Buttermilk Pie: A Slice of Southern Comfort

Nestled in the warmth of Southern kitchens, amidst the clatter of spoons against mixing bowls and the sweet scent of vanilla, lies a dessert as timeless as the countryside itself: Buttermilk Pie. This simple, unassuming pie offers a taste of the South that is both nostalgic and delicious, with a custardy, lightly tart flavor that is at once sophisticated and homey.

The Humble Beginnings

Buttermilk Pie hails from a tradition of resourcefulness, where Southern cooks made do with what they had on hand. With its simple ingredients—most of which could be found in any pantry or icebox—it was a pie that could be enjoyed year-round, regardless of the season or occasion.

The Timeless Taste of Simplicity

At its core, Buttermilk Pie is a celebration of simplicity. It’s smooth, custard-like filling, with a hint of tang from the buttermilk, pairs beautifully with the flaky, buttery crust. It’s a dessert that doesn’t rely on extravagance; instead, its charm comes from its straightforward, comforting flavors.


For the crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and diced
  • 1/4 cup ice water

For the filling:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon (optional for added zestiness)
  • A pinch of nutmeg (optional for spice)


  1. Start by making the crust. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the ice water, a tablespoon at a time, until the crust comes together. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  3. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to fit a 9-inch pie plate. Place the crust in the pie plate, trim the excess, and crimp the edges decoratively.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until well blended. Add the melted butter, flour, buttermilk, vanilla extract, lemon zest, and nutmeg if using. Whisk until smooth.
  5. Pour the filling into the unbaked pie crust. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the pie is set and the top is lightly golden. The pie should have a slight jiggle to it; it will set as it cools.
  6. Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack. Serve at room temperature or chilled.


A slice of Buttermilk Pie is more than just a dessert; it’s a comforting reminder of days gone by, of family gatherings, and of the power of simple ingredients to create something truly special. This pie isn’t about flashiness; it’s about tradition and taste, a dessert that whispers of home with every bite.

Whether served as the sweet end to a family dinner or presented as a welcoming gesture to neighbors, Buttermilk Pie stands as a testament to the enduring allure of Southern baking. It’s a straightforward dessert, true, but in its simplicity lies its beauty—a beauty that continues to endure, one delicious slice at a time.

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