The BEST Shoofly Pie

4.97 from 52 votes

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Shoofly Pie is part of my Amish and Mennonite roots. Indeed, sometimes I think that homemade pie recipes run through my veins like they’re part of my DNA.

Today, I’m honored to share an easy and delicious slice of my heritage with you. This is the food I grew up with, and it’s always been a part of my life.

You can make this old-fashioned shoofly pie in under an hour, and today, I will show you how to do it, step-by-step. You’re going to love this Amish dessert recipe!

A slice of shooflhy pie on a plate.
This is one of our many easy Amish recipes.

Featured Comment: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “Never tasted or made Shoo Fly Pie before — it was a surprise hit!Made it the day before we needed it — added 5 minutes at 350, then shut the oven off and left it in another 7 minutes. Perfect consistency.” -Ifapaperheart (more comments)

Jump to:

What is shoofly pie?

This recipe for shoofly pie first came about as a molasses cake that was a popular breakfast item among the Pennsylvania Dutch, sometime after the civil war. There were no eggs used in the original recipe and so historians think it was first made in the wintertime when the chickens were not laying eggs. Back then there was no crust involved either.

A crust was eventually added to the recipe to make it easier to eat, and the above piece of heaven is now known as Shoofly pie. In the Pennsylvania Dutch language, this is known as Melassich Riwwelboi or Melassichriwwelkuche. This was also once known as Granger Pie but you’ll call it simply delicious.

Overhead view of a shoofly pie with a crumb topping.
This started as a molasses cake sometime in the late 1800s.

This is the food I was raised on. My mom would make these homemade pie recipes almost every single day, back on the farm.

I know that if my DNA was analyzed, strands of Fasnacht, Crusty Bread, and similar Amish recipes would all be found. Along with crumbs from this old-fashioned dessert.

What’s in shoofly pie?

Adding ingredients for a homemade pie.

Molasses

Molasses is the main ingredient in shoofly pie. The age-old question is light or dark? Hard-core molasses fans might even opt for the blackstrap molasses. Many bakers use a combination of light and dark varieties.

  • Light molasses is the sweetest form and is often used in molasses cookies.
  • Dark molasses is made after a second boiling. It is richer and not as sweet as the light variety. You’ll use this kind of molasses for making the best gingerbread.
  • Blackstrap molasses is the darkest, most bitter, and highest in nutrients. I don’t recommend using blackstrap in this molasses pie.

No Amish baker worth their salt would use a store-bought crust. The good news, if you are reading this, then chances are very high that you are not Amish. Therefore, you are off the hook!

Take the easy way and pick up a pie shell from the grocery store. It will be our little secret!

If you want to know how to make a pie crust from scratch, we are more than happy to show you how it’s done!

Variations: dry-bottom vs. wet-bottom

Dry-bottom shoofly pie comes from mixing the crumbs in the batter before baking.

This gives the dessert a more cake-like consistency, making it easier to eat without a crust. Back in the old days, it was eaten for breakfast with a mug of strong black coffee.

Wet-bottom shoofly pie is what we are showing you how to make today, and the crumbs are sprinkled on top of the filling, giving each slice a more custard-like consistency.

How to make shoofly pie

Start by making your crust or picking one up from the grocery store. Then, it’s time to get down to the business of making a homemade Amish recipe!

Start with the Crumb Topping

Adding dry ingredients to a mixing bowl.
  1. In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the flour and brown sugar. Pro Baking Tip: Use dark brown sugar for a deeper and more caramel-like flavor to this Amish recipe.
  2. Mix in the cinnamon and nutmeg and a pinch of salt.
  3. Use a pastry cutter or table fork and cut in some cold butter.
  4. The crumb topping should have a cornmeal consistency when it is finished.

Make the filling

To make the filling for shoofly pie, you’ll combine molasses, water, and baking soda and pour it into the pastry shell. I find that a deep dish pie shell works best for this recipe. You can see how we do this in steps 1 and 2 below,.

Adding molasses and water to a mixing bowl and a crumb topping on a pie.

Then, add the crumb topping to the top of the unbaked dessert.

When adding the crumb topping to this Amish recipe, you can leave it on top for more custardy wet-bottom shoofly pie, or mix it in a bit and end up with a more cake-like, dry-bottom version.

A serving of pie on a plate.
This bakes for about 35 minutes.

