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

294 Comments

  1. Hi Sally, love all your recipes!! I’ll be making this in Steamboat Springs, CO (6,700 ft above sea level). Do you have any suggestions for adjusting this recipe for high-altitude? I’ve learned from past thanksgivings that without adjustments, so much sugar at high-altitude can have disastrous results…

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Dana! We wish we could help, but we have no experience baking at high altitude. Some readers have found this chart helpful: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html Let us know what you try!

      1. Lexi,

        I’m in Colorado Springs according to my watch I’m at 6722 feet above sea level. Coming from 500 feet some things in baking has been a challenge.
        The one issue I have found is with the crust.
        I prep the crust using 8 tablespoons of very cold water. It feels the same as the crust at sea level. Wrap it, refrigerate, begin to roll and it just crumbles.
        The way I’ve solved the crumble is-
        split the disk in half, quickly dip it into a bowl of very cold water, this barely dampens the 1/2 disk, squeeze the 1/2 disks into a ball, place on the floured surface and roll as you normally would. This has worked well for me.
        Over the last 3 days I have baked 4-pumpkin pies, 2 French Silk with fully blind baked crusts, and this pie is in the oven now.
        I was worried about using the shortening with less moisture than full butter crust (which has been my go to for years), so far Sally’s crust has turned out very well at this altitude with the minor adjustment above.
        I’ll let you know how this pie turns out in a few hours.

      2. Cameron Su Buster says:

        High altitude adjustment for baking, usually involves adding flour to adjust for the fact that water boils at a lower temperature and will blow out the structure without more of it. I have never heard of anything to do with sugar, or are you saying that your digestive system reacts to so much sugar?

        Anyhow, Colorado state university at Fort Collins may have info online. Somewhere I have my high Altitude handbook, but I have no idea where.

      3. Cameron Su Buster says:

        Thomas, I use a recipe for crust that my mother-in-law got from the Denver Post, in the early 50s (flour, salt, lard, butt, and milk) The thing that made a difference in what you speak of is humidity. Once I got a bit mixed up and tripled the milk, and I never had an easier crust to work with!

    2. Dana, I live in Colorado Springs, CO. I’ve made this recipe a few times and they each came out perfect, no changes needed. It’s more cookies and cakes that you need to worry about making those big changes with.

    3. High altitude cooking is affected because of the lowered boiling temperature of liquids due to lower atmospheric pressure. Pecan pie filling isn’t affected because you’re heating it well above boiling temperature anyway.
      It becomes more of an issue with boiling foods like pasta. Also, yeast doughs and leavened cakes can require higher temps and less time. Lower air pressure reduces the resistance of the glutinous air pockets inside a batter or dough, releasing the leavening gasses and leaving baked goods flat.
      Pies don’t need leavening. So you’re good.

    4. Jessica Newell says:

      It’s probably too late for this year, but this recipe does not need any adjustments for altitude. I live in Salida, CO at 7,200 ft and always use Sally’s pie crust recipe with no problems. No yeast means no adjustment!

  2. Dorris Gearhart says:

    At what temperature do you bake this pie?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Dorris, see step 2 — you’ll bake the pie at 350°F (177°C). Enjoy!

  3. How would I adjust this recipe for a 9.5 inch pie plate?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi CJ, you should just need a slightly bigger pie crust round for the bottom and you can use the same amount of filling as written, it will just be slightly thinner. Bake time may be just a minute or two shorter, but keep a close eye on it. Enjoy!

  4. Thank you and have a wonderful holiday!

  5. Can I leave my pecans whole?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Dale, we recommend a very rough chop, most are definitely still whole – but you can leave them whole if you prefer!

    2. Of course! Just a preference

  6. Hello! I was curious about making mini pies in the tins. How long should I bake them for in smaller batches?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Destiny, Here is how we make mini pecan pie tarts. Using a mini muffin pan, with just the bottom crust we get 24-30 mini tarts.

  7. I used organic date syrup instead of corn syrup and coconut sugar instead of brown sugar. I also added 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. I’ll let you know how it goes. Thanks for posting this recipe. I’ve used many of your recipes and am always pleased.

  8. Good Morning from Colorado! I apologize if this question was asked, and excuse the slight laziness, but, is it ok to use a store bought frozen pie crust? Is it ok to still egg wash the edges? Inquiring minds want to know:)

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kimberly, you can certainly use store bought pie crust. Thaw and then use as directed in the recipe. Enjoy!

  9. So I’m going to make this today for Thanksgiving… I’m just wondering how putting the pecans on the bottom ends up with the beautiful pecan on top after baking? Am I missing a step? Or do the pecans kind of find their way to the top somehow?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jovon, correct! The filling will settle and set as it cools, allowing the pecans to show through once completed. Hope you enjoy this pie!

  10. Will this recipe yield enough pie filling for a deep dish pie pan? How best to increase the ingredients to make sure there’s enough filling? Love your recipes!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Bryan! This recipe is written for a regular pie dish – we’re unsure of quantities needed for a deep dish, but let us know what you try!

    2. Bryan, I made the exact filling measurements and my own pie crust recipe to fit a 9×13 pan. I would absolutely double this recipe if your deep dish would be equivalent to a 9×13! Mine turned out a bit shallower bars (hey we love our crust)but that’s because this recipe was made for a smaller pie tin. I would personally bake for the recommended 50min, then keep baking, checking every ten minutes until it feels firm in the center. Good luck! This pie was DIVINE!!

