Vintage Southern Pie Recipes We Still Love

Water Pie
PHOTO: CAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLING: TORIE COX

No Southern gathering, whether it be a holiday meal or a Sunday supper, is complete without a homemade pie. We’re sure you’ve had apple, pecan, and pumpkin pies, but there’s a whole roster full of other old-fashioned pies you may have forgotten about—Grasshopper Pie, for instance, with its electric green hue. The hotly contested Coconut Cream versus the Coconut Custard Pies. Sorghum, banana split, cherry, bourbon—we could go on and on. Then, there are the veritable depression pies, a true benchmark of Southern ingenuity, proving that here, we are adept at whipping up something delightful and delectable out of nothing.

These are the classic pie recipes that have stood the test of time. They’ve been enjoyed by families for generations and will continue to be staples for years to come. The stories they tell and the memories they create are just as important to pass along as the recipes themselves.

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Classic Chess Pie

slices of Classic Chess Pie on multi-color plates
PHOTOGRAPHER: JEN CAUSEY, PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINA DALEY, FOOD STYLIST: ANA KELLY

For a couple hundred years, the chess pie has been a staple on Southern dessert tables. Refrigerated pie crust helps cut the prep time for this sweet dish.

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Classic Southern Buttermilk Pie

Southern Buttermilk Pie on a table with fruit and whipped cream
PHOTOGRAPHER: FRED HARDY II, FOOD STYLIST: EMILY NABORS HALL, PROPS STYLIST: CHRISTINA BROCKMAN

With roots in the Depression era and World War II, this pie was created to be budget-friendly by Southerners who were “making-do” with what they had on hand. This pie gets its signature tang from buttermilk, a splash of lemon juice, and a hint of vanilla.

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Possum Pie

Southern Living Possum Pie sliced on plates to serve
VICTOR PROTASIO, FOOD STYLIST: EMILY NABORS HALL, PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINE KEELY

In Arkansa, possum pie is as popular as any other, perhaps more so. But don’t worry; it’s absolutely meat free.

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Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

Southern Living Pumpkin Chiffon Pie sliced on a plate to serve
JEN CAUSEY; FOOD STYLIST: ANA KELLY; PROP STYLIST: JULIA BAYLESS

Southerners have long loved a chiffon pie because it doesn’t require long bake times in a hot oven. But even at Thanksgiving, this lighter-than-air pie filling is welcome amid a sea of other, thicker custard pies.

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Cranberry Chiffon Pie

Southern Living Cranberry Chiffon Pie in the pan, sliced to serve
VICTOR PROTASIO, FOOD STYLIST: EMILY NABORS HALL, PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINE KEELY

Chiffon pies were popularized in the 1920s and 1930s when gelatin became more widely available and made for a great pie filling stabilizer. This pretty pink pie has a mousse-like filling that provides the tangy flavors of cranberry. Who needs cranberry sauce?

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Heavenly Key Lime Pie

Heavenly Key Lime Pie
CAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLING: TORIE COX

Although it just became the official pie of the state of Florida in 2006, the Key lime pie has been enjoyed by locals in Key West for over 100 years. Fresh Key limes can be hard to find, but this pie tastes just as good when made with bottled juice.

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Banana Cream Pie

Banana Cream Pie
CAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLING: TORIE COX

This pie combines two of the South’s favorite desserts: cream pie and banana pudding. In 1951, American soldiers ranked the banana cream pie as one of their favorites, and we would have to agree with them. The combination of bananas, custard, and whipped cream is nothing short of magical.

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Apple Cider Vinegar Pie

Southern Living Apple Cider Vinegar Pie in the pie pan to serve
VICTOR PROTASIO, FOOD STYLIST EMILY NABORS HALL, PROP STYLIST CHRISTINE KEELY

Long before lemons were a dollar or so at the grocery store, vinegar was used to make pie fillings tangy and bright. Apple cider vinegar contrasts nicely with the sautéed apples on top of a custard base.

