Recipes » Dessert Recipes » Old Fashioned Homemade Chocolate Meringue Pie

Old Fashioned Homemade Chocolate Meringue Pie

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Old-fashioned chocolate meringue pie with its rich chocolate filling is the ultimate chocolate lovers' indulgence perfect for any occasion.
4.7 from 69 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
A slice of old fashioned chocolate meringue pie on a white serving plate.

This old-fashioned southern Chocolate Meringue Pie is the ultimate chocolate lovers’ dessert for any occasion. This decadent dessert with its flaky, buttery crust, rich chocolate custard filling, and fluffy homemade meringue is a treasured family recipe we’ve enjoyed for years.

Whether you’re heading to a potluck, having a birthday bash, or just want a beautiful dessert to serve family and friends, this pie with its chocolate custard base and sweet, fluffy meringue is a perfect choice.

A slice of old fashioned chocolate meringue pie on a white serving plate.

There’s just something about a homemade pie that conjures up feelings of comfort and home. It evokes a sense of nostalgia, making us think of family gatherings and holiday feasts.

With so many different varieties, fillings, and toppings, there’s a pie for even the pickiest eaters. While I would never pass up an apple, peach, or strawberry pie, this Old Fashioned Chocolate Meringue Pie is hands down one of my favorite recipes. I can’t really tell you where it came from, who invented it, or who it “belongs” to but what I can tell you is that it’s pure comfort food magic.

Magic in that it can disappear. Right before your eyes. Before you know it, it’ll be completely gone without a trace. Except for maybe the telltale smudges around a few little mouths :-)

Fair warning – this pie is very sweet, chocolatey, and very, very rich. You’ll only need a small slice (yeah, right). It easily serves 8 and could stretch to 10.

💗 Why You’ll Love This Recipe


  • Easy to follow steps
  • Velvety smooth chocolate filling
  • Fluffy meringue to balance the rich chocolate filling
  • Great for holidays, bake sales, dessert, and more

🥘 Ingredients You’ll Need


Ingredients needed for the recipe.

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  • Eggs – Standard large eggs at room temperature.
  • Sugar – White, granulated sugar, nothing fancy. I use Domino sugar.
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder – You’ll get the best, most traditional flavor from Hershey’s or Nestle’s cocoa powder.
  • Cornstarch – It thickens the filling.
  • Milk – I recommend whole milk for this recipe and have not tested it with lowfat options.
  • Butter – of course everything’s better with butter.
  • Vanilla extract – believe it or not, vanilla brings out the flavor of chocolate.
  • Pie shell – if you have a recipe you like, please use it; otherwise, purchase either a frozen or refrigerated pie crust.

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

🔪 How to Make Chocolate Meringue Pie


The Preliminaries

Before you start making the chocolate custard filling and meringue, you’ll need a baked and cooled pie crust ready to go. Use your favorite homemade recipe or a purchased refrigerated pie crust. Bake it according to the package directions and set it aside to cool while you go on with the recipe.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Making the Chocolate Custard Pie Filling

STEP 1. In a medium bowl, whisk the 3 egg yolks until thick and lemon colored. Set aside.

STEP 2. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa, salt, and cornstarch. Stir in about one cup of the milk.

STEP 3. Place over medium high heat and with a large whisk, gradually add the remaining milk, whisking constantly until well blended. Bring to a low boil. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. 

STEP 4. Add a small amount of the hot mixture to the egg yolks, stirring well.

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STEP 5. Then add the egg mixture back to the cocoa mixture in the saucepan.

STEP 6. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla.

STEP 7. Pour into the cooked, cooled pie shell.

Make the Meringue

STEP 8. Add the egg whites to a large mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed until foamy.

STEP 9. Gradually add the 1/4 cup sugar. Increase speed to high and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.

STEP 10. Immediately spread the meringue onto the hot filling.

Bake the Meringue

STEP 11. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown on top.

Allow the pie to cool (refrigerating for several hours is best) before slicing and serving.

A slice of old fashioned chocolate meringue pie on a white serving plate.

Bake Your Pie in a Beautiful Ceramic Pie Dish

Burgundy Ceramic Pie Dish
Burgundy Ceramic Pie Dish

from: Emile Henry USA Corporation

❗ Recipe Tips


  • Storing your pie: Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. I recommend a sealable container rather than plastic wrap because the wrap will stick to the meringue. When it comes to freezing meringue pies, I don’t recommend it. The texture of a meringue changes dramatically when frozen becoming tough and rubbery. If, however, you don’t mind a tough, rubbery meringue go right ahead and freeze your pie. Wrap it well and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.
  • Making meringue: The eggs need to be at room temperature to get the most volume possible when making meringue. Before starting to beat egg whites, make sure that the bowl and beaters you are using are scrupulously clean. Even the smallest amount of fat, oil, or yolk in the bowl will prevent the egg whites from beating correctly. If you happen to get a tiny bit of yolk into the whites when separating the eggs, you’ll simply have to throw those out and start over. They’ll never whip up into a meringue.

