Chess Pie Recipe

Chess Pie Recipe

Written by Becky

This is the crème de la crème of all southern pies. Bakers beware, once you make this one you’ll be making it every year. Chess Pie, often called Crack Pie, is a mysteriously rich & smooth pie. People always ask me about the ingredients and the ingredients are pretty simple, but really, you don’t want to know what’s in this pie as you’re eating it. But I promise, it is worth it! Once a year (or maybe twice) your soul just needs a slice of this buttery, creamy pie.

Chess Pie Recipe

Some people may call this pie Butter Chess Pie or Buttermilk Pie, but those titles don’t help its reputation during a time when people are increasingly trying to make healthy choices. So, we’ll just call it Chess Pie or Crack Pie. This is soul food at its best!

This is one of those recipes that I think twice about publishing online because it’s quintessential to my recipe repertoire. But I hope to give you guys the best, so I had to share it!

Chess Pie Recipe

Chess Pie Recipe

Chess Pie

This Chess Pie or Buttermilk Pie is a Southern Classic for the holidays. With only a few ingredients, and limited steps, its easy to love!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings


  • 1 stick butter, 1/2 cup
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/8 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1 9 in pie shell, I par-bake* mine


  • In mixer cream butter and sugar together. Add vanilla then add one egg at a time to the mixture. Slowly add flour and salt. Stir in buttermilk then pour into prepared pie shell. Sprinkle the top of the pie with a dash of nutmeg.
  • Place a large rimmed baking sheet on the lower baking shelf (to catch anything that bubbles over and). Place the filled pie on the middle shelf and bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes. After 30 minutes cover the crust edge (an easy way to do this is to cut a circle of foil then fold the foil in half and cut and half circle out of the middle creating a ring of foil to put on the crust edge.) Check for done-ness at 50 minutes. When its done, it will only be giggly around the center (a little larger than a quarter). It may take an additional 5-15 minutes for a total cooking time of 1 hr 5 minutes.
  • Let cool completely before slicing.
  • This pie can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator. I actually think the pie is even better the day after it's made.


I like to par-bake my pie crust before I fill it to ensure that it cooks all the way through. Partial baking the pie crust can be done by rolling out the crust into a pie pan, line the surface of the crust with lightly greased foil or parchment then fill with pie weights or rice. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes, then remove the pie weights and foil and bake for another 10 minutes. I also like to place a rimmed baking sheet on the lower shelf while the crust is baking just in case any butter bubbles over (so it doesn't get on the bottom of the oven). To make sure the pie is done you can barely shake it to see if it is still liquid in the center.

Comments (10)

  1. yay! she shares! ha 🙂 it is seriously delicious and tasty and addicting… one of the best pies i have ever eaten (my husband secinds that).

  2. I am so glad you posted this! We LOVED your pie. Thanks again for letting us taste a slice of heaven. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Josh! Have fun on your trip!

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  4. A lovely pie although chess pie and buttermilk pie are two different things. Both are in the family of high sugar, eggy pies that result in a firm filling with jelly-like qualities. A pecan pie is in the same category, and I have a deep affection for a single-crust raisin pie that is mysteriously delicious. The chess pie has no buttermilk, and uses a mix of cornmeal and flour or all cornmeal with a small amount of vinegar. There are a few people who use nutmeg (no more than a quarter teaspoon, it’s not a custard pie). Most skip the nutmeg, relying only on the flavor of the finest eggs and sugar. Blind bake the crust as you would for a custard pie. Probably the different recipes developed according to what was available. If you had buttermilk, you made a buttermilk pie. All versions are equally delicious in my opinion. Thank you for sharing yours.

    • Thanks for your tips. My Grandma always made this one and called it a Butter Chess Pie though it’s made with buttermilk. It’s interesting to hear that some people differentiate!