Chess Pie

This rich and sweet Chess Pie is as easy as it gets, but you wouldn’t know it once you’ve tasted it. With a thick custard filling and a slightly crisp caramelized top, you’ll understand why this simple pie is a bonafide Southern classic. 

If you love our chess pie recipe, be sure to give our hoosier sugar pie a try next. Delicious custard flavor. You can even top it with sugar and caramelize it like you would creme brulee!

Slice of chess pie being lifted out of pie plate.


Why Chess Pie Works

I love chess pie.

Even though it’s not a recipe you’ll see on most menus, it is delicious and simple to make. If you’re a beginner pie maker, this is a great one to begin with.

Here are a few reasons why you’ll love my chess pie,

  • Creamy custard. The custard filling is rich and creamy. It’s the star of the recipe and, fortunately, doesn’t require any special prep. Just mix, pour and bake!
  • Time saver. I love from-scratch anything, but decided to use a frozen crust for this recipe to save time and effort. Chess pie is a great holiday dessert, so any effort you save on this dish can go to prepping other aspects of the occasion.
  • Kids love it. Chess pie is a universal dessert. Everybody loves it, including kids. And it’s the sort of thing you can probably throw together with ingredients you already have on hand.
  • Lemon. You heard me. After you have excelled at making this easy pie, try our lemon chess pie next!

If you love pie, add our pecan pie recipe to your baking list! Or go simple with a no bake grasshopper pie for a minty finish!

Ingredient Notes 

Ingredients needed to make chess pie.
  • Deep-Dish Frozen Pie Crust – A deeper pie crust is essential to be able to hold all the Chess Pie filling. Try our homemade pie crust recipe for delicious flavor!
  • Yellow Cornmeal – Thickens the pie filling and helps it set up enough to slice.
  • All-Purpose Flour – Helps to thicken the pie filling along with the cornmeal.
  • Eggs – A crucial ingredient to make the rich custard filling. 
  • Milk – Whole milk offers the best taste and texture for the custard filling.
  • White Distilled Vinegar – A traditional ingredient for this recipe that balances out the sweetness. See the FAQs for other vinegar options if needed.
  • Vanilla Extract – Adds a hint of warm vanilla flavor to the custard filling. Our homemade vanilla extract is perfect!
  • Granulated Sugar – An essential ingredient in this famously sweet pie.
  • Unsalted Butter – Adds buttery flavor and richness to the filling.
  • Kosher Salt – Enhances all the flavors and balances the sweetness.
  • Powdered Sugar – Optional for serving. 

Easy Instructions

Step by step photos showing how to make chess pie.
  1. Prep the crust. Brush the bottom of the pie crust with the beaten egg. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Create the filling. In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, cornmeal, flour, and salt together. Add the melted butter and whisk until fluffy. Then combine the milk, vinegar, and vanilla. Finally, whisk in the beaten eggs until the filling is smooth.
  3. Combine and bake. Pour the filling into the par-baked crust. Bake it uncovered for 35 minutes, and then for 15 more minutes with a loose foil covering.
  4. Cool. Once there’s no jiggle remaining in the middle of the filling, rest the pie on a cooling rack for at least 3 hours before serving.
Chess pie with one slice removed.

Tips and Tricks 

  • I used a Pillsbury frozen pie crust for this recipe, but you can use my homemade pie crust recipe instead. It’s awesome, but does require a bit more time and energy.
  • Whisk the filling by hand, instead of an electric mixer. Using an electric mixer will aerate the filling TOO much.
  • The custard filling will puff up while baking. It may deflate as it cools, causing cracks in the top of the pie. This is normal. To make it look prettier, dust it with powdered sugar before slicing and serving. 
  • I highly recommend covering the pie with foil around the 35-minute mark to make sure the pie and crust don’t get too brown. If you have pie crust shields, those will work as well.
  • Chilling the pie, while not required, will make it easier to slice and serve. The warmer the pie, the looser the filling may be. Place the cooled pie in the fridge for a couple more hours for a firmer pie filling. 

