butterscotch pie

I love two things most of all about chess pie — that sweet, buttery baked custard pie well-known across the South but whose reach can be tasted in everything from Canadian butter tarts to Brooklyn-ish Crack Pies — one, that it has none of the fussiness usually associated with custards and flans (separated egg yolks, tempering, straining and water baths); you could, and in fact should, make this with any little chefs in your life with ease.

pie dough, ready to rolltrimmed and fluted or somethingparbaking cheata quick butterscotch saucewhisking in eggspour into parbaked crust

I also love that chess pie pronounces any flavors you add to it exceptionally well, like it’s holding a megaphone to them. A chess pie with a splash of rum is, in fact, a rum chess pie; a chess pie with lemon is buttery lemonade heaven and a chess pie to the tune of butterscotch will stop everyone in their tracks as they walk into your home and smell the brown sugar, butter and vanilla trifecta bouncing off the walls. The taste — booming with butterscotch — lives up to the aromatic promise, way better than the butterscotch pudding pie I’d thought about making first before deciding that it was too much work for a too muted flavor.

puffy from the oven

Butterscotch, in case you’re worried there’s a catch, is even easier to make than caramel. Caramel is essentially melted white sugar. Sometimes there’s butter in it (hooray) or a few flecks of salt and cream is usually added to stretch it into candies and sauce. Thermometers are almost always required for textural precision. Butterscotch, however, is butter-mandatory, as is brown sugar, vanilla and salt. The last two are what makes a puddle of melted brown sugar and butter taste unmistakably of butterscotch so please, don’t be afraid to adjust either until it’s exactly right.

butterscotch pie


One year ago: Everyday Meatballs and Roasted Yams with Chickpeas and Yogurt
Two years ago: The ‘I Want Chocolate Cake’ Cake and Cornmeal Fried Pork Chops with Goat Cheese Smashed Potatoes
Three years ago: Morning Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel
Four years ago: Blood Orange Margaritas
Five years ago: Fried Egg Sandwich with Bacon and Blue Cheese
Six years ago: Pina Colada Cake
Seven years ago: Thick Chewy Granola Bars and Arroz Con Leche (Rice Pudding)
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Nine years ago: Escarole and Orzo Soup with Meatballs
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And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Even More Perfect Blueberries and How To Julienne
1.5 Years Ago: Crispy Peach Cobbler
2.5 Years Ago: Corn Cheddar and Scallion Strata
3.5 Years Ago: Key Lime Popsicles and [Relevant Tip!] Butterscotch vs. Caramel
4.5 Years Ago: Leek Chard and Corn Flatbread and Vanilla Custards with Roasted Blueberries

Butterscotch Pie

  • Servings: 8
  • Print

A few quick and lazy tricks are within this recipe: I rush things along more than ever these days, making a pie dough and plopping the wrapped packed directly in the freezer (if you don’t have half to a full day to chill it in the fridge) for about 20 minutes until firm, but please keep an eye on it, we don’t want it fully frozen. Then, I roll it out, freeze it right on the pie plate and use foil to hold the shape instead of pie weighs. While the crust is parbaking, we’ll make the filling and you can pour it in right as it comes out of the oven, which is all to say that yes, pie dough and filling is work, but this one, with these tricks, can come together in under two hours, most of which you can spend doing work watching Instagram stories.

  • 1 1/4 cups (155 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) fine sea or table salt
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces or 115 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) very cold water
  • Filling
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces or 115 grams) cold unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups (335 grams) light or dark brown sugar (dark used here for darkest color; both work)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse or flaky sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) heavy cream, cold
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) vanilla extract (yes really)
  • 6 large eggs
  • To serve

    Softly whipped cream, unsweetened or barely sweet

Make pie dough:
By hand : In the bottom of a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Work the butter into the flour with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles a coarse meal and the largest bits of butter are the size of tiny peas. (Some people like to do this by freezing the stick of butter and coarsely grating it into the flour, but I haven’t found the results as flaky.) Add 1/4 cup cold water and stir with a spoon or flexible silicone spatula until large clumps form. Use your hands to knead the dough together, right in the bottom of the bowl. If necessary to bring the dough together, you can add another tablespoon of water.
With a food processor: In the work bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar. Add butter and pulse machine until mixture resembles a coarse meal and the largest bits of butter are the size of tiny peas. Turn mixture out into mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup cold water and stir with a spoon or flexible silicone spatula until large clumps form. Use your hands to knead the dough together, right in the bottom of the bowl. If necessary to bring the dough together, you can add the last tablespoon of water.
Both methods: Wrap dough in a sheet of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours, or you can quick-firm this in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes. Longer than 2 days, it’s best to freeze it until needed.

Heat oven: To 400°F (205°C).

Roll out crust: On a floured counter, roll the dough out into a 12 to 13-inch circle-ish shape. Fold dough gently in quarters without creasing and transfer to a 9 1/2-inch standard (not deep-dish) pie plate. Unfold dough and trim overhang to about 1/2-inch. Fold overhang under edge of pie crust and crimp decoratively. Save scraps in fridge, just in case.

