Chess Pie

Chess pie is a decadent gooey, buttery custard-filled pie with a crispy top and pastry crust- the perfect easy Southern dessert!

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Confusingly named yet incredibly popular in the American South, Chess pie is a great pie recipe to keep on hand so that you can make a sweet treat whenever you feel like it. Easy to make and better to store, it bakes up perfectly when you make a blind baked pie crust. You can also make a Chocolate Chess Pie or a Lemon Chess Pie if you want!

Make sure that you didn’t miss my new Impossible pumpkin pie as well!

slice of chess pie on a white plate

Classic Chess Pie

Coming from the American South, chess pie is more about providing a utilitarian, filling, and slightly sweet dessert with a super unique texture. Part custard, part cornmeal, and with a flavor that is part acidic and part sweet, Chess pie is definitely something you have to try at least once!

It freezes incredibly well and is super quick to whip up, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t keep this recipe close by so that you can always make it for a quick dessert after dinner.

Chess Pie Ingredients

Make sure you look at the recipe card at the very bottom for the exact amounts so that you know exactly what to buy for this recipe.

• Pie crust

• Salted butter

• White sugar

• Vanilla extract

• Eggs

• Cornmeal

• Heavy cream

• White vinegar

ingredients for chess pie

How To Make Chess Pie

• Preheat your oven to 450 Fahrenheit

• In a large bowl, mix together the butter, sugar, and vanilla together

• Mix in the eggs, then the cornmeal, whipping, and vinegar until smooth

• Pour the batter into the prepared pie plate and place on a baking sheet

• Turn the oven down to 350 Fahrenheit and bake for 45 minutes until the top is browned and the pie is set

• Let cool completely and then serve topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

slice of chess pie

What Is Chess Pie?

Chess pie is another one of those dishes that has a weirdly strange name that doesn’t really help anyone figure out what to expect.

Chess pie doesn’t have anything to do with the game, nor does it has a chequered chess board-like pattern, as you might expect. Instead, the name could be linked to a derivation of “cheese pie” due to the slightly thick custard-like filling that makes it look like a cheesecake. Or, it could be named from the pie chest, which was some of the early refrigerators.

Regardless of its name’s origins, though, Chess pie is an incredibly unique pie primarily due to its strange texture.

While the majority of the filling ingredients are pretty normal, the inclusion of cornmeal and vinegar gives it a sort of jammy, almost jiggly texture that just isn’t found in any other kind of pie.

chess pie in a pie plate

How To Store Chess Pie For Later

A great quality of this pie is that it stores incredibly well with just a little bit of preparation.

Chess pie is great to freeze and will be just as good as the first time you try it once it is defrosted properly.

To store, you need to let your Chess pie completely cool then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.

From there, you could just refrigerate it if you were only looking to store it for a few days, but for longer storage in the freezer, you should keep it in an airtight bag.

Stored this way in the freezer, you can expect at least three months of no freezer burn or damage to the texture or flavor of the pie after defrosting it.

Do You Eat Chess Pie Warm or Cold?

To eat it, you can either just eat it completely cool, the way Chess pie is usually enjoyed, or slightly warm. If you eat it warm, it won’t be as solid as it will be when cold, so it doesn’t slice as neatly as cold chess pie does.

Looking for more delicious Pie recipes? Try these out:

Blueberry Pie

Campfire Cherry Hand Pies

Cream Cheese Pineapple Pie

Enjoy! Happy baking!



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Chess pie is a decadent gooey, buttery custard-filled pie with a crispy top and pastry crust- the perfect easy Southern dessert!

Chess Pie

Chess pie is a decadent gooey, buttery custard-filled pie with a crispy top and pastry crust- the perfect easy Southern dessert!
4.89 from 17 votes
Prep Time
40 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Karlynn Johnston


  • one recipe blind baked pie crust
  • ½ cup salted butter softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar


  • Preheat your oven to 450 °F.
  • In a large bowl, mix the butter, sugar and vanilla together. Mix in the eggs, then the cornmeal, whipping and vinegar until smooth.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pie plate. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet.
  • Place in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 350 °F. Bake for 45-50 minutes until the top is browned and the pie is set.
  • Let cool completely then cut and serve topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Recipe Notes

  • prep time includes blind baking the pie crust 

Nutrition Information

Calories: 484kcal, Carbohydrates: 68g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 178mg, Sodium: 187mg, Potassium: 66mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 67g, Vitamin A: 799IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 31mg, Iron: 1mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

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Site Index Chess pie Desssert Pie

Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Barb says

    Chess pie came from southern people saying “Just pie..” but with the southern twang u get “Jess pie”
    That is jess what I have been told😁

  2. Mina says

    The crust on a true Chess Pie should never break. When this happens the sugar has not been mixed in properly and has risen to the top making it crispy. This also means the poe will have more of an egg taste than the extreme sweet sugary and buttery taste it’s meant to have.3 stars

  3. Miss knox says

    I love this pie but avery time i make this it tasty eggish can u tell me why i would love to have this pie on my Thanksgiving table this year

  4. Judy K. says

    Same recipe except I use buttermilk instead of heavy cream and 1 1/2 cups of sugar. May cut that down to 1 1/4 cup next time. It is a very sweet pie. It is delicious.

  5. Judy K. says

    Same recipe except I use buttermilk instead of heavy cream and 1 1/2 cups of sugar. May cut that down to 1 1/4 cup next time. It is a very sweet pie..

  6. Sharen Buchan says

    nor does it has a chequered chess board-

    perhaps a quick read through before posting

    nor does it have a checkered chess board…..

    • Karlynn Johnston says

      past tense: chequered; past participle: chequered
      divide into or mark with an arrangement of squares of different color or character.
      “a great plain chequered with corn and green mosses””

      It’s simply another spelling of the word. I’m Canadian so it’s fine to use British spelling sometimes.5 stars

  7. Warren says

    When a recipe calls for heavy cream to cut down on fat I use 1/2 and 1/2,most of the time it does not affect the end results.How would it work in this recipe?

    Thank You

  8. Robin A Holladay says

    Our family had been making this for generations. We use brown sugar instead of white sugar. Deeper texture, richer flavor. More like a pecan pie minus the pecans. Absolutely mouth watering.
    From VA to AZ and beyond we don’t alter our recipe. Give this one a try..

    • Jackie says

      Hi Robin. I’d like to use brown sugar too. Do you use the same amount as the white?

      • Stan Jones says

        If you were doing multiple smaller pies for freezing would you still do the 450/350 temperatures? I’m thinking 4″ or 5″ crusts. Thanks.

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