Old Fashioned Lemon Buttermilk Pie: This custard pie is such an unassuming pie. That's good news because it means people won't go for it first. But, once someone tries it, it'll go quick. Easy to make with just a few ingredients! | macheesmo.com

Old Fashioned Lemon Buttermilk Pie

Old Fashioned Lemon Buttermilk Pie: This custard pie is such an unassuming pie, but will be a hit at any party! Easy to make with just a few ingredients!


Old Fashioned Lemon Buttermilk Pie

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This pie is the dessert equivalent of the dorky high school kid that nobody wanted to talk to who ended up becoming a fashion model.

If you were to take it to a holiday party, it might sit untouched for who knows how long. It just doesn’t look all that fancy (because it’s not). But trust me, attitudes will change once someone takes a piece and the word spreads.

Sometimes the most plain looking thing can be the most interesting once you dive in.

At its base, this lemon buttermilk pie is a classic custard pie, but it has a perfect balance of sweet and sour and has a really bright flavor. It’s addictive stuff.

My favorite part? Once the custard sets up you can eat a piece of this pie like you would eat a slice of pizza. I ate a piece once while in the car just because I could.

Whether or not you make your own crust, add this pie to your list this holiday season. I already can’t wait to make it again!

Lemon Buttermilk Pie

Serves 8
Prep Time:
Total Time:
Old Fashioned Lemon Buttermilk Pie: This custard pie is such an unassuming pie. That's good news because it means people won't go for it first. But, once someone tries it, it'll go quick. Easy to make with just a few ingredients! | macheesmo.com
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This custard pie is such an unassuming pie, but will be a hit at any party! Easy to make with just a few ingredients!

Pie filling recipe adapted from a My Recipes post.


Pie Filling:

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk
3 large eggs
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large lemon, juice and zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extra

All-Butter Crust:

(One 9-inch pie) (Recipe from 4 and 20 Blackbirds Crust via Food52.)
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup ice


For the crust:
Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Add cubed cold butter to the dry mix and coat the butter cubes with flour. Then use a pastry cutter, fork, or your fingers to work the butter into the flour mixture until it’s in pea-sized pieces.

Combine water, apple cider vinegar, and ice in a separate bowl. Add the liquid to the dry stuff a tablespoon at a time until the dough just comes together with some crumbs on the edges. You should need 4-6 tablespoons of the liquid.

Shape the dough into a round disc, adding more liquid in small drops if needed to get the dough to stick. Once the dough is in a solid disc, wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge for at least an hour, but overnight is best.

When ready to make pie, Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Roll pie crust out on a lightly floured surface until it’s roughly 10 inches in diameter. Transfer to your pie pan and trim edges to your liking. Poke some holes in the crust with a fork and line the pie with parchment paper or foil. Then add pie weights or dry beans to the crust.

Bake the crust for 15 minutes at 425 degrees F.

For filling:
1) Whisk together sugar and flour in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, melted butter, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla. Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients until mixture is smooth.

2) Pour filling into cooled pre-baked pie crust. Adjust oven to 350 degrees F.

3) Bake pie at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes until center is set.

Let pie cool for 45-60 minutes before slicing and serving. Store leftover pie in the fridge for up to five days.

Lemon Buttermilk Pie

The Crust

You don’t necessarily have to make your own crust for this pie. Whatever works for ya. I always like the opportunity to work on my crust game though if I have the time.

Recently, I’ve been trying out this recipe from a Brooklyn bakery and it’s really good. I like to make crust the night before so it has time to hydrate in the fridge.

Lemon Buttermilk Pie crust
Basic crust.

The crust rolls out really beautifully and easily. In no time, I have mine rolled out and transferred to my pie pan.

Lemon Buttermilk Pie crust
Roll it out.

When it comes to the edges, I don’t do anything fancy. I just pinch the crust between my fingers to give it a bit of a decoration. It’s a simple pie. Don’t overthink it.

Lemon Buttermilk Pie crust
Nothing fancy.

