Buttermilk pie recipe

Buttermilk pie recipe

In the heart of Southern cuisine, amidst the golden-fried chicken and savory collard greens, lies a dessert that encapsulates the essence of comfort and tradition: the Buttermilk Pie recipe. This classic dessert, with its origins steeped in simplicity and necessity, has graced family tables for generations, becoming a symbol of hospitality and warmth in the American South. The beauty of the Buttermilk Pie recipe lies not just in its creamy texture and delicate balance of sweet and tangy flavors but also in its story—a testament to the ingenuity of home cooks who made delightful use of what was readily available.

The Buttermilk Pie recipe is a custard pie that is as rich in history as it is in taste. Its origins can be traced back to the United Kingdom, from where it journeyed across the Atlantic, finding a new home in the Southern United States. There, it evolved, incorporating local ingredients and flavors, and became a staple in Southern kitchens. The pie’s simplicity was key to its widespread appeal, especially during times when resources were scarce. It required only a handful of ingredients—most of which were staples in any Southern pantry. This accessibility made the Buttermilk Pie recipe a beloved dessert, one that could be whipped up for any occasion, from Sunday dinners to holiday feasts.

The secret to its enduring popularity is the contrast between the simplicity of its ingredients and the complexity of its flavor. At its core, the Buttermilk Pie recipe consists of buttermilk, sugar, eggs, and butter, with a touch of flour for thickening and lemon or vanilla for flavoring. Yet, when these elements come together, they create a dessert that is utterly transformative. The acidity of the buttermilk balances the sweetness of the sugar, while the eggs and butter lend a richness that makes each bite melt in your mouth. The result is a pie that is both comforting and elegant, a reminder of the power of simple ingredients to create something extraordinary.

The Buttermilk Pie recipe is also a canvas for creativity. While the classic recipe is beloved for its straightforward deliciousness, modern renditions have seen the addition of ingredients like lemon zest, nutmeg, or even a swirl of chocolate or fruit compote, allowing bakers to put their twist on tradition. This versatility makes the Buttermilk Pie recipe a dessert that can be tailored to any taste or occasion, ensuring its place in the pantheon of Southern desserts for generations to come.

Beyond its taste and tradition, the Buttermilk Pie recipe represents a philosophy of cooking that values resourcefulness and simplicity. It’s a reminder of a time when recipes were passed down through generations, not just for the dishes they produced but for the stories they told and the memories they evoked. In every slice of Buttermilk Pie is a slice of history, a piece of a simpler time that invites us to slow down and savor the moment.

Buttermilk pie

Recipe by Sandra J
Prep time


Cooking time






  • 1 9-inch pie crust, unbaked

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

  • 3 large eggs

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Zest of 1 lemon (optional)

  • Pinch of salt


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar and flour.
  • Add the melted butter to the sugar and flour mixture, stirring until well combined
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, ensuring each is fully incorporated before adding the next.
  • Stir in the buttermilk, vanilla extract, and lemon zest (if using), along with a pinch of salt, mixing until the batter is smooth.
  • Pour the batter into the unbaked pie crust.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, or until the pie is set and the top is lightly golden. The center should jiggle slightly when shaken.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  • Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving to allow the pie to fully set.

Serving Suggestions

The magic of Buttermilk Pie lies not just in its delightful taste but also in how it is served. This pie stands splendidly on its own, a testament to the allure of simplicity. Yet, with a few thoughtful accompaniments, it transforms into an exquisite dessert that can grace any table, from casual gatherings to festive celebrations.

Complementing Textures and Flavors

A dollop of freshly whipped cream on top of a slice of Buttermilk Pie adds a luxurious richness that complements its tangy flavor. For those who favor a contrast in temperatures and textures, a scoop of vanilla ice cream alongside a warm slice creates a delightful sensory experience. The cold, creamy sweetness of the ice cream pairs beautifully with the warm, tangy custard, making each bite a harmonious blend of flavors and sensations.

Fruit Pairings

The acidity of the buttermilk in the pie provides a perfect backdrop for pairing with fruits. Fresh berries, such as raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries, not only add a burst of color but also a refreshing zing that enhances the pie’s flavors. A berry compote, gently simmered and spooned over the pie, introduces a touch of elegance and a symphony of flavors that dance on the palate.

Beverage Pairings

When considering what to drink with Buttermilk Pie, the goal is to complement its rich, creamy texture and balance its sweetness. A cup of strong, black coffee offers a delightful bitterness that contrasts beautifully with the pie’s sweetness, creating a perfect balance. For tea lovers, a brisk Earl Grey with its citrusy notes, or a chamomile tea with its subtle floral hints, makes for a comforting pairing. For a celebratory occasion, a glass of sparkling wine or a dessert wine like Sauternes can elevate the dessert experience, adding a layer of sophistication and joy.

Seasonal Variations

Buttermilk Pie is a versatile dessert that can be adapted to suit the seasons. In the fall, a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg on top can add a warmth that complements the cooler weather. During the holiday season, serving the pie with a side of cranberry sauce adds a festive touch and a tart contrast that cuts through the richness. In the summertime, serving the pie chilled, with a side of lemon sorbet, offers a refreshing and light dessert option that is both satisfying and cooling.


Buttermilk Pie is more than just a dessert; it’s a celebration of tradition, simplicity, and the joy of homemade baking. Its enduring appeal lies in its ability to bring people together, offering a taste of Southern hospitality and the comfort of home. Whether served in its classic form or with a modern twist, Buttermilk Pie remains a beloved dessert that transcends generations, a sweet reminder of the beauty in simplicity and the power of sharing a meal with loved ones. So, the next time you’re looking for a dessert that will warm hearts and delight palates, consider the humble but ever-so-delicious Buttermilk Pie. It’s a slice of the South that promises to become a cherished part of your culinary repertoire, a dessert that, with each bite, feels like coming home.

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About Author

Sandra J

Sandra J. is a food blogger known for simple, delicious recipes on her widely-followed blog. Her approachable style makes cooking accessible to everyone.

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