  11. Margherita Monardo says:

    Hi, I am Italian and I have just followed your recipe for my first Pecan Pie for Thanksgiving tomorrow! hope it will be fine!!

  12. This is a delicious recipe! I’ll be making it again and again.

  13. Regular pie crust or deep dish if not making your own crust? Thanks so much.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lisa! Pre-made crusts tend to be smaller, so a deep dish is likely they way to go!

  14. SO good! Used the butter pie crust recipe and followed this recipe with a small modification- toasted the pecans and then tossed them in jack daniels before pouring into pie dish! Added a nice dimension!

    This will be my go to pecan pie recipe- was always intimidated by it but it was so easy

  15. Kerry Hickenlooper says:

    I have been using your recipes for quite sometime now and I’m never disappointed!!
    I just thought I would let you know!!!

  16. Kimberley Bukstein says:

    These pecans were so difficult to get this year and are so beautiful, and I know this pie cuts better with a rough chop. I’m cooking Thanksgiving for nearly my whole neighborhood, and I need this pie to cut perfectly. Nice edges, not sloppy. Food science question, should I add an extra egg? These eggs are slightly smaller post covid, and from RI. These are sold as Large Eggs but they are not like a Minnesota Egg. Add an Extra Egg? What do you think? I know I won’t hear back in time so I’m going for it, wish me luck, cluck cluck cluck!

  17. this pie was a disaster. i should’ve listened to my guy and used a recipe that blind baked the shell. the pie bubble up horribly from the raw pie shell and almost over flowed. i had to use a baking sheet to catch the drippings. then the crust puffed up badly that my crimped edges lost its shaped. disappointed

    1. Jessica, I’m so sorry your pie didn’t turn out well. I’m sure you put a lot of work into it and obviously you were cooking it for thanksgiving, so what a bummer.

      I cook Sally’s pecan pie today and it turned out beautiful. I did notice the filling fluffed up in the oven, but mine wasnt in danger of overflowing. Best luck to your next culinary adventure.

  18. This pie turned out great.

    As with all the baking I do at this altitude I adjusted the temperature (up 10ºF in this case) and decreased the bake time slightly (8 minutes).

  19. Hello sally! I have your flaky pie crust in the freezer right now, how long do you recommend me leaving it in for? Also can I use light corn syrup instead of dark? Thank you for this recipe!!

  20. I’ve made this pie many times and it’s always a hit. I add dark chocolate chips in the batter also! (Disclaimer- I buy pre-made crust)

  21. if i have light karo syrup, can I use that instead? PS, I love your recipes; you’re a gem!!!

    1. Absolutely!

  22. I’ve been “chief pie baker” in my family for many years. When I was asked to bring dessert (specifically pecan pie) for Thanksgiving, I planned to make my usual “Dear Abby” pecan pie. I couldn’t find my written recipe, so Googled pecan pie, yours was the first recipe I saw. I really liked that your recipe was “pecan packed” (2.5 cups vs. 1 cup for Abby’s) it made for a thicker filling. It was quick to assemble and I was impressed that it only took 50 minutes to bake. (I’d always had hit or miss results with the Dear Abby recipe, which has a much longer bake time and was very difficult to determine when it was done.
    Your recipe was a hit with my family, it now will be my “go to” pecan pie recipe!
    My family has already requested a repeat performance for Christmas. I also liked how the added cinnamon subtly enhanced the flavor. My grocery store was out of pecan halves, so I substituted a 1/2 cup of chopped honey roasted pecans, which also enhanced the flavor.
    Thanks Sally for sharing your delicious recipe, I’m so happy to have discovered it and look forward trying more of them!

  23. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone ♥️ I cooked this pecan pie and it is delicious. I used the 2 1/2 cups of pecans in my deep crust pie shell. I think it’s too much. Maybe just slightly under 2 cups. That many kind of over shadowed my filling. I will adjust my next pie and i will be using this recipe. That bit of cinnamon made it‼️♥️

  24. This was my first pecan pie and WOW! It has to be the best pecan pie I’ve ever had. Serving with vanilla ice cream is a must!

    I’ve made many of your recipes and have never been disappointed! Thank you so much for another delicious one!

  25. This was outstanding. All my husband asked for was a pecan pie this Thanksgiving and while I’ve made many over the years, this one is the hands down winner. It’s simple and classic. The dark corn syrup adds such depth and even with that and brown sugar, paired with a sugarless homemade crust it was the perfect sweetness level. Hubs was guarding it to prevent anyone taking seconds . Thank you!! Happy Thanksgiving!

  26. Totally five stars. Crust was awesome, and the pecan to filling ratio was about 50/50 which worked out prefect. The high level of nuts balanced out the sweetness of the filling for more enjoyable experience. Tasty but not overly sweet like the store bought pies.

    Big thank you to Sally for putting that extra sparkle in my family’s thanksgiving meal!

  27. Too many pecans! Awful

    1. Not sure how you can have too many pecans in a pecan pie… we made this one yesterday and it’s hands down the best I’ve ever had.

  28. Made this pie yesterday and it was a hit!!! All of my family loved it!!!

  29. Made this pie for Thanksgiving, everyone loved it!

  30. Sorry, but yes you can have too many pecans in a pecan pie. It’s my favorite type of pie, and I couldn’t finish a piece of this. It’s like tripling the chocolate chips in a cookie, puts everything out of balance. Obviously, there are commenters who like the extra nuts, but I cannot eat it this way.

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