Easy Buttermilk Pie

This Southern-style buttermilk pie with humble roots proves you don’t need much on hand to make a delicious and satisfying dessert. Whether enjoyed warm fresh out of the oven, or chilled out of the refrigerator later, this creamy, tangy custard pie is a classic for a reason.

buttermilk pie slice on a plate next to the pie.

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What Is Buttermilk Pie?

Buttermilk pie is a simple, down-home Southern dish with roots that stretch back to early American cuisine. It became especially popular during the Great Depression (along with other “desperation pies” like chess pie) as family cooks looked to make the most of the basic ingredients they could afford or make themselves.

Buttermilk, a common byproduct of homemade butter, is combined with affordable everyday staples and flavorings to create a custard filling baked inside a flaky pie crust. 

What Makes Buttermilk Pie So Good?

Desserts don’t need to be fancy or high-class to be mouthwateringly delicious. Buttermilk pie’s filling offers a satisfying sweetness tempered with the buttermilk tang.

The only way to improve it is to pair it with a flaky, buttery crust. Meanwhile, it offers a smooth creaminess that some prefer to the similar but grainier chess pie. 

Why This is the Best Recipe for Buttermilk Pie

As delectable as buttermilk pie may be, you won’t often find it in restaurants, bakeries, or grocery stores. That means you’ll likely have to make it yourself, and it hardly gets easier than this recipe.

If you can measure and stir, you can make this amazing southern dessert. Plus, almost every ingredient for this easy pie recipe is already likely waiting in your fridge or pantry.


To make the best buttermilk pie recipe, you’ll need:

  • Prepared pastry pie shell
  • All-purpose flour
  • Buttermilk
  • Salted or unsalted butter
  • Large eggs
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Nutmeg
buttermilk pie ingredients.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

Traditionally, buttermilk pies are made with a flaky pie crust that’s been blind-baked first. However, you can use other types of pie dough too, including pâte sucrée or even a pâte sablée.

Give the pie a homestyle feel with your favorite homemade pie crust recipe, or use a store-bought pie crust mix (including vegan and gluten-free options.) You can even shake things up with a crushed Graham cracker crust!

While this recipe calls for cultured buttermilk, you can use real buttermilk for a more authentic old-time flavor. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make a buttermilk substitute by pouring 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice into a 1-cup measure and filling it with milk.

You can add a teaspoon of lemon zest to the filling to give it a lemony accent.

How To Make Buttermilk Pie

These simple steps for making a buttermilk pie are straightforward enough for even the least experienced bakers to handle:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until they become foamy and lighten in color slightly.
  3. Add in the sugar and whisk to combine.  
eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl.
  1. In a separate bowl, combine the melted butter, salt, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.
beaten eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl.
  1. Pour the butter and buttermilk mixture into the eggs and sugar bowl.
  2. Whisk in the flour until smooth.
buttermilk pie filling in a mixing bowl.
  1. Pour the filling into the pie crust and sprinkle the top with nutmeg.
buttermilk pie before baking.
  1. Bake for 50 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees F.
  2. Continue baking until the filling is set and the top has browned, about another 10 minutes.
overhead view of a baked buttermilk pie.

Recipe Tips

  • Before starting this recipe, remove all the ingredients from the fridge. Allowing them to come to room temperature will produce a better final product. 
  • Don’t be shy about using a stand mixer or electric mixer with a balloon whisk attachment. This will save you a good deal of time (not to mention arm pain) and ensure an evenly distributed filling. 

Easy Troubleshooting for Buttermilk Pie

This heavenly dish can face a few different issues. Here are some common ones:

How Do You Keep a Buttermilk Pie From Being Runny?

Weeping is a common problem when making any type of custard pie. This is typically caused by cooking the pie for too long or at too high a temperature. Use a dedicated oven thermometer to double-check temperatures, as built-in ones aren’t always accurate. Another good trick is warming your crust in the oven for a few minutes before pouring in the filling.

Why Did My Buttermilk Pie Not Set?

Another problem finds others wondering why their buttermilk pie didn’t set. The culprit is usually taking the pie out of the oven too soon. It’s a skill that comes only with practice. 

Many factors like the size of the eggs you use or even the weather can significantly affect when the custard sets.

How to Know When Buttermilk Pie is Done

There are some reliable ways to know when your buttermilk pie is done. The filling should be firm near the crust and only have a slight jiggle close to the center. Remember, the pie will continue to set as it cools outside the oven. 

It is also important to remember that the custard will continue to cook when you take it out of the oven and will thicken as it cools, so you don’t want to keep the pie in the oven too long. 

slice of old fashioned buttermilk pie and a fork on a plate.

What Goes Well with Buttermilk Pie 

While traditional buttermilk pie may have been served on its own out of necessity, you can dress yours up to create an even more desirable dessert. Top or pair the pies with fresh berries (blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries) or berry compote, drizzle it with caramel or chocolate sauce, or add a dollop of whipped cream.

Pie often goes well with ice cream, and this one is certainly no exception. Finally, there’s no better way to wash it all down than with a hot cup of coffee or tea. 

How to Store

If you’ve got leftovers, storing your buttermilk pie is simple. Once it’s fully cooled to room temperature, cover it loosely in plastic wrap or aluminum foil or place it in a pie keeper. Store it in the refrigerator, where it should be good for up to five days. 

Can you freeze the pie? Freezing isn’t typically recommended, as the process can degrade the quality of the custard filling. 

How to Reheat

Reheating buttermilk pie is as easy as storing it. For best results, heat an oven or toaster oven to 300-325 degrees F and place a slice inside for 5-10 minutes. Microwaves can also work, used in short bursts of 15-30 seconds. 

old fashioned buttermilk pie slice on a plate.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between chess pie and buttermilk pie?

These two old-school staples may be similar (and delicious), but some important things set buttermilk pie apart from chess pie.

The most significant difference comes down to a single word: cornmeal. It’s nearly always used as the primary thickener for chess pie, creating its distinctive texture. You won’t find it in buttermilk pie, however. This recipe uses flour to stabilize the filling instead. 

Another obvious difference is that buttermilk pie contains buttermilk, which isn’t usually included in chess pie recipes. This produces a creamier and tangier flavor. 

Finally, buttermilk pies are usually prepared simply, without any additional flavors. That’s not always the case with chess pies, which can be made in chocolate, lemon, caramel, or other varieties. 

What does buttermilk pie taste like?

Don’t worry if you’re not the biggest fan of buttermilk on its own. The tangy flavor isn’t overwhelming and helps keep the filling from becoming too cloying, too. This rich, creamy, subtly acidic filling is like a less-sweet cousin to the chess pie and a perfect alternative. 

Homemade buttermilk pie.

Love Creamy Homemade Pies? Try These Recipes

Popular Recipes with Buttermilk

In case you want ideas for using any leftover buttermilk after making this pie:

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

buttermilk pie slice on a plate next to the pie.

Homemade Buttermilk Pie

Buttermilk Pie is easy to make. Enjoy this Southern custard pie.
5 from 11 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Buttermilk Pie, Pie Recipes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8
Calories: 387kcal


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 9-inch pastry pie shell
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Crack the eggs into a medium bowl and beat well using a whisk or mixer.
  • Gradually add the sugar while continuing to beat.
  • Add the melted butter, salt, flour, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth.
  • Pour the filling into the pie shell, sprinkle with nutmeg.
  • Bake for 50 minutes.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and bake for an additional 10 minutes. The pie is done when a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.



Tips for Making Buttermilk Pie

Have all ingredients at room temperature. So that means to take eggs out about 30 minutes before I need to use them. Baking is better when the temperatures of the ingredients are as close as possible.
I recommend purchasing commercial buttermilk for this recipe. Your results will be more consistent than making homemade buttermilk.
You should store this pie in the refrigerator. Custard pies should always be stored in the refrigerator.
Warm this pie before serving. This pie is best eaten while still warm. 


Calories: 387kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 89mg | Sodium: 359mg | Potassium: 81mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 640IU | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 0.8mg

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 CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Laura

    My husband loves Buttermilk Pie with apples. It’s best with home fried apples (apple slices cooked in a skillet with butter, sugar, and cinnamon) but I have also been known to take a can of apple pie filling and spread it on the top of the pie.

    You hit it out of the park with this recipe! Thank you!

  2. Joseph S.

    5 stars
    This recipe is so delicious! I’m not even a big fan of buttermilk, but this pie is amazing. The filling is rich and creamy, and the crust is flaky and buttery. I definitely recommend this recipe to anyone looking for a special dessert.

  3. Melissa

    5 stars
    THE BEST Buttermilk Pie recipe, spoken from a TRUE Southern girl that LOVES to cook TRUE southern cuisine!!❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  4. Liz Nelson

    5 stars
    I was so glad when I found this recipe my Grandmother made buttermilk pie for every holiday and my Dad loved it. I made one for him and he said it was as good as his mothers! I will be making this every Christmas and Thanksgiving!

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