We already know that Kentucky is big on food considering the Crave Festival, but there’s one chocolatey dessert in particular that the Bluegrass state calls its own. Derby Pie was born in 1950 at the Melrose Inn in Prospect, Kentucky. The fudgy, nutty recipe was developed by the restaurant’s manager, George Kern, and his parents, Walter and Leudra. It quickly became the inn’s specialty pastry, and the family kept the recipe a secret. To this day, no one outside of Kern’s Kitchen in Louisville knows exactly how the trademarked pie is made. Anyone can recognize the chocolate chips and walnut pieces, but the family insists that no one can duplicate the pie’s rich filling and delectable crust.

That might be true, but if you can’t be in Louisville, you can take the same route as others before and attempt to capture the essence of Kentucky’s famous pie at home — with an added kick of Kentucky bourbon. According to John Mitzewech at TheSpruce.com, here’s what you’ll need:


  • 1, 9” ready-made pie crust (or try out a homemade recipe)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons Kentucky bourbon
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • Pinch of salt

What To Do

Step 1.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Step 2.) Combine the flour and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, melted butter, vanilla, and bourbon; mix well.

Step 3.) Stir in chocolate chips, walnuts, and salt. Pour mixture into pie crust and spread for even consistency.

Step 4.) Bake for 40-45 minutes or until filling is set. Remove and let cool on an elevated rack before slicing.

Serving Suggestions

To stick with Leudra’s tradition, serve it up warm with a dollop of fresh, homemade whipped cream. A pie this rich would also go well with a classic combo of vanilla ice cream and/or coffee.

It might not be the “real deal” but it sure puts a good Kentucky spin on classic chocolate pie. You can order an original Derby Pie in the mail, or stop by and get a fresh slice from the folks at Kern’s Kitchen the next time you’re in Louisville.