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Chocolate Chess Pie

Chocolate Chess Pie is an indulgent Southern dessert consisting of a crumbly, buttery pie crust topped with gooey, rich and fudge-like chocolate filling. This is an easy old fashion chocolate pie recipe that tastes like a cross between chocolate brownie and custard pie.

Serve chocolate chess pie with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream on top. It is one of those incredibly decadent desserts you’ll still think about hours after you eat it.

Lifting up a slice of chocolate chess pie

What is Chocolate Chess Pie?

Chocolate Chess Pie originates from Southern United States, and basically a chess pie (which is a custardy pie made with flour, sugar, eggs and butter) with the infusion of chocolate.

Think of it as a a warm, super moist and gooey brownie sitting on a pie crust. I highly recommend serving it warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

I had my first old fashion chocolate chess pie when I lived in Memphis, Tennessee. I lived for almost 9 years and I have to say chocolate chess pie, along with biscuits and gravy, fried green tomatoes, is my top 5 favorite Southern foods of all time.

To keep things simple and straight-forward, our Chocolate Chess Pie recipe is made with a pre-made store-bought pie crust. Inside the crust is the real star of the dish – a super rich and chocolatey custardy filling that is reminiscent of a fudge brownie and a delicious custard pie.

We use both melted real chocolate and cocoa powder to ensure the chocolate filling is rich and perfectly chocolate-y. After it is baked, a thin meringue-like layer forms on the surface, which can be easily cracked open with a touch of the fork. If you love rich and creamy chocolate desserts, you are going to love this one.

The custardy filling is very similar to the filling for our Chess Squares, just loaded with a whole lot of chocolaty goodness.

Alternatively, consider making these mini chocolate chess pies which are made in muffin tins. Same crust, same rich chocolaty filling. Just presented in small bite-size, portion-controlled servings. Because sometimes those are necessary! 😉

Slicing into a piece of chocolate chess pie topped with whipped cream


Here are the short list of ingredients you will need to make chocolate chess pie:

  • pie crust – buy store-bought unbaked pie crust for the ease for it, or use your favorite pie crust recipe if you have time to make your crust from scratch.
  • unsalted butter – use unsalted to control the level of salt in the chocolate chess pie filling
  • baking chocolate – this will add a lot of rich chocolate flavors to your chess pie filling. Use about 60-70% dark chocolate. If you prefer to use unsweetened chocolate, you may want to add more sugar. High quality chocolate makes a difference to the quality of your chess pie filling.
  • evaporated milk – this is a shelf-stable canned cow’s milk product, where water has been removed from fresh milk. Note that this is not the same as condensed milk, although in some countries, they are known as “unsweetened condensed milk”
  • unsweetened cocoa powder – if sweetened cocoa powder is used, you may want to reduce the amount of granulated sugar added to the filling.
  • vanilla extract – pure vanilla extract works best and has the best flavor.
  • egg – responsible for that custardy texture that is a signature in chess pies.
  • granulated sugar

How to make it

Make this delicious old fashion chocolate chess pie easily with these straight-forward steps:

Step 1: Thaw pie crust and place in pie dish

Make sure to use an unbaked pie crust for your chocolate chess pie. If pie crust is frozen, leave it in room temperature to thaw. Then place in pie dish.

Step 2: Make the filling

To make the filling of the chocolate chess pie, melt together butter and chocolate in a microwave safe dish (alternatively, you can also use the double boiler method), then add in the wet ingredients: evaporated milk, vanilla extract and egg.

Whisk until mixture is properly combined.

Then add dry ingredients, which is sugar and flour.

Adding dry ingredients to wet ingredients for chocolate filling, then mixing it together to combine.

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until it is combined.

Once filling is ready, pour filling onto pie crust.

Pouring chocolate filling  into unbaked pie crust

Step 3: Bake Chess Pie

Bake the chocolate chess pie for 40-45 minutes at 350℉.

Once done, remove pie from oven and let it cool for at least 10 minutes. Pie will continue to set (aka not be as liquidy) while it’s cooling, thus achieving that delicious moist fudge brownie texture.