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Lemon Chiffon Pie

Southern Living Lemon Chiffon Pie cut in slices to serve
CAITLIN BENSEL, FOOD STYLIST: REBECCA CUMMINS

Airy, weightless, delicate…that’s chiffon pie for you. Our Test Kitchen says this pie is full of old-school Southern class and charm. We have to agree.

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Old-Fashioned Shoofly Pie

shoofly pie slices on individual plates
JENNIFER CAUSEY; FOOD STYLIST: RISHON HANNERS; PROP STYLIST: SHELL ROYSTER

Who knew that molasses, hot water, baking soda, and an egg could create such an enduring recipe? What once originated in Pennsylvania Dutch communities quickly circulated into church cookbooks, becoming what we know and love today.

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Water Pie

Water Pie
CAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLING: TORIE COX

The Great Depression created a lot of recipes we still enjoy today, like Water Pie. Made when eggs and milk were just out of budget, Water Pie uses pantry staples.

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Sliced Sweet Potato Pie With Molasses Whipped Cream

Sliced Sweet Potato Pie with Molasses Whipped Cream
VICTOR PROTASIO; PROP STYLING: KAY E. CLARKE; FOOD STYLING: TORIE COX

Stacked sweet potato pie slices are covered in a sweet, sugary glaze flecked with spices perfect for autumn. Trust us, it’s worth the prep time.

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Chocolate Silk Pie

Southern Living Chocolate Silk Pie with a slice cut out to serve
CAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX

Chocolate Silk Pie, also called French Silk Pie, was created in 1951 by Betty Cooper, when she made the pie for the Pillsbury Bake Off. She was a runner-up, but the fact that this vintage recipe is still around is a testament to just how good it is.

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Shaker Lemon Pie

Shaker Lemon Pie from Mountain Measures
PHOTO: VICTOR PROTASIO; PROP STYLING: KAY E. CLARKE; FOOD STYLING: ANA KELLY

The Charleston, West Virginia, Junior League included this Shaker Lemon Pie in its 1974 Mountain Measures cookbook—it’s been a favorite of bakers ever since. This pie only requires four ingredients and 15-minutes of hands on cooking for an easy weeknight pie when the craving hits.

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Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie - Southern Living
CAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX

Pecan pie gained popularity when the recipe was printed on Karo syrup bottles, but it dates back to the early 1800s.

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Coconut Cream Pie

Southern Living Coconut Cream Pie in the dish to serve with a slice cut out
MORGAN HUNT GLAZE, FOOD STYLIST: CHELSEA ZIMMER, PROP STYLIST: JULIA BAYLESS

Just like Grandma used to make, what takes this pie from great to show-stopper is the toasted coconut on top. It’s the perfect crunchy, nutty, golden garnish for mounds of sweetened whipped cream and rich coconut custard.

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Jell-O Pie

Southern Living Jell-O Pie whole ready to serve
FRED HARDY, FOOD STYLIST: MARGARET MONROE DICKEY, PROP STYLIST: CALEB CLARKE

A packages of strawberry and lemon flavored gelatin, frozen whipped topping, and fresh strawberries come together to make this unforgettable, nostalgic delicacy. It’s a no-bake pie that is perfect for hot summer days.

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Frozen Margarita Pie

Southern Living Margarita Pie on a light wood background
ALISON MIKSCH

Frozen pies are a delicious staple of pie history, and Frozen Margarita Pie comes with a real kick. Lime zest, salt, and some spirits are sure to make this pie taste just like your cocktail of choice.

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Ultimate Apple Pie

Ultimate Apple Pie from Buxton Hall
GREG DUPREE; PROP STYLING: CHRISTINE KEELY; FOOD STYLING: TORIE COX

What makes this pie the ultimate? It uses a mix of Winesap, Mutsu, Granny Smith, and Honeycrisp apples in the filling. Nestled in between all the apple slices are dried apple pieces and apple butter, for a deep rich apple flavor you just don’t get with other pies.

