Southern Chocolate Chess Pie

Southern Chocolate Chess Pie Recipe

The Spruce

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
456 Calories
21g Fat
62g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 456
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 27%
Saturated Fat 9g 47%
Cholesterol 63mg 21%
Sodium 224mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 62g 23%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 40g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 41mg 3%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 131mg 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.)

The basic chess pie or tart is made with a simple pie filling. It's similar to a regional sugar pie and custard pie and is typically made with milk or buttermilk, eggs, and butter. There are several theories as to how the name "chess pie" came about. Some think "chess" might be a variation of "cheese" (even though there is no cheese involved), while others say it's possible that it might have been named for the pie "chest" where pies were often stored. And then there's the story about the Southern housewife who, when someone asked what kind of pie it was, answered, "It's Jess's pie."

This rich, dark, and delicious chocolate chess pie is a true Southern classic. This version is made with a small amount of flour, along with unsweetened chocolate and eggs. The pictured pie was baked in a frozen, partially baked gluten-free crust, but you can use a homemade crust, a ready-made frozen crust, or a refrigerated pie pastry sheet.

The pie forms a crusty top with a rich, dark chocolate filling. The flavor is brownie-like, but with the texture of a silky custard. Serve the pie with whipped topping or homemade whipped cream. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings or drizzle with a little fudge sauce for an extra-special presentation.


  • 1 (9-inch) pie crust

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter

  • 1 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

  • 1 pinch salt

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Southern Chocolate Chess Pie Recipe ingredients
    The Spruce 
  2. Heat the oven to 375 F (190 C/Gas 5).

  3. Line the unbaked pie shell with foil or parchment paper and add pie weights or dried beans to about two-thirds full.

    Southern Chocolate Chess Pie Recipe
     The Spruce
  4. Place the pie shell in the oven and bake it for 15 minutes. Remove the pie weights and the foil or parchment paper.

    Southern Chocolate Chess Pie Recipe
     The Spruce
  5. Return the pie shell to the oven for about 5 minutes, or just until it begins to show a little color. Remove the pie shell to a rack and set aside.

    Southern Chocolate Chess Pie Recipe
    The Spruce 
  6. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F.

  7. Place a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Add the butter and chocolate; stir until melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan.

    Southern Chocolate Chess Pie Recipe
     The Spruce
  8. To the melted chocolate and butter mixture, add the sugar, flour, salt, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Beat for about 5 minutes with an electric mixer. Stop and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula a few times. 

    Southern Chocolate Chess Pie Recipe
     The Spruce
  9. Pour the filling into the prepared pie shell.

     The Spruce
  10. Bake at 350 F for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the filling is set. The filling will be puffed up, but it will flatten as it cools.

    Southern Chocolate Chess Pie Recipe
    The Spruce 
  11. If the pie appears to be browning too much, place a pie shield or foil ring over the edge of the pie crust. 

    Southern Chocolate Chess Pie Recipe
    The Spruce 
  12. Remove the pie to a rack to cool completely.

    Southern Chocolate Chess Pie Recipe
     The Spruce
  13. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

    Southern Chocolate Chess Pie Recipe
     The Spruce


  • Make sure to allow plenty of time for the pie to chill. It needs at least a few hours in the refrigerator before serving.
  • Top it off with freshly whipped creamchocolate whipped cream, or frozen (thawed) whipped topping. 

Can This Pie Be Frozen?

Chess pie freezes well, but it is best to freeze individual slices. Cut the pie and place the pieces, with parchment paper in between each, in an airtight container.