Chocolate Chess Pie is an easy-to-make, decadent, rich dessert recipe that’s perfect for any occasion. Made with simple ingredients, this pie is sure to please everyone at your table.
I’m a big fan of any kind of chess pie. My Buttermilk, Peach Chess, and Eggnog Chess Pies are all delicious winners in my book. But I will admit that Chocolate Chess Pie is probably my favorite. It just has the most perfect, creamy, chocolatey filling, and I just love the crusty top that forms as it bakes.
The best part, though, is how dang easy it is to make. You literally mix all the ingredients together and pour them into a prepared pie crust. It’s one of those classic southern recipes that has been around for ages.
In fact, the original recipe that I have made two pies – like many old pie recipes do – so I just cut everything in half to make one. As a result, this doubles beautifully if you need two pies. 🙂 And, I mean, who DOESN’T need two pies? Ha! Y’all enjoy!
What is chocolate chess pie made of?
Chocolate chess pie is a delicious Southern dessert that features a simple yet indulgent gooey, fudgy filling. The ingredients of this amazing pie typically include a pie crust filled with a filling made of sugar, eggs, butter, milk and some form of thickener like flour, cornmeal, or cornstarch. In addition to those typical ingredients, chocolate chess pie also features the addition of cocoa and vanilla for a burst of delicious rich flavor everyone will be raving over.
After combining the ingredients, the pie filling is poured into the pie crust and baked until the filling sets. I like to use the pre-made, rolled-up pie crusts that you find in the refrigerated section of the grocery store over by the canned biscuits and cinnamon rolls. It allows me to use my own pie plate but doesn’t have me making a homemade crust in a pie pan – which I appreciate.
That said, the preformed frozen pie crusts work just as well. Just note that some of the store-bought crusts in the aluminum pans can be a little flimsy. Put the crust on a small baking pan before filling it and just pop it in the oven on the pan to make it easier. And all you overachievers can make a crust from scratch if you have some extra time.
The result is a crowd-pleasing pie with a crunchy top and a yummy, fudgy center. And, for an added touch, I like to serve mine with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream. Ooo-wee good!
Why is it called chess pie?
So, there are a lot of theories out there for why exactly chess pie is called chess pie. Here are a few of what I believe to be the most likely theories behind the name:
- Theory #1: Some believe that the word “chess” was actually an accident due to the nature of Southern accents. Many think that while describing the cheese-like texture of the baked good, somehow people confused “cheese” for “chess.” And, the rest is history.
- Theory #2: Others believe that this pie was originally called “chest pie” because pies were often kept in pie safes or pie chests. And that moniker, “chest pie,” just got shortened to “chess pie.”
- Theory #3: The final theory I hear often is that long ago when the pie was originally created, someone asked what kind of pie it was. The baker replied, “It’s just pie.” “Just pie” got shortened to “chess pie.”
All these theories do lend to the idea that the Southern accent is to blame for the unique name. However, there’s no definitive answer on the history of the name. I know one thing’s for sure… I’m just glad we have it to enjoy!
What is the difference between a buttermilk pie and a chess pie?
Both buttermilk pie and chess pie hold a special place in the world of Southern desserts. Each are delicious but unique in ingredient list, texture and consistency, and flavor.
- Ingredients – The fundamental difference between buttermilk pie and chess pie lies in their ingredients. Buttermilk pie centers around buttermilk as the star component. While they both utilize sugar, eggs, butter, and a thickener, like flour or cornmeal, chess pie typically features an addition of cocoa powder and/or vanilla flavoring.
- Consistency & Texture – The consistency and texture of these pies are markedly different. Buttermilk pie is smoother and more custard-like in texture. Chess pie is usually more dense and gooey.
- Flavor – The flavors of buttermilk pie and chess pie are different mainly due to the ingredients I mentioned earlier. Buttermilk is filled with tangy buttermilk flavor, naturally. While chess pie is usually either vanilla or chocolate flavors, like this chocolate chess pie. Buttermilk pie is both sweet and tangy. While chess pie is rich with a little bit of sweetness.
Whether you prefer the tangy flavor and smooth texture of buttermilk pie or the rich and gooey experience of chess pie, both treats promise to leave your taste buds happy!
If you tried this Chocolate Chess Pie recipe, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it turned out in the comments below.
Chocolate Chess Pie
- 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 tablespoons corn starch
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust* (homemade or store-bought is fine) (see note)
- whipped cream, if desired
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, sugar, and corn starch. Add in the beaten eggs, melted butter, milk, and vanilla. Stir well to combine.
- Pour the mixture into the unbaked pie shell being cautious not to over-fill. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until a crust has formed completely across the top of the pie and is mostly set. There will still be some jiggle to the pie. Allow to cool completely before slicing and serving. This will allow it to set even more. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.
- If using a frozen, store-bought, pre-formed crust in the aluminum pan, be sure to use a deep dish crust.
If nutritional values are provided, they are an estimate and will vary depending on the brands used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, I recommend grabbing your favorite brands and plugging those ingredients into an online nutritional calculator.