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Vinegar Pie

Vinegar Pie. An up-to-date recipe that still stays true to its roots. The basic ingredients are all there, but with a few little optional extras for even better flavour!

Vinegar Pie

Vinegar Pie

My friend Terry has been talking about Vinegar Pie for a very long time and “encouraging” (translation: pleading) me to bake one for him. He remembers it from growing up in Comfort Cove, Notre Dame Bay here in Newfoundland.

It was a very simple pie, made from just a few ingredients and it is quite probable that on some occasions, it was made with homemade vinegar from a vinegar plant that was kept by his grandmother.

Close up stock photo of golden raisins for butter tarts

I’ve used sultana raisins in the pics shown here but  golden raisins are also excellent.

I have seen reference made to this homemade vinegar being made from another recipe from a Mrs. Boyd of  Summerford, NL. That recipe refers to feeding the vinegar plant in a solution of molasses and water, which apparently was the way many folks did it back then.

I’ve read that this was a popular Depression Era recipe. That makes sense because of the availability and low cost of the ingredients. I’ve also read that it goes back further than that to pioneer days in the States.

Vinegar Pie - look for an evenly brown top.

Vinegar Pie – look for an evenly brown top.

One person over on our Facebook Page told even me it was a traditional Good Friday dessert all along Newfoundland’s Great Northern Peninsula. That was a new one on me too.

I’m sure the origin will never be fully known but I was quite intrigued to try it. In the end, I stuck to basic ingredients because I thought that they were what were most likely to be used by those who made it years ago.

Just whisk & pour the filling for Vinegar Pie

Just whisk & pour the filling for Vinegar Pie

Vinegar Pie. 5 Key Ingredients.

This pie can easily be made by simply using 5 key ingredients Try it with just eggs, white vinegar, all white sugar and butter in the filling it you want to try a more pared down, old fashioned version.

I added a few more ingredients for extra flavour based upon other recipes I’d read. Terry, the friend I was baking it for, remembers raisins in his childhood pie, so I added them for him as well. You can of course, leave those out as well.

Vinegar Pie with or without raisins. You choose.

Vinegar Pie with or without raisins. You choose.

I did lick the spoon after filling the pie shell and I was surprised by the unique flavour of those simple ingredients when combined. There is no distinct flavour of vinegar per se ( I used apple cider vinegar) but it’s quite hard to put your finger on anything that it was like. I was even more intrigued at that point to taste it when fully baked and cooled.

Wow! What a completely unique flavour! The vinegar is not as pronounced as I expected but is far more subtle. There is just enough to leave a tangy flavour on the tongue.

Combined with the flakey, buttery, pastry crust and the sweet creamy filling, it was just outstanding. I’m already planning to add this one to the menu for my Christmas dinner!

Vinegar Pie just out of the oven.

Vinegar Pie just out of the oven.

If you are a big pie lover like me, be sure to check our collection of Rock Recipes Best Pies.

Top Ten Pie Recipes by Rock Recipes photo collage with title text for PinterestLike this Vinegar Pie recipe?

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Vinegar Pie image with title text

Vinegar Pie

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Vinegar Pie
Yield: 12 servings

Vinegar Pie

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Vinegar Pie, an up-to-date recipe that still stays true to its roots. The basic ingredients are all there but with a few little optional extras for even better flavour!


For the Pastry

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening (for flakier pastry), or just use extra butter
  • 1/4 cup ice water, or a little more
  • 1 tbsp vinegar, mixed with the water

For the filling

  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar, or white vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 cup golden yellow or light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup raisins, optional


To prepare the pastry

  1. Using a food processor or a pastry blender cut cold butter into flour and salt until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Small pea sized pieces of butter should still be visible.
  2. Pour cold water over the mixture and work in by tossing with a fork until dough begins to form. Use your hands as little as possible and working the dough as little as possible, form into a ball.
  3. Flatten the dough into a circle about an inch thick, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to rest for a minimum of 20 minutes.
  4. You can make your dough the previous day but make sure you take it out of the fridge for 10 -20 minutes to warm slightly before rolling out.
  5. Roll the dough into a 12-13 inch round and place in the bottom of a 9 1/2 inch pie plate.
  6. Trim and flute the edges as desired.
  7. Chill the pie crust until ready to use or at least 5-20 minutes.

To prepare the pie filling.

