Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Raisin Pie

Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Raisin Pie

The world of food has changed since the internet! I’m not sure if younger generations realize how prized recipes used to be and what a gift the sharing of a recipe like O;d Fashioned Sour Cream Raisin Pie was.

Old Fashioned Sour Cream Raisin Pie

Old Fashioned Sour Cream Raisin Pie

Now, though, even obscure recipes can be found pretty easily. Sometimes, too many to sort through! This, though, is the original handed down kind!

About Old Fashioned Sour Cream Raisin Pie:

I hadn’t thought of Old Fashioned Sour Cream Raisin Pie for years until my Dad said he’d love to have some Sour Cream Raisin Pie. My Stepmom pulled a face – I know, I know – it sounds strange if you’re not familiar with it! But after a few bites, she proclaimed it the “Best Pie I’ve ever eaten!” I’ll take that, thank you!

When I moved from Iowa to Colorado in the late 70s I missed this pie: Of course, back then I didn’t know it was a regional specialty, popular throughout the Midwest & areas where good, solid, Germans settled in the 1880s to farm. It seemed no one in Colorado had heard of it, and it was nowhere to be found.

I was thrilled when a friend of my Mom’s gave me her family recipe. It’s about as old-fashioned as they come – she thought about 90 years and she gave it to me about 40 years ago! This pie is luscious, and creamy and has the warm spices that always remind me of Christmas.

I do have another Sour Cream Raisin Pie on my site. It’s delish, too, but is what I think of as a more modern version of Sour Cream Raisin Pie. That recipe is often found in bakeries and restaurants. Check it out if that’s more in line of what your dream of this pie is. Pictured below.

Sour Cream Raisin Pie

Sour Cream Raisin Pie

Making Old Fashioned Sour Cream Raisin Pie:

This is a super easy pie; really there is nothing to it. Use an unbaked pie crust, but if you want a crispier crust, you can par-bake it. You’ll find directions on my post, Blind Baking a Pie Crust. If you would like to, you can soak your raisins in hot water for an hour or so (recommended if your raisins are on the older side) but you don’t have to if they are fresh and soft.

I added a brown sugar meringue topping to the pie, but in the Midwest, most Old Fashioned Sour Cream Raisin Pies that you get at a diner have a billowy white meringue. When I was growing up most home-baked ones didn’t have meringue at all. Maybe ’cause meringue used to be pretty tricky in the old days without great ovens, electric mixers, and air conditioning.

If you want a white meringue, try the one on  Cook’s Illustrated Lemon Meringue Pie – just because it is the best Meringue, evah!! I did add some of the tricks from the Cook’s Illustrated Meringue to stabilize my Brown Sugar Meringue. Just know that it is normal for a brown sugar meringue to puff up and then fall slightly.

I also just “had” to pair this with a very old pie crust recipe of my Grandmother’s that I think was from about the same era – I just thought it fitting. How old, you might ask? Old enough that the original recipe called for “rendered lard”. It’s quite different from the crusts I’ve made before.

Do use a standard, not a deep dish, for this pie, and it will work out perfectly. You’ll want the shorter old-fashioned “pie plate.”

cornstarch mixture for meringue

This is the cornstarch mixture for meringue.

Storing Old Fashioned Sour Cream Raisin Pie:

Since this is a custard pie (with eggs) do be aware of how long it is out at room temperature. Especially on a hot day. Be careful, too, with making meringues (even double-stabilized ones like this) on a hot, humid day. The meringue can sweat and get beads of moisture and become sticky.

You’re going to have to be aware of timing when serving. For keeping longer, refrigerate the pie. After refrigeration, the pie is only going to be at its absolute peak the same day. It will still taste good on subsequent days but will begin to fade a bit as it ages. Don’t we all, lol!

Saving Money:

  • The price of eggs is crazy now, but all the usual tips for buying eggs still apply. Watch for sales before holidays, especially “brunchy ones” like Mother’s Day and especially Easter. Check pricing at your buyer’s club and your discount groceries.
  • Sour cream is another perishable dairy and the same rules apply for shopping for sour cream as for eggs. When storing, turn the carton upside down (make sure it won’t leak) and it will stay fresher much longer.
  • Dried fruit like raisins will go on sale now and then but are normally at rock bottom (along with most dried fruit) around Thanksgiving through Christmas. They’re another item that can be picked up at the buyer’s club or discount grocery.
Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Raisin Pie

Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Raisin Pie – this is the real deal old German/American recipe


Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Raisin Pie

  • Author: mollie kirby
  • Total Time: 45 minutes + chill
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: desserts



For the Pie:

  • 1 pie crust, unbaked
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 cup raisins

Brown Sugar Meringue:

  • ⅓ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ cup brown sugar


For the Pie:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange pie crust in a regular-sized, not a deep dish, pie plate, and flute as desired. Set aside.

