Grandmama’s Chocolate Meringue Pie
Grandmama’s Chocolate Meringue Pie is classic, traditional, simple, and well…perfect. Often times with meringue pies, there are problems: the meringue may pull away from the pie and will become watery, or the meringue will not rise like it should. I address all of these problems to make this recipe quite foolproof.
The Story of This Chocolate Meringue Pie
My first recollection of tasting the delectable chocolate meringue pie happened to be on an ordinary Sunday after church at my grandmother’s house. The family was still sitting at the table eating Sunday dinner.
At that time, I was little enough to be at the children’s table. However, I wasn’t content with the kid food. I quietly moved toward the buffet where the real food, as far as I was concerned, sat.
There I carefully took a slice of the chocolate pie, tiptoed back to the table, and devoured the best dessert I had ever eaten.
Later as a cook, I made it one of my ambitions to recreate that chocolate meringue pie. The recipe would have to be fail proof, invincible, and simple. Most important, it would have to bring people the same joy I got that Sunday so long ago from my grandmama’s pie.
Kitchen-Testing the Recipe for a Foolproof Pie
I started by asking my grandmama for her recipe. As I worked through the recipe, I noticed that there were times it turned out perfectly. However, sometimes I noticed a separation between the chocolate and the meringue. Other times, the meringue became sticky or the crust a little wet.
These problems had to have a solution, and it was my job to find them. I had to create the perfect recipe that would deliver results EVERY TIME.
The first reason I’m writing this post is to share my love of this chocolate meringue pie.
But the second is to save you the trouble of having to make 100 pies before you get that perfect pie.
There is a third reason: celebrating with this pie is such a great tradition to start. I want you to have this recipe for all those special occasions, and I want you to be able to make it by heart.
Ensuring the Perfect Meringue
I already knew a few things to help ensure the perfect meringue:
- All my equipment needed to be squeaky clean.
- There should be no fat from the yolks mixed with the egg whites.
- Room temperature egg whites are much fluffier than cold.
Then the experimentation began! I think I made 100 pies before I successfully prepared a perfect chocolate meringue pie every time.
Soggy Crust? Here’s the Solution.
First, I want to begin with the soggy crust situation. Especially with custard and fruit pies, the liquid in the filling will make the crust soggy. This is an easy fix that is worth the small effort to ensure excellent crust results.
The secret is an egg wash brushed over the uncooked pie shell. The proteins create a barrier that keeps the moisture in the pie filling from penetrating the shell. How easy is that?
Once the egg whites are baked onto the pie shell, the shell becomes impenetrable, leaving you with the flaky goodness that you and your family deserve.
- I start with my traditional crust recipe located here.
- I then mix 1 egg white with 1 teaspoon of water and lightly brush the mixture over the entire pie shell before I bake.
No More Weeping (Liquid between the Filling and Meringue)
The next problem I had to address was the separation of the meringue from the filling. This is called “weeping,” and it results from a liquid forming between the two layers.
Weeping is what I felt like doing when this happened! I couldn’t figure out why it happened only sometimes.
Finally, I pinpointed the difference. Half of the time, I had the meringue ready to go onto the pie right after I poured the filling into the pie shell — while the filling was hot from the saucepan. No weeping!
But others times, I prepared the filling first and let it cool in the pie shell while I made the meringue. This gave the filling too much time to cool, which is not a good thing for meringue.
Solution: You need to put the meringue on the filling while the filling is piping hot. This will allow the egg whites to “cook” onto the filling.
Also, I learned that the sugar needs to be completely dissolved in the egg whites. This is majorly important to keep the meringue from separating. This is an easy fix as well.
You can purchase superfine sugar to add to the egg whites. But you can also grind regular sugar yourself for the same results. I like to rub a little of the meringue between my fingers to make sure there is no graininess at all before placing it over the filling.
Bye-Bye to Beading (Liquid Drops on Top of Meringue)
I noticed when cooking the meringue, if I raised the temperature of the oven from 350 degrees to 375 degrees, I was less likely to overcook the meringue. This reduced the chances of the meringue shrinking and releasing “beads” on the outside of the meringue.