❓ Questions About Chocolate Meringue Pie


Why is my pie watery?

Occasionally, you may find a watery layer between the filling and topping of any meringue pie. This is referred to as “weeping.” It can occur if the filling is not hot when the meringue is placed on top of it. The meringue needs the heat from a hot filling to cook its underside while the oven cooks the top. To avoid weeping, make sure your filling is hot when you add the meringue and that you put the pie directly into the oven to bake.

How long does it take for egg whites to form stiff peaks?

When using an electric mixer, it usually takes about 4-5 minutes for egg whites to create stiff peaks. If beating by hand with a whisk, it only takes slightly longer. For best results, use a stainless steel or copper bowl when beating a meringue.

What sugar is best to use for making a meringue?

I’m old fashioned so I’ve always used plain old white sugar. However, you can use powdered sugar if you like. 1 3/4 cups of powdered sugar equals 1 cup white granulated sugar.

What are those little beads that sometimes form on top of a cooked meringue?

That’s actually sugar syrup that has seeped out during the cooking. It’s quite typical to see beading on more rustic, country style pies and it does not bother me in the least. If you insist on having a perfect meringue with no sugar beads on top, you’ll need to try something like an Italian meringue that requires more steps and is stabilized to prevent beading. I kinda like the little beads myself :-)

🧾 More Recipes You’ll Like


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📖 Recipe

A slice of old fashioned chocolate meringue pie on a white serving plate.

Chocolate Meringue Pie

Old-fashioned chocolate meringue pie with its rich chocolate filling is the ultimate chocolate lovers' indulgence perfect for any occasion.
4.67 from 69 votes
Print It Rate It Save Text It
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 358kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs separated
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • cup cornstarch
  • 3 cups milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter softened
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 9-inch pie shell baked and cooled

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the 3 egg yolks until thick and lemon colored. Set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa, salt, and cornstarch. Stir in about one cup of the milk.
  • Place the saucepan over medium high heat and with a large whisk, gradually add the remaining 2 cup milk, whisking constantly until well blended.
  • Bring to a low boil. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
  • Add a small amount of the hot mixture to the egg yolks, stirring well, then add the egg mixture back to the cocoa mixture in the saucepan.
  • Cook for about 2 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla.
  • Pour the chocolate mixture into the cooked, cooled pie shell. (Note: the chocolate mixture should be somewhat thickened but will finish setting up as the pie cools.)
  • Add the egg whites to a large mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the 1/4 cup sugar. Increase speed to high and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
  • Spread the meringue immediately on the hot filling and bake for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown on top.

Notes

TIPS AND FAQs
  • Storing your pie: Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. I recommend a sealable container rather than plastic wrap because the wrap will stick to the meringue. When it comes to freezing meringue pies, I don’t recommend it. The texture of a meringue changes dramatically when frozen becoming tough and rubbery. If, however, you don’t mind a tough, rubbery meringue go right ahead and freeze your pie. Wrap it well and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.
  • Making meringue: The eggs need to be at room temperature to get the most volume possible when making meringue. Before starting to beat egg whites, make sure that the bowl and beaters you are using are scrupulously clean. Even the smallest amount of fat, oil, or yolk in the bowl will prevent the egg whites from beating correctly. If you happen to get a tiny bit of yolk into the whites when separating the eggs, you’ll simply have to throw those out and start over. They’ll never whip up into a meringue.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 | Calories: 358kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 89mg | Sodium: 214mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 40g

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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— This post was originally published on April 26, 2016. It has been updated with new photos and additional information.

Slice of chocolate meringue pie on a white plate with a fork alongside.

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Recipe Rating




38 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Usually those “beads” on meringue are because you didn’t thoroughly beat each spoonful of sugar when adding it to the egg whites. Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in the mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed till foamy. Then gradually add the sugar, about 2 tablespooons at a time, and on high speed beat till stiff peaks form. Spread immediately on the hot filling and baking for about 12 to 15 minutes till golden brown on top. I’ve been baking for 68 years and found this “foolproof” way of doing meringue. The reason it “beads” is because the sugar is not thoroughly dissolved before spreading the meringue on the hot pie filling. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 to 15 minutes. I’ve seen some recipes that say to just stick it under the broiler to brown the top. That won’t work!!! You must dissolve the sugar!!!!