In order, in a large bowl, add all pie ingredients except raisins and mix until smooth. Stir in raisins. Pour filling into crust.

Bake in the lower half of the oven until filling is set, about 40 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.

If using meringue, add as soon as the filling is firm in the center and bake about 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown. This brown sugar meringue may raise alarmingly and then fall a bit, but that is to be expected.

Brown Sugar Meringue:

In a small pan, add the tablespoon of cornstarch, then whisk in 1/3 cup water. Bring to a bare simmer in small saucepan and cook, whisking occasionally, until it just becomes thickened and translucent looking, 1 to 2 minutes at most.

Remove from heat and let cool slightly to barely or lukewarm while the eggs are being whisked. It’s helpful to transfer to a small cup as it may continue to cook and harden in the hot pan and be difficult to incorporate into the meringue.

If using stand mixer, fit it with the whisk, and beat egg whites and vanilla at medium low-speed until foamy and frothy. Mix together the cream of tartar and sugar, turn the speed up to medium-high, and add, a tablespoon at a time until incorporated (it won’t feel grainy when you run a bit between your fingers) and the mixture forms soft, billowy mounds. Continue to whip and add the cornstarch mixture, about a tablespoon at a time. Continue to beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, about two to three minutes longer.

Working quickly, dollop meringue in small mounds across the hot pie filling. Using rubber spatula, immediately distribute meringue evenly around edge and then center of pie, attaching meringue to pie crust to prevent shrinking. Top off with any remaining meringue. Using the back of spoon, create attractive swirls and peaks in the meringue. (I personally like to use the spoon to make small “scallops” with only a very few peaks which prevents the peaks from over baking before the rest is nicely browned.) Make sure the meringue is “sealed” to the crust with no gaps. Bake until meringue is light golden brown, about 20 minutes.

For more details and photos of the Meringue, see my Lemon Meringue Pie recipe.

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Sour Cream Raisin Pie - A Midwestern Specialty passed down by the German pioneers of the area. It's an easy recipe paired with my Grandma's Pie Crust and a Brown Sugar Meringue Topping #SourCreamRaisinPie #RaisinPiie #Pie #ThanksgivingPie

You know I’ll be bringing this to our Throwback Thursday #22 Link Party, hosted by Quinn of Dad What’s for Dinner, Meaghan of 4 Sons are Us, Alli of Tornadough, and Moi! That’s right – me! Click over to our Throwback Thursday post for links to their blogs and social media, rules, and more info or just click on the blue leapfrog, below, to view all the posts or enter your own!

As always, to view the link party or add a link, click on the little blue button below!

I’ll also be linking this to Fiesta Friday number 103! FF is a link party put on by Angie, and cohosted this week by Sonal @ simplyvegetarian777 and Petra @ Food Eat Love. Stop over and join in!



28 thoughts on “Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Raisin Pie

  1. “Old” cakes are always special and always taste the best!
    This pie looks and sounds wonderful. I admit – I’ve never had such a pie. I’m curious now

  2. I love old cookery books and I have a bunch of hand written recipes from my Grammy. It is a shame that that seems to be going by the wayside. Lovely recipe. I think I would have the same reaction as your stepmom!

  3. I am going to have to make this. My mom’s favorite diner was in a really small town just outside of ours. They were known for their mile high meringues. They made their own egg yolk pasta, so they used all of the whites up by piling them high on pies. Anyway, her favorite was the raisin cream pie and that place just closed. I’ll have to make her this on her birthday or something!

    • Oh, how fun! I hope she loves it – and that sounds like a marvelous place! I sometimes wonder how little gems of places like that close and yet all the fast food places flourish…*sigh.*

  4. This pie sounds so delicious! I’m down for anything with raisins 🙂
    The availability of recipes is awfully convenient, but with all the recipes out there, it’s a bit more difficult to figure out which ones are good 🙂 I love hearing about the history behind a recipe–one that’s been treasured enough to be passed from one person to another is certainly going to be wonderful!

    • You know, I feel the same way. I have pulled many recipes off the net that didn’t work and still think the best ones are the ones friends, family and neighbors pass on. And Church ladies! lol! 🙂

    • Yes, that’s the perfect description – it’s just good home cooking! I can imagine some young woman out on the Iowa prairie in the dead of winter, with the wind howling, and nothing but what’s on the farm to eat, stored staples and maybe a few raisins, serving this up. It must have been quite a treat.

  5. About four years ago, I met up with a new friend at her house for lunch, and she served sour cream raisin bars for dessert! I was so intrigued by the name of them, but very impressed with the taste! She has German roots, so this all makes sense now. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

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