Derby Pie vs. Pecan Pie: Differences & Which Is Better?

derby pie vs pecan pie
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If you ask people in Kentucky about what to drink and eat during the Kentucky Derby horse race, they will most likely tell you derby pie and mint juleps. As for pecan pie, it is a traditional American dessert that contains a mosaic of pecan halves suspended in a silky, sugary mixture all layered in flaky pie crusts. So, what are the differences between derby pie and pecan pie?

Derby pie is a pecan pie with added chocolate chips and bourbon, and walnuts instead of pecans. While the term “pecan pie” is not exclusive, Kern’s Kitchen owns the trademark “derby pie.” Regardless, both pies are delicious but the taste of chocolate makes derby pie even better.

I’ll discuss the differences between the derby pie and the pecan pie in the rest of this article, as well as their origins. I’ll also give my opinion on which pie is the better of the two, so you get a better idea of which dessert to bake next weekend.

Derby Pie vs. Pecan Pie: What Is the Difference?

Pecan pie is a pecan-nut pie made by combining pecans with butter, egg, and sugar filling, which is usually corn syrup. 

Derby pie, on the other hand, is a chocolate and walnut dessert served in a pie crust with a pastry dough crust prepared with bourbon, walnuts, and chocolate chips.

In addition, derby pie has walnuts, chocolate, and a dose of Kentucky plain bourbon whiskey. Although the classic derby pie recipe contains a little quantity of bourbon, you can always do without it if that’s what you want. There won’t be much of a change in taste either way.

The derby pie, unlike the pecan pie or chocolate pecan pie, does not need corn syrup and can be made in under fifteen minutes. To make a perfect pecan pie, you will need about an hour and a half. So, we can say that derby pie is easier and faster to make.

When it comes to texture, pecan pie is characterized by moist, gooey filling. In contrast, derby pie is drier. Its filling looks crystallized and can remind you of bundt cake. 

derby pie vs pecan pie

Derby pie is similar to pecan pie in a couple of ways, for example, they have the same crust. Both can be served at room temperature. And, of course, both pies are really delicious. However, while you can keep derby pie at room temperature, pecan pie needs to be refrigerated.

Derby Pie Vs. Pecan Pie: Origins

A Brief History of the Derby Pie

Derby pie was first created in the 1950s at the Melrose Inn in Melrose, Kentucky, United States. It was created as a specialty pastry by George Kern with help from his parents, Walter and Leandra.

The name “derby pie” was decided by the family. However, each member of the family had a distinct name for the pie. And to solve the naming conundrum, they threw the numerous names into a hat and drew out the piece of paper that stated derby Pie. 

Ever since Kern’s Kitchen registered the name in 1968, they owned the trademark to “derby pie.”  Kern’s Kitchen, however, has a contentious reputation among foodies due to its tenacity in retaining ownership of “derby pie” to date.

However, the derby pie was associated with the famous horse race, the Kentucky Derby. The Kentucky Derby is the most renowned of all American horse races, as well as the country’s longest-running sporting event.

A Brief History of the Pecan Pie

Pecan pie is a pie made with pecan nuts with a filling of butter, eggs, and sugar (commonly corn syrup or molasses). According to archeological finds discovered in Texas, pecans were used by Native Americans more than 8,000 years ago. 

The name pecan is derived from the Algonquin word Pakistani, which refers to a variety of nuts. Pecan pie is a Southern U.S. delicacy that is commonly served on holidays, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other special occasion feasts.

Derby Pie Vs. Pecan Pie: Which Is Better?

To begin, I’ll mention that both Derby pie and Pecan pie are delicious and simple dessert recipes that are perfect for entertaining people. However, which is preferable depends on personal preference and the situation. Yes, it’s hard to just conclude that one of them is better than the other since we all have our personal preferences. 

When compared to derby pie, some people love pecan pie because of its versatility and ease of availability in restaurants. As for derby pie; it’s only Kern’s Kitchen that has the legal right to make it.

However, I believe that the addition of chocolate to the derby pie makes it even better. If you are the type that enjoys eating chocolate, the derby pie will undoubtedly win out over the pecan pie.

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