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Persimmon Pie With Pecan Streusel

Persimmon Pie with Pecan Streusel
VICTOR PROTASIO; PROP STYLING: KAY E. CLARKE; FOOD STYLING: TORIE COX

Rooted in North Carolina, persimmons are ripe right around the time the trees lose their leaves in the fall. If you don’t have ripe persimmons in your backyard (or grocery store), online frozen purees will do the trick.

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Cushaw Pie With Vanilla Bean Custard Sauce

Cushaw Pie with Vanilla Bean Custard Sauce
PHOTO: VICTOR PROTASIO; PROP STYLING: KAY E. CLARKE; FOOD STYLING: TORIE COX

If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a cushaw, a winter squash found in the Louisiana area, this pie is a must-have. If you can’t find the ingredient, you can use pumpkin puree for the filling.

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Fudge Pie

Fudge Pie
IAIN BAGWELL

This decadent pie gets its rich flavor from semi-sweet chocolate morsels. Plus, it comes together in one bowl, for easy clean-up.

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Our Easiest Pumpkin Pie Ever

Our Easiest Pumpkin Pie Ever
PHOTO: GREG DUPREE

Pumpkin pie is easy, classic, and should never be left off the Thanksgiving menu. The secret to this recipe is swapping canned evaporated milk for a Southern staple: tangy buttermilk.

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Coconut Custard Pie

Coconut Custard Pie
MICAH LEAL

Coconut custard and cream pies belong in the old-fashioned Southern pie library. We piled this one high with whipped cream and used a pre-made pie crust for ease.

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Cherry Flag Pie

Cherry Flag Pie
PHOTO: GREG DUPREE; PROP STYLING: HEATHER CHADDUCK HILLEGAS; FOOD STYLING: TORIE COX

Sure, you can shape it into the flag for a festive Fourth of July dessert, but you can also make it all summer long in numerous other designs. Nothing says summer quite like three pounds of fresh Bing cherries.

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Old-Fashioned Vinegar Pie

Vinegar Pie
MICAH A. LEAL

Leave it to Southerners to get creative in tough times. This Depression-era pie delivers on the characteristic tartness, while also bringing a hint of vanilla and honey—modern additions, if you will.

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No-Bake Banana Split Pie

Banana Split Pie
PHOTOGRAPHER AND PROPS: JENNIFER CAUSEY FOOD STYLIST: EMILY NABORS HALL

Take yourself back to the days of the ice cream parlor with this generous pie. A chocolate wafer crust, strawberry and vanilla filling, and cherries on top deliver on the classic banana split. Plus, as a no-bake dessert, this is your friend on a sweltering summer day.

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Best-Ever Lemon Meringue Pie

Best-Ever Lemon Meringue Pie
SOUTHERN LIVING

Cool off on a hot summer day with a slice of creamy lemon meringue pie. It’s silky, sharp, fluffy, and light. The real show-stopper is the mile-high meringue, which you’ll need to pile on generously with swoops and swirls.

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Kentucky Bourbon Pie

a slice of Kentucky Bourbon Pie - Southern Living
CAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX

Pecans. Chocolate. Bourbon. This trio brings unexpected layers of flavor and texture and will become a sure addition to family gatherings. A good thing just got better.

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Egg Custard Pie

Egg Custard Pie
ANTONIS ACHILLEOS

Homey, old-fashioned, and delicious are all things we can get on board with. This Egg Custard Pie features a smooth, golden custard lightly dusted with nutmeg for the perfect finish.

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Chocolate Banana Custard Pie

Chocolate-Banana Custard Pie
VICTOR PROTASIO; FOOD STYLING: RISHON HANNERS; PROP STYLING: AUDREY DAVIS

One Test Kitchen professional said she could eat this pie every day for the rest of her life. That’s mighty high praise. Plus, when it features two classics in one dessert, you know it’s going to be irresistible.

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No-Bake Lemon Icebox Pie

Lemon Icebox Pie
PHOTOGRAPHY: CAITLIN BENSEL, FOOD STYLING: MARGARET MONROE DICKEY, PROP STYLING: HEATHER CHADDUCK HILEGAS

There’s something about icebox desserts that take us straight back to childhood summers, cooling down with a refreshing treat. Our Lemon Icebox Pie checks all the boxes, from the gingersnap crust to the creamy, tart filling.

