Sour Cream Raisin Pie

Sour Cream Raisin Pie | recipe at

If you are like I was when I first heard of Sour Cream Raisin Pie, you might say ‘ewww’; hopefully to yourself but it would be understandable if you uttered that aloud.  I’d lived most of my life knowing of many pies, standard and exotic, but this one never crossed my path until about 4 years ago.

My step father, who is also the innovator of the Ring of Fire’ breakfast recipe I shared on New Year’s Day, ushered this dessert into my pie-consuming consciousness.  I don’t exactly recall how it came up but I do remember spending most of the dialog being reviled in my own head, trying, desperately to be open minded and realize some redeeming value it might have.  He is however also responsible for introducing me to Peanut Butter Pie in the dark, smoky bowels of an old school steak house, longer ago than I care to admit, as well as an ample, flirtatious, meringuey number during a Rancher’s lunch at a Livestock Sale Barn in the heartland of Kansas.  The man knows his pie.

Sour Cream Raisin Pie | recipe on

The following year I made a Sour Cream Raisin Pie for his birthday.  He and my mother had come to visit which meant not only would I be making his dessert dreams come true,  but even more importantly, and frightening, I would have to eat  a piece myself.  I’m not sure exactly what it was about the sound of the pie that was not rocketing it the top of my ‘I really should try that’ list.  I like raisins.  I like sour cream.  I think I could just not imagine the union they’d make together and that it would be any semblance of delicious.

I was fortunately very wrong.  The pie has the most wondrous texture, chock full of vanilla-soaked pudgy raisins filling every bite.  The sour cream blends together the earthy spices of clove and cinnamon into a lovely custard base.  It’s a pie for all season as well; uber flavorful yet light enough for the summer months, with the seasonings giving a nod as easily toward the cool weather months.  It can be eaten at room temperature or chilled.  No one else will be bringing it to the summer picnic or potluck so you can bask in the glory of originality as well as introduction of a new favorite dessert.

Sour Cream Raisin Pie | recipe on

I found this specific recipe in my Grandmother’s recipe box written in her hand.  My step father’s birthday was this week and I decided to make a pie for him, and one for you.  I sampled yours.  It was great!

Sour Cream Raisin Pie

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Yield: Serves 8-10

A custard-based pie chock full of vanilla-plumped raisins, cinnamon and clove spices with a fantastic soul-warming flavor. This recipe is a family recipe enjoyed equally today as in my Grandmother's kitchen.


  • 1 ½ cups Raisins
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • ¾ cup Light Brown Sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon Cloves, ground
  • ¼ teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 cup Sour Cream
  • 3 Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed
  • 9” Pastry (pie) Shell {I used Whole Foods Gluten-Free Pie Crust)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring a kettle of water to a boil.
  2. Place the raisins and vanilla in a small bowl. Pour the boiling water just over the top of the raisins. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Place pie shell in the heated oven and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, salt, sour cream, eggs, and lemon juice, until fully combined.
  5. Drain the raisins and combine with the pie filling, mixing with a large spoon to incorporate.
  6. Spoon the filling into the pre-baked pie crust. Place the pie on a baking sheet, and into the oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the pie begins to brown slightly. Note: the pie filling will puff up above the pie crust while baking but will settle into a perfect custard when cooled.
  7. Allow pie to cool on a cooling rack until room temperature. Serve at room temperature or chilled. If desired, add whipped cream prior to serving.

Sour Cream Raisin Pie | recipe on

More pies you surely will like:

Chocolate Hazelnut Toffee Ice Cream Pie

Tiny Gooseberry Pie

Cherry Blueberry Cloud Pie

Cherry Chocolate Chip Pie

Lemon Chiffon Pie with Cornflake Crust

President’s Birthday Cherry Pie

Grasshopper Pie


  1. says

    Very interesting! In a way it reminds me of the Canadian butter tart- which is something I grew up with and love. Will definitely try this out!

  2. says

    Oh lady, you’ve just made my year. I had a raisin pie over 30 years ago while on a road trip from Chicago to Portland, OR. I had never heard of it before that day and since we were in the middle of no where, I have no clue where I was, state, city or restaurant. It was delicious and I haven’t been able to find its like since, though I’ve searched. I am SO making this. Did you use regular raisins or the golden variety?

    • says

      If you were in the middle of nowhere I’m guessing this might be it! Though not a mainstream pie it seems a firm standard where it does reside. I used regular Thompsons seedless raisins; mainstream! Do let me know if its the same pie once you are it!

