Chocolate Icebox Pie: confessions of a pie burglar


For those of you who are frequent visitors to this blog, you know one of my favorite eateries is our local diner. Nothing is better than ending a week with a plate of fresh fried chicken, REAL mashed potatoes and gravy and, of course, a piece of chocolate cream pie to go. The slice of pie is at least 4″ high, with three layers of chocolate and cream. It’s a sight to behold, and often takes me 2 days to finish.

Not long ago, as my husband and I were leaving with our treasure of pie, we ran into Deb, a KAF coworker, and her two little girls. We chatted for a bit, and I showed the girls my slice of pie and told them to be sure to get one before they left. We said our goodbyes and headed out the door.

Imagine my horror and chagrin the next day when Deb told me that when the girls ordered their pie, they were told it was sold out for the night. In fact, we had just walked out the door with the last two pieces! Bitter tears they cried, and I’ve felt like a pie thief ever since.

Well, Deb, the time has come for me to make a pie, a chocolate creamy pie. No boxed pudding mix here. This pie will have real dark chocolate, and plenty of real cream. You tell me when, and I’ll deliver this piece of pie perfection to your little ladies.

In case you too have found yourself in a pie predicament, follow along with me and we’ll make Chocolate Icebox Pie.

Preheat your oven to 375°F.

In a small bowl, mix together one batch of King Arthur Flour Graham Cracker Crust mix, OR 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar, and 5 tablespoons melted butter. If you like a cinnamon crust, feel free to add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon as well.

Combine the crumbs, sugar, and butter until well moistened. Pour into a greased 9″ pie pan.

Spread the crumb mixture evenly in the pan before pressing the crust down with your fingers. This saves you from having to pry up sections of crust to cover bare spots.

To prevent over-browning, freeze the crust in the pan for 15 minutes. Bake in the hot oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack while you work on the filling.

In a medium-sized bowl mix together 1/3 cup hot water, 2 tablespoons of King Arthur All-Purpose Baking Cocoa or Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa, and 1 tablespoon vanilla. Whisk until smooth.

On the stove top or in the microwave, melt 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate. I’ve used our Merckens bittersweet bar and our Belcolade bittersweet discs in different pies, and both were amazing. Deep, rich, and full of powerful chocolate flavor.

For milk chocolate lovers, I’m sure our Merckens milk chocolate bar would work beautifully too.

Combine the melted chocolate with the water/cocoa mixture, and blend together. It will slosh around and not combine at first, but keep at it.

There you go! It will be the consistency of thin chocolate pudding. Set aside until the mixture is room temperature or cooler.

If you want to jazz up your filling, now’s the time to add 1/2 teaspoon extract or 1/4 teaspoon extra strong flavor. The chocolate-raspberry pie we made with our natural raspberry flavor was a showstopper for sure.

When the chocolate has cooled, whip 1 1/2 cups heavy or whipping cream  with 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1/8 teaspoon of salt to soft peaks. Detach the whisk and fold in the chocolate by hand until no streaks of white remain.

Scrape the chocolate cloud-y goodness into the cooled crust.

It fills the crust right up to the top; pictured above is only half of the batch. Good thing I only stopped to take one photo, as test kitchen maven Sue Gray would have made off with the rest of my filling!

Spread the filling evenly over the crust, right up to the edges. Chill the pie for 1 to 2 hours before serving, or up to overnight.

I’m not sure where my mind was this particular morning, as I spaced out and forgot the whipped cream topping layer! The sweetened cream definitely helps cut the richness of the filling, so be smarter than me and add that topping post haste.

Okay, so maybe we couldn’t resist and cut the pie a little early. The filling is still slightly soft, but delightfully fluffy and airy. At first bite, your mind is transformed. Everything you think you know about chocolate cream pie has changed. Not too sweet, not too bitter, just the right blend of creamy with the finish of crispy, crunchy crust.

I will say this pie is much richer than other cream pies. I made one for my husband and myself while our daughter is in France. We only managed small slivers over a couple of nights, and the leftovers came to work with me to share. Talk about how to win friends and influence people!

Next time you’re thinking deep, dark chocolate, give this pie a try. You’ll wind up in chocolate cloud heaven with a halo of good pie karma around you.

