Old-Fashioned Chocolate Meringue Pie

An Old-Fashioned Chocolate Meringue Pie with a rich custard filling, a light and airy meringue and a tender pie crust always brings back memories of childhood. Nothing beats homemade pie just like grandma’s pie.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Meringue Pie

One of my great grandmother’s specialties was chocolate meringue pie. She would tirelessly whip those egg whites by hand. Thank goodness, I can let my Electric Mixer do the work! That takes some serious forearm strength.


Old-Fashioned Chocolate Meringue Pie


Unfortunately I don’t have my great-grandmother’s recipe, but this one is very similar. It’s a recipe from Charlotte’s Eats & Sweets in Keo, Arkansas that was published in Southern Living Off the Eaten Path: Favorite Southern Dives and 150 Recipes that Made Them Famous . I’ve altered the recipe just a little, reducing the vanilla extract and adding an extra egg white to the meringue.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Meringue Pie


This is a really solid recipe that produces a super-sweet chocolate filling that is balanced out by a meringue with just a touch of sweetness.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Meringue Pie

The cornstarch really helps the chocolate filing set up so that it holds its form when sliced and doesn’t make a soupy mess all over the plate. Don’t be intimidated by the meringue. It’s super easy. Just remember that eggs are easier to separate when they are cold but egg whites should be at room temperature when you make a meringue. And make sure to use a very clean and dry bowl. Just a tad of oil or grease will prevent the egg whites from whipping up nicely.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Meringue Pie

Once baked, cool the pie at room temperature for 1 hour and then refrigerate uncovered for 3 to 6 hours. To slice the pie, dip a knife in water before cutting each slice and don’t wipe the knife dry. The water will help prevent the pie from clinging to the knife.

To store leftovers, gently place a few toothpicks in the meringue and cover with plastic wrap. The toothpicks will prevent the plastic wrap from clinging to the meringue and messing it up.

Below are a few pictures from my weekend getaway in Beaufort, SC. Beaufort is the second oldest city in South Carolina and has a very rich and interesting history. And I feel quite sure there have been more than a few Chocolate Meringue Pies made in Beaufort through the years.


historic home on Bay St in Beaufort SCHistoric home on Bay St.

Unlike many southern cities, Beaufort was not burned during the Civil War and there are still block after block of beautiful antebellum homes. Beaufort was one of the first southern towns to be captured by Union forces and many of the homes were used as hospitals during the war.

historic home on Bay St in Beaufort SC

The stone home pictures above is next to the white one in the first picture and it is for sale for just under $1.2 million. All that stone looks rather foreboding doesn’t it?

Beaufort SC

If you sit on the front porch of either house you have this beautiful view of the Beaufort River.

Just a few blocks away on Craven St is the house pictured below which is one of my favorite in Beaufort. The house is so big, only part of it can be seen in the picture.

The Castle in Beaufort SC

Known as “The Castle”, this home was used as a hospital during the war and an outbuilding out back was used as a morgue. The home is now said to be haunted. Like almost all of the historic homes in Beaufort, it is still a private residence. The wedding scene from the movie Forces of Nature was filmed in the front yard.

Walking the historic streets of Beaufort, lined with live oaks draped in Spanish moss, is one of my favorite things to do to unwind. With the breezes of the water and the sound of the seagulls, it’s hard not to relax. I’m hoping it won’t be long before I get to go back.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Meringue Pie

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4.43 from 28 votes
Old-Fashioned Chocolate Meringue Pie
Old-Fashioned Chocolate Meringue Pie
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
29 mins
Total Time
59 mins
This classic Chocolate Meringue Pie has a creamy and thick chocolate filling and a tall, glossy meringue.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Southern
Servings: 8
Calories: 357 kcal
Author: Christin Mahrlig
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
Chocolate Filling
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 4 extra-large egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 5 extra-large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  1. Prepare Pastry. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut shortening into flour with a pastry blender until mixture resembles small peas. Push mixture to one side of bowl.
  2. Drizzle 1 tablespoon water along edge of flour mixture. Use a fork to toss some of the flour mixture into water. Move mixture to opposite side of bowl and repeat with 2 more tablespoons of water.
  3. Gather the dough together with your hands. You can add a little more water if the mixture is too dry, but it is best to add as little water as possible. Shape dough into a disk and place on a lightly floured work surface.
  4. Roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness and place in a 9-inch pie plate. Trim excess pastry and fold edges under and crimp. Prick bottom and sides with a fork and bake for 9 minutes, until golden brown. Set pie crust aside to cool and reduce oven to 325 degrees.
  5. Prepare Chocolate Filling. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, unsweetened cocoa, and salt. Gradually whisk in both milks.
  6. Cook, whisking constantly, over medium-high heat until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 1 minute whisking continuously.
  7. Remove from heat and gradually whisk a small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks. Continue to add hot mixture to egg yolks while whisking constantly until approximately 1/4 of the mixture has been added to the egg yolks.
  8. Pour egg yolk mixture into the saucepan and whisk well.
  9. Cook mixture, stirring constantly, over medium heat for 3 minutes.
  10. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla extract. Cover with plastic wrap and keep warm.
  11. Prepare meringue. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed until foamy. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat until stiff peaks form and sugar dissolves.
  12. Pour chocolate filling into pie crust. Spread meringue over filling, sealing the edges. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes, or until meringue is golden. Cool completely before slicing.
Recipe Notes

