Easy Pecan Pie Recipe

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This easy pecan pie recipe can be baked with or without corn syrup using our simple substitutions. Whether you're planning to use a prepared refrigerated pie crust or a from-scratch homemade pie crust, this ooey-gooey pecan dessert will be right at home on your holiday table.

The homemade pecan pie is in a white pie dish on a blue background.

Of all the Thanksgiving desserts out there, a classic pecan pie is my all-time favorite.

I've been making this easy pecan pie recipe since the very first Thanksgiving I ever hosted and every year since.

But this traditional Thanksgiving dessert is just at home on a Christmas dessert table or any time you want a delicious Southern recipe for a party. (Hello, Kentucky Derby desserts!)

This is the perfect pecan pie recipe for both beginners and skilled bakers alike because you can use either a store bought pie crust or a totally from-scratch pie dough, whichever you prefer!

The rest of the filling is easy peasy and over the top delicious. You'll be ready to pop it into the oven in no time at all.

Why This is the Best Recipe

Homemade pies are always a crowd pleasing dessert but I think this is the best pecan pie recipe because:

  1. Perfect Texture: My method for prepping the pecans makes every bite crispy and fantastic.
  2. Tasty Flavor Mix-Ins: A splash of bourbon and classic vanilla make the pecan pie filling just perfect.
  3. Karo Pie Filling: When nothing but traditional Karo will do.
  4. No Corn Syrup: Not a fan of Karo? Don't miss my easy substitutions!
  5. Make Ahead and Freezer Friendly: You can easily prep this pie in advance or even freeze it for several months!

Ingredients

A store bought pie crust, sits next to the other basic pecan pie ingredients.

This is the perfect easy pecan pie recipe because the list of ingredients is so short and simple:

  • Pie Crust: You can use a refrigerated store bought pie crust or a homemade one, whichever you prefer.
  • Pecans: Buy whole pecan halves. You'll be breaking up half of the pecans needed but leaving the rest whole.
  • Butter
  • Brown Sugar
  • Light Corn Syrup: Like Karo syrup. If you prefer to not use corn syrup, see the substitution notes below.
  • Kosher Salt
  • Vanilla
  • Eggs
  • Bourbon: This is an optional ingredient but it adds so much flavor to the pie. If you don't normally drink bourbon, you can buy just a tiny sample bottle at the store that will have just enough for the recipe.

Pecan Pie without Corn Syrup

Traditional pecan pie is made with Karo corn syrup but if you prefer not to bake with this ingredient, there are simple substitutions you may enjoy:

Maple Syrup: In a 1:1 ratio, replace the corn syrup with real maple syrup, not "maple-flavored" syrups.

Golden Syrup: In a 1:1 ratio, replace the corn syrup with golden syrup. You can find this ingredient in the International foods aisle of some grocery stores or you can order it online here.

Golden syrup is a very handy ingredient you can use to make a homemade treacle tart and it is a fantastic item to use to make my homemade gingerbread house.

How to Prep the Pecans

To give your pecan pie a pretty top and delicious texture to each bite, it is important to use a combination of whole pecan halves and chopped pecans.

I always buy a large bag of pecan halves at Costco and then chop what I need for recipes.

A trick I learned from my mom is to actually break the pecans by hand rather than use a chef knife to chop them.

A mixing bowl has chopped pecans and a measuring cup has whole pecan halves.

This is a superior method to classic chopping because you get a fraction of the mess. Have you ever chopped pecans? They create a fine pecan dust on the chopping board and it is hard to get uniform sized pieces with the knife.

I simply twist and snap the pecans into quarters with my fingers. Breaking up the pecans by hand only takes a few minutes longer and is far less messy.

It's a great job to hand off to your kid helpers in the kitchen!

Prep the Pie Crust

While some pecan pie recipes require blind baking the pie crust, that is not the case for this easier version.

Simply unroll the prepared pie crust dough and lay it gently in a 9-inch pie dish.

Crimp the edges of the pie to look pretty.

