Gooey, nutty, and perfectly balanced between salty and sweet, this easy pecan pie recipe is my absolute favorite version and a must-make holiday dessert! With toasted pecans and an unbelievably flaky pie crust, this decadent pie pairs perfectly with fresh whipped cream, a scoop of ice cream, or a drizzle of warm chocolate. Learn how to make this classic pecan pie for your next family or holiday gathering.

Overhead photo of pecan pie in pie plate with slices cut apart.

Unlike pumpkin pie, pecan pie has always been an absolute favorite of mine. Given my long-running love affair with nuts, I’d gobble up as much pecan pie as I could around the holidays. I loved the combination of the sweet filling with the salty nuts. Pair that with a buttery, flaky crust and you pretty much had heaven as far as I was concerned.

This classic pie recipe is a Southern staple. Made with pecans, butter, sugar, and eggs, this gooey pie also commonly contains corn syrup, molasses, or even honey. While this pie is traditionally dished out at Thanksgiving and Christmas, I basically can’t get enough of it and think it deserves a spot in your year-round dessert-making line-up.

Why We Love This Pie

I adore this pie for a number of reasons. Some of the top reasons you should bake this pie include…

  • Pecan packed! There are tons of chopped up pecans all throughout the pie and not just in a little layer on the top.
  • Gooey filling. It doesn’t have that fake, gelatin-y, super firm set consistency, which can sometimes be a little off-putting.
  • Flaky, buttery, homemade pie crust, need I say more?
  • Great for making in advance. Since there is a long cooling time you can easily whip this pie up a day or two before you plan to serve.
Overhead photo of baked pecan pie with forks and a cup of coffee next to it.

Ingredients You’ll Need

A crust and 7 ingredient filling are all it takes to make this incredibly delicious pecan pie.

  • Flaky Pie Dough: Prebaked to perfection, this flaky pie crust cradles gooey pecan pie filling.
  • Butter: Unsalted butter cut into 1-inch pieces gives the filling a rich buttery flavor.
  • Brown Sugar: I use a dark brown sugar to sweeten the filling and give it an extra thick texture.
  • Salt: Enhances the flavor of the pecan filling.
  • Eggs: Holds the filling together.
  • Corn Syrup: I used a light corn syrup to help sweeten the filling and prevent the sugar from crystalizing.
  • Vanilla: For all the flavor!
  • Pecans: Toast your pecans (see below for instructions!) and let them cool before you add them into the filling. This helps enhance the flavor and give you all the nutty goodness you are looking for.

The BEST Pecans for Pecan Pie

The best pecans for any baked good are toasted. I cannot stress this enough. If you are looking for that warm, buttery, nutty flavor of a delicious pecan, you absolutely must toast them before adding them to your pie. The process of toasting nuts helps draw the natural oils from the pecan to the surface. It makes the nuts crunchier and truly enhances the flavor.

To toast your pecans, follow these instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Spread the pecans into a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Place the baking sheet in the oven and toast for up 10 minutes.
  • Around 5 minutes, stir the pecans to make sure they evenly roast.
  • You will know they are toasted when they are about a shade darker in color and you can smell their rich pecan flavor.
  • Cool completely before chopping and using in the pie.

How to Make Pecan Pie

This classic pecan pie can easily be broken down into 4 main steps, making the pie crust, prebaking the crust, cooking the pecan pie filling, and baking the pie. Let’s discuss how to make this easy pecan pie.

Unbaked pie crust in glass pie plate with fork on a pink kitchen towel next to it.

Step 1: Make the Flaky Buttery Pastry

Tender, buttery, and flaky, this is the BEST pie crust you will sink your teeth into!

  • Pulse dry ingredients: In the base of a food processor, process the flour, sugar, and salt until combined, about 2 one-scond pulses.
  • Cut in butter and shortening: Add the butter and shortening and process until a homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 7 to 10 seconds.
  • Redistribute the dough: Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula and redistribute the dough evenly around the bowl.
  • Add remaining flour and pulse until the mixture is evenly distributed around the bowl and the mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses.
  • Transfer: Empty the mixture into a medium bowl and sprinkle vodka and water over the mixture.
  • Fold dough together: With a rubber spatula, use a folding motion to mix, pressing down on the dough until it is slightly tacky and sticks together.
  • Shape and refrigerate the dough: Flatten the dough into a 4-inch disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 2 days.

