Classic Chess Pie Recipe

If you are dying to have some homemade pie, but feel a wee bit intimidated to make one, recipe developer Erin Johnson of Probably in the Kitchen has the perfect starter recipe for you. "Chess pie is an easy-to-make pie that is made from common ingredients that most people always have on hand," she says. But, um, chess pie? What exactly is it? As Johnson explains about this custard-like dessert, "It's a staple in the South, and the kind of dessert that your grandmother would just have ready for an impromptu visit."

Wondering what chess pie might taste like before you dive in to make one? Johnson describes the treat as having a "richness from the eggs" and notes that it's quite sweet. She also emphasizes about this chess pie recipe, "It's a very simple pie to make and is great for a beginner baker." So, what are you waiting for? Get ready, because you may only need to visit your pantry to get started.

Gather some simple ingredients for chess pie

In order to make chess pie, you will need a pie crust. Now, a store-bought, refrigerated crust is 100 percent okay. Homemade pie crust works as well — that is, if you have a great recipe. This chess pie recipe also calls for sugar, cornmeal, flour, salt, melted butter, whole milk, white vinegar, and four beaten eggs to create the filling, in addition to confectionery sugar for a final flourish!

As far as why Johnson uses cornmeal in the recipe, she says, "Cornmeal is used as a thickener." She also notes, "This recipe is for the classic vanilla-flavored chess pie." But, there are other varieties to try, with Johnson elaborating, "You can easily make this a lemon chess pie [by] substituting lemon juice for the vinegar and adding lemon zest." Additionally, Johnson says she likes making coconut chess pie by incorporating 1 cup of coconut flakes with the eggs.

Bake your crust, and prep your chess pie filling

To get your chess pie of choice off the ground, first, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. You will pre-bake your pie crust first, with Johnson explaining that this step, which is called blind baking, "ensures that the bottom doesn't get soggy and is crisp." She advises home bakers to put the pie crust in a pie pan lined with parchment. Add beans or pie weights if you have them, and bake the crust for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, go ahead and prep your chess pie filling by whisking together the remaining ingredients except for the confectionary sugar. So, your sugar, cornmeal, flour, salt, butter, milk, and vinegar go into a bowl, and should be mixed until well combined. Just save the beaten eggs as the final ingredient. Then, pour your filling into the baked crust.

Bake your chess pie

Now, it's time to bake your pie. You will first lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, bake your pie for 50 minutes, with Johnson advising home bakers to cover the edges of the pie with aluminum flower. This prevents the edges from burning. How do you make sure you don't over-bake your creation? As Johnson says, "Chess pie will always get a crisp brown top. This is desirable and adds both flavor and texture." So, don't worry that you've charred the top when this happens.

When the pie is done baking, you will want to allow it to cool completely. Johnson notes the final step is to dust the top of the pie with confectionery sugar (which is the same thing as powdered sugar).

Now, it's time to enjoy your chess pie with friends, family, or, hey, all on your own. Because, why not? If you have leftovers, Johnson says, "This should be stored in the refrigerator and is best served within three days."

Classic Chess Pie Recipe
5 from 30 ratings
If you are dying to have some homemade pie, but feel a wee bit intimidated to make one, this classic chess pie is the perfect starter recipe for you.
Prep Time
Cook Time
slice of chess pie
Total time: 1 hour
  • 1 pie crust (homemade or refrigerated)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • confectionary sugar, to garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Put pie crust into the pie pan and line with parchment. Add pie weights and bake for 15 minutes.
  3. While the pie crust is baking, whisk together 2 cups of sugar, 2 tablespoons of cornmeal, 1 tablespoon of flour, ¼ teaspoon of salt, ½ cup of melted butter, ¼ cup of whole milk, and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar until well combined.
  4. Whisk in the 4 eggs and then pour into the pie crust.
  5. Lower the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 50 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool completely, then dust with confectionary sugar to garnish.
Calories per Serving 636
Total Fat 28.2 g
Saturated Fat 14.5 g
Trans Fat 0.6 g
Cholesterol 148.3 mg
Total Carbohydrates 92.5 g
Dietary Fiber 0.8 g
Total Sugars 69.3 g
Sodium 301.1 mg
Protein 5.6 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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