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Grandmama’s Chocolate Meringue Pie

Classic Chocolate Meringue Pie is one of those pies you need to learn to make by heart.

Grandmama’s Chocolate Meringue Pie is one of those pies you need to learn to make by heart.

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. This recipe is quite foolproof and I address all of these problems.

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 (I was at the children’s table at that time) when I quietly moved toward the buffet where the real food, as far as I was concerning, sat. I carefully took a slice of the chocolate pie, tiptoed back to the table, and devoured the best dessert I had ever eaten.

I made it my life’s ambition to create a chocolate meringue pie that was fail proof, invincible, simple to make, and that created the same excitement in others as I received from my grandmama’s pie that Sunday so long ago.

I started by asking my grandmama for her infamous recipe. As I worked through the recipe, I noticed that there were times it turned out perfectly, but other times 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 and create the perfect recipe that would deliver results EVERY TIME.  The reasons I am writing this blog is, one,  my love of chocolate pie, but second, to save you the trouble of having to make 100 pies before you get that perfect chocolate meringue pie. There is a third reason… I want you to make this for every special occasion (I think traditions are important), and I want you to be able to make it by heart.

I knew a few things to ensure the perfect meringue, but other lessons didn’t come so easily. Of course, I knew that all my equipment needed to be squeaky clean, that there was to be no fat from the yolks mixed with the egg whites, and that room temperature egg whites became much more fluffy. Then the experimentation began! I think I made 100 pies before I successfully prepared perfect pies every time.

Chocolate Meringue Pie - Fail Proof - Stacy Lyn Harris

Chocolate Meringue Pie – Fail Proof – Stacy Lyn Harris

Soggy Crust

 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 and it is worth the small effort to ensure excellent crust results. The proteins in an egg wash brushed over an uncooked pie shell will create a barrier that will keep 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 use my traditional crust recipe located here. I then mix 1 egg white with 1 teaspoon of water and lightly brush over the entire pie shell before I bake.

Weeping (liquid between the filling and meringue)

The next problem I had to address was the separation of the meringue from the filling due to a liquid forming between the two layers. This is called weeping (that is what I felt like doing when this happened!). I never could figure out why this happened only sometimes.

I finally realized that half of the time I had the meringue ready to go onto the pie right after the pie filling was poured from the saucepan into the pie shell (while the filling was hot), but others times I prepared the filling first and the filling cooled in the pie shell while I was making the meringue.  This gave the filling too much time to cool, which is not a good thing for meringue. 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 or 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.

Beading (the 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 thereby reducing my chance 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 meringue.

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, nor your family and friends, will regret the time you invested in committing this masterpiece to memory!

Grandmama's Chocolate Meringue Pie

Ingredients

Pre-baked 10 inch pie crust

Meringue Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites keep the 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 eggs separated
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup good semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. 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.
  3. For the filling, mix cocoa, flour, and sugar in a medium-sized sauce pan. In a separate bowl, whisk 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.
  4. 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. 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.
  5. 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.

66 responses to “Grandmama’s Chocolate Meringue Pie”

  1. This looks amazing! Hopefully I can know it by heart one day 😉

  2. Niki says:

    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.

    • Stacy Harris says:

      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!

  3. Marcia says:

    Thanks for the suggestions! Question about the amount of Cream of Tarter. Is that 1/2 teaspoon?

  4. This is gorgeous!! Plus…chocolate! SO I will definitely try it

  5. Amy says:

    What type of flour do you use? All purpose, self rising??

  6. Tina Smith says:

    BEAUTIFUL pie♡
    love the pie dish!

  7. Theresa Queen says:

    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

  8. What is 1/2 stick of butter. How much in weight?

  9. Jennifer says:

    Do you cook the crust with the Egg white bath a little before you put the filling in.

    • stacy says:

      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.

  10. Donna says:

    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.

    • stacy says:

      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.

  11. Jackie Mathews says:

    Hi Stacy,

    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!

    • stacy says:

      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!

  12. sarah says:

    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?

    • stacy says:

      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.

  13. […] Unbelievable Chocolate Meringue Pie – we might become best friends after eating this! […]

  14. Leah says:

    How thick does the chocolate filling need to be approximately? Made it tonight and hoping I did it correctly. Thanks so much!!!

  15. Glynn says:

    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.

    • stacy says:

      Did you make sure to “connect the meringue to the crust? That could cause that.

      • MaryBeth says:

        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?

        • stacy says:

          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.

  16. Angela says:

    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!

  17. Stacey says:

    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 .

    • stacy says:

      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.

  18. millie says:

    Approximately how long do you bake the pie in the oven?

    • stacy says:

      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!!

  19. Ally Saxe says:

    I noticed that the recipe says “pre baked” pie crust. How long does the crust bake before cooking and adding filling?

  20. 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.

  21. 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?

  22. Carol says:

    This is AMAZING! My husband and daughters were fighting over the last piece. Thank you!

  23. […] For more tips for no fail meringue on pies, check out one my favorite pies and posts on this site: Grandmama’s Chocolate Meringue Pie. […]

  24. Lesley Davidson says:

    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?!

  25. […] need to use up today, so Coconut Cream Pie is on the menu! This is one of my favorite pies next to Chocolate Cream pie. The great thing is that if you can make one, you can make both and many other desserts too, […]

  26. LaSonia Williams says:

    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!

  27. Yvonne says:

    You recommend the fine ground sugar. I have regular sugar and powdered sugar. Will one of those work?

    • stacy says:

      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.

  28. […] Grandmama’s Chocolate Meringue Pie […]

  29. Cathy Humphrey says:

    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!

  30. Mary McClellan says:

    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!!

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