of my own thrown in.

It's similar to my Snickerdoodle Cookie Pie, which I bake in a skillet.

I use only brown sugar rather than just white or a mix of the two.

And I don't use buttermilk as it changes the texture and taste in a way that I don't like.

The wonderful simplicity of this chess pie is that everything is mixed in one bowl and you don't even need the hand mixer. Just use a whisk and then pour into the dish.

Looking for more easy recipes? Try my One Layer Cake.

How to make chess pie

Step 1. Start by melting a stick of butter, then add brown sugar. Whisk together until smooth, then add the rest of the ingredients and whisk all together.

Step 2. Pour the batter into a 9-inch pie crust—it's important to use a regular 9-inch pie dish, not a deep dish as the pie will turn out too thin.

Step 3. Pop it into the oven for about 45 minutes, until the pie is set and the top is golden brown. You may need to place some foil over the edges of the pie crust to prevent too much browning.

Once you remove the pie from the oven, let it set for a bit and then slice and serve.

Chess Pie should have a slightly crunchy top and a soft custard-like middle. It's a simple pie that you can make on a weeknight that tastes like a Sunday afternoon picnic down by the creek. 

Overhead photo of a baked chess pie on a grey counter.

Try it and make some memories today.

If you've tried this recipe, please rate the recipe and leave a comment below!

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A plate with a slice of chess Pie which is an old-fashioned Southern favorite custard-type pie made from a few simple ingredients. It's easy and everyone loves it!

Chess Pie

Chess Pie is an old-fashioned Southern favorite custard-type pie made from a few simple ingredients. It's easy and everyone loves it!
4.54 from 15 votes
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Course: Pies
Cuisine: American
Keyword: buttermilk chess pie, chess pie, old-fashioned chess pie, Southern chess pie
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 8 slices
Calories: 242kcal
Author: Lucy Brewer

Ingredients

  • 9- inch pie crust, not deep dish
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Add brown sugar to melted butter and whisk until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients to the brown sugar and whisk until smooth.
  • Pour into 9-inch pie crust. Bake 45-50 minutes until pie is set and doesn't jiggle.

Nutrition

Serving: 8slices | Calories: 242kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 1g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 103mg | Sodium: 182mg | Sugar: 26g

Update Notes: This post was originally published August 2, 2011, and on June 12, 2020, was updated with one or more of the following: step-by-step photos, video, updated recipe, new tips.

Where did Chess Pie originate from? There's one theory that the name refers to an old pie safe, or chest, where you stored pies that didn't need refrigeration. My great-grandmother had one of these in her house.

More pie recipes:

Recipe Rating




inger scott

Friday 18th of March 2022

Do you have to use cornmeal for chess pie, I’m not a fan of cornmeal but love the pie

Lucy Brewer

Saturday 23rd of April 2022

It's a very small amount and you will never know it's there. Just helps with the absorption and texture.

Ann

Saturday 20th of November 2021

The Chess Pie looks amazing and I can't wait to try it.

I have a problem with the protein content per serving. Three large eggs have around 21g of protein. Typical piecrust could have as many as 20g of protein. (A single cup of all-purpose flour has around 13g.)

My conservative estimate is that one-eighth of this recipe would be at least 6g protein. That makes it even more awesome!

Lucy Brewer

Saturday 20th of November 2021

As stated, the nutrition calculator provides an estimate. Thanks for your input.

Wednesday 23rd of November 2016

I was always told the name came from a different story, a cook needed to make a pie and didn't have any nuts or fruit, so made it with only sugar butter and eggs and when asked what kind of pie this was, she answered, "why, it's jess pie"

Karen W

Thursday 4th of August 2011

This looks awesome. I've been on a sugar cream pie kick and have never had chess pie. Do you think you'll post a chocolate version? Karen

Bella Michelle

Tuesday 2nd of August 2011

I LOVE Chess Pie!!! Have you tried buttermilk pie? It is similar but a bit creamier I think. Love your site!

Lucy

Tuesday 2nd of August 2011

Thanks, Bella. I've tried making chess pie with buttermilk and didn't care for it.