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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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Old-Fashioned Chocolate Meringue Pie slice on a white plate.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Meringue Pie

This classic Chocolate Meringue Pie has a creamy and thick chocolate filling and a tall, glossy meringue.
PREP: 30 minutes
COOK: 29 minutes
TOTAL: 59 minutes



  • 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


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Prepare Chocolate Filling. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, unsweetened cocoa, and salt. Gradually whisk in both milks.
  • Cook, whisking constantly, over medium-high heat until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 1 minute whisking continuously.
  • 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.
  • Pour egg yolk mixture into the saucepan and whisk well.
  • Cook mixture, stirring constantly, over medium heat for 3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla extract. Cover with plastic wrap and keep warm.
  • 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.
  • 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.


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


Calories: 357kcal
Author: Christin Mahrlig
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Southern

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167 thoughts on “Old-Fashioned Chocolate Meringue Pie”

  1. I made this for my dad’s birthday and it was a hit. It was gone within half an hour! I had no issues with the consistency, except my meringue deflated a bit while cooling. I added 1/4 cup of milk chocolate chips to the custard and it was delicious. I will definitely make this again!

  2. Made this. Was very good. No problem with it setting up. I think you need to make sure filling is cooked thick before putting in pie shell. And I think 20 minutes in oven is a bit too long. I did 350 for about 10 minutes. Also don’t put it in the refrigerator too soon. I also made a spacer out of foil to keep filling in and not ooze out after cutting a couple slices.

    1. Its called “weeping” it tends to happen if your pie is undercooked….but can happen for a number of reasons. Id recommend looking it up tonsee what tricks would work best for you.

  3. Diane Eppler

    This recipe makes a great pie! It was very easy to turn into a vegan pie. I have a request to make the vegan version for Christmas dinner tomorrow.

  4. I made this today for my sibling Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. Looks awesome! I really hope it doesn’t get watery!!!

  5. Paul Feminella

    This is a great recipe! The crust was so flakey and tender, I used lard. The filling was perfect great chocolate taste and not runny at all. I have been on quest for the perfect chocolate meringue pie recipe, I found it! It comes so close to my memory of my grandmother pie that it brings tears to my eyes, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but this is a damn good pie. When my grandmother passed to did the pie. Like so many women of her generation pies were an everyday thing they were quick and simple bakers. it was all done without recipes. If you were lucky enough to be around when she was doing it you learned if not she really couldn’t tell you how it was all done from eye balling it. So thanks.

  6. My husband and I just made these tonight for a meeting tomorrow. Neither of us have ever made this before. It looks beautiful. We are currently in the cooling stage. Would it be wise to leave on the counter all night then refrigerate in the morning? Or go ahead and refrigerate and pull out for before the meeting?

  7. I made it this weekend for first time and it was gone within an hour. It looked beautiful and tasted amazing. I just made another, 2nd this week. If this one last longer maybe I will know if it weeps, lol. So far soooo goood!!! Thank you for this recipe. 😋

  8. I made the pie this past weekend and the pudding set up perfectly and was tasty and thick the way a pudding should be. The meringue was light and fluffy as it should be. I waited several hours before putting in in the refrigerator for a luncheon the luncheon scheduled for the next day. When I removed it from the refrigerator the meringue had collapsed a little, but not much. The pudding had completely turned liquid enough to drink. It tasted good but looked absolutely nothing like a pie. It reads like several people have had the same problem. So either something is wrong with the recipe or a lot of people just do not get it.

  9. I followed the recipe to the letter with one exception: I added a bit of cornstarch (maybe a teaspoon or less) to the meringue when it was at the stiff-peaks stage to help keep it from weeping. (A technique I’ve learned to keep meringue from weeping is to add the sugar *very* slowly: add a tablespoon, beat for about one minute, add another tablespoon, beat for another minute, and so on. Undissolved sugar contributes to the weeping, so you want to be sure it’s completely dissolved. To check, rub a pinch of meringue between your fingers. If it feels at all gritty, beat it some more.) The pie came out absolutely perfect–slices beautifully, tastes amazing, meringue is light and fluffy and high, and no weeping, even on the second day. I’m just going to come right and out and say it: it’s even better than my grandmother’s chocolate pie. Thank you so much for the recipe!

  10. Joanie Baldwin

    I tried this pie for Christmas. I read the reviews and saw that some people had problem with their pie being watery but I decided to try it anyway. I tried SO hard to be careful with every step! My pie looked perfect when I put it into the refrigerator. Unfortunately when I pulled it out the merengue had weeped and when I cut into the pie it was covered in yellow goo. I’m so sad because I spent 1/2 a day making two of these pies and no body would eat them. I did taste them and the taste was perfect, I just wish I knew what I did wrong. 😢

    1. I agree with you Joanie. I made the pie this past weekend and the pudding set up perfectly and was tasty and thick the way a pudding should be. The meringue was light and fluffy as it should be. I waited several hours before putting in in the refrigerator for a luncheon the luncheon scheduled for the next day. When I removed it from the refrigerator the meringue had collapsed a little, but not much. The pudding had completely turned liquid enough to drink. It tasted good but looked absolutely nothing like a pie. It reads like several people have had the same problem. So either something is wrong with the recipe or a lot of people just do not get it.

  11. Helen smith

    Cook the filling until the mixture is thick enough that it “pulls” away from the side of the pan. Stir constantly so it doesn’t stick to bottom of pan. Remove from heat, stir in butter which has been cut in small pieces and vanilla. Stir really well after butter melts for a few minutes. Pour into cool cooked crust. Make meringue as directed but add a dash of salt to egg whites before beating. Spread meringue on pie and seal at edge of inside crust. Bake pie at 350 degree preheated oven until meringue is brown. Cool several hours before covering and refrigerating. Do not cover a hot or warm pie. Do not refrigerate a hot or warm pie. Do not cut a hot or warm pie. Filling will run if you cut it too soon. I only use four egg whites. I’ve made these pies for 40 years. And yes you can use whole milk. I very seldom use evaporated milk. This should solve the runny, weepy problems.

  12. Tricia Lucas

    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.

  13. I followed the instructions exactly and my filling was totally runny! Huge waste of time!!!

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

    1. Scott powell

      Perfection every time I have made it. I do use powdered sugar for the meringue, a little bit of knowledge from my daddy. This pie is perfect every time.

    2. First time making this pie, and probably my last. Followed the recipe to a T, and the pie filling was runny hours after letting it set up in the fridge. Made this for Easter. So disappointing. I think the recipe needs some tweaks so people won’t be misled into thinking this sets up in 3 hours or so. It doesn’t. Something about the meringue cooking over the pie made it runny I’m guessing? Which is why most recipes call for broiled meringue, not cooked for 20 min. Should’ve gone with my gut and followed my grandmas tried and true recipe. The picture and positive reviews made me think this was a keeper. Been baking for over a decade and this is the first time I’ve never had a pie set. When it comes to recipes on Pinterest I’ve noticed, you win some you lose some. Back to my cookbooks I go.

  16. 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.

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