Shoofly pie is a classic Pennsylvania Dutch dessert with a sweet, gooey filling and a crunchy brown sugar topping.
Shoofly Pie Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Shoofly pie is a classic Pennsylvania Dutch recipe. It’s a rich, sweet dessert—so sweet that it’s been referred to as a cake baked into a pie shell. But there’s a reason this molasses-heavy majesty is often a point of pride. Taste it for yourself, and you’ll understand why this indulgent pie has been beloved since its origins in the 1880s.

What is shoofly pie?

Shoofly Pie served in plateTMB Studio

Shoofly pie is a Pennsylvania Dutch specialty that many would call pecan pie, shy of the nuts. Some people speculate that the name stems from literally shooing flies away from the pie’s sticky ingredients. But it’s more likely that the pie is named after a famed 19th century circus animal called Shoofly the Boxing Mule. The mule’s fame led to what we would today call brand collabs: Shoofly flour and Shoofly molasses were two of the ingredients named after the mule. It was the Shoofly molasses that starred in the original recipe for the pie.

Ingredients for Shoofly Pie

  • Dough for single-crust pie: Our classic butter pie pastry brings together a classic crust of flour, salt and the coldest butter for flakiness, with just enough ice water to bring it all together.
  • Packed brown sugar: The rich color of brown sugar helps enrich the gooey center of our pie for a sweetness with more depth than traditional white sugar.
  • Molasses: Here’s where you can bring some additional complexity into this pie. Choose a molasses with character, like black strap molasses, light molasses or sulfured molasses. You can use up the rest of the bottle in these delicious molasses recipes.


Step 1: Roll out your pie dough

Roll out pie doughTMB Studio

Roll out the pie dough on a floured surface to fit a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate (you’re looking to roll out a 13- or 14-inch circle).

Make nice crimp edgeTMB Studio

Gently lay the dough in the pie dish, careful not to stretch the dough or it will shrink back. Trim and flute the edge. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Editor’s Tip: To fit your dough into the pie plate, gently and loosely roll the dough around a floured rolling pin. Hold above the pie plate, then slowly and gently unroll the dough from the pin as you move across the pie plate.

Step 2: Mix your pie filling ingredients

Mix your pie filling ingredientsTMB Studio

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F. For the filling, mix together the brown sugar, molasses, egg, flour and baking soda. Gradually stir in the boiling water, going very slowly or else your egg might curdle. Allow the mixture to cool completely.

Editor’s Tip: It’s helpful to have two people for this step, one to hold and stir the mixture, and the other to slowly drizzle in the boiling water. If you are by yourself, you can also temper the egg separately by beating the egg in a separate bowl while very slowly adding boiling water to it. Then incorporate the egg mixture into the filling ingredients.

Step 3: Prebake the pie crust

Remove the crust from the refrigerator. Line the crust with a double thickness of aluminum foil, covering the edges. Fill with pie weights, dried beans or uncooked rice. Bake on the lower shelf in the oven for 15 minutes.

Step 4: Glaze the pie crust

Glaze the pie crust with egg yolkTMB Studio

Remove the foil and weights from the crust. Brush the crust with a beaten egg yolk. You want a nice, light covering, but be sure to get in all the crevices. Bake an additional five minutes. Let the crust cool on a wire rack. Reduce the oven setting to 350°.

Step 5: Make the topping

Make the toppingTMB Studio

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt for the topping. Cut in the cold butter until the mixture is crumbly.

Editor’s Tip: When you squeeze the topping mixture here, it should just hold together.

Step 6: Pour in the filling

Pour the filling in the crustTMB Studio

Pour the filling into the cooled crust, and sprinkle the topping all over the top, trying to cover it evenly.

Put the filling togetherTMB Studio

Create a long strip of foil, and use it to cover the edge of the pie. This is called a pie shield.

Step 7: Bake and cool

Bake until the filling is set and golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Store in the refrigerator.

Shoofly Pie Variations

  • Turn the pie into cupcakes: If you’re looking to spread the love around, these shoofly cupcakes are easy to transport and distribute, so everyone can enjoy a little sweetness.
  • Use store-bought crust: When you’re in a hurry, there’s no shame in using store-bought crust. Here are the best premade pie crusts according to our Test Kitchen.

How to Store Shoofly Pie

Shoofly pie is best stored in the refrigerator. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and keep in the fridge up to three or four days. While it can be served cold, allowing a slice to come to room temperature before serving will allow you to really taste the subtle notes of the molasses.

Tips for Making Shoofly Pie

Shoofly Pie served in a plateTMB Studio

What is a wet-bottom shoofly pie versus dry-bottom?

Our recipe here is for a wet-bottom shoofly pie. The syrupy consistency needs the crust to hold it together. But the dry-bottom shoofly pie filling takes on a more cakelike consistency and could be made without a crust. You achieve a dry-bottom pie by mixing the crumb toppings into the filling before baking.

What does shoofly pie taste like?

As the brown sugar, molasses and butter in the ingredient list might suggest, shoofly pie is incredibly sweet. The simple crust will cut some of the sweetness in each bite, but one pie slice will likely be decadent enough to appease your sweet tooth for days. The molasses gives it a distinct flavor you’ll recognize around Christmastime in gingerbread cookies and old-fashioned gingerbread cake.

Watch how to Make Shoofly Pie

Shoofly Pie

My grandmother made the best shoofly pie in the tradition of the Pennsylvania Dutch. Shoofly pie is to the Pennsylvania Dutch as pecan pie is to a Southerner. —Mark Morgan, Waterford, Wisconsin
Shoofly Pie Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time

Prep: 20 min. + chilling Bake: 65 min. + cooling


8 servings


  • Dough for single-crust pie
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Dash salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter, cubed


  1. On a floured surface, roll dough to fit a 9-in. deep-dish pie plate. Trim and flute edge. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425°. For filling, mix brown sugar, molasses, egg, flour and baking soda. Gradually stir in boiling water; cool completely.
  3. Line unpricked crust with a double thickness of foil. Fill with pie weights, dried beans or uncooked rice. Bake on a lower oven rack 15 minutes. Remove foil and pie weights; brush crust with egg yolk. Bake 5 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Reduce oven setting to 350°.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together first 4 topping ingredients. Cut in butter until crumbly. Add filling to crust; sprinkle with topping. Cover edge of pie with foil.
  5. Bake until filling is set and golden brown, 45-50 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Store in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 540 calories, 22g fat (13g saturated fat), 99mg cholesterol, 630mg sodium, 82g carbohydrate (49g sugars, 1g fiber), 6g protein.