Home Desserts Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Pie

Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Pie

Silky smooth, creamy, irresistible – you can’t beat this old-fashioned southern buttermilk pie recipe.

It’s easy to see why this dessert is so popular. Made with a custardy filling and a buttery crust, it’s always a party-pleaser. 

Enjoy this old-fashioned southern buttermilk pie recipe for the holidays, special occasions, or lazy Sundays.

Sliced traditional buttermilk pie on a plate.
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Southern Buttermilk Pie

Buttermilk pie is a classic southern dessert made popular by colonial settlers.

Readily adopted in the States, it remains a time-honored tradition even today. 

And this old-fashioned recipe is just as good as granny’s! 

The filling tastes a bit like creme brulee. The rich, gooey center and crackly sugar topping is divine. 

Paired with a store-bought pie crust, this easy old-fashioned southern buttermilk pie is worth reliving! 

What Is the Difference Between Chess Pie and Buttermilk Pie? 

Buttermilk pie and chess pie are both technically custard pies. However, there are a few important distinctions:

  • Different dairy filling. As the name suggests, buttermilk pie uses buttermilk. Chess pie skips this ingredient. Instead, this pie relies on evaporated milk for the creamy filling.
  • Thickeners aren’t the same. The filling in buttermilk pie is thickened with flour. Chess pie uses cornmeal to firm up the custardy center.
  • Each flavor is unique. Buttermilk pie has a slightly different flavor to chess pie. Thanks to the buttermilk, it has a subtle tangy taste.
Pie crust, egg, milk and flour on a table.


The ingredients for buttermilk pie are fairly straightforward, and you can mix everything together in one bowl.

And less time washing up means more time to eat pie!

For this hassle-free recipe, you’ll need:

  • Butter – Take your butter out of the fridge before prepping this recipe. Softened butter is much easier to work with and will ensure your filling comes together smoothly.
  • White sugar – This gives your custard filling its signature sweetness. Blend it well with the butter to form a creamy, smooth mix.
  • All-purpose flour – Flour is the secret ingredient that keeps the custard filling perfectly thick and firm. 
  • Eggs – Eggs provide rich flavor and depth to the custard center.
  • Buttermilk – Buttermilk is the fermented liquid left over when butter is churned into cream. Tangy and slightly sour, buttermilk punches up the flavor in this pie.
  • Vanilla – A hint of vanilla extract adds a nice touch of subtle flavor to the custard filling.
  • Nutmeg – A classic fall flavoring, ground nutmeg provides just the right amount of spice.
  • Pie crust – No buttermilk pie is complete without a buttery, flaky crust.
Buttermilk pie batter in a glass bowl.

How to Make Buttermilk Pie

You can make this classic pie in just a handful of easy steps. Here are the basics:

1. Beat the butter and the sugar. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together.

2. Add the flour and wet ingredients. Mix in the flour, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla.

3. Transfer the filling. Pour the filling into the pie shell. Sprinkle the top with nutmeg.

4. Bake. Bake for about 1 hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Let it cool. Serve with a topping of your choice, and enjoy!

Tips for the Best Pie

The phrase “easy as pie” couldn’t be more fitting! This is a simple pie recipe even beginners can make.

Still, custard pies can be tricky. So I have some tips to ensure your dessert turns out picture-perfect.

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  • Gather your ingredients. It’s always a good idea to get your ingredients together before starting your pie prep. Be sure they’re all at room temperature. This helps them blend together more smoothly.
  • Make your own pie crust. Store-bought is great in a pinch, but it’s hard to beat homemade. Either way, don’t forget to blind bake! Put the crust in the oven for a few minutes without the filling. This keeps it from getting soggy.
  • DIY buttermilk. Wondering what is buttermilk? Don’t want to buy a big carton for one recipe? Just make your own instead. Stir a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon into a cup of milk. Then let it sit for 5 minutes.
  • Prevent cracking. Custard pies tend to shrink and crack after baking. For a picture-perfect pie, let it cool gradually. Turn off the oven with the pie inside with the door slightly ajar. After 20-30 minutes, remove your smooth pie.
  • Let it rest. This pie is at its best after a few hours in the fridge. Letting it chill out allows the flavors to deepen and the filling to firm up. So give yourself plenty of time if you’re making it for a party.
  • Cover with foil. If your pie is taking longer than expected, put aluminum foil over the crust. This will help stop the pie from burning as the center bakes.
  • Serve with toppings. Jazz up your pie with a hearty dollop of whipped cream. Fresh berries also add a light touch to the rich pie. For more ideas, see the toppings section below.
Whole traditional buttermilk pie.

Why Is My Buttermilk Pie Runny?

When you’re dealing with custard, things can get gooey. And not always in a good way.

There’s a few reasons why your pie might turn out runny, and knowing these ahead of time will avert any dessert disasters.

