One bite of my Old-Fashioned Southern Pecan Pie, and your taste buds will be swooning with crunchy, sweet, caramelly goodness. Classic and simple, it’s a holiday tradition, and it’s also one of the easiest pies you will ever make!
In the South, there are as many recipes for pecan pie as there are pecan trees. Every family has a favorite, and this is ours. This is a wonderfully rich, old-fashioned pecan custard pie that isn’t cloyingly sweet.
This timeless recipe is courtesy of my sweet mother-in-law, Dot Rigsby, who is 98 years old. Dot has made this delicious pecan pie for many years, and it is a long-time favorite of her family and friends.
Dot has two secrets; she doesn’t include light or dark corn syrup in her recipe, and she uses roasted pecans. As a result, this make-ahead classic pecan pie is chock-full of crunchy, buttery pecans, and the decadent caramel custard filling is out of this world delicious!
Here’s what you will need:
- Pecans – are “love at first bite,” with their sweet, buttery flavor. These beloved southern nuts are a common ingredient in both sweet and savory recipes. Roasted Pecans with a bit of butter and a sprinkle of salt, are also known as the “little black dress of appetizers.”
- Butter – makes the pecan pie custard ultra-rich and flavorful. You can use salted or unsalted, but leave out the salt in the recipe if you use salted.
- All-purpose flour – helps to thicken the custard.
- Brown sugar – provides a uniquely sweet, irresistible caramel flavor to the custard.
- Eggs – not only add richness to the custard, but they also help bind everything together.
- Vanilla extract – enhances all of the other flavors in the custard and gives it a mild vanilla flavor. You can also substitute vanilla paste.
- Salt – enhances the flavors in the pie. If salted butter is used, you can omit it.
- Milk – combines with the other ingredients to make a rich, creamy custard.
- You will also need one unbaked deep-dish frozen nine-inch pie shell or two unbaked regular frozen nine-inch pie shells.
Here’s how to make it:
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
- Combine the melted butter, flour, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt, and milk in a large bowl.
- Use a whisk and combine.
- Pour the pecans into the pie shell and spread them out evenly.
- Pour the syrup mixture evenly over the pecans. They will rise to the top!
- Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 60 minutes or until the filling is set.
- Cool completely before serving. Optional: top with whipped cream, whipped topping, or vanilla or butter-pecan ice cream before serving.
Frequently asked questions:
When buying shelled pecans, look for plump nuts that are uniform in color and size. The best time to purchase pecans is in the fall, when they have just been harvested.
I usually buy about ten pounds of freshly harvested pecans and keep them in the freezer for use throughout the year. They can be used immediately and do not need to thaw first.
Because pecans have a high-fat content, if you are not going to use them right away, it’s best to store them in an airtight container in the freezer to prevent them from becoming rancid. They can be stored in the freezer for up to one year.
You can make this pie ahead, cover it, and store it at room temperature for one to two days.
To freeze, follow the directions as written and bake the pie. Allow it to cool completely, then wrap tightly with plastic wrap and then foil. Place in a freezer-safe zip-top bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw the pie overnight in the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature before serving.
Cover and store leftovers at room temperature for one to two days or in the refrigerator for four to five days.
Why yes, you can! Many southern cooks use bourbon instead of vanilla extract in their pecan pies.
To roast pecan halves, spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet and roast them in a 350-degree oven for eight to ten minutes. If you roast pecan pieces, it will not take as much time, so watch them carefully. Also, freshly harvested pecans will take a little longer to roast because they have a higher moisture content.
As written, this recipe makes one deep dish pie or two regular pies. If you use a deep-dish pie shell, you will have a small amount of custard left over. If you use two regular pie shells, divide the pecans evenly between the crusts and divide the custard evenly.
The number of servings and nutrition information shown is for one pie made in a deep-dish pie crust.
Always bake your pies on a rimmed baking sheet. It will make them much easier to remove from the oven, especially if you use purchased pie crusts in aluminum pans. It also keeps your oven clean in case your pie filling bubbles up and overflows.
A friend of mine who is a professional cook told me she always uses Publix’s frozen deep-dish pie crust for a frozen pie crust. However, for a rolled pie crust, she likes Trader Joe’s brand. I have followed both of her recommendations, and I agree.
More Southern-style desserts:
If you like Southern-style desserts, you might also be interested in my Apple Dapple Cake with Caramel Glaze, Southern Pecan Praline Cake, Southern Peach Cobbler, Georgia Cornbread Cake, Southern Pecan Praline Cheesecake, Pecan Praline Ice Cream, or Southern Peaches and Cream Pie.
Here is a link to all of my dessert recipes if you need more recipes or menu ideas.
★ If you make this dish, please leave a comment and give this recipe a star rating. I would love to know how you liked it!
Thank you so much for visiting Grits and Pinecones!
Old-Fashioned Southern Pecan Pie Recipe
- 2 cups chopped pecans roasted
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 2 ⅓ cups brown sugar packed
- 4 large eggs beaten
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 4 tablespoons whole milk
- 1 frozen unbaked deep-dish 9-inch pie shell thawed, or 2 frozen regular unbaked 9-inch pie shells
- Optional: Whipped cream, whipped topping or vanilla ice cream for serving
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
- Combine the melted butter, flour, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt, and milk in a large bowl and mix well.
- Pour the pecans into the pie shell and spread out evenly.
- Pour the custard mixture evenly over the pecans. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 60 minutes or until the filling is set.
- Cool completely and serve.