Buttermilk Pie

Buttermilk Pie Recipe

Buttermilk pie first popped up on my radar a little over a year ago. I read about it on a few different websites and, honestly, was a little perplexed by it. I wondered if a pie that was flavored primarily by buttermilk could be all that great to eat. Sure, I love to bake with buttermilk; I love the moist, subtle tang it gives to baked goods. However, a pie wholly flavored (well, mostly flavored) by buttermilk? That was a different beast altogether. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it until I saw that the top of the custard pie is sprinkled with sugar so that it develops a burnt, crackly crust like creme brûlée. I can’t ever say no to creme brûlée, so I determined that it was essential for me to try buttermilk pie.

Buttermilk Pie Recipe

From what I’ve read, buttermilk pie is a Southern food tradition in the U.S., but it originated in the United Kingdom. It’s similar to chess pie, but does not include cornmeal, which is an essential component to chess pie. Buttermilk pie is made by simply whisking together a custard filling of sugar, cornstarch, eggs, buttermilk, cream, melted butter and some vanilla for flavor. It’s poured into a pie crust and baked, with a higher temperature at the end to caramelize the sugar topping.

The resulting pie, after cooling and left to chill in the refrigerator, has a firm, custard-like consistency with a smooth, tangy flavor. Suffice it to say, if you love including buttermilk in your baked goods, you’ll absolutely love this pie! That caramelized topping will certainly garner bonus points if you’re a creme brûlée fan as well. I really enjoy discovering new-to-me regional recipes and making them come to life in my own kitchen.

Do you have any favorite recipes from your corner of the world?

Buttermilk Pie Recipe

One year ago: No-Bake Banana Split Dessert
Two years ago: Top 10 List: Favorite Cookie Recipes

Buttermilk Pie

Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 3 hours

Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Total Time: 6 hours 30 minutes

Buttermilk Pie boasts a creamy, custard-like filling with a slight tang from buttermilk and a crackly sugar crust.


For the Pie Crust:
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces and chilled
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
1 egg white, lightly beaten

For the Filling:
¾ + 2 teaspoons cup granulated sugar, divided
1 tablespoon cornstarch
¾ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
5 egg yolks
1¾ cups buttermilk
¼ cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract


1. Make the Pie Crust: Place the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the chilled shortening and pulse until coarsely ground (about 5 to 6 pulses). Add the chilled butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs (about 10 pulses). Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons ice water over the flour mixture. Using rubber spatula, stir the mixture until dough forms. If dough remains crumbly, add remaining 1 tablespoon water. Form the dough into a 4-inch disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.

2. Let the chilled dough stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Roll the dough into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer the dough to a pie plate and fold any overhanging dough underneath itself so the edge of the dough is flush with the outer edge of the pie plate. Crimp edges as desired. Refrigerate the dough-lined pie plate for 40 minutes, then place in the freezer for 20 minutes. While the crust is in the freezer, adjust the oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

3. Line the chilled pie plate with two pieces of parchment paper, allowing the parchment edges to hang over the edges of the pie crust. Fill the lined pie crust with pie weights, place on a lined baking sheet and bake on the lower-middle oven rack until lightly golden around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the parchment and pie weights, rotate the baking sheet and continue to bake until the crust is golden brown, 5 to 7 more minutes. Brush the surface of the hot crust with the egg white and bake for an additional 1 minute.

4. Make the Pie Filling: While the crust is baking, prepare the pie filling. In a large bowl, whisk together ¾ cup of the sugar, the cornstarch and salt. Add the eggs and egg yolks and whisk to thoroughly combine. Add the buttermilk, heavy cream, melted butter, white vinegar and vanilla extract, and whisk until completely combined.

5. Once the crust is done, reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F. If the pie filling has been sitting for a few minutes, give it a short whisk to recombine, then transfer to a 4-cup measuring cup (or other large bowl/cup with a spout). Leaving the pie crust in the oven (just slide the oven rack out a bit), carefully pour the filling into the hot pie shell. Bake for 10 minutes.

6. Again, leaving the pie crust in the oven and just sliding the oven rack out, sprinkle the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar evenly over the top of the pie. Continue to bake until the center jiggles very slightly when the pie is shaken, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees F. Once the oven comes to temperature, place the pie on the upper-middle rack and bake until the top is golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes.

7. Remove from the oven and place the pie plate on a wire rack and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Transfer the pie to the refrigerator and chill for at least 3 hours before serving.

