Bourbon Buttermilk Pie

Take your buttermilk pie to the next level with a splash of bourbon — this bourbon buttermilk pie with bourbon whipped cream has a silky smooth custard texture but takes only minutes to make!

buttermilk bourbon pie in a fluted pie plate next to a silver cake server and two dessert plates

As someone who really loves pie, it’s quite possible my favorite time of year.  That’s right — Thanksgiving!  It’s like the pie Olympics.

Now, look.  You can’t go wrong with a classic.  You can make the same old pumpkin pie and pecan pie you’ve always made and people will like it. You’ll have a traditional Thanksgiving dessert and people will be happy.  

But you know what else they’ll be?  Maybe just a little?  Just a teeny tiny bit… bored.  There.  I said it.

That’s why I like to take classic pies and shake them up a little.  Like my chocolate bourbon pecan pie.  And nutella swirled pumpkin pie.  You know, traditional Thanksgiving pies, with a little something extra.

And that’s what we’re doing again today.  A few years ago, I made a chocolate buttermilk pie for Thanksgiving which has become a family favorite, but I’ve never actually made a plain buttermilk pie.  But a plain buttermilk pie?  Well, that sounds a little… boooooring.

So this year?  We’re adding a big old splash of bourbon.  And adding some bourbon whipped cream on top.  I mean, doesn’t a bourbon buttermilk pie sounds even better than a plain old boring buttermilk pie?  Yes, yes it does.

Because I don’t know about you, but by the time dessert rolls around after Thanksgiving dinner, I could usually use a splash (or three) of bourbon.

(Not a fan of bourbon?  Don’t drink?  Looking to make this a family friendly option?  The bourbon can be omitted from both the pie and the whipped cream!  No need to substitute in anything else – just leave it out entirely!)

one slice of custardy bourbon buttermilk pie on a stack of dessert plates in front of the rest of the pie in a blue ceramic pie plate

What is Buttermilk Pie?

Buttermilk pie originated in the United Kingdom, but nowadays is associated with southern cuisine.  A traditional buttermilk pie includes sugar, butter, eggs, buttermilk, and flour, and is baked in a pie crust.

The filling sets as the pie cooks and has a custard-like texture, thanks to the eggs.  It is, however, approximately one zillion times easier to make than a custard pie.  No tempering eggs – just the magic of whisking ingredients and a running liquid transforming into a solid custard!

How does this magic work?  It’s time for my favorite subject… kitchen chemistry!

Kitchen Chemistry

Buttermilk is acidic.  When we add an acid to eggs, we lower the temperature required for eggs to coagulate — or transition to a solid state.  This means that the protein bonds in the egg whites are able to form stronger bonds at a lower temperature, turning from liquid to a soft solid custard state – before the eggs cook the point of scrambling, which results in a silky smooth texture.

In fact, buttermilk pie is kind of a Thanksgiving procrastinator’s dream come true.  Unlike an apple pie, which requires peeling, coring, and chopping all those apples, or a pumpkin pie, which requires par-baking the crust before pouring in the liquidy custard, a buttermilk pie requires the absolute bare bones minimum effort.

Buttermilk pie has a soft custardy layer with a crunchy crackly sugar “crust” on top — a little like crème brûlée.  It’s sweet from the sugar, a little tangy from the buttermilk, slightly spiced from the nutmeg, and in our case, carries the faint delicious flavor of bourbon!

a stream of bourbon pouring from a small metal measuring cup into a glass mixing bowl full of buttermilk pie custard

Bourbon Buttermilk Pie Ingredients

The shopping list is pretty easy and simple for a bourbon buttermilk pie — you may even have everything you already need for this at home!

  • pie crust (I recommend my no fail pie crust recipe!) but store-bought works too
  • eggs (room temperature, so let them sit out ahead of time)
  • butter (melted)
  • sugar
  • flour
  • buttermilk (you’ll want to use real buttermilk, not a milk + lemon juice substitute)
  • vanilla extract (vanilla bean paste is excellent in this pie too, if you have some!)
  • lemon juice (bottled lemon juice works fine here!)
  • bourbon (whatever brand you like to drink)
  • nutmeg
  • heavy cream + confectioners sugar (for the “optional” bourbon-spiked whipped cream – but if you don’t like whipped cream on your pies, who are you?)

pouring buttermilk pie custard into a chilled pie crust on a cookie sheet

How to Make Bourbon Buttermilk Pie

Do you have a whisk? Can you use it? Congratulations! You can make buttermilk pie!

Okay, we’ll back up a second.  First, we need a pie crust.

I always recommend my no fail pie crust for an easy, foolproof homemade pie crust.  If you want to use a store-bought pie crust, I recommend buying the one that’s pre-made and rolled up so you can put it in your own pie plate.  If you buy the kind already in a tin, opt for a “deep dish” crust.  The premade frozen pie crusts already in a disposable tin are shallower than a regular pie tin, and you will overfill them with this much filling.

To make the filling, start by whisk together the eggs and sugar.  We want to ensure the eggs are coated with the sugar first — this is important!  In the presence of acid (the buttermilk), the proteins from the eggs start to denature and clump together.  By whisking the eggs together with the sugar first, the sugar coats the egg proteins and protects them from the buttermilk, which prevents the eggs from curdling in low pH.

