Simple Pecan Pie Recipe


Making Pecan Pie from scratch is A LOT EASIER than you might think.  For years now, I've avoided baking this pie.  Mainly because I've listened to distraught homecooks tell of their good intentions to make the infamous "Grandmother's Pie" only to be let down and left with an overly brown crust holding a runny filling.  No thanks, but that's not the kind of baking experience I need during the holidays.

I read and read and read Pecan Pie recipes until I was completely UNcertain which way to turn.  I didn't feel I could trust any recipe, until I went to my most trusted source for cooking.  I don't know why I didn't think to read there first, it's my happy place of learning and it has never steered me wrong.  I'm speaking of course of Cook's Illustrated.  I've read their magazine for YEARS.  Sure enough, they had the perfect pecan pie recipe.  So I followed their technique for baking the filling.

The outcome was a perfectly firm pecan pie!  I had no doubts or worries when I pulled it out of the oven.  It was very apparent by touching the top, hot out of the oven, there was success waiting to be sliced out.  The pecans shined so beautifully and the crust was light and flakey.  It look so perfect, it almost didn't look real at all.  My son even asked me, upon his inspection of my cooking, "is that real or did you make a fake pie?"  Coming from a nine year old, I took that to be a compliment.

Serves 8

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup light corn sirup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whole pecans (8 ounces)

Heat oven to 275ºF degrees.

Fill a medium saucepan with 1-inch of water and heat to below a simmer over medium-low heat.  Use a medium size, heat-proof bowl that will sit on the saucepan but not touch the water or bottom of the pan. If you actually own a double-boiler, well then of course, use it instead. ;D

With the bowl set on the pan, melt the butter.  Make sure the water below maintains below a simmer.  Remove bowl from pan; mix in sugar and salt with a wooden spoon until butter is absorbed; remove any clumps of brown sugar.  Beat in eggs, then corn sirup and vanilla.  Return bowl to hot water pan; stir until mixture is shiny and warm to the touch, about 130ºF degrees.  I used a thermometer to be absolutely sure. Remove from heat; stir in pecans.

Pour mixture into the pie shell.  BAKE 50 to 60 minutes, until center feels set yet soft, like gelatin when gently pressed.  Transfer pie to rack and cool completely for at least 4 hours.

The directions say, if you want to eat warm pie, you still have to allow the pie to cool completely.  Cut your slice and warm it in a 250ºF degree oven for about 20 minutes.  (Like that's gonna happen!)

If you happen to use salted butter in this recipe, omit the 1/2 teaspoon salt.

  • What a beautiful Pie! I’m a Cook’s Illustrated junkie myself. I love their Cook’s Country Magazine too. Do you watch their cooking shows? I DVR them so I can watch them on my free time.

    Have a great Thanksgiving Jill! 🙂

    • Thank you, Jane!
      We haven’t had cable for years; we’ve gone completely Netflix. Thankfully, Netflix has several seasons of ATC . I just haven’t had any time to watch them. I’ve been an online subscriber for 2 years and they just about have a video for every recipe. I love it. I even have the iPhone app. I use it while waiting for Maggie to get out of dance class. The app has videos, too. That helps.
      I do miss watching Christopher Kimball and the girls.

      Are you hosting the Thanksgiving dinner this year? What’s your favorite recipe to make?

  • I’m making Thanksgiving dinner (turkey, bread stuffing, potatoes, pumpkin pie, etc.) But this year I won a Paula Deen Spiral ham from Food Buzz along with a $250 stipend to help pay for my Thanksgiving dinner! So I will have a huge feast for about 15 people! My boys usually want me to make Peanut Butter Kiss cookies, it’s one of their favorites.

    Are you hosting Thanksgiving dinner?

    • How cool is all that! Congratulations, Jane!

      For the past 14 years of our marriage, we have always gone to eat with my folks in Garland and we’re good with that. The past few months have been so hectic, we both feel like a having a quiet Thanksgiving dinner at home.

      Next week, I will be making our first McKeever Thanksgiving meal. I get to make all the dishes my family dreams of eating. We will miss our folks but we are looking forward to our own family dinner. My picky eater is really looking forward to it.

      • Enjoy your first McKeever Thanksgiving meal! It’s a lot of work but so satisfying and special!

        • Thank you, Jane!

  • Hi Jill,

    I’m in Australia and looking at the picture of that yummy pie! Just wondering what I could use instead of the corn syrup. Not sure if I can buy that here?


    Sharon 🙂

    • Hi Sharon!

      Corn syrup is just a cheap substitute for THICK sugar syrup.

      Here’s a link on how to make sugar syrup.

      • Thanks so much for the sugar syrup recipe Jill 🙂 I look forward to giving this a go now. Certainly suits my sweet tooth.

        • You’re welcome, Sharon!

  • Patty

    Disaster! Followed the directions to the letter and when I cut the pie it was pecan soup!,

    • That’s a bummer!

    • Elaine

      Patty, same thing happened to me. So disappointed! Did you ever figure out what went wrong?