Crazy for Crust

Coconut Chess Pie

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This pie is for you if you’re as addicted to coconut as I am. A Coconut Chess Pie is a baked coconut pie that’s creamy like custard and FULL of coconut flavor. It’s like eating a macaroon with a pudding base and a pie crust chaser. *swoon*

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coconut chess pie

Why is coconut only a spring food? I eat it all year long but I only see it floating around the internet in force in spring (and then, as a cursory ingredient in tropical cocktails in summer). Coconut is treated like a spring sport: here in a flash, gone in an instant. It doesn’t even get Fall Ball or whatever baseball has in the autumn.

I love coconut all year – it’s actually one of my favorite flavors. In fact: I’ll often choose coconut over chocolate. I KNOW, RIGHT?

I’ve made this Coconut Chess Pie a few times now and, guys, it’s the best thing ever: it’s like a macaroon on crack, seriously. It’s got a smooth pudding like custard layer, made with eggs and buttermilk and coconut flavor and tons of sweetened coconut.

If you love coconut like I do this is going to be the pie that knocks your socks off!

Coconut Chess Pie is like a creamy custard chess pie but with added coconut. It’s perfect served warm!

slice of coconut chess pie on blue plate

What is a chess pie?

I’m glad you asked! I never knew about chess pies until I was a blogger. I think they’re more of a midwest or southern dessert because, as a Californian, I’d never seen one until a few years ago.

A chess pie is SO EASY because it has just a few ingredients. It’s egg based, with sugar and butter and flavorings. Some chess pies (like my Chocolate Chip Chess Pie) use cornmeal for binding, but this coconut version uses flour. 

You can easily add flavorings to change up a chess pie to make lemon or chocolate or, now, coconut!

Another ingredient most chess pies have is buttermilk. Have you ever heard of a buttermilk pie? That’s basically a chess pie too!

What do you do if you don’t have buttermilk?

Believe me, if there is one ingredient that I always forget to buy, it’s buttermilk. But you can easily make your own!

To make your own buttermilk you can add vinegar to milk and let it sour up, that’s it! The rule of thumb is about 1 teaspoon of vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup equals one cup of buttermilk.

For all of my substitutions, be sure to check out my guide to baking substitutions here!

This Coconut Chess Pie comes together super easy. You can use a store-bought crust (I love Pillsbury) or make one from scratch.

The rest of the ingredients come together with a whisk in one bowl. Simply stir and pour, then bake. Top your Coconut Chess Pie with whipped cream or ice cream and then attack it with a fork. I won’t tell if you don’t even get a plate.

How do you tell when a chess pie is done?

You can use a knife to do the “toothpick test” around the edge of the pie, but I always do the jiggle test: simply jiggle the pie. If the center is only slightly jiggly, it’s done and will finish setting as it cools. It it seems really wet when you jiggle it, it’s not done.

How do you store a chess pie?

One thing I love about chess pies is that you can freeze them! If you happen to have any slices left over (or if you’re making your pie ahead and want to freeze it) you can. Just wrap it well in plastic wrap, or wrap each slice in a sealable sandwich bag. Let it defrost on the counter.

Store leftovers in the refrigerator if you’re not freezing them.

Be sure to check out my post on how I freeze almost all my desserts!

slice of coconut chess pie on blue plate with slice missing

Tips for making this coconut chess pie:

  • Be sure your pie crust is cold when you bake the pie. Use a pie shield for best results.
  • Use coconut extract to amp up the coconut flavor of the pie. You don’t have to, but then it’ll taste like buttermilk pie with coconut in it instead of a coconut pie.
  • Remove from the oven when the center is just a bit jiggly and it’ll set as it cools.
  • Don’t slice it too soon or it’ll ooze and fall apart. It’s best if it’s completely cool before slicing.
  • Make homemade whipped cream using some coconut extract!
  • Be sure to see how to toast coconut for some garnish.

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coconut chess pie
5 from 2 votes
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Servings: 10 servings

Coconut Chess Pie

Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
1 hr
Total Time:
1 hr 10 mins
This easy Coconut Chess Pie is a baked custard buttermilk pie full of coconut! It tastes like a  creamy macaroon pie!

Ingredients

  • 1 all butter pie crust — or from a refrigerated pack of two, or frozen
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter — melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut — divided

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place pie crust in a 9” pie plate and crimp edges as desired. Chill until ready to fill.
  2. Whisk the eggs, then whisk in the flour and sugar until smooth. Whisk in the melted butter, both extracts, salt and the buttermilk. Stir in 2 cups of the coconut.

  3. Place prepared pie shell on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour filling into pie and then carefully place in oven. Cover the edges of the pie crust with strips of aluminum foil or a pie crust shield

  4. Bake pie for 40-45 minutes. After 25 minutes, remove the shield from the outside of the crust so the edges will brown. Cool completely before serving.

  5. Optional for serving: place remaining 1/2 cup of coconut on a baking sheet at bake at 350°F for just a few minutes, stirring often, until it starts to turn brown.
  6. This can also be done in a skillet over medium-low heat. Let cool.
  7. Serve pie with whipped cream or Cool Whip and toasted coconut.

Recipe Notes

To make your own buttermilk for this recipe, add 1/2 teaspoon vinegar to a measuring cup and fill it to 3/4 cup full of milk. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pie

Nutrition Information

Amount per serving (1 serving) — Calories: 515, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 103mg, Sodium: 345mg, Carbohydrates: 66g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 47g, Protein: 4g

**Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!**

Click here to see more of my ULTIMATE COCONUT recipes!

Recipe adapted from Food.com.

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This post was originally posted in 2014. Photos and recipe updated 2019.

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44 comments

  1. Lovely! I love pie and coconut too! I just posted a recipe with your chocolate chip cookies. Love ’em! Your blog is the best!
    ~Kloe ♥

  2. I’ve been meaning to make chess pie for YEARS! Thanks for the reminder–plus, I can never get enough coconut in my life! I have to literally force myself not to add it to all baked goods.

  3. I’m so happy about your new car-it sounds awesome!!! I’m in the process of looking to buy myself a car…but the ones I’m looking at all have like over 200,000 miles on them….ugh #brokegirlproblems

    anywayyyyy I am completely obsessed with chess pie and I LOVE this coconut version you’ve dreamed up!!! incredible!

  4. Now here you go again, posting a fabulous idea for an Easter dessert! I had already decided on your lemon cake roll, but this seems perfect, too! Maybe I’ll just have to go nuts and have two desserts that day, and share with the neighbors. Thanks for another inspired recipe!

  5. This pie looks luscious, Dorothy! I love coconut, especially chewy, gooey, sweet, creamy coconut! This is coconut baking season for Easter and for Passover. 🙂

  6. Congrats on the new car…can’t wait to see it!

  7. This looks so good! I love your description of this! Congratulations on your new car! I got rid of my Accord and swapped it for an Odyssey…never thought I’d ever drive a mini-van, but I seriously LOVE it!

  8. Coconut!?!? Yes!! Loving this chess pie and it is a must make for me. Maybe Easter dessert!

    Congrats on the new car!

  9. Can everything I eat from here on out include a pie crust chaser? YUM.

    Also: yay for new cars! I’m so excited for you!

  10. Pingback: Birch + Bird Vintage Home Interiors » Blog Archive » Friday Links: Weekend Round-Up

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