Buttermilk Chess Pie

Indulge in Southern Elegance with Buttermilk Chess Pie: A Timeless Symphony of Sweet Comfort

Step into the heart of Southern hospitality with a dessert that embodies comfort and tradition—the Buttermilk Chess Pie. This iconic pie, with its golden custard filling and a touch of buttermilk tang, is a testament to the simple yet profound joys of Southern baking. Join us on a culinary journey as we unravel the secrets behind creating this timeless delicacy, inviting you to experience the warmth and richness that define the Buttermilk Chess Pie.


For the Pie Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons ice water

For the Buttermilk Chess Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar


For the Pie Crust:

  1. Prepare the Dough: In a food processor, pulse together the all-purpose flour, sugar, and salt. Add the chilled butter cubes and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gradually add ice water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together. Form it into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  2. Roll Out the Crust: On a floured surface, roll out the chilled dough into a circle large enough to fit your pie dish. Gently transfer the rolled-out dough to the dish, press it into place, and trim any excess. Crimp the edges for a decorative finish.
  3. Pre-Bake the Crust: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Line the pie crust with parchment paper and fill it with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the weights and parchment, then bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Allow it to cool while you prepare the filling.

For the Buttermilk Chess Filling:

  1. Mix Dry Ingredients: In a bowl, whisk together granulated sugar, cornmeal, all-purpose flour, and salt. This combination creates the perfect texture for the custard filling.
  2. Combine Wet Ingredients: In another bowl, whisk together melted and cooled unsalted butter, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla extract, and white vinegar. The buttermilk lends a delightful tang to the filling.
  3. Blend Dry and Wet Mixtures: Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, whisking continuously to avoid lumps. Ensure a smooth and homogenous filling that will set beautifully during baking.
  4. Fill the Pie Crust: Pour the buttermilk chess filling into the pre-baked pie crust, spreading it evenly. The filling will thicken as it bakes, creating the classic chess pie texture.
  5. Bake to Golden Perfection: Bake the pie in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until the center is set and the top is golden brown. A slight jiggle is acceptable; it will firm up as it cools.

Cook Notes:

  • For a flakier crust, ensure that the butter is cold, and work quickly to prevent it from softening too much.
  • The vinegar in the filling not only adds a subtle tang but also contributes to the setting of the custard.


  1. Lemon Zest Infusion: Elevate the flavor profile by adding a teaspoon of freshly grated lemon zest to the filling for a citrusy twist.
  2. Nutty Delight: Introduce a crunch by folding in a half cup of chopped pecans or walnuts into the filling before pouring it into the crust.
  3. Coconut Dream: Enhance the Southern charm by incorporating a half cup of sweetened shredded coconut into the filling for a delightful texture.

Keto Versions:

  • Substitute almond flour for all-purpose flour in the crust to create a keto-friendly pie base.
  • Replace granulated sugar with a keto-approved sweetener in both the crust and filling.
  • Opt for a keto-friendly flour substitute like almond flour or coconut flour in the filling.

Low-Carb Version:

  • Choose a low-carb baking mix or almond flour for the crust.
  • Use a low-carb sweetener in place of granulated sugar in both the crust and filling.

As you savor a slice of Buttermilk Chess Pie, relish the simplicity and richness that define this Southern classic. The golden custard, kissed with the subtle tang of buttermilk, captures the essence of traditional baking. Whether served at family gatherings or enjoyed as a personal indulgence, this pie is a celebration of time-honored flavors. So, immerse yourself in the charm of Southern hospitality, savor the silky custard, and let the Buttermilk Chess Pie become a staple in your repertoire of comforting desserts—a timeless creation that brings joy with every forkful.

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