My Chocolate Chess Pie recipe makes an incredibly rich and decadent dessert. Featuring a rich, fudgy chocolate filling, a crackly, meringue-esque top layer, and a perfectly crisp crust, this is a pie like no other! Be sure to check out the how-to video in the recipe card for step-by-step instructions!
Chocolate Chess Pie: For Serious Chocolate Lovers Only
A true chocolate lover’s dream, chocolate chess pie is a decadent cross between a chocolate pie and my favorite fudgy brownies.
It’s got a rich and semi-molton, almost custard-like texture, a papery thin meringue-like top that shines and crackles like the top layer of your favorite fudgy brownies, and a buttery, flaky, (and yet sturdy) classic pie crust. It practically begs to be cut into.
This recipe was carefully developed as a hybrid between my flourless brownies, flourless chocolate cake, and a chocolate pie from Cook’s Illustrated (no direct link since they’ve put it behind a paywall, sorry!). It starts out with a blind baked pie crust filled with a custardy chocolate filling that’s made with not one, but TWO forms of chocolate. True. Chocolate. Heaven.
Add this pie to your dessert menu (maybe even for Thanksgiving?) and your guests will be impressed!
Let’s get started!
What You Need
- Pie dough. I recommend using my super simple, foolproof homemade pie crust for best flavor, but you can use store-bought to save time.
- Butter. Use unsalted butter, and make sure to cut it into pieces for easier melting.
- Chocolate. I recommend using a semisweet or 60% dark chocolate bar. Make sure you either finely chop it or just break it up into pieces for easier melting. While chocolate chips will work in a pinch, you’ll have the best results if you use a quality chocolate bar instead.
- Heavy cream. Heavy cream or heavy whipping cream will work here. This is a key ingredient that gives our chess pie that nearly molten texture.
- Eggs. For an extra indulgent pie, we’ll use two large eggs and two extra egg yolks, which lend themselves to the rich, custardy interior of the pie. The eggs will incorporate best if they’re at room temperature, so bring them out of the fridge ahead of time to warm up. When you do incorporate them, make sure you whip them very well to get that crackly, meringue-like surface.
- Sugar. Plain granulated sugar works just fine here, though caster sugar may be substituted!
- Cocoa powder. Yes, you’ll be adding chocolate and cocoa powder–I told you this pie was a chocolate lover’s dream! You can use either natural or Dutch process cocoa for this pie, but I prefer the less intense flavor of natural/unsweetened.
- Vanilla and Salt. For flavor and to balance out all the chocolate. I like to use my homemade vanilla extract.
SAM’S TIP: While it’s delicious by itself, I like to serve my chocolate chess pie with sliced strawberries and homemade whipped cream. This can help cut the richness, and it makes the pie look pretty too!
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make It
- Roll out your chilled pie dough, place it in a pie plate, and flute the edges.
- Cover the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes at 375F before removing from the oven and carefully lifting out the parchment and pie weights (don’t burn yourself, the weights will be hot!). Reduce the oven temperature to 350F.
SAM’S TIP: If you don’t have pie weights, you can use dry beans, sugar, or even pennies. We’re only partially baking our pie crust here, but I talk more about how to blind bake a pie crust in a separate post if you want to learn more about this important step.
- Melt together chocolate and butter until smooth and completely melted.
- Combine cream, eggs and yolks, sugar, and vanilla extract and whisk vigorously for 15-30 seconds. Vigorous whisking is key here for that nice crackly meringue-like layer on top!
- Sift the cocoa powder into the egg mixture and add salt.
- Gently stir the melted cocoa mixture into egg mixture and then pour into your pie crust and bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool for about four hours before slicing and enjoying.
Frequently Asked Questions
Chess pie is a southern dessert, similar to my buttermilk pie. The exact origins and reasoning behind its name are murky, but you can read more about the history of chess pie here if you’re curious!
Technically chess pie is a type of custard pie. The main difference between this recipe and my other custard pie recipes (like my banana cream pie) is that this chocolate chess pie is more stable outside of refrigeration.
Technically no, but it really depends on how long you want it to keep. I prefer to serve this particular pie at room temperature, where it will stay good for up to three days. If you need it to last longer than that, you can refrigerate it for up to five days.
