Kentucky Derby Chocolate Walnut Pie

Kentucky Derby Chocolate Walnut Pie

The Spruce

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
553 Calories
33g Fat
53g Carbs
11g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 553
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 33g 43%
Saturated Fat 14g 69%
Cholesterol 144mg 48%
Sodium 361mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 53g 19%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Protein 11g
Calcium 96mg 7%
*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.)

The Kentucky Derby is the most legendary of all American thoroughbred horse races. It takes place every year at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, on the first Saturday in May. The Run for the Roses is the longest-running sporting event in the United States, dating to 1875, and immediately brings to mind traditions that have become indelibly linked to it: knockout hats for the women, a reference to the era in which it originated; mint juleps; betting; the song "My Old Kentucky Home;" a blanket of roses for the winning horse (which gave the race its alternate name) and celebrities. Perhaps one of the most beloved traditions is its bourbon chocolate walnut pie.

George Kern made up the recipe for the pie when he was the manager of the Melrose Inn in Prospect, Kentucky, with the help of his parents, and it became its specialty. The name "Derby Pie" has been trademarked by the Kern family, which is extremely vigilant about unauthorized use. Their recipe is a secret, but this one is similar to the Melrose Inn's famous version, which has been a tradition at the race since the mid-1950s. Bourbon chocolate walnut pie is similar to another iconic Southern dessert, pecan pie, but with walnuts, chocolate, and an extra kick from Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey; it's also not too dissimilar from chocolate pecan pie. Serve it while you're watching what's known as "the most exciting two minutes in sports."

As for the pie? This gets close, and although that doesn't count in horse races, it more than suffices for this version of this esteemed sweet Kentucky pie. It comes together quickly thanks to the prepared pie crust. Make sure your butter is cool before you combine it with other ingredients—otherwise it may curdle the eggs and melt the chocolate.


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 1/2 cup butter (melted and cooled)
  • 2 tablespoons Kentucky bourbon
  • 1 cup walnuts (chopped)
  • 1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 ready-made pie crust (for a 9-inch pie)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Kentucky derby chocolate walnut pie ingredients

    The Spruce

  2. Heat the oven to 350 F.

  3. Combine the flour and sugar in a mixing bowl.

    Flour and sugar whisked together in a mixing bowl
    The Spruce 
  4. Add the eggs and melted butter and mix to combine.

    Eggs and melted butter whisked together in a bowl

    The Spruce

  5. Stir in the bourbon, walnuts, chocolate chips, vanilla, and salt.

    Bourbon, walnuts, chocolate chips, vanilla, and salt added to eggs and melted butter

    The Spruce

  6. Pour the mixture into the unbaked pie crust.

    Unbaked Kentucky Derby chocolate walnut pie batter in a pie crust

    The Spruce

  7. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the filling is set.

    Baked Kentucky Derby chocolate walnut pie

    The Spruce

  8. Set the pie on a wire rack and let cool before slicing.

    Fully baked Kentucky Derby chocolate walnut pie with two slices removed

    The Spruce

  9. Serve and enjoy.


  • Serve in all its bare glory if you are a purist about tradition. Or top with a big spoonful of whipped cream or whipped cream glammed up with chocolate chips and walnuts for garnish if you like more embellishment with your dessert.
  • Vanilla ice cream on top is always a good choice for any kind of pie, and the contrasting textures and flavors of chocolate walnut pie and smooth ice cream is especially delicious.

How to Store Kentucky Derby Chocolate Walnut Pie

This pie will keep well at room temperature if it's covered; it does not have to be refrigerated. It will freeze well, too, if you freeze it whole or in individual slices, well wrapped. Thaw in the refrigerator, at room temperature, in the microwave, or in a 350 F oven until heated through, 10 to 15 minutes.