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Buttermilk Pie is outrageously easy, with a luxuriously custard-like creamy filling and a lightly crackled sugar top. Despite being an old-fashioned recipe, this Southern classic doesn’t receive the notoriety it deserves!

a slice of easy southern buttermilk pie

Why You’ll Love This Easy Buttermilk Pie Recipe

  • An Old-Fashioned Favorite. If you’ve never had a classic Southern buttermilk pie, please run to your kitchen and bake this recipe immediately! Buttermilk pie is an easy custard pie that tastes similar to crème brûlée. It’s creamy, buttery, delicate, and delicious. I owe my appreciation for classic Southern desserts like buttermilk pie (and Chess Pie and Sweet Potato Pie) to my grammy.
  • Creamy Custard Filling, Crisp Crackly Top. In one of baking’s best magic acts, the filling transforms into a smooth, buttery custard while the pie bakes in the oven, but the top is delicate and crackly. Delightful! (This may be why you sometimes see it called “impossible buttermilk pie.”)
  • Easy to Make, Simple Ingredients. Buttermilk pie is one of the easiest pies you can make and it has a short ingredient list. (Any extra buttermilk you can use for Buttermilk Cake). Unlike other custard pies (like Lemon Cream Pie), you don’t need to temper egg yolks.
  • A Taste of History. Believe it or not, buttermilk pie got its start in England and was brought to America by settlers. The pie quickly became popular in the South, where buttermilk was plentiful.
Old fashioned buttermilk pie pioneer woman style with a flaky, buttery crust in a pie dish

5 Star Review

“Simple to make just like you said it would be. It was great hit with everyone that had it.”

— Bill —

How to Make Buttermilk Pie

The Ingredients

  • Pastry Crust. A flaky, buttery crust is critical for this recipe. I love using my Darn Good Whole Wheat Pie Crust. Scared to death of pie crust? If you opt for store bought (which would officially make buttermilk pie THE easiest pie ever), I will not judge.
  • Buttermilk. It goes without saying that the key ingredient for this old-fashioned pie recipe is buttermilk. Its subtle flavor and tang are what makes this recipe so special.
  • Eggs + Sugar + Butter. Once mixed and baked, these three ingredients form an impossibly creamy and delicious filling.
  • Lemon Zest + Juice. For fresh, zippy flavor.
  • Booze. OK, this is admittedly not a classic buttermilk pie ingredient, but it’s sooooo tasty in pie. Also, anytime I have the chance to spike the dessert (hello, Bourbon Balls), I take it.

Baker’s Choice

Spike your pie using your favorite liquor. I used bourbon, which is a specific type of whiskey (I find it the most smooth and buttery), though any whiskey you enjoy will work nicely. Some readers have reported using rum with success too. If you prefer not to use alcohol, you can use 1 teaspoon additional vanilla extract instead.

  • Vanilla. The perfect match for bourbon (or any dessert!). Use real vanilla for the best flavor.
  • Nutmeg. Warm flavors and just a touch of spice. You can make buttermilk pie without nutmeg in a pinch, but I do think it’s worth including. It’s a wonderful pairing with creamy flavors.
A slice of paula deen buttermilk pie on plate topped with whipped cream

The Directions

fluting pie crust
  1. Prep the Crust. Chill while you make the filling.
mixing filling ingredients for old fashioned buttermilk pie
  1. Start the Filling. Beat the eggs until mixed, then add in the dry ingredients.
making classic buttermilk pie filling
  1. Add Melted Butter. Stir it in.
buttermilk pie ingredients for filling
  1. Add the Remaining Ingredients. Stir those in too.
buttermilk pie filling ready to bake
  1. Assemble. Pour the filling into the crust.
baked buttermilk pie in a dish
  1. Finish. Bake buttermilk pie at 325 degrees F for 20 minutes in the lower third of the oven, then transfer the pie to your oven’s center rack and continue to bake for additional 40 minutes. Let cool and ENJOY!