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
Chocolate Chess Pie
- 1 unbaked pie dough click the link to make my homemade pie crust or you may use a store-bought crust
- ⅓ cup (75 g) unsalted butter cut into about 6 pieces
- 4 oz (113 g) semisweet or dark 60% chocolate bar, chopped into small pieces
- ¼ cup (60 ml) heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
- 2 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks room temperature preferred
- 1 ¼ cups (250 g) granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (25 g) cocoa powder you may use either Natural or Dutch Process cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 9” pie plate
- Preheat oven to 375F (190C). If using my homemade pie dough recipe, follow instructions through step 4.
- Roll out chilled pie dough and place in a 9” pie plate. Flute the edges and then cover with a piece of parchment paper. Fill with an even layer of pie weights.1 unbaked pie dough
- Transfer pie dough to oven and bake for 15 minutes. Once pie dough is finished baking, remove from the oven and carefully remove parchment and pie weights but do not turn off the oven.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350F (175C).
- While pie dough bakes you can begin preparing your filling. Combine butter and chopped chocolate in a medium-sized heatproof bowl and heat in the microwave in 25-second increments, stirring in between, until chocolate and butter are completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside.⅓ cup (75 g) unsalted butter, 4 oz (113 g) semisweet or dark
- In a separate bowl, combine heavy cream, eggs and egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla extract. Whisk vigorously for at least 15-30 seconds (this will help your chocolate chess pie develop that crackly top!).¼ cup (60 ml) heavy cream or heavy whipping cream, 2 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks, 1 ¼ cups (250 g) granulated sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- Sift cocoa powder over the cream mixture and add salt. Whisk until combined.¼ cup (25 g) cocoa powder, ¼ teaspoon salt
- Drizzle melted chocolate/butter mixture into the bowl with the egg mixture and use a spatula to gently stir ingredients until completely combined.
- Pour chocolate mixture into pie crust (once it is finished baking). It is OK if the pie crust is still hot/warm, just be careful not to burn yourself!
- Place in 350F (175C) oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. The center should be set and the top will have puffed and maybe even cracked and if you use an instant-read thermometer the temperature should register around 180F (82C).
- Allow pie to cool for at least 4 hours before cutting in and enjoying (the top will likely deflate and crack, this is normal and expected!). If desired, serve topped with homemade whipped cream!
Storing:Store at room temperature for up to 3 days. I don’t care for the pie when it’s cold, but it may be refrigerated for up to 5 days.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
I made this last year for thanksgiving and christmas and it was a hit both times!
I wanted to try to make it this year as mini pies in a muffin tin. Would you have any advice on that? Like how much to fill and time to bake?
Hi Cindy! I’m glad you enjoyed it. While I haven’t tried it in a muffin tin I think it could work. I would probably fill each cavity up 2/3-3/4 of the way full. I don’t really have a good guess on a bake time, other than it would be reduced a good bit. Let me know how it goes if you try it out. 🙂
Thank you for your reply. I will definitely let you know. I will be making them tomorrow. I made two other test recipes (apple and pumpkin) in the muffin tins this weekend and I used your pie crust recipe. They were fantastic! It’s now my favorite pie crust recipe! 🙂
There’s a pie shop nearby that makes a Chocolate Chess Pie, so I’m excited to try your recipe! This particular pie shop also adds a bit of cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Do you think these two ingredients would work well with your recipe, and do you have any recommendations for how much to use?
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Hi Megen! We haven’t tried this ourselves, so we can’t be sure how much of each you’d need to add to get it just right. If you do try it, let us know how it turns out for you! 🙂
Andrea Jo Javarauckas
I made this for Thanksgiving yesterday and it was excellent! Do you have an opinion on the outcome if the sugar was reduced? Do you think that will have an effect on the structure at all? Just looking for a tiny bit less sweetness.
Hi Andrea! I haven’t tried reducing the sugars so I can’t say for sure how it will turn out. It probably won’t ruin the structure if you don’t reduce it too much. 🙂
Delicious!! Tastes like a brownie pie
Could you recommend a different type of crust that would go well with this pie? I’ve recently discovered I’m gluten intolerant and don’t know how to change things, yet. Thanks!
I’m not familiar with it, but others have commented using Bob’s Red Mill Gluten free flour as a 1 to 1 substitute for the pie crust and said it worked great. It may be worth a shot. 🙂