My homemade pecan pie is classic and simple with an unexpected dash of cinnamon. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and salty– after one bite you’ll taste why it’s my favorite!
Pecan pie is the classic sugary dessert without which no Thanksgiving is complete. It’s as traditional as pumpkin pie and as wonderfully rich as apple pie. Growing up, my family’s Thanksgiving dessert table always included (and will always include) my late grandmother’s old fashioned pecan pie recipe. It’s a true honor to share her recipe and I hope this recipe lives on forever in her memory.
How to Make Pecan Pie
As far as Thanksgiving pies go, this is one of the easiest. There’s no pre-baking the crust or pre-cooking the filling. Grandma, though no longer with us, always knows what’s best! Here’s an overview of the process.
- Make the pie crust. As always, use my favorite homemade pie crust. This is the same crust you can use when making mini pecan pies too!
- Roll out the pie crust. You’re aiming for a pie dough circle 12 inches in diameter. Carefully place the dough into a 9×2 inch pie dish.
- Spread the pecans inside pie crust.
- Whisk together remaining ingredients. Pour over pecans.
- Bake. I like to place a pie crust shield on top of the pie edges to prevent them from browning too quickly. If you find the whole pie is browning too quickly, tent a piece of aluminum foil over the whole pie.
- Slice and serve. The pie is delicious warm or at room temperature. Top with whipped cream, ice cream, and/or a sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar. Salted caramel would be great, too!
Pecan Pie Video Tutorial
What Makes This My Best Pecan Pie Recipe
This is my tried-and-true recipe and here’s why:
- Simplicity. There are only 8 ingredients in this remarkably simple filling (including salt, cinnamon, and vanilla extract) so the flavors truly shine.
- The best pie crust. We’re talking mega flaky, mega buttery, and mega delicious. This is the one and only pie crust recipe I use. It’s been passed down through generations and stands the test of time. Here’s my recipe for all butter pie crust if you’d like to try that instead. Both pie crust recipes yield enough dough for 2 9-inch pies. You can freeze the 2nd half or make another 1 crust pie such as this chocolate chess pie, turkey pot pie, or my pumpkin pie.
- No pre-baking needed. The buttery pie crust has a wonderfully flaky texture, but still stays perfectly intact as the pie bakes and cools. Some recipes require you to pre-bake the pie crust before pouring in the filling, but I don’t find that necessary. We can skip that step by simply baking the pie on a lower oven rack.
- Incredible texture. The pecans on top get all toasty while the nuts underneath have a melt-in-your-mouth chewy texture. The pecan’s flavor and texture, paired with the flaky homemade pie crust, the filling’s vanilla, butter, and cinnamon… it all just makes this my favorite pecan pie recipe. If you love this one as much as me, try my pecan pie cheesecake next. Talk about a texture lover’s dream!
Pecan Pie Filling Ingredients
Since it’s made with few ingredients, it’s imperative to use high quality nuts and spices. I genuinely love Diamond of California pecans and McCormick pure vanilla extract (though homemade vanilla extract is excellent too). For the BEST pecan pie filling, use these ingredients:
- Pecans: Can’t prepare this filling without pecans!
- Eggs: Eggs hold the filling together.
- Corn Syrup: Sweetens and helps prevent crystallization while the pie bakes. I prefer dark corn syrup for intensified flavor. See below if you’re interested in pie without corn syrup.
- Brown Sugar: There’s 1 and 1/2 cups total sugar in this pie, which includes the brown sugar and corn syrup (1/2 cup and 1 cup). Typically this pie has around 2 full cups, but I find that much too sweet.
- Salt + Butter + Vanilla Extract: Each give pecan pie its traditional flavor.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon adds an extra layer of flavor! I don’t see many pecan pies with cinnamon– so thank you, grandma, for giving me the opportunity to present a slightly unique pecan pie on our Thanksgiving tables.
How to Make Pecan Pie Without Corn Syrup
The most common question here is: can I make pecan pie without corn syrup? My answer was always: yes, but the filling won’t really set or it won’t taste like pecan pie. So… no, you can’t. Until I tried maple pecan pie!
