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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
- 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.
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.
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!
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!