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Lemon Chess Pie Recipe

Lemon Chess Pie Recipe

Chess pies are a southern tradition, beloved as much for their ease of preparation as for their great flavor. The filling is customarily thickened with a bit of cornmeal, rather than flour, resulting in a subtle coarseness that nicely complements the especially lemony flavor of this particular recipe.


  • Foolproof Pie Shell
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fine yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract (optional)


  1. Prepare, chill, and prebake a Foolproof Pie Shell. Reduce the oven temperature to 350ยบ.
  2. Whisk together the sugar, cornmeal, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs and egg yolk and whisk well. Whisk in the milk, melted butter, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract, and lemon extract if using. Then slowly pour the filling into the cooled pie shell.
  3. Bake the pie on the center oven rack for about 45 to 50 minutes, turning it 180 degrees halfway through. When done, the top will be dark golden brown, and the filling will be set except for the very center, which may jiggle slightly when you tap the pan.
  4. Cool the pie on a wire rack. Serve it at room temperature or cover and chill until serving time. Makes 8 to 10 servings.