Southern Pecan Pie is an old-fashioned dessert of buttery, gooey, carmelized pecans with a hint of rum, nestled in a crispy, flaky crust. Serve this delicious deep-dish pie with a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream. This traditional treat is a favorite for fall, Thanksgiving, and whenever you just want to indulge.
For more southern dessert recipes, try my Southern Blueberry Cobbler next.
When I think of southern pecan pie, I think of the old-fashioned dessert, made with sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, Karo syrup, and of course, pecans. It is pecan pie in its purest form: classic, sweet, and simple.
Southern pecan pie is pure perfection; toasted pecans and the sweet, salty taste of the buttery filling make this beloved treat irresistible. And this particular recipe stays true to the southern roots of this dessert. After one slice, you’ll be licking the spoon and wanting to devour the whole pie!
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS SOUTHERN PECAN PIE RECIPE
- Quick and Easy Prep. With storebought pie crust as a shortcut, you can make the pecan pie filling and have it in the oven in just ten minutes.
- Delightful Holiday Indulgence. Now is not the time to worry about a diet! This dessert is rich, sweet, and decadent.
- Underrated Dessert. When most people think of pies, pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, and apple pie are the first to come to mind. Pull out this dish when you want a familiar favorite that is often overlooked.
Is Pecan Pie a Southern Thing?
Pecan pie originated in the United States. Pecans originally grew along the Mississippi River. After the Civil War, varieties of pecans were brought to Georgia and eventually Louisiana.
Some believe the first pecan pie was made in New Orleans by French settlers. While the origins are uncertain, the term derives from the French word “pacane,” the Algonquian term for “nut.” However, the first documented classic pecan pie recipe appeared in a Texas cookbook in the 1870s.
So pecans have a distinct history within the southern United States.
Southern Pecan Pie Ingredients
- Pecan Halves: These provide the best bite size crunch but you can use whole pecans or pecan pieces if you prefer.
- Eggs: The base of the custard-like filling in this recipe. Beat the eggs with sugar before combining them with the other ingredients. This helps them blend easier into the mixture.
- Dark Corn Syrup: For a thick, gooey filling, corn syrup is essential. You can use light corn syrup but I prefer dark corn syrup because it contains molasses and provides a deeper, more caramel-like flavor.
- Granulated Sugar: To balance the sweetness of the corn syrup.
- Unsalted Butter: Another key ingredient.
- Spices: A dash of warm spices brightens the overall flavor of the dish without overwhelming it. I use ground nutmeg and ground cinnamon.
- Rum Extract: This concentrated rum flavor adds depth to the pie. But don’t worry, it won’t get you drunk.
- Vanilla Extract: Adds the taste of vanilla.
- 9-inch Deep Dish Pie Shell: Use your favorite brand. For convenience, I suggest Pillsbury but if you can find Marie Callender’s, opt for that instead. You can use fresh or frozen.
How To Make Southern Pecan Pie
In a mixing bowl add eggs and sugar, stirring until just combined. Add corn syrup, butter (melted), nutmeg, cinnamon, rum extract, and vanilla extract and mix everything together until the ingredients are completely combined.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour pecans into the bottom of the pie crust and pour filling on top of the pecans. Place in the oven and bake for 50 minutes.
Halfway through baking, about 25 minutes, check the pie to make sure it is not browning too much. Cover with aluminum foil if this happens and continue baking.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely before enjoying.
- Southern Bourbon Pecan Pie: Instead of rum, add 2 tablespoons of bourbon, or even whiskey.
- Southern Chocolate Pecan Pie: Just when you thought pecan pie couldn’t get more decadent, add sweet chocolate morsels to the egg mixture! Use 3/4 cup of chocolate chips.
- Pecan Pie Without Corn Syrup: Replace corn syrup with brown sugar, molasses, or maple syrup. You will have to add a tablespoon of cornstarch or flour so the filling is thick enough.
- Use room temperature eggs because the ingredients will mix more evenly.
- Use nonstick spray in the measuring cup when measuring corn syrup so it will slide out easier.
- Place the pecan pie on a sheet pan so that if the filling overflows, hot sugar doesn’t get all over the oven.
- Don’t overbake the pie. If the pecans on the top burn, they will taste bitter. Pay close attention as it bakes so you can cover the pie halfway through baking if necessary.
- Allow the pie to completely cool before slicing. The pie continues to set when you pull it out of the oven. If you slice it too soon, the filling will be runny.
How to Serve Southern Pecan Pie
Serve pecan pie warm, cold, or at room temperature. Eat it as is or enjoy pecan pie a la mode. I satisfy my sweet tooth by topping pecan pie with butter pecan ice cream. But if you want to keep it lighter, opt for whipped cream.
Wrap leftover southern pecan pie in foil and place it in the refrigerator for up to one week.
To freeze pecan pie, tightly wrap it with plastic wrap for up to 2 months in the freezer. To thaw, place the pie in the fridge overnight. Do not let it defrost at room temperature because the condensation can affect the texture of the pie.
If you want to reheat it, place it into a preheated oven at 300°F for about 10 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does pecan pie have to be refrigerated?
Refrigerate pecan pie as soon as it has completely cooled because it contains eggs.
What is the thickening agent in pecan pie?
Corn syrup acts as both a sweetener and a thickening agent in southern pecan pie.
How can I tell if the pie is done?
Jiggle the pie. It should be set around the edges. (But it’s OK if the center moves a bit; just wait for it to cool before slicing.)
If you loved this Southern Pecan Pie recipe, let me know in the comments. For more delicious recipes, follow me on TikTok and Instagram!
Best Southern Pecan Pie
- 1½ cups Pecan Halves
- 3 Eggs
- 1 cup Dark Corn Syrup
- ½ cup Granulated Sugar
- 3 tbsp Unsalted Butter
- ¼ tsp Ground Nutmeg
- ¼ tsp Ground Cinnamon
- ½ tbsp Rum Extract
- ½ tbsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 9-inch Deep Dish Pie Shell fresh or frozen
- In a mixing bowl add eggs and sugar, mix until just combined. Add corn syrup, butter (melted), nutmeg, cinnamon, rum extract, vanilla extract and mix everything together until ingredients are completely combined.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Pour pecans into the bottom of pie crust and pour filling on top of the pecans.
- Place in the oven and bake for 50 minutes.
- Halfway through baking, about 25 minutes, check the pie to make sure it is not browning too much. Cover with aluminum foil if this happens and continue baking.
- Remove from the oven and let cool completely. I love to top pecan pie with buttered pecan ice cream!