Step 2: Prebake the Crust

After chilling the pastry dough, roll and prebake the crust to prevent any filling leakage.

  • Prepare for baking: Adjust the oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Roll the dough onto a lightly floured work surface into a 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick.
  • Transfer the dough to the pie plate: Roll dough loosely around the rolling pin and unroll into the pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on the sides.
  • Press into pan and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  • Trim the overhang to 1/2 inch beyond the lip and fold the overhang under itself. The folded edge should be flush with the edge of the pie plate.
  • Shape the crust: Use thumb and forefinger to flute the edge of the dough, then prick the dough all over the sides and the bottom of the pie plate. Refrigerate another 15 minutes.
  • Fill with pie weights: Remove pie pan from the refrigerator, line the crust with aluminum foil or parchment paper, and fill with pie weights or dried beans, filling the whole way up the rim of the pie plate.
  • Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the lining and weights, rotate the pie plate, and bake 5 to 15 additional minutes until the crust is golden brown and crisp.
  • Remove the pie plate from the oven.

Step 3: Make the Pecan Pie Filling

While the crust is baking, begin making the filling. This allows you to pour the warm filling into the hot crust before baking.

Step by step photos of mixing together pecan pie filling.
  • Melt the butter in a medium heatproof bowl set in a skillet of water maintained at just below a simmer.
  • Add sugar and salt: Remove the bowl from the skillet; stir in sugar and salt with a wooden spoon until the butter is absorbed.
  • Beat in remaming ingredients: Beat in the eggs, corn syrup, and vanilla.
  • Heat filling: Return the bowl to the hot water; stir until the mixture is shiny and hot to the touch, about 130°F on an instant-read thermometer.
  • Add pecans: Remove from the heat and stir in the pecans.
Stirring pecans into pecan pie filling in a glass bowl with a wooden spoon.

Step 4: Putting the Pecan Pie Together

Now that your crust is baked and the filling is ready, it’s time to put the pie together.

  • Prepare for baking: As soon as the pie shell comes out of the oven, decrease the oven temperature to 275°F.
  • Fill the pie shell: Pour the pecan mixture into the hot pie shell.
  • Bake on the middle rack until the pie looks set and yet soft, like gelatin, when gently pressed with the back of a spoon, 50 to 60 minutes.
  • Cool: Transfer the pie to a rack and cool completely, at least 4 hours.
Pecan pie with two slices cut away and two forks resting inside the pie plate.

Troubleshooting Pecan Pie

How do you keep the filling from leaking out of the crust?

Two ways to prevent the pie filling from leaking out during the baking process are to prebake the pie crust and then pour the pecan pie filling into the crust while it is still hot.

Should you prebake the pie crust for pecan pie?

While some methods for making pecan pie might not prebake the crust I find it extremely helpful for making a pecan pie. It helps ensure the crust gets a nice even bake while also locking in the filling to prevent any leakage.

What causes a pecan pie to be runny?

There are a few reasons your pecan pie might be runny. For starters, cutting into the pie fresh out of the oven doesn’t allow the filling to cool and set up so the filling will come cascading out.

Another reason your filling might be runny is underbaking. If you remove the pie from the oven before it’s finished baking it won’t set properly. Use a pie crust shield to protect the crust if you are worried about the crust burning during the baking process.

How do I know my pecan pie is done?

You will know your pecan pie is done when it looks set but still a bit soft, like gelatin. You can test this by pressing the back of a spoon to the top to see if it sinks or is set.

Can you overcook a pecan pie?

It is possible to overcook a pecan pie. The filling is similar to a custard and will curdle if cooked too long.

Pecan Pie Serving Suggestions

After allowing the pie to cool, slice up a piece and dish it out for all to enjoy! Here are some decadent toppings that take this classic pecan pie to the next level:

Storing, Freezing, and Making Ahead

Whether you are keeping your pie whole or looking for ways to store leftovers, here are my tips for safely storing, freezing, and reheating your pecan pie.