Another tip to remember is to seal the meringue to the crust. Don’t just top the filling. This is important for the success of your chocolate meringue pie.
Check the Weather for the Perfect Chocolate Meringue Pie
Lastly, I have learned that making meringue is much easier on a clear, non-humid day! This is not a must, but I will take all the advantage I can get when preparing this delicious pie.
Don’t stop short of learning to make this pie by heart! You won’t regret the time you invested in committing this masterpiece to memory.
Can you Freeze a Chocolate Meringue Pie
Yes! You can freeze the crust and the filling, but I would not freeze the meringue. I like to make and serve the meringue the same day.
I would cook the filling and allow it to cool completely, then freeze the pie uncovered. One it it totally frozen, wrap it in plastic wrap several times to ensure no air can get to it. Thaw completely in the refrigerator.
When ready to serve, allow the pie to come to room temperature and pile on the meringue and bake until the meringue is browned, about 20 minutes. After removing from he oven, allow it to come to room temperature and serve. You can chill the pie for a few hours; I like both room temperature and chilled.
Grandmama's Chocolate Meringue Pie
Pre-baked 10 inch pie crust (https://stacylynharris.com/no-fail-homemade-pie-crust-from-scratch/)
- 6 egg whites keep 4 egg yolks for the pie filling
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/3 cup superfine sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Chocolate Pie Filling Ingredients
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 rounded tablespoons cocoa powder
- 3 rounded tablespoons flour
- pinch of salt
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/2 stick butter
- 2 cups milk
- 1/4 cup good semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- For the meringue, separate the egg whites from the egg yolks. Set aside the egg yolks. The egg whites should be room temperature before beginning to prepare the meringue. Beat egg whites in a stand mixer or by hand if you prefer until soft peaks form (the meringue will stand, but will still look a little frothy). Add the cream of tartar, sugar, and vanilla to the egg whites while continuing to beat the egg whites. Continue to beating until stiff peaks form.
- For the filling, mix cocoa, flour, and sugar in a medium-sized sauce pan. In a separate bowl, whisk 4 egg yolks, salt, and milk. Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients in the saucepan. Cook at medium heat until thick, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chocolate chips, vanilla, and butter. Pour into pre-baked pie crust.
- Gently mound the meringue over hot filling being careful not to leave any gaps between the meringue and crust. Bake the pie in the 375 degree oven until meringue is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the meringue. If your oven doesn’t brown very well, remove the meringue and use a torch to brown the peaks or increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees for one to two minutes to ensure browning, but not overcooking.
- Remove the pie from the oven and allow to cool. Once the pie is cool, tent tin foil over the top of the pie and place in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours. Make sure that the pie is cool before placing in the refrigerator or condensation will form on the meringue.
– Happy Thanksgiving from Stacy Lyn!
Here are more of my top holiday recipes.
This looks amazing! Hopefully I can know it by heart one day 😉
Jamie, if I know you and I think I do, you will learn it by heart!!! You are awesome.
do you have butterscotch meringue pie recipe?
I do! I’m hoping to put it up asap.I’ll email you when i get it up!! Thanks for being here!
This is the best chocolate pie ever! Thank you so much!
That looks wonderful! Thank you so much for all your tips too. Weeping meringue seems to be my speciality – makes me want to weep along with it! Never heard of Chocolate meringue pie but it has 3 of my favourite things right there in the title so it just has to be a winner.
Glad to hear you have had some of my cooking whoa experience and someone who has my love for chocolate, meringue, and PIE! THANKS NIKI!
My husband’s favorite pie is chocolate meringue and I have tried many fancy recipes over the 37 years we’ve been married and had decided to just stick with cooked jello pudding…but then he became a type 2 diabetic. Family holiday get togethers generally happen at my house and he has a hard time abstaining from desserts, so this year I decided to go all sugar free and guests could eat or abstain for a change. So my guilty secret for this pie is that I made it exactly as your recipe indicated, except I substituted half Splenda and half allulose for the sugars. It was EXCELLENT and no one could tell I substituted the sugar. The meringue did get quite brown, but it was still great. But, the BEST thing was, after all of these years, hubby got a really, really good chocolate pie for once. The next morning, guests were eating it for breakfast. Thanks so much for this recipe!