You do need to pre-bake this crust for this pie which is an annoying step (and possibly a good argument for using a pre-made crust). I just pull out my canister of pie beans though and toss them in the pie with some parchment paper. Poke a few holes in the crust before you do this so steam can escape.

Bake the crust for 15 minutes at 425 degrees F.

Lemon Buttermilk Pie baking
Pie beans in action.

Lemon Buttermilk Pie Filling

This is about as easy as a pie filling can get. Whisk together the flour and sugar in a medium bowl.

Lemon Buttermilk Pie filling
Flour + sugar

In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, melted butter, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla.

Lemon Buttermilk Pie filling
The wet stuff.

Then whisk the wet stuff into the dry stuff and stir until it’s smooth.

Lemon Buttermilk Pie filling
Nice and smooth.

Pour this awesomeness into your pre-baked crust. Look at that color!

Lemon Buttermilk Pie filling
Action shot!

Baking the Pie

Bake this pie at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. It’s done when the center is set (although it might jiggle a bit which is fine).

The hard part is that this pie really does need to cool for 30-45 minutes before you try to slice into it so the custard can set up.

Lemon Buttermilk Pie baked
Hello, beautiful!

The finished slice is rich and creamy.

For how easy the filling is, this is a no-brainer pie to try this year. I’d put it against any other pie I’ve made recently. It was WAY good.

Old Fashioned Lemon Buttermilk Pie: This custard pie is such an unassuming pie. That's good news because it means people won't go for it first. But, once someone tries it, it'll go quick. Easy to make with just a few ingredients! | macheesmo.com
Old Fashioned Lemon Buttermilk Pie: This custard pie is such an unassuming pie. That's good news because it means people won't go for it first. But, once someone tries it, it'll go quick. Easy to make with just a few ingredients! | macheesmo.com

49 Responses to “Old Fashioned Lemon Buttermilk Pie” Leave a comment

  1. This sounds wonderful. Providing there are leftovers, does it need to be stored in the fridge?

  2. I make my own Greek yogurt, so I always have a lot of whey tucked away in the fridge. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) I’m going to try this, substituting whey for the buttermilk. I LOVE lemon pie, so I have high hopes for this.

      1. Yes. Supposedly it can be used in place of buttermilk, but I didn’t know with something like this if it would make the flavor terrible. I think I’m going to go for it, I’ll let you know!

      2. I think we cut into it before it was cooled enough or something, because it made a bit of a custard mess in the pan, but it tasted delicious! So I would say that the buttermilk powder works just fine flavorwise.

  3. nick, this is some bomb ass pie!!! i made it to go with our family lunch today and well…the conversation stopped with the first bite. so good! i added 1/4 tsp of salt to the flour/sugar mixture and zest and juice from two lemons as mine were on the small side. also, 1 tbsp of vanilla. store bought crust. and i completely love how you described it. truer words and all that…

  4. I made it without the crust and it was fabulous. I just put the custard in a baking dish and sprinkled it with toasted slivered almonds before I baked it. Yum!

  5. Just made this pie for Easter weekend! I would say the hardest part is having patience for your dough to get cold and for your crust to cool/pie to cool before cutting it! Your custard looks much smoother than mine, and I was a little skeptical, but then I remembered what you said about this not being the prettiest pie and it was a big hit! Next time I might do a little more lemon and a little less sugar as it was on the sweet side, but this pie got rave reviews from my family! Definitely worth taking the time to do the crust from scratch as well :)

  6. I’m not real good at pie crusts. And I tend to favor graham cracker crust. Do you think it will work?

    1. Hey Sarah, I haven’t tried it with a graham cracker crust but I think it would work fine! Report back if you try it! :)

  7. I read a recipe for pie crust recently that used vodka in place of the water! There was a chemical reason, which of course I forget, but I’m planning to try it.

    1. I first saw that trick from Alton Brown! It works great because it makes the dough really easy to work with but the alcohol evaporates faster than water leaving your crust really flaky. :)

      1. Thank you for the tip about using vodka in the home-made crust. It seems I saw someone do that in one of the many holiday bake offs we have watched recently.

