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perfectly baked golden brown pecan pie on a metal sheet tray

The Very Best Southern Pecan Pie (Made for the Oscars)

Simple and classic with a homemade flaky crust and toasty nutty sweet pecan filling, this is the best pecan pie recipe ever! Make it for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any time of year (like our family). This pecan pie is buttery, caramelly, nutty, and balanced with a hint of salt to even out the sweetness of the sugar and syrup.

Plus, this is a no-corn syrup pecan pie recipe for anyone looking for an alternative to using Karo Corn Syrup (but the Karo measurements are exactly the same, so you can use them interchangeably like I do because it also makes an excellent-tasting pecan pie! Plus, you can bake this pie in advance and freeze it so it’s one less dessert to bake during the holiday rush.

How to Make a No-Corn Syrup Pecan Pie

I often use Lyle’s Golden Syrup to make pecan pie especially when I’m in Italy and Karo isn’t available. It’s a great alternative to using corn syrup especially if you have a corn allergy or just don’t like the idea of using corn syrup. Lyle’s tastes great and the consistency is viscous and perfect for making pecan pie.

Simply substitute 1 cup of Lyle’s Golden syrup for 1 cup of Karo corn syrup called for in the recipe and vice versa. With this simple pecan pie recipe, it’s your choice — use either use Lyle’s Golden Syrup or Karo Syrup!

Why We Love This Pecan Pie Recipe

  • It’s caramelly, buttery, and crunchy from the toasted pecans
  • It takes just minutes to prepare (and even less time if you use a store-bought pie crust)
  • There are only 8 ingredients in this delicious pecan pie
  • Meryl Streep ate this pecan pie♡
  • It uses more pecans than most recipes
  • It uses a bit less sugar than most pecan pie recipes
  • It’s an easy recipe for pie recipe for kids to make
  • Everything including the pie filling is made from scratch
  • It freezes really well making it a perfect pie to bake ahead and freeze for the holidays

Why Is This Pecan Pie Recipe Special?

Well, while the recipe (besides being delicious) may not really be special, this pie was served to Meryl Streep and a whole bunch of other Hollywood creatives. I’ll be forever grateful to have been asked to cater desserts (including this southern pecan pie) and a handful of savory dishes for the AMPAS Foreign Language Film Oscar Nominee Selection for the 85th Annual Academy Awards.

This annual 3-day event takes place each year at The Lighthouse Theater in NYC where a group of esteemed industry leaders (actors, music editors, producers, directors, etc.) comes together to select the nominees for Best Foreign Film for the Oscars. 

For this event, I worked alongside two very talented female chefs (way more talented than myself) and besides the general good times that we had while catering that weekend, meeting Meryl Streep was the highlight — especially when she asked me if I had made this “pee-can pie” before commenting on how light the chocolate-caramel cheesecake was the day before (when she thought it was going to be heavy).

 

How to Make Sure Pecan Pie Filling is Set and Not Runny

Why is my pecan pie filling runny? One of the biggest problems bakers have when making pecan pie is ending up with a runny filling that’s not set. If you’ve ever had a runny or not quite set pecan pie there can be a few reasons for this, but they’re easy to fix.

Maybe your eggs were too small? Perhaps you didn’t bake the pie long enough? You may have substituted Karo syrup for a less viscous syrup like maple syrup or rice syrup? Below are some helpful tips to ensure your pecan pie always sets perfectly every time. I’ve outlined below all the ways to troubleshoot homemade pecan pie so it sets every time:

If you’re concerned about your pecan pie not setting correctly, add 1 tablespoon of flour to the filling to help it set. It won’t taste any different, but it will help thicken the pie filling a bit and helps you avoid a runny filling.

Make sure you bake pecan pie long enough. This pecan pie bakes for just about 1 hour at 350°F/176°C and sometimes a little longer depending on different oven models and how deep or shallow your pie plate is. When pecan pie is done, the crust will be flaky and golden brown and the edges of the pie near the crust should be set (firm to the touch). The middle center of the pie should spring back if you press it lightly with your finger. It should not feel like flowing lava beneath the surface. Pecan pie will continue to firm up as it cools, but it needs to be fully set first or it will be runny forever.

When pecan pie is fully baked it should register 200°F/93°C on a thermometer when inserted into the middle. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can remove the pie from the oven and insert a paring knife into the center of the pie and it should come out clean. If it’s oozing filling it means it’s not quite set and should be baked a little longer.

Tent the pecan pie loosely with aluminum foil after about 30 minutes of baking. This will help you make sure the crust and top of the pie don’t get too brown before the filling is set. You may always remove the foil a few minutes before the pie has finished baking to allow it to become a little more golden brown if it needs it.

 

 

Classic Southern Pecan Pie Ingredients

This pecan pie recipe is buttery, caramelly, nutty, and balanced because it uses a hint of salt to even out the sweetness of the sugar and syrup pecan filling. I use a little less sugar, a little more butter, lots of extra pecans, and a very flaky, buttery homemade pie crust. But a ready-made pie crust will make this a prep for this pie 10 minutes if you’re short on time.

