If you love a creamy buttermilk pie, simple and delicious, this is the recipe for you! Keep reading to learn how to make it!
My Buttermilk Pie Story
A few years back I co-authored a musical comedy for the stage titled “Rising Star” about a baking competition. It was a hoot, and a good portion of the story revolved around a particular pie: buttermilk.
Which was ironic, since I’d never baked one. I was able to come up with all sorts of ideas about a pie I’d never baked and hardly eaten.
So, I decided the time had finally come to make good on all of my raving reviews about this pie and try it out, myself.
But first, let’s talk about Buttermilk Pie. What is it, exactly, and where did it come from?
What is an Old Fashioned Buttermilk Pie?
Buttermilk pie is a classic southern dessert that dates back multiple centuries. It’s a delicious custard pie that is well known and loved. (And it’s a recipe your grandma probably baked!)
If you do a deep-dive into this pie’s history you’ll see that it can be traced to early European settlers in the United States who adapted their traditional recipes (basically, European custard pies) to incorporate ingredients readily available in the New World.
Due to the abundance of dairy cows in the new world, buttermilk was readily available, so that’s what the early settlers chose. It gave the pie an added twang, something well-suited to the creamy texture.
A combination of buttermilk, butter, eggs, sugar, flour, and spices are merged together into a filling and poured into an unbaked crust, then placed in the oven until it sets. The texture is custard-like and loaded with the flavor of whatever spices you choose.
Sounds simple, right? Well, my journey to make the perfect buttermilk pie wasn’t that simple.
And Now, a Confession
I made this pie four times before I got it right.
The first time I didn’t melt the butter completely and the butter pooled on top. That pie got tossed in the trash.
The second time it was brown on top but raw in the middle (and never set up, even after hours in the fridge). That pie got tossed in the trash.
The third time I baked it for 45 minutes and then covered it with foil and baked it an additional 15 minutes. The sugar crystalized on top, forming a thick crust that cracked as the pie cooled down. That one actually tasted okay so I kept it to give to a friend’s family.
The fourth one is the one I’m posting here. After several attempts I was almost ready to throw in the towel, but decided to search the web to see what I might’ve done wrong.
It came down to five separate things:
- I had over-whipped the filling (using the whisk attachment on my kitchen-aid, knocking too much air into the filling).
- I had used too much sugar. The original recipe called for two cups but I found another recipe online that called for 1 1/4, which is what I used the final time. I realized that adding less sugar would lessen the concern about crystallization on top.
- I hadn’t used room temperature eggs: I hadn’t thought to use room temperature eggs the first three time, but I did so the last time and it helped.
- I didn’t know that I should put a cookie sheet with foil under the pie dish: This was a recommendation I saw online so I gave it a try. Setting the pie dish on the cookie sheet seemed to level out the heating.
- Finally, after 50 minutes of baking I turned off the oven and left the pie in another five minutes. I’ve heard from a baking friend that this is a great method, not just for buttermilk pies, but for cheesecakes, as well. . .to keep cracks from forming.
And those changes, my friends, finally resulted in the perfect buttermilk pie.
Enough chit-chat about my failings in the kitchen. Now that I’ve finally come up with the ideal recipe, I’m happy to pass it along to you, my culinary friends.
Buttermilk Pie Ingredients
You will find a full printable recipe card at the bottom of this post but here’s a quick peek at what you’ll need to make this delicious pie. These are such simple ingredients! No doubt you’ve got them in your kitchen already.
- all purpose flour
- vegetable shortening
- ice cold water
OLD SCHOOL BUTTER MILK PIE:
- granulated sugar
- all purpose flour
- melted butter (salted or unsalted, your choice)
- room temperature eggs
- pure vanilla extract
These are considered staple ingredients, meaning most kitchens will have these things on hand. If you don’t keep buttermilk you can always add a teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of whole milk.
How to Make Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Pie
I would say this is a simple pie but it requires following the recipe precisely!
Preheat oven to to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grab a cookie sheet and place a piece of foil on it. Set aside.
Set out eggs to come to room temperature before you start your pie dough.
Make your pie crust:
In a large mixing bowl combine all crust ingredients except water. Use a pasty cutter or blending fork to bring it together. Add the water and work it all together.
Form into a ball.
Grab a piece of waxed paper and dust with all purpose flour. Place ball of dough on top of this lightly floured surface then sprinkle with more flour.
Use a rolling pin to roll out a circle about 1/4 inch thick.
Make sure it’s big enough for the pie dish.
Flip onto the deep-dish pie pan.
Press down and use a fork to poke air holes. Pinch the edges of the dough.
Make your filling:
Make sure your eggs are room temperature and your butter is completely melted and cooled.
Combine all ingredients in one bowl and mix using a hand mixer to combine them. (I don’t recommend a stand mixer for this one.)
Pour liquid filling into the unbaked pie crust. Place on the foil-lined cookie sheet.
Place in preheated oven. Bake for 50 minutes. Turn off oven and leave the pie inside for another 5 minutes. The pie should be set and slightly golden brown on top. A slight jiggle is okay in the center but only very slight.
Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool.
Cool at least an hour before slicing. (Don’t refrigerate before an hour or it will get moist on bottom. Ask me how I know.)
Serve and enjoy!
