This Peanut Butter Chess Pie combines the gooey, decadent classic pie recipe with sweet and savory peanut butter for an easy dessert that is sure to be a hit!
This Peanut Butter Chess Pie might be my new favorite pie! I mean, it’s a pretty close contest between my Chocolate Chess Pie and this one, but this one might slightly edge the other out.
It’s got that classic gooey chess filling (flavored with peanut butter, of course) and the top of the pie bakes into something that pretty closely resembles a crunchy peanut butter cookie. It’s just so dang delicious!
What is a chess pie?
A chess pie is a classic pie that’s a decadent mixture of eggs, butter, sugar, and milk. The result is a thick, gooey custard filling that is often made in a variety of different flavors.
Where did the name chess pie come from?
Well, it’s sort of complicated. There seem to be a few different stories about the history of chess pie.
As one story goes, pies were often kept in pie safes or pie chests. And that moniker, “chest pie”, just got shortened to chess pie.
Another story plays on the sort of basic ingredients used to make it. When someone asked what kind of pie it was, the baker replied with, “It’s just pie.” “Just pie” got shortened to “chess pie.”
And yet another story relates to the the cheese-like texture of the baked good that somehow got translated from cheese pie to chess pie.
While there’s no definitive answer on the history of the name, I’m just glad we have it.
Butter – As with most baking, unsalted butter is recommended here, but salted will work in a pinch.
Peanut Butter – I like to opt for traditional, creamy peanut butter in this recipe. Crunchy will work, but the texture might be a little odd. It’s totally up to you. I’ve only made this with traditional peanut butter, not the all natural stuff.
Evaporated Milk – This is genius a trick for a super creamy pie filling. Evaporated milk is thicker and adds great flavor. Just be mindful this is a small, 5-ounce can. You’ll probably find it in your store in several different sizes, so make sure to get the right one. Otherwise, you’ll need about 2/3 of cup of evaporated milk if you can’t find the 5-ounce can.
Eggs – Room temperature eggs mix in much easier, so set them out a little early to allow them to warm up a bit.
Cornstarch – Some folks think adding this ingredient is cheating a bit, but I think it’s a great little insurance policy to ensure your filling sets up nice and thick. Who wants to go to all that work and then have a runny pie?
Sugar – Just plain ol’ granulated sugar – nothing special here. I doubt swapping the sugar for a sugar substitute would work, but I haven’t tested it that way.
Vanilla – Choose expensive vanilla extract or cheap imitation vanilla flavoring. Often times the less expensive stuff adds more vanilla flavor to your recipes. It might be worth a little taste test – seriously. We tested this in the kitchen a while back and were very surprised to find that the vanilla flavoring won in terms of flavor in almost every test.
Pie Crust – I like to use the rolled pie crusts found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store so I can use my own pie pan, but the frozen preformed crusts in the aluminum pans work perfectly, too. Heck, if you’re feeling like an overachiever, go ahead and make your own.
Peanut Butter Chess Pie
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk (about 2/3 cup)
- 2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, stir together the melted butter and peanut butter. Add the evaporated milk and eggs and stir to combine. Add the cornstarch, sugar, and vanilla and stir until combined and smooth.
- Pour the mixture into the unbaked pie crust 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. The top will have the appearance of a peanut butter cookie. There might still be a little 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 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.