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Gently spiced custard filled with plump raisins nestled in a flaky pie crust and tucked under a layer of toasted sweet meringue in this Sour Cream Raisin Pie that is a Midwest classic! It might sound strange but give it a try and you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

We love pie around these parts and truth be told I’ll take pie over cake almost any day of the week! Be sure to try our Indiana Sugar Cream PieDutch Apple Pie (aka Apple Crumble Pie), and Easy Blueberry Custard Pie!

An image of a slice of homemade Sour Cream Raisin Pie with meringue.

Sour Cream Raisin Pie

Sour cream raisin pie isn’t your average sounding pie, but it is one your grandma probably knows. With this vintage custard pie, you can turn back the hands of time and deliver grandma’s sour cream raisin pie recipe to the here and now. And trust me, it’s a time travel trip worth making.

This sour cream raisin pie recipe may have originated with the Amish or German population in the midwest, although it’s hard to say for sure. I stumbled onto it when Taste of Home included it as the representative pie for the state of Iowa in it’s article “50 Pies for 50 States”.

If you have been enjoying my American Eats series and love trying foods from different regions of the USA, you might want to check it out! And if you are new to the series, it’s where I’m cooking my way across the United States making some of the most beloved regional dishes and flavors of each state, one state at a time.

An image of a raisin custard pie with meringue on top. 

What is sour cream raisin pie?

Sour cream raisin pie is an easy custard pie that actually tastes much better than it sounds. With a great amount of vanilla flavoring and spices, it’s perfect for fall weather (or any time of the year really). This old school pie is incredible and packed with flavors and textures that just work well together. 

We were all dubious about how this pie would turn out, if I’m being completely honest. While we aren’t raisin haters, I don’t particularly love them in desserts aside from oatmeal cookies and apple strudel

But as we each took our first tentative bites of this pie, everybody had the same astonished reactions of delight at it’s wonderful texture and flavors. Plumping the raisins beforehand is key so they are soft instead of chewy when you bite into the pie. And the perfect balance of spices is the perfect accent, rather than overpowering the sweet, homey flavor of the custard. 

An image of sour cream raisin pie topped with meringue.

How to make sour cream raisin pie

  1. Make your pie crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Blind-bake a homemade pie crust.
  2. Soak the raisins: Place your raisins in a small saucepan with enough water to cover them completely. Bring the pot to a boil, then remove it from the heat. Add in the vanilla. Let them sit for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Make the custard: Meanwhile, combine the sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, and cloves in a large saucepan and whisk together. Add in the sour cream and milk. Whisk well. Cook the pot over medium-high heat until the mixture is thickened and bubbly. Reduce the heat to low.
  4. Temper the eggs: Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl, then add in a 1/2 cup of the hot filling and whisk them together well. Add another 1/2 cup, whisking again to help temper the egg yolks. Pour the tempered egg mixture into the pan, stirring well. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes until it’s nice and thick. Remove the pan from the heat.
  5. Add the raisins and reserved soaking juice: Drain the raisins, reserving 1/2 cup of the liquid. Add the raisins and reserved liquid to the custard filling, stirring well. Pour that custard mix into the prepared pie crust and let it cool for 10 minutes.
  6. Make the meringue: Beat the egg whites and salt with a whisk attachment on medium-high speed. When the frothy soft peaks begin to form, gradually add in the granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Dollop the meringue over the pie filling and spread it out to the edges to seal the meringue against the crust.
  7. Bake the pie: Really this is more about toasting the meringue and setting the filling since it’s already cooked. Bake the pie for 15 minutes until the meringue starts to brown on top. Cool the pie for 1 hour at room temperature, then transfer to the fridge to cool for another 1-2 hours to set before slicing and serving.

A collage of images showing how to make the filling for sour cream raisin pie. A collage of images showing how to top a sour cream raisin pie with meringue.

Can sour cream raisin pie be frozen?

I don’t recommend freezing this sour cream raisin pie. Custard based pies in general tend to not freeze very well, and this one has a meringue which also doesn’t hold up the best to freezing and thawing. When they thaw the filling is often watery, gross and even the crust gets soggy too. It’s best to avoid freezing this pie and just eat it fresh if you want to enjoy it at it’s best.

Does sour cream raisin pie need to be refrigerated?

Yes, this pie does require refrigeration. Whenever it’s not being eaten, it should be kept covered in the fridge. 

Where did sour cream raisin pie originate?

You could search the internet for hours and still not get a definitive answer. Some say it’s a German sour cream raisin pie while others say it originated in the midwest or is a Mennonite recipe. All we can know for sure is that it’s been around for generations!

An image of a sour cream raisin pie with a bite taken out of it.

More pie recipes you’ll love

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An image of a slice of homemade Sour Cream Raisin Pie with meringue.
Yield: 8-10 Servings

Sour Cream Raisin Pie

Gently spiced custard filled with plump raisins nestled in a flaky pie crust and tucked under a layer of toasted sweet meringue in this Sour Cream Raisin Pie that is a Midwest classic! It might sound strange but give it a try and you'll be pleasantly surprised!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 prebaked pie crust

Filling

  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3 eggs, room temperature, yolks and whites separated

Meringue

  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Blindbake a homemade pie crust.
  2. Place raisins in a small saucepan with enough water to cover them completely. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and add the vanilla. Let sit for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, and cloves in a large saucepan and whisk together. Add sour cream and milk and whisk well.
  4. Cook over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat to low.
  5. Whisk egg yolks in a small bowl, then add 1/2 cup of the hot filling and whisk well. Add another 1/2 cup, whisking again to temper the egg yolks.
  6. Pour the tempered egg mixture into the pan, stirring well and cooking over low heat for 2 minutes until thick. Remove from heat.
  7. Drain raisins, reserving 1/2 cup of the liquid. Add the raisins and reserved liquid to the custard filling, stirring well. Pour into the prepared pie crust. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  8. Make the meringue by beating the egg whites and salt with a whisk attachment on medium-high speed. When frothy soft peaks begin to form, gradually add the granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
  9. Dollop the meringue over the pie filling and spread to the edges to seal the meringue against the crust.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Cool for 1 hour at room temperature, then transfer to the fridge to cool for another 1-2 hours to set before slicing and serving.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.