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Chess Pie is one of the longest-known pies to exist. It was made long before refrigerators were invented and long enough that there are folk tales surrounding the name.

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Best Chess Pie Recipe

Although this pie may be ancient, that’s what makes it so special. The flavor profile has held up over time alongside more modern pies. You can’t go wrong with the delicious buttery taste. This recipe calls for a lot of butter, sugar, and chocolate chips (aka all the best things in life). You don’t have to be a genius to play, just follow the recipe and this will be the best chess pie you’ve ever had!

Ingredients for Chess Pie

  • Pie Crust- You can use homemade pie crust or store-bought, whatever you prefer! It should be 9”.
  • Butter- Melt the butter before use, you can use salted or unsalted butter depending on whether or not you want to add actual salt to the recipe. I love using Challenge Butter because it’s what I grew up eating. The butter is made with happy cows and without hormones.
  • Sugar- Use granulated sugar.
  • Eggs- I always use large eggs.
  • Salt- Just a pinch. You only need to add salt if you are using unsalted butter. If you use salted then you don’t need to add the extra salt.
  • All-purpose flour
  • Cornmeal
  • Vanilla extract- All-natural is best!
  • Vinegar- Use white vinegar, if you don’t have white vinegar you can use lemon juice instead. 
  • Milk- Whole milk works best.
  • Chocolate Chips- You can use any chocolate chip you would like! White, dark, milk, whatever you think would taste yummy in this chess pie. 

How to Make Chess Pie

  • Prepare pie crust: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place your crust in a 9” pie plate and crimp edges as you please. Chill the crust until you are ready to fill it.
  • Make the chess pie filling: Whisk together melted butter, sugar, and eggs until it is smooth. Then, add salt (if necessary), flour, cornmeal, vanilla, and vinegar. Then, whisk in milk and stir in the chocolate chips until the filling is completely smooth. 
  • Bake: Place the prepared pie crust on a cookie sheet and fill it with the filling. Cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil or a pie shield to avoid burning it. Bake for 38-48 minutes or until the top is golden brown and mostly solid. 
  • Serve: Before serving let it cool completely. If you put it in the fridge it will be easier to slice, but the pie tastes better at room temperature than right out of the fridge. You can serve chess pie by itself but top it with whip cream, or ice cream for some extra goodness. 

Expert Tip

Bake on the low rack so the pie doesn’t get too brown quickly. This will help the top to not crack or get burnt. Use a pie shield so the edges don’t get done too quickly.


Why do they call it a chess pie?

There are a few stories as to how chess pie got its name. The first one says that chess pie originated in the south from a cook on a plantation. When asked what kind of dessert it was she said “just pie”. Because of her southern drawl, when delivered, it allegedly sounded like “chess pie” hence the name was born. The second says that the name originates from before the advent of the fridge. Before this people had to use other methods of keeping food fresh. For pies, there was a specific pie “chest” that was used to keep them fresh over periods of time. Because of this, people used to call it “chest pie” and supposedly over time the name morphed into “chess pie”.

Can I leave out the chocolate chips?

Even though traditional chess pie has some sort of flavor-booster included such as chocolate chips, lemon, or peanut butter feel free to leave them out or replace them with something else if you please!

Can I make this pie ahead of time?

Yes, you most definitely make this pie ahead of time. The amount of sugar in chess pie makes it one that preserves very well and lasts a good bit of time (it can be held at room temperature for 24 hours.)

Can you freeze chess pie?

Yes, freezing chess pie will allow it to keep for a long time!

Chocolate Chip Chess Pie

Chocolate Chip Chess Pie

5 from 4 votes
Chocolate Chip Chess Pie – a classic easy chess pie recipe filled with chocolate chips! This is the best holiday pie, everyone loves how EASY and good it is!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Yield 10 servings
Serving Size 1 /10th pie


  • 1 9-inch pie crust , (homemade or store-bought)
  • ¼ cup (57g) Challenge Butter , melted (salted or unsalted, see note)
  • 1 ½ cups (300g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • Pinch salt see note
  • 1 tablespoon (8g) all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon (10g) cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) vinegar
  • ¼ cup (59ml) whole milk
  • 1 cup (170g) chocolate chips see note


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Place your crust in a 9” pie plate and crimp edges as desired. Chill until ready to fill.
  • Whisk melted butter, sugar, and eggs until smooth. Add the salt, flour, cornmeal, vanilla, and vinegar, whisk until smooth, then whisk in milk. Stir in chocolate chips.
  • Place the pie crust on a cookie sheet and fill with filling. Cover the edges of the crust with a pie shield or strips of foil to reduce browning. Bake for 38-48 minutes or until the top is golden and is mostly solid.
  • Cool completely before slicing (it slices best cold, but tastes better room temperature). Serve plain or with whipped cream or ice cream.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

  • You can leave out the chocolate chips for a classic chess pie.
  • Use your favorite chocolate chips – semi-sweet or milk.

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1/10th pie | Calories: 432kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 65mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 43g
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

This post was sponsored by Challenge Butter in 2016 and has been updated.

Other Amazing Recipes

Easy Chocolate Chip Chess Pie is the best old fashioned chess pie recipe with chocolate chips! Such a classic creamy pie recipe – it’s SO good!

Last Updated on November 18, 2022

Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

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  1. I adore this recipe! For Christmas I combined it with a recipe for orange chess pie. Outstanding! This recipe at Crazy for Crust was a great find!
    Thank you again!

    1. Sorry about that – my recipe plugin deleted all my notes when I switched providers. The note was just that you can use your favorite flavor chips (semi-sweet, milk or white)

  2. Thank you for posting! This is a wonderful and easy recipe. Have made it twice! Takes a little planning on timing though. We like it best on the first day, so to bake it and let it counter cool is a few (3-4) hours. It’s good after refrigeration too but different than first day.

  3. Could you put brown sugar in this pie, like maybe swap out half the granulated for brown?? I just think it would give more of that chocolate chip cookie vibe, but I don’t want to ruin what looks like a beautiful consistency and texture!!

  4. Should this recipe have cornstarch instead of cornmeal? Mine has little pieces of grain from the cornmeal.

    1. Traditional chess pies have cornmeal in them. It shouldn’t be noticeable in the finished product. What kind of cornmeal did you use?

  5. Ok I have to know what is the yellow glob in the pie? It looks good but that yellow is throwing me off. Lol

  6. adding chocolate makes everything better (except for like…chicken noodle soup. That sounds terrible :P)

    This pie looks exceptionally gooey and rich and perfect!