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. Corn syrup muddies the flavor. I suggest substituting cane sugar syrup (such as Lyle’s Golden syrup) in an equal amount. Also, I leave out the cinnamon because, apparently, I’m one of those weirdos who likes a pure pecan pie — no spice, no chocolate, no bourbon, none of that fancy stuff.

  2. In New Orleans we sub the Corn Syrup for Steen’s Cane Syrup 🙂

  3. I followed the recipe exactly and weighed each ingredient. At 50 min in the oven it looked set and was lightly browned. I let the pie sit for an hour and then cut into it and sadly watched as all the filling oozed out. It did not set at all. I would recommend adding a temperature at which the filling is set to the recipe. I’m not sure what temperature my filling was when I took it out but it’s clearly underdone. I would recommend others cook their pies at minimum 55 minutes. I will say that the pie was delicious and I’ll still be eating the pie.

  4. Do you put pecans on the top too? Or do they somehow rise to the top while baking?

    1. Hi Ashley, the pecans rise to the top during bake time.

  5. I was never a big pecan pie fan. So many were just too sweet to me. But this recipe….YUM! Totally a fan of pecan pie now! I had more than one person say it was the best pecan pie they ever had. And I agree. Just like the description says…a perfect combination of sweet and salty. So good!!

  6. Followed this recipe to the letter and baked it for the full 55 min, then cooled, then baked for an additional 40 min trying to get it to set. It never set. The recipe is delicious, but ended up pouring it over ice cream.

  7. I made this yesterday and everyone loved it! Most pecan pies are soooo sweet but this was not. This recipe will definitely be my pecan pie of choice.

  8. Pie came out great except my pie crust was very hard to cut. What can I do to improve on my next try? The filling was amazing.

  9. This was a beautiful pie, and I didn’t think it was possible, but it has too many nuts. I like the gooey center on a pecan pie- this had nuts throughout. I used a deep dish pie plate. I think it would have been better with only 1 1/2 cups or even a heaping 1 cup. The flavor was OK, but I didn’t care for the texture without the layer of sweet custard. I didn’t have shortening for my usual crust, so I used the provided all-butter recipe to a T. It was tough. Oh well. For me, a waste of butter and pecans. All very greasy, too.

  10. This pecan pie was the best I ever tasted. I had no problems. It set. I personally think the dark Kero syrup and brown sugar plus amount of pecan is what makes the difference from other recipes. It is not as sickly sweet and has a fuller and richer flavor. I did make one mistake. I egg washed the whole crust. Maybe that helped with leakage. I also put in 10 inch pan and cooked 50 min. But it turned out great. Thank you for sharing. And thank you to your grandmother also.

  11. Hello Sally, I made your Great Pumpkin Pie and this Pecan Pie for Thanksgiving this year. My sister made your Cranberry Apple stuffing. Omg. All of your three recipes was a big hit for myself, my husband, my sister and her husband. Just the four of us. Thank you From the bottom of our hearts for you sharing with us those three recipes. Your Awesome!!!!

  12. This pie was so delicious and easy to make! I cheated with a pre-made/store-bought crust, but it still turned out great. Couldn’t find dark corn syrup at the store, so i mixed 3/4 cup light corn syrup with 1/4 cup molasses. Turned out well – just make sure very well mixed. No problems at all with the pie or filling setting. So good!

  13. Greg Peterson says:

    Thank you for being you! I just recently found this site, and have been working with your pie crust recipe. My traditional go-to pecan pie recipe has not been behaving well, so I am going to try yours shortly (I just moved across the country, and am working with very different baking appliances). I really appreciate your attention to detail! Keep them coming!

  14. Either your oven runs hot, or mine runs cold. I followed this recipe exactly as it is written, baked 55 min, and not only was it not set after cooling to room temperature, it was legitimately liquid under the browned pecan layer. I could have poured the filling into a glass and drank it through a straw if that were my thing. I really don’t understand how the baking time can be so grossly understated. Legitimately confused as to how this is possible – it easily could have used another hour in the over based on what came out.

    1. Hi John, it’s odd that the filling didn’t bake at all in 55 minutes. Eggs should cook and thicken during that amount of time. If you ever try the recipe again, see if you can chop up the pecans a bit more which could help keep the filling on the thicker side and bake the pie 10-15 extra minutes. Thanks for trying the recipe.

  15. Wow! This recipe makes the best pecan pie I have ever had. The flavor is perfect. Thank you for your awesome website – it’s become a go-to for me and I have yet to make something of yours we haven’t loved. I was always skeptical of cooking from blogs and websites versus published cookbooks, but your site has proved me wrong!