Par-bake crust: Freeze for 15 minutes, until solid. Dock all over with a fork. Coat a piece of foil with butter or nonstick spray and press tightly against frozen pie shell, covering the dough and rim and molding it to fit the shape of the edges. Bake for 20 minutes, then carefully, gently remove foil. If any parts have puffed, just press them gently back into place. Patch any tears or cracks with reserved dough scraps. Leave oven on.

Meanwhile, make filling: Melt butter in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar and salt and stir to combine (it will be clumpy, not smooth) then let simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring. Whisk in cream and remove from heat. Let mixture cool for 15 minutes, then whisk in eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla.

Assemble and bake: As soon as crust comes out of oven, you can pour in the filling. Bake for 10 minutes at 400°F, and then reduce heat to 300°F (150°C) and bake pie another 25 to 30 minutes. A fully baked pie will only jiggle slightly in center when moved. Let cool completely — we like this completely cold from the fridge — and serve in wedges with softly whipped cream.

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176 comments on butterscotch pie

  1. Leslie

    this goes on the baking list! For holidays growing up the best thing my mom would make were miniature chess pies, but we cheated and used the squares of carmel instead of making from scratch.

  2. Mary

    This looks sooo delicious and absolutely simple! Just one thing – Is flour is missing from list of filling ingredients?

    1. deb

      Whoops, my bad. There had been 2 tablespoons and then 1 (in prior versions) as is typical for chess pie but I found it was fine without them. Now fixed!

        1. Mel

          I made it without flour before Deb made the fix and it was fine. Also used gluten free crust. Was delicious, although a little dense and a tad too sweet.

      1. Taylor

        Hello. I am confused. There still isn’t any flour in the filling. Is that correct? Is not, how much and when do you add it? I would like to make this for Thanksgiving!

  3. Janet Magnuson

    Oh thank you so much for this! I had lost the recipe for Aunt Ada’s Butterscotch Pie. When I was a sweet tooth crazy kid, this pie was the closest thing to heaven that I knew!

      1. Charlotte in Toronto

        I’d also love to do a lemon chess pie. Do you have a reliable source for a recipe that you might recommend? I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of chess pie but have never tasted one. Thank you.

  4. New word! Hopefully she reserves “Daddy” for 5am. Just this morning Rich tried to take Bea from me (so I could go to the bathroom) and she pushed him away, insisting I hold onto her.

    Pretty ketubah, btw.

  5. My family has a half-birthday pie tradition (not that one needs an excuse to make pie, but I guess we do) and my husband’s half birthday is on pi-day so I will be making this in a couple of weeks. Can’t wait!

  6. Leeann

    Butterscotch is one of my favorites. It is always forgot about! But whenever I add it to a baked good people always notice and love it. It’s not just for little old ladies’ purses! I always add some quality scotch to my butterscotch pudding. Would it be applicable here? Or do anything to the outcome other than make it taste freaking amazing?

    I will be making this regardless and am looking forward to telling you how much I love it ❤️

      1. Katie

        I added a tablespoon of Laphroaig 10 and the taste definitely came through. I also found that I really liked the smokiness that came with using such a peat-heavy scotch. We’ve been eating tiny slivers with fresh berries.

  7. Deanna

    Well, this just jumped to the top of the “what to make when I finally accept New Zealand summer isn’t happening this year” list. I Suspect some bourbon in the filling, and in a glass nearby, would not be amiss.

  8. Erica

    I am so sorry to ask this but really really really want to know…if I was to change one thing: either use half and half or whole milk instead of cream – OR – use 4 eggs not 6…which change would you suggest?
    Also would love to know about adding some booze. How much would be too much and will it still firm up if etoh is used? Thank you!

    1. deb

      I’d suggest half-and-half. Many chess pies are made with milk, although here the cream plays a part in making it butterscotch sauce-like in flavor and not just melted brown sugar and butter. I’d add 1 tablespoon scotch or bourbon or whiskey, possibly rum.

  9. My heart leapt at the title, but I read with trepidation until I was reassured that butterscotch chips were not involved (unavailable here). Growing up, my favorite flavor was butterscotch. But I don’t think I’ve tasted it for 20 years because the French aren’t into it, or I haven’t learned the name.
    I can’t wait to make this!

    1. RO

      i think Deb has a good looking recipe for butterscotch (sauce perhaps?) in the archives somewhere if i’m not mistaken. i haven’t yet taken a crack at it but it’s on “the list”!

    2. Linda L.

      The French would be ‘la tarte au caramel’. In Canada, we would say ‘caramel ecossais’ {with an accent on the ‘e’ – my keyboard is acting up!} for butterscotch, so literally Scottish caramel.

