Meyer Lemon Chess Pie Recipe

Photograph: Carrie Vasios

The humble Chess Pie gets a seasonal update with floral Meyer lemons.

You can't get easier or more straight forward than Chess Pie. A combination of eggs, butter, sugar, vanilla, and cornmeal is poured into a pie crust and baked. The result is a simple custard pie with a just-less-than-smooth texture and sweet flavor. It's a pantry staple pie and I'm sure it's saved more than one host or hostess in a dessert pinch.

Such a simple base recipe can be tweaked in any number of ways, but in the height of citrus season I think that the addition of floral Meyer lemons is the way to go. Adding lemon juice to the pie also dials back the sweetness, making this pie appropriate for people who prefer sweet-tart combinations (any Sour Patch Kid lovers out there?). A cloud of just whipped cream provides the perfect light, milky cap to the custardy pie.

Note: Make sure to use a regular, not a deep dish pie plate for this pie.

Recipe Facts

Active: 20 mins
Total: 4 hrs
Serves: 8 servings

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  • One half recipe Easy Pie Dough, shaped and chilled in a pie plate
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups (about 10 1/2 ounces) sugar
  • 1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice from about 5 Meyer lemons
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 ounces (1 1/4 cups) heavy cream, chilled (optional)


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, beat eggs with an electric mixer until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add sugar and beat another 2 minutes. Add lemon juice, cornmeal, butter, and salt and beat until well combined. Pour into prepared pie shell.

  2. Bake pie until golden on top and a cake tester inserted into the middle of the pie comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Check pie halfway through baking: If getting too dark, cover with tinfoil for remaining time. Let cool to room temperature on a wire rack, then cover and chill in refrigerator for at least 3 hours.

  3. When ready to serve, place heavy cream in a small bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Dollop each slice of pie with whipped cream, if desired.

Special equipment

electric beater, 9-inch pie plate