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Honey Chess Pie

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Enjoy this honey sweetened twist on a chess pie. With a kiss of lemon, honey richness and lots of chess pie goodness, it is a perfect treat for almost any occasion!

close slice of honey chess pie on plate with fork ready to eat.

Give that southern staple a fun makeover. The custardy base is kissed with honey to give it a nice depth of flavor.

While the origins of the chess pie name are up for debate, the fact that it’s good isn’t. Go ahead and whip one up for dessert today!

What MiMi had to say about the recipe:

Kristie was in Nashville, Tennessee recently and was lucky enough to go to the Loveless Cafe. I asked her to bring me home their cookbooks.

For our family dinner this week, I decided to make the entire meal out of those cookbooks.  The recipe for this honey chess pie is in the book titled “Desserts From The Famous Loveless Cafe.”

 I chose to use my regular flaky pie crust recipe for this.  The filling is taken directly from the cookbook.


whole honey chess pie with bowls of honey, cinnamon and brown sugar nearby and pie serve ready to go.

Why is it called chess pie?

Chess pies are new to us lifelong mid-westerners.  Though it seems like many of the Southern cooks have a version.

Being new to me, I did a little looking around to see where the chess name came from.  It just seems like such an odd name for a pie.

I will share what my pursuit of the truth taught me, though I am not sure it will clear the question entirely.  I suppose we’ll just have to eat another slice of pie while we ponder it!

It seems like there are a handful of opinions.  The recipes go back as far as the 1700s, where there was a recipe for making cheese pie without cheese curd.

slice of chess pie sweetened with honey ready to eat.

Basically it describes making a custard and turning it into a pie. So that leads to the idea that chess comes from a pronunciation of cheese.

Which does make we wonder what kind of cheese pie they were making in the 1700s. Perhaps a farmer’s cheese version of a cheesecake type pie?

Or it could be that the chess comes from chest.  It is said that this pie is so sweet it can be kept in a chest rather than being refrigerated.

The last idea is that chess is how somebody wrote out the pronunciation of ‘jes as it in it’s ‘jes a pie.

Who knows?!  No matter where the name came from, it is a tasty pie.  It has the same custardy texture as a pumpkin pie, but without the pumpkin or spice.

Freshly baked honey chess pie with golden brown top, ready to be served.

Instead it has a nice honey flavor that hits you as you swallow. I have read about a lemon buttermilk chess pie… I think a bigger splash of lemon would be great in this pie as well!

Maybe our next chess pie should be a honey lemon chess pie.  If you want to easily kick up the lemon flavor in this pie without throwing off the liquid balance, you could easily add a teaspoon of lemon extract or a little bit of lemon zest.

What does a chess pie taste like?

Chess pie is sweet and custardy with a bit of body from the cornmeal and an almost crackly sugar top. This honey chess pie adds the richness of honey and just a bit of lemon juice for balance.

Tips for serving your honey chess pie:

  • Refrigerating this pie will make it easier to cut. 
  • It tastes better at room temperature.  Sometimes cold temperature can dull the flavors.
  • It is suggested to chill the pie thoroughly and cut it into slices and let them stand on their plates for at least a half hour before serving.

More great pie recipes:

If you like using honey as a sweetener in your pie, you will love honey maple pecan pie. It uses both honey and maple syrup in place of the corn syrup for a delicious depth of flavor.

Or try making a sweetened condensed milk pecan pie if you like a nice creamy finish. Both are fun twists on the classic dessert.

For an old fashioned dessert, try making grandma’s oatmeal pie. Or go creamy with sour cream raisin pie topped with fluffy meringue.

It really is hard to go wrong with any of these options, but you can check out my full collection of pie recipes for more tasty ideas.

close slice of honey chess pie on plate with fork ready to eat.

Honey Chess Pie

Servings: 12 Servings
Author: Carlee
Enjoy this honey sweetened twist on a classic southern chess pie. With a kiss of lemon, honey richness and lots of chess pie goodness, it is a perfect treat for almost any occasion!
4.95 from 19 ratings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes


  • 1 pie crust dough
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ¾ cup honey
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar packed
  • 9 Tablespoons butter softened
  • 3 Tablespoons cornmeal preferably white
  • 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 eggs room temperature
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • cup heavy cream


  • Make dough for pie crust. Roll the dough and fit it into pie pan. Put it in the refrigerator for at least a half hour to chill.
    1 pie crust dough
  • Preheat the oven to 375° F. Take dough out of the refrigerator and prick with a fork all over the bottom. Line the pie shell with parchment paper and fill with dry beans or pie weights.
  • Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges start to set. Remove the parchment paper and pie weights and brush the bottom lightly with an egg white that has been lightly beaten with a pinch of salt added to prevent sogginess.
    1 egg white, 1 pinch salt
  • Return to the oven for an additional 5 minutes, until the crust is lightly golden brown. Let cool before filling.
  • To make the filling: Preheat the oven to 350° F. Place the par baked pie shell on a baking sheet and set aside. 
  • Place the honey, brown sugar, butter, cornmeal, flour, vanilla and cinnamon in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is smooth.
    ¾ cup honey, ¾ cup light brown sugar, 9 Tablespoons butter, 3 Tablespoons cornmeal, 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour, 2 teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • With the machine running, add the eggs, one at a time, processing until blended. Scrape the bowl after each addition. With the machine on, add the lemon juice and then the heavy cream through the feed tube.
    4 eggs, 3 Tablespoons lemon juice, ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • Scrape the filling into the pie shell. It will be runnier than you might expect, but it will set up.
  • Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the edges puff up slightly and the center is firm. Let cool completely before serving.


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 331kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 4gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 92mgSodium: 193mgFiber: 1gSugar: 29g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Cooking With Carlee” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating


Wednesday 24th of April 2024

This is so good.


Wednesday 18th of December 2019

Thank you


Tuesday 26th of November 2019

I have never heard of Chess Pie. It does look delicious however! I think that I will have to take a try at it.


Wednesday 18th of December 2019

It's a great simple old fashioned pie. I hope you enjoy it.

Andrea Nine

Monday 25th of November 2019

These do look like slices of heaven and I love the idea make it a whole meal from a beloved cookbook.


Wednesday 18th of December 2019

The honey adds so much depth of flavor. And it is fun to make a theme dinner from one book!


Wednesday 24th of June 2015

It was very tasty and fun to try something new!