Step aside pumpkin pie and make room for the best pecan pie! Pecan pie is easy to make and perfect for Fall and holidays. The flaky, buttery homemade pie crust and a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream for serving are non-negotiable!
As much as I love apple pie and pumpkin pie for the holidays, if I had to pick a favorite, pecan pie would win by a landslide. That's probably because my dad made by far the BEST pecan pie. He was pretty well known for it, in fact! His secret ingredient - bourbon! You won't taste the alcohol once the pie is baked, but you will notice a subtle depth of flavor with hints of caramel and vanilla. I highly recommend giving it a try, but if you prefer not to bake with alcohol feel free to leave it out.
How to Make Pecan Pie:
A great pie starts with a great pie crust. And a dessert as special as pecan pie deserves a homemade crust. I always use my favorite homemade pie crust recipe, it is buttery, flaky, and absolutely perfect for pie. The recipe makes enough for 2 - 9" pie crusts, so cut the recipe in half or save the extra pie crust for later.
- Unsalted butter: Cut the butter into cubes first and then keep in the fridge or freezer so it is very cold when you add it in. If all you have is salted butter that's fine, just reduce the added salt in the recipe by ¼ teaspoon for every stick of butter.
- Flour: All-purpose flour is perfect for making pie crust.
- Salt: Brings out the flavors.
- Sugar: Pie crust isn't actually meant to be sweet, the sugar is used here because it actually interferes with the development of gluten, which keeps the crust tender and flaky.
- Ice water: Add water and ice into a glass and then use a tablespoon to measure out the water. I usually need 6 tablespoons, but to be safe start with less and then add more until the dough forms.
The dough needs to chill for at least 3 hours in the fridge. For the best results, I recommend making the dough ahead of time so it has plenty of time to fully chill. The dough can be made up to 3 days in advance and kept in the fridge, or kept in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw frozen pie dough overnight in the fridge.
- Eggs: Pecan pie is a custard, and you can't make custard without eggs!
- Corn syrup: Light or dark corn syrup both work.
- Brown sugar & granulated sugar: My favorite combination!
- Salt: Just ¼ tsp. to enhance the flavors.
- Vanilla extract: Pure vanilla extract is best, but if you only have imitation that's fine too.
- Bourbon: Optional but recommended, use any brand you prefer.
- Unsalted butter: Melted and cooled.
- Chopped pecans: I prefer chopped pecans to pecan halves because it makes it easier to get a clean slice out.
Make the pie crust:
- Cut the butter into even-sized pieces. Keep it in the refrigerator so it stays cold.
- Measure the flour and add it into the bowl of a food processor along with the salt and the sugar.
- Add the cold butter and pulse until the flour is evenly coated. This is a lot easier using a food processor, however a large bowl and a pastry blender would also work, and it’s a great arm workout!
- Add in the ice water and pulse until a dough forms.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to chill the dough.
- Sprinkle a cool, clean surface with flour and also sprinkle the dough and the rolling pin with flour. Add more flour as you go and be sure to flip the dough occasionally so it doesn't stick. Roll it out into a 12" circle and add it to a 9" pie dish that has been lightly sprayed with non-stick spray. Trim and flute the edges, if desired. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge while you prepare the filling and preheat the oven.
Make the Filling:
Pecan pie filling is so easy to make! Just whisk together the eggs, corn syrup, both sugars, salt, vanilla extract, bourbon, and cooled melted butter. Then spread the chopped pecans in the bottom of the pie crust and pour the filling over the top. The pecans will rise to the top during baking.
Bake the Pie:
Cover the top with aluminum foil and bake in a 350° oven for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and continue baking for 25-30 more minutes until fully baked. Let cool for 2-3 hours before serving so it has time to fully set.
More Pie Recipes to Try:
- 9" deep-dish pie pan
- ½ recipe Homemade Pie Crust
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup light or dark corn syrup
- ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp. bourbon, optional, but recommended
- 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 cups chopped pecans
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the pie crust out into a 12" circle. Place it in a 9" pie pan leaving 1" of overhang. Fold the edges under itself and use your fingers to crimp the crust all the way around. Keep the crust in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and bourbon, if using. Pour in the cooled melted butter and whisk until smooth.
- Spread the chopped pecans evenly on the bottom of the rolled out pie crust. Pour the filling over the pecans.
- Cover the top with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for 25-30 minutes. A knife inserted into the center should come out clean when the pie is done.
- Allow the pie to cool for 2-3 hours before serving. A bread knife with a serrated edge is best for slicing pecan pie.