The One and I are split on this recipe. His stance is, “Why bother with the crust? Just give me that wildly chocolaty brownie filling–as a brownie.” I, on the other hand, feel, “But the flaky, crumbly crust is a needed savory counterbalance to all that chocolate.” My argument falls on deaf ears. As you can tell, he’s the Brooke Sheild of the dessert world. His motto: “Want to know what comes between me and my chocolate? Nothing.”

My one consolation? I get to eat the all crust he pulls off.

This is not a dessert for the faint of heart. The combination of cocoa powder and chocolate chips makes it a deeply rich, chocolate-on-chocolate pie. And because it’s cradled in that marvelously tender crust, it can be just slightly under-baked for even more gooeyness.

The only addition I would suggest is ice cream. A marvelously rich vanilla ice cream.

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

My testers adored this chocolate brownie pie recipe for many reasons, including the rich, fudgy flavor, added texture from crunchy pecans, and “flaky and buttery crust.” Tester Virginia L. describes it as deeply chocolatey but not overly sweet.” I couldn’t agree more.

What You’ll Need to Make This

Ingredients for brownie pie--chocolate chips, pecans, butter, oil, vanilla, pie dough, eggs, all purpose flour, brown sugar, and cocoa.
  • Semisweet chocolate chips–For the best flavor, I highly recommend using the best-quality chocolate chips that you can get. Don’t substitute milk chocolate chips–they way too sweet.
  • Vegetable oil–This helps to keep the brownie filling soft and moist.
  • Cocoa powder–Since you’re creating a rich, fudgy filling that doesn’t rise, you can use either natural or Dutch process cocoa powder.
  • Pecans–These add a nutty flavor to the pie and a crunchy contrast to the soft filling and flaky crust.
    • To toast the pecans, spread them on a baking sheet and cook in a 350°F oven until they smell nutty and have darkened slightly, about 10 minutes. Be sure to let them pecans cool completely before adding them to the pie.

How to Make Brownie Pie

Melted chocolate in a bowl; a person whisking cocoa into the melted chocolate.
  1. Melt 2/3 of the chocolate chips in the microwave.
  2. Whisk in the oil and cocoa powder.
Brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and melted butter in a bowl; the ingredients being mixed together with chocolate with a spatula.
  1. Whisk the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt together in a large bowl.
  2. Mix in the chocolate mixture until smooth.
Brownie pie filling being mixed in a bowl; a person pouring toasted pecans into a baked pie crust.
  1. Stir in the flour and remaining chocolate chips.
  2. Scatter the pecans over the pie crust.
Chocolate filling being poured over pecans in a pie crust; a baked brownie pie with a cracked top.
  1. Pour the brownie batter over the pecans.
  2. Bake at 325°F until the filling is almost set. Cool until just warm before serving.

Common Questions

Why is it called tar heel pie?

Good question. North Carolina, which claims ownership of the Tar Heel pie, is known as the Tar Heel State. Legend has it the name came to describe the men who worked barefoot in the state’s tar and pitch production because of its immense pine forests.

At one time, it was used negatively to describe a lowly tradesperson. Since the Civil War, it’s been reclaimed as an expression of state pride.

Can I make this with store-bought pie crust?

You sure can! Pick up a top-quality 9-inch pie crust and pre-bake it until lightly golden. Let it cool completely before proceeding with the recipe.

Can I freeze this?

Yes. You can freeze the fully baked pie for up to 3 months. Make sure that the pie is completely cool before freezing and wrapped well with plastic to avoid freezer burn. Thaw at room temperature or in the refrigerator overnight before rewarming.

How should I serve this pie?

The pie is best enjoyed warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream on top.

Helpful Tips

  • The brownie filling will thicken as it sits, so make it just before adding it to the pie crust.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Leftover pie can be stored, covered with plastic, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It can be reheated in a 300°F (150°C) oven until warmed through. That being said, several testers enjoyed it cold, straight from the fridge.

Two slices of brownie pie on plates with the remaining pie nearby.

More Superb Chocolate Pie Recipes

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

This brownie pecan pie was a huge hit with my husband and with some of my personal chef clients. I made it with homemade pate succée dough, which worked well, especially since you layer pecans over the blind-baked pie. Doing this helped the dough not get too soggy with the chocolatey filling.

I highly recommend this brownie pie recipe for all of the chocolate lovers out there!

Anna Scott
Two slices of brownie pie on plates.

