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Kentucky Derby Pie Recipe

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This Bourbon Kentucky Derby Pie is a Southern tradition that tastes just like a warm chocolate chip cookie with pecans in pie form! Whether you’re watching the Kentucky Derby or just want a delicious and easy-to-make dessert recipe, this pie is for you!

overhead view of Kentucky derby pie on dark backdrop

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We had rain on and off all day Saturday so what’s a girl to do stuck inside with three little boys and a hungry husband? Bake of course! Continuing with my Kentucky Derby party theme, (I shared my mint julep recipe last week and all my favorite sides for teas sandwiches), today I have an amazing recipe for Kentucky Derby Pie.

What is Kentucky Derby Pie?

If you haven’t heard of this delicious concoction, today is your lucky day. This easy recipe is unbelievably simple to make and yields a delicious pie filled with pecans and chocolate (and for a super authentic version, a little Kentucky bourbon as well!)

It’s one of my favorite pie recipes…I’ve heard it called Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie also because the filling turns out a similar texture and flavor as a cookie. I dare you to take just one bite! (This pie would be perfect for a Kentucky Derby party too!)

Where did it originate?

The Kentucky Derby is America’s most famous horse race. It takes place every year at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, on the first Saturday in May. The Run for the Roses race is the longest-running sporting event in the United States, dating all the way back to 1875.

This Derby Chocolate Walnut Pie was created by Leaudra and Walter Kern and their son George Kern at the Melrose Inn in the 1950s and has been a Derby classic ever since. (source) The original recipe used walnuts but derby pie with pecans have become just as popular over the years.

Do you have to use bourbon?

While the traditional recipe does include a splash of bourbon, you can choose to omit it if you like. The end result will not have any major taste difference either way. I usually make mine without and save the bourbon for my mint juleps!

close up of slice of Kentucky derby pie


  • butter
  • dark brown sugar
  • granulated sugar
  • eggs
  • vanilla extract
  • Kentucky bourbon (optional)
  • all-purpose flour
  • salt
  • semisweet chocolate chips
  • pecan halves
  • frozen deep dish unbaked pie crust or homemade pie crust

Step by step

Unlike my Pecan Pie or Chocolate Pecan Pie recipes, this pie does not require corn syrup AND it can be prepped in just 15 minutes!

  1. Mix the butter, sugars, then egg and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl just like a traditional cookie recipe. You can also add the optional bourbon at this step too.
  2. Add the remaining dry ingredients, then fold in the chocolate chips and pecans then pour into a pie shell.
  3. Bake one hour then let it sit 15 minutes before serving. It’s amazing on its own or topped with whipped cream or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
Kentucky derby pie with one slice missing

Tips for best results

  • place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet while baking to avoid spills and mess in the oven
  • if the crust starts to over-brown, cover it with foil
  • you can make this pie up to 3 days in advance

Storage FAQ

Freezing While it is possible to freeze this pie I cannot recommend it. The pie will change in texture and part of what makes it so amazing is that cookie-like texture. The crust also tends to get soggy. Save this pie for when you can make it fresh!

Leftovers Wrap leftovers with plastic wrap and store at room temperature up to 5 days. Keep up to a week stored in the refrigerator.

If you like this recipe you might also want to try these other delicious pies:

If you try this recipe I would love it if you could comment and rate it below, I love hearing from you!

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overhead view of Kentucky derby pie

Kentucky Derby Pie

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.6 from 5 reviews

  • Author: Melissa Riker
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x


Kentucky Derby Pie is a classic dessert recipe that tastes like a Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie! An easy dessert recipe perfect for entertaining!


Units Scale
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons Kentucky bourbon (optional)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 cup pecan halves, plus additional for garnish if desired
  • 1 frozen deep dish unbaked pie crust


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pie shell on a baking sheet.
  2. In a medium bowl combine sugars and melted butter.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla (and bourbon if using) and stir until uniform.
  4. Stir in flour and salt.
  5. Fold in 1 cup of pecans and chocolate chips.
  6. Pour into pie shell. Add additional pecans for decoration if desired.
  7. Bake one hour or until middle is just set. Allow to cool on a rack 15 minutes before slicing.


I do not recommend freezing this pie.

Wrap leftovers with plastic wrap and store at room temperature up to 5 days. Keep up to a week stored in the refrigerator.

  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1/8th pie
  • Calories: 589
  • Sugar: 37.9 g
  • Sodium: 266.8 mg
  • Fat: 37.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 60.4 g
  • Protein: 7.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 76.9 mg

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  1. This pie is amazing! I made my own pie crust rather than using store bought, and although I think I overbaked it by a few minutes, it’s absolutely delicious.

  2. Every one at the Derby party loved it!and asked for recipe. only alcohol was in the pie, accidentally put a little more in. Wanted a traditional recipe, so many out there. I didn’t have enough karo syrup so looked for something else, and found this great recipe.
    Substituted with white chocolate chips. I put additional nuts and chips. The chips melted in so next time will not add on top. No worries about it lasting too long.

  3. Hi Melissa: I just got to see your strawberry muffins recipe . What a nice idea by putting plain yogurt I have on
    a regular basis as a snack in the evening. Also your Kentucky Mud Pie also delicious have a nice day. To go an
    idea of the weather in Montreal we have freezing rain so all the school in the province are closed. I get a brake
    I don t have to take the husky out to early for her walk as they have not salted our street and sidewalk. Have a nice
    day . Suzanne

    1. I hope it warms up for you soon Suzanne! We’re quite warm down here in Georgia, it was up to 87 degrees yesterday, a little too warm! ~Melissa

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