Southern Lemon Chess Pie Recipe

This Lemon Chess Pie recipe is such a classic dessert we enjoy all year long, and SO delicious! 

This Lemon Chess Pie is a classic Southern dessert and one of my very favorite pies! Plus, it’s a simple dessert to make and the perfect tart and sweet flavor!

Southern Lemon Chess Pie, if you''ve never had this pie, it's a MUST!

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Southern Lemon Chess Pie

Growing up in the south, I’ve tasted my fair share of pies! From my favorite brown sugar pie to even a red velvet fudge pie, but nothing is quite as tasty as this Southern Lemon Chess Pie!

This lemon pie recipe came from my mother who got it from a friend in Wrightsville Beach, NC. I’m so glad it made its way to me so I can share it with you! It’s full of tart lemon flavor with a touch of sweetness and a flaky pie crust. It reminds me of a lemon bar in pie form!

Lemon Chess Pie Recipe

This recipe for lemon chess pie makes 2 pies. Trust me, you’ll WANT two, haha! But just be aware of that and make sure you have 2 pie crusts! This pie freezes beautifully so no worries if you can’t eat both right away.

Lemon Chess Pie Ingredient Notes

The ingredients for this pie are simple and straightforward. Here’s a quick glance of what you’ll need!

  • Granulated Sugar
  • White Cornmeal
  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Fresh Lemon Juice (squeeze your own, it makes all the difference!)
  • Lemon Zest
  • Whole Milk
  • Pie Crusts (use store bought or make your own) – You can use 9-inch pie crusts if you like, the pie will end up being a little thinner. I use 2 8-inch pie crusts.
Lemon Chess Pie Ingredients

This pie is full of lemon flavor from both freshly squeezed lemon juice and lemon zest! If you don’t have a zester, here’s a great one! Lemon zest has so much flavor so be sure not to skip this part.

See all those little flakes of lemon zest in the unbaked pie below? DELISH!

unbaked lemon pie

And look how pretty it looks when baked? It will also make your house smell so amazing. Heavenly! This is one of my favorite lemon desserts.

Southern Lemon Chess Pie Recipe

Recipe Tips

You can wrap your pie crust edges in aluminum foil halfway through the baking time if they begin to brown too much.

Your baked pie will continue to set up even after you pull it out of the oven. You’ll notice that the top of the pie will bet “set” or “crusted” but the inside is a more classic chess texture.

How to Garnish Your Pie

I love to garnish this lemon chess pie with lemon slices and fresh mint sprigs. And a bit of powdered sugar never hurt anyone so I liberally dust powdered sugar over the top!

Lemon Chess Pie FAQ

Why do they call it lemon chess pie?

Well, there are a few different stories as to how lemon chess pie got its name. But one folklore story says that when the word “chest” was used to describe pies that were made with so much sugar that they could be stored in a chest rather than refrigerated. When pronounced with a Southern drawl, the word “chest” sounded like “chess” so the name “chess pie” stuck.

What is lemon chess pie made of?

A simple Southern chess pie recipe given a lemon twist! It’s made with sugar, flour, cornmeal, eggs, butter, lemon juice, lemon zest and whole milk.

What does lemon chess pie taste like?

It tastes sweet and custardy but not too sugary. It has tons of tart lemony flavor from fresh lemon juice and zest! It reminds me of a lemon bar. It’s similar to an eggy custard pie, but with much more flavor! If you’re a fan of lemon curd, you’ll love this pie.

Because this recipe makes two pies, send over the second to a neighbor or friend! It’s oh so perfect for spring and summer. It’s one of my favorite pies, especially in the summer months, to drop off when someone has a baby or needs a “pick me up”!

Even More Dessert Recipes to Try!

Southern Lemon Chess Pie, if you''ve never had this pie, it's a MUST!

Southern Lemon Chess Pie

A delicious lemon chess pie that is full of lemon flavor, reminds you of lemon bars in pie form and perfect for any occasion! NOTE: This makes 2 pies.
SERVINGS 12 slices
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


  • 2 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon white cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon flour
  • 6 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons butter - melted
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons fine lemon zest
  • 2 8-inch pie shells - unbaked
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl fitted with electric mixer, combine sugar, cornmeal and flour. While on low, add eggs one at a time. Mix on medium until mixture is pale yellow and slightly foamy.
  • Add melted butter, lemon juice, and milk. Continue to blend until well combined.
  • Fold in lemon zest. Divide mixture between two prepared pie pans filled with your pie dough.
  • Bake for 45 minutes or until top is lightly golden and crust begins to brown. You can wrap crusts in aluminum foil halfway through baking to prevent crust from over cooking.
  • Cool the baked pie at room temperature on a wire rack for about 1 to 2 hours. Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate for several hours.
  • When ready to serve, dust the top of the pie with powdered sugar before serving! Optional: Garnish with a mint sprig and slice of lemon.


NOTE: You can use a frozen pie crust, just be sure to allow it to thaw to room temperature before baking.


Calories: 399kcalCarbohydrates: 60gProtein: 5gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 205mgPotassium: 85mgFiber: 1gSugar: 45gVitamin A: 322IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 30mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Originally Published in 2018.

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    1. Thank you, Annie! :)

  1. How much lemon juice, pleeze?

  2. Yes cup! So sorry about that. Just updated it.

  3. What a perfect looking summer dessert. I’m a crazy lemon fan…can’t wait to try it!

  4. Great idea to solve this error from windows 10 OS desktop.Simply follow this website homepage and learn the steps how to fix that with some easy process.

  5. What a perfect-looking summer dessert. I’m a crazy lemon fan…can’t wait to try it!
    Thanks For Sharing

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