My Favorite Pecan Pie Recipe

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

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.

  1. Make the pie crust. As always, use my favorite homemade pie crust.
  2. 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.
  3. Spread the pecans inside pie crust.
  4. Whisk together remaining ingredients. Pour over pecans.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Pecan Pie Video Tutorial


pecan pie slice

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 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.

pecan pie before baking

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:

  1. Pecans: Can’t prepare this filling without pecans!
  2. Eggs: Eggs hold the filling together.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Salt + Butter + Vanilla Extract: Each give pecan pie its traditional flavor.
  6. 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.

pecan pie

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.

pecan pie slice

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.

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

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pecan pie

My Favorite Pecan Pie Recipe

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 hours
  • Yield: serves 8-10
  • Category: Pie
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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.


Ingredients

Crust

Filling

  • 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

Instructions

  1. The crust: Prepare my pie crust through step 5.
  2. After the pie dough chills, adjust oven rack to the lower third position and preheat to 350°F (177°C).
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Slice and serve pie warm or at room temperature. Top with whipped cream or ice cream.
  7. Cover and store leftovers at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. Special Tools (affiliate links): Pastry BlenderRolling PinGlass Pie Dish or Ceramic Pie Dish, Pastry Brush, Pie Crust Shield
  3. 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.
  4. 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

299 Comments

  1. So easy and the flavor was amazing! Crude was soooo flaky! But it was slightly runny 🙁 I cooked for almost 1 hr (oven is odd). I only cut one slice to taste. Any way I could fix before I serve tomorrow?

    1. Missy– stick it back in the oven for 15 more minutes. The refrigerator can also help solidify the filling.

  2. Hi Sally! I made two of your pies for thanksgiving (pecan & apple crumble) and both turned out amazing! Not only did everyone rave about them, but they also came out looking beautiful (a major plus). This is all thanks to how precise & detailed you are in your recipes – you make the execution so easy! I can’t thank you enough! 

    Hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving & ate tons delicious food! 

  3. After not making pecan pies for many years, I made this one for Thanksgiving and it’s delicious!!!! Everyone loved it! I should have made two.

  4. Hi Sally,
    I made this for Thanksgiving. It was the first pecan pie I ever made. I’ve tried other pecan pies but this was the best one I have ever had. I will be adding this to my Thanksgiving menu and maybe even my Christmas menu also. Thanks for the recipe.

  5. I have made this pie twice…Love the hint of cinnamon..Delicious!!!

  6. I made this pie for Christmas and it was amazing! Everyone loved it! It was the easiest pie to make too! So good. 🙂

  7. The first time I made exactly as directed.  So delish!  I’ve always liked pecan pie but can find it cloying? Too sweet?? Not sure but just something made pecan pie less then perfect…till now!  Baking it again right now but omitting the cinnamon this time.  Just a tweak per family preference but again, you’ve totally nailed a good pecan pie recipe.  Many thanks!

  8. This recipe looks DELICIOUS. I’ve used your pie crust several times, and it never fails! I’m making desserts for a cocktail party next weekend, and I’d like to make pecan bars, since it’s good finger food. Do you think I could make pecan bars with this recipe? If so, what size pan would you recommend baking them in? Thank you!

    1. Sure could. I’d use an 11×7 inch baking pan. 9×13 would be too big and a 9-inch will make the bars a little too tall.

      1. Thank you! Just bought the ingredients yesterday. 🙂 Does it matter if it’s aluminum or glass? I have both so I’m wondering which one would be better for baking this recipe.

      2. Either would be just fine for the bars 🙂

  9. Do you think you could make this with a shortbread crust?

    1. Definitely!

  10. Made this pie yesterday. Absolutely delicious!! I used a store bought refrigerated 9″ pie crust, used light karo syrup and dark brown sugar, and only 1-1/2 cups chopped pecans. After I poured the pie filling over the pecans, the pie crust couldn’t have held another cup of pecans. The pecans and filling just “majically” mix together. Nothing extra to do! The cinnamon is definitely the “secret” ingredient that, in my opinion, makes this pecan pie the most delicious my roommates and I have eaten! And it is SO EASY.

  11. This is the first regular pecan pie that I’ve actually enjoyed. And when I mean “regular”, I mean one with no chocolate or caramel added. I find most pecan pies to be overly sweet, which is why I usually make a variation with chocolate and/or caramel in it. Your recipe was perfectly sweetened. I really liked the flavor, and I loved the hint of cinnamon in it. This was easy to make and delicious.

  12. Ok…I’ll start by saying I’ve never enjoyed pecan pie. But my BF loves it so I was on the hunt for a decent recipe, of which there are many with no 2 alike. I never liked the “sugar gel” layer that the pecans floated on. But this recipe…OMGah! I couldn’t get enough! Absolute perfection! No nasty “sugar gel” only candied tender pecans. I use all crisco but butter flavored. It’s a bit too flaky so I’m going to use your half and half version next time. I made tarts in muffin tins and baked 35 min. Now this is my favorite pie! My sons also went wild! Thank you so much, this is what pecan pie was destined to be.

