Chocolate Chess Pie


It’s like brownie batter in a piecrust.

chocolate chess pie

Kelsey Hansen

Prep Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs 15 mins

The Southern classic chess pie has a custard filling made from humble ingredients— sugar, butter, eggs, flour, cornmeal, and vinegar. Our chocolate version doesn’t use cornmeal or vinegar—just a bit of unsweetened cocoa powder.


Pastry for Single-Crust Pie

  • 1½ cups all purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 cup lard

  • 1/4 cup butter, cut up (or shortening or lard)

  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup water

Chess Pie Filling

  • 2¼ cups granulated sugar

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 cup evaporated milk

  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten

  • 1/3 cup butter, melted

  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla

  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate, chopped

Chocolate Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 3 tbsp powdered sugar

  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla


Pastry for Single-Crust Pie

  1. In a medium bowl stir together flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening and butter until pea-size. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. of the ice water over part of the flour mixture; toss gently with a fork. Push moistened dough to side of bowl. Repeat moistening flour mixture, gradually adding ice water (¼ to ⅓ cup total) until mixture begins to come together. Gather pastry into a ball, kneading gently just until it holds together.

Chess Pie Filling

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to slightly flatten ball of Pastry for Single-Crust Pie. Roll pastry into a 12-inch circle. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Trim and flute edge.

  2. In a large bowl combine sugar and cocoa powder. Add evaporated milk, eggs, butter, vanilla, and ¼ tsp. salt. Stir just until combined. Pour mixture into pastry shell.

    Test Kitchen Tip

    Evaporated milk has been concentrated to remove about 60% of its natural water content. If you don’t have a can in your pantry, substitute an equal amount of half-and-half.

  3. Bake until top is puffed and a knife comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. (Pie won't appear set but will firm up during cooling.) Cool 1 hour on a wire rack. Cover and chill 2 to 24 hours. Before serving, top with Chocolate Whipped Cream and chopped chocolate.   

Chocolate Whipped Cream

  1. In a chilled bowl combine heavy cream, powdered sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, and vanilla. Beat with a mixer on medium until soft peaks form (tips curl).

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

709 Calories
37g Fat
88g Carbs
9g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 708.5
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 37g 47%
Saturated Fat 20.9g 104%
Cholesterol 154mg 51%
Sodium 308.2mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 87.6g 32%
Dietary Fiber 1.9g 7%
Total Sugars 66.3g
Protein 9g
Vitamin D 1.6mcg 8%
Vitamin C 0.8mg 4%
Calcium 122.6mg 9%
Iron 3.3mg 19%
Potassium 201.3mg 4%
Fatty acids, total trans 0.9g
Vitamin D 65.5IU
Alanine 0.3g
Arginine 0.4g
Ash 2g
Aspartic acid 0.6g
Caffeine 3.4mg
Carotene, alpha 0mcg
Choline, total 80mg
Copper, Cu 0.1mg
Cystine 0.1g
Energy 2963.9kJ
Fluoride, F 11.2mcg
Folate, total 56.6mcg
Glutamic acid 1.8g
Glycine 0.2g
Histidine 0.2g
Isoleucine 0.4g
Leucine 0.7g
Lysine 0.5g
Methionine 0.2g
Magnesium, Mg 23.9mg
Manganese, Mn 0.2mg
Niacin 1.5mg
Phosphorus, P 154.8mg
Pantothenic acid 0.8mg
Phenylalanine 0.4g
Phytosterols 0mg
Proline 0.7g
Retinol 281.1mcg
Selenium, Se 16.1mcg
Serine 0.5g
Starch 0g
Theobromine 26.5mg
Threonine 0.3g
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 1mg
Tryptophan 0.1g
Tyrosine 0.3g
Valine 0.5g
Vitamin A, IU 1023.2IU
Vitamin A, RAE 285.3mcg
Vitamin B-12 0.3mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.1mg
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) 2.7mcg
Water 70.7g
Zinc, Zn 0.8mg

*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.

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