Last Updated on March 26, 2022 by Anne-Marie
Looking for a recipe for old fashioned buttermilk pie? This homemade buttermilk pie is gluten-free and flavored with lavender and lemon zest.
Why this recipe works
This old fashioned Southern buttermilk pie recipe is a classic dessert.
It’s one of those old recipes that reminds you of good times and family get-togethers.
Best of all it’s surprisingly easy to make.
What is a buttermilk pie?
Even though we think of buttermilk pie as a southern pie in the United States, it has its origins in the United Kingdom.
Buttermilk pie is very similar to chess pie and sugar cream pie. All are pies that are sweet and creamy and custard-like. Sort of like crème Brulee with a crust.
The difference is that classic chess pie uses cornmeal and milk, not buttermilk.
Sugar cream pie, also known as Hoosier pie in Indiana, is an egg-free custard pie. It has its origins in Shaker and Amish recipes.
This recipe has a few surprise ingredients that make it extra special:
● granulated sugar
● dried culinary lavender – you can buy culinary lavender online. Make sure the lavender is culinary lavender grade and suitable for eating. Don’t purchase the kind that’s sold for crafting, which is called “ornamental lavender.”
● a vanilla bean – You can buy vanilla beans online if you can’t find them at your local grocery store.
If you don’t want the expense of buying vanilla beans, use a teaspoon if vanilla extract instead.
● all-purpose gluten free flour – if you’re not GF, use regular all-purpose flour.
● sea salt
● eggs – I prefer large egg over medium
● buttermilk – I used full-fat buttermilk in my buttermilk pie recipe. Low-fat buttermilk should work just as well.
● unsalted butter – don’t use salted butter
● 9-inch gluten-free pie crust (ginger snap or graham cracker) – If you’re not GF, use a regular unbaked pie shell or graham cracker pie crust.
Make a homemade pie crust
Use this super easy method from my Easy Raspberry Gluten Free Pecan Pie Recipe to make your own homemade pie crusts.
That way you can use your own pie pan, too.
It’s easy to make your own:
- 1 cup buttermilk = 1 tablespoon lemon juice + enough milk to make 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup buttermilk = 1 tablespoon white vinegar + enough milk to make 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup buttermilk = 1 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar + 1 cup of milk
Making a gluten free buttermilk pie recipe
It’s easy to make this a gluten-free pie recipe by using an all-purpose gluten-free flour like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour.
Using a ready made gluten free graham cracker crust makes this buttermilk pie recipe even easier!
How to make this old fashioned buttermilk pie recipe
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Place the sugar, lemon zest, and lavender in a food processor. Scrape seeds from the vanilla bean into a food processor. Pulse until the lavender is finely chopped.
I used a mini food processor to chop up the lavender and mix it into the sugar. You don’t want to bite into a slice of old-fashioned buttermilk pie and come away with a mouthful of lavender flower buds.
3. Add the gluten free flour and salt to the processor. Pulse until thoroughly mixed.
4. Then pour the sugar mixture into a large bowl and set aside.
5. Place the beaten eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter in a medium bowl. Gently beat with a wire whisk until thoroughly combined.
(You can also use a hand mixer for this step.)
6. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the sugar mixture. Stir with a wire whisk until completely combined.
7. Place prepared pie crust on a baking sheet. Pour the pie filling into the pie crust.
Hate that your baking sheet warps and your pies spill over on one side? The Nordic Ware Commercial Baker's Half Sheet is made with commercial grade aluminum and won’t warp.
8. Place your pie in the oven and bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees F. Then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake buttermilk pie for 50 minutes or until the center of the pie is firm.
Don’t worry if your pie puffs up in the oven during baking. It’ll settle down after cooling though it may crack a little.
9. Remove pie from oven and cool on the countertop. Then refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving.
(Refrigerating the buttermilk pie sets up the pie and makes it easier to cut.)
Why is my pie runny?
If your pie is runny it means you didn’t bake it long enough.
Make sure the center of the pie is firm. (A little jiggly is fine.)
It may puff up and crack a little. That’s OK.
If it gets a little brown, that’s fine, too.
It should NOT be too wiggly or runny looking.
Also, make sure to cool it down cool on the countertop completely. Then refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving.
How long does this pie last?
It's best to keep the pie refrigerated and covered with plastic wrap. It should last up to 3 days before it gets too runny.
This southern-style buttermilk pie tastes delicious either cold or at room temperature.
Can I freeze a baked pie?
If you need to freeze a pie to make ahead for your holiday table, here’s how to do it:
1. Bake the pie. Then let it completely cool on the countertop.
2. Then place it in the refrigerator for 2 hours so it completely sets.
3. Wrap the top of the pie with plastic wrap, then aluminum foil. Make sure you make it as airtight as possible.
4. To defrost the pie, place it in the refrigerator overnight and serve the next day.
Too much filling?
If you have too much custard filling than fits in the pie crust, pour any extra into an oven-safe ramekin and bake until the center is firm.
How to serve
I serve my southern buttermilk pie plain. But you can add some whipped cream if you like.
Taste variations and substitutions
- add a dash of nutmeg
- use brown sugar instead of granulated sugar (or half and half)
- make this a lemon buttermilk pie by adding some lemon juice or a teaspoon of vinegar for an extra tangy flavor
More wonderful pies
Pie makes the best dessert!
Check out this Lemon Meringue Pie recipe from the movie, “Toast.”
If you love apple pies, check out Easy Gluten Free Apple Peach Pie with Crumble Crust and this Easy & Healthy Apple Pie Filling Recipe.
What are your favorite pies?
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons culinary lavender
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose gluten free flour
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 9-inch gluten free pie crust (ginger snap or graham cracker)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place sugar, lemon zest, and lavender in a food processor. Scrape seeds from the vanilla bean into a food processor. Pulse until lavender is finely chopped.
- Add gluten free flour and salt to the processor. Pulse until thoroughly mixed.
- Pour sugar mixture into a large bowl and set aside.
- Place the beaten eggs, buttermilk, and the melted butter in a medium bowl. Gently beat with a wire whisk until thoroughly combined.
- Pour the buttermilk mixture into the sugar mixture. Stir with a wire whisk until completely combined.
- Place the prepared pie crust on a baking sheet. Pour the pie filling into the pie crust.
- Place the pie in the oven and bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees F. Then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake buttermilk pie for 50 minutes or until the center is firm.
- Remove the pie from the oven and cool on the countertop. Then refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving.
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Serving Size:1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 272Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 80mgSodium: 285mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 1gSugar: 28gProtein: 6g
Nutritional information is automatically calculated per the ingredients list. Serving size may not be accurate. Please double-check with your preferred nutritional app for the most accurate information.
Published on August 3, 2016. Updated with new pictures and information.