How to Make Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

Front view of a single slice of bourbon pecan pie on a white plate.
Recipe At-A-Glance
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Thanksgiving1 hour, 5 minutes
One bite of this chocolate bourbon pecan pie and you'll be hooked! It's savory, sweet, crunchy, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Plus, this pecan pie comes with an extra shot of Kentucky bourbon.

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If you come to one of my family holiday get-togethers anytime throughout the year, you’ll probably find a Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie on the dessert table!

This pie is a classic staple in and around Louisville, Kentucky (where I was born!), and it’s always a crowd-pleaser. Rich chocolate combines with toasted nuts and just a hint of bourbon to make this melt-in-your-mouth pie. Top it with a cloud of whipped cream and serve it next to a mug of coffee (maybe with a nip of bourbon poured in), and you’ve got the perfect dessert for any holiday. Let’s get baking!

Overhead of a whole pie on a white countertop with plates and forks nearby for serving.

Wait, isn’t this just Derby Pie®?

Derby Pie® is a regional classic here in Southern Indiana and Kentucky! This chocolate-walnut pie was originally created by the Kern family in 1954 at a small inn in Prospect, Kentucky. They continue to sell the pie throughout the area (particularly during Kentucky Derby season). Derby Pie® a registered trademark of Kern’s Kitchen in Louisville Kentucky.

The exact Derby Pie® recipe is a family secret! No one knows exactly what’s in the pie, so while our version has a similar flavor profile, it differs because it includes bourbon (contrary to popular belief, Kern’s Kitchen Derby Pie® does not list bourbon on it’s ingredient list) and uses pecans instead of the all-walnut version from Kern’s Kitchen.

My recipe for Chocolate Bourbon Nut Pie has been passed down for generations in my Louisville-based family. This pie has been served at every one of my family gatherings for as long as I can remember!

A hand holding a pie server with a slice of chocolate bourbon pecan pie on it.

Does bourbon pecan pie taste like alcohol?

If you’re worried you’re going to get a buzz off a slice, no worries—this pie definitely isn’t boozy. Any true alcohol flavor is baked off, and all you’re left with are subtle notes of caramel bourbon flavor.

Wholefully Protip

If you are a bourbon fan, use the entire 4 tablespoons of bourbon listed in the recipe. Not into bourbon? No worries. Use less or leave it out completely.

Is this pie OK for kids to eat?

Sure is! The alcohol is baked off in the oven. No worries.

Top view, close up of a single slice of pie garnished with whipped cream, shaved chocolate, and a whole pecan half.

What are the ingredients for a pecan pie?

To make chocolate bourbon pecan pie, you’ll need:

  • Pie Crust—For this pie, you’ll want a standard pie crust instead of a graham cracker or other crust. If you want to make this pie gluten-free, you can use a gluten-free pie crust instead.
  • Chopped pecans or walnuts—Though we call this pecan pie, you can use all pecans, all walnuts, or a mix of the two—our favorite is half walnut, half pecan!
  • Eggs
  • Sugar
  • All-purpose flour—For a gluten-free pie, use gluten-free all-purpose flour instead.
  • Unsalted butter
  • Semisweet chocolate chips
  • Bourbon—Any bourbon you have on hand works!
  • Vanilla extract
  • Whipped cream for serving

You may notice that unlike most pecan pie recipes, this one doesn’t call for corn syrup. It doesn’t need it! Because this is a chocolate-based pie, the chocolate does the thickening to set the filling instead of light corn syrup.

Close up of a slice of chocolate bourbon pecan pie on a white plate.

What is the best bourbon to use in this pie?

Any bourbon you have on hand works—although I would save your top shelf finds for sipping instead of cooking. The baking process mellows out any harshness in lower-quality bourbons, making this a great place to use a more affordable bottle. We tend to keep a bottle of cooking bourbon in our house for baking.

How do you know when the pie filling is set?

This pie creates its own beautiful golden brown crust on top when it’s finished—making it easy to tell when your pie is set and ready to cool.

Overhead of a whole chocolate bourbon pecan pie garnished with pecan halves.

Can you freeze bourbon pecan pie?

Sure can! And in fact, this pie is an incredible choice for stashing in the freezer. Just bake and cool completely, and then freeze. We recommend baking any pies you want to freeze in aluminum foil tins for easy freezing. To thaw, just place out on the counter until it comes up to room temperate and enjoy!

Overhead of an individual slice of pie topped with whipped cream, and shaved chocolate.

Are you supposed to refrigerate chocolate pecan pie?

We keep our chocolate nut pie covered out on the counter for up to 3 days. After that we pop it in the fridge for up to a week. I prefer my pie at room temperature or slightly warm, but some folks love it cold—so try it both ways to see what you like!

 
Front view of a single slice of bourbon pecan pie on a white plate.

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Recipe

Yield: 8 slices
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

One bite of this chocolate bourbon pecan pie and you'll be hooked! It's sweet, rich, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Plus, this pecan pie comes with an extra shot of Kentucky bourbon.

Ingredients

  • 1 pie crust (gluten-free pie crust works well, too)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, walnuts, or a combination of both
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cups all purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour works well, too)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons bourbon, optional
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Whipped cream, for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Roll out the pie crust, and fit it to a 9-inch pie plate, crimping the edges. Place the crust in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
  2. Toast the nuts in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the nuts are fragrant and slightly toasted. Remove from the heat.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, and then add in the sugar and flour, and whisk until well-combined. Add in the pecans, butter, chocolate chips, bourbon, and vanilla extract. Whisk together.
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie crust. Bake in preheated oven for about 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool completely before serving topped with whipped cream.

Notes

  • You can chop the pecan halves or walnuts in a food processor to get even pieces.
  • For a prettier pie, press pecan halves in the top of the pie around the edge after it comes out of the oven.
  • Traditional Derby Pie® from Kern's Kitchen is made with only walnuts, but this Chocolate Nut Pie Recipe recipe works great with all pecans, all walnuts, or a combination of the two. I love making this pie with half pecans and half walnuts.
  • If you love the flavor of bourbon, use the full 4 tablespoons of bourbon. If you want just a hint of bourbon, you can use half that amount. This pie is also delicious without bourbon at all!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1/8 pie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 559Total Fat: 35gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 78mgSodium: 112mgCarbohydrates: 58gFiber: 3gSugar: 38gProtein: 6g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.

Leave a Reply

2 Responses
  1. John Houghtling

    Hi Cassie,

    I am anxious to try your version of this pecan pie as I make several for Thanksgiving every year.

    The pie slice picture accompanying the recipe appears to have a top crust as well, although the recipe only calls for 1 crust.

    Is it just the way the filling (with the flour) bakes up? Curious to hear your response.

    Thank you…John

    1. Danielle @Wholefully

      Hi, John! Yes, this pie creates its own golden brown crust on top when it’s finished. This makes it easy to tell when your pie is set and ready to cool! We’re honored to be considered for your Thanksgiving pie spread! If you give this pie a go, please let us know how it turns out for you. we hope you love it =)

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