  13. If you can find it, brown rice syrup is an excellent substitute for corn syrup! It is less sweet which is perfect for me!
    Other than being less sweet I really couldn’t tell any difference at all between rice & corn syrup. I feel like the flavor of the pecans is more pronounced with the less sweet rice syrup. I highly recommend trying it if you can find it.
    If you live in a metropolitan area with a significant Asian population you should be able to find it. One store in my area even has an organic one sometimes.
    I haven’t looked, but I bet you could order it online…

    I also use an unrefined, minimally processed sugar and some molasses instead of brown sugar, and it’s wonderful.

    A dash of salt also helps bring out the flavor of the pecans.

  14. This recipe looks perfect and classic! Do you think the filling would work for bars, too? I love your pecan pie bars but miss the classic flavors! Thanks!

    1. Yes, absolutely!

  15. Regular or deep dish pie pan?

    1. Both work, but regular will produce a thicker pie.

  16. If I don’t make the crust instead I buy one, do I still put it on the lower rack? And is the coming time the same?

    1. Yep! The baking instructions remain the same.

  17. Hi Sally-
    I love so many of your recipes and I’d love to make this pie for Thanksgiving, but was wondering if you have ever added bourbon to the recipe? I love that flavor and think it might work nicely here. What do you think? At which stage would you add it?

    1. Hi Nicole! You absolutely can add bourbon to this pecan pie recipe. I recommend reducing the corn syrup by 2 Tablespoons (so 3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons) then add 2 Tablespoons your favorite bourbon. Whisk it with the other filling ingredients.

  18. First pie I’ve ever made and it was fantastic. Not too sweet. Loved the hint of cinnamon. I didn’t have unsalted butter so used what I had and left out the salt. Also used fresh pecans from our tree.

  19. Can you blind bake the crust for this pie?

    1. Yes you can, but it is not a necessary step for this particular pecan pie.

  20. I hope you seen this in time. Im using a frozen crust (I know what you’re thinking,but I can’t make crust to save my life.) My question is, can I use a deep dish crust or should I get a regular pie crust?

    1. For best results, I suggest a regular pie crust– not deep dish.

  21. I just took my pie from the oven after 45 minutes, and it looks beautiful! Smells fabulous. I used light brown sugar and light corn syrup, as that was what I had. I also toasted the pecans before putting them in the pie crust. Fingers crossed, guests like my endeavors!

  22. I made this pie yesterday. Although I’m not a fan of pecan pie my husband said it was the best one he’s ever had! I will definitely make it for him again.

  23. I made this for Thanksgiving at the request of one of my guests – my first pecan pie ever! I followed directions exactly and must admit it was disappointing. My initial thought was that there are too many pecans and not enough filling. The ratio just seemed off to me (not that I am a pecan pie expert, but remembering ones from my youth and trying to compare to that). I asked for opinions from others, and everyone agreed it was not too sweet (a good thing), but that it did indeed have too many nuts. I may make it again but will definitely decrease the amount of nuts I put in. I’m thinking decrease the pecans by 1/2 to 3/4 cup and see what happens since the filling is good.

  24. Brittany Wells says:

    I’m making this and made the mistake of thinking the slightly melted/slightly solid butter would become more liquid when I mixed in the other ingredients… but alas, I am left with small butter chunks everywhere. I know they’ll melt well enough when I put it in the oven, but will it cause a problem and not be well enough mixed?

    1. No problem at all! It’s happened to me before too. It melts as the pie bakes and the filling tastes exactly the same. 🙂 Thanks for trying my pecan pie recipe!

    2. This is the best pecan pie I’ve ever made. So many others are sickly sweet and this one is perfectly sweet and has great texture. Thank you for this wonderful recipe.

  25. Love this pie. So easy and for a twist I added a hint of caramel . I also make make it into small tarts
    A big hit .
    Thank you

  26. Made this at Christmas for a family gathering, it was a major hit! Decided to make it again for new years since there were so many compliments. Thank you!

  27. Southern girl living in Canada, successfully substituted good quality maple syrup for corn syrup in this recipe. Gave it a lovely maple taste that goes so so well with pecans!

  28. While visiting the South from Germany, my boyfriend tried pecan pie. I decided to make some for him and his family. It was a big hit! I baked it for about 70 minutes as it just wouldn’t set. Thanks for the recipe!

  29. This and the crust were delicious. My first pecan pie! I used raw pecans. Should I use toasted? Would it make a difference. Also, I couldn’t get it to set even after extending the time. Any idea why for my second attempt?

    1. Hi Angela! You can use raw or roasted pecans. Raw would be best since you’ll be cooking them. Make sure you’re cooking the pie long enough so that it sets– it will set as it cools.

  30. Tried it today and So far so good. The only thing concerning me is that usually pies come out a bit jiggly and this one was perfectly set. Do you think it was overcooked? I have a thermometer in there and it was the right temperature. Just interested if it’s overcooked or just right.

    1. Hi Liz, the corn syrup really helps this pie to set so you should just fine! Let me know when you try it!

      1. Sally, the pie was perfect. No issues at all. I have tried countless of recipes for the last 5 years and nothing has worked. I finally found its thank you!!!!!

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