Serving Suggestions

Chess Pie is a dreamy slice of perfection by itself. But if you’d like to dress it up, you have options, too. 

Serve it with a generous dollop of Homemade Whipped Cream for starters. Or get extra fancy and top each slice with a piped rosette of Stabilized Whipped Cream

If you’re a die-hard chocolate lover, why not serve a slice of Chess Pie in a little pool of warm Chocolate Ganache? It’s also great with a hot cup of coffee or a homemade Skinny Caramel Mocha

Slice of chess pie with a bite taken out.

Recipe FAQs 

How should I store chess pie?

Since it contains eggs and dairy, this pie should not be stored on the counter or left out for longer than 2 hours. Cover it with foil or plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Can I freeze Chess Pie? 

Yes. To freeze chess pie, wrap it well in plastic wrap first. Then wrap it again with aluminum foil. Store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Before serving, let the pie thaw in the refrigerator overnight. 

How do I prevent a soggy pie crust? 

Brushing the inside bottom of the pie crust with egg wash before blind baking helps to prevent a soggy crust. 

Can I use a different type of vinegar if I don’t have white vinegar?

Yes. If you don’t have white vinegar on hand, feel free to use apple cider vinegar instead. 

More Easy Pie Recipes

Chess Pie

No ratings yet
By: Aimee
This rich and sweet Chess Pie is as easy as it gets, but you wouldn’t know it once you’ve tasted it. With a thick custard filling and a slightly crisp caramelized top, you’ll understand why this simple pie is a bonafide Southern classic. 
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Additional Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients 

  • 1 9-inch deep dish frozen pie crust (see notes)
  • 1 large egg beaten for egg wash
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons yellow cornmeal
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter melted
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs room temperature
  • Powdered sugar optional

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush the bottom of the pie crust with the beaten egg, and par-bake the crust for 10 minutes (according to package directions). Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, cornmeal, flour, and salt together. Pour in the melted butter and whisk until fluffy.
  • Add the milk, vinegar, and vanilla extract, and continue mixing until combined.
  • Beat the 4 eggs slightly and pour them into the pie-filling mixture. Use the whisk to continue beating the eggs until the pie filling is fully combined and smooth.
  • Pour the filling into the pre-baked pie crust, place the pie on a small or medium cookie sheet, and bake the pie for 35 minutes. Loosely place a piece of foil over the pie to prevent it from browning too much, and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the pie filling no longer jiggles in the middle.
  • Place the pie on a cooling rack, and allow it to cool completely for 3 hours before slicing. For a firmer pie filling, place the pie in the fridge after cooling on the rack for another 2 hours. Dust with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

Notes

  • I used a Pillsbury frozen pie crust, but you can use our homemade pie crust recipe instead.
  • Brushing the bottom of the pie with egg wash before blind baking will help prevent a “soggy bottom.”
  • Storage: This pie should not be stored on the counter or left out for longer than 3 hours. Store in the refrigerator: Cover with foil or plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Freezer: Cover with plastic wrap AND foil and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.
  • The pie will puff up while baking and it may deflate while cooling causing some cracks in the top of the pie. Dusting with powdered sugar and serving sliced will distract any judgement.
  • I highly recommend using foil around the 35-minute mark to make sure the pie doesn’t get too brown on top, especially for the crust. If you have pie crust shields, those will work as well.
  • Chilling the pie, while not required, will make it easier to slice and serve. The warmer the pie, the more unstable it may be.
  • See blog post for more recipe tips and tricks.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice, Calories: 452kcal, Carbohydrates: 63g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 0.5g, Cholesterol: 134mg, Sodium: 205mg, Potassium: 85mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 50g, Vitamin A: 516IU, Calcium: 33mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Pies and Tarts
Cuisine: American
Did you make this recipe?Mention @shugarysweets or tag #shugarysweets!

Even More Pie Recipes

See all Pies and Tarts recipes


Avatar photo

About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

Learn How To Become a Better Home Baker
Sign up for the Shugary Sweets FREE Email Course Today—soon you’ll say, "I made it from scratch!"

Categories: ,


Posted on August 23, 2023

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating