Looking for a dessert that’s quick and easy to make but tastes like it was baked by a professional chef? Well, look no further than Jeanette’s classic lemon chess pie! With just a few simple ingredients, you’ll be shocked by the delicious results you can create. Your friends and family will surely be asking for the recipe!

Our Favorite Lemon Chess Pie Recipe

Is it a pie? Is it a cheesecake? No…it’s chess pie! While it’s known as an old-fashioned classic in the south, the origin and meaning of the name chess pie are still up for debate today. At the end of the day though, what matters is chess pie is delicious and simple to make no matter your baking skill level!

History of Chess Pie

When you hear the name chess pie for the first time, you might be wondering, “Why do they call it that?” While variations of this dish have been popular in Europe for several hundred years, the origin of the ‘chess pie’ name is still debated. Most believe in one of these stories:

Just Pie
The most popular origin is that a 19th century Alabama woman didn’t have nuts for pecan pie which she sold for a living. Instead, she made a sugar pie with eggs, cornmeal, and citrus which was loved by her customers. When asked what this delicious creation was, she replied, “Oh it’s jes’ pie.” And that’s how the name “chess pie” stuck.

Stored in a Chest
The name “chess pie” could also come from England many years earlier. Cooks used sugar to prevent food spoilage, so pies with eggs and butter would also contain sugar to help them keep. Since there were no refrigerators then, the pies would be stored in a chest as the next-best option.

what is chess pie

Image from King Arthur Baking

Lemon Chess Pie Recipe

You can find many different flavors and varieties of this recipe, but this one is our favorite for a reason. Nothing compares with the combination of creamy, tangy, and lemony flavors! And now that spring is here, you couldn’t wish for a better time to enjoy this satisfying dessert.

Here’s how to make lemon chess pie:


  • 1 (9″) pie shell
  • 2 c. sugar
  • ½ c. butter, softened
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp cornmeal
  • ¼ c. fresh lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsps lemon zest


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy, then beat in eggs and milk.
  3. Add flour, cornmeal, lemon juice, and zest, then mix until smooth.
  4. Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake 35-40 minutes or until center is set.
  5. Let pie cool completely before serving. Top with whipped cream and as much lemon zest as you please!

Can’t get enough tasty new desserts in your life? Try out some of our other favorites like Jeanette’s chocolate mousse cups or our family-favorite pecan pie cobbler recipe! And if your kitchen appliances start acting up, be sure to call the appliance repair pros at Moore Appliance Service!