This easy, homemade Old Fashioned Chocolate Pie recipe delivers velvety smooth, cocoa-rich filling inside a flaky pie crust for a nostalgic treat.
Made with simple ingredients whisked together on the stovetop, this milk chocolate pudding pie tastes just like the grandma's recipe.
You are going to love this Old Fashioned Chocolate Cream Pie! It's become a favorite dessert amongst my whole family and here's why:
This pie delivers velvety smooth, thick custard with the perfect creamy texture. It's easy to make using simple ingredients you likely have on hand, and brings back sweet memories of homemade chocolate pie just like grandma used to make.
This decadent dessert is sure to be a new favorite in your home!
See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the full list of ingredients, including measurements.
Cocoa Powder - Unsweetened natural cocoa powder makes a custard that has a milk chocolate flavor. A portion of the powder can be replaced with bittersweet chocolate for a little more of a dark chocolate flavor.
Sugar - Granulated sugar is the best sweetener for this pie. It sweetens the chocolate without overpowering the flavor.
Cornstarch - I like using cornstarch as the thickening agent in my cream pies because it makes such a creamy chocolate filling and doesn't add any weird flavor.
Milk - For the creamiest chocolate custard, use whole milk. 2% milk can also be used. I do not recommend using nonfat milk as the pudding will be too thin, and heavy cream will be too thick.
Pie Crust - There's nothing quite as good as a homemade pie crust, but if you want to keep it simple you can use a storebought baked pie shell and it will still be a delicious pie.
How to Make Chocolate Pie
If you are making a homemade crust, press the dough into a 9" pie pan and follow the instructions to bake it fully, until the crust is golden brown. Cool completely before moving on to these next steps.
1) Mix Dry Ingredients
- Combine sugar, cornstarch, and cocoa powder in a medium saucepan.
- Mixing these ingredients before adding the liquids helps to avoid lumps.
2) Add Liquids
- Separate the egg whites from the yolks. If you are making a meringue top set the whites aside.
- Beat egg yolks and milk together in a medium bowl or measuring cup, then add them to the saucepan with the butter.
- Mixing the eggs into the milk helps prevent the eggs from cooking before they are fully incorporated into the custard, and keeps you from having pieces of scrambled eggs in your pie.
3) Cook Until Thickened
- Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 7-10 minutes.
- The mixture will thicken to a pudding-like consistency.
4) Pour Into Pie Shell
- Remove from heat and pour the hot pie filling into the prepared crust while the pudding is still warm.
- Refrigerate the pie for at least 3 hours, until set.
- Pile whipped cream on top of the pie before serving. Or make fluffy meringue, if you prefer!
Rich Chocolate Flavor - For a darker chocolate taste, reduce the cocoa powder to ¼ cup and the butter to 3 tablespoons, then add 4 ounces of chopped bittersweet chocolate and a teaspoon of instant espresso powder.
Chocolate Orange Pie - Follow the recipe as directed, and stir in 1 tablespoon of orange zest with the vanilla extract.
Peppermint Mocha Pie - Stir in 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract and 2 teaspoons of instant espresso powder. Top with whipped cream and chopped peppermints.
No-Bake Crust - For a completely no-bake pie, prepare a graham cracker crust and refrigerate the crust for 2 hours before adding the filling. It's also tasty in a store-bought Oreo crust.
Nuts - Add a little texture by mixing in ½ cup of chopped nuts, then sprinkle some nuts on top of the whipped cream as well!
Ways to Top The Pie
How I top the pie depends on my mood. There are so many options!
Whipped Cream - I highly recommend making homemade whipped cream as it is so much better than Cool Whip! Beat heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form, then spread on top of the pie.
Meringue - Beat room temperature egg whites with cream of tartar. then slowly add the sugar. Beat to stiff peaks and then spoon onto the chocolate pie filling and broil on HIGH for several minutes.
Chocolate - Chocolate curls or a dusting of chocolate shavings add a little extra color and fun!
How to Store
This is a make-ahead pie, which means you can prep it a day or two ahead, making the day of your event so much easier! Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the chocolate pie filling and keep it in the refrigerator. Top with whipped cream before serving.
If you have leftovers, cover carefully with plastic wrap or transfer individual slices to an airtight container. The pie will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
If you measured properly and used whole milk then the most likely cause of a runny pie filling is that it hasn't cooked long enough. Continue cooking, while stirring, over medium heat until the custard thickens.
If your filling has lumps then you can blend it using an electric mixer for 45-60 seconds.
If a custard filling is overcooked it can become grainy. Process the filling through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the grainy elements.
More Pie Recipes
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Old Fashioned Chocolate PieRecipe by:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3 egg yolks
- 5 tablespoons butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 pie shell fully baked
- Whisk the granulated sugar, cocoa powder, and cornstarch in a medium saucepan.1 cup granulated sugar, ¼ cup cornstarch, ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- Separate the eggs and save the whites for another use. Whisk the egg yolks and milk in a large mixing cup, then pour into the saucepan with the butter2 cups whole milk, 3 egg yolks, 5 tablespoons butter
- Cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture is thick like pudding.
- Remove from heat and stir in the salt and vanilla extract. If the mixture is lumpy then use an electric mixer to beat out the lumps.¼ teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Pour the chocolate pudding into a fully cooked pie shell and transfer it to the refrigerator to chill for at least 3 hours.1 pie shell
- Top with whipped cream or meringue, if desired.
- Place 1 cup of heavy cream, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl.
- Beat on medium-high speed until the cream forms stiff peaks.
- Spread the cream onto the pie just before serving.
- Place the 3 egg whites into a clean large bowl. Using the whisk attachment of your electric mixer, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until they are glossy.
- Add the ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar then turn the mixer to medium speed.
- Slowly add the 3 tablespoons of sugar while beating the egg whites. Once all of the sugar has been added, increase to medium-high speed and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
- Spread the meringue on top of the chocolate pie. Use a spoon to create divots and peaks, then place the pie 4-5 inches under the broiler.
- Broil on HIGH for several minutes, until the meringue turns golden brown.