A super simple, classic southern pie, this Lemon Chess Pie recipe doesn’t get much easier, and it’s a sweet-tooths’ dream! This Lemon Chess Pie recipe produces a sweet, tangy, creamy, lemon-kissed, mind-blowing dessert! A springtime variation on a classic Chess Pie.
I was excited to make a Lemon Chess Pie before I ever even made a classic Chess Pie. Of course, to understand Chess Pie, I made a Simple Classic Chess Pie recipe first, but I couldn’t wait to start making variations on it before I ever made the original.
Over the years, I’d noticed Chess Pie recipes in magazines and online, but I’d never made one. It was on my radar though, and I planned to do it at some point. My uncle brought a Chess Pie to a family dinner a few years ago, and that expedited my interest in making one. Once I tried it, I was hooked, and I knew I would want to adapt it in a variety of ways – least of all: lemon.
Also on my list to make soon: chocolate! But I haven’t gotten there yet. Once you’ve got a solid classic Chess Pie recipe down, it’s easy to create spinoffs.
Chess Pie is lovely. It’s ultra-simple, but highly unforgettable. The ingredients are mostly basic staples in your pantry or fridge, but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This pie in its complete form is much more than just sugar, butter, cream, vanilla, eggs, etc. The ingredients are such basic stuff, but produce a pie that’s so not basic in flavor, texture, and overall impact.
Adding to the convenience of an ingredient list that includes common staples, this pie is beyond easy. Besides zesting a few lemons, which is admittedly a small pain, you otherwise just whisk everything together and pour it in the pie crust. The filling is a breeze.
This Lemon Chess Pie reminds me a lot of my Grandma’s Lemon Bars, but sweeter, and in pie form. Funny, when I was rereading what I wrote about that Simple Classic Chess Pie recipe, I said the same thing – that the texture reminds me of my Grandma’s Lemon Bars, except that pie has no lemon. This one is even more like Grandma’s Lemon Bars! It’s kind of a custard-like filling, but sweeter, and not exactly creamy, and the golden brown top of this pie is slightly crunchy and crackly. Plus, it’s tart and tangy with fresh lemon zest and fresh lemon juice.
This Lemon Chess Pie recipe uses just a store-bought pastry crust (I hate making crusts!), but you can certainly substitute to suit your preferences. As I said when I posted this Simple Classic Chess Pie recipe a few months ago, my uncle makes this pie all the time, and he sometimes uses a graham cracker crust. I think he’s also used a shortbread crust. Whatever your pleasure!
This pie is so fragrant with citrus. When I opened the oven to take it out, the lemon hit me in the face, and it was great. I miss this Lemon Chess Pie already, and I’m vowing to myself that more variations will come sooner than later….
In the meantime, if you haven’t already finalized your Easter menu, this Lemon Chess Pie recipe is definitely one to consider! Other delicious lemony desserts would include these Easter Chicks Lemon Cookies, Iced Lemon Amish Sugar Cookies, or this Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze. Those are faves, but I’ve honestly got a TON of lemon recipes. 🙂
Lemon Chess Pie
A super simple, classic southern pie, this Lemon Chess Pie recipe doesn't get much easier, and it's a sweet-tooths' dream! This Lemon Chess Pie recipe produces an ultra sweet, tangy, creamy, lemon-kissed, mind-blowing dessert!
- 9 inch prepared refrigerated pie crust
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp. yellow cornmeal
- 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
- 1/4 cup heavy cream, whole, or 2% milk
- 1 tbsp. vinegar
- zest of 2 lemons and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 4 large eggs
- powdered sugar for garnish
Arrange pie crust in a 9-inch pie plate, and crimp or scallop the edges.
Line the pie crust with foil or parchment paper, and fill with pie weights or dried beans.
Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned.
Remove from heat, carefully remove parchment and pie weights, and cool completely.
Meanwhile, prepare filling.
In a large bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients (except powdered sugar).
Pour into crust.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and center appears mostly set. It does not need to be completely set - it will set as it cools! Also, it's normal for the entire top (not just edges) to brown.
Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Dust with powdered sugar before serving. Cut and serve.