Chocolate Chess Pie Recipe

If you are not familiar with chess pie, it might sound a bit strange. Like, is it full of chess pieces, or decorated like a chessboard, or what? None of the above. No one really knows how the pie got its name, although What's Cooking America says the most likely theory involves "chess" being a folksy mispronunciation of the word "cheese." Not that this clarifies matters much, since there's no cheese in this pie, either. Instead, as recipe developer Jessica Morone explains, "a chess pie is a Southern classic dessert that has a gooey, custard kind of center. "

Where this recipe differs from the standard type of chess pie is the fact that the filling includes cocoa powder, giving it a flavor that Morone describes as being similar to that of an "ooey, gooey brownie." She does say, though, that this recipe is quite easy to throw together, making it a great last-minute dessert.

Gather the ingredients for chocolate chess pie

In order to save time and effort, Morone uses a refrigerated pie crust for this pie, although you can, of course, feel free to make one from scratch. For the filling, you'll need the cocoa powder we mentioned, as well as sugar, eggs, evaporated milk, and vanilla extract. Oh, and some butter, too. No need to use unsalted butter here, though, as Morone makes this pie with the salted kind. If all you have is unsalted butter, though, you can add ⅛ teaspoon salt to the filling to compensate.

Make the chocolaty filling

First things first: set the oven to the standard baking temperature of 350 F so it can heat up as you prepare the pie. Now, melt the butter, then whisk it together with the sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, evaporated milk, and eggs. If you like, you can swap out the vanilla extract for a different flavoring. While Morone says "vanilla extract is more common," she admits that almond extract would work as well, or you could even use peppermint to make a mint chocolate chess pie.

Prepare the pie crust

Grease a pie pan, then unroll your refrigerated pie crust. Drape the pie crust over the pan, then press it down so it fits inside. If you don't want the standard type of pie crust, Morone allows that "you can swap in any unbaked crust for this recipe." Some suggestions include using a graham cracker or cookie crumb crust, either pre-made or one you make yourself. If you want some additional flavor and texture, you could even make a nut or coconut crust. For the sake of this recipe, however, Morone sticks with a classic pre-made crust. Once you roll the crust out into the pan, be sure to trim off any excess dough around the edges, should there be any.

Bake the pie

Fill the pie crust with the chocolate filling, then put it in the oven to bake for 35 to 40 minutes. When the pie is done, the center will be set, not jiggly. Once the pie comes out of the oven, you'll need to let it cool down all the way before you can slice it and eat it.

Morone likes to serve this pie with whipped cream. She does say, though, "If you don't want to put whipped cream on this pie you could try powdered sugar or even ice cream or you could serve it alone." Sometimes a good pie doesn't need anything else to make it complete — besides a fork to eat it with, that is.

Chocolate Chess Pie Recipe
5 from 118 ratings
This chocolate chess pie recipe is a delicious take on a Southern classic.
Prep Time
Cook Time
whole chocolate pie in pan
Total time: 40 minutes
  • 1 ½ cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup evaporated milk
  • 1 (9-inch) refrigerated pie crust, unbaked
Optional Ingredients
  • whipped cream for topping
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Whisk together the sugar, melted butter, cocoa powder, eggs, vanilla extract, and evaporated milk.
  3. Grease a pie pan. Roll out the pie crust and place it in the greased pan.
  4. Pour the chocolate filling into the unbaked pie crust.
  5. Bake the pie in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until the center of the pie is set.
  6. Allow the pie to cool completely.
  7. Serve topped with whipped cream if desired.
Calories per Serving 370
Total Fat 15.8 g
Saturated Fat 7.7 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 66.3 mg
Total Carbohydrates 55.4 g
Dietary Fiber 1.5 g
Total Sugars 39.2 g
Sodium 198.2 mg
Protein 4.1 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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