When it's fall, it's time to cook with pecans. Our pecan pie without corn syrup is definitely a sweet-and-sticky family favorite. Enjoy the rich caramel, nutty flavor of this traditional fall dessert!
Pecan pie is an American dessert that consists of a gooey custard baked in a pastry shell and topped with pecans. It's a sweet treat typically cut in small slices, as it is very rich, and is very popular at Thanksgiving.
This dessert hails from the southeastern United States. It most likely originated in the 1800s in New Orleans when French immigrants used pecan nuts in a variation of chess pie.
A pecan pie recipe was printed on Karo corn syrup labels in the 1930s and 1940s, spreading this dessert throughout the United States. It has been a favorite Thanksgiving dessert ever since.
Curious about what ingredients you need to make a pecan pie without corn syrup? Let's talk about the most important ingredients in this simple dessert recipe.
- Pecans: Use a combination of halves and chopped nuts in this recipe. The chopped ones go in the filling, and the halves go on top for decoration.
- Eggs: These are the key ingredient in the custard filling to give it richness and stability. Use large eggs.
- Sugar: Using a combination of white and brown sugar provides a great depth of flavor and sweetness.
- Pastry: We like to use homemade shortcrust pastry, but you can use store-bought crust if you prefer.
See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
How to Make
Gather the ingredients for the filling without corn syrup. You'll need pecan halves for the top and chopped pecans for the filling. Grab two eggs, granulated white sugar, brown sugar, all-purpose flour, milk, salt, vanilla extract, and melted butter.
- Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and beat them with a handheld mixer until they're smooth. Add the melted butter and beat until combined.
- Add all the other filling ingredients except the chopped pecans and beat until smooth.
3. Fold in the chopped pecans with a spatula until evenly combined.
4. Pour the filling for pecan pie without corn syrup into a pre-baked crust. (Here's some tips for lining a tart pan with pastry.) See the recipe card for instructions.
5. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes, then place the pecan halves in concentric circles on top.
Lower the oven temperature to 300°F and bake for another 35 minutes or until the center jiggles slightly when shaken.
Let the pecan pie without corn syrup cool completely on a wire rack before slicing, about 2 hours. (If you're using a loose-bottomed tart pan as we did in the photos above, feel free to take it out of the pan after 10 minutes of cooling.)
6. Once cooled, cut into slices and enjoy with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
The filling typically contains eggs, white and brown sugar, melted butter, salt, corn syrup, and vanilla extract. We don't add the corn syrup; it makes this treat just a teeny bit healthier. We also like to add a little bit of milk and all-purpose flour.
First, give it a little shake. The filling should jiggle a little in the center, but the edges should be set. Next, you can check the temperature. The filling should have an internal temperature of at least 185 F in the center, and a knife or toothpick inserted into the middle should come out clean (no sticky goo on it).
Also, you can look at it. The edges should have puffed slightly, the top should be crisp, and the nuts and pastry should be browned. Still in doubt? Simply bake for an extra 5-10 minutes as a precaution.
Pecan pie is best eaten cold or at least cooled to room temperature. The filling sets as it cools, that's why it's best to wait a couple of hours before slicing. If you don't, it will just be a sticky, gooey mess.
If your pecan pie came out a bit runny, here are a few reasons why that may have happened, and some ways you can fix it next time. First, it might be underbaked. Check for doneness with the tips above to make sure that it's baked properly.
Maybe you cooked at the wrong oven temperature. Some ovens run hot or cold so make sure to calibrate your oven with an oven thermometer to make sure that it's at the right temperature.
Make sure you used the right pie plate. Never use a deep dish for this recipe because the extra depth takes too long to cook. The filling should only be about 1-inch deep.
Most people prefer vanilla ice cream or whipped cream with it. We're definitely in the vanilla ice cream camp! It's up to you, but if you can't decide, go with both.
If you love pecan pie, you'll also enjoy butter tarts. This Canadian dessert is very similar to a pecan pie.
- Make Ahead: Refrigerate a baked pecan pie without corn syrup for up to 3 days, or freeze it for up to 2 months.
- Storage: Pecan pie without corn syrup needs to be refrigerated because it contains eggs. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil to lock in freshness and keep out odors, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- Freezing: For an unbaked pecan pie without corn syrup, flash freeze it for 2 hours, then wrap in plastic and foil and freeze for up to 1 month. Bake directly from frozen, increasing the baking time by 30 minutes.
- Use homemade pastry for the best taste and texture. Use our favorite recipe for perfectly flaky pastry. Check out shortcrust pastry with lard.
- Use a mixture of chopped and whole pecans for an appealing crunch (filling) and beautiful presentation (top).
- Pre-bake the crust before pouring the filling into the pastry. This ensures a crisp base.
- Bake it on a dark metal cookie sheet to make the pastry even crispier. It also makes it easier to take it out of the oven.
- Let it cool completely before slicing it. Otherwise, it will be runny and gooey.
More Pies and Tarts You'll Love
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Pecan Pie without Corn Syrup
Pre-Baking the Pastry (35 min)
- Preheat the oven to 400 F and put in a dark, heavy cookie sheet to preheat.
- Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to about ⅛ inch thick and use it to line a 9-inch tart pan or pie plate. Prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork, then chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.
- Line the pastry with a piece of parchment paper, then fill with dried beans. Bake at 400 F for 10 minutes, then remove the paper and beans and bake for another 5-8 minutes, until the pastry is a light golden brown and shrinking away from the sides of the pan.
Making the Filling (10 min)
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Beat the eggs with a handheld electric mixer until smooth, then beat in the melted butter. Add the brown sugar, white sugar, salt, flour, milk, and vanilla extract and beat thoroughly.
- Fold in the chopped pecans.
- Spread the filling evenly in the pre-baked pastry shell.
Baking Pecan Pie Without Corn Syrup (50 min + 2 hrs cooling)
- Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and use the pecan halves to form a decorative pattern of concentric circles on top. Start with the outer edge and work your way in.
- Lower the oven temperature to 300 F, and bake for 35 minutes, until the middle has only a slight wobble when shaken. The filling should be puffed up, the edges should be set, and the nuts should be a darker brown.
- Let the pie cool on a wire rack for at least 2 hours to allow the filling to fully set. If you're using a loose-bottomed tart pan, remove the pie from the pan after it has cooled for 10 minutes.
- Make your own pastry for the best taste. It's easy and worth the time.
- Use both chopped and whole pecans for a good combination.
- Pre-bake the crust before assembling to prevent a soggy bottom.
- Bake it on top of a cookie sheet to make the pastry even crispier. It also makes it easier to remove it from the oven.
- Let it cool completely before slicing, or it will be too gooey.
Serving sizes and nutritional information are only an estimate and may vary from your results.