      1. Panya

        I know butterscotch to be “caramel au sucre brun” (caramel with brown sugar), or “caramel écossais” (Scotch caramel). “Caramel dur” (brittle/hard caramel) or “caramel dur au beurre” (brittle/hard caramel with butter) is also used, but to me that phrase should only refer to hard butterscotch candies [e.g. Werther’s].

    1. Ellen

      This looks amazing. How would you adjust the filling proportions to make a slab pie? As for pie weights, I use pennies – they are great at conducting heat.

  10. Jyn

    You mentioned rum is a good addition but I was thinking of adding whiskey. Do you think the flavor (if I used a nice peated one) would come out if I added it to the filling? Otherwise I could add it to the whipped cream.

  11. Stacey

    Yum. Is this pie’s crust the typical sort that a good-quality, frozen, packaged butter crust could sub in for? Or is it a crust that’s particular to this pie?

  12. Heather Barrick

    Well,while I’m not a professional baker…I am a proficient one. This is in the oven. I’m not hopeful. I carefully constructed the pastry rested it 2 hours exactly and it looked great after the 15 min rest in the freezer following. But after the 20 min prebake it was very oily and had slid a bit. My filing looked like your pics but much looser than I would have expected. (I’m wondering if it needed flour?although quiche custard is simply eggs and cream) I had excess filling so I am baking the extra in a couple individual baking dishes without crust. Unfortunately the biggest issue was it is so loose it sloshed all over when I tried to carefully ease it in the oven. I now have a big sugary mess. Thankfully I use a pie drip sheet in the bottom of my oven for bubble overs! I’m not sure the filling should be this runny is no longer picture perfect for sure. I dangerously licked the spoon despite the raw eggs and the flavor was spot on. We will see I guess. BTW this is the first recipe from SK I’ve had any trouble with. The chocolate torte with ginger snap crust is heaven! And the pickled celery in egg salad was pure genius!

      1. Heather

        Mostly I didn’t want others to have to clean their oven . Not everyone has a liner they can pull out. I was commenting on my personal technical experience with this recipe. but if you are interested. It was not what I had hoped. taste and texture are so personal I did not think it was necessary. I make SK recipes often with great success.

    1. deb

      Sorry you had trouble with this. So, it didn’t spill during the baking, just transferring to the oven, right? I realize now that one could probably just open the oven door and pour the filling in and not have to walk across with it. Did the filling bake up okay, just messily? Or did it bubble over while baking? The filling is very runny and loose; that is correct. If it looks thicker in the picture, it’s just because it was pouring fast…

      (I confess that I used the martini-in-a-bar trick which is that you don’t look at your very full drink, you look at where you’re going and somehow this prevents splashing — on the floor — at least 95% of the time.)

      1. Heather Barrick

        Lol yes it sloshed over the edge like a wave into the oven the second I carefully slid it onto the rack. But I’d already spilled a little down the edges of the crust when I picked it up so in hind sight I was doomed for a mess the second I poured the filling. 😀 Its possible it would have been worse if I’d pulled the oven rack out and poured from there and then attempted to push the whole thing in. But, it did not overflow during baking. The texture turned out like a sweet quiche. No worries! It’s all cleaned up and I look forward to the next inspiring recipe you tempt me with.😀 in fact I have everything on hand to try the stew with dijon and mushrooms! Thank you!

  13. Lori

    I know nobody wants to hear (or believes) this, but I am not that big of a pie person. However, this sounds so good that I’m wondering if I have time to make it tomorrow….

  14. JP

    I, for one, will be very interested in hearing if this method of not using pie weights works. Pie weights are the bane of my existence. I refuse to go out and buy ceramic pie weights and I don’t have enough coins to fill a pie crust and don’t want to use beans, etc. because I think they would be too light. Many a time I have put in a single pie crust to blind bake and found it slumping down the sides of the pan. So frustrating! I have yet to try out Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street pie crust that is supposed to be unshrinkable. Your butterscotch pie is crying out for some vanilla ice cream a la mode!

    1. Sophie

      Beans work. I have used them for years with many different pie crust recipes. Buy a couple of cheats bags and keep them in a zip bag… They last forever.

      1. Jan

        Someone had mentioned pennies for pie weights. I have used pennies for years. I keep them in a roasting bag, tied shut. I can just plop it in to my pie crust and lift it out when done.

    2. angioandy

      JP…try dried chick peas (AKA garbanzo beans). Filled to the rim of the pie crust, they are plenty heavy enough to hold the crust’s shape

    3. Dawn

      Stella (i think) at recommends using sugar to blindbake crusts. The toasted sugar can then be used in other baked goods to add to the flavor profile. I haven’t personally tried this, but thought maybe it might help if any of you are looking for a different method for blindbaking

    4. deb

      The foil isn’t a perfect system but for a pie you’re going to finish baking in the oven (rather than needing a full baked crust) it works great. Ugh, don’t ever buy ceramic weights. First, the packages never fill a pie crust. So, if you’re me-of-10-year-ago, you buy another bag. Still didn’t fill. Finally I started using additional dried rice (old beans, pennies, anything works) which fills in so much better and doesn’t weight it so much that it becomes a cracker, although now you guys all give me funny looks when my pies look like this.

