This pecan pie recipe without corn syrup is just another one of those delicious desserts that I love making during the holidays. I must claim here that I am a lover of pecans, and try to bake them into desserts whenever I can, as evidenced by some of the recipes shared here (i.e. sticky pecan buns, apple pecan cheesecake, etc.). This decadent pie is no exception!
What Does Pecan Pie Taste Like?
Pecans add a wonderfully unique, nutty flavor to desserts, which is probably why pecan pie was even invented. A pie devoted just to pecans? Yes, please!
A perfect pecan pie will offer the warm, nutty flavor of pecans combined with the flavor of molasses from the brown sugar in the recipe. It will just smell and taste like holiday goodness!
That said, it saddens me to think of the number of times I’ve had a dry and overly sweet pecan pie. I’m not one of those people that has to have homemade everything, but I just find that store-bought pecan pie is disappointing more often than not.
Easy Pecan Pie
To get started on my mission of making a pie I could be proud of, I scoured the web for pecan recipes, only to find that many of them are far too sweet or never end up setting up properly.
So I decided to share my quest for perfect pecan pie with my Instagram followers, in case any of them had some much loved family recipes. One follower instantly grabbed my attention with her response.
The follower, Lindsey Frost, sent me a snapshot of her grandmother’s recipe card for old fashioned pecan pie. It was written in this beautiful cursive on a weathered index card and it looked like just the gem it turned out to be.
Moreover, it seemed like an incredibly easy pecan pie to make. Not much fuss and not as much sugar as many of the other pie recipes I’d seen on the web.
The best part was that it didn’t require any dark corn syrup, which I never have on hand.
How do you keep a pecan pie from being runny?
A lot of people run into the issue of runny pecan pie or a soupy pecan pie filling. This is often because of an imbalanced ratio of liquid to pecans.
I definitely ran into this issue myself before I tried Lindsey’s grandmother’s recipe. I’d love the gooey consistency of some of the pies, but oh, what a mess they were to slice up!
This pecan pie recipe has the perfect balance of pecans to liquid, and the combination of the maple syrup and flour help work thickening magic without the need for corn syrup.
The end result is a pie that has a moist, gooey layer of caramel goodness topped with a crisp and crunchy pecan layer.
Why You Should Try This Recipe:
Here’s why I think this pecan pie is truly the best pecan pie recipe I’ve ever made at home:
- You don’t have to pre-bake the crust. You’ll notice that many recipes on the web call for you to pre-bake or “blind bake” the pie crust. There’s no need for that here.
- You don’t need corn syrup on hand. Most home bakers don’t readily have corn syrup, especially dark corn syrup, on hand. For this recipe, there’s no need to run out to the store to buy an ingredient you likely won’t use again or use very often.
- This recipe has less sugar than most pecan pie recipes. Most recipes call for 2+ cups of sugar. This recipe has a total of 1 1/2 cups of sugar (1 cup brown, 1/2 cup white). This makes the pie sweet, but not overly sweet. When pecan pie is too sweet, it just ends up tasting more like you’re eating sugar by the handful than any kind of caramel nutty goodness.
- Flavor, flavor, flavor! With the inclusion of maple syrup, brown sugar, and of course pecans, you get plenty of warm nutty flavor that just makes this dessert boast “Happy Holidays!”
Tips for Making Pecan Pie at Home
Here are some suggestions I like to be mindful of when I’m making this pecan pie at home:
- Pick up a large bag of pecan halves from the store. I like picking mine up from Costco because it delivers the most value for the price. Before I use the pecan halves in the filling, I give them a rough chop so that they’re broken up in half or thirds. By giving them a rough chop, you still get great pecan texture without them being too itty bitty (like pecan pieces). You’ll also have leftover pecan halves with a Costco-size bag so that you can decorate the top of your pie.
- I usually use the photographed Emile Henry 10″ pie dish with a 9″ sheet of store-bought pie crust for this recipe. I find that this combination works out really well because the pie crust isn’t really visible around the rim (i.e. less chance of it browning too quickly) and it bakes in the same time as the filling. If you’re using homemade pie crust, you may need to slightly increase the baking time as homemade crust tends to take longer to bake. If you’re using a smaller pie dish and your crust is visible along the edges, you may want to tent a piece of foil around your pie at some point to protect the crust from browning further. You can assess as you bake the pie.
- Even though pecans typically sink a bit into the filling, I still aim for creating a radial pattern of pecan halves on top. I just add the pecan halves for the top design after 10 minutes into the pie baking. I find that after 10 minutes, the pie has a slight setness to the surface that allows you to gently place the pecan halves on top without them immediately sinking like the chopped pecans in the filling. They’ll end up sinking just a bit when the pie goes back into the oven, but it’s just enough to still make the top pretty while keeping them protected in pie batter and prevent them from browning too much in the oven.
- Bake the pie for a total of 40 to 45 minutes, until just the center has a slight wobble. If your pecans are browning too much, you can tent a piece of foil over the top but I find that they’re usually OK without the foil and that the pie is ready at the 40 minute mark. Your pie will further set when it’s out of the oven and cooling.
- Let the pie cool completely before enjoying. Hot sugar is not fun to eat! Plus, your pie filling will be a bit too gooey at that point for you to cut the pie into neat slices.
Thank you to Lindsey Frost for her grandmother’s wonderful recipe!
- 1 (9") sheet of store-bought pie crust
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tsp all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp heavy cream (or evaporated milk)
- 2 tsp pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup pecan halves, roughly chopped
- more pecan halves for decorating the top (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 10" pie dish with baking spray or softened butter. Unroll a sheet of pie crust and line the pie dish with the crust.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together until combined. Add the flour, heavy cream, and maple syrup. Whisk everything to combine.
- If your melted butter is warm, slowly stream it into the batter as you whisk to combine. If the butter has cooled, then you can just dump it in and whisk.
- Use a spoon to stir in the roughly chopped pecans into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pie crust.
- Place the pie on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and gently place pecan halves on top in a radial pattern if adding any kind of pecan design to the top. Place the pie back in the oven and bake for another 30 to 35 minutes, or until the center of the pie just has a slight wobble and the crust is golden along the edges.
- Let the pie cool completely on the counter before slicing and serving.
Do not omit the flour if you are trying to do a flourless pie. Instead, you'll want to use a different pecan pie recipe that calls for corn syrup instead.
If your crust is browning too much or your nuts are browning too much, you can tent a piece of foil over the pie to protect them as the pie continues baking until it has just a slight wobble in the center.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 364Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 63mgSodium: 93mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 2gSugar: 30gProtein: 3g