This is the best pecan pie recipe — seriously. The filling is the perfect balance of gooey and crunchy while the pie crust is buttery and flaky.
This post was originally published November 2014. It was last updated November 2020.
Thanksgiving is coming up and if you are anything like my family, we are cooking up a storm and arguing over counter space and whose turn it is to use the oven. Early this morning, I took full advantage of the few hours the kitchen was actually empty and pulled out my best pecan pie recipe.
Why this recipe works: It has the perfect balance of gooey almost caramel-like filling without losing its structure. The chopped pecans are dispersed throughout guaranteeing plenty of pecan flavor and texture. On top of that I used my homemade pie crust recipe. It is both buttery and flaky—the perfect combo if you ask me.
Overview: How to make pecan pie
- Pre-bake the crust: You can either use store bought or make the crust from scratch (see recipe card). Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line the pie crust with parchment paper and cover the bottom completely with pie weights. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Cool pie crust completely.
- Prepare the filling: Fill a saucepan with 1 inch water and bring to a simmer. Place a bowl on top (makeshift double boiler) and melt the butter. Remove the bowl from the heat, stir in the brown sugar and salt. Then add the eggs. Return bowl to the simmering water and cook until the mixture is glossy and warm to the touch, about 10 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and stir in the chopped pecans.
- Bake the pie: Pour filling into pre-baked pie crust. Garnish with pecan halves if desired. Bake pie at 275 F for 55 to 60 minutes. Cool completely before serving.
How to tell when pecan pie is done: Pecan pie is done with the pie dish is gently shaken and the center jiggles slightly (the edges, about 1 inch from the crust should be set).
Why you should prebake a pie crust
Any custard or liquid-y pie filling should have a prebaked crust. When a filling is liquid, a raw crust will absorb the liquid and become soggy. Prebaking the crust ensures a sturdy crust to hold the filling. This applies to pumpkin pie as well.
How to prebake a pie crust
Roll the pie dough out and let it sit for 10 minutes on your work surface (this will relax the gluten in the dough). Transfer the dough to a lightly greased pie dish. Trim and flute the edges. Place a piece of parchment over the pie crust and fill with pie weights. Place the pie dish in the freezer for 10 minutes while the oven preheats. Freeze the pie dough before baking will prevent the crust from shrinking. Bake crust for 15 to 20 minutes or until light in color. Let crust cool completely before adding filling.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you need to refrigerate pecan pie? Yes. Pecan pie is egg-based and requires refrigeration after baking and cooling. Pecan pie will keep 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator.
Can you freeze pecan pie? Yes. Pecan pie freezes especially well. Once the pie has cooled completely, wrap the entire pie and pie dish with plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 1 month. Defrost in the refrigerator before serving.
Why is my pecan pie runny? It was likely not cooked long enough. Check your oven temperature with an oven thermometer. If you are consistently having trouble, add 1 tablespoon cornstarch to the filling when adding the brown sugar.
So if you need a good pecan pie recipe for the holidays or just to have on hand, I guarantee this is the one you will want. I have continued to use this recipe every year and friends and family keep asking for the recipe! If you make this pecan pie, be sure to tag @ifyougiveablondeakitchen on social media and I’ll share my favorites!
Best Pecan Pie Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups (187 g) all purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup vegetable shortening, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2-4 Tablespoons ice cold water
- 6 tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup (200 g) packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 3/4 cup (180 ml) light corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups (240 g) chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup halved pecans for decorative top, optional
- Make sure all your ingredients are cold. In the bowl of a food processor (or use a pastry blender and make the pie dough by hand), combine flour, sugar and salt. Pulse a couple times until whisked together. Add shortening and pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand, about ten 1-second pulses. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with bits the size of small peas, about ten more 1-second pulses. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl. Sprinkle cold water, one tablespoon at a time, over the mixture. Use a wooden spoon or spatula or mixture the dough until large clumps form.
- Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and use your hands to form the dough into a 8-inch disc. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
- When ready to roll the pie crust, remove dough from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a circle that is 13-inches in diameter. Be mindful to add more flour underneath the dough (especially in the center) if it starts sticking to the work surface.
- Transfer pie dough to a lightly greased pie dish and gently press it into the bottom and sides of the dish. Use your fingers to tuck the edges of the dough under itself and crimp the edges (refer to video for visual). Place parchment paper on the dough and fill with pie weights so there is an even layer on the bottom. Freeze pie crust for 10 minutes while oven preheats to 375° F. Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges start to turn color. Remove the parchment paper and pie weights. Let crust cool completely.
- Lower oven temperature to 275° F.
- Melt butter in medium heatproof (glass or ceramic) bowl set in saucepan of water maintained at just below simmer (makeshift double boiler).
- Remove bowl from skillet and mix in brown sugar, salt and vanilla with wooden spoon until butter is absorbed. Beat in eggs first, then the corn syrup.
- Return bowl to hot water. Stir until mixture is shiny and warm to the touch, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in 2 cups chopped pecans.
- Pour mixture into pre-baked pie crust and arrange 1/2 cup halved pecans on top (optional). Bake until center feels set yet soft, like gelatin, when gently pressed, about 55 to 60 minutes. Shield pie with aluminum foil after 30 minutes to prevent excessive browning.
- Transfer pie to rack and let cool completely, at least 4 hours. Serve pie at room temperature with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Recipe adapted from Baking Illustrated.