(Recipe from Cook's Country)


54 Responses to “Buttermilk Pie”

  1. Laura (Tutti Dolci) on April 24, 2013 at 12:23 am

    I’ve never tried buttermilk pie but I love that caramelized topping!


  2. Tieghan on April 24, 2013 at 12:33 am

    Never heard of buttermilk pie, but you have convinced me I need to try it. I love trying new desserts and I do love using buttermilk, so why the heck not!


  3. Holiday Baker Man on April 24, 2013 at 12:36 am

    Wow… I have always wanted to try one of these!


  4. Elizabeth @ Confessions of a Baking Queen on April 24, 2013 at 12:51 am

    Sounds delightful- buttermilk pie is on my to do list and now it has moved on up! Yours looks so good 🙂


  5. Averie @ Averie Cooks on April 24, 2013 at 1:26 am

    It looks incredible and I’ve wanted to make buttermilk pie ever since I made Christina Tosi/Momofuku Milkbar’s Crack Pie. It’s based on that ooey gooey custard principle that Chess Pies are known for and thanks for the differentiation of cornmeal in a chess pie but absent from a buttermilk pie (in Tosi’s crack pie she called for corn powder). Beautiful, Michele. Pinned!

    And saw your red lobster biscuits and your cheesecake on the top row of FG this week 🙂


  6. katie on April 24, 2013 at 1:37 am

    Looks fabulous! I really must try a buttermilk pie


  7. Linda on April 24, 2013 at 4:03 am

    I love buttermilk pie but this recipe is really rich. The recipe I use only has 3 eggs and 1 cup of buttermilk. My 36 year old son makes it for his friends.


  8. Beastie Bistro on April 24, 2013 at 4:54 am

    Woho, it’s a blast! I love buttermilk, I love crusty pie. Gonna make it soon……


  9. Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen on April 24, 2013 at 6:31 am

    Beautiful Buttermilk Pie, Michelle! Although I am originally from Michigan, the beloved Sugar Cream Pie (love the homespun name, but is also known as Hoosier Sugar Cream Pie) is the Official Hoosier State Pie here in Indiana. The pie recipe appears to have originated in Eastern Indiana, dates back to the 1800s and was most likely enjoyed at various Quaker settlements as well. It recently became the State Pie in November 2010. These pies are very similar and both delicious! Pinning… xo


  10. Modern Jane on April 24, 2013 at 6:37 am

    This looks really good. I have also been a little skeptical of buttermilk pie, but after seeing yours, I might just have to try it!


  11. marie @ little kitchie on April 24, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Buttermilk pie is, hands down, my #1 comfort dessert. Always love trying new recipes for it – pinning to try next!


  12. Holly @ EatGreatBEGret on April 24, 2013 at 9:19 am

    I love buttermilk pie! This recipe sounds way better than the current one I’m using! I so need to give this a try!


  13. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar on April 24, 2013 at 10:07 am

    This looks so freaking awesome!! And such a fabulous way to use up buttermilk!


  14. Dragonlady on April 24, 2013 at 10:21 am

    When I was a young AF wife I was given an old officer’s wives’ club cookbook that had “White House Buttermilk Pie” recipe. The story is it originally came from Mamie Eisenhower and was served often while the Eisenhower’s were in the White House. True or not it has been a favorite in my house for more than 20 years!


  15. Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl on April 24, 2013 at 10:32 am

    I have never heard of buttermilk pie, but now I can’t stop thinking about it. I always have leftover buttermilk for recipes that goes bad because I can’ think of how else to use it – now I can make pie!


  16. Rayna on April 24, 2013 at 10:34 am

    I’ve been looking for new pie recipes and this one looks great! It’s sure to bring some variety to the new spring recipes I’m collecting.


  17. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking on April 24, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Such a gorgeous Southern staple. This is a lovely pie!


  18. Annie @ Annie's City Kitchen on April 24, 2013 at 10:40 am

    I’ve been spotting buttermilk pie here and there lately too and I’m glad to see you liked it! It’s definitely on my to-do list now.


  19. Marcie @ Flavor The Moments on April 24, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Wow, this looks incredibly rich and creamy! My husband would be crazy about this pie!


  20. Deon on April 24, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    All you had to do was mention creme brûlée, and you had me! This looks like a must-try pie!!!