    5. Karyn

      I use a 4-at All Clad saucepan on top of foil and it works great assuming you remember not to touch the pan once it’s out of the oven.

      1. JP

        In a Cook’s Illustrated, they suggested using a pan lid(the almost flat sort) in the bottom of the pie crust, and while I can see this (or even a pot), holding down the bottom of the crust and keeping it from puffing up, wouldn’t the sides still slump?

      1. JP

        I am glad you have done this safely but I would be afraid that glass (not if it is Pyrex, of course) might explode. I know if it has air bubbles in it, at least, that it can.

    6. jillianabroad

      I have never used pie weights (/beans/etc) and not dropped them all over my kitchen, usually while they are still very hot from the oven! So I’ve stopped trying and have started stacking other bakeware on top of the foil.

    7. Janet B

      I guess I’m lucky because I use dried beans (the same bag for about 10 years now) to blind bake and I’ve not had any trouble with the crust sliding down the sides. And I don’t fill the crust up either, just a pound spread out on the parchment paper that I used to roll out the pie dough, trimmed to fit into the pie plate (goes up the sides not just on the bottom). I use the parchment because sometimes the foil sticks when I peel it off.

  15. Elizabeth

    This sounds (& looks!) delicious. Do you think it could be made with a graham cracker crust? Thanks for the recipe 😊

    1. deb

      I haven’t done it, I have now (just Googled when responding to another comment) seen that there are versions out there so it probably works. But, the pie is sweet, I think the contrast of a less-sweet crust can be welcome.

  16. Rita

    This looks delicious! Would really like to make tbe lemon version you mentioned. Do you have a good recipe to refer too? Or wouldn’t you be able to tell me the ingredients and quantity to replace? Thank you in advance!

      1. JP

        Cook’s Country has a recipe for Lemon Chess Pie in it’s April/May 2010 issue that I have been thinking of making since I first saw it. Probably a good place to start! Thanks, Deb, for everything you do!

  17. Rachel

    This looks divine, but would it be possible to make it with a cookie crust? I’m thinking one with not-very-sweet chocolate wafers. Would it be possible to get the custard cooked without singeing the crust, do you think?

  18. Dahlink

    Just in time for Pi Day (3/14), which we will be celebrating at work, because that’s how we roll.

    My two grandmothers were both Southerners transplanted to California. I have the notion that to them a “chess pie” was really “jes pie.”

    1. deb

      Regular pie dish. I write all recipes for them, because I think (?) they’re more standard and of course better to come up short than overflowing.

  19. pw125

    I just made something very similar but used buttermilk instead of cream. And I took the extra step of turning the melted butter into browned butter. I would also cut back the sugar by ¼ cup. I used a mixture of white and brown sugar. I found my version too sweet; my husband loved it. A dollop of whipped cream is absolutely required.

  20. Ruey01

    I adore your recipes!
    I Especially look forward to reading your descriptive story that leads into the recipe
    I.e. *trifecta bouncing off the walls !!! How could I not want to make this ??!!!! :-D

    1. Kathy D

      I haven’t made this yet (would be trying it immediately, but we have a family birthday this weekend, so birthday cake is on the schedule). But I’ve stopped pre-baking pie crusts and have not really noticed a difference. The explanation is the pre-baking keeps the bottom from getting soggy. In my world, the bottom always gets soggy anyway, so what’s the point? That being said, I don’t bake a lot of pies, but none of this year’s holiday pies (pumpkin, pecan, savory onion) had a pre- baked crust and all were delicious.

  21. Rebecca Kirby

    Butterscotch pie! Aka Scour Pie in our house. (I do live on a farm)
    We make it by combining a tin of evaporated milk, light brown sugar and the juice of one lemon and tipping it into a pie crust.

  22. Jillian

    Oh, that little voice saying “mommy, mommy, mommy” is so, so sweet. My little girl is just a month younger than yours and I still can’t get over hearing her say “mama.” I’ll admit that some days I wish she said “daddy!” with the same urgency… but I love it just the same. Your daughter is absolutely precious. (The pie looks good too!)

  23. Sara

    One of my all-time favourite pies is sugar pie (tarte au sucre) a rural Quebec speciality that seems to be part of this same dessert family. The best versions of tarte au sucre have a small amount of vinegar in the filling to cut the sweetness, and I’m wondering whether something similar might be useful here.

  24. alanna

    I had chess pie once and I loved it! Do you have a recipe for chess pie? I searched the site and didn’t see anything. I’d love to attempt my hand at recreating that fantastic roadtrip experience. Thanks!

