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Kentucky Derby Pie Recipe (Bourbon Pecan)

4.9 from 119 votes

The Kentucky Derby Pie is a classic southern dessert dish that’s sure to impress any crowd. Filled with chocolate, pecans, and a splash of bourbon, this delightful treat is sure to bring the flavor of the Kentucky Derby right into your kitchen. I’ll show you how to make the best Kentucky Derby Pie around!

I absolutely love chocolate desserts, who doesn’t right?! Anything that has plenty of chocolate has my attention, from Chocolate Energy Balls, Smores Chocolate cakes, Butterfinger Chocolate Pie, or Chocolate Ice Cream bread! If you’re looking for a pie that’s got a little bit of everything, you know a bit sweet, savory, and with a kick of bourbon—then the Kentucky Derby Pie is the dessert for you! Serve it up with mint juleps, and you’re ready for the Derby!

The Kentucky Derby Pie is a chocolate pecan pie that was created in the 1950s by the Kern family, who owned the Melrose Inn in Prospect, Kentucky. The pie was named after the famous Kentucky Derby horse race and quickly became a staple dessert in the area.

One of the reasons the Kentucky Derby Pie is so popular is its unique combination of flavors and textures. The sweetness of the chocolate chips and the nuttiness of the pecans are perfectly balanced, creating a delicious and satisfying dessert. Additionally, the addition of bourbon or vanilla extract gives the pie a subtle, but distinct, flavor that sets it apart from other chocolate pecan pies.


The pie’s filling typically includes semi-sweet chocolate chips, chopped pecans, butter, sugar, eggs, and a small amount of bourbon or vanilla extract. The ingredients are combined and baked in a pie pan or pie plate and should be cooked until the filling is gooey and the crust is golden brown.

  • Eggs – best when at room temperature.
  • Brown sugar – you can use light or dark, whichever you prefer.
  • Corn syrup – use a high-quality brand like Karo.
  • Flour – any all-purpose flour will work fine.
  • Vanilla – you can use vanilla extract or imitation vanilla.
  • Butter – salted or unsalted and melted.
  • Bourbon – this ingredient is optional but recommended.
  • Chocolate chips – you can use milk chocolate or semi-sweet.
  • Chopped pecans – you can also use another nut that you prefer.
  • Pie crust – use a prepared pie crust that is uncooked. Store-bought is fine.

How to make this Kentucky derby pie recipe

1. Preheat oven to 325º

2. Whisk eggs and add brown sugar, corn syrup, and flour

3. Whisk until fully incorporated

4. Stir in vanilla, butter, and bourbon (if using)

5. Add chocolate chips and pecans and give it a stir

6. Pour into prepared pie shell and bake in the center of the oven for 60 minutes

7. Remove from oven and let cool completely

8. Slice and serve!

Storage Details

The best way to store a chocolate pecan pie depends on whether it has been baked or not.

If the pie has been baked, let the pie cool completely at room temperature, cover the pie with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, making sure it is tightly sealed. Store the pie in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

If the pie has not been baked:

  1. Make the pie crust and filling as directed in the recipe.
  2. Wrap the unbaked pie tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
  3. Freeze the pie for up to 2 months.
  4. When ready to bake, remove the pie from the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
  5. Bake the pie according to the recipe instructions.

Note: Pecan pies can be sensitive to temperature changes, so it’s important to avoid sudden temperature changes. When storing or reheating your pie, do so gradually and avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures.

Tips & Tricks

  • Serve your delicious Kentucky derby pie with Vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or a dollop of mascarpone cheese
  • Be sure to use high-quality chocolate chips and pecans for the best flavor
  • To make this Kentucky bourbon pie even more authentic, use a little Kentucky bourbon.
  • For a truly original pie, make your own crust – but store-bought is fine too!
  • Cover your crust with a pie shield or foil during baking to ensure that it doesn’t burn.
  • Substitute light corn syrup with dark corn syrup for an even gooier filling.
  • Make sure to preheat your oven before baking so the pie bakes evenly.
  • To make slicing easier once the pie has cooled completely, chill in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving.
  • For a fun twist, try substituting the pecans with mini chocolate chips or adding a layer of melted white sugar on top of the pie before baking.
  • If you’re looking for an easier way to mix up your ingredients, use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment instead or a hand mixer.

Recipe FAQs

Is derby pie the same as pecan pie?

A derby pie, also known as a bourbon pecan pie, is a type of dessert that is similar to a pecan pie but with added key ingredient such as bourbon and chocolate chips.

