Smoked Derby Pie Recipe

A note about smoking desserts: As we know over here at, any dessert that can be made in the oven can be made on the grill or smoker. You might ask- why go to the trouble of smoking desserts when you can make them in the oven? Because smoke flavor is like a secret ingredient you infuse into the dessert that takes it to the next level!  And, with the ease of use of modern grills these days, there is no excuse not to add smoke flavor to all your dishes! We’ve given you direction on how to bake desserts on your Traeger pellet smoker (or any type of pellet smoker) and even a standard Weber kettle (see instructions below). We love to show you how to bake desserts on you grill or smoker over here at so please do check out all our dessert recipes for smoky dessert inspiration

Derby Pie is a classic summer recipe—it’s a Kentucky Derby tradition, after all! But I also love to serve Smoked Derby Pie during the holidays becuase of the warmth of the smoke and bourbon. Plus, it’s always fun to reminisce about the warmer months when you’re enjoy your pie by the fire. Known for its walnuts and chocolate chips mix, the pie was invented back in 1954 by Walter and Leaudra Kern and named when they picked the name out of a hat. The delicious pie quickly caught on and the rest is history!

For those of us who want to enjoy our desserts without a lot of the junk that comes with it, this Smoked Derby Pie recipe of mine has a lot of substitutions. So whether you’re cutting out sugar or you need to follow a gluten-free diet, you can still indulge in this pie recipe.

With this recipe being one of my go-tos for the holidays, I always have a stash of pie crusts in aluminum tins in the freezer. Not only do I always have a crust ready to go, this also shocks the crust. The key to a flaky pie crust is having all of the fat as solid as possible to keep the flake, so by freezing it, we’re keeping it super solidified and when it’s baking, it just leaves room for that beautiful magic to happen. You can also cook these Smoked Derby Pies ahead of time; they can stay frozen for up to six months! 

We love smoked desserts over here at so don’t forget to check out some of our other smoked desserts including our Bourbon Smoked Pecan Pie, our Smoked Bourbon Apple and Salted Caramel Pie, and our Smoked Pumpkin Cheesecake

smoked pumpkin cheesecake gingersnap crust

We love to see when you try our creations! Don’t forget to tag us @grillgirlrobyn on instagram or @grillgirl on facebook and we’ll share on our feed! Give us a follow so you never miss new recipes!!

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Smoked Derby Pie

  • Author: Taylor Shulman Carroll


  • 1 pie crust, graham or pastry
  • 1 cup brown rice syrup
  • ¾ cup brown sugar*
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar**
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • 2 oz. butter
  • 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour***
  • 1 ½ cups chocolate chips
  • 1 ½ cups walnuts or pecans

Smoking wood chunk options: A mild option will pair best, such as cherry, pecan, oak, maple or peach.

* ¾ cup Swerve brown sugar is a 1:1 replacement for a sugar-free version.

** ¼ cup monk fruit for a sugar-free version.

*** 3 tbsp. Bobs Red Mill all-purpose gluten free-flour for a gluten-free version (I find this to be the closest in texture to the real deal).


  1. In a large sauce pot, add the butter, brown rice syrup and brown and white sugars.
  2. Place it on a burner over medium high heat, allow it to come to a boil, then reduce to medium high. Allow it to remain at a low boil until it reaches a dark amber, about 3 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat, then stir in the bourbon and set the mixture aside to cool.
  4. Once cool, whisk in the eggs one at a time and add the salt, vanilla and flour.
  5. Line the pie crust with chocolate chips and nuts, then slowly pour the mixture in the crust.
  6. Stabilize the grill at 375 F using an indirect heat method and bake until it is set in the center, about 45 minutes. Watch the crust carefully, if it begins to brown too much, cover with foil.
  7. Serve hot or chilled, you can’t go wrong!


PRO TIP: If you want to get ahead this holiday season, this recipe can be baked ahead of time and frozen for up to 6 months! For good food safety practices, always allow the pie to cool completely before covering it and freezing. When it’s time to serve, thaw it in the fridge for 3 days to serve cold OR pop it in the oven at 375 F for 15 to 20 minutes to reheat.

PRO TIP: Did you end up with something reminiscent of scrambled eggs? Don't throw it away! Run it through the blender, food processor or hit it with an immersion blender then run it through a fine mesh strainer. Voila! It’s like nothing ever happened.

Thank you, Taylor, for sharing your recipe for this incredible Smoked Derby Pie! Want more pie recipes? Check out the posts below:

Bourbon and Smoked Pecan Pie

Blueberry Lemon Ginger Pie

Smoked Bourbon and Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Smoked Chai Tea Pumpkin Pie