We Tried Lady Bird Johnson’s Pecan Pie (Spoiler Alert: It’s Delicious!)

Did Lady Bird Johnson's pecan pie recipe help President Johnson get elected in 1964? Quite possibly, yes.

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Lady Bird Johnson, wife of President Lyndon B. Johnson, was known for her gracious and warm personality. She was also the first First Lady to actively campaign for her husband on her own when he ran for the office of president in 1964. Her whistle-stop campaign throughout the south was a huge success. According to biographers, Mrs. Johnson handed out her favorite recipe for pecan pie at every stop they made.

Lady Bird Johnson’s pecan pie recipe is attributed to Zephyr Wright, who cooked for the Johnson family both at their Texan home and later as their private family chef in the White House. You can find this recipe in Southern Living’s cookbook, No Taste Like Home: A Celebration of Regional Southern Cooking and Hometown Flavor.

Lady Bird Johnson’s Pecan Pie

Makes one 9-inch pie

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust shell (if frozen, thawed)
  • Unsweetened whipped cream for serving, if desired

Instructions

Step 1: Get Ready to Bake

Preheat the oven to 375º. Place the pie shell on a baking sheet and set aside.

Editor’s Tip: There’s no shame in your game if you want to use a premade pie shell! These are our favorite store-bought pie crusts.

Step 2: Make the Filling

Add the softened butter, sugar, corn syrup, salt and vanilla extract to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until thoroughly blended together. Add the eggs and stir on medium speed, until combined.

Editor’s Tip: In the market for a new electric mixer? Our Test Kitchen says this stand mixer is the best.

Step 2: Fold in the Pecans

Use a rubber spatula to fold in the pecans. Pour the filling into your pie shell.

Step 3: Bake!

Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the pie crust is golden brown and the pie filling is set when gently shaken.

Step 4: Let It cool

Remove the pie from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool completely (at least 5 hours). Serve with unsweetened whipped cream if desired.

The Verdict

This pie is not for the faint of heart—it is unapologetically rich, but truly tasty! If you love a sweet pie, this is the recipe for you. It tastes amazing on its own, but would also be delightful with a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream on top.

Looking for more foods favored by First Ladies? Try one of these FLOTUS-inspired recipes.

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Susan Bronson
Susan Bronson is a writer and editor based in Northern Wisconsin.