Once the eggs and sugar are whisked together, dump in the rest of the ingredients and whisk until combined.  That’s it!  

The resulting mixture will be very thin and runny – this is normal!  It will still set in the oven and turn into a solid custard.  Trust in the bourbon buttermilk pie.

Bake your bourbon buttermilk pie until the top is golden and the center is just set.  To ensure the custard is fully cooked, use an instant-read digital thermometer — when the center of the pie reaches 200 °F, your pie is done!

a slice of buttermilk pie on a white dessert plate

How to Serve Bourbon Buttermilk Pie

Buttermilk pie can be served warm, cold, or at room temperature!

The texture changes slightly at the three different temperatures, so try all three to see which you like.  (I like mine slightly chilled – I prefer to take it out of the refrigerator 30 minutes or so before serving.)

Buttermilk pie is delicious on its own, with a scoop of ice cream (like my oatmeal cookie ice cream!) oooooor the bourbon whipped cream recipe I’ll include below!

side view of a slice of bourbon buttermilk pie showing the smooth custard like consistency

How to Store Bourbon Buttermilk Pie

Leftover buttermilk pie should be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or can be frozen for up to 3 months.

To freeze the pie, wrap tightly in aluminum foil (in the pie dish for a whole pie or individual slices for leftovers) and store in the freezer.  Remove from the freezer and thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

To warm leftover slices, reheat in the oven at 325 °F for 10-15 minutes, until a slice is warmed throughout.

two slices of bourbon buttermilk pie with bourbon whipped cream on small dessert plates next to the remaining pie

Tips and Tricks for the Best Bourbon Buttermilk Pie

  1. If you prefer to use a store-bought crust, use a rolled crust in your own pie tin or a deep-dish style crust in the disposable tin.  A standard crust in a disposable tin is more shallow than a ceramic or glass pie tin and the filling will overflow.
  2. Chill your pie crust before baking.  This helps keep the crust crispy and flaky!
  3. Use real buttermilk to make this pie.  The milk + lemon juice or vinegar trick works great for buttermilk for many applications, but we want real, thick buttermilk for a buttermilk pie.  Tip: buttermilk freezes well, so you can freeze any leftover buttermilk!
  4. Make sure to whisk together the eggs and sugar first before adding in the buttermilk to ensure the eggs will not curdle once the buttermilk is added.
  5. Bourbon can be omitted from the pie – no need to substitute in anything else in its place.
  6. Bake the pie on a cookie sheet.  Just in case any pie filling spills over the edge, it’s a lot easier to clean a cookie sheet than the bottom of your oven!
  7. To ensure the pie is fully cooked, use an instant read thermometer.  Once the center of the pie reaches 200 °F, it’s done!
  8. Let the pie cool for 2 hours before slicing — this lets the custard fully set.

More Thanksgiving Pie Recipes:

Bourbon Buttermilk Pie

Bourbon Buttermilk Pie

Yield: Serves 10
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Cooling Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 25 minutes

Take your buttermilk pie to the next level with a splash of bourbon — this bourbon buttermilk pie has a silky smooth custard texture but takes only minutes to make!

Ingredients

For the pie:

  • 1 no-fail pie crust
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

For the bourbon whipped cream:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons bourbon

Instructions

  1. Prepare the crust. Prepare pie crust according to recipe or use store-bought crust. Transfer pie crust into pie dish, crimp the edges, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to ensure the pie crust is thoroughly chilled.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 °F.
  3. Make the buttermilk pie filling. Combine the eggs and granulated sugar in a large bowl and whisk together until light and frothy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth. The buttermilk pie filing will be very thin.
  4. Pour pie filling into the prepared and chilled crust.
  5. Bake the pie. Bake at 400 °F for 10 minutes. Without opening the oven door, reduce the heat to 350 °F and bake for an additional 40-50 minutes, until the pie is set along the edges and an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the pie reads 200 °F. The top of the pie will be golden brown and look puffed.
  6. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 2 hours before slicing.
  7. Make the whipped cream. While pie cools, make the whipped cream for serving. Using a mixer or the whisk of a handheld immersion blender, whisk together the heavy cream, sugar, and bourbon until medium peaks form. Serve bourbon buttermilk pie with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.

Notes

  1. If you prefer to use a store-bought crust, use a rolled crust in your own pie tin or a deep-dish style crust in the disposable tin.  A standard crust in a disposable tin is more shallow than a ceramic or glass pie tin and the filling will overflow.
  2. Chill your pie crust before baking.  This helps keep the crust crispy and flaky!
  3. Use real buttermilk to make this pie.  The milk + lemon juice or vinegar trick works great for buttermilk for many applications, but this pie is best with true buttermilk. Tip: buttermilk freezes well, so you can freeze any leftover buttermilk!
  4. Bourbon can be omitted from the pie - no need to substitute in anything else in its place.
  5. Bake the pie on a cookie sheet.  Just in case any pie filling spills over the edge, it’s a lot easier to clean a cookie sheet than the bottom of your oven!

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 328 Total Fat: 16.7g Carbohydrates: 40g Protein: 3.7g
Bourbon Buttermilk Pie: This easy buttermilk pie recipe is an old fashioned southern staple - with a generous splash of of bourbon for a little extra punch! Don't forget to top with a dollop of bourbon-spiked whipped cream! #bunsenburnerbakery #pie #buttermilkpie #bourbon #boozydesserts