  2. Made this pie the other day. Flavor was excellent. I made meringue, toasted it to perfection, let it cool slightly, put it in a plastic pie container and put it in the fridge overnight. By the morning, the meringue had completely deflated. How do I prevent that from happening?

    1. Wow. In all my years of making pies, I’ve never had that happen. Without being in the kitchen with you, it’s really hard to say what went wrong. But, you did mention that you let it cool “slightly.” The pie should be completely cool before storing it. Also, it could be that you over-beat the egg whites. Beating them too much makes big bubbles that eventually collapse and won’t support the baked meringue.

  3. My son bought me a torch for Christmas, and I’ve not used it yet. Do I have to bake this, or could I use the torch on the meringue?

  4. Thank you for this delicious recipe! It’s perfect! When I’m in a hurry, I poor it into a graham cracker crust,use cool whip when served, after cooled.

  5. I’m sorry you didn’t understand that, Leslie. I guess I thought it was obvious. I’ll rewrite to include in the instructions that you should cook it until it thickens.

  6. Yes, the filling should be thick like chocolate pudding and should have already been thick when placed in the pie crust. The baking is only to cook and brown the meringue.

    1. Well, the standard recommendation for keeping refrigerated cooked/prepared food (leftovers, etc.) is about three days.

      1. The ingredients say a total of 3 cups of milk but the instructions say to add one of the three cups. Confusing.

      2. Well, the instructions say to “stir in about one cup of the milk. Place over medium high heat and with a large whisk, gradually add the remaining milk, whisking constantly until well blended.” So that’s all three cups of milk.

  7. I’m a student at South Pontotoc Middle School in Mississippi I love this recipe and was going to use this picture in a website of mine but i have one question what is the copyright?

    1. Hi Anonia. Thanks very much for asking. All images on my site are protected by copyright. However, I would give you permission to use it on your web site so long as you are not using it for profit. I’d like to see how you’ve used it if you’d could send me a link when you’ve placed it in your web site.

  8. My momma made the best chocolate meringue pie,but every time l have tried the bottom of crust is soggy,l always wanted for pudding to cool completely before putting in cooled baked pie shell,then l put meringue on and put in oven to brown.Is that the problem ,should l put pudding in shell as soon as it cooks,without cooling it then put meringue on and put in oven,my mom is no longer with us and my son’s miss her chocolate pie so much,please help what am l doing wrong.

    1. It’s always hard to say what might be wrong without being in the kitchen with someone, but a couple of things you can try to prevent a soggy crust are 1) brush the crust with beaten egg and 2) bake on a hot baking sheet (heat the sheet in the oven while it preheats). Hope that helps!

  9. My Mother used to make this when I was a girl. My Dad absolutely loved it. Thanks for the memory. –Rocquie

  10. Oooooh…. when I saw the picture, I immediately said “Uncle Bud.” He would have loved it. And, Aunt Margie was hands down a fantastic cook, especially sweets.

    Thanks for the memory.

    Miss P

    1. I know. I was thinking of him the whole time I was making this pie. And Aunt Margie was something else in the kitchen!

  11. When I had my little Home Sweet Home Bakery in NC, I sold hundreds of this pie…one of the favorites. This exact recipe is in my cookbook, “Turnip Greens, Ham Hocks & Granny’s Buns” ! I take it to family gatherings…a favorite! I compared our recipes and they were exactly the same…South Georgia girls!!!! Love your site…Dianne

    1. Yes, this recipe has been around for a long time! I have a feeling it was developed by Hershey to sell cocoa powder :-)

      1. Hi Lana… I just had to tell you that I made this pie last night and it literally is the first of who knows how many failed attempts that it set up and worked! They always tasted and looked fantastic but practically needed a straw to eat it. I thought I had tried every variation but seems I have barely scratched the surface. I am making 2 more today as I am so excited to show any and everyone that’s had mine in the past.
        Anyway – thanks so very much for posting this and making such a large part of my youth back to life. Sincerely- denise

      2. I’m so happy to know that the recipe worked out well for you! It’s definitely a good one.

  12. My husband doesn’t like meringue. Much prefers whipped cream. Would the pie still need to be baked if I do not use the meringue?

    1. PJ – no, you would not bake it if not topping with meringue. The baking is for cooking the meringue. Just cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.