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.

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4.57 from 16 votes

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!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 8 slices
Save This Recipe

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
Course: Pies
Cuisine: American
Calories: 242
Keyword: buttermilk chess pie, chess pie, old-fashioned chess pie, Southern chess pie
Love this recipe?Mention @southernfoodandfun or tag #southernfoodandfun!

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:

Lucy standing behind a counter with a cheese board and glass of wine.

About the author

Hi, I’m Lucy! I’m a home cook, writer, food and wine fanatic, and recipe developer. I’ve created and tested hundreds of recipes so that I can bring you the best tried and true favorites.

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4.57 from 16 votes (14 ratings without comment)

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9 Comments

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

  1. 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!

  2. 5 stars
    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”

  3. 5 stars
    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”

  4. 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

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