Derby pie is like a gooey walnut chocolate chip cookie in pie form. Served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it’s a Southern tradition served all year round, not just on the 1st Saturday in May. You can prep this in 15 minutes, even easier than a batch of cookies. Traditionally it’s Spiked with Kentucky Bourbon, but equally scrumptious with vanilla extract. Bourbon lovers can add a splash to the whipped cream.
Celebrate the Kentucky Derby anytime with Pie
Kentucky Derby season is such a big deal in the South, but as much fun as the races are, the food might be even better. This delicious Kentucky Derby Pie recipe is a classic using walnuts and not pecans.
My husband was born and raised in Kentucky, so of course we have a Derby party every year and watch the races on TV. The Kentucky Derby is not just a horse race; it’s a big deal with a lot of history, tradition, and of course, Derby parties, dinners and breakfast the day of the race.
While called a Derby pie, this is not a recipe that you would typically serve at a Derby party, but would be served at a dinner leading up to the Derby or for any other occasion.
Regardless of the occasion, this pie has withstood the test of time. Walnuts and chocolate are surrounded by a buttery brown sugar filling creating an award winning pie. It’s not a pie that will fall apart, you’ll get beautiful slices that can hold up to a scoop of ice cream.
This chocolate nut pie does contain two tablespoons of Bourbon, it’s enough that you taste the Bourbon flavor in the pie. If you don’t like that flavor, then just leave it out and increase the amount of vanilla. I’m not a hugh Bourbon fan so if I’m making it for me, I’ll add a little less Bourbon so you just get a hint of the flavor. You’ll need at least a tablespoon to be able to taste it.
My favorite way to serve this is warm, but it’s also fantastic at room temperature. This makes it great to take to a potluck or picnic. On those occasions, add a little whipped cream instead of ice cream. If you love Bourbon, try adding a teaspoon to the whipped cream along with the vanilla.
How to Make Bourbon Whipped Cream
Making it isn’t hard at all. Here’s what to do.
- Pour 1 cup of heavy whipping cream in a large mixing bowl.
- Add in ¼ cup powdered sugar and ½ tsp vanilla.
- Pour in a little bit of bourbon, about 1-2 teaspoons according to your taste.
- Beat with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form.
If you need your whip cream to stand up in the heat for an outdoor party, or want to make it the day before, stabilized the whipped cream with gelatin for the best results.
Why You’ll Love a Chocolaty Derby Pie
- It’s tradition. When you make a from-scratch Derby pie, you get to be part of the excitement and traditions of the South.
- It just tastes so good. Who knew a blend of pie and cookies could taste so good, but it really does! The gooey filling isn’t runny or messy, and it can even be served warm! With melted chocolate chips and a flaky crust, it’s really an incredible dessert.
- It’s not difficult, and it’s hard to mess up. This is a very straightforward recipe and is even better with a homemade crust. Is a fool-proof recipe made with pantry ingredients, and it’s absolutely wonderful.
Walnuts or Pecans in Derby Pie?
Here in Kentucky, we serve Derby Pie with walnuts, but I know that many people prefer this pie with pecans. Honestly, either will work, but traditionally walnuts are used.
Chocolate Walnut Pie Ingredients
- Partially baked pie crust – Your own crust or store-bought will both work.
- Butter – I prefer unsalted butter for baking most sweets.
- Bourbon – Any bourbon will do. You can also leave it out and increase the vanilla to a tablespoon.
- Vanilla – I highly recommend you use real, high-quality vanilla in this recipe, as it makes all the difference in balancing out the sweetness of the filling.
- Chocolate chips – Semi-sweet chocolate chips are absolutely perfect for this recipe.
- Chopped walnuts – You can use pecans, but I prefer walnuts.
- Pantry Staples – salt, flour, brown sugar, white sugar, eggs.
Easy Steps for the Best Derby Pie
Step 1: Par-bake your crust.
Partially bake pie crust with pie weights. Allow it to cool slightly.
Step 2: Combine the wet ingredients.
Grab a large mixing bowl and a hand mixer to create your filling.
Pour the melted butter in the mixing bowl along with the white and brown sugar. Mix it together until the sugar is wet and uniform. In a small bowl, use a fork to beat the eggs. Add the eggs to the sugar mixture with the bourbon, and vanilla. Mix until completely combined.
Step 3: Add the dry ingredients.
Next add the flour and salt and mix until just combined. Stir in the walnuts and chocolate chips and pour the entire filling mixture into the partially baked pie crust.
Step 4: Bake the pie.
Bake until the center is set, and allow it to cool on a wire rack for a bit before cutting. Serve with bourbon-laced whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Tips for Making a Perfect Kentucky Derby Pie
- Watch your pie crust to make sure it turns just golden brown. If it begins to get too dark, you can wrap it gently in aluminum foil near the end of the bake time or use a pie shield.
- Don’t overmix your filling once you have added the flour.
How to Store Derby Pie
You can leave this on the counter covered with plastic wrap for a day or two or keep it in the refrigerator. It’s best eaten in 1-2 days, after that the crust will get soggy.
In the freezer: You can freeze your leftovers. Lift the remaining pie from the pie plate and set it on a large piece of plastic wrap. Wrap the pie numerous times in plastic, then in a layer of aluminum foil, or place it in a large Ziploc bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before eating.
Can I Make Derby Pie Ahead?
Yes, you can! I recommend you not make this pie more than 1 day ahead if you plan to serve it for a party unless you’re going to freeze it. The crust will loose it’s crispness after a day or two. You can crisp it up by heating it in the oven for a few minutes.
More Easy Southern Pie Recipes to Love
Make a Better Pie
GET MY COOKBOOK + PIE TRAINING VIDEOS
Make sure your new pies turn out the way you want.
- 6 exclusive new pie recipes
- Step-by-step instructions
- 5 video trainings (from eggs to crust)
If you loved this recipe, give it a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating! Also, snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #butterandbaggage and tagging me @butterandbaggage.
Chocolate Walnut Kentucky Derby Pie (+ Bourbon Whipped Cream)
- 1 9- inch pie crust partially baked
- 8 tablespoons butter melted
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup white sugar
- 2 eggs slightly beaten
- ½ cup flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- Partially bake pie crust with pie weights at 425º for 15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Add the melted butter and white and brown sugar to a medium bowl and mix to combine. Add the beaten eggs, bourbon and vanilla and mix.
- Next add the flour and salt and mix just enough to combine. Add the walnuts and chocolate chips. Stir to evenly distribute. Pour into the partially baked pie crust.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes until the center is set. Allow to cool on a wire rack before cutting.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- Don’t overmix your filling
- Watch your pie crust to make sure it turns just golden brown. If it begins to get too dark, cover with a pie shield or aluminum foil.
- You can leave out the Bourbon and use 1 tablespoon of vanilla instead.