After baking, cool on the counter for 1 hour and then place in refrigerator uncovered for 3 to 6 hours before slicing.

Nutrition Facts
Old-Fashioned Chocolate Meringue Pie
Amount Per Serving
Calories 357
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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117 thoughts on “Old-Fashioned Chocolate Meringue Pie

  1. This was an amazing pie to make!! I’m learning the science of baking and this recipe was perfect for me. It was easy to follow and the results were better than I had anticipated. My meringue fell a little short due to my error……of that I am must certain. Regardless of my meringue’s shortcomings it was still the best meringue I have made to date.
    Take your time and remember baking is not an art, it is a science.

  2. After my grandmother died, no one attempted her chocolate pie. After our last family gathering everyone talked about how they would love to taste her pie so I attempted it with this recipe and… success! The biggest compliment was when everyone said, “This tastes just like Grandma’s pie!”. It was not runny and it stood up after being cut. Great recipe!

  3. I made this pie today. My first time to ever make a meringue pie. I followed the recipe exactly. It turned out perfect. My family loves it! Thanks for sharing it.

  4. I just made this this afternoon. It turned out beautiful! I let it rest a good while then put it in the fridge. The pie was still kind of warm. I came home and the meringue had “weeped” so bad and it soggy now! What did I do wrong??! Help I want to try again tomorrow

    1. The same thing happened to me. It was fine until it came out of the oven. Thinking I should just put the Meringue under the broiler.

  5. This recipe was very easy to make. I made it in honor of my Daddy today since it was Father’s Day. He loved my grandmother’s pies so this was a way to honor him

  6. I’m getting ready to make this pie for my boyfriend- he loves chocolate pie but just scrapes off the meringue- would I have to do anything differently to the filling if I omit the meringue altogether?

  7. I made this pie for Easter 2018 and it was beautiful and tasted great! I followed your directions to a “t” and had no problems with runny chocolate, etc. Thanks so much for helping me feel like a professional! 🙂

    1. I made this pie tonight, but had the opposite problem from some of the reviewers. My filling was a little too thick and similar to jello, next time I won’t cook quite as long, and will see if that changes it. Overall it’s a great recipe!!

  8. Killing me right now… pie is in the fridge cooling. It looks and smells amazing! Me and my fork are “not so patiently” waiting! Lol Recipe was very easy to follow and ingredients are stuff most of us already have one hand. Thanks so much!!!! Can’t wait to dig in!!!!!


    1. It’s a shame you had such a bad experience w this recipe and had to shout about it.
      Try again. As w any other pudding type filling if you don’t cook it long enough it’s not going to set.
      Add your sugar to your meringue slower and make sure it’s completely incorporated. If you run a bit between your fingers and it’s gritty you know it’s not and to keep whipping.
      Turned out fabulously for me and the recipe is a keeper!

      1. Hi- I am so excited to try this recipie! For 20 years I have attempted my Grandmothers Chocolate Pie and it comes out beautiful but as soon as I cut it, I have to get spoons out to eat it with. It taste & looks just like hers but it never sets up.
        She always “dredged” (I think that’s what you call mixing the hot pudding with the egg yolks so that’s what I’ve always done then a lady told me shes had the same problem as me then found a recipe that says to basically throw the egg yolks in with everything else and it worked for her. I didn’t have the sameness luck. Still runny.
        I’ve never heard of placing clear wrap over pudding while making meringue until today and your recipe was the second one today that suggest that.
        I plan on making this in a minute …. pie crust about to go in so wish me luck and I will let you know how it comes out. Thanks for posting. BYW, it’s sad to see that people are blaming the recipe when clearly it’s us cooks that are at fault!

    2. One thing I have learned about meringue is to make it first before the filling. While you are making filling pop meringue in the fridge. It keeps meringue from being runny by putting over hot filling.

  10. I followed the instructions and could only refrigerate it 3 hours before serving. The filling was runny, but the taste was great. Is my only problem needing to chill it longer ?