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Soda Cracker Pie

Soda Cracker Pie
PATRICK MCGOUGH

Another Depression pie, the Soda Cracker Pie again proves Southern ingenuity. Since the base of the pie is whipped egg whites, make sure to beat to stiff peaks for maximum height.

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Ashley Greene’s Derby Pie

ashley greene's derby pie photo
ASHLEY GREENE

Filled with pecans, chocolate chips, and brown sugar, the Derby Pie is one of Ashley Greene’s treasured family recipes. Maybe it’ll become yours, too.

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Old-Fashioned Sour Cream-Raisin Pie

Sour Cream-Raisin Pie
VICTOR PROTASIO; PROP STYLING: HEATHER CHADDUCK; FOOD STYLING: CHELSEA ZIMMER

Before you raise your eyebrows, let us make the case for this classic pie. Our editors call it “as classic as they come” and the ideal combination of tart and crunchy.

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Georgia Peanut Pie with Peanut Butter Crust

Georgia Peanut Pie with Peanut Butter Crust and Brown Sugar-Bourbon Whipped Cream
VICTOR PROTASIO; PROP STYLING: KAY E. CLARKE; FOOD STYLING: TORIE COX

Salty and sweet with a cookie-like peanut butter crust, it’s a pie few will be able to turn down when offered a gooey slice topped with Brown Sugar Bourbon Whipped Cream.

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Millionaire Pie

Southern Living Millionaire Pie in a pie plate to serve
CAITLIN BENSEL; FOOD STYLIST: TORIE COX

Pineapple bits, coconut, and crunchy pecans float in a filling of condensed milk and gelatin. The soft pink hue is courtesy of some maraschino cherry juice.

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Atlantic Beach Pie

Atlantic Beach Pie
GREG DUPREE; FOOD STYLING: CHELSEA ZIMMER; PROP STYLING: AUDREY DAVIS

With a salty, buttery crust made from Saltines, and a creamy, citrusy custard filling, this pie has certainly earned its place in the hall of fame. And its creator, chef Bill Smith, raves that it’s not only good, but the easiest pie to make.

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Transparent Pie

Transparent Pie with Whipped Creme Fraiche and Sugared Cranberries
PHOTO: VICTOR PROTASIO; PROP STYLING: KAY E. CLARKE; FOOD STYLING: TORIE COX

This pie is a Kentucky tradition. Similar to a chess pie, the filling is a custard made from sugar, eggs, milk, and flour. Our recipe embellishes the classic pie with sugared cranberries and a touch of whipped crème fraîche.

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Kool Aid Pie

Kool Aid Pie
MICAH A. LEAL

Let this pie flavored by a packet of every kid’s favorite summertime drink take you back to childhood. Made from a handful of store-bought pantry staples, it’s an easy old-school pie to throw together.

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Bean Pie

Bean Pie
ANTONIS ACHILLEOS

We’ll admit that Bean Pie doesn’t necessarily sound the most appealing, but don’t judge the pie by its name. This spiced custard pie is not all that dissimilar from a pumpkin or sweet potato pie. The base is made with navy beans, which don’t have a lot of flavor on their own, but meld with the eggs, sugar, and warm spices to form a confection so delicious, no one will believe it was made with beans.

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Butterscotch Pie With Whiskey Caramel Sauce

Butterscotch Pie - Southern Living
GREG DUPREE, FOOD STYLIST: CAT STEELE PROP STYLLIST: HEATHER CHADDUCK HILEGAS

Butterscotch Pie is said to be the result of a happy accident. It originated at a creamery in Indiana in 1904 when Sarah Wheeler made butterscotch out of burnt custard and turned it into a pie. Our recipe is no accident, but combines the classic butterscotch filling with whipped cream and a hearty drizzle of homemade Whiskey Caramel Sauce.