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Vintage Recipe for Chess Pie

Vintage Chess Pie Recipe


My grandmother first introduced me to chess pie way back in the early ’60s. I. Loved. It. Not only did she make it for holidays, she’d make one when I was at their house because she knew I loved it so much. My cousin loved her chocolate pie and she’d make one of those for her. It was yummy too, but chess was my fav! Now, a lifetime later, I realize she was making it for herself and Papaw as much as for me. 

I made it for my family and took it to all family reunions and holidays. It became a favorite of everyone. I’d show up and one of the first things asked was if I brought a chess pie. 

Mamaw didn’t use a recipe. She would say things like “butter the size of an egg” or “a handful of flour” for things. Yeah. I’m not that good. This recipe is as close to taste as hers as I ever found. Simply delicious. 


Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
Total time: 1 hour

Preheat oven to 350°


1-1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup (one stick) butter
3 eggs
1 Tablespoon cornmeal
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 unbaked pie shell (I use store bought)


  1. Mix all ingredients
  2. Beat slightly (that’s important). It will have a slightly lumpy texture
  3. Pour into the unbaked pie shell
  4. Bake at 350° for 40-50 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. 

What can be easier than that? And yes, the crust should crack. It rises as it’s cooking then falls when it’s cooling.