Chocolate Shoofly Pie

With a gooey dark molasses bottom and a buttery crumb topping, this wet-bottom Chocolate Shoofly Pie is a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition with an updated chocolate twist.  Simple and sweet, it’s best served at room temperature or slightly warm with a big dollop of whipped cream.

one slice of wet bottom chocolate shoofly pie cut from the pie and served on a gray dessert plate

Whew! We’re coming down to the wire with this month’s Pie of the Month.

I was doing so well for a while, always having my pies made 2-3 months in advance.  And then… well, and then we had another baby.  And I went back to work.  So now we’re back to just making it by the skin of my teeth.

It also doesn’t help when I have to remake a pie multiple times in order to get it right.  But hey!  That’s what I’m here for — to do all the recipe testing multiple times to make sure your pie comes out perfect on the first try.

This month I decided to do something a little bit different: in a sea of apple and pumpkin and pecan pies, I’m sharing my favorite “fall” pie: shoofly pie.  This really isn’t a seasonal pie at all, but the spiced molasses flavor always makes me think of cooler weather, and thus: it’s a fall pie.

This isn’t just any old shoofly pie, either.  It’s a chocolate shoofly pie.  Not a fan of chocolate?  Want the original, authentic version?  Leave it out!  If you’re looking for a little extra decadence and flavor, however, chocolate is a perfect addition.

But first off, let’s talk about the basics.  What the heck is shoofly pie?  Where did it come from?  Have you ever heard of it before?

whole uncut chocolate shoofly pie with homemade pie crust on a paisley kitchen dishtowel

What is Shoofly Pie?

Shoofly pie is a Pennsylvania Dutch staple.  It’s like the Central Pennsylvania equivalent to a southern pecan pie: every Amish bakery has one, and everyone thinks their version is the best.  Dark molasses is the star of shoofly pie, baked in a pie crust and topped with a crumbly streusel-like topping.

As the name might imply, shoofly pie is so good, flies are drawn right to the sweet, sugary pie.

a cut slice of chocolate shoofly pie showing the chocolatey pie bottom and crunchy crumb topping

Wet vs. Dry Bottom Shoofly Pie

Shoofly pie comes in two varieties: wet bottom and dry bottom.  A dry bottom shoofly pie is almost more like a cake baked into the pie crust.  The crumb topping bakes into the molasses, leaving a coffee cake-like filling.  These pies are thick and may not have any crumb coating remaining on the top since it all bakes in.

The wet bottom version has a gooey, molassesey bottom layer, with a distinct crumb layer on top.  These pies tend to be thinner since the crumb coating stays piled on the top.  With no flour mixing into the molasses layer, the “wet” bottom relies on the egg to set and is more like a thinner layer of custard than a cake.

How does molasses result in this thick, custardy texture? It’s time for my favorite subject… kitchen chemistry!

Kitchen Chemistry

Molasses, a thick, syrupy byproduct of sugar production, gives Shoofly Pie its distinctive sweet and rich flavor. When molasses is combined with the other ingredients, it doesn’t fully blend in. This is due to molasses having a high viscosity, which is a measure of a fluid’s resistance to flow. As the pie is baked, the less-viscous components of the molasses (like water) become steam and rise to the top. Meanwhile, the more viscous components (sugars) remain closer to the bottom of the pie, creating the distinct layers of a wet-bottom shoofly pie.

The shoofly pie I distinctly remember from my childhood is the wet bottom version.  Gooey, almost fudgy, with a mile-high pie of crumb coating. 

The key to achieving the perfect wet bottom is finding the right balance between the molasses and other filling ingredients. Too much molasses, and you may end up with a pie that’s overly wet; too little molasses compared to crumb topping, and you’ll miss that gooey separation.

For my first attempt at shoofly pie, I poured in the molasses layer, added the crumb topping, and baked.  The topping sunk into the molasses layer.  The flavor was spot on, but what happened to that gorgeous pile of crumbs on top?  This wasn’t the shoofly pie I remembered!

For the second take, I baked the pie for the first 15 minutes without the topping, then added the crumbs on top.  Better, but still not there.  This gave me the wet bottom texture, but the layer was very thin and there were (dare I say) too many crumbs on top.

a slice of shoofly pie with the wet bottom molasses layer seeping along the side of the crust

Gooey Wet Bottom Shoofly Pie

Like Goldilocks, I had a feeling the third time would be just right. It’s a little unconventional compared to many other recipes, but the extra step is well worth it for the perfect combination of a gooey molasses layer, slightly cakey middle, and crumbly top.

The molasses layer is a piece of cake: simply whisk together the molasses, boiling water, baking soda, egg, and a tiny pinch of salt.  Pour this into your pie crust.

For the crumb layer, mix together flour, brown sugar, melted butter, and some spices.  Layer half of this mixture on top of the pie and pop it into the oven for 15 minutes.  Put the rest of this crumb mixture into the freezer to firm up.  After 15 minutes in the oven, remove the pie, add the now-chilled crumb mixture on top, and bake for an additional 25 minutes.

The end result?  A thick, gooey, custard-like molasses-y bottom with a deliciously golden, buttery crumb topping.  A true authentic Pennsylvania Dutch shoofly pie recipe.

