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Also known as Mystery Pie or Soda Cracker Pie, this simple Ritz Cracker Pie yields a crispy shell and nutty, rich filling.
When I’m feeling stuck in a rut in the kitchen I like to flip through old church cookbooks. Often I’ll see a recipe for something that I grew up with and just forgot about. Other times it will inspire me to try something new.
This time, though, I was completely baffled by a recipe I found. What in the world is Mystery Pie? After a little reading and some online searching, I realized the book was referring to what’s more commonly called Ritz Cracker Pie.
The reason this recipe even caught my eye was the fact that the SAME recipe was in the SAME cookbook three times. They are listed one right after another. I had to laugh, because you know the lady in charge of putting the book together didn’t want to offend someone by not including her recipe. So we have “Mystery Pie,” “Melba’s Mystery Pie,” and “Grandma’s Mystery Pie.”
All on the same page.
They only differ in the amount of baking powder and the exact number of crackers called for in the ingredients list. I guess that’s how Melba can get away with calling it “Melba’s” mystery pie.
Really, the ladies should be honest and call it Ritz Cracker Pie. They probably found it on the back of the cracker box at some point. 😉
After I read the recipes, I re-read them. And I read them again. How does this combination of ingredients make anything?!? There’s no crust, there’s no flour, and you only use egg whites. What kind of dark magic is this?
- egg whites
- baking powder
- Ritz crackers
- chopped nuts (I used pecans and walnuts)
If you’ve never heard of Mystery Pie, you may have heard of Soda Cracker Pie or Ritz Cracker Pie. From what I can tell, they are all the same thing. You mix up four or five ingredients, put them in the oven, and out comes this crispy pie with a rich and slightly gooey inside!
I chose to make Melba’s Mystery Pie, because the recipe had more details in the instructions and included baking powder. The other two either had no baking powder or WAY too much. (I don’t think I’ve ever put 3 tsp of baking powder in anything.)
This was 100% about just seeing what it would look like when it came out of the oven, as well as how it tastes. (Which was surprisingly good, by the way!)
If you like vintage recipes like Ritz Cracker Pie, you should check out a few others I’ve made from various old church cookbooks or handed-down family recipes!
I’m still surprised by how crispy the top was and how rich and nutty the inside became while baking! I’m sure Alton Brown would have some sort of interesting science behind how this all works, but I was just happy it tasted OK!
It’s not pretty to look at, but if you like nuts, you’ll really like Ritz Cracker Pie. If no bake desserts are more your thing, try this easy Strawberry Creamsicle Pie!
- 3 egg whites
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 20 Ritz crackers crushed
- 1 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans and walnuts)
- whipped topping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9" pie pan.
- 3 egg whites, 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp baking powderBeat egg whites and baking powder until stiff. Blend in sugar and vanilla.
- 20 Ritz crackers, 1 cup chopped nutsFold in crackers and nuts. Pour into greased pie pan.
- whipped toppingBake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool completely. Top with freshly whipped cream or whipped topping to serve.
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V Nelson says
If you ever get a chance check out Luby”s Butternut Pie Recipe
Nicole Burkholder says
Oh wow, that looks like a similar recipe! Sounds yummy 🙂 We don’t have a Luby’s anywhere around where I live, but the recipes online look good 🙂
Maggie Donato says
I used to make this pie over 50 years ago when my husband was in law school — a friend gave me the recipe and when we had each other over for dinner, we took turns making this for the gang! I misplaced the cookbook during one of our moves, and I have been looking for the recipe for the past ten years. I am so happy to find it tonight. The little cookbook given to me by a friend named it Mystery Tort! If you had not used that name, I probably would never have found it again. It truly is a wonderful combo of flavors, and I can’t wait to make it again tomorrow. Bless you! ~Maggie
PS My Texas grandmother was a Burkhalter, pretty close!
Nicole Burkholder says
I love to hear stories like this! Thank you so much for sharing. I hope you enjoy it again now that you’ve found the “Mystery Pie” from so long ago 🙂 PS-our last name gets switched to Burkhalter all the time. Burkholder is the anglicized version of the family name. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a connection somewhere. My husband’s family seems to be everywhere! 🙂 Thank you for commenting! Have a wonderful day.
Nicole Burkholder says
I’m glad you liked it!
Year’s ago the old Furr’s Cafeteria used to sell this made with pecans and topped with lots of whipped cream.