Every Thanksgiving gathering features that one tried-and-true pecan pie recipe. It makes an outstanding pie, one with a gooey, caramel-y filling and topped with butter-toasted pecans. This pecan pie recipe is that pie. It’s the go-to recipe when you want to make a good first impression or a long-standing tradition, since everyone knows you make the best pecan pie.
Pecan Pie Ingredients
- Single-crust pie: A store-bought crust and a homemade classic butter pie crust are both great options.
- Butter: Butter coats the pecans for tasting and adds richness to the base of the pecan pie filling.
- Pecans: Pecans are the star of the show with their deeply toasted, nutty flavor and crunchy texture.
- Brown sugar: Brown sugar sweetens the pie filling and creates a deep, caramel-y flavor.
- Maple syrup: We use maple syrup instead of corn syrup in this pecan pie recipe. Maple syrup is less sweet but also adds more flavor to the pie—flavor that really complements the pecans and butter. You can use corn syrup as a substitute for the maple syrup if you wish.
- Eggs: Eggs hold the pie filling together and add a custardy richness for the best pecan pie taste.
Step 1: Prepare the pie crust
Preheat the oven to 350°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pie crust dough to a 1/8-inch-thick circle. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate. Trim the crust to 1/2 inch beyond the rim of the plate. Flute the edge. Refrigerate the dough while preparing the filling.
Editor’s Tip: If you want to get fancy with your fluting, learn how to make decorative pie crusts.
Step 2: Toast the nuts
In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the pecans. Cook, stirring constantly, until very fragrant and the pecans have start to brown, four to five minutes. Remove the pecans with a slotted spoon, reserving the butter in the pan.
Step 3: Create the filling
Stir the brown sugar, maple syrup and salt into the reserved butter in pan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer for two minutes. Remove the saucepan from heat. In a bowl, whisk a small amount of the hot mixture into the eggs.
Step 4: Assemble the pie
Return the mixture to the pan, whisking constantly. Stir in the whiskey, if desired, and vanilla. Stir in the pecans. Pour the filling into the crust.
Step 5: Bake the pie
Bake the pie until a knife or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Cover the pie crust edge with aluminum foil during the last 30 minutes to prevent overbrowning if necessary. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack. If desired, top with whipped cream and cinnamon. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Editor’s Tip: Set the pie on a baking sheet in the oven to catch anything that may boil over.
Pecan Pie Variations
- Sprinkle in chocolate chips: A handful of chocolate chips added in with the pecans is out-of-this-world delicious.
- Use shredded coconut: Ever heard of adding sweetened shredded coconut to a pecan pie? We do it in our bourbon-kissed pecan pie, and the coconut adds a sweet, bright and tropical flavor.
- Mix in hazelnuts: Omit some of the pecans for nutty, buttery hazelnuts. Our hazelnut pecan pie is a knockout with the two different nuts.
- Add a pumpkin twist: How many times have you stood at the dessert table at Thanksgiving deciding between a piece of pumpkin pie or pecan pie? Our praline pumpkin pecan pie solves that problem.
Does pecan pie need to be refrigerated?
Yes, pecan pie must be refrigerated, per the USDA. Pecan pie can be left at room temperature for serving for up to two hours. After that, it’s best to put the pie in the fridge. Pecan pie’s filling is egg-based, and if the pie is left out too long, bacteria can grow rapidly.
“I always keep my pies refrigerated,” says James Schend, deputy editor at Taste of Home. “I prefer my pecan pie cold!”
How to Store Pecan Pie
To store, allow the pecan pie to cool completely to room temperature. Cover with a few layers of storage wrap to keep the pie fresh, and store in the fridge for up to four days.
Can I freeze pecan pie?
Yes, you can freeze pecan pie, meaning you can make this pie ahead of time so there’s one less dessert to bake on Thanksgiving Day. Bake your pie, and let it cool completely to room temperature on a wire rack. Once cooled, wrap the pie tightly in storage wrap—two layers is best. Then, pop the pie in the freezer for up to one month. When you’re ready to enjoy the pie, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight, or gently heat it in a 300º oven until heated through, about 20 minutes.
Pecan pie fillings have a pretty low moisture level and stand up well in the freezer, meaning your pie won’t even turn soggy when you thaw it out. A Thanksgiving miracle.
Pecan Pie Recipe Tips
Should you toast pecans for pecan pie?
Yes, you should toast the pecans for creating the best pecan pie. Learning how to toast nuts is a great skillset in the kitchen and adds major flavor and texture to a pecan pie. In this recipe, the nuts are toasted in butter to give them an even richer flavor. Be sure to keep an eye on them, though; burnt pecans will ruin your pie.
Do you need to blind bake the crust?
No, you don’t need to blind bake the pie crust for this recipe. The pecan pie spends nearly an hour in the oven, giving it plenty of time to turn golden brown. And if you notice the edges of the crust browning too quickly, make an easy pie crust shield.
How do you temper the eggs in this pecan pie recipe?
To temper eggs in this pecan pie recipe, use a ladle or measuring cup, and add a touch of the hot pie filling liquid to the eggs, whisking quickly (this is called tempering). Then, add that mixture back into your mixing bowl. Be sure to keep whisking, whisking, whisking! Now that you’ve learned how to temper eggs, you’ll avoid scrambling the eggs by adding them too quickly to the hot mixture. It’s an important step for making the best pecan pie.
How can you tell when pecan pie is done?
Just like one of the most used cake doneness tests, you can tell pecan pie is done with a simple toothpick test. When your pecan pie is approaching the end of its baking time, insert a toothpick into the center of the pie. If it comes away clean, the pie is baked. If the toothpick is still gooey, let the pie bake a few more minutes.