Then use a fork to prick the bottom of the crust. This helps to avoid it puffing up as it bakes.

Place the crust in the freezer while you prep the pecan pie filling.

Check out all my best tips for working with a store bought pie crust here.

Cook the Karo Syrup

In a large saucepan, add the butter, brown sugar, salt, and corn syrup or corn syrup alternative.

Place the pan over medium heat and stir the ingredients together.

Once the butter has completely melted and you can evenly combine all the ingredients, raise the heat to medium-high.

The Karo syrup is in a saucepan with butter, brown sugar, and salt.

Bring the sauce to a bubble.

Set the timer and let it boil for just one minute before you remove it from the heat.

Be sure to stir the sauce the entire time it is cooking so it doesn't burn on the bottom.

The brown sugar and Karo syrup are bubbling and a white spatula is stirring the mixture.

Flavor the Pecan Pie Filling

Once you pull the sauce from the heat, add the prepared pecans along with the bourbon and vanilla.

Stir it all together and let it cool slightly for 5 minutes.

The pecans, bourbon, and vanilla have been added to the saucepan.

Temper the Eggs

Break the eggs into a small bowl and beat them with a fork until smooth yellow.

If you dump the eggs into that hot pecan pie filling, they'll immediately scramble.

Instead, take a spoonful of the hot syrup and drizzle it into the eggs while constantly whisking them. This will help bring them up to temperature so they don't scramble.

The mixing bowl has 3 eggs that have been whisked together by a fork.

Whisk the tempered eggs into the saucepan filling.

The eggs have been whisked into the pecan pie filling.

Baking Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place the prepared pie crust plate on a baking sheet. Pour the pecan pie filling into the crust.

Bake the pecan pie for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Check the pie crust after 20 minutes. If it is browning too quickly, you can cover it loosely with aluminum foil strips.

The pie is finished when:

  1. The Crust is Golden Brown
  2. The Pie has Puffed Up Slightly (see photo below)
  3. The Filling just Barely Jiggles When You Pull the Baking Sheet
The pie has been baked on a roasting sheet.

Make Ahead and Storage Tips

Pecan pie is an excellent make ahead dessert for a holiday feast like Thanksgiving or Christmas.

It can be baked the day before and stored at room temperature overnight.

If you prefer, you can also store it in the refrigerator. Let it come to room temperature before serving.

How to Freeze a Baked Pecan Pie

If you really want to bake the pecan pie farther in advance, I recommend freezing it.

  1. Let the baked pie cool completely.
  2. Wrap the pie in plastic wrap.
  3. Wrap the pie again in aluminum foil.
  4. Freeze for up to 3 months.

To defrost the frozen pie:

  1. Let the pie defrost in the fridge overnight.
  2. Unwrap the pie and let it sit on the counter to come to room temperature for 1 hour before serving.
The finished pie has been baked and has a golden brown crust.

Variations

I love this classic version of pecan pie the very most, but if you felt in the mood to play around with it you could make these easy variations:

Chocolate Pecan Pie: Sprinkle chocolate chips on the bottom of the pie crust before adding the pecan pie filling. Bake as directed.

Pecan Pie with Rum: Use your favorite rum instead of the bourbon. Bake as directed.

Orange Pecan Pie: Add the zest from one large navel orange to the pecan pie filling along with the eggs at the end. Bake as directed.

Dolly Parton's Walnut Pie: Not a fan of pecans? You could try the amazing Dolly Parton walnut pie instead.

Serving Suggestions

A slice of pecan pie has a dollop of Cool Whip on top.

When I enjoy my slice of pecan pie at Thanksgiving, all I need is a huge dollop of Cool Whip. It's been my favorite way to serve pecan pie since I was a kid.

However, if you're looking to dress things up a little more, you could serve this basic pecan pie:

Pecan Pie a La Mode: Warm the pie in the oven for 10 minutes. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream over the top. You could add a drizzle of hot fudge or salted caramel sauce.