You’ll bake this for 15 minutes at 450° F and then lower the oven temperature to 350° and then continue baking for another 20 minutes.

Common questions

Why is this called shoofly pie?

The sticky and sweet nature of molasses was known to be a magnet of flies. Can you blame them? “Shooing” them away eventually let to the modern name of this Amish recipe.

Does this need to be refrigerated?

No, you can safely leave out for five days. Be sure and cover it with a towel though. Otherwise, you may be saying, “Shoo fly!”

What does shoofly pie taste like?

This has a taste of molasses combined with sweet crumb, making it excellent as a dessert or breakfast treat.

What state is known for shoofly pie?

Pennsylvania, which is where Lancaster county is located, is the state where this is best known.

My top 3 tips for making shoofly pie

Tip 1: Use a deep dish pie shell when baking it.

This is for a couple of reasons:

  • Ample space for the filling: This shoofly pie has a generous molasses filling that tends to rise and bubble during baking. A deep-dish pie plate provides enough room for the filling to expand without overflowing, ensuring that the pie maintains its shape and doesn’t create a mess in the oven.
  • Even heat distribution: A deep-dish pie plate allows for more even heat distribution during baking. The depth of the plate helps to distribute the heat more evenly throughout the pie, resulting in a uniformly baked crust and filling

Tip 2: Use high-quality molasses.

Using high-quality molasses is crucial for a delicious shoofly pie because it is the key ingredient that gives the pie its distinct flavor. Look for unsulfured molasses made from the first boiling of the sugarcane juice to ensure a rich, robust taste.

Tip 3: Let the pie cool completely before serving.

Allowing the shoofly pie to cool completely after baking is essential to get the desired consistency and prevent the filling from being too runny.

This cooling period allows the molasses to set, resulting in a firm and sliceable pie that can be enjoyed with ease. Naturally, for obvious reasons, this is the hardest tip to follow!

The shoofly pie song

Finally, I leave you with a little bit of fun to enjoy with this homemade dessert.

The shoo fly pie song was made popular by Dinah Shore, take a listen and for goodness sakes, try making this old-fashioned dessert!

Many of these recipes come from The Mennonite Community Cookbook

This post is lovingly dedicated to my beautiful mom, Sarah Jantzi Zehr. She was raised in the Amish-Mennonite faith and made hundreds if not thousands of pies throughout her life. I’m not sure if she ever used a recipe.

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The BEST Shoo-Fly Pie

4.97 from 52 votes
This recipe comes from the Pennsylvania Dutch and has since become a classic Amish recipe. Learn how to make a shoofly pie at home and in under an hour. Adapted from the New York Times.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Yield: 8

Ingredients 

  • 1 pie crust, rolled flat and placed in a 9-inch pie plate.
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1.5 cup brown sugar, dark
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, cold and unsalted
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 3/4 cup water, boiling
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 450° F. Prepare pie crust from scratch or use a store-bought one.

Make the Crumb Topping

  • Combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg in a bowl, add a pinch of salt and mix well. Use a fork or pastry cutter work in the butter, until you have a pebbly consistency.

Make the Filling

  • Add the molasses and water along with baking soda, all into a mixing bowl and combine well. Pour the mixture into a prepared pie shell. Evenly sprinkle the crumb topping on top.
  • Bake in the oven for 15 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 350° and bake for 20 more minutes. The shoo-fly pie is done when it is set and firm.

Notes

Expert Tips: for Making this Shoofly Pie Recipe:
 
  • Testing Doneness: While baking, keep an eye on your pie. The filling should puff up a bit and the crust should turn golden brown. To check if the pie is done, insert a knife into the filling – if it comes out relatively clean, the pie is ready.
  • Patience is Key: One of the main reasons pies don’t set is because they haven’t been allowed enough time to cool and set up. For best results, let your pie cool completely at room temperature. It can be tough to wait, but this step is crucial for a well-set pie.
  • Storing the Pie: Store your shoofly pie properly to maintain its taste and texture. If you plan on eating it within two days, cover the pie loosely with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and leave it at room temperature. If you need to store it for a longer period, cover it well and refrigerate it. The pie should last up to one week in the fridge.
  • Serving: Serve the pie at room temperature, as this allows the flavors to come through best. Shoofly pie is often enjoyed with a cup of coffee or a scoop of vanilla ice cream for an extra treat.

