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Chocolate Chess Pie

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A classic Southern dessert, Chocolate Chess Pie with its rich and sugary sweet chocolate filling is a chocolate-lover’s dream. Made with just a handful of pantry ingredients, this simple dessert truly is as easy as pie to prepare!

Whip up the chocolate filling in under 10 minutes, then bake it up in a refrigerated pie crust — or make your own if you’re feeling industrious! It just doesn’t get any easier than that!

Best of all, this unassuming pie is extremely delicious. Dust the top of the pie with confectioner’s sugar and serve at room temperature with a dollop of freshly whipped cream.

Gooey chocolate pie filling in a flaky crust with sweetened whipped cream is an absolutely heavenly match!

a slice of chocolate chess pie on a white plate on a wooden table.


Why you’ll love Chocolate Chess Pie!

  • SIMPLE — Requires only 7 pantry ingredients + pie dough
  • EASY — Ready for the oven in under 10 minutes
  • NO FUSS — Use either a store-bought or homemade crust
  • DELICIOUS — Bursting with the creamy, rich chocolate flavor chocoholics crave!

Behind the recipe

There seems to be a bit of a disagreement about exactly where the name for chess pie originated. Some think this sweet dessert came from a custard tart that was first created in the town of Chester, England, while others believe the name derived from a pie chest, where pies were stored and cooled.

My favorite, though, is the story of the Southern cook who when asked what kind of pie she served, answered, “Oh, it’s ‘jes pie.”

There are several variations on the classic Southern chess pie, from coconut chess pie to lemon chess pie, but today’s Chocolate Chess Pie might just be this confessed chocoholic’s favorite!

A regular dessert featured on the menu at the Lunch Box (a popular lunch spot in town), I splurged for a piece of this rich chocolate pie more often than I should when the restaurant was too conveniently located in my office building.

Needless to say, I was thrilled when the Lunch Box chocolate chess pie recipe was published in our local newspaper, and I’m happy to be sharing it with you today.

ingredients for chocolate chess pie.

Ingredients

This easy “sugar” pie requires just a few basic pantry ingredients. Most likely you have everything you’ll need in your pantry now, so you can go head on to the kitchen and mix it right up!

  • granulated sugar
  • unsweetened cocoa powder
  • kosher salt
  • unsalted butter
  • eggs
  • evaporated milk — shelf-staple highly concentrated canned milk; in a crunch you may substitute half and half
  • vanilla extract
process steps for preparing batter for chocolate chess pie.

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa and salt. Add the “mostly” melted butter and blend until combined.
  3. Add the eggs to the mixture and beat with an electric mixer at medium speed for 3 minutes.
  4. Gently stir in the evaporated milk and vanilla until incorporated.

PRO TIP: The pie will set up best if you used melted butter that is still a little chunky, so if you can help it, don’t melt the butter completely.

fluting a pie crust and pouring batter for chocolate chess pie into the crust.
  1. Fit the unbaked pie crust into a 9-inch pie pan and flute the edges or crimp with a fork (like my grandmother used to do!).
  2. Pour the batter into the pie shell and bake for 1 hour until the top is almost set. Remove from the oven and cool completely before slicing and serving.

PRO TIP: When Chocolate Chess Pie comes out of the oven, the top is a little crackly and it may jiggle slightly in the middle, but don’t worry. As the pie cools, the filling will continue to set up. Leave the pie in the oven for too long and the top will become crusty instead.

a slice of chocolate chess pie on a white plate on a wooden table.

FAQs

How long does chocolate chess pie last?

Chocolate Chess Pie can be held at room temperature for up to 24 hours, then refrigerate for up to 3 days.

What should I do if my chocolate chess pie doesn’t set up?

The pie should bake until the top is a little crackly and it jiggles slightly in the middle. If the pie is runny after it has cooled completely (at least 4 hours), refrigerate until it firms up.

The top of my chocolate chess pie cracked. Is that ok?

