Brown Butter Maple Chess Pie

One of the best pies in a small town near me, this pie is sweet and buttery with maple syrup. The brown sugar dough base creates an almost sticky texture that’s perfect for chess pieces to cling onto as they bake. With notes of cinnamon and nutmeg, it tastes like fall but doesn’t melt too much when hot out of the oven!.

A brown butter bourbon chess pie is a delicious dessert that combines two of my favorite desserts, a chess pie and maple syrup.

This chess pie isn’t like your grandmother’s. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no This is intended to be a family heritage recipe that you pass down for decades, so you may as well title it your grandchildren’ chess pie. It has a buttery, flaky pie crust. A custard-like filling. It’s made with genuine maple syrup and golden brown butter, and it’s delicious.

It’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a pie, plus a whole lot more.

To be honest, I’m not a big fan of pies. Or, to put it another way, I’m not a big fan of fruit pies. My pies must be rich and delicious. You have to start with just a slice because it’s so delicious. But it’s also delicious enough that you return for two more slivers. With Thanksgiving approaching, I decided to get my pie on, and so we are.

To be honest, I think this maple chess pie is my favorite pie recipe of all time. Which is….. yes, no, I’ll say it: it is! It’s simply beautiful in every way. It’s sweet, but not too so (most chess pies call for two cups of sugar; I used one and a half). Along with the maple, the brown butter adds a fantastic depth of flavor.


What exactly is chess pie? 

Chess pie is a traditional Southern delicacy with a flaky pie crust and a creamy egg, sugar, and butter filling. Chocolate or fruit liquids may be used to flavor chess pies, or vanilla extract can be used as the major flavoring component. If you’ve ever tasted Christina Tosi’s Crack Pie from Milk Bar in NYC, you’ll recognize this maple chess pie. This pie’s taste is similar to the gooey section of a pecan pie, but the chess pie filling is more firm and creamier. 

Is this making sense? 


How to Make a Chess Pie

Use real maple syrup – This chess pie recipe will not work with fake maple syrup. The store-bought “pancake syrup” is often flavored corn syrup, which will alter the taste and texture of classic Southern pie.   

Add 1 teaspoon maple extract, if preferred – If you’re a genuine maple enthusiast like myself, I recommend adding 1 teaspoon maple extract. It adds a lot to the complexity of the taste.

Allow the pie to cool fully before serving – you don’t want to eat chess pie right out of the oven. That’ll definitely burn the roof of your mouth! Not to add that this maple chess pie must be allowed to set completely before being cut. 

Serve plain with powdered sugar or whipped cream – this chess pie is a standout dessert on its own, so don’t go overboard with ice cream scoops or anything. I sprinkled mine with powdered sugar and added a dollop of homemade whipped cream on the platter. If you’re interested about how I create whipped cream, I’ve included my go-to recipe below! 


Whipping cream: a step-by-step guide

When presenting this maple pie, whipped cream is completely optional, but it adds a nice touch to the appearance. The following is my favorite recipe:

  • 1 quart of thick cream
  • a third of a cup of powdered sugar
  • salt (1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon extract de vanille

Simply whip until soft peaks form, then serve! Refrigerate homemade whipped cream in a tightly covered container. 


Friends, have fun eating pies. I hope this little one makes an appearance on your Thanksgiving table!


This chess pie isn’t like your grandmother’s. This Maple Chess Pie is made with a decadent blend of brown butter, maple, and custard.

  • Sarah wrote this article.
  • Time to Prepare: 30 minutes
  • Time to prepare: 50 minutes
  • 4 hours 50 minutes total time
  • 1 pie 1x yield
  • Sarah wrote this article.
  • Time to Prepare: 30 minutes
  • Time to prepare: 50 minutes
  • 4 hours 50 minutes total time
  • 1 pie 1x yield



  • Sarah wrote this article.
  • Time to Prepare: 30 minutes
  • Time to prepare: 50 minutes
  • 4 hours 50 minutes total time
  • 1 pie 1x yield


to make the crust:

in order to fill


  1. Follow the instructions for one half of the pie crust recipe. Refrigerate after forming into a disk.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Using butter, grease a normal sized pie pan. Remove from the equation.
  3. Place the butter in a small pot over low heat to brown it. Stir regularly until the butter’s milk solids separate and become a golden brown hue. Remove from heat and let aside for at least 15 minutes to cool.
  4. Remove the chilled pie dough disk. Roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch on a lightly floured work surface. Place the dough in the pie pan with care, pressing it down into the pan. Use your fingers to form a crimped edge by folding the dough’s edge over on itself. Alternatively, if you don’t know how, simply leave it alone. Regardless, it’ll look fantastic!
  5. Blind bake your crust by laying parchment paper over the dough and filling the middle with uncooked rice. While you’re making the filling, blind bake for 10 minutes.
  6. Combine butter, maple syrup, sugar, eggs, heavy cream, vanilla, and salt in a large mixing bowl. After that, put in the cornmeal and whisk until everything is completely blended.
  7. Fill partly cooked crust with filling, then reduce oven temperature to 350°F and bake for another 45-50 minutes, or until the center of the pie is set and a light golden brown color.
  8. Allow for thorough cooling before dusting with powdered sugar and serving. Allow 1 hour for chilling on a cooling rack before refrigerating for 2 hours. As these photographs illustrate, I also like serving my chess pie with whipped cream.

Recipes for pies from: 

Double Chocolate Pecan Skillet Pie in a Deep Dish

Fudge Pie with Triple Chocolate

Pecan Brownie Pie

Pumpkin Pie with Maple Bourbon

Blueberry Pie for the Fourth of July

Apple Pie with Salted Maple Caramel


This is a traditional chess pie recipe that is baked in a tart shell. The crust is made with brown butter and maple syrup, which gives it a distinct flavor. Reference: brown butter maple tart.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between chess pie and custard pie?

A: Chess pie is a British dessert consisting of shortcrust pastry, topped with sweetened crumbs and then baked. Custard pie is an American pie made from cornmeal or flour, eggs, sugar and milk boiled together to create custard filling that is poured into pre-baked crust.

Why do they call it a chess pie?

A: This term is referring to the fact that its a pie with chess pieces (Pieces of fruit) in it.

Why is chess pie so good?

A: Chess pie is a traditional British dish consisting of pastry dough and custard, often served with fruit. It has been documented that the originator was Mary Lavenham during the 16th century. The name may have been derived from Cheshire cheese (a kind of hard cheese) which is what some pastries in this region are traditionally made with.

Related Tags

  • brown butter chess pie recipe
  • maple brown butter pie
  • brown butter pie crust
  • brown butter custard pie
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