Nutrition

Calories: 483kcal, Carbohydrates: 92g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 15mg, Sodium: 246mg, Potassium: 563mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 63g, Vitamin A: 175IU, Calcium: 112mg, Iron: 3.5mg

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

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Amish, Mennonite
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This has been updated from the original post of April 24, 2019.


Meet the Platter Talk Guys

Dan & Scott split their time between Wisconsin and Southwest Florida and are dads to six boys. Good food runs through their veins, and they love showing others how to cook easy recipes.

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48 Comments

  1. I grew in Mennonite, and shoo-fly pie was my absolute favorite pie as a kid. Mom had a copy of the Mennonite Community Cookbook, which is how I learned to make this pie and so many other delicious dishes. I often have trouble getting people to try shoo-fly pie because they’ve never heard of it, but it helps to describe it as “basically the Mennonite alternative to pecan pie, with molasses instead of karo syrup and crumb cake filling instead of pecans.”

    1. I remember this pie from my childhood years and years ago. My mother beat up two eggs into the syrup mixture, so maybe that’s missing. It obviously thickened the syrup so it wasn’t runny.

  2. 5 stars
    The other day I made the Amish Shoo-Fly Pie and I did follow the recipe except instead of sprinkling the crumb topping I poured the topping on top which caused it to sink in and turned out to be more like the dry bottom and my wife and I enjoyed it just the same.

    1. 450 degrees was way too high.
      Molasses boiled over everywhere.
      This pie should be baked at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

  3. 5 stars
    I had shoofly pie in Hershey PA in the 60’s . I always love it as a kid. I made this recipe. It was delsh. It was actually a little heavier and richer than the Amish ones I had . Thank you so much! I was able to introduce it out here in the Pacific NW. Nobody heard of it here. Now they want to make it. I used a made from scratch graham cracker crust. Worked perfectly

    1. We’re super happy that you enjoyed this recipe for shoofly pie. Thanks so much for the wonderful feedback!

      1. I have made this Amish treat for several family gatherings. I even won a blue ribbon for it at a church social.
        I have used deep dish store bought pie crusts.
        I find that if I pre-bake the crusts, let them cool and then add the molasses and then the crumb topping I get a “wet bottom “pie. This was my father’s favorite style. When I bake one for people who are not familiar with it, I bake it where the outcome is a dry bottom pie.
        I have no preference- both results are scrumptious.

  4. 4 stars
    I made this recipe but put it in a 10 inch pie plate….just in case. It still boiled over into my oven. Smells like burnt molasses in my kitchen☹️

    1. Mine boiled over in the first stage in the oven as well. I will be cleaning burnt molasses out of my oven for ages. I wish that I had some idea about why this happened.

      1. When making syrup pies, the crust cannot have any cracks, that is where the leak comes from. For backup, use a foil lined baking sheet on the bottom rack to catch any spills.

        1. I just received a recipe from a friend for Wet bottom shoofly pie. It says mix wet mixture in dry mixture,, bake @ 350 degrees for 15 minutes, add crumb topping and return to oven and bake 40 minutes. I haven’t tried it yet but maybe this method would stop it from overflowing.

  5. My mom grew up in Baltimore ( she was born 1912)
    Her stepmom was Pennsylvania Dutch

    I used to love this pie

    Hers was moist but not wet in the bottom and dry on the top

    I have made it a number of years ago but not with the success she did of keeping the topping from being absorbed almost entirely

    Still delicious

    Thanks for the reminder of a favorite of mine

    How to make it lower glycemic as I am prediabetic and GF

    THANKS AGAIN !

  6. FUN FOOD FACT
    Cold butter is usually fresher because it has a shorter shelf life.

    What nonsense!

    How about this for profundity:
    Pie is round so we can all reach it.

    1. Salted butter does not need to be stored in the fridge since the risk of bacterial growth is so low. Studies have shown that butter has a shelf life of many months, even when stored at room temperature. However, it will stay fresh longer if it is kept in the refrigerator. Thanks for the sarcastic comment, we accept all kinds.

      1. Mine boiled over alllllll over but I had a cookie sheet under it for easy removal. The topping all sank to the bottom which started it to overflow from the get-go so am not sure what I did wrong! But still excited to eat it later 🙂

  7. Wow I’ve never had shoofly pie and it sounds soooooo good!!! And all your in process shots make it look so easy to make too! Thanks so much for sharing :).