Pecan Pie with Homemade Whipped Cream: If you're being fancy, take a few minutes to make homemade whipped cream. Grate a little fresh orange zest or a sprinkle of cinnamon over the top for color.

More Easy Pie Recipes

Looking to add more easy pie recipes to your rotation? Don't miss these favorites:

More Holiday Recipes

Pecan pie makes an excellent Thanksgiving dessert or Christmas dessert. Here are a few more holiday ideas to help you with your meal planning:

📖 Recipe

The homemade pecan pie is in a white pie dish on a blue background.

Easy Pecan Pie Recipe

5 from 6 votes
This easy pecan pie recipe can be made with or without corn syrup if you use the simple substitutions. A splash of bourbon adds depth of flavor but could also be omitted if you desire. This classic holiday pie is filled with salty crunch and an ooey-gooey filling everyone will love.
TOTAL TIME 1 hour 15 minutes
PREP TIME 15 minutes
COOK TIME 1 hour
YIELD 8 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pie crust homemade or prepared refrigerated crust
  • 2 cups pecans
  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup See Notes
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp bourbon optional
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 eggs

Instructions

  • Roll out the pie crust and place it into a 9-inch pie plate. Crimp the edges as desired. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork. Place the pie plate in the freezer to chill for 15 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Break up just 1 cup of the pecans and leave the other cup whole. It is easiest to break the nuts up by hand, snapping them quickly into quarters.
  • Place the butter, brown sugar, your syrup of choice, and the kosher salt into a large sauce pan. Melt the mixture down over medium heat until you can easily stir everything together. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the butter and sugar to a boil while stirring constantly. Boil for just 1 minute and then remove from the heat.
  • Add both the broken and whole pecans, bourbon, and vanilla to the sauce pan. Stir to combine. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes to cool slightly.
  • Beat the eggs in a small bowl. While whisking with one hand, ladle a spoonful of the warm pecan mixture into the eggs with your other hand. This will help bring the eggs up to the right temperature so they don't scramble in the pie. Pour the egg mixture into the sauce pan and whisk it all together.
  • Remove the prepared pie crust from the freezer and place it on a baking sheet. Pour the prepared pecan filling into the pie crust and smooth it out as needed.
  • Bake the pecan pie for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Check the edges of the pie crust after 20 minutes. If they are browning too quickly, you can loosely cover them with aluminum foil strips.
  • How to Know the Pie is Done: The filling should look puffed up and jiggle only slightly when you pull at the baking sheet.
  • Serve the pecan pie at room temperature with whipped cream or whipped topping. It is also delicious topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a drizzle of salted caramel sauce over the top.

Recipe Notes

How to Make a Pecan Pie without Corn Syrup

Traditional pecan pie is made with Karo corn syrup but if you prefer not to bake with this ingredient, there are simple substitutions you may enjoy:
Maple Syrup: In a 1:1 ratio, replace the corn syrup with real maple syrup, not "maple-flavored" syrups.
Golden Syrup: In a 1:1 ratio, replace the corn syrup with golden syrup. You can find this ingredient in the International foods aisle of some grocery stores or you can order it online here.
COURSEDessert
CUISINEAmerican

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The photo collage shows the finished pecan pie on the top and a slice of the pie with Cool Whip on the bottom.

4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I decided I should give this a test drive and I'm so glad I did - this is a delightful pie! Now I'm all set for the holidays!

  2. 5 stars
    As someone who loves to bake but doesn't always have the time or energy for complicated recipes, this pecan pie was the perfect solution. The recipe was easy to follow, and the results were absolutely delicious.

  3. 5 stars
    I made this pie with my favourite gluten-free crust, and it was incredibly easy, as the recipe promised!! I am a convert to this recipe and will make it again in the fall.

  4. 5 stars
    This is my dads favorite dessert, so I had to make your easy pecan pie for him. He devoured the whole homemade pie and asked me to make it again. Thank you for such a great dessert recipe. This pie is going to be on our Thanksgiving table this year!!

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