The Best Pecan Pie has a flavorful, balanced filling that’s just sweet enough, tucked inside a flaky, buttery crust that never gets soggy. This homemade holiday pie will be a family tradition after just one bite!

Slices of pecan pie on a board.

You’ll love this recipe because the homemade crust is easy to make (make it ahead!) and so flaky and buttery. The pecan filling is sweet and soft without being too jelly-like, and nothing is easier than adding a pie of chopped pecans!

You can also add your own decorative touch with pecan halves arranged just so, but that’s entirely up to you. Bake this pie the day before so it has plenty of time to rest (and it’s one less thing for you to worry about!).

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Recipe FAQs
  6. The Best Pecan Pie Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for pecan pie.

Ingredient notes

  • Pie crust: Make your own pie crust or get a head start with store-bought crust. To make the crust in advance, make the dough, form it into a disk shape, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and foil, and freeze for up to 2 months. To use, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator, then roll it out. If you have the space, you can roll out your pastry dough, press it into the pie pan, and freeze it, tightly wrapped in plastic. You can bake frozen pie crust straight out of the freezer without thawing.
  • Vegetable shortening and butter: For the best of both worlds in terms of texture and flavor, I suggest mixing both of these fat sources in your homemade pastry crust.
  • Pecans: To amplify their nutty, rich qualities, toast them. To toast pecans, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Toss pecans in oil and salt if desired. Arrange in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Toast until browned and fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 7 to 10 minutes. 
  • Honey or light corn syrup: Choose either to sweeten your filling for The Best Pecan Pie.

Step-by-step instructions

To make the pie crust

  1. In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Pulse until combined. Scatter shortening pieces over the top and process until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 10 seconds. 
Making pie dough in a food processor.
  1. Scatter butter pieces and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 seconds. Transfer to medium bowl.
Making pie dough in a food processor.
  1. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons ice water over mixture. Using a stiff rubber spatula, stir and press dough together until it sticks together. Add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary until dough comes together.
Pie dough in a bowl.
  1. Turn dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and flatten into a 4-inch disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Pie dough wrapped in plastic and chilled.
  1. To bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Let the disk of dough stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before rolling out. Roll dough into a 12-inch circle.
Pie dough rolled out on a board.
  1. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim, fold, and crimp the edge of the dough. Cover the chilled pie crust with two layers of aluminum foil, covering the edges to prevent them from burning.
An unbaked pie crust.
  1. Fill the crust with pie weights or pennies and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned and dry. Transfer to a wire rack and remove foil and weights. Crust must still be warm when you add the filling.
A an empty baked pie crust.

To make the filling

  1. Reduce oven temperature to 275 degrees. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Remove from heat and whisk in sugar and salt. Whisk in eggs until incorporated. Add honey and vanilla, and whisk until smooth.
Pecan pie filling in a saucepan.
  1. Return the saucepan to medium-low heat. Cook until the mixture is shiny, stirring until it reaches 130 degrees on a digital thermometer. Turn off heat and stir in 1 cup chopped pecans.
Pecan pie filling in a saucepan.
  1. Pour pecan filling into the pie crust. Evenly sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of chopped pecans. Arrange additional pecan halves on top in a decorative pattern if desired.
An unbaked pecan pie (unsliced).
  1. Bake for until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours. Can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container, up to 4 days.
A baked pecan pie (unsliced).

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe for makes 8 generously-portioned slices of pecan pie.
  • Storage: Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days in advance. Bring to room temperature an hour before serving. Or, reheat the pie in a 300-degree oven for 15 minutes.
  • Freezer: Wrap the baked, cooled pecan pie in plastic wrap or foil and store in a freezer-safe bag. Freeze for up to 2 months, then thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature an hour before serving, or, reheat the pie in a 300-degree oven for 15 minutes.
  • Maple Pecan Pie: Omit the corn syrup and substitute ½ cup granulated white sugar for all of the brown sugar. Reduce the butter to 4 tablespoons and reduce the pecans to 1 ½ cups. Whisk 1 cup maple syrup into the sugar mixture with the eggs.
  • Spiff up your slice: A dollop of Whipped Cream and a drizzle of Caramel Sauce is my favorite way to serve The Best Pecan Pie, but your only limit is your dessert imagination.
Slices of pecan pie on a board.

Recipe FAQs

What is the filling made of in pecan pie?

Pecan pie filling is made with a mixture of butter, sugar, eggs, and corn syrup or honey.

Is light or dark Karo syrup better for pecan pie?

It’s a personal preference. Light corn syrup has a lighter sweetness and a hint of vanilla, while dark corn syrup is sweeter and has a stronger, more robust flavor. This recipe was developed with light corn syrup.