Don’t forget that important step of practicing self control and not cutting into the chocolate chess pie until is cools! 😉

When it is cooled, I like to sprinkle the tops of my chocolate chess pie with powdered sugar to give it that snow cap look. But it is utterly not necessary. 😉

Lastly, (this I highly recommend), serve chocolate chess pie with whipped cream or ice cream, or both if you are in an indulgent mood!

Top down view of a chocolate chess pie topped with powdered sugar

Tips and Tricks

A few things to keep in mind when make chocolate chess pie to ensure flawless success!

  • Chocolate quality matters – Always choose high-quality chocolate and try to stay away from chocolate chips. They contain additives that prevent them from melting smoothly.
  • Crust should be defrosted completely – Make sure pie crust is not frozen when adding chocolate mixture – it will not cook through if crust is frozen.
  • Do not burn the chocolate – make sure to melt chocolate and butter at 50% power in the microwave in 30-second interval, as directed, and scrape bottom of the dish well when stirring to avoid overcooking the chocolate. The double-boiler method makes it harder to burn the chocolate, but does taking longer (and more cleaning).
  • Make sure mixture is not hot before adding egg – chocolate mixture may be pretty warm after melting chocolate and butter in the microwave, it’s best to let it cool for a few minutes before adding egg. We don’t want scrambled eggs forming!
  • Cool for setting – chocolate chess pie will continue to set as it cools. Allow it to cool in the pie dish for 10-15 minutes. This will make slicing easier.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Chocolate chess pie should be wrapped with plastic wrap and stored in refrigerator for up to 5 days, due to the egg and dairy content. It should not be left in room temperature for more than 3 hours.

Chocolate chess pie can be served cold, warm or at room temperature. You can use a toasted oven or microwave to reheat the pie.

A slice of pie topped with a dollop of whipped cream.

Frequently Asked Questions

The edges of my pie crust is browned before the filling is fully cooked. What should I do?

Halfway through baking, cover the crust with a pie guard or shield, or can make one with aluminum foil. 

Why is my chess pie runny?

If your chess pie is runny, it may not have been baked long enough or it hasn’t cooled sufficiently to set.

Can I make this pie in advance?

Yes, the pie can be made a day or two in advance. It needs to cool completely before wrapping it up with saran wrap and stored in the refrigerator.

Do I need to refrigerate the pie?

Due to its dairy and egg content, chocolate chess pie should be refrigerated if it is not consumed within 3 hours. It can be served cold, warm or at room temperature.

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More Easy Dessert Recipes

Digging into a piece of chocolate chess pie with a fork

Chocolate Chess Pie

A classic Southern dessert! Buttery flaky crust is loaded with a rich, gooey, decadent chocolate filling. This indulgent dessert is perfect for the holidays, and typically served with whipped cream or ice cream.
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Southern
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Cooling time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 371kcal
Author: MinShien


  • 1 pre-made pie crust unbaked
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 oz chocolate 60-70%
  • ½ cup evaporated milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • tbsp flour


  • If pie crust is frozen, allow it to thaw to room temperature. Once thawed, place in pie dish.
  • Preheat oven to 350℉.
  • Place butter and chocolate in a microwave safe dish. Melt by microwaving at 50% power for 30 second intervals making sure to stir in between the intervals. Be careful not to burn the chocolate.
  • Once melted, add evaporated milk, vanilla extract, and egg (make sure mixture is not hot when adding the egg – we don't want the egg to cook just yet!)
  • In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients together: sugar, flour, and unsweetened cocoa powder.
  • Combine dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Mix well.
  • Pour mixture into pie crust.
  • Bake 40-45 minutes.
  • Remove promptly from oven, and let pie cool for 10-15 minutes. Once cooled, serve with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or both!
  • Serve and enjoy!


Calories: 371kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 116mg | Potassium: 132mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 426IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Take a pic and tag me at @joyous.apron, or hashtag #joyousapron on Instagram!

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