Chess Pie with Nuts and Raisins

If you haven’t tried chess pie you don’t know what you have been missing. This chess pie is filled with raisins, nuts, and so much more. Why not try my grandmother’s recipe for chess pie?

a slice of chess pie with nuts and raisins.

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Chess Pie with Nuts and Raisins

Chess pie is a pie that simply isn’t made enough. If you haven’t tried it, you don’t know what you’ve been missing.

This old-fashioned chess pie recipe from the archives of my grandmother is filled with raisins, nuts, and so much more. This is a nostalgic pie – simple, sweet, and satisfying.

What Is Chess Pie?

Chess Pie has a long history. It’s been around since the 1700s, so there’s been plenty of time for variations.

The basic pie comprises flour, sugar, butter, and eggs… and maybe some cornmeal or a few chopped pecans.

This easy chess pie recipe is a creamy chess pie without cornmeal that uses nuts, raisins, and spices. It’s a wonderful pie for any festive occasion and makes a great alternative to pecan pie for your Thanksgiving feast.

Why Is It Called Chess Pie?

The origin of the name chess pie is nebulous and undefined.

Some people insist that at some point in history when asked what kind of pie was being served, a waitress answered, jes’ pie (with a southern accent!).

Another explanation replaces the waitress with a plantation cook who coined the name chess pie because chestnut meal was once used in place of cornmeal.

Yet another idea is that the pies were stored in pie chests (maybe pronounced chess!). 

Take your pick! If you want to, you can take a deeper dive into the origin of the name for chess pie.

What Makes This Homemade Chess Pie Recipe So Good

If you like rich desserts, this easy chess pie is divine! This recipe for chess pie is the best because it includes nuts, raisins, and spices. You get a creamy chess pie that’s sweet and milky with a touch of vanilla – all other chess pies will never taste as good!

This is a very addictive homemade chess pie, and you may be in trouble if there isn’t enough for everyone to have seconds! You may also find yourself cutting just a sliver off every time you walk by – dangerously good!

Recipe Ingredients

This simple dessert truly is as easy as pie to prepare with basic ingredients you probably have on hand. And, if you don’t happen to have cornmeal in your pantry, this is an old fashioned chess pie without cornmeal.

  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Cornstarch
  • Salt
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground cloves
  • Allspice
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • Milk
  • Raisins
  • Chopped nuts – pecans or walnuts
  • Unbaked pie shell – homemade pie crust or refrigerated
chess pie ingredients and a spatula.

Ingredient Substitutions

If you are watching your sugar intake, you can substitute Splenda Baking Sugar in place of regular sugar.

Believe it or not, it is possible to make a similar pie for vegan eaters. Get the vegan chess pie recipe.

How to Make Chess Pie with Nuts and Raisins

No need to carve out hours of preparation time for this fabulous chess pie recipe. Here are simple steps:

  1. Place the butter, cornstarch, sugar, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice in a large bowl. Use a mixer to cream them together.
butter, sugar, and spices in a bowl.
  1. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.
chess pie butter-sugar-spices mixture with eggs on top.
  1. Add milk, raisins, and nuts. Stir or whisk to combine.
chess pie filling mixture.
  1. Place the pie shell in a pie plate and form the edges as desired.
unbaked pie shell in a pie plate.
  1. Pour the filling mixture into the unbaked pie shell.
chess pie before baking.
  1. Bake at 375°F for about 35 minutes or until the filling thickens.
  2. Let the pie cool to room temperature before slicing and serving.
freshly baked chess pie.

How Do You Know When Chess Pie Is Done?

Your pie is done when the center of the pie no longer wobbles. You can also use an instant-read thermometer. The pie is ready when the center reaches 200°F.

Old Fashioned Chess Pie – Recipe Variations

  • If you like a touch of alcohol, add 3/4 cup (6 ounces) of dark rum.
  • Make your pie even more decadent with the addition of dates.

How to Serve Chess Pie

Serve this homemade chess pie as a dessert with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Fresh berries are always a hit as well. And, a piece of chess pie goes great with a cup of coffee.

What Chess Pie Goes With for Dinner

This recipe for chess pie is the perfect dessert to top off the savory delight of a robust main dinner course such as:

How to Store Chess Pie

The high amount of sugar in this chess pie means it will keep well. You can store it covered on the pie plate or in a container in the fridge for about 3 to 5 days.

How to Freeze Chess Pie

This recipe for chess pie freezes well. Slice the pie into individual servings and place in an airtight container, using pieces of parchment paper to separate the slices and prevent them from freezing to each other. 

To thaw, just set it out on the counter and let it come to room temperature. You could also place it in the microwave for a few seconds to warm it up!

chess pie in a colorful pie plate.

Favorite Old-Fashioned Cakes

Check out more of my easy pie recipes and the best dessert recipes here on CopyKat!

This is from the archives of my grandmother, Ethel Eynard. Jefferson City, MO.  1952.

a slice of chess pie with nuts and raisins.

Chess Pie with Nuts and Raisins

A delicious old-fashioned chess pie with nuts, raisins, and spices.
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chess Pie, Pie Recipes, Pies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 312kcal


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 unbaked pie shell


  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Cream the butter with the sugar, salt, and spices.
  • Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well.
  • Add the milk, cornstarch, raisins, and nuts and mix until combined.
  • Pour the mixture into an unbaked pie shell.
  • Bake for about 35 minutes or until the filling thickens.


Calories: 312kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 213mg | Potassium: 267mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 180IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 1mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Anne

    5 stars
    I was very surprised when I saw the ingredients in this version of “Chess Pie”. I have several recipes for chess pie and this is the first one I’ve seen with raisins, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, and nuts. The ones I have made consist mostly of butter, sugar, cornmeal, and eggs. It’s my husbands favorite pie in the world. He laughed when I told him about this new chess pie recipe I found and said, “Don’t expect me to eat that.” I may try it later, but for now I’ll just stick with the old standby that’s worked for years.

    • stephaniemanley

      Anne, I didn’t mean to offend you with my Grandmother’s version of Chess Pie. I never understood her fascination with raisins, I would like to pick them out of pretty much anything I eat.

      Since my Grandmother passed away almost 10 years ago, I can’t ask her about why this Chess pie has all of these extra ingredients. I am sure someone out there would appreciate this particular version.

  2. Janet Carriveau

    I loved the pie, especially the amount of spices in it. I didn’t think it would thicken up very well, but it did. It’s a keeper for me and hubby.

5 from 5 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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