Corn syrup is the glue that holds this filling together. Thicker than other liquid sweeteners, corn syrup works with the eggs to help ensure your pecan pie filling will set. The problem is that more and more modern bakers are looking for an unrefined substitution for the corn syrup. When creating my recipe for pecan pie without corn syrup, my goal was to find a solution to not only find a corn syrup substitute, but to guarantee the filling will SET and TASTE DELICIOUS.
Taking a note from my brown butter pecan pie bars, I reached for pure maple syrup. This is a thinner liquid than corn syrup, but has the most remarkable flavor, as you know. The bars recipe calls for tempering the eggs, but I wanted a no-fuss filling that skipped the extra steps. Entire the magical ingredient: 1 tiny Tablespoon of flour. Simple, delicious, and pure flavors give us a maple infused + buttery sweet + deliciously thick slice of pie. I know you’ll love my maple pecan pie variation too.
How to Freeze Pecan Pie
Pecan pie is a wonderful dessert to make ahead of time. Simply bake the pie as directed, allow it to completely cool, then wrap tightly with plastic wrap or foil. Place in a freezer-safe zip-top bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before slicing and serving with a big dollop of whipped cream.
I made about 3 or 4 of these pies the past couple of weeks to freeze for the upcoming holidays– they freeze and thaw beautifully! No one ever realizes they aren’t freshly baked.
More Thanksgiving Pie Recipes
- Caramel Pear Pie
- Pumpkin Pie
- Apple Pie with Chai Spices
- Sweet Potato Pie (like the dessert version of Sweet Potato Casserole!)
My Favorite Pecan Pie Recipe
- Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Total Time: 5 hours
- Yield: serves 8-10
- Category: Pie
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
This is my favorite pecan pie recipe for many reasons. A little cinnamon, vanilla, melted butter, toasty pecans, homemade flaky crust… I could go on and on. Classic and simple, traditional and sweet.
- 1 unbaked Flaky Pie Crust (what I used) or All Butter Pie Crust*
- egg wash for pie crust: 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon milk or heavy cream
- 2 and 1/2 cups (250g) shelled pecans (pecan halves)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup (240ml) dark corn syrup*
- 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- The crust: Prepare my pie crust through step 5.
- After the pie dough chills, adjust oven rack to the lower third position and preheat to 350°F (177°C).
- Roll out the chilled pie crust onto a lightly floured surface. Remember, when rolling out the pie dough, always use gentle force with your rolling pin. Start from the center and work your way out in all directions, rotating the dough with your hands as you go. Roll it out into a circle 12 inches in diameter. Carefully place the dough in a 9×2 inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it’s smooth. For a beautiful edge, as shown in the video above, fold the overhanging dough back over the edge and use your hands to mold the edge into a nice thick rim around the pie. Crimp the edges with a fork or use your fingers to flute the edges. Again, you can see me do this in the video above. Brush the edges with egg wash. (To help guarantee a beautiful edge, I always chill the shaped dough in the pie dish for 10 minutes in the refrigerator or freezer before filling.)
- The filling: Very roughly chop the pecans– some whole, some lightly chopped is fine. Spread pecans evenly inside pie crust. Whisk the eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, melted butter, salt, and cinnamon together in a large bowl until combined. Pour over pecans.
- Bake the pie for 50-55 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. After the first 20 minutes of bake time, I place a pie crust shield on top of the pie to prevent the edges from browning too quickly. You can also tent a piece of aluminum foil over the whole pie if it is browning too quickly. Remove finished pie from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely. The pie filling will settle as it cools.
- Slice and serve pie warm or at room temperature. Top with whipped cream or ice cream.