  • one prepared single pie crust (sub store-bought crust)
  • Karo brand syrup (sub Lyle’s Golden Syrup)
  • raw, unsalted pecans
  • sugar
  • unsalted butter
  • pure vanilla extract
  • large eggs
  • salt
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (optional to help set the pie)

How to Make the Best Southern Pecan Pie From Scratch

No holiday is complete in our house without this pecan pie recipe, plus an apple pie (or two), a cherry pie, and always a pumpkin pie too.  And out of all these holiday pies, pecan pie is the easiest one to make.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/176°C. 
  2. Prepare the pie crust. Prepare the pie dough according to the directions. When it’s rested and chilled, roll it out and place it into the pie plate tucking the edges under or decorating the crust as you wish. Place it into the freezer for 30 minutes.
  3. Make the filling. In a medium bowl, add all of the ingredients except pecans and whisk vigorously to combine until smooth. Add the chopped pecans and stir them in just until combined. Pour the pecan filling into the prepared pie plate and decorate it with larger pecan halves if desired.
  4. Bake the pie. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 55 to 70 minutes (depending on your oven). Tent it with aluminum foil if you notice it starts browning too much before the middle is set. When the pie is ready it will be slightly puffy with the edges set and the middle will spring back if you press on it. See recipe notes for more tips on how to make sure the pie sets correctly. Remove the pie to a wire rack to cool completely before serving. Cover and refrigerate the leftover pie for 3 to 4 days, and Enjoy!

Southern Pecan Pie step-by-step recipe photos

How to Serve Pecan Pie

Pecan pie should be completely cooled to room temperature after it bakes or the filling will be runny. And it always tastes even better a day or two after it’s been baked. If you prefer a warm pecan pie, you can reheat it for 7 to 10 minutes in a preheated 275°/135°C.

Growing up, we ate it at room temperature or even chilled which allows you to fully taste all the nuanced flavors. If you eat pecan pie before it’s cooled to room temperature, you won’t taste everything it has to offer.  Serve it with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream which also tastes great.

How to Store Pecan Pie 

Store pecan pie covered with aluminum foil at room temperature for one day if desired, or pop it into the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Although I refrigerate most custard-like recipes that include eggs like this pie (for safety reasons), I’ve never had an issue with this pecan pie after leaving it out overnight or even for a couple of days (in a cool environment). This is how we ate it growing up if it even lasted that long. In fact, to me, this is a pie that tastes even better on the second or third day.

Freeze any leftover pecan pie wrapped in parchment paper or wax paper, then wrapped in sustainable plastic wrap, and then store in a sealed container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, or on the countertop until ready to eat.

Looking For More Easy Pie Recipes or Pecan Desserts? 

Here a few of our favorite easy pie recipes that we think you might also enjoy.

A Quick History of Pecan Pie & Growing Up With Pecan Trees

Pecans are native to North America and specifically the South where I’m from. Native Americans cultivated these nuts long before anyone else arrived and even made nut milk out of them. It wasn’t until the 1930s that this pie as we know and love it today became popular due to the clever (and very successful!) marketing efforts of the Karo company to sell more corn syrup.

In the south, pecan pies are baked and eaten all year round, not just for the holidays. But with pecans being harvested in the fall starting from September through November, it’s fitting that these pies show up on just about every Thanksgiving and Christmas table for the holidays.

My Granny has a pecan tree in her yard and there were countless trees in the surrounding area that we used to gather them from. We always had fresh pecans for pies, cheesecakes, and desserts growing up. When I left Arkansas for NYC, my Mom used to hand-shell pecans and ship them to me every year. That’s love♡.

 

Let’s get started!

 

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perfectly baked golden brown pecan pie on a metal sheet tray

The Very Best Southern Pecan Pie


  • Author: Kelly
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: One 9-Inch Pecan Pie 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Lyle’s Golden Syrup can replace corn syrup in this deliciously simple pecan pie recipe! This classic Southern pecan pie is topped with generous amounts of pecans, in a custardy, caramel, sweet, rich, and buttery pecan filling that’s perfectly balanced with a bit of salt all nestled into a super buttery flaky homemade pie crust. This recipe makes a perfect homemade pecan pie. Fun fact: Meryl Streep has even eaten this pecan pie!


Ingredients

Scale
  • one prepared single pie crust (sub store-bought crust)
  • 8 ounces Lyle’s Golden Syrup (325g) (sub Karo dark corn syrup)
  • 2 cups raw, unsalted pecans (250g)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (160g)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (45g)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (6g)
  • 3 large eggs (150g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (2g)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (optional to help set the pie)


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/176°C. 
  2. Prepare the pie crust. Prepare the pie dough according to the directions. When it’s rested and chilled, roll it out and place it into the pie plate tucking the edges under or decorating the crust as you wish. Place it into the freezer for 30 minutes.
  3. Make the filling. In a medium bowl, add all of the ingredients except pecans and whisk vigorously to combine until smooth. Add the chopped pecans and stir them in just until combined. Pour the pecan filling into the prepared pie plate and decorate it with larger pecan halves if desired.
  4. Bake the pie. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 55 to 70 minutes (depending on your oven). Tent it with aluminum foil after just about 30 minutes of baking which will help keep the pie from browning too much before the filling is set and the pie is set. When the pie is ready it will be slightly puffy in the center with the edges firm and set and the middle will spring back if you lightly press on it. See recipe notes for more tips on how to make sure the pie sets perfectly. Remove the pie to a wire rack to cool completely before serving. Cover and refrigerate the leftover pie for up to 5 days, and Enjoy!