  11. My 17 year old daughter made this pie for Thanksgiving and followed the recipe exactly and it turned out amaaaaazing! Very thick and chocolatey and the meringue was huge and delicious!! This pie is very rich and needs that meringue to be tall. Even 4 days later we finished the pie and it seemed to get better and better each day!! Will definitely be putting this recipe in the books!! Thank you!

  12. Made 2 of these over the holiday and they turned out great. Have used this recipe before also with no issues. The two seperate cooking times really matter. You must let it come to a full boil for a good full minute before taking care of the egg yolks- you can feel it when it starts to thicken and set a bit. Then it must boil again for the 3 minutes after you add the egg yolks. Hope this helps others

    1. I used this recipe and the pie turned out fine. But you have to wait for the mixture to come to a full boil. Once it’s at full boil, then cook it for 1 minute. Add the egg mixture and bring to boil again and start timer for 3 minutes. I messed this up the first time and it turned out runny, but the second time it turned out awesome!!

  13. I made this today and followed directions exactly. It is completely runny inside and the pudding is runnier now after being in the crust and in the fridge for 3 hours than when I cooked it on the stove. Very disappointed in this recipe.

  14. Hello. I’m also searching for my mom’s recipe. My dad has looked and can’t find her recipe, but she also did a lot from memory :). I tried this one last night and my pies didn’t set. They are basically still liquid. Any ideas where I messed up?? About to attempt a do over.

  15. My brother’s favorite dessert is chocolate meringue pie. I’ve been working on the perfect pie for 2 years now. This is the first recipe I’ve used that the meringue was absolutely perfect. I was so proud to take the pie to my brothers this weekend for a cookout. He said it was PHENOMENAL! I don’t eat meringue so made another pie without the meringue and got the same reviews. Everybody loved it! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I can’t wait to make it again for Thanksgiving!

  16. Made this for a Halloween potluck and it was simply awesome. By far the best chocolate pie I’ve ever had. (Ok, except for my mother’s!) I doubled it as I had a large pie pan. And, I added a bit of very dark chocolate powder.

          1. You can use arrowroot powder in place of cornstarch. I believe it is a 1/1 ratio, but Google to double check.

  17. What changes do I need to make to the recipe if I’m leaving off the meringue? I just want the chocolate pie. Do I still bake it at the end?

  18. I’m so excited to find the recipe, this is my first attempt to make a homemade chocolate pie with meringue . I remember a family member making this pie it was and still is my favorite.
    Thank you for sharing it brings back alot of memories . Heavenly.

  19. what if i forgot the vanilla?? Pies are cooling and I just realized I didn’t add it in. Should I try to even eat it?

  20. I found this recipe nearly three years ago and every time I need to make a dish that no one else usually brings I search for this one! It is definitely a go-to recipe for when I want to indulge for the week or when I want to impress. I just made it again today for my neighbor and it gets more perfect every time I make it. Thanks!!!!

  21. I have looked at several chocolate meringue recipes and they all call for 1 tsp of vanilla and this one calls for 1 TBSP. Is that a typo or does it really 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract? I really want to use this recipe but need to verify the vanilla content as I plan to make this on Saturday, 8-26-17 for an 80th birthday. A quick reply would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!

  22. I just prepared this recipe and it is easy to follow and my pie is gorgeous. Letting it cool before I slice it and I may try the powdered sugar in my merginue bc I already see my meringue weeping some.
    Thank you for a great recipe for my Tennessee home.

  23. Thanks so very much for this recipe , my mom made a pie just like this and i have looked forever for something close to her, this was it exactly. It turned out perfect. Thanks Again

  24. I have been looking for an old fashioned chocolate pie recipe for years that resembled our great aunt’s recipe. This is the closest I’ve found. I made it yesterday and the taste was spot on but sadly it was more like soup. I know I didn’t let it sit for an hour on the counter or 3-6 hours in the fridge but I’m curious if lactose free milk could also cause problems. Thoughts? I’m determined to make this again because the taste was so good but I messed up the consistency. I’m lactose intolerant so I’m hoping my lack of patience caused the problem.

    1. I don’t think lactose-free milk should have had an effect. Make sure you cook the filling for a full three minutes. It’s the cooking part that really gets it to thicken up. Also, definitely take the time to let it cool, and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours. Hope you have success!

    2. I also am lactose intolerant. I recently used lactose free milk in a chocolate pie recipe & it turned out great. You probably cut it too soon.

  25. If you use powdered sugar when making meringue,
    The meringue will not weep. I am 70 yes old and have used this swap since I learned to cook from my dad!
    He was a baker and had many tips he passed on to me. Roll your dough over your pin and unroll over pie pan. Easy transfer!

