Delicious Lemon Chess Pie Recipe: Sweet and Tangy!

Southern cooking is all about flavor, and one of my favorite desserts to make is a classic southern lemon chess pie. This pie has a buttery and flaky crust with a custard filling that’s tangy, sweet, and perfectly smooth. The combination of fresh lemon juice and zest gives this dessert an irresistible citrusy aroma that will have you coming back for more.

If you’ve never tried a chess pie before, it’s like a cousin to the custard pie, but with a little twist. While custard pies typically use milk or cream as the base, chess pies use a combination of eggs, sugar, and butter. The addition of yellow cornmeal in the filling gives the pie that classic southern texture that melts in your mouth.

This southern lemon chess pie recipe is perfect for any occasion. Whether it’s a family gathering or dinner party with friends, this dessert is bound to be a showstopper. And if you’re looking for something a little different from the traditional lemon meringue pie or key lime pie, this recipe is the perfect way to switch things up in the dessert department.

So roll up your sleeves and get ready to channel your inner Southern self with this mouthwatering recipe. Trust me; it’ll be love at first bite.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Southern Lemon Chess Pie
Southern Lemon Chess Pie

Imagine yourself savoring a tangy, sweet, and buttery slice of pie- that’s what you’ll get with this southern lemon chess pie. This dessert recipe is the perfect representation of southern-style lemon custard pie with a wonderful blend of sugar, butter, fresh lemon juice, and yellow cornmeal.

If you have a sweet tooth, then this classic southern treat is definitely worth trying! It’s incredibly simple to make with only a few basic ingredients and comes together in no time. The texture is smooth and velvety, resembling a custard pie that melts in your mouth.

It’s a dessert that doesn’t feel heavy on your palate but rather creates an intense desire to have another bite. The lemon filling recipe is both sweet and sour- complemented well by the perfectly flaky pie crust.

This recipe is perfect for those who love chocolate chess or old-fashioned lemon buttermilk pie. Its unique blend of ingredients come together to create the perfect southern-style lemon chess pie that everyone will love.

Finally, this recipe is versatile enough for any occasion- from weekend gatherings to family dinners to backyard barbecues. With its rich flavor profile and simple preparation steps, this dessert is sure to become a crowd-pleaser and leave your guests feeling absolutely satisfied.

Ingredient List

 This tangy lemon chess pie is the perfect dessert for any occasion!
This tangy lemon chess pie is the perfect dessert for any occasion!

Get ready to gather all the ingredients you’ll need to make this Southern Lemon Chess Pie Recipe. This recipe is a classic southern-style lemon custard pie that’s made with simple yet flavorful ingredients that you can easily find in your pantry. Here’s what you’ll need to create this delicious dessert:


  • 1 9-inch pie crust
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup milk (1%)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (about 1 large lemon)

You might already have most of these ingredients in your kitchen since they’re readily available. You can use a store-bought pie crust or your favorite homemade pastry crust recipe. This recipe calls for yellow cornmeal and all-purpose flour to create a slightly crunchy and textured pie filling that’s perfect for chess pie lovers. The combination of butter, milk, eggs, sugar, and fresh lemon juice creates a beautifully smooth filling with the perfect balance of tangy and sweet flavors.

The Recipe How-To

 Get ready to indulge in a slice of Southern heaven.
Get ready to indulge in a slice of Southern heaven.

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust

Recipe Instructions:

Step 1: Preheat oven

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Step 2: Mix the dry ingredients

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients; sugar, cornmeal and flour.

Step 3: Add wet ingredients

Add the beaten eggs, grated lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, melted butter and milk into the mixing bowl. Whisk until blended well.

Step 4: Pour the mixture

Pour the mixture into the pie crust.

Step 5: Bake the pie

Bake in a preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until filling is firm and golden brown. When you give it a little shake, it should not jiggle in the center.

Step 6: Remove from oven

Remove from oven and let it cool down slightly before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completetely.

I hope you enjoy this classic Southern Lemon Chess Pie recipe just as much as I do!

Substitutions and Variations

 The aroma of fresh lemon will have your taste buds watering in anticipation.
The aroma of fresh lemon will have your taste buds watering in anticipation.

When it comes to making this delicious southern-style lemon chess pie, there are a few substitutions and variations that you can try to put your own spin on this classic dish.

Firstly, if you don’t have yellow cornmeal in your pantry, you can substitute it with corn flour or regular flour. This shouldn’t affect the texture too much and will still give you a delicious pie crust and filling.

If you want to make a chocolate chess pie instead of a lemon one, simply replace the 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice with 1/4 cup of cocoa powder. You could also add some chopped nuts or chocolate chips for an extra crunch.

For a healthier twist on this Southern dessert, replace some of the granulated sugar with honey or agave syrup. This will add natural sweetness and reduce the amount of refined sugar in your recipe.

If you’re looking for a dairy-free or vegan option, you could substitute the butter for coconut oil and use a dairy-free milk alternative such as almond or soy milk in place of regular milk.

Finally, if you want to make mini pies instead of one big pie, use muffin tins instead of a pie dish. You can also experiment with different types of pastry crusts such as shortcrust or phyllo pastry for a different texture and taste.

No matter which substitution or variation you try, always keep the classic southern chess pie filling recipe as your main guide and let your imagination run wild.