A little cracking or crackle on the crust is part of the character of the pie and is absolutely fine. A dusting of confectioner’s sugar on top may hides any imperfections, but honestly it’s fine either way.

slice of chocolate chess pie on a white plate

Chocolate Chess Pie Recipe

This pie is rich, so be sure to serve smaller pieces. Although there’s no need to refrigerate, I personally prefer the pie chilled.

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Yield: 8 servings

Chocolate Chess Pie

a slice of chocolate chess pie on a white plate on a wooden table.

Gooey chocolate pie filling in a flaky crust with sweetened whipped cream is
an absolutely heavenly match.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

Pie Filling

  • 1 refrigerated crust for a 9-inch pie, unbaked
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted (see note)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa and salt. Add the melted butter and blend until combined.
  3. Add the eggs to the mixture and beat with an electric mixer at medium speed for 3 minutes.
  4. Gently stir in the evaporated milk and vanilla until incorporated..
  5. Fit the unbaked pie crust into a 9-inch pie pan and flute the edges or crimp with a fork.
  6. Pour the batter into the pie shell and bake for 1 hour, until the top is almost set. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Dust with confectioner's sugar and serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Whipped Cream

  1. Place the heavy whipping cream in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer just until you begin to see peaks starting to form.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and continue beating until stiff peaks form.

Notes

Original Chocolate Chess Pie recipe by The Lunch Box, Knoxville, TN

  • The pie will set up best if you used melted butter that is still a little chunky, so if you can help it, don't melt the butter completely.
  • When Chocolate Chess Pie comes out of the oven, the top is a little crackly and it may jiggle slightly in the middle, but don't worry. As the pie cools, the filling will continue to set up. Leave the pie in the oven for too long and the top will become crusty instead.
  • Chocolate Chess Pie can be held at room temperature for up to 24 hours, then refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  • Substitute canned whipped cream or non-dairy frozen whipped topping in place of the fresh whipped cream for serving, if desired.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 276Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 65mgSodium: 238mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 1gSugar: 41gProtein: 3g

Did you make this recipe?

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ABOUT SHEILA
Sheila Thigpen, author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook, is a recipe developer, food photographer, and food writer. She spent 20+ years as a business manager in the publishing industry before she retired in 2018 to focus on her passions — cooking, photography, and writing. Living near the beautiful Smoky Mountains, Sheila and her husband have two adult daughters and two fine sons-in-law, are active in their church, love to travel, and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. Follow Sheila on YouTubePinterestInstagramFacebook, and Twitter!

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Jamie

Thursday 19th of November 2020

How far ahead can I make this pie?

Sheila Thigpen

Friday 20th of November 2020

Jamie, this pie will keep well for 3 to 4 days.

Kyle Clark

Wednesday 22nd of November 2017

I just made this pie last night and it's runny after baking at 350 for 1 hour, 20 minutes. Is it missing flour, maybe? I've asked my more experienced baking friends and they said they add flour or cornmeal to their chocolate chess pie recipe but not their regular chess pie recipe. As it stands, it looks like I made a chocolate pudding pie...

Charlotte Rhea

Monday 18th of December 2017

My recipes call for flour!

sheilathigpen

Wednesday 22nd of November 2017

Kyle, did you allow the pie to cool completely and refrigerate for a few hours? This pie definitely needs the cooling and several hours in the fridge to set up. I’m so sorry you had an unsuccessful experience!

Rachel

Tuesday 23rd of August 2016

This looks wonderful! I found your recipe through Pinterest. I was just wondering...you said you added too many eggs when you made it, so are the two eggs in the recipe the correct number, or should it be just one? Thank you!

sheilathigpen

Tuesday 23rd of August 2016

Thank you!! Yes, the number of eggs in the recipe is correct!

Best Ever Authentic French Silk Pie (Plus a Giveaway!) #FoodBloggerLove | The PinterTest Kitchen

Wednesday 10th of February 2016

[…] just a few days ago, out of the blue, Sheila posted her own chocolate pie recipe (that looks SO good)! So I guess it was really meant to be. We were on the same chocolate pie […]

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