Kentucky Derby Chocolate Bourbon Walnut Pie

This wonderfully decadent chocolate-walnut bourbon pie, affectionately known as “derby pie” is a Kentucky tradition! Very similar to pecan pie in taste and texture with the addition of chocolate chips and a good splash of bourbon, this will become a fast favorite. Whether you make it while watching the derby or save it for a holiday dessert, it is sure to be a crowd-pleaser!

Chocolate walnut bourbon pie with whipped cream on half.

I absolutely adore pie (hello, pie crust!) and pecan pie has long been my all-time favorite.

Therefore, it came as no surprise that I fell head-over-heels for its souped-up cousin, the derby pie.

The pie is a bit of a twist on traditional pecan pie – it uses walnuts instead of pecans and throws in chocolate and bourbon for good measure. The filling is very similar to that of a pecan pie, but with the addition of chocolate and the kick of bourbon? Woo-ey! It makes for one killer pie.

Ingredients prepped for derby pie

The history

Derby Pie was originally created in the 1950s by the Kern family, who ran the Melrose Inn in Prospect, Kentucky.

It is a pie very reminiscent in taste and texture of pecan pie – it is a rich, gooey pie made with a sugar, corn syrup, and eggs base, but instead of pecans, walnuts are used, and chocolate chips are added.

In many variations, bourbon is added because it’s a Kentucky staple, after all! SO GOOD.

Mixing together derby pie filling in a mixing bowl.

Variations

There are a few ways you can switch up this pie to suit your tastes:

  • Pie Crust: I like my butter/shortening vodka crust for this recipe, but you can also use an all-butter pie crust.
  • Nuts: While walnuts are traditional for derby pie, you can also substitute pecans. And if you have a nut allergy, substitute the same amount of traditional, old-fashioned rolled oats for the nuts.
  • Chocolate: The sky is the limit! Semisweet is my preference, but you can use dark, or milk chocolate, as well. While I like chocolate chips because they somewhat hold their shape, you could use chopped chocolate for a meltier texture.
  • Bourbon: Any type of bourbon or whiskey will work in this recipe, and you can omit it entirely if you’d like, too.
  • Topping: This pie is wonderful on its own, but is also delicious with a dollop of fresh whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  • Cookie Bars: Want something more portable or to serve a crowd? Bake up this pie filling using the crust and directions from my chunky pecan bars.

Overhead photo of fderby pie with multiple pieces sliced.

Make-ahead instructions

Derby pie is perfect for making ahead of time!

It needs to cool completely at room temperature for at least 4 hours in order to set up properly, so it can easily be made the day before you plan on serving it.

Storing and freezing instructions

The baked pie, including leftovers, should be stored, lightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Derby pie can also be frozen! Allow the pie to cool completely, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then slice and serve.

Other recipes to serve for Derby day!

A slice of derby pie on a plate topped with whipped cream.

If you make this derby pie recipe and love it, I would so appreciate it if you would take a moment to leave a rating below. Thank you so much! ❤️️

Kentucky Derby Chocolate Bourbon Walnut Pie

Servings 8 to 10 servings
Prep 30 minutes
Cook 1 hour 30 minutes
Chill Time 2 hours
Total 4 hours
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Michelle

An easy recipe for a delicious chocolate pie

Ingredients:

For the Crust

  • cups
    all-purpose flour
  • 1
    tablespoon
    granulated sugar
  • ½
    teaspoon
    salt
  • 6
    tablespoons
    unsalted butter
    (cold, cut into ¼-inch slices)
  • ¼
    cup
    vegetables shortening
    (chilled, cut into 2 pieces)
  • 2
    tablespoons
    vodka
    (cold)
  • 2
    tablespoons
    ice water

For the Filling

  • ½
    cup
    unsalted butter
    (melted and cooled)
  • ¾
    cup
    light brown sugar
  • ¼
    cup
    granulated sugar
  • ¾
    cup
    light corn syrup
  • 4
    eggs
  • ¼
    cup
    bourbon
  • teaspoons
    vanilla extract
  • cups
    walnuts
    (coarsely chopped)
  • ¾
    cup
    semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Make the Crust: Process ¾ cups of the flour, the sugar and salt together in a food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add the butter and shortening and process until a homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 7 to 10 seconds (the dough will resemble cottage cheese curds with some very small pieces of butter remaining, but there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula and redistribute the dough evenly around the bowl. Add the remaining ½ cup flour and pulse until the mixture is evenly distributed around the bowl and the mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty the mixture into a medium bowl.