I LOVE hearing this!! You must have done a great job substituting. I’m going to try this version!! Thanks so much for letting me k ow!
Thanks for the suggestions! Question about the amount of Cream of Tarter. Is that 1/2 teaspoon?
Yes, Marcia. I need to add that in. It is teaspoon! So excited you are making it!
This is gorgeous!! Plus…chocolate! SO I will definitely try it
Nicole, thanks so much! I hope you enjoy the recipe. Merry Christmas to you and your family!
What type of flour do you use? All purpose, self rising??
Amy, I use all purpose flour. Let me know how your pie turns out.
love the pie dish!
Thanks so much Tina! I wish I had a piece right now!
Hi Stacy. This is my husbands fav pie from childhood. I have tried diff. recipes, but they just didn’t have that wow factor. So I am hoping this does the trick. I didn’t notice a baking time for the pie. How long (approx) should it bake in the oven? Thanks, Theresa
What is 1/2 stick of butter. How much in weight?
Jo-Ann, 1/2 stick is 2 ounces. Happy Cooking!
Do you cook the crust with the Egg white bath a little before you put the filling in.
I don’t, Jennifer. Unless you allowed it to cool before putting the filling in, it would heat the filling too much. The eggwhites will still act as a barrier.
My husband loves chocolate meringue pie, but mine always has all three problems. Can’t wait to try yours! However, I wish you would give exact measurements of flour and cocoa instead of “rounded”. That can leave a lot to chance, i.e. high rounded or low rounded equals a big difference.
Donna, when I make this again I will try to measure it out with the flat method of Tablespoons, etc. I will post when I get the chance.
I am new to your beautiful website and discovered it after reading your “All About Mom” article in the April 2015 edition of River Region Living. I am already a loyal follower and will purchase all of your cookbooks after visiting your website! Your recipes are healthy and still Southern (which is sometimes tough to accomplish!)
You are obviously the most beautiful cook ever, but I am so touched by the fact that you share your family recipes with your followers! I have friends that won’t even share recipes and you not only share but painstakingly give step by step instructions to help us succeed! Thank you for being so selfless and thoughtful!
Wow Jackie! What a fantastic thing to say. I appreciate your comment more than you know. I am so glad that you saw the South, but healthy in my food!! Please keep in touch. What a blessing you have been to me today!
This may be a silly question, but do you have to wait for it to cool 12 hours in the fridge before you eat it?
Well…I never have that kind of patience, but it really is best so that it has time to set. Just leave it in the refrigerator as long as your patience lets you. It will be great no matter what.
How thick does the chocolate filling need to be approximately? Made it tonight and hoping I did it correctly. Thanks so much!!!
Hi. Just made this pie and placed the meringue on while the filling was extremely hot. I just noticed when I picked the pie up to put in the fridge that there was an excessive amount of moisture oozing out of the side of the pie. I ground the sugar like you recommended and put it on while the filling was hot. Just wondering is that normal at first then it sets? Or did I do something wrong? Seems like a lot of moisture.
Did you make sure to “connect the meringue to the crust? That could cause that.
Haven’t tried the pie recipe yet. Always looking for new things to try. This one scares me…I know about the horrors of meringue from see others failures. But….what does “Connect the meringue to the crust” mean?
It just means to make sure when you put the meringue on the top of the filling that you go all the way to the pie shell (crust) and touch the crust with the meringue making sure no air can get in between the filling and meringue. Let me know how it turns out.
Just made this pie for my husband’s birthday dinner tonight!! The filling is incredible (yes, I did lick the spatula before washing the saucepan!!) and the meringue is gorgeous!! My grandmother would be very proud of me today!
I am so so so happy to hear that, Angela!! Awesome. Thanks for letting me know. It really makes my day!
Thank you for sharing this recipe. my grandma would make pie like this every year when i would come visit . There would always be one pie just for me . Now im grown and my grandmas has passed and we never got the time to teach me, I had recieved the recipe from my aunt which was similar to this one but i couldnt get the pie to settle. Cant wait to give this one a shot hopefully all goes well and i can surprise my father with a pie of his own for Christmas .
I love family recipes. I felt the same way about my grandmother’s fried cornbread. I had to search and search to find the recipe that tasted just like hers. I wish I had gotten several more recipes from her before she died. I do have her recipe box though!! Love having that! Let me know how your pie turns out.
Question, Do you have an approximate time you bake your pie for? It says 375 til meringue is golden brown but be careful not to overcook. Other recipes state 12 to 15 minutes does that sound about right?
Yes, that’s about right. Ovens are so different, but that sounds about right. Hope you love the pie. It may take about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on your oven.
Approximately how long do you bake the pie in the oven?
I keep a very close eye on it. It usually stays in the oven for about 10 minutes or so – really until the meringue is golden. The only thing you are doing is just waiting for the meringue to brown. The rest of the pie is done. I hope it turns out perfect for you!!
I noticed that the recipe says “pre baked” pie crust. How long does the crust bake before cooking and adding filling?
Last time I was eating in Nashville, TN and had a piece of chocolate meringue pie…woo! wee!..mmm! that was soo!.. good! Fill the bill of my southern fried catfish diner with mash tators & gravy with fried bacon & green beans. Topped with a nice beer to wet my whistle.
It’s one of my favorites for sure!! That dinner sounds great.
This really was a delicious pie! I have made it, photographed it and have put it on Instagram linking back to your website for the recipe. Thank you for all the detailed tips. Is there a printer version of the recipe?
Thanks Monique!! I appreciate it. I am working on my website and should have a printable version very soon.
This is AMAZING! My husband and daughters were fighting over the last piece. Thank you!
Thanks for letting me know that! Isn’t it fun to make something everyone loves. We have to make 2 of everything around here!
Hello! I stumbled on this blog post because I made my Nana’s Chocolate Meringue pie Sunday night. You see, I just lost my Nana 3 weeks ago and no one else could make her pie like her. I’m trying to learn and want to make it for Thanksgiving! My first trial run, the chocolate ended up being runny. It was not runny when I placed it in the shell, but when I cut it, we had to eat it with a spoon. My meringue was perfect (which was the thing I was worried about!). She obviously isn’t here for me to ask, so trusty Google brought me here! Can you help?!
To be sure your filling sets, make sure to put about 1/4 cup cornstarch into the filling as you are making it. In this recipe I use flour and it works perfectly for me, but if you have problems, substitute the flour with cornstarch. I know you will get the pie just like your Nana made it. I am sorry for your loss. I know she must have been wonderful!
This sounds great. Going to try it soon. My son-in -law has asked for a chocolate meringue pie for his Christmas Birthday. So I hope I can do that for him with this recipe.
I just know that is going to be awesome. Let me know how it turns out. If you can, take a pic. and post it to my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/stacylynharris/
What about those of us that aren’t fans of meringue and like whipped cream instead? Anything different except use yokes and no whites?
That’s correct. I tend to like whipped cream too. Follow the whipped cream recipe in the trifle dessert. Here is the link: https://stacylynharris.com/cooking/blackberry-trifle-with-luscious-custard-filling/
I made this pie, and IT IS PERFECTION!! I shared it with co-workers, and everyone LOVED it! This was my 1st attempt at a chocolate meringue pie, so I really appreciate all your tips for a perfect pie. I held my breath as I cut it, hoping the filling was not runny, and it had set beautifully! I cannot thank you enough for sharing this recipe. I am definitely adding it to my list of favorites to make and share!
I am super happy about this!! I’m so glad it turned out great for you. Thanks for letting me know. That makes my day!!
You recommend the fine ground sugar. I have regular sugar and powdered sugar. Will one of those work?
Hi Yvonne! Yes, regular sugar will work fine. I like my custard a little more smooth is I run it through the coffee grinder (only used for this purpose) and make extra fine sugar. Regular sugar should be good though. You are going to love this pie!! Let me know how it turns out.