Serving and Pairing

 Your kitchen will smell like sunshine on a cloudy day as this pie bakes.
Your kitchen will smell like sunshine on a cloudy day as this pie bakes.

The Southern Lemon Chess Pie is a decadent dessert that can easily steal the show with its light, citrusy flavor and classic custard texture. It can be served at room temperature or chilled, depending on personal preference.

When it comes to pairing this Southern-style lemon chess pie, there are several options to consider. For a classic Southern twist, go for a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream to bring out the flavors even further. The creamy notes of the whipped cream blend perfectly with the citrus tang of the lemon chess pie.

If you’re more adventurous, try pairing it with a fruity drink, like an iced tea with lemon or even a glass of red wine. The acidity in the wine will complement the lemon flavor in the pie while balancing out its sweetness.

Alternatively, you can serve it alongside other delicious desserts like old-fashioned buttermilk pie or chocolate chess pie to create a dessert spread that everyone will love. The contrast between their flavors and textures will create a beautiful harmony on your dessert table.

No matter how you choose to pair this classic southern desert, one thing is for sure – it’s an exceptional dish that will impress your family and friends whether you’re serving it as part of your weekly meal plan or at special events such as Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Top this bright yellow pie with fresh whipped cream for extra indulgence.
Top this bright yellow pie with fresh whipped cream for extra indulgence.

You can make the Southern Lemon Chess Pie ahead of time and store it without any issues. Just remember to let it cool completely, then tightly wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge for up to two days.

When you’re ready to reheat your pie, there are a few things you can do. You can either reheat it in the oven or microwave. To reheat it in the oven, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius), place the pie on a baking sheet, and bake for about 10-15 minutes or until heated through.

To reheat it in the microwave, place a slice of the pie on a microwave-safe plate and microwave it for about 20-30 seconds or until heated through. You can also try adding a dollop of whipped cream on top for an extra treat.

Storing leftovers is simple as well. Just store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. When reheating leftovers, stick with the same method as above, and you’ll have a delicious dessert again in no time.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Serve this beauty with a side of sweet tea for the ultimate Southern experience.
Serve this beauty with a side of sweet tea for the ultimate Southern experience.

Anyone can make a lemon chess pie, but it takes a true southern chef to make a perfect one. As a chef specializing in southern-style cuisine, I’ve had my share of trial and error before perfecting my own recipe. Here are some tips to ensure you get the same perfect results as I do when making this classic southern dessert:

1. Use high-quality ingredients: Ingredients matter. Make sure to use fresh lemon juice and zest, real butter, and high-quality eggs for best results.

2. Don’t overfill the pie crust: It’s important not to overfill the crust with the pie filling. Leave some space for the filling to expand as it bakes without overflowing.

3. Be careful not to overmix: Overmixing can cause the pie mixture to become thin, resulting in a runny filling. Mix just until combined.

4. Bake at the right temperature: The key temperature for baking the perfect chess pie is 350°F. A higher temperature may cause the filling to cook too quickly on top and burn.

5. Cover the edges of your pie with foil: To prevent over browning or burning on the edges of your lemon chess pie, cover them with foil once they start to brown.

6. Chill completely before serving: Lemon chess pie tastes best after it has had time to cool in the fridge and set completely for at least 2 hours or overnight before serving.

By following these tips, you’re sure to have success with this southern lemon chess pie recipe every single time!

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this Southern Lemon Chess Pie Recipe is a must-try for anyone who loves classic southern desserts or is looking for something new and delicious to bake. With its sweet and tangy pie filling made with fresh lemon juice and zest, and its buttery crust with just a hint of cornmeal, this pie will quickly become a family favorite.

Not only is this recipe easy to make with just a few simple ingredients, but it also offers endless variations and substitutions to suit your taste preferences. You can add a dollop of whipped cream on top or pair it with fresh berries for an extra burst of flavor.

Furthermore, this recipe can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for several days or frozen for even longer storage. Plus, it’s perfect for any occasion – whether you’re hosting a family gathering or simply craving a delicious dessert.

Overall, this Southern Lemon Chess Pie Recipe is a versatile and delectable dessert that will satisfy your sweet tooth and impress all of your guests. So go ahead and give it a try – I guarantee you won’t regret it!

Southern Lemon Chess Pie

Southern Lemon Chess Pie Recipe

Simple and easy to make.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Southern American
Servings 1 pie
Calories 286.6 kcal


  • 2 whole eggs, separated
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose yellow cornmeal (can use white)
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 9 inches pie shells, pre-baked 10 minutes


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In small bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Set aside.
  • In large bowl, cream together sugar, cornmeal, lemon juice, butter and egg yolks for 5 minutes or more until creamy.
  • Gently fold beaten egg whites into this lemon mixture. Gently pour filling into pie crust. Bake about 15 minutes or until top of pie begins to brown.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake an additional 25 to 30 minutes or more until pie is just set in the middle.
  • It should be a little jiggly, not runny, in the middle. Remove from oven and cool.
  • It can be refrigerated, but is best served at room temperature. Covered, this pie will keep unrefrigerated for up to 4 days.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 80gCalories: 286.6kcalCarbohydrates: 37.1gProtein: 3.2gFat: 14.5gSaturated Fat: 5.9gCholesterol: 61.8mgSodium: 186.1mgFiber: 1gSugar: 25.3g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Beginner Cook, Citrus, Dessert, Easy, Fruit, Kid-Friendly, Lemon, Pie, Spring
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