  16. Hi Sally! I grew up in Texas, and have eaten a lot of pecan pie. One issue I’ve always had with homemade pie is that the nuts on the top get really sticky and hard to chew. That doesn’t seem to happen on store bought pie like Edwards, or pie from restaurants. Do you have any tips for preventing the pecans from getting too sticky?

    1. Hi Lauren! I know what you mean about the sticky top texture. Make sure that you’re baking the pecan pie long enough. This could even be 10+ minutes past the recommended time, depending on your oven. After cooling, the top is usually pretty set. If you want to try it, though, see if reducing the corn syrup down to 3/4 cup helps.

  17. I didn’t care for pie. I prefer more custard and less pecans. I used pie tin 9 and 11/16 inches. Next time I would use 1 cup of pecan halves!!

  18. Sally, being originally from Baton Rouge LA, Pecan pie has been a staple in my life for over 50 years. I’ve never thought about adding Cinnamon to my recipe, but will the next time I make mine. I do have 2 suggestions for you to think about. First, I carefully place and pattern my pecans on the top. I do this for 2 reasons, first I make some interesting shapes with them, but more importantly is that it allows me to have a distinct layer of filling that is not all nuts. You then have contrasting textures, the buttery and flaky texture of the crust, then the almost jam like texture of the filling and finally the crunch of the topping. The 2nd thing I might suggest and I am sure you have had this suggested before is adding 1/4-1/3 cup, depending on taste, of a smoky Bourbon like Jack Daniels. This imparts some contrast to the at times overwhelming sweetness that is Pecan pie. BTY just getting ready to try my hand at your Jalapeno Cheddar bread this afternoon, as it has been rising since yesterday. Yum, I cant wait.

  19. Your recipes never let me down! I made this at Thanksgiving. No time for handmade crust so I used store bought. It was delicious and gone by the next day. Thank you.

  20. Sally, I am so excited to try your recipe! Over the years I’ve used the pecan pie recipe found on the Karo bottle (or at least it use to be??) but never know from one time to the next if it is going to come out “set” or not. A soupy pie is still delicious but not the results I want 🙁 Having grown up in the south (Georgia) I’ve got to get his figured out!! Hope your recipe will be the answer to this problem or any other suggestions you might have would be appreciated!

    1. Hi Sally! I just made a pecan pie for fathers day. It came out great, looks just like yours on top but when I cut it it seems to have a lot of liquidy syrup inside still. What did I do wrong? Baked for 53 mins and pastry is cooked underneath so I’m not sure what happened with the syrup

  21. Very simple yet amazing recipe! My family lived it!

  22. Can you use a store-bought frozen crust? Are there any any alterations to the instructions? Like should I blind bake it before putting in the filling?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Elizabeth, You can use store bought frozen dough with no other changes to the recipe – thaw in the refrigerator prior to using. We don’t find it necessary to blind bake the crust but if you really want to avoid any possibility of a soggy crust, you can definitely partially blind bake the pie crust before adding the filling.

  23. Terrific pecan pie! It’s the only recipe I will use now.

  24. I love Pecan Pie and this is the very best recipe I have come across. Thank you so much for the recipe and believe me I have it saved .

  25. I don’t think there is a vanilla drizzle but I bet if you serve it with Vanilla Bean ice cream no one will even notice.

  26. Hello
    So I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong but my pie came out runny 🙁 I placed it back in the oven for another 15 minutes and then again because first time back in the oven didn’t help. Is there anything I can add to make it set. The only thing I did differently was use light corn syrup which you mentioned was okay to do. The pie itself looks amazing! I used your recipe for the crust too 🙂

    1. Mine was runny as well. Really disappointed because I had made it for company. Won’t use this recipe again as I followed it exactly as written right down to the baking times, etc.

  27. Pecan pie is my favorite for holidays or Nytime. Thanks for recipe

  28. Great flavor!

    Not my favorite texture for a pecan pie. Like some other reviewers, I wanted more custard vs nuts. Even after reading that, I deviated for the recipe a smidge by forgetting to reserve my decorating pecans so mixed in the full 2.5 cups & realized my mistake so adding some extras for decoration on top after filling.

    I didn’t think that I have a deep pie dish, but I found this recipe created a 1/2 filled crust. I definitely need more practice crimping but appreciate the tips here!

    If I make another pecan pie, I’ll still add in the cinnamon like Sally suggests here but will likely try another recipe.

  29. Pie came out amazing and was very delicious.

  30. Your favorite pecan pie recipe is also my favorite! I have tried a LOT of pecan pie recipes over the years, but this one literally takes the cake! It’s so good that my husband requests this for his birthday instead of a cake. Thanks, Sally, for another winner.

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