  21. Melissa @ Treats With a Twist on April 24, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    I’ve never had Buttermilk Pie. I’ve heard of it but have always been weary to try it, especially if any other flavor is offered up. BUT since I’m a brulee fan…I’m pretty sure I’d love it! I’ll be sure to try it now!


  22. Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes on April 24, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Love this! And I agree with Averie’s comparison to Crack Pie; Buttermilk Pie totally reminds me of a chess-type pie. SO DELICIOUS! I really like your take on this classic!


  23. Julie B. on April 24, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Has anyone ever tried making this with cinnamon flavoring?


  24. Marc the baker on April 24, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    Thanks for putting the ‘Buttermilk Pie’ on my radar 🙂

    Looks delicious!


  25. Charlotte on April 24, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    I like to make it and chess pie with coconut in them.


  26. basketpam on April 24, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    I LOVE pies like this, one of my all time favorites is a very simple egg custard pie. Given a choice at a dessert buffet I’ll often take egg custard over many other types of pies.


  27. Georgeann on April 24, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    This sounds delicious. Have you ever heard of Sour Cream Pie? I had some while visiting my aunt in North Dakota but have not been able to find a recipe for it. No one in my Chicago area has ever heard of it.


    • Michelle on April 25th, 2013 at 7:04 pm

      Hi Georgeann, I have not heard of sour cream pie. I’ll have to do some research!


  28. Kelly @ Life made Sweeter on April 24, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Yum! I have never tried buttermilk pie but yours looks absolutely delightful that I need to try making this soon!


  29. Jonelle on April 24, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    would this be anything like sugar cream pie? It looks as though they could be similar But def going to try this and ‘test’ any differences. I can see them being the same and changing the name to sugar cream as to not scare people off


    • Michelle on April 25th, 2013 at 7:07 pm

      Hi Jonelle, I hadn’t heard of sugar cream pie, but after a quick Google, it seems like they’re very different. This is a custard pie with buttermilk, while the sugar cream pie is a combination of butter, brown sugar, cream, a little flour and some flavoring. It also has a different origin than buttermilk pie; sounds delicious, though! 🙂


  30. Heather on April 24, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    I’ve heard of buttermilk pie, but like you, it never sounded very exciting. Your description has convinced me to give it a try!


  31. Bernadette @ Now Stir It Up on April 25, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    I have never had buttermilk pie either and honestly, I don’t think it sounds all that good. Until you compare it to creme brulee. Now I am crazy intrigued and have to try this. Pinned!


  32. Rosie @ Blueberry Kitchen on April 25, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    I’ve never heard of buttermilk pie (even though I’m from the UK where it originated!) It looks so good though, love the sound of the creme brulee like topping!


  33. Laura Dembowski on April 25, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    I am really intrigued by this. I know I’d love the texture but I’m not as sure about the flavor. I want to try it to find out. Love that your crust uses butter and shortening. I’ve never met an all butter pie crust that can begin to compare.


  34. Sierra on April 27, 2013 at 2:08 am

    I know this is already a rich recipe, but I had this at a restaurant where they served it with salted caramel sauce over the top. It makes it 100X better! I made this and made a sauce for the top.

    1/4 cup butter
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    dash of salt

    Melt butter on stove top. Add sugar and whisk until bubbly. Add salt and vanilla and continue whisking for three minutes. Remove from heat and add heavy cream. Pour over pie and serve!


  35. Van on April 28, 2013 at 10:38 am

    I made this recipe for dinner last night. Was excellent! It was an early Derby week dinner party. I don’t care for Derby Pie as it is always SO sweet. This was perfect. To add a little Derby influence I made a bourbon caramel sauce with toasted pecans. Buttermilk, bourbon, caramel, and toasted pecans played very well together. Thanks for the recipe.


  36. Charlie - Baking At Home on April 28, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    Mmmmm…I’ve never made a pie like this before. Really excited to give it a shot.


  37. Rita on April 30, 2013 at 10:12 am

    This sounds wonderful! After reading the recipe, it seems to me that the edges of the pie crust will be overcooked after pre baking and then baking even longer when filling is added. Is this a problem? Guess I’ll try and can always cover the edges if needed. Thanks!


    • Michelle on May 1st, 2013 at 10:40 am

      Hi Rita, Mine was a little on the dark side; if you see the crust is getting a little too dark, you can cover the edges with foil.


