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Published August 23, 2022. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This Homemade Chess Pie Recipe is made with a simple crust and buttermilk, sugar, and cornmeal filling for an unbelievable dessert. You will love this classic Southern recipe.
Chess Pie is a simple baked pie consisting of a homemade pie crust and an egg, sugar, and buttermilk filling. It can be varied by adding flavorings such as lemon, vanilla, or chocolate.
The recipe dates back to the 1700s, making it a pretty old American dessert. While there are a few different variations of how the recipe got its name I’m fond of the story that says someone was asked what they were eating and they responded, “just pie,” which can kind of sound like “chess pie.”
How to Make Chess Pie
- Start by making a homemade pie crust.
- Roll out the dough until it is roughly 1/4″ thick.
- Form the dough into a 9″ fluted glass pie dish.
Once you make your homemade pie crust you do want to par-bake it a little bit just to make sure your pie crust doesn’t fall. I do this by placing a sheet of parchment or foil over the top of the raw pie crust and filling it with dried beans. Bake it up for 6-8 minutes, and remove the parchment and beans and boom you are good to go.
The filling is as simple as whisking everything together and pouring it right into the par-baked pie crust pan and then bake this beauty away. After about 30 minutes or so I like to place a piece of foil over top to ensure the top of the pie crust doesn’t overcook and burn.
If you’ve eaten this before you’ll notice mine is a bit bigger than the norm. Yeah, I want a big old pie because it’s just better. I didn’t make this buttermilk chess pie to be as flat as a brownie or a bar, I wanted a full-on pie so that’s why it’s so big!
Finally, let it cool on a rack until room temp.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: You can make this up to 2 days ahead of time.
How to Store: Store this covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. This will freeze covered for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator for 1 day before slicing and serving.
chef notes + tips
- Chess Pie is excellent to serve for breakfast.
- A classic buttermilk chess pie is served with a dash of powdered sugar, and that’s it. Now you can do just that, but I think some fresh berries would be a nice touch to add to this chess pie.
More Dessert Recipes
This Homemade Buttermilk Chess Pie Recipe
For the Pie Crust:
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ stick cold unsalted butter
- ¼ cup leftover cold rendered bacon fat
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ice cold water
For the Filling:
- 8 eggs
- 3 cups sugar
- 1/3 cup cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons flour
- pinch sea salt
- 1 cup melted unsalted butter
- ½ cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons distilled vinegar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- powdered sugar and fresh berries for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Pie Crust: add the flour, butter, salt, and sugar to a food processor and pulse on high speed while drizzling in the water until it becomes like a meal. Note: you may need a bit more water.
- Transfer the dough to a clean surface dusted with flour, and roll the dough out with a pin until it is 1/8 thick.
- Form the dough to a deep 9” pie pan cutting off any excess and crimping the edges to make a ripple around the outside.
- Add a piece of parchment paper over the top of the pie crust, followed up with 1 pound of dried beans and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Turn the oven down to 350°.
- Filling: Add the eggs to a large bowl and lightly whisk. Add in remaining ingredients and whisk until combined.
- Pour the batter into a deep 9” pie pan and bake for 100 to 120 minutes or until firm in the center. After 30-35 minutes, cover the outside crust with foil so it does not burn up.
- Cool completely on a rack and serve with powdered sugar and fresh berries.