Filed under: Chocolate Pies / No-Bake
November 15, 2022

Brown Butter Chocolate Cream Pie

Creamy, smooth nearly ganache like in consistency, brown butter chocolate cream pie. This filling is made like a chocolate custard but has the added depth of flavor from dark chocolate and butter that has been browned.

5 from 3 votes
Yield: 1 9" pie
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Creamy, smooth nearly ganache like in consistency, brown butter chocolate cream pie. This filling is made like a chocolate custard but has the added depth of flavor from dark chocolate and butter that has been browned. 


Recipe Overview 

Inspired by this tiny no-bake chocolate custard recipe, but really absolutely wholly different. We share a similarity in parts of the method and parts of the equation but this deeply chocolatey monster of a chocolate cream pie is really my own mania. 

Sometimes when I stumble upon a recipe I carefully look at the ingredients and method and ask, what could I do differently to make it even better? Often the first answer is, brown the butter – add that nutty taste that complicates any flavor profile by tenfold. But also, I dislike half-hearted attempts at chocolate so out goes the semi-sweet. To further deepen and complicate a flavor palate I’ll add something tart or tangy where I can. 

So this pie is a little less creamy than your average chocolate cream pie, it’s got a thicker constitution, almost ganache-like. It’s also not at all plain chocolate, it’s got some nuttiness to it, a little tang and yet still dark and dreamy. 


Key Recipe Ingredients: Info & Substitutes 


Pie Crust: you can use store bought or use my homemade pie crust recipe (you’ll only need half of that recipe). 


Butter: Unsalted is best to control the salt level. 


Milk: Whole milk or 2% at least. Anything less will render the custard thinner. 


Sour Cream: Full fat. You could also use labneh here or a full fat greek yogurt (although the latter will give you a more tangy taste). 


Chocolate: Dark or semi-sweet chocolate. If your cocoa solids are less than 55% you will have a slightly softer consistency and a more milk chocolate like taste. 


Heavy Whipping Cream: Or heavy cream. No substitutes. 


Egg yolks: From large eggs. No substitutes. It’s ok if they are cold (eggs separate more easily when cold). 


The chocolate custard looks bitty and/or separated. Did I do something wrong? 


It’s possible you’ve overheated the eggs but if you’ve kept watch and it looked fine until you incorporated the chocolate, it’s likely that it looks this way because the chocolate melted quickly. Adding the sour cream and milk after will help it come back together. That said, it won’t be perfectly smooth due to the bits of brown butter (milk solids). 


Crust options for a chocolate cream pie 

I’ve made this at least three times, two with a basic all butter pie crust and once with my cocoa pie crust. As much as I loved the triple chocolate situation, my favorite was when the filling was given more room to really stand out against the toppings and crust. 


However, if you aren’t in the mood for a pie crust and a blind bake (it needs to be fully baked before the custard goes in) then you can opt for a cookie crust, with ground up oreos or graham crackers (2 cups cookie crumbs and ½ cup melted butter should be enough)  – I’d bake it for 10 minutes to firm it up before adding the filling. 


Topping options for a chocolate cream pie 

Given that it is a cream pie it stands to reason this should be topped with whipped cream! You can do the basic vanilla bean I have below or a chocolate version, just add 2 tablespoons cocoa. 

The little chocolate bits on top are shaved chocolate; I used a vegetable peeler on the side of a chocolate bar. Makes it pretty! 


with cocoa pie crust and chocolate whipped cream

Ok sam, but why are we making the whipped cream in a food processor? 


I’m SO glad you asked! When you “whip” the heavy cream with a whisk or hand mixer you incorporate a lot of air as it thickens. This is great, sometimes, but not ideal for pies or desserts that need to be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge. 


Traditionally whipped cream has a tendency to separate and get watery as it deflates; for anything that’s make ahead you want it to be stabilized. 


To make stabilized whipped cream, some people add gelatin or cornstarch. Truthfully you need neither if you use the food processor. It thickens without adding too much air and lasts days in the fridge without losing shape or getting goopy, seeping/weeping. 


P.S. I started doing this after seeing Paula make hers with an immersion blender – you could try that if you don’t have a food processor. 


But also, if you have neither, just use a whisk and make it right before serving. 


How do I fix over-whipped cream? 


Whether you’re using the food processor method or a beater/electric whisk, you may over-whip the cream. You’ll see it turn rough rather than smooth and well, you’re on the way to make butter. 


