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This Lemon Chess Pie is so easy and always a hit! The filling is tart and sweet and delicious and is baked in either a homemade crust or store-bought if you want to make it even easier.

Chess pies are a classic and I love every single flavor. No one can resist a slice of this lemon version!

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Close up photo of slice of lemon chess pie on a white scalloped plate

BEST Lemon Pie Recipe

Chess pie has been around for a long time and there’s a reason it’s considered a classic pie: it’s so good! If you’ve never made one or if it’s a been a while might I suggest you try this lemon chess pie recipe I’m sharing today? You won’t regret it, I promise!

Once you know how to make lemon chess pie, I’m pretty sure you’ll add it to your favorite recipes!

What is Chess Pie?

No one is exactly sure how it got its name (there are many theories!), but a chess pie is generally a pie made with eggs, sugar, butter, some kind of acid (like lemon, buttermilk or even vinegar), and a thickener like flour or cornmeal. 

When it’s baked the filling turns soft and sweet – almost like a custard. In other words, delicious! 

For this recipe, we’re using lemon as the acid and I like to use a combination of flour and cornmeal as a thickener. It’s a great combination. Once you’ve made it, you end up with a lemon pie that is tart and sweet – it’s hard to eat just one slice!

I love chess pies because they’re so easy to make. You just mix up the filling and pour it into the pie crust. It’s perfect served just as it is or you can serve it with some whipped cream, ice cream, or just some powdered sugar dusted over the top.

Slice of lemon chess pie on a scalloped plate with silver fork


For the crust, you can make my all-butter crust or use your favorite refrigerated dough. You will only need one pie dough round.

Place it in your pie pan and crimp the edges. Pop it in the fridge while you make the filling.

Here’s what you’ll need for the filling:

  • Unsalted butter: You can use salted, just omit the salt in the recipe
  • Granulated sugar: For sweetness
  • Eggs: Eggs are what give the custard pie it’s structure
  • All-purpose flour: Helps it firm up
  • Cornmeal: It’s not a chess pie without cornmeal!
  • Lemon juice and lemon zest: Gives the lemon flavor – learn how to zest a lemon!
  • Milk: May use whole or nonfat milk
  • Salt

Tip: You can make a buttermilk lemon chess pie by subbing buttermilk for the milk!

how to make lemon chess pie collage of 4 photos

How Do You Make Lemon Chess Pie Filling?

I think it takes all of five minutes to make the filling. So, so, easy!

  1. Grab a mixing bowl and whisk the butter, sugar, and eggs.
  2. Whisk in the flour, cornmeal, zest and salt.
  3. Whisk in lemon juice and milk.
  4. Once it’s well combined pour the filling into your pie crust!
  5. Bake the pie on a cookie sheet just in case the filling bubbles over. Bake the pie for 10 minutes at 425°F and then lower the temperature to 350°F and bake it for 20 to 30 minutes.

How do you know Chess Pie is done baking?

The pie is done when it’s just a little wobbly in the center and golden on top.

Tip: If you notice that the edges of the crust are browning too fast, you can cover the edge with foil or a pie shield.

You will need to let the pie cool completely before slicing it. This will give it time to fully set up – if you cut it too soon after it comes out of the oven the filling will ooze out.

Slice of lemon chess pie with one bite missing on a white scalloped plate

Do Chess Pies Have to be Refrigerated?

It will keep at room temperature for up to three days, but I usually keep it in the refrigerator if I’m not planning to serve it right away.

Can You Freeze Lemon Chess Pie?

Yes, once it’s fully cooled you can wrap it tightly and freeze it. To thaw, just leave it out at room temperature before you want to serve it.

Serve it plain, with whipped cream, or ice cream! After one bite I think you’ll agree it’s the best lemon chess pie ever -you won’t need another recipe!

Other Pies To Try

Have you made this recipe?

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Slice of lemon chess pie on a scalloped plate with silver fork

Lemon Chess Pie Recipe

4.93 from 14 votes
Lemon Chess Pie Recipe is an easy old fashioned chess pie recipe! This southern pie is one of the best pies ever with a creamy lemon filling. You can even make mini pies with this recipe!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Yield 8 servings
Serving Size 1 serving


  • 1 9-inch pie crust
  • ¼ cup (57g) unsalted butter , melted
  • 1 ½ cups (300g) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon (8g) all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • ¼ cup (59ml) lemon juice
  • ¼ cup (59ml) milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
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  • Place pie crust in a 9-inch pie plate and chill at least 1 hour or freeze at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Line the pie crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven, carefully remove pie weights.
  • While the pie crust is pre-baking, whisk together butter, sugar, and eggs. Whisk in flour, cornmeal, lemon juice, milk, zest and salt.
  • Pour mixture into prepared crust. Top crust with a pie shield or strips of foil. Place pie on a baking sheet.
  • Bake at 350° until pie is golden on top and wiggles just a teeny bit in the center, about 35-40 minutes.
  • Cool completely before slicing. Store in refrigerator. Serve room temperature plain, or with whipped cream or ice cream.

Recipe Notes

  • The baking instructions as written are for my homemade crust recipe. The all butter crust takes a bit longer to pre-bake (or bake in general) than a store bought crust.
  • If you’re using a Pillsbury or similar store bought crust, you can start the oven at 425°F and just fill your pie, bake it 10 minutes at the high temperature and lower the oven temp to 350°F. If the pie starts to get too brown on top, tent it with foil.
  • You know the pie is done baking when it’s light golden on top, slightly puffed, and only wiggles a little when the pie plate is tapped (if it rolls when tapped it’s not done in the center).

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 339kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 195mg | Potassium: 69mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 38g | Vitamin A: 308IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

Lemon Chess Pie Recipe is an easy old fashioned chess pie recipe! This southern pie is one of the best pies ever with a creamy lemon filling. You can even make mini pies with this recipe!

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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Recipe Rating


  1. Your easy & delicious recipe is the closest one I’ve found to the one my mom always made. (I have her recipe somewhere in one of our many boxes after a 2000-mile move.) I remember her telling me that if a chess pie recipe is complicated, it isn’t vintage since these pies were made by folks with very limited ingredients & even more limited cash! I just made this again for my family to have for dessert tonight. Thanks for a perfect recipe.