Please make, rate, and review our recipe for Chocolate Icebox Pie.

Print just the recipe.

MaryJane Robbins

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...


  1. sandra Alicante

    Will definitely do this one, I guess I shall have to use a normal biscuit base though (digestives and butter). Some people may like to use part dark and part milk chocolate, the best of both worlds often! I could imagine topping it with fresh whipped cream flavoured with hazelnut ,mmmm.

    Have you tried freezing it? I’d love to make it soon but the idea of a whole pie and my waistline is not good… I have much more will power if it is sliced and tucked away!

    Hi Sandra,
    I have thought of freezing it, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. I think it would freeze just fine, and actually a piece that is semi-frozen would be totally yummy. ~ MaryJane

  2. gaitedgirl

    One word comes to mind – YUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I would have cried a river of tears too if I found out the pie I wanted had just walked out the door only moments ago. I would have swooned, I tell you! Swooned! Okay, maybe that’s a little too much drama… drama that could only be appreciated (and pointed to and laughed at) by my dearest friend who also happens to be a wonderful baker in her own right and would do the same thing MaryJane did and bake me a pie of my own :) After all, isn’t that what friends are for?? :)
    My honey took me to the diner for a burger yesterday, and they had plenty of pie, but I had left my purse at home and we didn’t have the $$ to get pie to go! I figured it would get around town pretty quickly if I laid down and had a hissy fit in the aisle, so I quietly left. *sigh*. ~ MaryJane

  3. Honeybunny

    Oh good god! Heaven on a piece of pie… though as Sandra said before my waistline and all my efforts to go healthy during the summer will go through the window… well… I guess I´ll just have to run an extra mile tonight…

    Hee hee hee, I’ll wave to you as you go by :) ~ MaryJane

  4. meedee

    Gosh You make me want to make this pie! I loved the story about the girls. Love these blogs!
    Many of us at KAF have daughters, in all age ranges, so we do a lot of sharing, advising and laughing! ~ MaryJane

  5. Aaron Frank

    Wow. I have to try this! Any buy where whipped cream cuts the richness is for me!

    I dio make a pie similar to this but with a shortbread type crust and it freezes quite nicely. It is a nice, light frozen dessert in the summer.

    Mmm, the shortbread crust sounds delish too. I’ve had it in a lemonade frozen pie too. ~ MaryJane

  6. Rachel

    Arrgh! This shows up in my newsfeed literally hours after I make a chocolate icebox pie that didn’t set. Ah, well, better late than never ;)

    Sorry our timing is off for your baking adventures. We hope you’ll still be willing to bake whether or not we have a new blog – Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF

  7. AJ Quigley

    Hmm. I’ve promised to make a “cool” pie for a Birthday pot luck. Think I’ll do this in my home-made crushed oreo crust. There is some major chocoholics at this shindig!
    PS: Several years ago started experimenting with making different “cookie” crusts and matching up with filling. One favorite was peanut butter cookies with banana cream. Right at the moment I’ve got my eye on doing something with Oreo’s Icecream flavor cookies with…something! Isn’t exploration fun?

    Wish we could add your name to the baking explorers hall-of-fame! Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF

  8. skeptic7

    That sounds like a wonderful diner. Where is it? Last month I was visiting the King Arthur Flour store and I could have made a side trip to see it. Do they have other pies? I really love Lemon Meringue if someone else is cooking it.
    That is a wonderful pie recipe. Would it work with a short pie crust like some of your cheese cake recipes? I can only dream of eating it until I’m a lot thinner.
    The diner is in Fairlee VT, about 20 minutes north of KAF. (open 7 days a week, closed Tuesdays. Really, it’s right on the sign)
    They don’t have a lot of pies, but I do love the chocolate and the coconut cream. Honestly, I’m not sure if they have Lemon Meringue, I’ve never looked! Guess we’ll have to remedy THAT! ~ MaryJane

  9. knitwitter

    It’s 90+ degrees out and there’s no way I’m turning on my oven. Any chance this crust could be made without baking it. Maybe in the microwave?
    A little online check shows that you can microwave graham crusts, in glass pans, for about 1 to 2 minutes. Hope that helps. I guess you could also spoon the filling into glass dishes and serve like mousse. ~ MaryJane

  10. Brenda

    Mom made a similar pie, but with a walnut meringue crust–you don’t need to ask just how yummy that was! Haven’t made it for several years, but think it’s about time.
    Ooooh, do tell! That sounds just wonderful. :) ~ MaryJane

  11. awalper

    Can this pie be stiffened using a stabilizer like Instant Clear Jel? I’m just thinking about giving it some keeping ability so the whipped cream mousse doesn’t fall apart after it’s been cut for a few hours.