The easiest way to fix it (assuming you haven’t actually made butter yet!) is to add more heavy cream and simply stir until it’s the right consistency. It should be at soft peaks; smooth but droopy. 


Brown Butter Chocolate Cream Pie

Creamy, smooth nearly ganache like in consistency, brown butter chocolate cream pie.
Yields: 1 9" pie
5 from 3 votes


Brown Butter Chocolate Custard

  • 113 g or ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 240 g or 1 cup milk
  • 105 g or ½ cup brown sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 300 g semi-sweet chocolate
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 60 g or ¼ cup full fat sour cream
  • 60 g or ¼ cup whole milk

Whipped Cream

  • 1-2 cups heavy whipping cream depending on how much whipped cream you want
  • 2-4 tablespoons brown or granulated sugar
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract or paste
  • 2 tablespoons dutch process cocoa, per cup whipped cream optional, if you want to make it a chocolate whipped cream


  • Fully blind bake a pie crust.
  • Chop the chocolate very finely and set aside.
  • Set the egg yolks in a small bowl.
  • In a skillet, brown the butter. Pour into a pot, scraping off the brown bits as much as you can. Add the milk and sugar and set it over low heat. Stir until the sugar fully dissolves.
  • With a whisk in hand, pour a small splash of the hot liquid over the egg yolks and whisk, then pour a little more and whisk. Pour the egg yolk mix into the pot and whisk well. Return to the stove and cook on medium low heat until the custard thickens slightly.
  • Turn off the heat and scrape the chocolate into the pot, stir with a rubber spatula just a bit, then leave it for about 30 seconds. Add the salt and vanilla then stir until all the chocolate has melted. It will look like it has started to separate, add the sour cream and then the milk, stirring as you pour it in. The custard will come together but have little bits (those are from the brown butter!). Pour it into the pie shell and chill for at least 4 hours.

For the whipped cream

  • Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process on high for 1-3 minutes, until thick. Spread over the custard.

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Recipe Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    I made this recipe for a Valentine’s Day treat this year. It was my first time making brown butter AND making a custard. I would call myself an intermediate baker, and have run into trouble in the past with my caramel or ganache splitting, so I am happy that this pie turned out exactly as expected. Hands-down, it’s the best chocolate cream pie that I’ve ever had.

    Things I especially liked:
    –The great recipe ingredient notes that made sure I got a 60% semi-sweet dark chocolate. It came out tasting like a ganache.
    –The precautionary note about the chocolate mixture splitting if the chocolate melts too quickly. My partner got carried away chopping the chocolate, but I was prepared with my sour cream and milk to bring it back together.
    –The video showing the technique for getting the egg yolks to the right temp before mixing it into the brown butter mixture. No scrambled eggs here!
    –WHIPPED CREAM IN A FOOD PROCESSOR. I’ve never in my life made a whipped cream that came out so dense, creamy and flavorful. I’m lucky I had enough to cover the pie with the amount both of us kept sneaking from the processor.

    • Joy – thank you so much for this detailed review. The fact that you read the notes and watched the video to pick up the exact tips to make it just right means you got the pie I aim for everyone to make! I really appreciate the details you noted here and it’s made me want to be sure to include the right notes for all of my recipes.

  2. Hey Sam, thank you for the recipe, it was the best smelling chocolate mix ever made in my kitchen. I had problems only with the texture – I never got it to a ganache state, so my pie had kinda two cream layers. It still tasted great, just didn’t turn out like I imagened.

    • Hi Daryna, it should have solidified somewhat. Do you know if you cooked it long enough for it to thicken? I also wonder if the chocolate used had less cocoa solids than recommended? If it’s a softer bar, semi sweet or milk it might cause some issues.

  3. 5 stars
    This pie was one of the best things I have ever made! I followed the directions exactly. The custard turned out silky smooth! I was worried that my chocolate wasn’t going to be good enough for this recipe because I just had a bag of semisweet chocolate chips. It was heavenly. Best pie ever!!!!

  4. 5 stars
    I made a half-recipe in a 7-inch tin. The depth of flavor in the custard is incredible!! I love the subtle notes the brown butter and brown sugar; it’s super creamy but it doesn’t feel overly rich, especially with the brightness from the sour cream. Also was my first time using an immersion blender to whip cream — definitely a method I’ll be using again in the future.

  5. Never had the best luck making chocolate cream pies but can’t resist trying this one. Quick question-in step 4 are the browned butter solids scraped into the mix or are they meant to be left out as much as possible? Thanks and enjoy your feast!