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F while preparing the filling.
  2. Whisk together all of the ingredients in the filling, except the raisins, until the sugars are almost completely dissolved.
  3. If using raisins, sprinkle them evenly over the bottom of the prepared pie shell.
  4. Pour the filling mixture slowly and evenly all over the surface of the raisins. If you pour it all in quickly, in one spot, the raisins will all be pushed to the outer edges.
  5. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 degrees F for another 10-15 minutes or until the top of the pie is evenly browned. The pie should be set wobble at the centre like jelly before it leaves the oven.
  6. Cool on a wire rack. Can be served at room temperature when it cools or refrigerate until cold.
  7. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream if you like.
  8. Any leftover will keep in the fridge for a few days.


Note, this recipe can be made with as few as 5 ingredients. The spices, raisins and vanilla extract are completely optional and meant to make a good thing even better. You can even use plain white vinegar if you like. Please feel free to try the recipe without the optional ingredients if you like, for a taste of what is a recipe well over a century old at least.

The pastry recipe here, is sufficient to give the pie a thicker than usual crust. I find this very helpful when baking pies like this with wet fillings (such as a pecan pie or pumpkin pie) An initial blast of heat at the bottom of the pan as instructed, with the oven rack on second lowest level, ensures that your pie will not get a soggy bottom.

Be sure the oven is fully preheated and the crust is well chilled, this also helps a lot. Do not take the chilled pie crust out of the fridge until it is time to fill the pie and then get it into the oven as quickly as possible.

The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size

12 servings

Amount Per Serving Calories 398Total Fat 17gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 92mgSodium 126mgCarbohydrates 60gFiber 1gSugar 42gProtein 5g

The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.


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Sandra Bryan

Friday 6th of December 2019

Looks yummy

Debi Florence

Monday 29th of April 2019

I have to thank you so much Barry! When I was a child in the early 1970's, a family friend used to make this pie and bring it, along with a simple yet delicious dinner, to any family that was in need of a meal...whether do to an illness, a death in the family, or a very busy mom whom she felt could use a break. About 23 years ago, I was hospitalized for 8 days following an emergency surgery. The day after I got home, dinner and pie was delivered to my home by this now very elderly friend and her daughter. My first ever! I had always heard everyone rave about her famous pies but I had yet to taste one myself. I just could not wait to have some later that evening and neither could my Husband, daughter and three teenage sons, after I had told them how amazing this pie was going to be. After reading the card that was in the bag with the food, I no longer found myself as excited to try the pie. I never said anything to my family, but the thought of eating a dessert that was named "Vinegar pie", didn't sit very well with me. I couldn't help but think, "Maybe it's just a name she calls it. There's surely no real vinegar in it, is there?" But, after all, everyone did rave about this pie! So I thought I'd better have a tiny pinch of it just to taste it. OMG! I wanted to eat the whole pie right then & there! It has since been over 20 years since I ate that pie. I never did get her recipe, she gave it to no one! It went to the grave with her, not even her daughter had the recipe. Such a shame. I have tried a few online versions over the past few years and none came close to hers.......until now! Yours, even though it appears similar to lots of others online, is the closest to hers that I have yet to taste! What wonderful memories you have brought back Barry. Thank you again! My husband and I are on vacation in Bandera, Texas right now for the next 2 weeks. I am gonna make your vinegar pie tomorrow night for dessert. Yummy. My hubby & I were both born and raised in the San Francisco East Bay Area and it's just so crazy how our families were worlds apart on the types of foods we ate growing up. I guess my families Southern background greatly influenced the wonderful foods I grew up on.

Barry C. Parsons

Monday 6th of May 2019

Wow! What a great memory and a great reintroduction to the recipe.

Jan Canning

Sunday 8th of April 2018

I was so curious about what this pie would taste like that I had to make it.It is sooooo yummy. This pie is similar to eating a delicious butter tart with just the right amount of sweetness.Thanks Barry for yet another great recipe!

Thea Sommerstorfer

Saturday 4th of November 2017

Thanks so much for posting this! I am definitely going to make one or maybe turn it into tarts so I don't eat the entrie thing in one mouth is watering just reading it. It looks so good! I will come back with a picture and rating for you when I do it!


Saturday 4th of November 2017

This sounds amazing. I thought it would have more vinegar with all that sugar. I can't wait to try it. Love old traditional recipes. Thanks.

Wishes for tasty dishes, Linda

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