Chess Pie Recipe

Chess Pie is an old-fashioned classic Southern pie that stands the test of time. And with good reason.

Chess Pie is a simple Southern pie recipe with outstanding results. Chess Pie makes an appearance every year at our family reunion in Georgia. Regardless of how stuffed I am, there always seems to be more room for a piece of this pie. It’s an old-fashioned favorite that never wears out it’s welcome.

I find some of the best recipes are the more simple ones, and this Chess Pie is no exception. While it may start with humble ingredients the results are far from it. Chess Pie is a sweet custard pie with just a bit of cornmeal added. This pie lends itself well to variations, but this version is simple with a hint of nutmeg. It really needs no other adornment or extra toppings. It’s good just as it is.

Chess Pie is a simple Southern pie recipe with outstanding results. Chess Pie is a simple Southern pie recipe with outstanding results.

Even though this pie may be overshadowed on the dessert table by fancier pies, large decadent layered cakes, and dainty cookies, a Chess Pie will always be one of my favorites. It’s certainly worth saving room for a piece of this.


Chess Pie
A simple pie that won't go unnoticed.
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornmeal
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 (9 inch) pie shell, unbaked
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together all ingredients until smooth.
  3. Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake at 325°F for 50 minutes.
  4. Let cool on wire rack, if you can wait that long.


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  1. 4

    Abbie @ Needs Salt says

    This pie looks amazing! I love how it looks so simple, yet insanely decadent.

  2. 7


    Hi Amy, This pie looks soo good! A lot like the custard pie my mom used to make. Mmm! I was wondering if you knew, could I substitute the corn meal with flour?


    *I’m definitely pinning this one! =)

    • 9

      Sherry says

      Ladies, I do not think the flour would work, as the cornmeal adds texture & a little crunch. The flour would thicken the filling, but not add the crunch you get on the top of the pie after it has baked. This is the cornmeal @ work.

  3. 10

    Becky says

    This recipe looks absolutely delicious! I fell in love with Chess Pie upon a visit to Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House in Lynchburg, Tennessee, and now I want to bring this deliciousness to the wonderful people of Norway, where I currently live! The only problem: I can’t find cornmeal in this silly country! Don’t they know they’re missing out on SO MANY wonderful experiences in cooking and baking, what with their lack of a southern staple?! ::sigh::

    All that to say, would I be able to forgo the cornmeal altogether, or do you have a substitute that might still add the crunch and a similar flavor?

    • 11


      Hello Becky,

      I wonder if you could use grits or polenta, and smash the heck out of it into a little bit finer grind maybe using a mortar and pestle, heavy flat bottom glass or even a hammer? Just a thought?

  4. 12

    Cheryl says

    Do you use self rising cornmeal or regular cornmeal? and should I use white or yellow corn meal?

    Please advise.

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