Store leftover pie in refrigerator in an airtight container (like a pie holder or cake holder) or cover in plastic wrap. It should stay good for 3 – 4 days.
What to Expect from this Old-Fashioned Southern Dessert
I can’t believe it took me this long to make a buttermilk pie, y’all! I’m from the south. I should’ve made one long before now. (This is one of those great recipes I’ll definitely be making again!)
This one is creamy and delicious. I love the texture. It reminds me a little of my mama’s cheese pie (minus the coconut). And I love the crust.
I didn’t have nutmeg so I used apple pie filling, which is a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice in that creamy custard filling. This gave my pie a delicious flavor!
More than anything, I loved making this one because it reminded me so much of my cast members from Rising Star. This one’s for you, guys!
Variations on this Old-Fashioned Recipe
I love to mix things up, so I can imagine all sorts of interesting changes to this recipe. Here are a few that come to mind:
Brown sugar and maple extract. Replace white sugar with brown and add maple extract along with the vanilla. You’ll end up with a molasses-like pie perfect for fall!
Chess Pie: As I mentioned above, my mom added coconut to her buttermilk-style pie and called it a chess pie. You could add a full cup of shredded coconut to your recipe.
Cream of coconut: Instead of buttermilk, use cream of coconut or coconut milk. You could also add shredded coconut to this version, too.
Fresh berries: Garnish with fresh berries. Yum.
Other Delicious Pies from Out of the Box Baking
Questions People are Asking
Can I use lemon zest or lemon juice in this easy recipe?
Yes, many recipes call for lemon juice. (If you’re making homemade buttermilk you can always use lemon in place of vinegar in your whole milk.)
Does the size of your pie pan matter for this southern buttermilk pie recipe?
Yes, you’ll want to use a deep dish pie plate for this recipe.
What is the point of the baking sheet under the pie dish?
It stabilizes the pie but it also equalizes the heat and causes the pie to bake equally on all sides and in the center of the pie. (Custard pies need to be cooked all the way through.)
What’s the key to a flaky pie crust?
Don’t over-handle the dough or add too much water to it. I use shortening in place of butter because it leads to a lighter, flakier outcome. But you can use butter if you prefer.
Can I blind bake my crust in advance?
Yes! Add a piece of parchment paper and pie weights and place the pie dish into the oven for 15 minutes. Then remove the weights and proceed as normal.
What is the purpose of the buttermilk?
Buttermilk has a slightly tangy flavor, which gives this pie a unique flavor and texture.
Is buttermilk pie served with fresh fruit?
Oftentimes, yes! Raspberries are a great post. So are blackberries, blueberries, or sliced strawberries.
Is this the same thing as a sugar cream pie?
No, a sugar cream pie has heavy whipping cream in it.
Can I use a store-bought pie crust?
Absolutely! I won’t tell!
That’s it for this post, friends!
I hope you enjoy this delicious Old-Fashioned Classic Buttermilk Pie, a true southern classic. It’s delicious and will be a big hit with your family and friends.
If you make this recipe and love it, don’t forget to leave a review and a comment below. And while you’re at it, go ahead and pin some photos to your Pinterest boards!
See this recipe at
About the Author
Janice Thompson is an author, baker, and all-around mischief maker! She has overcome a host of baking catastrophes, including a toppled wedding cake, to learn more about the baking process. Janice has published over 150 books for the Christian market but particularly enjoys writing recipes and baking devotions. To learn more about Janice or to drop her a note, visit her About the Author page.
Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that I make a very small commission off of items you purchase at absolutely no additional cost to you. Please check out my policy page for more information about this blog and the ads that run on it.
- CRUST INGREDIENTS:
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 cup ice cold water
- OLD SCHOOL BUTTER MILK PIE:
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 4 ounces melted butter (salted or unsalted, your choice)
- 3 room temperature eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1c buttermilk
- 1 uncooked deep pie crust
- Preheat oven to to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grab a cookie sheet and place a piece of foil on it.
- Set out eggs to come to room temperature before you start your pie dough.
- Make your pie crust: In a large mixing bowl combine all crust ingredients except water. Use a pasty cutter or blending fork to bring it together. Add the water and work it all together.
- Form into a ball.
- Grab a piece of waxed paper and flour it. Place ball of dough on top. Sprinkle with flour.
- Use a rolling pin to roll out a circle about 1/4 inch thick.
- Flip onto the deep-dish pie plate.
- Press down and use a fork to poke air holes. Pinch the edges of the dough.
- Make your filling:
- Make sure you eggs are room temperature and your butter is completely melted and cooled.
- Combine all ingredients in one bowl and mix using a hand mixer. (I don't recommend a stand mixer for this one.)
- Pour liquid filling into the unbaked pie crust. Place in preheated oven.
- Bake for 50 minutes. The pie should be set and slightly golden on top.
- Remove from oven and place on wire cooling rack.
- Cool at least an hour before slicing.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Store leftovers in refrigerator in an airtight container (like a pie holder or cake holder) or cover in plastic wrap. It should stay good for 3 - 4 days.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 590Total Fat: 35gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 110mgSodium: 468mgCarbohydrates: 62gFiber: 1gSugar: 35gProtein: 8g
The nutrition information is a product of online calculators. I try to provide true and accurate information, but these numbers are estimates.