This pecan pie without corn syrup is made with brown butter, dark brown sugar, NO corn syrup, and pecans, all in a crisp, buttery shortbread crust. This brown sugar pecan pie is decadent and completely delicious.
Why This Recipe Works
This pecan pie is not your traditional pecan pie, it’s special. The flavors, textures in this pie are out of this world. While omitting corn syrup from pecan pie might seem like detour from a traditional pecan pie, the original pecan pie recipes from the 1800s did not use corn syrup!
What makes this pecan pie without corn syrup really amazing are all the little details. This recipe uses brown dark brown sugar and the extra molasses is something magical, it also uses brown butter. Brown butter add an extra nutty, toffee flavor that goes perfectly with the pecans and brown sugar. Lastly, the shortbread crust is simpler to make than a traditional pie crust and makes the perfect sweet, crispy base for this pie.
If you love buttery pecan flavored baked goods try our pecan upside down cake and brown butter pecan cookies!
- Dark Brown Sugar. Dark brown sugar has a higher molasses content that works really well with the pecans. We use sugar alone in this recipe, no corn syrup in the pecan pie filling.
- Sugar. A little bit of white sugar helps lighten the texture and flavor.
- Butter. The butter is browned before is gradually added to the eggs and other ingredients. The brown butter adds a rich toffee flavor that complements the pecans and dark brown sugar.
- Eggs. Large eggs help bind the mixture together.
- Flour. A little bit of flour helps thicken and give the pie filling some body.
- Milk. Just a little milk, any kind of milk should work fine.
- Vanilla. Vanilla adds wonderful flavor this pie filling.
- Pecans. Pecans are essential pecan pie. We use pecan halves.
- Butter. Butter helps keep the shortbread crust crisp while also adding rich butter flavor.
- Powdered Sugar. Powdered sugar sweetens the crust and the fine powdered consistency, plus the little bit of cornstarch help keep the crust light.
- Flour. All-purpose flour makes up the body of this pie crust.
- Vanilla. Vanilla extra boots the flavor and complements the pie filling.
- Salt. A little salt enhances flavor while also balancing out the sweetness of the crust.
How to Make this Recipe
The Shortbread Crust
When I had some of my friends and family come taste test this pie, I had few people that were concerned that the shortbread crust would be too sweet when paired with the brown butter, brown sugar pecan pie filling. Don’t worry, this shortbread crust actually loses some of its sweetness when it’s baked. It’s crisp, buttery, and pairs perfectly with the this pecan pie without corn syrup.
- Cream butter. Start by beating the butter and powdered sugar together for about 2 minutes until the texture is light and fluffy.
- Add flour. Add the flour, salt, and vanilla and mix together until the flour is just incorporated. The crust dough should look like a crumbly sugar cookie dough.
- Press into pie pan. Pour the shortbread dough into your pie pan and press it evenly around the bottom and up the sides of the pie dish.
- Blind bake. Place a large sheet of foil or parchment paper over the dough in the pan and fill it with pie weights, dry beans, sugar, etc. to blind bake the crust. (see section below on blind baking for more info). Bake the crust at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.
- Remove the weights. Remove whatever you used to weight down your pie crust and let it cool while you make the pie filling. (recipe cont. below)
Pecan Pie Filling
- Beat eggs. Beat the eggs with a hand mixer until they are light and foamy. Add in dark brown sugar, white sugar, flour, milk and vanilla. Beat until smooth, then set aside.
- Brown the butter. In a heavy-bottomed pot, brown the butter until it is amber-colored and smells toasted.
- Add butter to pie filling. Slowly add the brown butter to the egg mixture a little at time. Start by adding a spoonful of brown butter (make sure to get all the dark bits at the bottom!) to the egg mixture and whisk it in quickly. Continue adding the butter a little bit at a time, make sure it is whisked in smoothly before adding more.
- Fold in pecans. Add the pecan halves into your pie filling and then pour the mixture into your blind baked, shortbread crust.