  8. I just have to tell you. My hubby found this recipe in a magazine from our electric co-op. It was awful. No lemon taste whatsoever. He tried it again, and again, and again tweaking it each time thinking maybe he could fix it. I told him he needed to ditch that recipe because nothing was going to help it. He was determined to get it right. So, I Googled it and your site popped up. I sent him the recipe from your blog (we both watched you on Food Fighters and I have had great success with your recipes). He tried it today and oh my goodness. It was amazing! I think the other recipe was either misprinted or something was accidentally (or purposely) left out. But the one he made today following your directions is a keeper! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    1. This totally made my day Vivian! Glad I could redeem the pie for you. It’s one of my favorites assuming you make it correctly. :)

      1. He did and it was delish. A couple of key things were left out of the one he got from the magazine. Your directions were spot on. thanks again.

    1. Hey Noreen, depends on what kind of crust. If it’s one in the pan that has already been par-baked, then no. If it’s just store-bought dough, then yes. Hope that helps!

  9. I had buttermilk pie for the first time today at a family event (we were the Yankees in the bunch), and our whole table was arguing about whether it had tapioca in it or not. It seems from what we googled that it doesn’t. But what are the little tapioca-like curds in there?

    1. Hey Chris! Traditional buttermilk pie definitely wouldn’t have tapioca in it. If the baker cooked it too hot, the milk might set irregularly which would maybe give the appearance of tapioca… or they did put tapioca in it and it’s an entirely different thing at that point. My recipe definitely doesn’t use it though!

    1. I just used normal dry black beans. :) Nothing special. You can prebake without the beans, but the crust will puff and might deform a bit. Not the end of the world.

  10. Awesome pie!!! Have made a couple times now and altered slightly… Added an extra egg yolk, heated in saucepan on stove to thicken slightly, then strained before putting in shell. Silky smooth and even more lemony. Love it!

  11. I wanted to try this pie so bad! But right out of the gate this pie went south. It got lumpy and it never got solid. I followed the recipe exactly! I dont know what happened. Help me! Would love to try it again, it smells so good but I just dont know what I did wrong!

    1. Hey Caitlin!
      Huh… that’s interesting. The only thing that I can think of is that either your eggs or your buttermilk (probably more likely the buttermilk) was a bit off or old and that caused it to curdle some?
      Ultimately eggs, flour, sugar, and buttermilk should solidify in the oven though… so I wonder if it could be your oven temp? Have you checked it with an oven thermometer recently? Sometimes ovens can be off by like 100 degrees which can definitely affect timing on pies like this. I hope that helps and you can get it to work. It’s a great pie!

  12. Perfect pie! I usually make a lemon chess pie because I have my mom’s delicious family recipe. But in this Texas summer heat, chess pie is just too heavy. I love recipes that are made with standard ingredients in the pantry. Anyway, I loved the consistency of this buttermilk pie and it was polished off in one sitting. My grandchildren said they hoped it wasn’t hard to make because they’d love to have it on a regular basis. I keep a running collection of their favorite recipes so when I’m no longer around, they’ll still have them. The youngest one said, “This one goes in the book!” High praise indeed.

    1. Hey Sherryn, I generally don’t think custards like this freeze very well but I haven’t personally tried freezing this pie. I always eat it too fast. Ha! Good luck if you try it. :)

  13. Can’t wait to try this!! But, What is the minimum amount of time I should let my crust hydrate in the fridge?

  14. The recipe was truly enjoyed. Will make it again.
    QUESTION: Can I use less sugar by reducing it to 1 cup and still make the same great pie ?

  15. So I made this pie last week. You were right. It is pretty ugly. But oh so tasty! I used a slightly different crust and had to substitute soy milk curdled with vinegar (for people who can’t have milk products) for the buttermilk, and it was such a big hit that it’s been requested again. I’m fairly new to baking and had no trouble with this recipe. It looked just like the pictures. Thanks!

  16. Like you said, this pie isn’t glamourous and for a few years it was the last pie cut at our holiday celebration. I was thrilled because that meant more for me! It took two years but word eventually spread and now it’s the hottest pie on the dessert table. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

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