        1. It’s technically called syneresis. It when the meringue starts to break down and releases a watery looking sticky substance (usually after about 12-24 hours). When swapping the sugars, would start by using about 1/2, which would be 2-3 Tbsp of powdered sugar

          1. Do you mean do 1/2 cup sugar and 2-3 tbsp of powdered sugar instead of 1 cup sugar as the recipe calls for?? I am making this for my husbands grandmother this weekend and I really want to get this right!! She will know if somethings up, hahahaha. Thanks in advance!

  26. I cannot thank you enough. We have been searching for our grandmother’s recipe for years. They lived on my father’s farm and things had to be quick, easy, foolproof and delicious. She made this chocolate pie a lot and it was always my brother’s favorite. I can see the two pies (she always made two) sitting on the shelf in the utility room right now just begging to be eaten.
    We have tried many recipes before and they were never quite right. My brother made this recently and it is spot on. Bravo! I can’t wait to try it myself.

    Thank you for giving us back a part of our culinary heritage.

  27. My hubby’s favorite pie is chocolate with meringue top. His Grandma made it for him all the time when he was small. always scared me, but I think I can do this. Your recipe is very detailed, thank you. Will let you know how it turns out.

  28. Wonderful recipe. Cannot wait to make it, but I always have trouble with my meringue weeping, any suggestions. By the way love the pics of the old historical homes, one of my passions, visiting those

      1. Thank you for the information. Will try the cornstarch. After readings all the comments, I think this is a common problem. One review said eat the whole pie, that would solve the problem , that is the best answer.

  29. My mom used to make chocolate pies like this every Thanksgiving and Christmas. They’re still her favorite, but she lost her recipe and I’ve been too intimidated to try to make one myself. Your recipe looks a lot like hers though, so I think I’m going to give it a whirl! I’ve made a lot of your recipes and you never disappoint!

  30. I just made this and it is absolutely delicious. Don’t think I’ll ever need another chocolate pie recipe. This one is too good to pass up!!!

  31. I have been looking for a chocolate pie recipe, the kind my lovely grandmother used to make. I made this pie this morning and it turned out wonderful!!!! I “licked” the pan before I washed it………..mmmmmmmmm 🙂

  32. My filling set up nice after i cooked it, but when i took it out if the oven, let it cool and then refrigerated it the consistency stayed like pudding. Any suggestions of where i wrong?

  33. Use to live in Beaufort back in 1953-54. My husband was in the Marines. I worked for a gentleman by the name of “Doc” Trammel. He owned a collection business!! We loved Beaufort.
    I have visited there a couple of times since. Of course, nothing is the same there!! It is a beautiful place.

      1. Have made this pie for years with 2% milk, and it always turns out great! If you wanted to you could always add an extra egg yolk for richness.

      2. Hope I not too late. DO NOT USE 2% MILK. The chocolate will not set right. It will be too runny. Need to use whole milk only. I have been making this pie for 40+ years at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

  34. Definitely didn’t need the pie in the oven for even 13 minutes. For the meringue color as shown in your pics, 7 minutes at 325 degrees would have been sufficient. Will do that next time 🙂
    The pie recipe was a winner though 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing!

  35. Got your pie cooling on the counter and wow…the pudding part was fabulous. The meringue is high and gorgeous. This will be my future go-to chocolate pie.

  36. I stopped by from Weekend Potluck to check out your post because this pie looked so yummy. I’m totally not disappointed that I did! I would like to invite you to share your talents on my new link party The Yuck Stops Here on Hot Momma’s Kitchen Chaos at http://mommasangelbaby.com. I hope to see you there! HUGS

  37. I love your photos of Beaufort, and had fun viewing them on Instagram…so pretty! This pie looks so delicious — I’ve never had chocolate meringue. That meringue is a beauty to behold — so perfect! Your grandmother would be proud. 🙂

  38. Sooo I’ve never had chocolate meringue pie before … crazy right? I need to change that – this looks so so good! We never had a lot of pie growing up and for some reason I rarely make them either! Bad food blogger! : )

  39. That’s wonderful that you found a recipe that comes close to what your great grandmother made – this pie looks incredible Christin. Thanks for sharing these awesome pics of Beaufort with us too – I’m so glad it was a nice and relaxing trip 🙂

  40. I wish chocolate meringue pie was part of my childhood eats! Just the name makes me smile…and it looks so good! I made chocolate pudding pie recently and it appears to be one of my fellas’ favorites. I’m thinking this pie (if I could make it as nicely) sure would impress them! And thanks for sharing the pics of Beaufort, too!

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