  38. Kelly@mysoulfulhome on July 26, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Hi Michelle,
    I am brand new to your blog & love it! I found you while searching for a buttermilk pie recipe to reference on my blog. I hope you are ok with my using your recipe on my blog. I referenced your blog & linked to this post. Here is my post for your review http://mysoulfulhome.com/peaches-the-past-a-pie/
    If you have ANY issue with me using your recipe just let me know.
    I am now a fan & a follower through Blog lovin’!


  39. Gail on September 10, 2013 at 12:45 am

    Years ago in Midwest Living Magazine they published a recipe called USS Missouri Buttermilk Pie. Is so-o-o good. I’ve made it many time for skeptical diners that gave it rave reviews. The recipe is still on the magazine’s site.


  40. Gail on September 10, 2013 at 12:51 am

    Wick’s Pies in east-central Indiana is the place to fine old fashioned sugar cream pie. The crust could use some reworking, but I have fond memories of those pies. I had a friend, my Mother’s friend really, that won their pie baking contest of years past.


  41. Shelly on December 4, 2013 at 12:11 am

    I made this for my husband since he loves his granny’s buttermilk pie. I am not a fan at all of buttermilk pie. My family was not impressed. They said it was a bit sour. Not sure if I did something wrong or if they are just used to the pie that granny always makes. Either way, I was disappointed. I so wanted to score big with this recipe. Oh well. At least my coconut cream pie is better than granny’s! Ha ha.


    • ll on December 24th, 2013 at 8:47 am

      Shelly–your family is probably used to a more modern version of this recipe, which uses twice as much sugar and butter, half as much buttermilk, omits the vinegar, and thickens with flour. It’s a straight-up custard. I find this version tastier and more subtle (especially since I do a full brulee on the crust and add caramel sauce), but if that’s what they’re used to, look at the food network recipes.


  42. Ilona on February 2, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Never heard about buttermilk pie before, but I was intrigued when I was reading your post. I made it yesterday and found it very tasty! Everyone liked it! I’m happy I baked this pie, even though it took some time to prepare.


  43. Katie K. on May 5, 2014 at 8:34 am

    Okay, I know the posted recipe is a bit old.. But it looks delicious! I’ve tried various recipes for buttermilk pie in the past, none of them comparing to my dear friend’s grandmother’s pie, out in rural Louisiaba. So I’m pretty excited to try this one! HOWEVER– I do not make pie crusts. When using a store bought, should I pre-bake as directed on here?
    Thanks for a delicious looking recipe!


    • Michelle on May 12th, 2014 at 10:39 am

      Hi Katie, Yes, it should be partially blind-baked. I would follow the instructions on the crust.


  44. Heidelind on August 10, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    I love buttermilk. In the past I’ve used the Penzey’s recipe for this. This recipe has a more pronounced buttermilk flavor, and it’s not as sweet. You can really taste the buttermilk, it’s great!


  45. christina on September 3, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    hi! i just made this pie, with a few adjustments and notes (it was the only buttermilk pie on the net I could find that looked beautiful, hence I had to use the custard recipe). First – I used a flaky rye pastry dough (I wanted to balance out the sweet-tanginess with a wheaty sweetness). I added a pinch of a few spices – nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon – and some sea salt on top with the sugar. I substitued 1/4 c of honey for part of the sugar, added a splash of rum, and lemon zest. As I’m writing this I realize maybe I was looking for a different flavor all along, instead of *only* enhancing it. Anyway, the custard is great and I’m happy I found this recipe.


  46. Ginger on September 12, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    I added the melted butter last, and that was a mistake. When it hit the cold buttermilk, the whole texture went weird and never did get worked out, even after whisking and whisking and baking. I would recommend combining the melted butter with the sugar, like with a chess pie, and then combing everything else with it.


  47. Paula on September 14, 2014 at 10:36 am

    I made this yesterday and it is delicious! I was a little concerned about the 7 eggs as most recipes call for 3, but it was fine – it’s really a buttermilk custard pie rather than a chess type pie…I followed the above tip about the butter and used buttermilk from a local dairy.


  48. Jack Mills on March 23, 2016 at 8:55 am

    Made it and YUK! The vinegar overpowered the taste and was too strong. The filling was very bland even with the eggs and buttermilk. Will not make again.


    • Kenneth Primrose on May 1st, 2016 at 1:15 pm

      Go to Borden.com and search buttermilk pie! Have the cut out side of quart carton which does not list lemon zest, lemon juice or vinegar. This is a great pie and we have made it every Thanksgiving for decades!


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