It doesn’t matter if you’re making a classic pecan pie, finger-friendly pecan pie bars or a bourbon pecan pie. The sweet, gooey and nutty pie is simply a southern staple. It’s a given during the holiday season, but in truth, you can enjoy pecan pie any time of year.
Bourbon pecan pie adds a twist on the original pie: you guessed it, bourbon. A good-quality bourbon boasts notes of vanilla, spice and caramel thanks to the aging process in barrels. When it’s baked, the alcohol in bourbon cooks out, leaving those delicious flavors behind. The sharp spice of bourbon’s flavor profile helps balance the intense sweetness of the pie’s filling.
You can easily make this bourbon pecan pie ahead of time, which is especially useful if you’re planning on hosting. Either bake it off a day or two in advance, or store it in the freezer until you’re ready to serve.
Ingredients for Bourbon Pecan Pie
- Pecans: Use pecan halves for this pie. They look pretty, and they give more pecan flavor in every bite. Here’s how to toast nuts if you’d like to give it a go at home.
- Corn syrup: Corn syrup is typically needed for sticky sweet desserts like bourbon pecan pie. Use a light corn syrup for this recipe.
- Butter: Use unsalted butter for this recipe. Since you’re melting it, it doesn’t have to be at room temperature or soft. Here are our Test Kitchen’s picks for best butter brands.
- Bourbon: You won’t get drunk off of bourbon pecan pie. Still, choose a label of bourbon that you wouldn’t mind drinking (i.e., a good-quality, mid-priced bourbon). You’ll have plenty left for bourbon cocktails and other bourbon-spiked recipes.
- Vanilla: A good-quality vanilla extract makes all the difference in baking. Here are our Test Kitchen’s picks for best vanilla extract.
- Salt: It’s amazing what a big impact a little salt can make in desserts. You don’t need much, but you do need it to enhance and balance the other flavors. Table salt is one of the best types of salt for baking.
- Pie crust: Go ahead and use a store-bought crust for this pecan pie. Just make sure you use a frozen crust because you’re putting a warm filling inside of it (and you don’t want the filling to melt the crust before you bake it!). If you want to make your own, here’s our recipe for a classic butter pie pastry, plus tips on how to make pie crust. Just make sure to freeze the crust for about 20 minutes before using it.
Step 1: Melt the sugars
Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a large saucepan, combine the butter, sugar and corn syrup. Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Let the mixture cool slightly.
Step 2: Make the filling
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, bourbon, vanilla and salt. Slowly whisk in the sugar mixture.
Stir in the pecans, and pour the mixture into the pie crust.
Step 3: Bake the pie
Place the pie on a baking sheet to catch any drips. Bake the pie until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Let the pie cool on a wire rack.
Editor’s Tip: It’s important to let the pie cool for a few hours before serving so the filling sets up right. You don’t want it to ooze all over the place.
Pecan Pie Variations
- Swap in brown sugar: Try replacing half the sugar with dark or light brown sugar. What’s the difference between light and dark brown sugar? Molasses. The additional molasses in brown sugar adds a nice caramel flavor to anything; the darker the sugar, the more flavor.
- Change the nuts: Pecans perfectly pair with bourbon, but almonds and hazelnuts would also work nicely in this pie.
- Add chocolate: Make it a bourbon chocolate pecan pie by tossing some bittersweet chocolate chips into the pie crust before adding the filling. Or mix the chocolate into the filling. Or top the pie with chocolate chips before baking. You’ve got options!
- Make mini pecan tarts: Follow the instructions for these pecan tarts to make mini versions of bourbon pecan pie.
- Make a vegan pecan pie: Bourbon pecan pie isn’t vegan, but you can easily make a vegan pecan pie for the plant-based crowd.
Can you make bourbon pecan pie ahead of time?
Yes, you can make bourbon pecan pie ahead of time. After the pie has cooled, cover it loosely. Store it at room temperature for up to three days or in the refrigerator for four days.
Can you freeze bourbon pecan pie?
Yes, you can freeze pecan pie. After it’s cooled, wrap it tightly, and store in the freezer for up to two months. Thaw the pie in the refrigerator overnight, then let it come to room temperature before serving.
Bourbon Pecan Pie Tips
What is the best bourbon for pecan pie?
The best bourbon for pecan pie is one you’d actually drink. Some lower-end bourbons taste more medicinal, and higher-end bourbons are too nice to cook with. Go with a solid mid-range bourbon like Maker’s Mark, Bulleit, Woodford Reserve or Buffalo Trace.
What should you serve with bourbon pecan pie?
You should absolutely serve whipped cream or ice cream with pecan pie. Here’s how to make whipped cream from scratch. For ice cream, go with a classic vanilla flavor, or up the ante a bit with something like salted caramel, cinnamon swirl or chocolate chunk.