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!
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.
The recipe is really easy to make, but you might want to make two at a time though...it goes fast!
Quick and easy to make- ready in 1 hour!
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!
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.
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.
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.
Granulated white sugar, not brown sugar or powdered or confectioners sugar.
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
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!
Bake the pecan pie at 350ºF for 50-70 minutes. Take it out of the oven and slightly shake the pan. If the center jiggles, bake it another 10 minutes.
Another way to determine doneness is to use a thermometer. The internal temperature should be 200ºF. The pie filling will solidify as the pie cools, so if you want "pretty" pie slices, let it cool first before slicing.
The gooey Karo syrup filling firms up in about two hours. If you serve this classic Southern pecan pie before then, the filling will be runny and not quite firm. It will still be delicious, just not as "pretty."
The measurements for this pecan pie recipe are for a 9-inch pie plate.
If you use an 8" pie dish, use ⅓ cup less of sugar and Karo syrup; 1 teaspoon vanilla, 3 eggs and 1 cup of pecans. If you're using a deep dish pie plate, no need to adjust the ingredient amounts.
The first time I ever made this recipe, I thought I ruined it because all the pecans sunk to the bottom! Believe it or not, the pecans will rise to the top. Some may be upside down and others right side up.
If you want all the pecans to be "right side up," you'll have to flip some of the pecans over after you pour the mixture into the pie shell. I just use a fork to flip them over...
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!
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
- Gingerbread Bundt Cake
- Mixed Green Cornbread Casserole
- Classic Buttermilk Pie
- Orange Olive Oil Cake
- Pecan Pralines
- Microwave Peanut Brittle
- Southern Cornbread Dressing
- Homemade Cream Style Corn
- Creamy Mac & Cheese
- Candied Sweet Potatoes
- Orange Spiced Cranberry Sauce
- Parsnip Gratin
- Collard Greens
- Green Bean Casserole - No Canned Soup
- Mashed Rutabaga
- Fried Potato Cakes
If you make this recipe, please scroll down and leave a rating and comment! I love to hear from you! Thank you!
Classic Southern Pecan Pie
- 9 inch pie plate See recipe notes for 8"inch pie plate
- Thawed prepared pie crust
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 whole eggs , lightly beaten
- 1 cup Karo corn syrup , light not dark or "lite"
- 1¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1½ cups pecan halves
- 1 prepared pie crust (see recipe notes) (pre-formed or "roll out" dough)
- spray oil ( for pie plate )(optional)
Prep the Crust
- Preheat oven to 350ºF
- Allow pie dough to come to room temperature1 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 Crustspray oil ( for pie plate )(optional)
Make the Pie Filling
- In a large bowl, add eggs; beat lightly3 whole eggs
- Add sugar, karo syrup, vanilla; stir by hand1 cup sugar, 1 cup Karo corn syrup, 1¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
- Add pecan halves to sugar mixture; stir by hand1½ 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 the pie plate on a baking sheet 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