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!)
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.
How Much Sugar is Best for Pecan Pie?
Most pecan pie recipes I’ve found call for two cups of sugar—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 to Tell When Pecan Pie is Done Baking?
This pie bakes for a little over an hour at 350°F. When done, the crust should be golden brown and 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.
Should Pecan Pie Be Served Warm or Room Temperature?
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 it in a 275°F oven for 10 minutes, but for the most part, pecan pie is served at room temp.
Does Pecan Pie Need to Be Refrigerated?
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, and 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.
Looking for more Thanksgiving pies?
- 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
Pecan Pie Recipe
- 1 9-inch pie shell, frozen (freeze for half an hour if freshly made; I recommend our easy, flaky, sour cream pie crust)
- 2 cups 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 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Mix pecan pie filling: Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl vigorously mix together the eggs, brown sugar, corn syrup, molasses, melted butter, vanilla, salt, until smooth. (No need for a mixer, you can beat by hand using a wooden spoon.)
2 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 use them to 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.)
3 Bake: 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.
4 Remove from 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.
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