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Chocolate Chip Kentucky Pie

This ultra gooey chocolate chip Kentucky pie is everything you could ever want in a pie.

walnut pie

Traditional Kentucky Derby Pie has a buttery crust and a sweet, gooey filling that’s similar to pecan pie, just with walnuts and chocolate chips instead of pecans.

The original pie was invented in the 1950s at the the Melrose Inn of Prospect, Kentucky and is usually associated with the Kentucky Derby. Today’s chocolate walnut pie recipe is my own healthier and vegan take on the classic, and since Derby Pie is a registered trademark, I chose to call this one simply Kentucky Pie.  If you like pecan pie, chances are you will love this gooey chocolate walnut version as well!

And if you want a pecan pie instead, be sure to check out this Vegan Pecan Pie – With No Corn Syrup.

derby pie

Vegan Derby Pie Recipe

The annual Kentucky Derby is coming up this Saturday (May 5th), and while I’m not a fan of the actual race, I absolutely am a fan of the food… or more specifically the pie.

As the saying goes, I’m only here for the food.

I could take or leave the Mint Juleps. For the ultimate dessert experience, I recommend topping this pie with homemade Coconut Ice Cream, as shown in the picture above. And while technically it’s completely fine to leave out the chocolate chips, you probably already know—without me saying anything—what I think about that option. Chocolate chips > not chocolate chips.

The pie can be vegan, refined-sugar-free, and it can also be gluten-free, paleo, and keto as long as you use a suitable sweetener and crust, such as my Gluten Free Pie Crust Recipe

pie filling

Above, the walnut filling, which I kind of wanted to just eat with a spoon and call it a day.

And below, the full pie, minus the slice I was about to demolish after the photoshoot. The ice cream definitely melted before I was done taking pictures, but that somehow made the entire thing taste even better!

Kentucky Pie

Just like with the aforementioned pecan version, I’ve replaced the high fructose corn syrup with much healthier molasses, a sweetener that is actually healthy. Blackstrap molasses has over 20% of the RDA for both calcium and iron in just one tablespoon!

If you can’t find blackstrap molasses or aren’t a fan of the strong flavor, regular molasses or pretty much any liquid sweetener will also work here. And although I’ve not tried it yet, I don’t see why substituting another nut like macadamias wouldn’t work in place of the walnuts if you wish. Years ago, PF Chang’s offered a macadamia pie that was absolutely fantastic (it was discontinued awhile back), and this recipe kind of reminds me of that pie.

Gooey Chocolate Chip Kentucky Pie, keto and vegan

Chocolate Chip Kentucky Pie

Chocolate Chip Kentucky Pie

Total Time: 35m
Yield: A 9-inch pie
Print This Recipe [mrp_rating_result show_count="false" show_rich_snippets="false"]


  • heaping 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tbsp molasses, or sweetener of choice
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup, honey, or agave (or keto friendly sub)
  • 2 tbsp nut butter of choice, or buttery spread
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup ground flax
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup mini or regular chocolate chips
  • optional sliced walnuts for the top


*Feel free to use any homemade or store-bought 9-inch crust (or the grain-free option linked earlier in this post). I used the following: 1 3/4 cup whole wheat or white flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/3 cup veg or melted coconut oil, and 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup cold water, as needed. Stir everything together to form a dough. If too dry, add more water or oil. If too sticky, add more flour. Press into a greased 9-inch pie or springform pan. You can pre-bake it for 10 minutes at 400 F, but it still works even if you don’t.

For the Kentucky pie: Whisk all ingredients (except optional garnish), and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, during which time it will thicken, thanks to the flax. (If your flaxmeal is good, the mixture will be noticeably thicker when you take it out.) Preheat oven to 350 F. Pour filling into a crust. Arrange the optional extra walnuts over top if desired. Bake on the center rack 35 minutes, then do not even open the oven door but let sit in the now-turned-off oven an additional 10 minutes.

View Nutrition Facts


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  1. Nina says

    I love this! It sounds so good and I can feel better knowing it is healthier. Thanks for the great idea..

  2. Cassie Thuvan Tran says

    I don’t normally catch up with the Kentucky Derby to be quite honest. I find the horse racing industry pretty unethical given the physical taxation the horses endure. But I do agree that the FOOD is the most important part of the celebration! This pie looks fantastic. Even though I have never had a traditional Kentucky derby pie (I’m CLEARLY not from the South), I would like to try this!

  3. Kristen says

    OH MY GOSH!! YES!! I’m from Kentucky and I was wondering yesterday if you would someday make a Chocolate-Covered Katie version of Derby Pie! The Derby is over but I need to make this ASAP! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

  4. Jess says

    I made this using a pre-made oreo crust & I used chia seeds instead of flax seeds. This was delicious! Great flavor, very sweet! I will definitely make again!

  5. Healthy-Eater says

    Looks really mouthwatering! Like everything here: from ingredient combination to the simplicity of cooking the pie. Never tried Traditional Kentucky Derby Pie, but your recipe really awoke a wish to cook it) But I think I’d need to do my workout well after it))

  6. Lindsay says

    I made the pie this weekend and it was amazing! Absolutely loved it. Thank you for always having the best and most simple recipes.

  7. Ceci says

    Just so you know, there is a difference between “corn syrup,” usually used in this pie and in pecan pie, and “high fructose corn syrup” (more in this link: Incidentally, there is also not much evidence to support the idea that “refined sugars” or even HFCS are really damaging to our health–at least, there is not conclusive scientific evidence for those hypotheses. Sugar is sugar–whether it’s maple syrup, coconut sugar, light corn syrup, or HFCS. Just a dose of healthy critical thought and skepticism. Regardless, I’m sure this pie is delicious; thank you for the recipe!

  8. Kat says

    I once made a chocolate walnut macadamia pie. It was sooo good!
    I’ll have to try this. And seeing as it’s pie season… 😉

  9. Rachel Aristeo says

    I made this today and it just hit the spot. I used your crust recipe; but found it not flaky- although much more healthy. Was a real enjoyable Kentucky Durby pie- I’ve made probably 50 or more of your recipes and love I don’t have to be full of guilt to eat sinfully

  10. susan jan says

    I’m curious-your Kentucky Derby pie has the same ingred. as your vegan pecan pie, except for pecans vs. walnuts, yet the calories and fat are wayyyyy different. Is that a mistake and if so, which is correct? (it can’t be right-9 gms of fat vs. 28!!-calories almost couble)

    Please let me know. I don’t know if anyone else noticed this, that’s just me.


    • Jason Sanford says

      Scroll down on the pecan pie nutrition page. The first label is without the crust while the second includes it.

  11. Jocelyn says

    Should the walnuts be toasted before adding to the filling mixture? Or will they toast enough while baking inside the pie?

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