Wow! I have made 95 chocolate meringue pies and found with my 92nd one that I have the pie down, however, I’m very impressed with your tips!!! I learned a lot from you. My question for you is what is the difference between using flour versus starch? My mother-in-law taught me the recipe using flour but i always felt like it was hit or miss with the filling coming out runny. The starch has worked well for me but I still don’t know which one would have the best flavor. Also, your recipe seems more simplified in dealing with cooking the yolks into the mixture. I like how you mix the ingredients!!!
You are so awesome! I look forward to obtaining a lot more of your special recipes and tips for success!
Thanks Cathy! Great to have you here on the site! Flour is a starch, but you can use less cornstarch than flour.
Made this recipe for Thanksgiving 2018. Absolutely delicious!!! I added a few more chips, but otherwise went by the recipe. I will probably make more meringue next time, as mine looked a bit sparse, even though it did cover the entire pie. This was the only dessert that was gone QUICKLY and one child was left to lick the plate – after having her second piece. Thanks for this success!!
I think that is wonderful! I’m so glad you tried it and enjoyed it!
Oh my goodness, my crust fell FLAT. No way can I put any filling in that. I’m going to try again, but do you have tips on baking the crust so it won’t fall? I am so bummed. Chocolate pie is my husband’s favorite and it’s all he wanted for his birthday. 🙁
Just want to say that this pie was great! I made for a birthday dinner (requested by my son). His grandmother usually makes it — so I wanted it to turn out well — but knew many things could go wrong :)! I followed all your tips, and it turned out great! Thanks so much for the great recipe! I can’t get the stars to rate — but would definitely give 5 stars!
I am so so happy you made it and were thrilled with the results. What a great day for me! I do love this pie!!
I have not baked this beautiful pie yet, just looking at it I will award it 5 stars. The combination of the fluted dish and the elaborate topping makes this such a winning combination. The old time recipes are the best, they never disappoint the Baker. The chocolate will make a welcome change to the old faithful lemon :), would really like to bake this, thank you for sharing, I am sure it is going to be a winner.
AMAZING! This is the BEST recipe EVER! I have tried many recipes on several sites with so-so results. Every part of this pie tasted delicious! My family devoured it. What I loved about this site/post was all the advice learned from your tests. I learned so much! Thank you my search is over for the best recipe!
Thank you so so much Kim!! That means a lot to me. Was there anything wrong with it that I need to revisit? I noticed you gave it 4 stars.
The recipe says to use a pre-baked pie crust, I pulled the recipe from your blueberry pie page, but I don’t know the instructions on pre-baking the crust. Will you please point me in the right direction for those instructions?
Here’s the recipe for the pie crust: https://stacylynharris.com/no-fail-homemade-pie-crust-from-scratch/
Hi Alexa! Yes; here’s the crust recipe. https://stacylynharris.com/no-fail-homemade-pie-crust-from-scratch/
It was so beautiful and it was so tasty and chocolate, yum
Thank you so very much!!
How long do you pre-bake the pie crust for? The linked recipe for the crust doesn’t say.
For about 15 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. I hope your pie turns out great.
So gorgeous, and the taste is amazing!!
I made it for my husband’s birthday. He loved it! Thank you for the helpful hints. I’m looking for a fluted pie dish like your’s; it’s so beautiful. Did you dust the meringue with cocoa? It looks like it in your picture. Have you ever tried to freeze the pie, so it can be saved for later? Thank you so much!
I believe I got the pie dish from Williams Sonoma a few years back. If I find out any differently, I will let you know. Yes, I did sprinkle cocoa powder over the top. I have not tried to freeze this pie, but now you’ve got my curiosity up. I’ve read that you cam freeze it, but I won’t believe it until I do it. I will get back with you on that!! I’m off to make and freeze this pie. So glad your husband liked the pie. Happy Birthday to him!
I’m so glad your husband loved it Donna. I did dust the pie with cocoa powder in the photo. I had to go back and look at the picture! You can freeze the pie filling in the crust, but I wouldn’t freeze the meringue. I would cook the filling and allow it to cool completely, then freeze the pie uncovered. One it it totally frozen, wrap it in plastic wrap several times to ensure no air can get to it. Thaw completely in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, allow the pie to come to room temperature and pile on the meringue and bake until the meringue is browned, about 20 minutes. After removing from he oven, allow it to come to room temperature and serve. You can chill the pie for a few hours. I like it room temperature and chilled.