Should I pre-bake my pie crust for pecan pie?

Yes, pre-bake the homemade pie crust and keep it warm while you prepare the filling.

More holiday desserts

Slices of pecan pie on a board.

The Best Pecan Pie

The Best Pecan Pie has a flavorful, balanced filling that's just sweet enough, tucked inside a flaky, buttery crust that never gets soggy. This homemade holiday pie will be a family tradition after just one bite!
4.89 from 9 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Chilling Time 2 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 20 mins
Servings 8 slices
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 648

Ingredients 

For the pie crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
  • 5 tablespoons butter cut into 1/4-inch pieces and chilled
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons ice water

For the filling:

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar packed (7 ounces)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup honey or light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups pecans chopped, divided

Instructions 

To make the pie crust:

  • In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Pulse until combined. Scatter shortening pieces over the top and process until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 10 seconds. 
  • Scatter butter pieces and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 seconds. Transfer to medium bowl.
  • Sprinkle 4 tablespoons ice water over mixture. Using a stiff rubber spatula, stir and press dough together until it sticks together. Add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary until dough comes together.
  • Turn dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and flatten into a 4-inch disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • To bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Let the disk of dough stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before rolling out.
  • Roll dough into a 12-inch circle and fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim, fold, and crimp the edge of the dough. Cover the chilled pie crust with two layers of aluminum foil, covering the edges to prevent them from burning.
  • Fill the crust with pie weights or pennies and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned and dry. Transfer to a wire rack and remove foil and weights. Crust must still be warm when you add the filling.

To make the filling:

  • Reduce oven temperature to 275 degrees. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Remove from heat and whisk in sugar and salt. Whisk in eggs until incorporated. Add honey and vanilla, and whisk until smooth.
  • Return the saucepan to medium-low heat. Cook until the mixture is shiny, stirring until it reaches 130 degrees on a digital thermometer. Turn off heat and stir in 1 cup chopped pecans.
  • Pour pecan filling into the pie crust. Evenly sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of chopped pecans. Arrange additional pecan halves on top in a decorative pattern if desired.
  • Bake for until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours. Can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container, up to 4 days.

Notes

  1. Pie crust: Make your own pie crust or get a head start with store-bought crust. To make the crust in advance, make the dough, form it into a disk shape, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and foil, and freeze for up to 2 months. To use, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator, then roll it out. If you have the space, you can roll out your pastry dough, press it into the pie pan, and freeze it, tightly wrapped in plastic. You can bake frozen pie crust straight out of the freezer without thawing.
  2. Vegetable shortening and butter: For the best of both worlds in terms of texture and flavor, I suggest mixing both of these fat sources in your homemade pastry crust.
  3. Pecans: To amplify their nutty, rich qualities, toast them. To toast pecans, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Toss pecans in oil and salt if desired. Arrange in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Toast until browned and fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 7 to 10 minutes. 
  4. Honey or light corn syrup: Choose either to sweeten your filling for The Best Pecan Pie.
  5. Yield: This recipe for makes 8 generously-portioned slices of pecan pie.
  6. Storage: Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days in advance. Bring to room temperature an hour before serving. Or, reheat the pie in a 300-degree oven for 15 minutes.
  7. Freezer: Wrap the baked, cooled pecan pie in plastic wrap or foil and store in a freezer-safe bag. Freeze for up to 2 months, then thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature an hour before serving, or, reheat the pie in a 300-degree oven for 15 minutes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 648kcalCarbohydrates: 81gProtein: 7gFat: 36gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 89mgSodium: 229mgPotassium: 189mgFiber: 3gSugar: 63gVitamin A: 522IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 48mgIron: 2mg
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Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Comments

  1. The best Pecan pie recipe, looks like it is similar to a pie that I lost in a fire. The main thing I really liked was the filling was almost like a custard but not syrup tasting. Would add additional eggs to make the filling less syrupie. Thanks Anna

  2. Hi Meggan!
    I made this yesterday. It wasn’t thick as I anticipated it going to turn out as well as light in color like the picture. My husband likes costcos pie because it is thick. Was this recipe supposed to not be thick?4 stars

  3. I love that you use store bought pastry for your best pecan pie! Less work definitely equals better even before you’ve tasted it!

    Thank you for the recipe, Meggan. I’ve had a couple of pieces of bought pecan pie lately which were good, but not that good. I know this would be so much better, and the recipe seems a lot easier than I thought it would be.5 stars

  4. Glad you use a metal pie dish. It’s the only way to ensure a firm bottom crust.  So this one goes into the ever growing list of “gotta do this one.”  Lol5 stars