    I do not suggest trying to stiffen the cream in the filling. Between the cocoa and the chocolate there should be no need for additional stabilization of the filling. You’ll end up over mixing, trying to fold in the stabilized cream. The filling would end up “curdy” from the extra agitation. Frank @ KAF.

  12. "Jane Dough"

    Since it was so hot I decided to make a pasta salad with fresh vegetables so I wouldn’t have to turn the oven on and then . . . I saw your post about this recipe. At this point, since it was so hot I decided we needed to try this Icebox Pie to cool us off. (I baked the crust in my countertop toaster oven! Worked out perfectly.) We added some of your Chocolate Sprinkles on top. Delicious!
    I love my toaster oven in the summer. Real baked potatoes without heating the whole house. Great idea with the sprinkles too. ~ MaryJane

  13. donnawarden

    Oh good grief! My church social is having a pie contest this Saturday and I thought I had my pie all picked out to bake. Then I look at my e-mail and what’s there? KING ARTHUR again! And as always, looks like they’ve come up with a winner! THIS pie will win the contest for me!!!! (I’d better take 2 of them because those guys doing the taste testing are definetely going to come for more). Love, love, love King Arthur!
    You’d better make 3, so that you’ll have some for home! Good luck and let us know how it goes. ~ MaryJane

  14. Cindy

    My Grandma made Chocolate Icebox Cake in a loaf pan lined with soft ladyfingers. I’ve wanted to have it again so badly but thought the recipe for the filling was lost forever. This one looks just like it. I’m giving it a try tonight! We have a heat advisory again today so ladyfingers means no oven. Woo-hoo! Thanks so much for posting this!
    What a great idea. I’d soak my ladyfingers in a little Amaretto, mmm, mmm. ~ MaryJane

  15. AnneInWA

    For the poster who doesn’t want to turn on her oven…for the graham cracker crust, just make it as it says and then freeze it for at least an hour (using a pyrex pie plate is best), and then proceed with the rest of the pie. I make strawberry icebox pies this way, and the crust turns out fabulous. I don’t have any problems with not baking the crust.

    I am so excited to make this pie! I am going to be making this right after breakfast!!!

    Thanks again KAF!
    I’ve never heard of this method, but I’m definitely going to give it a try. Does it work with cookie crust too? I think it would. I think a lemonade icebox or lemon blueberry is in my near future. ~ MaryJane

  16. AnneInWA


    I have used gingersnaps and shortbread cookies this way. Sometimes I need to add an extra tablespoon or two of melted butter (yum!) but it has always worked. I have even used homemade chocolate chip cookies and snickerdoodles for this crust. It is a wonderful method that I came up with when I lived in Phoenix–no one wants to turn on an oven when it is 115 outside!

    Thanks MJ~

  17. glpruett

    Oh, my goodness…this looks INCREDIBLE, especially for those of us who are chocoholics! My hubby’s company picnic is Friday afternoon, and I asked him this morning what he wants me to make to bring. He said I could do a salad or a dessert, and you can guess what my choice will be! I’ll need to do several at least. Do you think it would work to do this pie in a 9X13 dish, similar to an apple slab pie? (Which, by the way, is one FANTASTIC pie too!) Thanks again for the blogs! I LOVE the hint to use the mixer whisk attachment to complete the folding of the chocolate mixture into the whipped cream. Anything to decrease dishwashing and leave more time for baking!
    I think you’d be just fine in a 9 x 13 pan. The filling amount would be thinner per piece, but it’s a very rich pie, so that isn’t always a bad thing. ~ MaryJane