Here’s a few suggestions to help you avoid runny, messy pie:

  • Be sure it cooks long enough. You can’t get impatient with this pie. It needs a full hour in the oven. If you’ve given it that time and it’s still too jiggly, put it back in.
  • Don’t slice it too soon. The pie will continue to thicken and firm as it cools. So the longer you can wait the better. To make sure it’s fully set, put it in the fridge to chill before slicing.
  • Blend your ingredients well. The trick to any custard pie is thorough whisking. If it’s going to cook evenly, you need a velvety smooth filling with zero lumps.

Buttermilk Pie Variations

Give this pie a personal touch with your own customizations! There are all kinds of tasty variations you can try.

Here are some ideas:

  • Top with nuts. Pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, or almonds would add a delightful nutty crunch. Just arrange them on top and bake.
  • Mix in berries. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or marionberries would all be great baked into the filling.
  • Use homemade crust. Want to make this pie from scratch? By all means, go for it! You can make a pie crust with flour, cold butter, sugar, and salt.
  • Try a pie crust design. A lattice topping is classic. You can also use cookie cutters to make leaves or festive holiday shapes.
A slice of buttermilk pie topped with whipped cream dusted with cinnamon powder.

What to Serve with Southern Buttermilk Pie

Wondering what to serve with your southern buttermilk pie? I’ve got you covered!

From toppings to dinner ideas, here’s what pairs well with this pie:

  • Toppings – Add some pizzazz with pie toppings! A drizzle of caramel or chocolate sauce would up the decadence factor. If you prefer fruit, try a strawberry or raspberry sauce. When in doubt, just opt for whipped cream.
  • Ice Cream – Serving pie a la mode is a classic combo! You can’t go wrong with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Berry, cinnamon, salted caramel, or butter pecan would be delightful too.
  • Mini Pies – Make it a party with homemade mini pies! After all, people like options. For dinner parties or holidays, serve this old-fashioned pie with other great hits. Apple, pumpkin, chocolate mousse, you decide.
  • Old-fashioned Dinner Dishes – Make it a comforting meal with other classics. Chicken pot pie, meatloaf, and mac and cheese are all classic precursors. Or add your favorite soul foods for a full Southern meal.

How to Store

Have a special occasion that calls for a make ahead pie recipe? Just bake and reheat this dessert before serving.

Leftover buttermilk pie also stores well. Keep some slices in the fridge for now and some in the freezer for later.

To Store: Place the pie slices in an airtight container or cover the whole pie. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.

To Freeze: Wrap the cooled pie tightly in plastic wrap and place in a freezer-friendly bag. Frozen pie will last for about 2 months.

Before serving, thaw the frozen pie in the fridge overnight.

More Easy Pie Recipes to Try

Dream Whip Pie
Millionaire Pie
No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie

Buttermilk Pie

Course: DessertCuisine: American


Prep time


Cooking time





This old-fashioned buttermilk pie is the perfect party-pleaser. It’s silky smooth, creamy, and simply irresistible.


  • 1/2 cup butter

  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 3 teaspoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • Whipped cream and fresh berries, optional toppings


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a large bow, beat the butter and sugar on medium until smooth and creamy, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the eggs, one by one, beating well after each addition. Beat in buttermilk and vanilla.
  • Mix in the flour just until combined. Avoid overmixing.
  • Pour the filling into the pie shell. Sprinkle nutmeg evenly on top.
  • Bake for 1 hour or until golden brown and firm (insert a toothpick into the middle, it should come out clean).
  • Transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Serve with whipped cream or fresh berries, if desired. Enjoy!


  • This pie is at its best after a few hours in the fridge. Letting it chill out allows the flavors to deepen and the filling to firm up.
  • Make your own buttermilk. Stir a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon into a cup of milk and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  • Nutritional value does not include optional toppings.


  • Calories: 398kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 50g
  • Protein: 5g
  • Fat: 21g
  • Saturated Fat: 10g
  • Cholesterol: 101mg
  • Sodium: 257mg
  • Potassium: 90mg
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugar: 39g
  • Calcium: 51mg
  • Iron: 1mg

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

3 thoughts on “Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Pie”

    • Hi Linda!

      If you don’t want to add sugar, I suggest making maple buttermilk pie.

      But since you’ll add extra liquid, you’ll need to tweak the recipe a bit.

      Here’s one that always works for me:

      1 (9-inch) pie crust
      1/4 cup coconut sugar, optional
      2 tablespoons cornstarch
      1/2 teaspoon salt
      3 eggs + 2 yolks
      1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
      1/2 cup maple syrup (or 2/3 cups brown rice syrup)
      1 tablespoon vanilla extract
      1 1/2 cups buttermilk

      Blind bake the crust for 20 minutes with pie weights and the edges covered with foil. Brush the middle with slightly beaten egg whites, then bake again for 5 minutes and set aside.
      Whisk all the filling ingredients together except the buttermilk.
      Strain, then mix in the buttermilk and pour the filling into a saucepan.
      Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thick (it should be about 160°F) – do not boil.
      Strain the filling into the pie crust and bake at 350°F for 35-40 minutes, or until the edges are set and the middle is slightly jiggly.
      Cool on a wire rack, then chill in the fridge for a couple of hours until set.


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