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.
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 We 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
🛒 Ingredient Notes
This post contains affiliate links. Lana’s Cooking is reader-supported and earns a tiny commission at no extra cost to you when you shop from our links.
- 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.
🔪 How to Make Chocolate Meringue Pie
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.
Must Have Hand Mixer
9 speeds for everything from slowly stirring in chunky ingredients to mixing bread batter and whipping meringue.
Check it out >
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.
❗ 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
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.
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.
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 of white granulated sugar.
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 Questions? I’m happy to help!
If you have more questions about the recipe, or if you’ve made it and would like to leave a comment, scroll down to leave your thoughts, questions, and/or rating!
Thanks so much for stopping by!
Chocolate Meringue Pie
- 3 eggs separated
- 1 ¼ cups sugar
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- 3 cups milk
- 3 tablespoons butter softened
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 9-inch pie shell baked and cooled
- 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.
- Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days in a tightly closed container.
- When making meringue, the eggs need to be at room temperature to get the most volume possible when making meringue. For best results, make sure that the bowl and beaters are scrupulously clean.
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 healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.
— This post was originally published on April 26, 2016. It has been updated with new photos and additional information.