Southern Chess Pie

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Is there anything that spells American comfort dessert more than homemade pie? We think not.

We love this pie because the lemon flavor isn’t overbearing, but just enough to brighten the flavors. It’s not overly sweet, either. And, it all comes together quickly to make an absolutely delightful pie. Perfect after some Southern Fried Chicken, Best-Ever Potato Salad, and Fried Okra!

As slice of Chess Pie topped with raspberries and a sprinkling of powdered sugar being raised from the pie on a metal spatula.

How To Make Southern Chess Pie

Chess Pie is a custard pie that is very popular in the Southern United States. 

There is a lot of debate over where the name came from, but all we know is that it is so delicious and so easy to make!


When Should You Blind Bake a Crust?

Blind baking is a technique of getting a jump start on baking the pie crust before adding the filling.  It’s commonly done when the actual pie doesn’t need to bake for longer than 10 to 15 minutes. 

For our pie, we don’t want the custard to make the pie crust soggy, so blind baking will solve that problem. 

EXPERT TIP: Place your favorite pie dough in a 9-inch ungreased pie dish. Crimp the edges if you prefer, and then place a piece of foil over the dough. Add either pie weights or dried beans, enough so that it weighs down the foil. This will keep the dough from rising up during the blind baking (or par-baking) process. Bake for 20 minutes and then carefully remove the foil and weights. Be sure to allow the crust to cool completely before adding the filling!

A pie dish that is lined with foil and then filled with dry red kidney beans.

Creating a Lemon Custard Filling

The filling is a snap to put together. Simply mix together all of the filling ingredients except for the 4 lightly beaten eggs.

Once the filling is mixed together, stir in the eggs until fully incorporated.

EXPERT TIP: Using Meyer lemons is always a good choice, but if you don’t have access to them, just good ole juicy lemons from the supermarket will do! If you like your pie to have an extra lemon taste, then go with 1/4 cup of lemon and the zest from two lemons. We like the balance of 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and the zest from one lemon.

Beaten eggs being poured from a measuring cup into a bowl of white colored batter.

Next, pour the filling directly into the cooled dish.

The filling should reach just under the edge of the sides of the crust.

As the pie bakes, the custard will expand and then deflate somewhat after it cools.

Yellow custard being poured into a pie dish filled with a baked pie crust.

How To Serve Southern Chess Pie

Once the pie has baked for 50 to 55 minutes, and an inserted toothpick comes out dry, you’re almost done.

After the pie has completely cooled, we love to add a mound of fresh fruit, such as raspberries, and then a sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar to the top of the pie.

The pie is best served at room temperature. If not serving soon after topping, refrigerate the pie until an hour before guests arrive.

A chess pie in a red pie dish topped with fresh raspberries being sprinkled with powdered sugar from above.

There is just something amazingly satisfying about this classic dessert.

If you love this, you’ll also love our:

Lemon Meringue Pie
Classic Lemon Bars
Banana Pudding Trifle
Blueberry Lemon Jumbo Muffins

But in the meantime, you’ve got to make this incredible pie! And you won’t believe how simple it is to prepare!

A whole chess pie topped with fresh raspberries and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Ready to make one of the easiest, yet most scrumptious pies this side of Alabama? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

As slice of Chess Pie topped with raspberries and a sprinkling of powdered sugar being raised from the pie on a metal spatula.

Southern Chess Pie

This Southern Chess Pie recipe is a favorite in our house. The Loon can't stop raving about it. And it's so simple to put together. Top with fresh fruit and confectioners' sugar for added flavor and a beautiful presentation!
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Dessert
Keyword: Chess Pie, easy pie recipes, how to make chess pie
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Resting time2: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 298kcal


  • 9-inch pie dish


  • 1 9-inch pie single pie crust click for recipe
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp cornmeal finely ground
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • cup sour cream
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice fresh
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest from 1 large lemon
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter melted
  • 4 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 cup fresh berries optional
  • ¼ cup confectioners' sugar optional


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Fit the pie dough into a 9-inch pie dish. Crimp the edges if desired. Place a piece of foil over the pie dough and then add pie weights or dried beans. Blind bake the dough for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully remove the foil with weights/beans. Let cool completely. Leave the oven on.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, vanilla, sour cream, buttermilk, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Stir in the melted butter and lightly beaten eggs until fully incorporated. The batter should be smooth, but a few small lumps are okay.
  • Pour into the unbaked pie shell.
  • Bake the pie on the center rack for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the center is set, and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Remove the pie from the oven and allow it to cool completely.
  • If desired, top with fresh berries and sprinkle confectioners' sugar over the top.



You can blind bake the pie dough several hours in advance of baking the pie.  Cover with foil until ready to use.
Be sure to allow the pie to cool completely before topping with berries and slicing.   It will continue to set as it cools.
The pie will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.  We recommend allowing the pie to come to room temperature on the counter before serving, but it still yummy even when it's chilled.
Any type of fresh berries will work as a topping.  Frozen can work in a pinch, but the texture will be a bit mushy and not as attractive. 
The pie can be frozen, but the texture may become a little grainy after thawing. 


Calories: 298kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 132mg | Sodium: 77mg | Potassium: 89mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 599IU | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

POST UPDATE: This recipe was originally published in September 2017, but was updated with improved tweaks to the recipe, with new tips and photography, and a fabulous new video in April 2021!


  • Hi! I didn’t see where to add the melted butter in the instructions, but I assume it was before adding the eggs. Hope I was right. It’s now in the oven.

    • Hi Ruth! So sorry about that and thanks for bringing that to our attention! You did it perfectly! Let us know how it turns out! We hope you love it!! Best, Kris & Wesley

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