  25. Deb Oakley

    After having read all comments, including Heather’s mishap, I eagerly made the crust and the filling. I followed the recipe suggestions, and had no trouble with the par-baking using the fioll. All looked good until I pivoted the two steps to the open oven with my fully prepared crust and filling. The hot mits began to slip as the liquid shifted – mind you, I was aware of a spill-factor from Heather- and half the filling sloshed onto the bottom of the 400 degree oven and door. ARGH. A mess that began to smoke from burning sugar, butter and eggs. I shoved what was left in the crust and the pie plate in to the oven! I wasn’t sure how the smoked effect would work out as it baked, and did not look forward to the clean up, but after opening doors and windows to rid the kitchen of billowing smoke, I tried a slice of slightly cooled pie and declare it good! I will make another tomorrow for the dinner I was aiming at and hope not to have another spill. Treat this as a cautionary tale. Love your recipes, Deb! ( made the asparagus pizza tonight too!)

    1. Deb — not sure if your kitchen allows for this, but I always pour my fillings in with the pie already on the oven shelf, with the oven door open. That way, all I need to do is slide the shelf in carefully, et voila! Less chance of me tripping over myself on the way down to the oven… :)

  26. Laura M

    Your crimps look fabulous, especially before being wrapped in the foil. It would be really great if you did one of those quick little videos.

  27. Sarah

    I made this last night and was underwhelmed. I followed the chilling instructions, but the crust lost a lot of shape in the par bake. Then, it kind of absorbed the filling and stuck to the pan in places. It was an ugly duckling for sure. Tasted OK, especially with coffee for breakfast.

  28. Katie

    I made this yesterday. This is delicious!! I was afraid it might be too rich, but nope. Just wonderful.
    I used a premade crust. The filling is very easy to bring together. Yes, it’s runny and you have to be careful when transporting to the oven. I always put my pies on a baking sheet bc it makes it easier to get in and out of the oven. I dont know if that’s wrong, but it works for me. And keeps any spillage contained.
    I have only shared with one other person so far, but she loved it too.

  29. Janna

    OK, I tried to read through the comments and I don’t think anyone else has asked this yet. If I omitted the crust, would this just be a really yummy butterscotch baked custard? And, would the filling taste okay on its own sans crust? I don’t feel like messing with a crust, and everyone here loves baked custard, so…..Thanks!

  30. Randi

    This was one of the recipes I saw and had the ingredients for and made right away. It was delish. I’m a pie noob and this is only the second pie, third rolled out crust baked good I’ve ever made. I accidentally used a deep dish pie pan (my mom and grandma let me know it wasn’t standard. Oops!) so my crust came up short but was flavorful. The foil method didn’t work well for me, my crust shrunk and schlumped a little bit so used my oven mitted hands over the foil to kind of squish my crust back into shape. I learned from the spilled filling and just poured it into the crust directly in the oven and it worked out well. The texture was not what I expected, a little bouncy(?) like jello maybe(?) but it was tasty regardless. I also had a hole somewhere in my crust and the filling spilled a little bit and baked onto the bottom of the crust and made it crispy delicious where it spilled. I would make it again. It would also be really good with half the filling (make two pies) and fill the rest with pecans!

  31. Jessica

    Tasted the inside before going into the oven… it was delicious, then I added the 6 eggs. Finished product? A very muted flavor… could it be because I used light brown sugar?

  32. Jess BK

    This didn’t come out well for me :( My egg seems to have separated in cooking & left eggy bits throughout the pie (and an eggy taste). I think I’d recommend you cool the crust before pouring in the filling. Sigh.

    1. Allie H

      Mine was the same and also had an odd, spongey texture. I was expecting something smooth, like a pumpkin or maple pie. Definitely very eggy and super buttery/oily.

  33. Lindsay

    Only smitten kitchen recipe I have made that wasn’t perfection. Looked so promising but tasted like caramel quiche.

  34. LOVE chess pies, especially since they’re so much less finicky than any other liquid filling based pie — but I never thought of adding butterscotch to it! Adding this to my list for my rainy March in Paris….

  35. Ruth

    I made this pie yesterday and I too was underwhelmed by the taste and texture. I’m not a professional baker but I do bake a good deal and the taste of the pie was off. I used fresh butter, good quality brown sugar, vanilla and eggs, but it just didn’t taste like butterscotch. The texture wasn’t right either. I let the filling mixture cool so the eggs wouldn’t scramble, but I think I still should have passed the entire mixture through a sieve before pouring into the pie crust. Even cold, this just wasn’t my favorite Smitten Kitchen recipe and I’ve made dozens of them. I was really hoping that this would have some of the flavor profile of the Not Derby Pie Bars, but in a real pie form. Unfortunately, it didn’t.
    Sorry Deb, I think this one needs to go back to the drawing board.

    1. Erin

      This was my experience too – I don’t know what happened. Something about it is just odd!! It’s not very sweet, the texture is strange and it doesn’t taste like butterscotch. I brought it to an event for someone who would get butterscotch pie for his birthday each year and he said “oh honey, you’ve been had – who sold this recipe to you as butterscotch pie?” Oh well.

    2. Carol

      Yeah, I’ll agree — the flavor was there but the texture was OFF. Kind of spongy/eggy (yes, I did let the sugar mixture cool), and wet. Not my fave.