Will the 375 temp or the time need to be adjusted for my convection oven? Sometimes recipes call for shorter time or 25° lower temp if baking in convection instead of conventional ovens so I’m wondering how this will affect the meringue. I think I’ll try making this for my husband for Thanksgiving!
I have a convection oven too. No need to adjust for this recipe. Try it before Thanksgiving and let me know if you have any questions. I want it to be perfect for Thanksgiving for your husband. He will love it.
Does the pie have to be refrigerated before serving or can it be eaten once it has cooled? Mine always looks beautiful after baking but then gets messed up when I try to cover it in the fridge.
I can never wait. I eat mine once it is room temp. The meringue is never as pretty after being put in the fridge, but it’s still super great. Yes though to your answer. You can eat it once it has been cooled!!
I’m a cake decorator not a baker, but one of my customers ask me if I could bake her two chocolate meringue pies for their Christmas dinner. I did a trial run for my husband, he loved it, before doing two for the customer!!!! OMG everyone loved it!!!! P.S. I just took two or of the oven again for my hubby!!!! Thanks for the recipe!!!!
I am thrilled!! This is super news!! I can’t thank you enough for trusting me with something so huge. I sure appreciate you letting me know!
Deeeelicious! Rich creamy filling that stayed firm.
I am so glad it turned out great for you!! I do love this pie! Thanks for trying it!
I just made this pie today and it was fantastic! The chocolate filling is not too sweet like a lot of recipes. I have been looking for a recipe that was close to my grandmother’s and this is it! Thank you!
Robyn, thanks for letting me know. That makes my day, and I hope the pie makes your friend’s and family’s day too!!
This looks delicious! My only question is your recipe calls for 6 separated eggs in the merangue (6 whites used in the merangue and 4 of those 6 yolks used in the filling) but the recipe also calls for 4 eggs (separated) in the filling but doesnt address them by name anywhere in the recipe. Do you use 4 yolks plus 4 eggs in the filling?
Hi Brianna!! Great question. Only use 4 egg yolks from the eggs separated earlier for the meringue. I hope it turns out fantastic.
Absolutely LOVE this recipe, and have now made it 7-8 times since finding this recipe. I only use the four egg whites for the meringue, rather than six – and there is plenty. Also, I substitute Splenda for sugar because this is my husband’s pie, and he is diabetic – EVERYONE in my family loves it and wants a slice, even if they are sugar-tolerant! So for the holidays I usually make two of them! It’s easy enough to make the meringue first, and have it waiting to cover the warm pie filling, and then pop it into the oven. Five stars!
This makes my day. I am in the kitchen right now making them for Christmas Eve and Christmas. Thank you so very much for the 5 star rating. Merry Christmas.
First time cooking a homemade chocolate pie!
Everyone said it was the best they had! I ordered your cookbook! Thank you!❤
Thanks for ordering the cookbook. I am so glad you like the pie and it was a hit. That makes me so happy!! Thanks Karen!
I am from the South and your recipe is exactly how I remember my Grandmother making her chocolate pies. It is perfect for any and all occasions and is the only recipe I use. It is pure perfection and pure deliciousness! Thank you for such a great recipe that is SO easy to follow. Anyone can make this pie. Matter of fact, I made two today!! One for our neighbor and one for my husband and I. Have a wonderful Memorial Day!
Ronald, that makes my day!! I’m glad you had success! We make this recipe almost every holiday! Thanks too for the comment and for being here on the site!
This is the best chocolate pie ever! Thank you so much!
That just makes my day!! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
Hello! I have just made this pie which is still cooling. Once it’s completely cooled your instructions are to tent & place in fridge. This is something I have never done with meringue pies as they set up well at room temp..and are usually eaten the same day! Is fridge just for the purpose of pie set up or preserve for next day?
Kathryn, you are very right! It is best to eat it same day and you won’t get the sweating that meringues are notorious for if they cool completely at room temp and are eaten. The chocolate will set more in the refrigerator, but if left long enough, I think you will be fine to eat it same day and the meringue will do much better.