  18. auntiepatch

    I’m on vacation in the mid-west where it is 100+ degrees and has been for the last 3 weeks! I can’t wait to get back to San Diego where it is in the 70’s! I will make this as soon as I get home…… Looks great!
    Aaaah, it has finally cooled off here too and the humidity has dropped. So much better for baking. Have a safe trip home. :) ~ MaryJane

  19. tdsmothers

    What about using some espresso powder rather than an extract? I love the depth of flavor the powder adds to the KAF Fudge Brownie recipe, which has become the only brownie recipe I use! How much hot water & espresso powder should be used? We are not coffee drinkers at our house (shameful) so we don’t like a strong coffee flavor. Love KAF!
    You can steep a bit of espresso powder in the cream before whipping it, no need to even heat it up. If you want just a hint, go with 1/2 teaspoon. For mocha pie, use a whole teaspoon. ~ MaryJane

  20. milkwithknives

    Oh, this does look wonderful. And I’ll bet it really would be spectacular out of the freezer! What do you think about using cool whip in place of the whipped cream? I have a dairy allergy and have to keep my intake at a minimum, but I really would like to try this pie. Has anyone ever tried or had success using cool whip in this way? I know it’s sweeter so I’d have to take that into account, but I’m wondering if it would collapse or not incorporate or something else weird. Thanks for the new pie recipe and lovely blog post!
    Hey there,
    I haven’t tried it with Cool Whip, but Frank was talking about it the other day. The Cool Whip just wouldn’t have the structure to hold up the chocolate, and it would deflate pretty quickly. Why not make the pie and invite some friends over to share? Good food, good company and no leftovers. :) ~ MaryJane

  21. imsharduff

    As I write this, my pie is in the refrigerator chilling. My husband got to lick the mixing bowl!!!!! This will go to our local Moose lodge bingo tomorrow..

    We are going back up to the 90″s tomorrow, so I think I will freeze it for a while to get it safely there. Will let you know how it turns out. I have never had one of King Arthur’s recipes fail!!!
    I’m SO not trying to be overly rude, but would the lodge fellows get a kick out of it being called Moose Patty Pie? It’s the first thing that came to my mind when I saw Moose! ~ MaryJane

  22. imsharduff

    I don’t think you are rude at all…..however, most bingo players are women and I know they will love the pie, as it is all about rich, gooey.calorie laden desserts. I will suggest the name to the kitchen workers!!!!!
    Maybe Whipped Cream Moose Patty Pie :)
    Awesome! Be sure to let us know how it goes over. ~ MaryJane

  23. Lauri

    I have to say, I really enjoy this blog and I love that you all comment on our posts. It makes the site feel very friendly, like sharing recipes with your friends and family. This icebox pie sounds great! I love the idea of spending the extra time to make a real chocolate pie.
    Thank you for sharing your blog with us, Lauri! I really enjoyed learning about your interests and inspirations. I hope you dive into that icebox pie- it is amazing! ~Amy

  24. Louise Chowanski

    Where is the local diner you talk about? I live in New London and frequent the area regularly and I haven’t seen a diner near King Arthur Flour. I hope you answer me as I would like to try it.

    I’m guessing it’s the Fairlee Diner up in Fairlee, VT, but I’ll wait for MJ to confirm or deny. MJ? PJH
    Yes, you’re right. Fairlee Diner on Rt. 5 North, just up from exit 15 I-91. Say hi to Ray and Elsie when you go. ~ MJ

  25. MealPlanningMoms

    Combining whipped heavy cream, bittersweet chocolate and graham cracker crumbs can’t produce anything short of delicious, but this pie is amazing. In fact, the words “amazing”, “incredible”, and “wow” actually came out of the mouths of my family, when they weren’t (literally, in the case of one of my children) licking their plates clean. We made this recipe as part of our Meal Planning for the week:

    Hey, glad the whole family enjoyed this pie. We get the exact same reaction here, whenever it appears in the test kitchen – plate licking galore! Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm, and your blog – PJH

  26. lanettedykman

    A friend used this recipe for GF cupcakes. She took GF chocolate cookies (said she used pamelas, but I’m trying MI-DEL chocolate sandwich cookies), put some in each cupcake wrapper for the crust, then spooned the filling on-top. They were INCREDIBLE!!!! I’m making them today for a party and will likely put a dollup of whipped cream on top and freeze them.


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