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Easy Chess Squares Recipe

This Southern chess squares recipe is a great homemade dessert for any occasion, including holidays.

The dessert recipe is quick and easy to make and will serve a large crowd. Set aside that cookbook, and give these gooey treats a try.

Chess Cake Squares

Picture of Chess squares

The chess squares, a.k.a. chess bars, or chess cake, are an easy recipe to make from scratch that all of your friends and family will love.

The squares, made with cream cheese, are perfect for parties, Christmas, or any time of year. 

The dessert, made with cake mix, plenty of butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and eggs will become one of your absolute favorites.

Time To Eat Our Favorite Dessert

If y’all ever go to church in the South, you can be assured of a couple of things. First of all, there will be a potluck after the service–at least once a month.

And second–and most importantly–the dessert table will be covered up with treats. Southerners love to bake. A lot.

And this dessert is a Southern thing.

We traveled back to Tennessee last Thanksgiving and we went to the church my grandparents attended when they were alive. 

If you love this chess squares recipe, give lemon chess squares a try. 

We got lucky enough to attend a potluck after, and let me tell you, the Southern food was out of this world good. 

And that dessert table. Mmm… I’m pretty sure chess squares are almost always on the table.

But, you gotta be first in line to get one, because if you decide to stand around and chit-chat, they’ll be long gone, and you’ll be sorry. Real sorry.

If you love these chess squares, you’ll love this chocolate caramel poke cake recipe.

Chess Squares Ingredients

  • Yellow cake mix
  • Eggs
  • Cream cheese (softened)
  • Butter (melted)
  • Confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)

How To Make The Southern Chess Squares Recipe

  • Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
  • In a large bowl, mix the boxed yellow cake mix, one egg, and the butter. 
  • Press it into the bottom of a greased dish. 
  • In another bowl mix the softened cream cheese, two eggs, and powdered sugar. 
  • Pour over the cake mixture and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the top is a light golden brown. 
  • Cool before cutting the chess squares.

A Classic And Simple Dessert

I have always loved these easy chess squares with cake mix. I love them so much that they should call them crack squares. They are addictive, and could potentially start a fight over the last square–yep, even in the church line.

The bottom is made out of a box of yellow cake mix, one egg, and melted butter–you can’t go wrong.

The inside is gooey and rich, and the top has a bit of a crunch. And, if you’re like me and you love the corners on brownies, you will love these chewy corners. 

The best part is that they are as easy as cake to make–literally. So, if you’re a Chatty Cathy and you miss a chance at a chess square, you can make some at home (and keep it all to yourself).

Ok, let’s get down to business.

Oh, and if you do decide to make this happy little chess squares recipe (or chess bars recipe as some call it) for the potluck, be sure to print out and bring the recipe with you.

Everyone will want a copy. I’ve had strangers approach me at potlucks, just to get the recipe because it’s that good.

Full printable recipe with measurements and instructions listed below in the recipe card.

How To Make The Dessert Recipe

Bottom Layer

Chess squares are such an easy recipe. They are quick and easy to make, and all your friends will be desperate for another piece. Click on the picture and grab the recipe.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix one stick of melted butter, one egg, and cake mix.

You can make more than one type of chess squares, as well. Just about any type of cake mix will do.

In the fall give these spice cake pecan chess squares a try.

Chess squares are a delicious dessert for any occasion, including holidays.

Press it into the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch pan.

This picture looks a little messy, but it’s going to all turn out beautifully after the dessert cooks.

Trust me, it’s going to be tough not to reach into the oven with a fork and start eating because it will make your kitchen smell amazing. 

Top Layer

Chess squares are such an easy recipe. They are quick and easy to make, and all your friends will be desperate for another piece. Click on the picture and grab the recipe.

In another medium-sized bowl, mix the softened cream cheese, eggs, and powdered sugar with an electric mixer.

Look at that smooth and delicious cream cheese and powdered sugar mixture. Helloooo. This really is one of my favorite recipes.

Be sure not to eat too much of it before you pour it into the pan. Yes, this could happen. I would never do such a thing (or at least I would never tell anyone – but you know now, so don’t tell on me-shhh).