Notes

  • I like to make pecan pie the day before it’s being served because I think it has the best flavor at this point. No matter when you serve it, make sure it’s completely cooled to room temperature so you can really taste everything and it has time to fully set.
  • Prepare a DIY pie crust protector out of aluminum foil before you start baking. This helps in case you see the crust browning too quickly before the filling is fully cooked through. I usually add the aluminum foil after about 30 to 35 minutes of baking. This helps avoid a crust that gets too dark.

How Long to Bake Pecan Pie 

Pecan pie bakes for 60 to 70 minutes at 350°F/176°C and sometimes a little longer depending on different oven temperatures. It’s important to tent pecan pie with aluminum foil about 30 minutes into baking so that the edges and top of the pie don’t get too brown before the filling is set and the pie has finished baking. 

How Do You Know When Pecan Pie is Done?

When pecan pie is done it puffs up slightly in the middle, the crust will be flaky and golden brown and edges near the crust will be set (firm to the touch), while the middle of the pie should spring back just a bit if you press it lightly in the center with your finger. It should not feel like lava flowing beneath the nut surface. Pecan pie will continue to firm up as it cools, but it needs to be fully cooked first in order to set properly. 

How to Make Sure Pecan Pie Filling is Set and Not Runny

You may be asking why is my pecan pie filling runny or why didn’t my pecan pie set?  If you’ve ever had a runny or under-set pecan pie there can be a few reasons for this that are easy to fix.  

 

How Long to Bake Pecan Pie & How to Make Sure the Filling is Set and Not Runny

Why is my pecan pie filling runny? One of the biggest problems bakers have when making pecan pie is ending up with a runny filling that’s not set. If you’ve ever had a runny or not quite set pecan pie there can be a few reasons for this, but they’re easy to fix. Maybe your eggs were too small? Maybe you didn’t bake the pie long enough? Maybe you substituted the Karo syrup for a less viscous syrup like maple syrup or rice syrup? Below are some helpful tips to ensure your pecan pie always sets perfectly every time.

  • If you’re concerned about your pecan pie not setting correctly, add 1 tablespoon of flour to the filling to help it set. It won’t taste any different, but it will help thicken the pie filling a bit and helps you avoid a runny filling.
  • Make sure you bake pecan pie long enough. This pecan pie bakes for just about 1 hour at 350°F/176°C and sometimes a little longer depending on different oven models and how deep or shallow your pie plate is. When pecan pie is done, the crust will be flaky and golden brown and the edges of the pie near the crust should be set (firm to the touch). The middle center of the pie should spring back if you press it lightly with your finger. It should not feel like flowing lava beneath the surface. Pecan pie will continue to firm up as it cools, but it needs to be fully set first or it will be runny forever.
  • When pecan pie is fully baked it should register 200°F/93°C on a thermometer when inserted into the middle. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can remove the pie from the oven and insert a paring knife into the center of the pie and it should come out clean. If it’s oozing filling it means it’s not quite set and should be baked a little longer.
  • Tent the pecan pie loosely with aluminum foil after about 30 minutes of baking. This will help you make sure the crust and top of the pie don’t get too brown before the filling is set. You may always remove the foil a few minutes before the pie has finished baking to allow it to become a little more golden brown if it needs it. 

How to Serve Pecan Pie

Pecan pie should be completely cooled to room temperature after it bakes or the filling will be runny. And it always tastes even better a day or two after it’s been baked. If you prefer a warm pecan pie, you can reheat it for 7 to 10 minutes in a preheated 275°/135°C. Growing up, we ate it at room temperature or even chilled which allows you to fully taste all the nuanced flavors. If you eat pecan pie before it’s cooled to room temperature, you don’t taste everything it has to offer.  Serve it with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream which also tastes great.

How to Store Pecan Pie 

Store pecan pie covered with aluminum foil at room temperature for one to 3 days if desired, or pop it into the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Although I refrigerate most custard-like recipes that include eggs like this pie (for safety reasons), I’ve never had an issue with this pecan pie after leaving it out overnight or even for a couple of days (in a cool environment). This is how we ate it growing up if it even lasted that long. This is a pie recipe that tastes even better on the second day after all of the ingredients have had time to meld together.

Freeze any leftover pecan pie wrapped in parchment paper or wax paper, then wrapped in sustainable plastic wrap, and store it in a sealed container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, or on the countertop until ready to eat.

 

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Category: Pies + Cobblers + Crostate
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Southern

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 slice

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