Want to make the chocolate version?  Sprinkle 3/4 cup of chopped chocolate on the bottom of the pie crust before pouring in the molasses filling.  Add it in, leave it out — the choice is yours.  Either way, if you love molasses, you’re sure to love this shoofly pie, even if you’re thousands of miles away from central Pennsylvania.

overhead view of a single slice of chocolate wet bottom shoofly pie on a dessert plate
  • Baking Sheet: Always place your pie plate on a baking sheet in case any of the filling bubbles up and overflows.
  • Pie Plate: This recipe is written for a 9-inch pie plate.
  • Mixing Bowls: You can never have too many mixing bowls, and this stackable set of glass mixing bowls comes with all the sizes you need!
  • Whisk: A heavy, sturdy whisk makes whisking together the molasses layer a breeze.
a slice of wet bottom chocolate shoofly pie with a fork holding up a bite exposing the chocolate and molasses bottom layer

Tips and Tricks for the Best Chocolate Shoofly Pie

  1. Dark molasses is ideal for this recipe, as it offers a robust flavor. For a milder taste, use light molasses. Do not use blackstrap molasses.
  2. Watch the pie during baking. The top should be golden brown, but the center will remain slightly jiggly. Overbaking the pie will lose the wet-bottom gooey texture.
  3. After baking, allow the shoofly pie to cool gradually on a wire rack at room temperature. Trying to speed up the cooling time by placing the pie in a cooler location can cause the pie to crack and develop an uneven texture.
  4. As tempting as it is to cut into the pie right away, allow it to fully cool and set first for a few hours (ideally overnight!). This allows the pie to fully set, improving the texture, and making it much easier to cut and serve the pie.
  5. Experiment with your favorite toppings. While whipped cream is classic, shoofly pie is also delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a drizzle of chocolate sauce, or a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
  6. Chocolate shoofly pie can be stored at room temperature for 2 days, refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.

2018 Pie of the Month Series

a slice of shoofly pie with a buttery crumb topping

Chocolate Shoofly Pie

Yield: Serves 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Cooling Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 5 hours

With a gooey dark molasses bottom and a buttery crumb topping, this wet-bottom chocolate Shoofly Pie is a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition.


  • 1/2 recipe no fail pie crust
  • 1 1/2 cups (180 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (107 grams) dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup (170 grams) boiling water
  • 3/4 cup (255 grams) molasses
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (128 grams) chopped semi-sweet or dark chocolate (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 °F.  Place a baking sheet in the oven to heat.
  2. Prepare the pie crust.  Place the crust in a pie dish and flute the edges.  Refrigerate the pie plate until the filling is ready.
  3. To make the crumble topping, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.  Slowly pour in the melted butter, continuing to stir.  The mixture will form a big clump, break this up with your fingers until the mixture has a sandy texture.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the boiling water and molasses until smooth and well combined.  Stir in the baking soda and egg, along with an additional small pinch of salt.
  5. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate (optional) along the bottom of the pie crust.  Pour the molasses mixture into the crust and sprinkle half the crumb mixture on top of the pie.  Place the rest of the crumb mixture in the freezer.  Place the crust on the preheated baking sheet and bake the pie for 15 minutes.
  6. After 15 minutes, remove the pie from the oven.  Top with the remaining chilled crumb mixture, sprinkling it evenly over the top of the pie.  Return the pie to the oven, reduce the temperature to 350 °F, and bake an additional 20-25 minutes, until the pie is just set and the crumb topping is golden brown.  Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing, at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.


The pie can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days, refrigerated for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 3 months. After baking and cooling, wrap the entire pie with plastic wrap, followed by two layers of foil and freeze.  Thaw overnight at room temperature.  For an individual slice, freeze the slice on a cookie sheet until fully frozen, then wrap it in foil and store in an air-tight freezer bag.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Did you make this recipe?

Don't forget to leave a rating or a comment and share your recipe photos on Instagram - tag @bunsenburnerbakery!

Chocolate Shoofly Pie: a traditional wet-bottomed Pennsylvania Dutch shoofly pie, updated with a little chocolate in the filling.


  1. Wow, this sounds so good!  I’ve never heard of shoofly pie, but the combo of molasses and chocolate with the crumb topping is definitely a win.  I love how ever region has their own kind of special food that everyone ‘makes the best!’ 

  2. Yes please to everything molasses and chocolate! I had never heard of this type of pie before but it is on my radar now! I can’t wait to try it.

  3. Great post! I have heard of shoofly pie but had no idea what it was exactly! Thank you so much for enlightening me. Your pie looks perfect and sounds delicious.

  4. I love the classic old-fashioned feel of this pie! It screams fall comfort food and that crust looks pretty perfect as well! And I will take that dollop of cream aaaand a bit of vanilla ice cream!

  5. this looks SO delicious Julie!! and I love the name!

  6. I had actually never heard of shoofly pie, was not even sure I understood the name 😀 Nice to get to know it, though. I love making pies so I should definitely try this one. Better yet, I hope to visit one day and get to eat one in Pennsylvania. My husband is a huge Eagles fan so I will have to take him to Pennsylvania one day (we live in Sweden, so it’s not really round the corner).

  7. Chocolate Shoofly Pie? You can possibly make Shoofly Pie more decadent? Oh, my, that sound amazing… And I love your trick with the crumbs.

  8. This is defiantly a different kind of fall pie! I can’t wait to give this a try soon.

  9. Gosh, I haven’t seen a shoofly pie in ages!!! It’s such a delicious treat too. You’ve inspired me to make one this season. I can’t wait now! Pinning <3

  10. I’ve never heard of Shoofly Pie but it looks and sounds amazing. I will definitely have to try making your version.

  11. I have never tried something like this before. Your pics and recipe makes me want to try it right away. Thanks for sharing. I will let you know how this turns out.

  12. I love molasses and the addition of chocolate sounds brilliant!  I can’t wait to give this a go!

  13. this looks absolutely decadent and droolsome .the recipe is easy and a treat for a chocolate kids will love it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *