Classic Southern Pecan Pie

This Classic Southern Pecan Pie recipe is a vintage family recipe and a mainstay at our Thanksgiving dinner every year, but it’s not just for holidays! 

Pecan pie with brown crust
There’s nothing better than a slice of Southern Pecan Pie and a glass milk or sweet tea…

Whip this quick pie recipe up in no time and serve it on any given day! You’ll love the fresh, Southern pecan halves nested in a flavorful filling, with a light, crispy crust. 

This sweet pecan pie is the perfect dessert after a savory turkey dinner of turkey, cornbread dressing, candied sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, collard greens and sweet tea!

Why this recipe works

There’s all kinds of pecan pie recipes out there-chocolate pecan pie, bourbon pecan pie, pecan pie with no corn syrup, you name it! But I always subscribe to the theory that sometimes “simple is best”, that’s why this vintage Southern pecan pie recipe works! 

  • Classic – nothing fancy or complicated; just mix up some simple ingredients and pour ’em in a pie shell
  • Delicious – just the right amount of sugar! not too sweet
  • Quick prep time – no rolling out dough or using lots of bowls…one bowl and a pie plate…that’s all you need

Since the pecan is the official State Nut of Texas, we have an abundance of pecan trees that produce delicious pecans here! In the South, homemade Pecan Pie is not just for Thanksgiving or special occasions.

We usually have one for Easter and Christmas as well! Sometimes we have one for no reason at all! You’ll find some kind of pecan dessert offered at just about every barbecue restaurant in Texas-we’re talking mini pecan pies, pecan pie bars and pecan fried hand pies!

Here’s what you need

The ingredients for this delicious classic southern pecan pie are simple: a prepared pie crust, Karo corn syrup, eggs, vanilla extract, sugar and of course, those delicious buttery pecans!

Pecans

I use pecan halves instead of whole pecans, but you can use either or use pecan pieces

Roll-Out Pie Crust

There’s no shame in not making your own pie crust! And who has time during the holidays to make a homemade pie crust, anyway? I don’t, so I use Pillsbury frozen pie crust for this easy dessert. You can find these in the frozen section at the grocery store.

The pie crust comes in sheets, so it’s easy to roll out and place in a pie plate. (There’s two crusts to a box, so use the other one to whip up a quick buttermilk pie! This is the best pie crust recipe I know:)

  • Thaw to room temperature
  • Gently unroll dough onto a lightly floured surface
  • Then place dough over pie plate; lightly press into the pie plate and crimp the edges
  • If you want a light, fluffy pie crust, blind bake it first, otherwise you don’t have to do anything to the crust

Karo Corn Syrup

Some folks scoff at the notion of using corn syrup in recipes because they think it’s high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Corn syrup and HFCS are different, and Karo Corn Syrup does NOT contain HFCS. This is what makes the delicious gooey filling!

You’ll find this in the baking section at the grocery store. Note: The Karo brand of corn syrup used to available only in “light corn syrup” and “dark corn syrup.”

However, now they’ve come out with a “lite” corn syrup that has less calories. I haven’t used the “lite” version in this Southern pecan pie recipe, so I’m recommending you use the original light corn syrup.

Eggs

Use large eggs. Not regular. Not extra large or jumbo. Just large. Why? Most of the time, when a recipe calls for eggs it’s referring to large eggs and often, it doesn’t matter if you substitute with “regular size eggs,” however in this case the size of the egg does matter. The ratio of ingredients matters in this recipe because if you use too many eggs, the filling is runny and if you don’t use enough eggs the filling is too dry.

Vanilla extract

Use a high-quality extract for best results. Adams Vanilla Extract or Watkin’s are both good brands that offer a light hint of vanilla flavor to this recipe.

Sugar

Granulated white sugar, not brown sugar or powdered or confectioners sugar.

Ingredients for pecan pie on countertop

How to make the pecan pie filling

  • In a large bowl, add lightly beaten eggs, sugar, Karo corn syrup, and vanilla; stir together by hand
  • Add pecan halves to the syrup mixture; stir well by hand
  • Pour sugar/pecan mixture into the pie shell (flip pecan halves over if you want)
  • Place pie directly on the middle baking rack (you may want to put a baking sheet on the lower oven rack to catch any spills)
  • Bake at 350ºF for 50-70 minutes or until the pecans turn a deep golden brown; remove and allow to rest for at least 2 hours at room temperature
Step by step instructions for making pie filling

Recipe Tips

  • Use a 9″ inch pie crust and pie plate; see recipe notes below in the recipe card if you’re using an 8″inch pie plate
  • Use large eggs; not extra large, regular or jumbo (it’s all about the egg yolks)
  • If you don’t have pecan halves, used crushed pecans – just scatter pecans into mixture (you may need to increase the amount of pecans if you used pecan pieces instead of pecan halves)
  • Lightly spray the pie plate with a spray oil/flour mixture (like Pam or Baker’s Joy) – this allows the crust to slice better and allows for an easy clean up
  • If you want a crispy crust, blind bake the empty shell. Roll the pie dough into the pie plate. Place dried beans on the crust; bake at 350ºF for 20-25 minutes; remove the beans, let the crust cool, then add the filling.
  • You may want to put ring of aluminum foil around the edge of the crust so it won’t get too brown
  • Pecans will harden as they bake; if you want a semi-hard pecan topping, place a loose piece of foil over the top of the pie the last 15-20 minutes of baking
  • Let pie cool at least 2 hours before serving
  • For best results, use a serrated knife to slice into those crunchy pecans!
  • If you’re making more than one pie, you may need to bake pies a bit longer than indicated in the recipe card
  • Some folks serve this classic southern dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream which makes a perfect combination!

Classic Southern Pecan Pie is easy to make and not just for the holidays! Simple ingredients, delicious texture and flavor, your family will enjoy this old fashioned pecan pie recipe for years to come! 

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Make ahead and storage

You can make this easy pecan pie recipe up to 3 days in advance. Just cover the pie with plastic wrap and refrigerate. When ready to serve, allow to come to room temperature, then slice and serve!

If you want to freeze a baked pecan pie, then wrap it in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil and place it flat in the freezer for up to 3 months.

When ready to serve, allow pie to thaw in the refrigerator, then bring it to room temperature. Pecan pies freeze well due to their high sugar content, so you can make a pie for next time in advance!

Pecan pie with brown crust

Classic Southern Pecan Pie is easy to make and not just for the holidays! Simple ingredients, delicious texture and flavor, your family will enjoy this vintage recipe for years to come!

More desserts and Southern recipes

If you make this recipe, please scroll down and leave a rating and comment! I love to hear from you! Thank you!

Whole pecan pie on colorful tablecloth

Classic Southern Pecan Pie

Homemade classic Southern pecan pie recipe
5 from 17 votes
Print Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Louisiana, Southern
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Blind Bake Shell (optional): 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Yield: 8 slices
Author: Anecia Hero

Equipment

  • 9 inch pie plate See recipe notes for 8"inch pie plate
  • Thawed prepared pie crust

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 whole eggs , lightly beaten
  • 1 cup Karo corn syrup , light not dark or "lite"
  • teaspoons vanilla extract
  • cups pecan halves
  • 1 prepared pie crust (see recipe notes) (pre-formed or "roll out" dough)
  • spray oil ( for pie plate )(optional)

Instructions 

Prep the Crust

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF
  • Allow pie dough to come to room temperature
    1 prepared pie crust (see recipe notes)
  • Roll pie crust into 9" inch pie plate; lightly spray plate with oil/flour (optional); Read the Recipe Notes about the Pie Crust
    spray oil ( for pie plate )(optional)

Make the Pie Filling

  • In a large bowl, add eggs; beat lightly
    3 whole eggs
  • Add sugar, karo syrup, vanilla; stir by hand
    1 cup sugar, 1 cup Karo corn syrup, 1¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Add pecan halves to sugar mixture; stir by hand
    1½ cups pecan halves
  • Pour pecan/egg mixture into crust
  • Place pie plate directly on middle rack; bake for 50 – 70 minutes @350ºF; allow to cool for 2 hours (you may want to place a baking sheet on the lower oven rack to catch any spills)
  • Test middle of pie with a knife for doneness; knife or fork may have a little pie filling on it, but not much; if not done, cook another 10 minutes, then re-check center for doneness.
    Internal temperature should be 200ºF.
  • For best results, allow pie to cool for two hours before slicing

Notes

Read the Recipe Tips and Recipe FAQ in the post first
8″ or 9″ Pie Dish:
The measurements for this pecan pie recipe are for a 9″ pie dish. If you use an 8″ pie crust, use 1/3 cup less of sugar, 1/3 cup less of Karo syrup; only 1 teaspoon vanilla, 3 eggs and 1 cup of pecans.
Be careful when you pour the mixture into the pie shell; you may have a little left over, but try not to get the pie too full or it will spill over and mess up your oven
I place a baking sheet on the lower rack to catch any spills
If you use a deep dish pie plate, use the same amount of ingredients for a 9″inch pie pan.
Eggs:
Use large eggs. If you use extra large eggs, use only 2 not 3.
Pecan Halves
If you want a “pretty” pie, you’ll want to flip the pecan halves over so the top is showing; (I use a fork to do this); it doesn’t take long and your pie comes out beautiful!
Pie crust
Traditional pecan pie crusts are not light and fluffy. If you want a firm, fluffy crust, I recommend you blind bake the empty shell at 350ºF for 20-25 minutes.
For easy clean up, you can spray the pie plate lightly with a spray oil that contains flour. This is optional, but it does make clean up easier.
You might want to place a ring of foil around the edges of the pie shell so the crust won’t get too brown.

Nutrition Estimate

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 485kcalCarbohydrates: 82gProtein: 3gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 123mgPotassium: 97mgFiber: 2gSugar: 69gVitamin A: 10IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 24mgIron: 1mg
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