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Southern Chess Squares

Southern Chess Squares are so wonderfully buttery, sweet and rich. People rave about them whenever I bring them to potlucks.

Southern Chess Squares


These dessert bars are so easy to make with a box of cake mix. They are very similar to Gooey Butter Cake, just with a little less butter.

Southern Chess Squares consist of two simple layers. A cake mix crust with chopped pecans topped with a buttery cream cheese layer combine to make one scrumptious bar. Together they are fabulously sweet. If you do not have an extreme sweet tooth, they may not be for you. And because they are so sweet, they are best cut into little squares.

  • Southern Chess Squares made in a 9x13-inch pan


How to make Southern Chess Squares:

  • In a large bowl mix together a box of yellow cake mix ( I use Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines), a cup of unsalted butter that has been melted and 1 egg. Mix in 1 cup of chopped pecans and press the mixture into the bottom of a 9×13-inch pan lined with parchment paper.

If you don’t have parchment paper, spray the baking dish with baking spray or butter and flour it.

  • Next use an electric mixer to beat 2 8-ounce blocks of softened cream cheese together with a 1-pound box of powdered sugar. It’s easiest if you beat the cream cheese by itself briefly and then mix in the powdered sugar in 3 or 4 additions.
  • Once smooth, beat in 2 eggs and pour the mixture over the crust. Bake for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool before slicing. Told you it was easy!

Leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator and they taste great cold or at room temperature.

Southern Chess Squares


Next time you have to bring something to a potluck, whip up this classic southern treat and be prepared to have people ask you for the recipe.

If you like Chess Squares, try these Chess Pie recipes:

Southern Chess Squares

Southern Chess Squares

Southern Chess Squares are so buttery and good! Make a great potluck dessert.
PREP: 15 minutes
COOK: 45 minutes
TOTAL: 1 hour


  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 16 ounces powdered sugar
  • 2 large eggs


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, melted butter and egg until mixed well. You can do this by hand or with a mixer. Stir in pecans.
  • Press mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.
  • Use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth.
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Pour filling over crust.
  • Bake for 45 minutes, or until filling is set.
  • Cool before cutting into squares.


If you don't like pecans, you can omit them or substitute with walnuts.
Leftovers should be refrigerated.


Calories: 406kcal
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Southern
Keyword: Chess Pie Bars

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Recipe Source: allrecipes.com

Chess Pie Bars

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8 thoughts on “Southern Chess Squares”

  1. These turned out like cheesecake bars, not the traditional chess bars I’ve had for years. The reason I use this recipe was because I could not find my traditional chess bar recipe. Lo and behold I found my recipe and it did not call for two sticks of butter, and two bars of cream cheese. I wasn’t too happy with how they turned out especially since I had signed up to bring them to an office party.

  2. This was so easy and SO yummy. My mom used to make them but we called them “Gooey Squares”. They are EXTREMELY rich so cut them in small squares because a big square might make your toes curl 😂!

  3. Christina J Rainey

    Mine puffed up when I took them out the oven, they dont look like my grandmother’s or the picture:( idk what I did wrong maybe they will look like normal when I cut them.

    1. Same thing happened to me. I was freaking out. So I put the pan in our dining room where it is pretty cold and it went back to normal.

  4. I love this treat! Wonder how it would be if you subbed mini chocolate chips for the nuts?
    Thanks for sharing!

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