  36. Butterscotch is one of my favorite ingredients and I struggle to work with. I feel it can be really overpowering and so many people do not like it. I am super excited to make this recipe for my family over the holidays!

  37. narya

    I had been looking for something like this, so was very excited! I made the following changes:
    1) I used a base made of oats, ground barley flakes, AP and WW flours, and some baking powder & salt, but cut the sugar that’s usually in this base in half (I use it for lemon bars), and I spread it on a half-sheet pan. I par-baked the crust about 20 minutes at 400.
    2) I used one less egg than called for.
    3) I sprinkled chocolate chips on half of it.

    While I LOVED it, on the whole, the next time I do this I will:
    a) grate some orange rind in the mix, and use the juice either in the base or in the mix
    b) not parbake for quite as long (or maybe not at all)

    The flavor was exactly what I was looking for. I can live without the chocolate chips, but I know others are all-chocolate-all-the-time, so will probably do half and half again.

  38. Janet

    Made this exactly as directed, my husband was impressed that I made my own crust. You are absolutely right, it does taste best cold from the fridge. It is sooooo delicious!

  39. Jennifer

    The flavor of this filling is good but it took about double the time to set and by then the top was caramelized to an unpleasant chewiness, just short of burnt. My husband liked that but it wasn’t my thing. :[

  40. Grant

    I grew up in East Tennessee on a butterscotch pie my Southern grandmother would make at family gatherings regularly. So seeing this recipe, I got very excited. While this pie is good (and that crust was amazing), it wasn’t the same that I knew and loved. Looking at other recipes from southern cooks, it seems that there are some regional differences in butterscotch pie as the one I knew and loved uses many of the same ingredients yours calls for but with only 2 egg yolks.

    Thanks for posting this though as it really led me on a path toward remembering a pie I love and now using a pie crust that I love as well.

  41. Joy

    I made this pie today and was very excited to try it. I left mine in the oven an extra 10 minutes, because it did not seem to be setting. As some others have commented, it tasted great before going into the oven. But afterwards, to me, it tasted like a brown sugar custard, very eggy and missing that yummy butterscotch I was hoping for. My husband suggested trying it with fewer eggs?

  42. Lace

    I thought this was delicious but a little eggy tasting. Do you think it would still set if I made it with just 4 eggs? Thanks!

  43. This looks like a must-do. Pies are kind of “my thing”, but although I’ve made a lot of chess pies, I’ve never made a butterscotch one. Seems that a splash of bourbon would be most appropriate!
    Re pie weights; I hate juggling teeny hot ceramic balls, or itty-bitty beans, so now I line my crusts with foil (especially if I have some with the non-stick lining on one side,) or a piece of well crumpled parchment paper, then coil in a length of metal chain. I got cheap chain from the hardware store and hang it from a hook in my pantry. It conducts heat well, it’s easy to fit and remove, and it’s long enough to fill the crust to the top, so the sides don’t slump before they’re set.
    This is definitely going to happen this weekend
    Oh, and another tip, if I’ve got a bit of free time, I make a whole bunch of pie dough at once, roll the dough and line several of those foil pie pans, and toss them in the freezer. When I want to make a pie, I just lift the stiff frozen crust into my Pyrex pie dish. I never bake in the foil pans, they don’t brown the dough well, and they buckle when you lift hot pie from the oven. Cheers from the South Seas, Karen

  44. Hannah

    Just made this for a friend’s birthday! Have to wait til tomorrow to taste it, but in the meantime have one question:
    There are some little white blobs near the surface, presumably from the egg whites. Advice on getting those little pieces of goo more fully mixed?

    Smells heavenly tho, can’t wait to try it!

  45. Yvette

    I’m home from work during this blizzard Stella, here in the northwestern Hudson Valley. And I’m trying to make the butterscotch pie. I’m working on the filling now. Melted the butter and added brown sugar and salt.
    My question is this: is the sugar supposed to melt into the butter? Because mine isn’t. Like, really isn’t even close. It looks like slightly oily brown sugar. I’m afraid to go forward before I get an answer.
    Anybody able to help?

      1. Yvette

        Thanks for the reply! Funny – I did go forward before your reply. And made a mistake. I cooked it longer…. And wound up making caramel candy! I realized my mistake and started over. I added whiskey to the filling and received many compliments for the pie!
        I do have a question about the crust. I feel mine turned out tough. Couldn’t cut it with a fork at the edges. Any advice for next time?

    1. Amanda

      I had the same problem! “Simmer” wasn’t a very apt word to describe it as I kept waiting for mine to melt – I even added more butter (so I hope that doesn’t screw it up). Maybe sizzle would have made more sense here?

  46. Andi

    I made this for Pi Day. After reading earlier comments, I did make a couple of changes. I used four whole eggs and two yolks, also added some bourbon along with the vanilla. YUM! And the lightly sweetened whipped cream is the perfect accompaniment! ~ Thanks Deb for another winner!

