Gluten Free Lemon Chess Pie

Published on Feb 17, 2023

  by   Kristina Stosek

11 reviews

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 45 minutes Serves: 9-incch pie
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Have you ever had one of those cravings that just won’t quit? Something sweet, tangy, and so delicious that it sounds like you can find it only in a bakery? Gluten Free Lemon Chess Pie is one of those desserts, and you can make it at home in no time using less than ten ingredients.

a slice of gluten free lemon chess pie on a dessert plate

This very best easy-to-make recipe is the perfect balance of sweet and tart. It’s also gluten free, and we have included a dairy-free option for those with dietary restrictions. Another pie I highly recommend is the Gluten-Free Coconut Lemon Custard Pie.

What is traditional chess pie?

Chess pie is a dessert with a custard-like filling with a crunch of cornmeal and a simple crust. The filling for this pie typically consists of sugar, eggs, butter, milk, cornmeal and flour. The pie is baked until it is golden brown and the filling is set.

slice of chess pie on a plate next to whole chess pie in a pie dish

what does this lemon chess pie taste like

This Southern dessert resembles a custard-like pie with a tart and sweet flavor. The base is a melt-in-your-mouth shortbread crust, and the two layers go exceptionally well together. 

The key ingredient in this gluten free chess pie recipe is fresh lemon juice, which gives the dessert its characteristic tart flavor. However, butter and sugar are also important components of the pie filling. Eggs are also essential to the filling as they help to thicken it and give it a custard-like texture.

close up of a slice of chess pie dusted with powdered sugar on a plate


Can I make chess pie dairy-free?

Yes, you can make chess pie dairy-free! In this lemon chess pie recipe, replace the butter with vegan butter. I found vegan earth balance butter worked the best in this recipe. We tried coconut oil, but it changed the flavor, and the texture was different.

If you are using milk in this recipe, we found almond milk the best replacement. Another dairy-free dessert recipe you may want to try is the Gluten-Free Key Lime Squares.

whole and halved lemon on a green napking


fresh lemon juice vs bottled lemon juice

Please do not substitute freshly squeezed lemon juice for bottled juice. The fresh lemon flavor is what makes this gluten free lemon chess pie. Unfortunately, the bottled version doesn’t come even close in terms of flavor.

overview of baked lemon chess pie in a pie dish

How can you tell if a chess pie is done?

You’ll know the pie is ready when the center no longer jiggles, and the pie has a rich golden-brown color. If there is still a slight jiggle to the filling at the end of the baking time, continue to bake until the custard fully sets.  

sliced pie in a glass pie dish with a slice on a desert plate

variations of the chess pie recipe

Buttermilk Chess Pie: Replace lemon juice with buttermilk

Coconut Chess Pie: Add one cup of unsweetened shredded coconut 

Vanilla Chess Pie: Replace lemon juice with milk and add one teaspoon of pure vanilla extract 

Toppings for chess pie

Various toppings can be used for chess pie to make the dessert more special. Some of the most popular toppings include:

-Whipped cream

-Fresh berries

-Powdered sugar

-Chocolate shavings

-ice cream

How to store chess pie

First, allow the pie to cool completely before storing it in an airtight container. Once it is cooled, you can keep it at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to five days.

a slice of gluten free lemon chess pie on a dessert plate

Can you freeze gluten free chess pie?

Some gluten free baked goods should not be frozen because they will crumble once they are defrosted. However, gluten free lemon chess pie freezes beautifully. 

To defrost the chess pie, place it in the refrigerator overnight before serving. Chess pie can be served at room temperature or chilled.

There’s nothing more nostalgic than a slice of freshly baked southern pie. The sweetness and tartness in the filling, and the buttery goodness of the crust, make one delicious pie.

Some food for thought before reaching for that next slice of pie, this homemade gluten free lemon chess pie will beat even one from your favorite bakery.

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Cindy, almond flour is what makes it super moist. However, you can try and use certified gluten free oat flour, the chess pie will be a bit dryer. Or, you can use another nut flour like walnut or pecan, thank you.


what could I substitute for almond flour?


such an easy recipe and the pie turned out perfect


Alene the rice flour is in the filling, you can use coconut flour for the 1 tbsp. rice flour


Delicious, will make it again.


the pie turned out perfect and such an easy recipe, my 14 year old made it.


Hi! This is beautiful but I have never had a chess pie. That is probably because I'm not southern. However, anything lemon is something I love. I cannot eat rice at all so I will have to change your blend because they all have rice flour in them. I have some good blends without rice flour. Do I actually need the 1 tb of rice flour later in the recipe? That is my bigger problem. It's a great recipe and I am hoping I can use it elsewhere. Thank you!

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