Chess Pie Recipe

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Those who have not eaten chess pie may wonder what exactly one is made of. A very basic pie, its standard ingredients include eggs, butter and sugar. Because it is basically generic in nature, many variations can be made, and fruits and nuts may be added. Common types of chess pie include buttermilk, chocolate and lemon.

Chess pie is a staple in Southern cooking, but many say it was originally brought to America from England. It went on to become popular in New England and Virginia. Early versions of the recipe were found in cookbooks dating back to the mid 18th century.

No one is exactly sure how chess pie got its name. The most popular theory is that it’s a mispronunciation of cheese pie since the combination of eggs, butter and sugar make for a custard-like filling similar to that which is found in cheesecake.

Others say it was named for the town or Chester, England where many British cakes and tarts originated.

Other theories propose that it came from an old type of home refrigeration called the pie chest, in which pies were stored or that it was a mispronunciation of those trying to explain, ‘it’s jes’ pie! Although no one can determine the origins of its name for sure, it has definitely gone on to become a popular recipe in the history of desserts.

Many variations can be made on the chess pie, but the basic recipe is very simple. In fact, part of the beauty is that it’s very easy to make. It just takes a bit of stirring and about a half hour in the oven and its ready to eat!

This recipe also makes a great starting point for anyone who would like to add different flavors to make the dessert their own. However, despite being somewhat generic, it has a wonderfully rich flavor which is great when served with a dollop of whipped cream and a cup of coffee.

The chess pie may be basic, but it tastes amazing!

Chess Pie


3 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons flour
1 cup light cream
Pastry for 1 pie crust (recipe here)


1. Beat eggs until light and frothy. Gradually beat in white sugar, brown sugar, and melted butter. Beat until fluffy.

2. Beat in vanilla, salt, and flour. Stir in light cream, mix well.

3. Place pastry in pie pan, crimping edges. Pour filling into pie shell.

4. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 300F. Bake for an additional 25-30 minutes, until filling is set.