- Cover and store leftovers at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Pecan pie is a wonderful dessert to make ahead of time. You can get started by combining all the filling ingredients (except the pecans) one day ahead of time. Keep it covered tightly in the refrigerator until ready to assemble the pie. You can also make the pie dough 1-5 days in advance since it needs to chill. If you want to bake the pie 1 full day in advance, bake it as directed, allow it to completely cool, then cover tightly and keep at room temperature until ready to serve the next day. Baked pie freezes well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before serving.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Pastry Blender, Rolling Pin, Glass Pie Dish or Ceramic Pie Dish, Pastry Brush, Pie Crust Shield
- Pie Crust: Both linked pie crust recipes make 2 crusts. You only need 1 crust for this pie, so freeze the 2nd half for another use.
- Corn Syrup: You can use light corn syrup instead. I have no substitution suggestions yielding the same texture, moisture, and flavor. Corn syrup is a must in traditional pecan pie. For a variation without corn syrup, try my maple pecan pie.
Keywords: pecan pie, thanksgiving
Reader Comments & Reviews
This was my first time making a pecan pie and I absolutely loved it and I had everyone try it (about 12 people) which everyone had good things to say about it! Will definitely have to bake it again!
OH MY GOODNESS. I’m not even of fan of pecans and this is amazing. I used the cinnamon sugar coated pecans but turned out great either way. Everyone always loves when I bring your recipes to events! yum! thank you!
First time making pecan pie. When I search for a dessert recipe that I’m new at I look to Sally first bc I have made some of her other recipes with success. This came out delicious. I used a store bought crust. The crust was golden and there was no jiggle at around 44-45 minutes so I took it out earlier than recipe suggests
This was my first time making pie, ever. I followed the recipe for the crust & the pie. I was intimidated, but for no reason because it was SO easy and turned out absolutely amazing. This is my go-to recipe now! And I don’t even like pecans or any nuts typically, but this is the best pie I’ve ever had.
Long time listener, first time caller.
I’d like to think I’m fairly critical and non-hyperbolic of what I bake. I’ve baked plenty of “that’s good for a home cook”, or “oh, I’m sorry you ate that”. I’d classify this as “if I ate this in a restaurant, I’d say I need to go back to that restaurant, if just to get that dessert again” (yeah, we all know those desserts). This was delicious. I made it with the all butter crust, and it came out as good as I could’ve hoped.
As for the complaints I read: I didn’t find the cinnamon at all overpowering, nor did anyone I serve it to even remark that there was cinnamon in it. It is “nutty”, and definitely not for people who want just the gooey filling…though I bet if you processed up the nuts, you’d get something closer to that? Maybe? There’s also some remarks about it undercooking, but I think this comes down to knowing that wiggle. For me it was around 53ish min, but like, that’s not gonna be the case for everyone. Go with your eyes. And if you don’t know what you’re looking for, just keep trying at it, and being observant (I kept a word doc of notes on recipes I’d made when I was first learning to cook and bake, so that I could learn from my mistakes). So long as you’re not burning your house down or accidentally brewing mustard gas, basically any wrong you make can be righted by a compost bin and trying the thing again.
Haven’t tried this recipe yet (I’m a former pro baker and don’t anticipate any issues based on the ingredients/instructions) but I just wanted to say your comment and suggestions are excellent and also made me laugh. Happy baking!
Salted or unsalted pecans?
Hi Ashley, we prefer to use unsalted pecans in this recipe.
Awesome pecan pie – I’ve made it twice (used your dough recipe to make two). Both times it turned out fantastic, albeit I did adjust down the pecans by half the second time. Turned out great! Thank you.
HI sally , I have a little less than a cup of dark corn syrup . Can I add something else with going to the store and buy a whole new one ?I have about a 3/4 of cup maybe even a little more then .
Hi Tammy, do you happen to have any pure maple syrup on hand? If so, you could try this maple pecan pie instead.
Can I make this with a store bought crust?
Too many nuts and didn’t like the cinnamon!
I’ve made this pie for thanksgiving twice and it was a huge hit both times. I even made it for my German host family who claimed they didn’t like pie (they tend to stick to more traditional German desserts) and they loved it! I had to substitute the corn syrup for agave syrup since I couldn’t find any corn syrup in the German grocery stores and it still turned out fine. The only thing I always do differently from the recipe is I toast the pecans first since it adds so much flavor.