Chess squares are such an easy recipe. They are quick and easy to make, and all your friends will be desperate for another piece. Click on the picture and grab the recipe.

Pour the powdered sugar mixture on top of the cake mixture. Cook for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

Brace yourself, it’s fixin’ to smell like your kitchen is a dessert factory. Look out!

Chess squares are such an easy recipe. They are quick and easy to make, and all your friends will be desperate for another piece. Click on the picture and grab the recipe.

See how the top is a light golden brown? That’s what you’re aiming for. It will have a bit of a crackly top. 

Let the chess squares cool. That’s the hard part. I need a lock on my silverware drawer because I will grab a fork faster than you can blink, and start digging in.

I waited long enough to get a picture for you without fork marks. It wasn’t easy. 

Chess bars are an easy and popular dessert to make for any holiday.

If you are taking this to a potluck or party, make sure you make it several hours ahead of time so it can cool down and set up a little. It will cut a lot easier that way. 

Chess squares are an easy and popular treat for holidays, church potlucks, and dessert.

I’ve had quite a few requests for chess squares without cake mix and I made a recipe with ladyfingers.

The recipe tastes just as fantastic and it’s also just as easy to make because you simply set the ladyfingers in the dish, rather than use the dry cake mix. 

Chess squares are such an easy recipe. They are quick and easy to make, and all your friends will be desperate for another piece. Click on the picture and grab the recipe.
  • Print out the easy chess squares recipe card below, grab those ingredients, and start creating! This is one amazing dessert and I know you will love it and make it again and again. 
  • Then, share your comments below and click here to share a picture of your chess squares on the Pinterest Pin!  If you made any changes or added something different, be sure to share it with us so we can try it, too!
Chess squares are such an easy recipe. They are quick and easy to make, and all your friends will be desperate for another piece. Click on the picture and grab the recipe.

A Southern Girl's Chess Squares

Yield: 20 pieces
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Rest Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours

Chess squares are such an easy homemade recipe. The bars, made from scratch, are quick and easy to make, and all your friends will will be begging for another piece.

Ingredients

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 stick butter (melted)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

Preheat oven to 300-degrees.

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the cake mix, melted butter, and 1 egg.
  2. Press into the bottom of a greased 9" x 13" pan.
  3. In another medium-sized bowl, mix 2 eggs, cream cheese, and powdered sugar.
  4. Pour over the cake mix.
  5. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
  6. Cool before cutting the squares.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 296Total Fat: 12.2gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 49.7mgSodium: 247.7mgCarbohydrates: 44.7gFiber: 0.2gSugar: 35gProtein: 2.89g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Check out more recipes at Southern Home Express

Kelly

Saturday 21st of August 2021

I'm gluten free, so I use a gluten free cake mix. It's just as delicious, and I can still enjoy one of my favorites from my childhood,

Julie Pollitt

Saturday 21st of August 2021

Hi Kelly! That's great to hear! Thanks for sharing, as there are others that eat gluten-free, as well!

Southern Pecan Pie Cake Recipe - Back To My Southern Roots

Friday 25th of June 2021

[…] Add one egg and mix well. It’s going to be a very thick batter. It reminds me of the batter at the bottom of chess squares. […]

Easy Chocolate Chess Cake (Chocolate Chess Squares) - Back To My Southern Roots

Wednesday 10th of March 2021

[…] Chess cake or chess squares is considered a southern food, and it’s one of my favorite desserts to come out of the South. […]

Strawberry Chess Squares - Back To My Southern Roots

Wednesday 3rd of March 2021

[…] chess squares ingredients include strawberry cake, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, crushed strawberries, and cream cheese […]

Cailin

Tuesday 26th of January 2021

We had company over for dinner last night, and I made these for dessert. So delicious! Funny thing- I used the exact same 13x9 Pyrex dish shown in your pictures. I've eaten chess bars before but never made them myself. And its been years since then! Thank you for the recipe. I'll definitely make these again and again.

Julie Pollitt

Wednesday 27th of January 2021

Hi Cailin, That's great to hear! Those Pyrex dishes are great, aren't they?! Thanks for sharing and so glad you all loved the chess squares. We are little piggies with them. ;)

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