Southern Buttermilk Chess Pie Recipe

Buttermilk chess pie

​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Total: 70 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 1 9-inch pie
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
459 Calories
20g Fat
64g Carbs
7g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 459
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 8g 42%
Cholesterol 111mg 37%
Sodium 352mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 64g 23%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 40g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 52mg 4%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 121mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This buttermilk pie has the wonderful tangy flavor from the buttermilk and some lemon juice and zest. This is a surprisingly easy filling to make, and you can use a frozen pie crust or homemade pastry in the recipe.

This pie, with the hint of lemon in the filling, is delicious with freshly whipped cream and shreds of lemon zest or top it with a big dollop of frozen (thawed) whipped topping.


  • 1 (9-inch) pie crust

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 4 large eggs

  • 3/4 cup full-fat buttermilk

  • 4 tablespoons melted butter

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for buttermilk chess pie
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  2. Partially bake the pie crust. If using a packaged pie pastry or frozen pie shell, check the package directions for time and temperature. If you are using a homemade pie crust recipe or there are no instructions to follow, heat the oven to 450 F (230 C / Gas 8).

    partially bake pie crust
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  3. Line the pie shell with parchment paper or foil and fill about two-thirds full with pie weights and/or dried beans.

    Line the pie shell
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  4. Bake for 12 minutes.

    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  5. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 F (200 C / Gas 6), remove the pie crust from the oven, and carefully remove the pie weights and foil or paper.

    Remove pie crust
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  6. Return to the oven for 3 minutes, or just until it begins to show some color. Remove the pie to a rack and reduce the oven temperature to 350 F (180 C / Gas 4).

    Fork pie crust
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  7. In a bowl, combine the sugar, cornmeal, flour, and salt. Blend well.

    Combine sugar
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  8. In another bowl, whisk the eggs with the buttermilk, melted butter, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest.

    Whisk eggs with buttermilk
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  9. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and blend well.

    Mix with whisk
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  10. Pour the filling into the par-baked crust.

    Pour mixture into crust
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  11. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  12. Reduce the heat to 325 F (165 C / Gas 3) and bake for about 25 minutes longer, or until the pie filling is set. It should be fairly firm in the center with little or no jiggle.

    Reduce heat
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  13. Remove to a rack to cool. Chill before serving.

    Remove to cool
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  14. Serve with freshly whipped cream or frozen thawed whipped topping. Sprinkle with shreds of lemon zest, if desired.

    Serve with whipped cream
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  15. Enjoy!

    Buttermilk chess pie
    ​The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska


  • You can use an unbaked pie crust, but for a good, non-soggy bottom, the pie crust should be partially baked first. Follow the instructions on your pie crust or make your own.