Despite its name, the original recipe for derby pie, created by Kern’s Kitchen, does not contain bourbon and uses walnuts instead of pecans. The filling is covered with a layer of nuts and is served in a pastry crust.

Why is it called derby pie?

The name “derby pie” was chosen because the family who created the recipe could not agree on what to call it.

To solve this problem, they wrote down all the suggested names on pieces of paper and placed them in a hat. The name they selected was the one written on the paper that said “Derby Pie.”

Make This Delicious Pie for a Kentucky Derby Party!

Kentucky Derby Pie, also known as a bourbon pecan pie, is a popular dessert that originated in the United States, created by the Kern family.

It is a variation of the traditional pecan pie, with added ingredients such as semi-sweet chocolate chips and a splash of bourbon, which gives it a unique and flavorful taste.

It is a delicious dessert that is perfect for any occasion, especially the first Saturday in May when the Kentucky Derby horse race takes place at Churchill Downs.

If you’re a fan of pecan pie, chocolate chip cookies, or bourbon, then you’ll definitely want to try this delicious dessert!

What My Readers are Saying about my Kentucky Derby Pie Recipe

“I made this and used pecan whiskey . Wow it tastes great! Everyone loved it!” Deena on Pinterest

“Very good. Everyone loved the pie. Make sure you use a deep dish pie pan” Carolyn on Pinterest

“This turned out great and was all we needed – besides bourbon – for our Derby party!” Kara on Pinterest

“I made this recipe today for the 150th Kentucky Derby tomorrow in Louisville, KY. This pie was so easy to prepare and was delicious. I made two regular sized pies. This is definitely a keeper recipe!” Jernimr on Pinterest

“This pie is excellent! Very rich but not heavy. Just a hint of bourbon-might add an extra Tbsp next time.” Deb on Pinterest

Kentucky Derby Pie

Kentucky Derby Pie

Recipe by Adore Foods
4.9 from 119 votes

This gooey Kentucky Derby Pie is a classic Southern dessert filled with chocolate, pecans, and a splash of bourbon. So easy to make!

Course: DessertCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time


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  • 4 4 eggs

  • 3/4 cup 3/4 brown sugar

  • 3/4 cup 3/4 corn syrup

  • 1/3 cup 1/3 flour

  • 1 tsp 1 vanilla

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 butter, melted

  • 2 tbsp 2 bourbon (optional)

  • 3/4 cup 3/4 chocolate chips

  • 1 1/2 cups 1 1/2 chopped pecans

  • 9” 9” prepared, uncooked pie crust


  • Preheat oven to 325ºF
  • Whisk eggs and add brown sugar, corn syrup, and flour
  • Whisk until fully incorporated
  • Stir in vanilla, butter, and bourbon
  • Add chocolate chips and pecans and give it a good stir
  • Pour into prepared pie shell and bake in center of oven for 60 minutes
  • Remove from oven and let cool completely
  • Slice and serve


  • I added 1 1/2 cups pecans to the recipe because I like it loaded with pecans. You can cut back and go for as little as 1/4 cup if you prefer it that way
  • Serving suggestion: Vanilla ice cream, whipped cream


Sunday 5th of May 2024

This recipe was delicious. I made it for my Derby party and everyone was very pleased.


Sunday 28th of April 2024

Super easy, true to textbook Ky Derby Pie. Followed pie filling recipe as directed, made my scratch pie crust. After 25 years living in Ky this recipe can hold its own against any I’ve had while living in Ky. I do recommend the bourbon; can’t beat the flavor it adds. I also used high quality Guittard semi-sweet chocolate. Thank you.

Kristie Mercer

Monday 22nd of April 2024

Do you use a deep dish pie crust or just a regular 9" pie crust?

Adore Foods

Tuesday 23rd of April 2024

Hi Kristie, I used a regular 9" pie crust, hope you'll enjoy it!


Thursday 23rd of November 2023

Is the amount of chopped pecans correct in the recipe? In the photo it looks like much more and 1/4 cup seems like too little.


Friday 24th of November 2023

@Adore Foods- Thank you for the response! I ended up adding around 1.5 cups of pecans when I made it and it came out great!

Adore Foods

Thursday 23rd of November 2023

Hi, yes I added 1 1/2 cups pecans to the recipe because I like it loaded with pecans. You can cut back and go for as little as 1/4 cup if you prefer it that way. I have made the necessary changes in the recipe and added my comment as a note. Sorry for the confusion