Derby Day Pie

I’ve lived in Kentucky for over a decade and this Derby Day Pie has been one of my favorite desserts since first bite. A slice of southern tradition, this pie is served and found in grocery stores and bakeries in April and May as the Kentucky Derby gets underway. Imagine a flaky, buttery crust filled with a luscious blend of pecans, chocolate, and bourbon (optional). Originally Derby Day Pie is made with walnuts, but I love pecans in this recipe, so I changed it up. This is a family favorite pie that we make even when it’s not the first weekend in May and make delicious pie for Thanksgiving or at our yearly “”Pi” Day party. Whenever you make it, I hope you love my version of a Derby Day Pie!

What is “Pi” Day?

As a teenager I remember geeking out in math class with my friends about the idea of “pi,” this never-ending number that is the ratio of the circumference of any circle to the diameter of that circle. It’s amazing how that number appears in so many math equations. When we found out that many people (mostly other math nerds like us) celebrated “pi” on its very own day, we knew had to join in the fun. The number “pi” is 3.14159… and so on forever so March 14th (3.14) turned out to be the day to celebrate. We proceeded to eat circular-shaped foods with pie being the main choice. We love all flavors of pie but Derby Day Pie makes an appearance more often than not.

The perfect berry “pi” pie.

Ingredients in Derby Day Pie

Some of the important ingredients in Derby Day Pie are:

Butter: I always use unsalted butter. I can regulate how much salt my recipe needs instead of not knowing how salty salted butter will make the filling.

Eggs: Eggs help this Derby Day Pie set up. They can’t easily be replaced in this pie.

Brown Sugar: Brown sugar gives a sweet and caramely flavor to the pie.

Flour: Flour helps thicken the filling. Not too much, not too little.

Pecans: I love using chopped pecans in this pie. Traditionally Derby style pies also use walnuts. If you prefer walnuts, you can substitute them in the for the pecans.

Chocolate Chips: Semi-sweet is the way to go. You want that rich chocolately flavor in every bite. I buy my chocolate chips at Costco.

Pie Crust: This pie is delicious with my homemade sourdough pie crust, or any other homemade pie crust works great. You can also use a store bought crust if you don’t want to make one.

Host a Pi Day Party

I have been out of school for many years now and really haven’t used my knowledge of calculus all that much as a stay-at-home-mom. But my love of traditions, living life to the fullest and eating good food has kept “pi” day alive and well in our house. If you know me, I’m always up for some kind of celebration. I taught my kids early on about “pi” and they have been converted to the awesomeness of a “pi” party too. Instead of eating circular-shaped foods all day, we decided to make pie and share it with friends instead.

What we do: Invite over a bunch of friends on 3.14 (March 14th) and ask everyone to bring a favorite pie! Some years we’ve included dinner with “pizza-pie” or “chicken-pot-pie.” It’s really up to you. I’m all about keeping it simple so even though I may throw in a few appetizers, the focus is going to be on the pie. It’s the perfect time of year to be eating pie since we often haven’t thought about it for months since Thanksgiving and everyone is excited for a slice of something yummy.

Derby Day Pie

And just to get your ideas going, here is one of my all-time favorite pie recipes from where I live in Kentucky. Derby Pie is a trademarked pie here in Kentucky and many places make and sell their own version during the spring around Derby time. We love this pie for pi day, Thanksgiving and we usually eat it again on Derby Day, or we enjoy making these Derby Day bars instead. I hope you try it and enjoy it warm or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Yum!

Derby Day Pie

A Kentucky favorite pie filled with pecans, chocolate chips and a brown sugar base. Add a homemade sourdough pie crust and you have the most delicious, "fastest two minutes in sports" pie. It is a Kentucky favorite!
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 1 pie


  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled
  • 3 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups brown sugar
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups pecans chopped
  • 1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • splash of Bourbon optional
  • 1 9 inch pie crust homemade or store bought


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Roll out pie crust into a 9 inch pie dish and set aside.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, use a spoon to mix together the butter, eggs, vanilla extract and brown sugar together until thick and creamy.
  • Add the flour and salt. Mix together to combine. If using Bourbon, add a splash to the mixture.
  • Add chopped pecans and chocolate chips to the mixture and stir to combine. Pour into the pie crust.
  • Bake for about 50-60 minutes until done. It will be a little jiggly but no big wobbles. Allow to cool before slicing. Enjoy!
Keyword chocolate, chocolate bourboun pie, Chocolate pecan pie recipe, classic derby dessert, decadent derby dessert, Derby Day, Derby Day Pie, easy derby day pie recipe, homemade kentucky derby pie, nutty chocolate pie, pecan, southern pecan pie recipe, traditional pie for the derby
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  1. Oh, how my mouth is watering for a slice of derby pie! Looks delicious! I wouldn’t mind a big slice of berry pie, à la mode, as well! Happy PI day to your gang! 🥧 🐎😋

  2. Pingback: Derby Day Bars