  • Storing: Once cooled, the pie can be covered in aluminum foil and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Freezing: Cooked and cooled pecan pie keeps in the freezer for up to 2 months. Cover the pie in aluminum foil and then wrap it in a freezer-safe ziplock bag.
  • Reheating: Let the pie thaw overnight in the refrigerator then bake at 250°F for about 15 minutes until warmed through.
  • Making Ahead: There are a few ways to prep in advance for making this pecan pie. First, you can make the pie crust up to 2 days before you plan to make the pie. Alternatively you can make the entire pie up to 4 days in advance and store it in the refrigerator.

Love This Pecan Pie? Try This Next…

Slice of pecan pie on plate with forkful taken out.

Bring out the best with this easy homemade pecan pie. Baked to perfection, this sweet meets salty holiday pie pairs perfectly with whipped cream or ice cream. From the flaky pie crust to the gooey, buttery, nutty pecan filling, this decadent pie has it all!

If you make this recipe and love it, remember to stop back and give it a 5-star rating – it helps others find the recipe! ❤️️

how to make the best pecan pie

Pecan Pie

Sweet, buttery, and perfectly nutty this easy pecan pie recipe makes the ultimate holiday dessert.
4.59 (41 ratings)

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe Pie Dough, for single crust
  • 6 tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup (198 g) dark brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup (234 g) light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon (14 g) vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (228 g) pecans, toasted and chopped into small pieces

Instructions 

  • Make the Crust: Prepare the pie crust dough and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • Adjust the oven rack to the center position and heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out on a lightly floured work surface to a 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side. Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Refrigerate 15 minutes.
  • Trim overhang to ½ inch beyond lip of pie plate. Fold overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. using thumb and forefinger, flute edge of dough. Use a fork to prick the dough all over the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Refrigerate dough-lined plate until firm, about 15 minutes.
  • Blind Bake Pie Crust: Remove pie pan from refrigerator, line crust with aluminum foil or parchment paper, and fill with pie weights or dried beans, filling the whole way up to the rim of the pie plate. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil/parchment and weights, rotate plate, and bake 5 to 15 additional minutes until crust is golden brown and crisp. Remove pie plate from oven.
  • Prepare Pie Filling: Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium heatproof bowl set in a skillet of water maintained at just below a simmer. Remove the bowl from the skillet; stir in the sugar and salt with a wooden spoon until the butter is absorbed. Beat in the eggs, then the corn syrup and vanilla. Return the bowl to hot water; stir until the mixture is shiny and hot to the touch, about 130 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from the heat; stir in the pecans.
  • Bake the Pie: As soon as the pie shell comes out of the oven, decrease the oven temperature to 275 degrees F. Pour the pecan mixture into the hot pie shell.
  • Bake on the middle rack until the pie looks set and yet soft, like gelatin, when gently pressed with the back of a spoon, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer the pie to a rack; cool completely, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Notes

  • Equipment: 9-inch pie plate / Instant-read thermometer
  • Pie Crust: Use this all-butter pie crust recipe if you prefer no shortening and/or vodka.
  • Dark Brown Sugar: You can substitute light brown sugar.
  • Pecans: Toast the pecans for the best flavor! Follow directions in the ingredients section above.
  • Serving Suggestions: Whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, melted chocolate, or salted caramel sauce.
  • Storing: Once cooled, the pie can be covered in aluminum foil and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Freezing: Cooked and cooled pecan pie keeps in the freezer for up to 2 months. Cover the pie in aluminum foil and then wrap it in a freezer-safe ziplock bag.
  • Reheating: Let the pie thaw overnight in the refrigerator then bake at 250°F for about 15 minutes until warmed through.
  • Making Ahead: There are a few ways to prep in advance for making this pecan pie. First, you can make the pie crust up to 2 days before you plan to make the pie. Alternatively, you can make the entire pie up to 4 days in advance and store it in the refrigerator.
  • Recipe from Cook’s Illustrated.
Calories: 555kcal, Carbohydrates: 64g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 32g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 83mg, Sodium: 274mg, Potassium: 179mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 52g, Vitamin A: 365IU, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Calcium: 60mg, Iron: 1.6mg

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!

Photography by Ari Laing.