Classic Pecan Pie is delicious all year round but definitely a favorite at Thanksgiving. With flaky pastry, a delicious brown sugar filling, and crunchy pecans on top – it’s easier than you think to make perfect pecan pie.
Pecan pie is such a classic Southern dessert. The sweet, brown sugar filling and salty-sweet pecans make this pie irresistible. I love serving pecan pie as an alternative to all the pumpkin treats over Thanksgiving. But after tasting a slice, and realizing how simple it is to make, you’ll be enjoying pecan pie all year round.
This particular pecan pie recipe has a delicious filling with a hint of cinnamon and buttery, brown sugar flavor. It sets beautifully without being too soupy or gooey, and using fresh pecans makes the flavor even better.
Ingredients for Pecan Pie
Pecan pie only has a few ingredients – but each has an important role.
- One unbaked 9″ pie crust. I recommend using my favorite homemade pie crust recipe, or you can use your own. If you’d like to save time, you could also use pre-bought pie crust.
- ¾ cup corn syrup. Corn syrup is the glue that holds the pie together and also sweetens the filling. Its thick, syrup-like consistency acts like glue.
- 1 cup packed brown sugar. Brown sugar creates a butterscotch flavor to take your pie to the next flavor level.
- ¼ cup butter for a rich, buttery flavor.
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 tablespoon bourbon for flavor.
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Adding cinnamon isn’t traditional – but it goes so well with the pecans.
- 3 large eggs. The eggs hold the filling together and create a chewy texture that isn’t just pure sugar.
- 1 ¼ cup chopped pecans. Chop the pecans, then measure them. I like to use chopped pecans because it makes the pie much easier to slice.
Pecan Pie without Corn Syrup
I know a lot of people have an aversion to corn syrup – which I totally understand. However, it is a key ingredient in traditional pecan pie. If you can’t find corn syrup, it can be substituted with golden syrup. If you are really adamant – you could substitute corn syrup with ¾ cup maple syrup. However, if using maple syrup – dissolve 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in 1 tablespoon of water. Then whisk the dissolved cornstarch into the melted mixture of maple syrup, brown sugar and butter.
Making the Pie
To get started, you’ll first roll out your chilled pie dough and transfer it to the pie plate. Some pecan pie recipes call for blind baking the pie crust first to prevent the crust from getting soggy. (Blind baking means baking the crust without the filling in it). However, with this recipe I found it isn’t necessary, which saves you a ton of time and hassle.
Then for the filling, you’ll mel together the corn syrup, brown sugar and butter in a small saucepan. The cinnamon and vanilla extract are whisked in, and then whisked eggs slowly get incorporated into the mixture. This process ensures that the brown sugar isn’t grainy. Carefully adding the whisked eggs into the warm mixture makes the eggs temper (aka slowly increases in temperature), which helps the filling to set.
Some pecan pie recipes simply whisk all the ingredients together without melting the brown sugar or tempering the eggs, but I find that the results are far better when you use this process because the filling is less soupy and therefore the crust doesn’t get soggy. It only takes about 5 minutes more and is definitely worth the effort.
Then you’ll sprinkle the chopped pecans into the pie crust, pour the filling mixture on top, and pop the pie in the oven to bake.
Tips & Tricks
- Use a glass or ceramic pie plate – I find the results are much better than using metal.
- Lightly dust the pie plate and the inside of the pie crust to prevent the pie crust from getting soggy.
- Always pop the pie crust back in the fridge after rolling it out and transferring it to the pie plate. Cold pie dough = a flakier crust.
- Cool the brown sugar mixture to slightly before adding in the eggs – otherwise, they can scramble.
- Check the pie after about 30 minutes of baking. If the edges are already golden brown, place a piece of aluminum foil over top and continue baking to prevent the crust from burning.
- Let the pie sit at room temperature for at least 4 hours before serving. This time is necessary for the filling to set.
Storing & Freezing Pecan Pie
Pecan pie can easily be made a day in advance. Cool the pie completely, then cover and store at room temperature for up to 1 day. You can store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 4 days then bring to room temperature before serving.
Pecan pie also freezes beautifully. Bake the pie, and cool completely. Then wrap the pie tightly, and place in a freezer-safe container. It will last in the freezer for up to 3 months. Then thaw overnight in the fridge, and bring to room temperature before serving. I do not recommend freezing unbaked pecan pie however, as the crust will get very soggy.
For a couple of other variations – don’t forget to try these pecan pie bars or this pecan pie cheesecake. And if you’re making it for Thanksgiving – a little pumpkin pie alongside is always a great choice!
- one 9-inch unbaked pie dough chilled
- ¾ cup corn syrup
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 tablespoon bourbon
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 large eggs
- 1 ¼ cup chopped pecans
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and position the oven rack in the bottom ⅓ of the oven.
- Take the pie dough out of the fridge and let sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
- On a lightly floured surface using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough into a circle about 12 inches in diameter.
- Lightly dust the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate with flour and transfer the pie dough to the pie plate. Lightly sprinkle flour on the inside of the pie crust. Then fold over the edges of the pie dough and crimp with your fingers or press down with a fork.
- Place the pie plate and crust in the fridge as you make the filling.
- Add the corn syrup, brown sugar and butter to a medium saucepan over low heat. Melt together until the sugar is no longer grainy and the butter is melted, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract (or bourbon) and cinnamon.
- In a separate bowl whisk the eggs until frothy.
- Whisk 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar mixture into the eggs.
- Whisk the eggs into the warm brown sugar mixture, making sure to go quickly so that the eggs don't scramble.
- Take the pie crust out of the fridge and place the chopped pecans in the pie shell, then pour the filling mixture into the crust (the pecans will float to the top).
- Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes* then remove from the oven and let sit at room temperature for at least 4 hours before serving.