  3. says

    This sounds like one of those interesting old recipes you’d find in grandma’s cookbook. These are usually pleasant surprises so I do very much believe you when you say this is totally delicious! 🙂 Nice pics too!

  4. says

    I thought I was alone in this world when it comes to the amazingness of Sour Cream Raisin Pie! I grew up on this pie. My mom made it for us all the time. Also-beautiful photography!

    • says

      I’m so happy to find someone else who knows of this pie! Though not well known I do think it has deep roots in Americana, would you agree Jennifer? Thanks you for your kind comments on the photography too!

  5. M. Houska says

    Thank you for this recipe! I grew up in Iowa and have fond memories of going into Des Moines and eating Sour Cream Raisin pie at the Poppin Fresh restaurant. It then became Bakers Square, I believe. Now living on the west coast I’ve often mentioned this pie to my husband who can’t imagine it would be good. I’m making your recipe for Thanksgiving and can’t wait. Other recipes I’ve found use a meringue topping but the one I remember, and am looking to duplicate, had thick whipped cream.
    Thanks again! Meaghan

    • says

      Meaghan I so love comments like yours! I have a soft spot for vintage recipes and this one really flies under the radar. Those who had it in their upbringing are wed to it; those who did not cannot imagine there is anything about it that could be good! I was admittedly from the latter category until I made it and tasted it. It really does embrace the best of a fall pie and I personally love the texture of the raisins (it seems raisins are controversial for people, have you noticed that?). I’m so glad you like the recipe and hope you’ll make it and it will be what you’ve been looking for. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  6. Randy says

    I am a truck driver and have a chance to try a lot of different foods all around the country. I saw this pie on a menu in Iowa several years ago and gave it a try – I instantly loved it !! I find that it is mostly an upper-midwest pie. I see it in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin – very seldom any- where else. Each region varies a little bit. I say … if you see it … go for it !!

  7. NancyB says

    Searching online for a Sour Cream Pie recipe with whipped cream, yours was one of the first to come up. Now, I’ve been making Sour Cream Raisin Pie for almost our whole married life, which is 48 years! Before that, I had never heard of it either, but my husband kept talking about his mom’s raisin pie, which she made like an apple pie, only using just raisins. I do like raisins, but could not imagine such a pie being good! In an attempt to somewhat come up with a compromise, I found a recipe similar to yours in an old Betty Crocker cookbook, but with a meringue topping, and using the yolks in the stove top cooked custard. My meringue always weeps, but we love that pie, and so do most of the people who have tasted it. But thanks to your lovely story and recipe, I have something new to try! Oh, sometime back we decided to substitute some chopped walnuts for part of the raisins and wow! A great recipe made even better! Well, if you like it that way, as my husband likes to say. I really enjoyed reading your lovely story, thanks for sharing it. And for reading my lengthy comment!

    • says

      I love comments like yours Nancy; thank you for your time in leaving it. I also love these desserts with such a mysterious but common past for so many of us. For some it is a completely obscure pie, and then for others such as your husband it is as commonplace as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It’s fascinating really. I will say regardless of my early reservations this pie does surprise and your substitutions to ‘make it work’ sound like perfection!

      • NancyB says

        I spent some time last night reading your blog and loved your stories, too. I’ve made 5 or 6 of the Rose Cakes thanks to Amanda of I Am Baker, two of them this past weekend for a benefit auction. No one believes how easy they are to make, I’ll have to refer them to your post about making one! For the dessert bar at same benefit, one of the pies I made was a buttermilk, also a very old recipe, I believe. Lots of comments about that one, mostly from older people who hadn’t seen or tasted one in years. I have a pie crust chilled that will be used in making your Grandmother’s Sour Cream Raisin Pie…can’t wait to try it! I see several recipes from your entries that will be on the menu, soon. Thanks again!

        • says

          I really love vintage recipes AND the very thing you are talking about with people coming forward to share their stories. One of my favorite posts was on a dessert from a well known San Francisco restaurant in my Grandparents generation (the post here); Angela Pia. After publishing the post I received emails for the next six months from various family members of the couple who owned the restaurant. Multiple generations of people who had lost touch, some having moved abroad. It was fascinating and heartwarming, reminding how food is so central to people.

  8. Carrie says

    I made a gluten-free, sugar free version using an almond flour crust. I subbed 1/2 cup of the raisins with dates, omitted the brown sugar and sweetened the sour cream mixture with stevia. It didn’t look pretty, but it tasted great with some stevia sweetened whip cream! Thanks for the recipe.

    • says

      I love hearing back when readers have made changes to fit their needs and preferences Carrie! I love that you were able make it work for you. As long as it tastes good, that is all the matters!


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