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Ooey-gooey, crunchy, sticky and sweet, classic Southern Pecan Pie is one of my all-time favorite desserts! Perfect for Thanksgiving, BBQ's, Pi Day, or any day in between!
This recipe was originally published in March 2017, and has been updated for content.
Southern pecan pie is near and dear to my heart. It's one of my dad's favorites (along with apple and strawberry rhubarb) and every time I make it he and I are the ones in our family who cannot resist the lure of the buttery, caramel, toffee-like filling that is packed with whole (or chopped, if you prefer) pecan pieces in the most incredible flaky, homemade pie crust.
You do not have to be Southern to appreciate the glory of a slice of pecan pie. But it's celebrated across the South from Texas to Georgia to Alabama, so I for sure had to include it in my American Eats series, where I'm sharing some of the most beloved dishes for each state in the U.S.A.
Why This Recipe Works
- My pecan pie has just the right amount of sweetness so that it doesn't become so sweet that you lose the actual hero of the pie, which is the pecan flavor.
- This is an old-fashioned pecan pie recipe with a homemade filling that takes just 5 minutes to whip up!
- The combination of sweet & salty is dessert perfection, especially if you pair it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
- This is just a good, old-fashioned pecan pie recipe like your grandma would make every Thanksgiving!
And oh heavens, the way this pie makes your kitchen smell is just amazing. All the pecans and butter and sugar baking together create the most unbelievable aroma you can imagine and your whole house will smell so good! It's why I have a super hard time waiting for the pie to cool completely before cutting into it.
I don't care whether you pronounce it peh-cahn or pee-can, either way this pie is delicious and definitely a worthy offering for your Pi Day party or Thanksgiving table. And being a traditionally Southern dish, it is the perfect thing to serve with BBQ.
- Corn syrup: You can use light or dark corn syrup for this recipe, but I almost always use light because it has a milder flavor to let the pecans really shine, and because that's what I typically have on hand anyway.
- Pie crust: I have nothing against taking shortcuts when life gets busy so if you want to use a storebought pie crust, you go right ahead. But when you are ready to learn to make a homemade pie crust, come back here because I have the BEST pie crust recipe for you and it's easier than you might think to make one from scratch! It makes two crusts so you can freeze one or use it for your pumpkin pie, and I even have a video tutorial to show you how to make it!
- Pecans: I have made this pie with chopped pecans, whole pecans, and a combination of both. Whole pecans are my personal preference because it's just so easy!
How to Make a Pecan Pie
Roll out a pie crust and carefully transfer it to a 9-inch pie plate that is 2 inches deep. Crimp the edges, then fill with whole or roughly chopped pecan halves.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt until smooth.
Pour the filling over the pecans in the pie crust. The pecans will rise to the top while the pie bakes so they are coated in the gooey, caramel-like, almost custard-ish filling.
Bake for 60-70 minutes in a 350 degree F oven until the pie is done. It should be set completely around the edges and slightly jiggly in the center but not burned on top. If you check on the pie and notice it is getting too dark, try decreasing your oven temperature by 25 degrees F (some ovens cook on the hot side!) and/or covering the edges with a pie shield or aluminum foil.
Let the pie cool completely before slicing and serving.
Yes, this pie freezes really well so you can make it up to 2-3 months in advance! Just wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze, then thaw overnight in the fridge or on the counter and pop it in a 300 degree F oven for 10 minutes to serve it warm!
Yes, if you don't want to use corn syrup, maple syrup will work as a replacement, although you will want to add a tablespoon of cornstarch or flour to make sure the filling thickens properly.
While pecan pie filling is on the gooey side, it's shouldn't be liquid. If so, the pie either didn't bake long enough, or (most common in my experience) it still needs more time to cool completely and set up. Every time I get impatient to slice into my pie (because I love eating it warm!) it's usually still a little loose instead of totally set up like it should be. It's still delicious, either way though!
- You might want to use a pie shield or wrap a piece of aluminum foil around the edges of the pie crust to prevent them from browning too quickly before the pie is done baking. Check it when there are still 20 minutes to go to see if you need to add one.
- This pie is fantastic warm, cold, or room temperature. We like it best with ice cream, but whipped cream would also be delicious!
- If you ever have troubles with your filling leaking, try brushing the inside of the pie crust with egg wash first before filling it. This seals it and can help prevent leaking.
- Here's how to tell if your pie has baked long enough: Give it a little jiggle. The pie should be set around the edges, but the very center might have a slight wobble to it still. Easy-peasy!
More of Our Favorite Pie Recipes
- Old-Fashioned Banana Cream Pie
- Homemade Blackberry Pie
- Best Homemade Cherry Pie Recipe
- Easy Coconut Cream Pie
- Chocolate Cream Pie
Classic Southern Pecan Pie
- 2 ½ cups pecans
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 cup corn syrup
- 3 eggs beaten
- ¼ cup butter melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Prepare pie crust. Roll it out and line a pie dish with it.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, salt, cinnamon and butter.
- Pour chopped pecans into the unbaked pie crust. Pour the egg mixture over the chopped pecans, which will rise to the surface. Gently lay the whole pecans around the top of the pie in a decorative pattern (or chop them all up and do the whole pie with chopped pecans if you don't want to bother with making it look fancy.
- Bake the pie for 60-70 minutes until set. It's okay if it is slightly wobbly in the center still. Cool completely for at least 3 hours before slicing so the pie has time to set up.
- Make-ahead & storage: Leftovers can be kept covered, in the fridge, for 2-3 days. Honestly, this pie tastes every bit as good the second day as it does the first!
- Freezing: This pie freezes well for up to 2-3 months. Let it cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap and store in the freezer. Thaw the pie in the fridge overnight or on the counter until the pie is room temperature. Or place the thawed pie in a 300 degree F oven for 10 minutes before slicing to serve warm.
- Pie crust: The recipe for the pie crust actually makes 2 crusts. You can freeze the second crust for later or use it to make another pie.
More States I Have Visited in my American Eats Series
Alabama • Alaska • Arizona • Arkansas • California • Colorado • Connecticut • Delaware • Florida • Georgia • Hawaii • Idaho • Illinois • Indiana • Iowa • Kansas • Kentucky • Louisiana • Maine • Maryland • Massachusetts • Montana • New York • Oregon • Puerto Rico • South Carolina • South Dakota • Texas • Utah • Wisconsin