What's your favorite Thanksgiving pie? Mine is a toss up among apple, pumpkin, and this homemade pecan pie. In fact, I love them all so much I make one of each for our Thanksgiving Day feast. (It seems like everyone in our family has their favorite. And if I don't make them all, someone will run to the store to fill the gap!)
Video: How to Make Pecan Pie
Pecan Pie: A History
Pecans are native to North America. So, it is entirely fitting that a pecan pie would make an annual appearance at Thanksgiving along with our other native foodstuffs like turkey, pumpkin, and cranberries.
Pecan pie itself, though, is a more recent invention. While the first printed recipes for the pie started appearing in the late 1800s, the pecan pie classic as we know it became popular through the marketing efforts of Karo in the 1930s to help sell their corn syrup, a necessary ingredient in the pie.
Tips for Making the Best Pecan Pie Recipe
Most pecan pie recipes I've found call for two cups of sweetener—one cup of corn syrup plus one cup of either granulated or brown sugar. I find that just a bit too sweet for my taste. So, for this pecan pie recipe, I've dropped the sugar down by half a cup. Feel free to reduce further or add more to your taste.
The molasses, butter, and vanilla bring out the wonderful flavor of the pecans. Nuts go rancid with storage, so make sure you are using the freshest of pecans for this pie!
How Long to Bake Pecan Pie
This pie bakes for a little over an hour at 350°F. When done, the crust should be golden brown. The pie should be set around the edges, but still a bit wiggly (like Jell-O) in the middle. It will continue to firm up as it cools.
How to Serve Pecan Pie
Once baked, pecan pie should be cooled down completely to room temperature before serving, or the filling will be runny. Once the pie has come to room temperature and the filling is set, you can heat in a 275°F oven for 10 minutes if you want it warm. But for the most part, pecan pie is served at room temp.
How to Store Pecan Pie
Typically pies with egg-based fillings, such as this pecan pie, need to be refrigerated. That said, I often make pecan pie a day ahead, tent it lightly with aluminum foil, and leave it on the counter. I've never had an issue.
Leftover pie should be refrigerated, where it will easily keep for up to 3 to 4 days. If you'd like to store your pie for a longer period of time, I recommend freezing it.
How to Freeze Pecan Pie
Pecan pie freezes well. Bake it and let it cool completely on the counter. Wrap the pie in a double layer of sturdy plastic wrap, pressing out any air, then double wrap in foil, and freeze for up to a month.
To serve, thaw the frozen pie overnight in the refrigerator, before bringing it to room temperature. If you like, warm it in the oven for 10-15 minutes before serving.
The Best Crust for Pecan Pie
Here are some pie crust recipes you can use to make pecan pie:
Or you can use a storebought crust, if you're short on time.
Why Freeze Your Pie Crust Before Baking Pecan Pie
We recommend freezing your unbaked pie shell before adding the pecan pie filling. Why? Because the chilling hardens the fat in your dough. That keeps your pie crust from getting soggy and helps maintain its structure.
Troubleshooting Tips for Pecan Pie
- Be sure to use unsulphered molasses and not blackstrap molasses for the pie. Blackstrap molasses is bitter and can dominate this pie. Or just leave out the molasses altogether.
- For a non-doughy bottom crust, preheat a baking stone in your oven right on the rack where you'll bake the pie. Set the pie in its pan directly on the baking stone, which will retain heat for a more browned bottom crust.
- Use the freshest pecans you can, since aged nuts can go rancid.
- If your crust is browning too quickly, loosely tent the pie with foil.
- If your filling is not setting, the pie is still undercooked. Keep baking the pie (after you've shielded the crust) until the filling is gooey, not liquidy. The filling has to reach 200°F for it to set. Remember, it'll set more as it cools.
Swaps and Substitutions
- Out of molasses? You can substitute honey or maple syrup. Or just leave it out altogether.
- Use dark corn syrup instead of light.
- You can also replace the corn syrup with maple syrup, honey, agave, or golden syrup. However, you'll want to add a couple of tablespoons of flour to the filling to maintain that thicker texture.
More Thanksgiving Pie Recipes:
- Our All-Time Best Thanksgiving Pies from Simply Recipes
- Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie
- Apple Slab Pie
- Old Fashioned Apple Pie
- Sweet Potato Pie with Pecan Topping
The Best Pecan Pie
For this recipe, you'll make the pie dough, roll it out, place it in the pie tin, trim the edges, then freeze it. Freezing the crust helps keep it from slipping as the pie bakes. No need to pre-bake the pie crust before adding the filling.
I recommend our easy, flaky, sour cream pie crust.
1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust, frozen for at least 30 minutes (see recipe note)
2 cups (210g) pecans, coarsely chopped (save a few whole pecan halves to create a decoration on the surface of the pie, if you want)
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses (unsulphured)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350°F
Preheat the oven and position a rack in the center.
Mix the filling:
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl vigorously mix together the eggs, brown sugar, corn syrup, molasses, melted butter, vanilla, and salt, until smooth. (No need for a mixer, you can beat by hand using a wooden spoon.)
Fill the pie shell:
Spread the chopped pecans over the bottom of a frozen pie shell. Pour the filling over the pecans. Don't worry about burying the pecans, they will rise to the surface. (If you have reserved a few whole pecan halves, you can arrange them on the surface in a decorative pattern. Just dip them below the wet filling and let them rise again so they get coated with the filling.)
Bake the filled pie:
Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes tent the pie loosely with aluminum foil to prevent the crust and pecans from getting too browned. Bake for another 35 to 45 minutes until the filling has set. The pie should be a bit wiggly in the center.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely:
Note that the pie will be puffed up a bit when you first take it out of the oven. It will settle as it cools.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 38g||49%|
|Saturated Fat 9g||47%|
|Total Carbohydrate 72g||26%|
|Dietary Fiber 4g||14%|
|Total Sugars 49g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||1%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|