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Cover leftover buttermilk pie and place in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • To Reheat. If you prefer to eat your leftover pie warm, gently reheat it in the oven at 325 degrees F until warmed through.
  • To Freeze. Cover the buttermilk pie very tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil and store it in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator the day before you want to serve it.
Delicious classic buttermilk pie served in a pie dish

What to Serve with Southern Buttermilk Pie

A slice of old fashioned Buttermilk Pie easy recipe with whipped cream on top
  • Rolling Pin. This one is nonstick!
  • Pie Plate. My go-to pie plate for fruit pies, cream pies, and every kind of pie in between.
  • Mixing Bowl. I love the non-slip bottoms on this mixing bowl set.
A slice of the BEST buttermilk pie ever on a plate with whipped cream

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Use Actual Buttermilk. You’ll often see recipes that contain buttermilk suggest making your own using milk and a bit of lemon juice or vinegar (ahem, Banana Cake). While this easy swap works like a dream in many baked goods and savory recipes, buttermilk pie is not one of them. Since the buttermilk is the star here, I highly recommend buying the real deal for this particular recipe. It’s worth it!
  • Cold Butter + Cold Crust = Flaky Perfection. The biggest rule of flaky pie crust is to keep it COLD. Use ice cold butter, ice cold water, and then after shaping, be sure to pop your crust in the fridge until it’s ready to be filled.
  • Keep an Eye on the Crust. If you notice that it’s browning faster than you’d like, you can shield the pie crust with foil or add a pie crust shield. This will protect the crust from the direct heat of the oven, while still allowing the filling to bake.

Buttermilk Pie

4.69 from 58 votes
The BEST Buttermilk pie recipe. This classic Southern custard pie is creamy, rich, and ready in minutes. Easy old-fashioned recipe!

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes

Servings: 12 slices (1 pie)

Ingredients
  

  • 1 unbaked whole wheat pastry crust or 9-inch pie crust of choice
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup low fat buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons whiskey such as bourbon, or rum, or additional 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (from about 1 small lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg freshly grated if possible
  • Homemade whipped cream optional, for serving

Instructions
 

  • Prepare and roll out the pie crust. Transfer it to a standard 9-inch pie dish. Trim the edge almost even with the edge of the pan. Fold the edges under and crimp with your fingers or a fork. Refrigerate until you are ready to bake.
  • Position one rack in the center of the oven and one in the lower third. Preheat to 325 degrees F.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs on low speed just until mixed. Add the sugar, flour, and salt. Mix again on low speed, just until the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
  • Add the melted butter and mix once more.
  • Add the buttermilk, whiskey, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and nutmeg. Gently stir until combined.
  • Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator. Slowly pour in the filling. Pour into prepared pie shell. Gently place the pie dish on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Carefully place the pie on its baking sheet onto the bottom third rack. Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Slowly and gently transfer the baking sheet with the pie to the oven's center rack. Continue baking for 40 more minutes. You will know the pie is done when the center is set and a thin, crackly crust forms on top. Check the pie a few times as it bakes to make sure the crust isn't browning too fast. If the crust starts to become darker than you'd like, use a pie shield or strips of aluminum foil to cover and protect it. Continue baking as directed.
  • Transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool. You can serve it warm, chilled, or at room temperature. Top with lots of whipped cream and enjoy!

Video

Notes

  • TO STORE: Cover leftover buttermilk pie and place in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • TO REHEAT: If you enjoy buttermilk pie warm, you may gently reheat it in the oven at 325 degrees F until warmed through.
  • TO FREEZE: Cover the pie very tightly and store it in a freezer for up to 2 months.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 12); without whipped creamCalories: 248kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 3gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 67mgPotassium: 61mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 21gVitamin A: 311IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 30mgIron: 1mg

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is My Buttermilk Pie Runny?

It may not be fully cooked, OR it may be fully cooked but not fully cooled. You want to make sure to fully let the pie cool at room temperature (at least 2 hours) before you slice it to avoid it being runny.

What Causes Buttermilk Pie to Separate?

Most likely, you added the buttermilk (an acidic ingredient) at the same time as the other ingredients. To avoid this, add the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt) to the eggs first and then add the buttermilk. This is how the recipe is written, so as long as you follow it, you will bake the best buttermilk pie.

Is Buttermilk Pie Served Warm or Cold?

Buttermilk pie can be served warm, cold, or at room temperature. I recommend trying all three ways to see which you prefer. I’m partial to just a bit cooler than room temperature.

What is the Difference Between Buttermilk Pie and Chess Pie?

Buttermilk pie is sometimes confused with chess pie, but there are two major differences. Buttermilk pie is the only one of the two that uses buttermilk. Chess pie uses evaporated milk. Chess pie uses cornmeal for the thickener, while classic buttermilk pie uses flour.

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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77 Comments

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  1. Y’all in the comments are crazy. This came out so disgusting. It tasted like a lemon custard pie or something. No one tasted the lemon and had their pie overpowered by it? Gonna try this again and nix the zest. Hopefully it actually tastes like a buttermilk pie then.1 star

    1. I’m sorry to hear this wasn’t to your taste Kitty. You can definitely reduce the zest based on your preference. Buttermilk has a subtle flavor and tang and the pie itself should be creamy, custard base.

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