  2. Sprinkle the vodka and water over the mixture. With a rubber spatula, use a folding motion to mix, pressing down on the dough until it is slightly tacky and sticks together. Flatten the dough into a 4-inch disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes, or up to 2 days.

  3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out on a generously floured (up to ¼ cup) work surface to a 12-inch circle. Roll the dough loosely around a rolling pin and unroll into a 9-inch pie plate, leaving at least a 1-inch overhang on each side. Working around the circumference, ease the dough into the plate by gently lifting edge of the dough with one hand while pressing into the plate bottom with other hand. Leave the overhanging dough in place; refrigerate until the dough is firm, about 30 minutes.

  4. Trim the overhanging dough to ½ inch beyond the lip of the pie plate. Fold the overhang under itself; the folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Flute the dough or press the tines of a fork against dough to flatten it against the rim of pie plate. Refrigerate the dough-lined plate until firm, about 15 minutes.

  5. Blind Bake the Crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the chilled pie dough with aluminum foil, being sure to cover the edges of the crust, and use granulated sugar to fill the whole pie plate. Bake for 40 minutes; remove the foil and sugar and set the crust aside while you make the filling.

  6. Make the Filling: In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed with a whisk attachment (or in a large bowl with a whisk and a lot of elbow grease), whip together the butter, sugars, corn syrup, eggs, bourbon and vanilla extract until frothy. Fold in the walnuts and chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.

  7. Bake: Pour into the prepared pie crust (you may have more filling than will fit into your pie pan - just fill it up as far as you can). Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the pie looks set and yet soft, like gelatin, when gently pressed with the back of a spoon. Cool completely at room temperature (at least 4 hours) before slicing into the pie.

Recipe Notes:

  • Pie Plate: I use and recommend this glass pie plate.
  • Pie Crust: I like my butter/shortening vodka crust for this recipe, but you can also use an all-butter pie crust. You can also make the crust by hand, whisking the ingredients, and using a pastry blender to work in the butter and shortening.
  • Nuts: While walnuts are traditional for derby pie, you can also substitute pecans. And if you have a nut allergy, substitute the same amount of traditional, old-fashioned rolled oats for the nuts.
  • Chocolate: The sky is the limit! Semisweet is my preference, but you can use dark, or milk chocolate, as well. While I like chocolate chips because they somewhat hold their shape, you could use chopped chocolate for a meltier texture.
  • Bourbon: Any type of bourbon or whiskey will work in this recipe, and you can omit it entirely if you'd like, too.
  • Filling: While my blind baking technique is failproof and keeps the crust from shrinking, if yours does shrink, you may not have enough space for all of the filling. Use as much as you can; you can always use dough scraps and extra filling for little mini pies in a mini muffin tin, sort of like my pecan tassies!
  • Topping: This pie is wonderful on its own, but is also delicious with a dollop of fresh whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  • Make-Ahead: The pie can be baked up to one day in advance of serving.
  • Storing: The pie can be kept, loosely covered, in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days.
  • Freezing: Allow the pie to cool completely, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then slice and serve.
  • Cookie Bars: Want something more portable or to serve a crowd? Bake up this pie filling using the crust and directions from my chunky pecan bars.
  • Recipe adapted from Providence Food Examiner

Nutrition:

Calories: 660kcal
Fat: 37g
Saturated fat: 14g
Cholesterol: 113mg
Sodium: 147mg
Potassium: 254mg
Carbohydrates: 72g
Fiber: 3g
Sugar: 57g
Protein: 8g
Vitamin A: 480%
Vitamin C: 0.2%
Calcium: 69%
Iron: 2.7%

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!

[Photography by Dee of One Sarcastic Baker]