  47. Maro Sevastopoulos

    I made this last night after reading the comments, and made a small adjustment to prevent the eggs from scrambling — I beat all the eggs with about a tablespoon of the brown sugar and then added them slowly once it was time to add the eggs.

    I thought I had ruined the butterscotch, though, when I let it cook a little too long. For those who end up with caramized lumps, they can be worked out. I put it back over very low heat after I added the cream and whisked the heck out of it, then let it cool about 10 mins. That seemed to do the trick. By the time I added the eggs, the filling was perfectly smooth.

    I added a tablespoon of good bourbon and baked it maybe slightly under (about 20 mins after lowering heat it seemed like the right jiggle) — I knew I’d prefer it a little underbaked than overbaked and eggy.

    The slight underbake gave it a flan-like layer at the bottom, with a more standard creamy later up top.

    I had a thin slice for breakfast (pi day!) and am really happy with the result. Looking forward to a slice tonight with whipped cream.

    Also, the crust was easy and tastes dreamy — not afraid of crust anymore!

  48. hamletta

    My version of this pie is uglier than original sin, but boy, is it tasty!

    I just have one helpful hint: Beat each of your eggs before you add them to the filling. I thought, “Hey! I’m using a whisk. Everything looks all well-blended. It’ll be fine!” Nope.

  49. Elisa

    I made this for Pi day and it was fantastic! Because it was so good, and I have no self control I made my husband bring the rest to work for his colleagues. Otherwise I would have eaten it all by myself over the course of the day (I work from home) and my DH would have found me in a drunken pie stupor and no dinner made. Lol

  50. Kathryn

    Used Pillsbury pie crust but otherwise followed instructions. Won 2nd place in my work pie contest on 3/14. I heard it was really close. Thanks!!

  51. Emily

    The good: the crust and the method of parbaking. It came out *perfectly*.
    The ok: the filling baked up nice for me.
    The not so good: the filling flavor did not reflect butterscotch to me. My mom and dad liked it and thought it tasted like caramel, but I just found it to be sweet with no specific flavor.

  52. Janine

    Hi Deb! Long time lurker and fan. First time commenting. :-)

    I had some dark muscovado sugar in my pantry, and I used it in this recipe for my work’s celebration of pi day. It looked like chocolate pie, but it tasted like the deepest, richest butterscotch you can imagine. Huge success! Thank you!

  53. Zoe

    Wow! We just made this today. My son plays “Undertale”–a popular computer game–which features a butterscotch cinnamon pie. He asked me to make one and…voila…your recipe is perfect and so easy. We just added a sprinkle of cinnamon. It is absolutely delicious and a fantastic project for a mom and almost-teenage boy. Thank you. Thank you.

  54. Heidi

    I made this last weekend and it was absolutely delicious. I, too, found that it was best served very cold, straight out of the fridge with unsweetened whipped cream.

    I made a couple alterations:
    1. After reading the comments, I decided to use 5 eggs instead of 6 for fear that it would be too eggy. It turned out perfectly. It set up nicely and had the rich butterscotch flavor I was hoping for. (I kept the oven temperature and cooking time the same as the recipe calls for, had no issues with the pie setting)

    2. I use a Trader Joe’s pre-made frozen pie crust instead of making my own. I par-baked it the exact same as this recipe calls for (froze 15 min, pricked, covered with oiled foil and baked at 400 degrees for 20 min) and it was perfect. Just the right amount of doneness in the final product and had no issues with the exposed crust getting too brown as the filling baked.

    3. I let the butter/brown sugar mixture cool for 20-25 min instead of the stated 15 min, stirring frequently as it cooled, before adding the eggs to ensure no scrambling. Worked like a charm.

  55. Amy

    I’m not from the South, but I always thought chess pies had to include cornmeal to get that name. Have I been misled? They’re almost unheard of here in Canada, so I’d love to hear from any Southerners on the matter. In any case, this looks delicious, and I need to make it soon.

  56. Dana

    This was the ugliest thing I ever baked! But…it was sooooooo delicious! Definitely a hit! And my husband loved it, he’s not much of a dessert eater. Yes it sloshed a little, next time I’ll pour the filling when the crust is in the oven. I will definitely be making this again!

  57. It’s the ugly pie that could! I made it in a 6″ pie pan using homemade pie crust (halving the filling recipe worked perfectly), and baked it in the toaster oven. It sank in the middle even after baking 35 minutes, but it was cooked through. Even though it’s not Pinterest-perfect, boy was it tasty! I served it with fresh unsweetened whipped cream. So yummy!

  58. Chessie

    After reading the comments, I was a little apprehensive but I took some of the suggestions – pre-scrambled the eggs; used 5 eggs plus 1 yolk; put in oven on pie pan. Whiskey. Accidentally added an additional stick of butter to the crust – how does that happen??? – and anticipated a burnt disaster. It turned out much better than expected!

    Topped with ganache to please a birthday girl and balance out the intensity in a less sweet way. Ooops. That, too, was good.