Brownie Pie

4.88 / 8 votes
Brownie pie is known in some parts as Tar Heel pie. Whatever you care to call the recipe, it's essentially a rich, gooey, chocolate fudge pie made from scratch. Store-bought just can't compete.
David Leite
Servings8 servings
Calories680 kcal
Prep Time45 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time4 hours


  • 1 food processor pie crust recipe, pre-baked and cooled
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4 tablespoons (2 oz) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped


  • Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).
  • Microwave 2/3 cup of the chocolate chips and the butter in a bowl, stirring every 30 seconds or so, until melted, 60 to 90 seconds total.
    Melted chocolate in a glass bowl.
  • Whisk in the oil and cocoa until smooth.
    Cocoa powder being whisked into melted chocolate.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt until smooth and thick.
    Brown sugar, two eggs, vanilla, and salt in a bowl.
  • Whisk the chocolate mixture into the sugar mixture just until incorporated.
    Melted chocolate being combined with sugar, eggs, and oil.
  • Stir in the flour and remaining 1/3 cup of chocolate chips until just combined.
    Flour being mixed into melted chocolate.
  • Scatter the pecans over the pie crust.
    A person pouring toasted pecans into a baked pie crust.
  • Pour the chocolate fudge batter over the top, using a spatula to smooth the top. Bake the pie until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a thin coating of batter attached, 30 to 35 minutes.
    Chocolate filling being poured on top of pecans in a baked pie crust.
  • Let the pie cool on wire rack until barely warm, about 1 1/2 hours. Slice and serve. (The pie is best warm from the oven but it can be reheated, uncovered, in a 300°F (150°C) oven until warm throughout, 10 to 15 minutes.)
    A cooked brownie pie.


  1. Don’t prepare the filling in advance–The brownie filling will thicken as it sits, so make it just before adding it to the pie crust.
  2. Storage–Store leftover pie in the refrigerator, covered with plastic, for up to 5 days.

Adapted From

Cook’s Country Eats Local

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 serving/sliceCalories: 680 kcalCarbohydrates: 55 gProtein: 7 gFat: 50 gSaturated Fat: 23 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 88 mgSodium: 393 mgFiber: 4 gSugar: 31 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2015 Cook’s Country. Photos © 2024 David Leite. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Although this pecan brownie pie took quite a long time to complete, it was worth the wait. It was easy to make with little hands-on time and lots of “rests” to make the crust lovely and flaky. Combined with the barely gooey fudge and crunchy pecans, this was phenomenal.

Easy to make, wonderful to eat. I will be doing this one again!

This is one super fudgy pie. I used a store-bought crust (the one with the fat doughboy).

This brownie chocolate pie fits the opening description perfectly. It’s super rich and fudgy, and you’ll only need a very small slice. Serving this with the suggested ice cream would be perfect!

This would also be great in tiny tart shells since a very small slice is the perfect amount of rich, fudgy goodness. Next time I make this, I’ll make mini muffin tin versions with a small piece of pie crust.

“Mmm!” That was the first word out of my mouth after I tasted a bite of this Tar Heel pie. It smelled delicious, so I knew it would taste good. Plus, it’s easy to make.

The crust was buttery and crumbly, and I never suspected it would turn out so well because the dough was so sticky. (While preparing the dough, I only used 3 tablespoons of ice water and baked it for the full 25 minutes.)

The filling came together so easily that I could see making this pie again and again. In fact, I’m thinking of making it for my co-workers and neighbors, and it’s highly likely this will become my potluck dish.

I love how the crust tasted, but on busier days, I’ll most likely use a store-bought crust. The only thing that would make this pie more delicious is caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream.

This fudge brownie pie is delicious. My husband, who doesn’t love chocolate desserts, ate two (small) slices. It’s deeply chocolatey but not overly sweet. I served it with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

The pecans added even more texture and crunch. The pie dough takes the most time. I would make it the night before, roll out the dough, and prebake it in the morning. Once that’s done, it only takes a few minutes to make the filling.

Though I wouldn’t call this the best pie I’ve ever had, nor the best brownie ever, I can certainly see the appeal of this combination of two super-American desserts in one.

We actually found the pie most addicting eaten fridge-cold when the chocolate filling was fudgy, the crust flaky, and the chocolate chunks solid. Warm, the gooey filling tasted almost too rich and sweet. Either way, a scoop of vanilla ice cream was just right alongside.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. How deep is the pie pan that you recommend? I have two nine inches pans but one is more of a deep dish size.


    1. Ellen, I believe this recipe is intended for a regular-sized pie plate. To get it to fit a deep-dish pie plate, you’d need to roll your dough thinner.

  2. 5 stars
    This brownie pie was a huge hit with my husband and with some of my personal chef clients. I made it with a homemade pate sucree dough which worked well, especially since you layer pecans over the blind-baked pie. Doing this helped the dough not get too soggy with the chocolatey filling. I highly recommend this pie for all of the chocolate lovers out there!

  3. 5 stars
    This dessert got RAVE reviews from my husband and dinner guests. My friend is a great baker and this is only the second time she’s asked me for a recipe. (the other was Bon Appetit’s fallen chocolate cake). This pie was fudgy and delicious. I always add a pinch of instant espresso powder to chocolate desserts and I did here. Wish I’d had the time to make a scratch crust. It would have elevated it even more. I used the Pilsbury. Okay, but nothing special. Five stars for sure.

    1. Ellen, that’s marvelous to hear! And Bon App’s fallen chocolate cake is great, too. Next time, try the homemade crust. It makes all the difference!