Chess Pie – classic Southern pie that is simple yet deliciously sweet. Made with pantry staple ingredients, this pie can be made in less than an hour while still giving you that wonderful sweet flavor with hints of buttermilk, vanilla, butter, nutmeg, and lemon juice. The easiest pie you can whip up for Thanksgiving Day!
After I made this decadent custardy Coconut Cream Pie, I decided then to make this other classic Southern Chess Pie. In case you’re new here, I happen to have a serious sweet tooth and baking is a therapy for me. So yes, this gal here had two kinds of pies on a plate for that day. If only eating them is as healthy as eating broccoli, I would gladly do so every single day! But we all know, I can’t. So I’m just going to share with you here on the blog how ridiculously mouthwatering and easy this homemade chess pie is.
What is Chess Pie?
The origin of this pie is actually uncertain. Some would say that it is derived from “cheese pie” which is basically similar to Britain’s cheesecakes and lemon curd. Others say it was called as such since pies were stored in a “pie chest” before. But from what I know, it’s a classic Southern specialty with a simple filling made from eggs, sugar, butter and a small amount of flour. Some would also add cornmeal for additional texture (like I did) and flavorings such as vanilla, lemon juice or chocolate.
Chess Pie vs Buttermilk Pie
Both chess and buttermilk pies are Southern classics. And although they can be easily confused with each other, there’s actually a difference between the two.
Most chess pie recipes use cornmeal as a thickener to its filling. Moreover, it is also extremely rich and sweet (just what with a sweet tooth would need) and it also uses buttermilk and lemon juice for that little bit of tang.
Buttermilk, on the other hand, although it has the same yellowing filling with Chess pie, this pie recipe is distinctly both sweet and tangy. Like chess pie, it is also a yellow filling, however, it doesn’t use cornmeal as a thickener and it uses more buttermilk.
In short, if you want to lean on the sweeter side, choose Chess Pie and for that well-balanced sweet and tang flavor, go fort Buttermilk Pie.
Chess Pie Ingredients
You probably have everything sitting in your pantry right now for this recipe, or maybe except the pie shell. But if you have a homemade pie crust, then that’s even better. For this delicious homemade chess pie recipe, you’ll need:
- pie shell
- large eggs
- vanilla extract
- ground nutmeg
- lemon juice or vinegar
- granulated sugar
Mix all of these together in a bowl and dump it into the baked pie crust. Yep! As easy as dump, mix and bake!
Chess Pie Variations
Aside from the timeless basic version of chess pie which has been loved through the years, you can also enjoy other flavor variations for this pie like:
- lemon blackberry
If ever you made one of these, please do let me know in the comment section below.
Can You Make This Pie in Advance?
Wouldn’t Thanksgiving be much less stressful if you could make some of your dishes in advance? Well, I’m glad we’re on the same page. Luckily for us, this chess pie can be made ahead.
Simply bake it as per directions in the recipe box, and let it cool completely. Then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and with aluminum foil and freeze for up to 2 months.
To serve, thaw it in the fridge overnight, remove the plastic wrap and serve. Or if you want, you can pop it in the oven for about 10-15 minutes at 375 degrees F to breathe a little crispness back to it.
How to Store Chess Pie?
There is enough sugar in this pie though to delay the spoilage even if you store it at room temperature for a day or two. But to prolong its shelf life, your best bet is to store it in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
More Delicious Pies You’ll Love
- Pecan Pie
- Buttermilk Pie
- No Bake Key Lime Mango Coconut Cheese Cake Pie
- Coconut Cream Pie
- Banana Cream Pie
- Pineapple Pie
How To Make Chess Pie
Preheat oven to 325 °F. Line the bottom of pie crust with parchment paper add dried beans on top. The beans will ensure that the bottom of the crust does not rise. Bake for 5-6 minutes in the preheated oven, remove from the oven and let it cool. You do not want the pie crust to be too brown.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, cornmeal, flour, vanilla, buttermilk, butter, nutmeg, lemon juice, and sugar.
Pour it into the pie crust and bake at 325 °F for 35-40 minutes or until the top is nice and thoroughly browned or when a skewer inserted in the middle of the pie comes out clean. (See notes 2.)
Let it cool for 10 minutes. Chess pie is great served with berries and whipped cream!
- 1 (9 inch) pie shell , unbaked
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons (16g) cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon s (10g) flour
- 1 teaspoon (4.2g) vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (61.25g) buttermilk
- ⅓ cup (83ml) butter , melted
- ¼-½ teaspoon (0.5-1g) ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) lemon Juice or Vinegar
- 1-1 ½ cup (200-300g) granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 325 °F.
- Line the bottom of pie crust with parchment paper add dried beans on top. The beans will ensure that the bottom of the crust does not rise.
- Bake for 5-6 minutes in the preheated oven, remove from the oven and let it cool. You do not want the pie crust to be too brown.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, cornmeal, flour, vanilla, buttermilk, butter, nutmeg, lemon juice, and sugar.
- Pour it into the pie crust and bake at 325 °F for 35-40 minutes or until the top is nice and thoroughly browned or when a skewer inserted in the middle of the pie comes out clean. See notes 2.
- Let it cool for 10 minutes. Chess pie is great served with berries and whipped cream!
Tips & Notes:
- For a classic super sweet chess pie, opt for 1 ½ cup sugar but if you would like less sugar, 1 cup will be perfectly fine.
- If your chess pie is slightly runny in the middle, turn off the oven and leave the pie inside the oven for about 5-10 minutes.
- It’s perfectly normal to have cracked pie. It happens sometimes, so do not be alarmed.
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.
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