    All in all this was wayyyyyy to sweet for me personally, but perfect for my sweet tooth friend! Would recommend for those people.

  59. Heather

    So, yes flour or no flour? I dont see it in the recipe. Although, it is entirely possible I missed it. I cant wait to make this.

  60. andi

    I’m getting ready for a pre-Thanksgiving dinner party and have been assigned to bring a dessert. This pie looks like a great alternative to the usual pumpkin or apple pie. I’ll give it a try! Thanks for sharing!

  61. Allison

    Thank you to all who splashed it around so I knew to pour when it was already on the oven rack. Saved me a lot of cleaning I’m sure!!

    But I do second, or third, the saggy and falling crust. For the amount of butter in the crust itself there should be zero reason to introduce more on the foil. That’s the only reason I can figure that I was literally sopping butter out of a parbaked crust.

    I’d like to try adding bourbon to the filling and probably some more salt.

  62. Monica

    The crust was on point. The butterscotch flavor was heavenly with the butter, sugar, and cream. Unfortunately, the eggs almost ruined it for me. Eggy texture, and flavor, and toned down the perfect butterscotch too much. It wasn’t bad, just not as rich as I had hoped for. I wouldn’t rush to make this again, which I never thought I would say about a SK recipe.

  63. Nicole

    I won’t lie but making a crust from scratch is intimidating, so I’ll be using a store bought one (shame on me, I know). Should I still bake the crust as the recipe says and once it gets brown add in the filling? I think I should but want to double check before potentially burning a premade crust or underbaking it. Can’t wait to make this for PI day!

  64. Rachel

    This is the third day in a row of making your pies! Days one and two were your oatmeal black bottom pie and fruit crumble pie, respectively. I followed the recipe almost exactly as written, but tweaked the filling a hair. I ended up using 5 extra large eggs instead of 6 large ones (what we had in the fridge; a grocery store mishap…), ultimately got to about 1 teaspoon of flaky sea salt while adding more to taste, and added a splash (maybe 1/2 teaspoon?) of apple cider vinegar because I liked it so much in the oatmeal mixture from the oatmeal black bottom pie. I added the unsweetened whipped cream to the pie before slicing, as you did in your chocolate pudding pie. Finally, of course, I learned to brown butter several years ago from this website and I am now a full-blown brown butter addict, so I couldn’t help myself here…

    To others’ comments – I found that pouring the filling directly into the pie shell while in the oven after parbaking significantly reduced spillage. I didn’t find the pie to be overly sweet or too eggy, but I did make the small tweaks described above. Deb, thanks for another successful baking adventure!

  65. CocoMoni

    HI! This is one of my favorite pies! I made it last year for Friendsgiving, and just now for Thanksgiving, tomorrow. Question: I had some caving in during the cook process this time (it’s possible that it was my oven temp-I adjusted the temps to 375 and 275 respectively because I set mine on Convection. I always drop temps down 25 degrees because otherwise I’ve noticed things burn Maybe thats a bad idea for this?). The other thing I noticed was that your pie looks so LOVELY and smooth on top, while mine looks swirly and cracked. Is there a trick to making this look cleaner? I am sure it won’t detract from the taste but improvement for next time would be great! Thanks!

  66. Sengkelat

    This tasted good, but not quite as amazing as I’d hoped. And the homogeneous nature of the pie is a little underwhelming.

    If I make it again, I’ll definitely try the idea of assembling everything and cooking it at high heat for a bit, because I really never seem to manage properly blind baking anything.

    Also, the instruction that the center should jiggle a little when it’s done didn’t really work for me; it was already burning a little when the whole pie was still slightly jiggly. So next time, I’ll just set it for the right time and not worry about it.

  67. Luke

    I found this to be very eggy. I might reduce the eggs to 4, though not sure how that would affect the texture. The other possibility is I slightly overbaked it.

    The flavor, though, is really nice. Sweet, a little salty, caramelly. If I try again definitely adding a tbsp of scotch. The layer of dark chocolate others have suggested would add a nice bitterness and hard texture.

  68. Zsuzsi

    It turned out tasting like scrambled eggs, though I really paid attention to cool the butterscotch before adding the eggs. I might have left it in the oven 5 minutes too long, otherwise I followed every single instruction. I’m so so disappointed, so far every SK recipe I tried was a roaring success. :(

  69. Leslie

    I’ve got a question…I just made this pie and while it’s tasty, mine doesn’t have much butterscotch flavor and it makes me wonder if I should have cooked it longer when I added the cream to the sugar/butter mixture? I stirred in the cream then removed it from the heat but if I makes it again, would you advise letting it heat/boil before removing from heat to get more flavor?

  70. Caitlin McCollister

    I love this pie and have made it lots. Tonight I let the butter brown before adding the sugar and cream, and then I added a dash (1/8th teaspoon or so each) of cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and clove to make it a “Spiced Brown Butter-Scotch Pie.” Yum!