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Chocolate Chess Pie

This Southern Chocolate Chess Pie is fudgy and rich making it the perfect foundation for a scoop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.


Easy Chocolate Chess Pie Recipe

What is Chocolate Chess Pie and where did it originate? There are many stories that surround the origin of the name. It’s not written in stone that any of them can be firmly granted the right to be called the exact reason it’s called chess. There’s a common story that says, that someone was asked what was for dessert and they answered “jes pie”. The story goes, that it was supposedly misunderstood and translated to “chess pie”.  While it is a rather whimsical story, in my own personal research it seems very likely that the original chess pie actually contained ground chestnut meal as a binder. Over the years, that binding ingredient has been changed to a variety of other more commonly known stabilizers. Ingredients such as cornmeal, all purpose flour or corn starch all depending on the preference of the baker. Chess may indeed be derived from using chestnuts, although no one knows for sure. How to make simple fudgy Chocolate Chess Pie Recipe:

  • Pie Crust – One 9 inch deep dish frozen or homemade pie crust.
  • Chocolate – Unsweetened cocoa powder either Dutch process or classic cocoa powder and semi sweet baking chocolate.
  • Sugar – Granulated sugar and light brown sugar.
  • Flour – All purpose flour and salt.
  • Fat – Salted butter.
  • MIlk – Evaporated milk or half and half.
  • Eggs – 2 large eggs.
  • Flavoring – Vanilla extract.
  • Whipped cream or ice cream for serving.

How to Make the Best Southern Chocolate Chess Pie Recipe

  • Ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe for Chocolate Chess Pie: One deep dish pie crust either frozen or homemade, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, flour, cocoa powder, salt, melted butter, chopped baking chocolate, large eggs, vanilla extract and evaporated milk.
  • Are chess pies and buttermilk pies the same thing? They’re very similar, but chess pie isn’t necessarily made using buttermilk. Each can also differ in what they use as a binder for the pie filling.
  • I use all purpose flour as a binder in this pie. If you prefer, you can use the same amount of cornmeal or cornstarch.
  • I recommend placing the pie on a baking sheet to be able to move it around more easily. It’s also helpful when you need to gently shake the pie to check for doneness.
  • Is it normal for chess pie to crack on top? It’s characteristic of chess pie to form a crust on top. This crust that forms can crack or crackle as the pie cools and also when it’s being cut. It’s not an indication that something went wrong. It’s just the nature of this kind of pie.
  • Can I make my own pastry crust for Chess Pie? If you prefer  to make your own crust you certainly can. Checkout my recipe for Flaky Pie Crust to make your own. When doing so, it’s necessary to parbake it for a few minutes before filling. See the Cook’s note in the recipe card for instructions.
  • How do I know when it’s done? When checking chess pie for doneness, gently shake the pan looking for a slight jiggle. Please note, it should have the appearance of the filling being mostly set. If it appears runny, tent it loosely with a piece of foil and give it more baking time.
  • When should I check it? Check the pie at 30 minutes and tent loosely with foil to prevent from over browning the edges of the crust.
  • Can I store chess pie at room temperature? Cool to room temperature and then chill thoroughly before cutting and serving.

More Southern Chocolate Pie Recipes to Make

If you’re a fan of chocolate pie, you’re in luck! There’s no shortage of Southern style chocolate pie recipes to add to the dessert rotation. Other recipe you may enjoy trying:


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Helpful Kitchen Items:

Chocolate Chess Pie

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Cooling time4 hours
Total Time4 hours 50 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chess-pie-recipes, chocolate-chess-pie
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 389kcal


  • 1 9 inch deep dish frozen pie crust or homemade
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder (You can use either Dutch process or standard Hershey's cocoa powder)
  • 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp salted butter
  • 2 oz semi sweet baking chocolate
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk or half and half
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • whipped cream or ice cream for serving


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Center pie crust in pan on a baking sheet.
  • In a medium size mixing bowls, use a whisk to sift together sugar, brown sugar, cocoa, flour and salt
  • In a microwave safe bowl, melt together butter and chocolate on 50% power stopping to stir every 20 seconds. Repeat until smooth.
  • Whisk milk, eggs and vanilla into melted chocolate. Once combined, add wet ingredients to dry ingredients mixing until fully incorporated. Pour into pie crust.
  • Bake for 45 -55 minutes or until the center still has slight movement when gently shaken. Check at 30 minutes and tent loosely with foil to prevent over browning.
  • Cool completely on a cooling rack then chill thoroughly.
  • Cut into desired size pieces and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.


  • There’s no need to thaw the frozen crust before baking.
  • The filling of this pie will puff up while baking, but will settle as it cools.
  • Should you choose to use a homemade pie crust dock the bottom using a fork, line with parchment and fill with pie weights or beans. Par bake for 6-8 minutes at 375°F before filling.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 389kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 66mg | Sodium: 273mg | Potassium: 133mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 43g | Vitamin A: 248IU | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @melissassk or tag #melissassk!



  1. 5 stars
    This pie is INCREDIBLE! I made it for my family and they threw a fit over it. Needless to say, there isn’t a single slice left. Thanks Melissa, you never let me down!

      1. My son loves this pie so I make it for him for his birthday, thanksgiving and Christmas. I had been using the Angus Barn recipe but this recipe is so much better!

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