- Bake. Bake the pecan pie without corn syrup at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Then, lower the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 40-50 minutes until the pie is no longer jiggly in the center. About halfway through baking, cover the pie with foil ot prevent it from browning too much. Cool before eating.
How to Blind Bake a Pie Crust
Blind baking is where you bake your crust without filling. When you weight the crust down it prevents the crust from shrinking as it bakes. In this case, we are going to bake our shortbread crust part way, then adding the brown butter pecan pie filling and letting it finish cooking in the oven with the filling. Blind baking prevents the crust from getting too soggy.
Different ways to weigh down the pie crust
One important step in blind baking is weighting down your crust. We don’t want our shortbread crust to lose its shape while it bakes so we are going to weigh it down. There are a few different ways you can weigh down crust—pie weights, dry beans, rice, or sugar.
The first thing you’ll want to do is place a large piece of foil or parchment paper in your pie crust to act as a barrier between your crust and whatever you use to weigh it down. You’ll then fill that foil or parchment paper with either pie weights, dry beans, rice, or granulated sugar (NOT powdered sugar).
You can purchase pie weights like these one from Amazon and they can be used over and over again for years to come!
Or you can use dry beans or rice, I’ve used rice and dry beans many times, and you can keep reusing them for future blind baking crusts—just don’t try and cook those beans or rice after you’ve used them to weigh down your pie. If you do go this route, make sure you label the bag they are in so you don’t accidentally try to cook the rice or beans in the future!
Your other option is to use just regular old granulated sugar! You can even reuse the sugar for baking in the future! Just cool the sugar completely before putting it in a bag or container back in your pantry.
Once you decide what you’re going to weigh your pie crust down with, bake it for ten minutes at 350 degrees. Then remove your weights, cool the pie crust completely, before adding your brown butter pecan pie filling and returning it to the oven.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Yes! This pecan pie without corn syrup freezes so well. You can freeze the entire pie or even just a slice or leftover pie. Let the pie cool completely before trying to freeze it. To make sure this pie doesn’t get freezer burned it is best to double wrap it. Wrap the entire pie, baking dish and all, securely in plastic wrap or foil and then wrap it again. You want to prevent any air getting inside the to the pie. This pie can be frozen for up to two months. Thaw the pie out completely before eating.
According to the USDA, homemade egg-rich pies such as pecan, pumpkin, lemon meringue and custard must be kept refrigerated after cooking and cooling. Refrigeration helps prevent bacteria growth. This pecan pie, not only doesn’t have corn syrup, but also has less eggs than a traditional pecan pie. It should be fine to sit out at room temperature for several hours, but to be safe I recommend covering and refrigerating the pie after it has cooled.
Yes! This pecan pie is made without corn syrup. This recipe uses dark brown sugar, brown butter, eggs, and pecans, of course, as the base of the this pecan pie.
If your pecan pie is runny, that is usually a sign that you have not baked your pie for long enough. A pecan pie made with corn syrup should have a slight wobble to it when it comes out of the oven and will continue to set up as it cools.
This pecan pie is made without corn syrup and shouldn’t have a wobble to it when it comes out of the oven.
This pie needs to cool for 2-4 hours to reach room temperature and completely set up. I think this pie is best served at room temperature.
How to Serve this Pie
I think this pecan pie without corn syrup is best served at room temperature. It is delicious by itself or with a dollop of freshly whipped cream, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
How to Store this Recipe
This pie will be good at room temperature for several hours. I do recommend refrigerating it overnight to preserve freshness and prevent any bacteria growth.
Keep this brown sugar pecan pie covered to when refrigerating to prevent it from drying out. It will stay good in the fridge for up to a week. I like to let the pie come to room temperature before serving.
This pie freezes wonderfully! You can freeze the entire baked pie or even just a slice or two. Wrap the pie or pie slice in two layers of plastic wrap or foil to prevent any air from getting in. If storing a slice of pie, place it in an airtight container after wrapping it to avoid smashing the slice in the freezer. Let the pie thaw and come to room temperature before serving.
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Pecan Pie with a Shortbread Crust (without Corn Syrup!)
- 1 cup butter
- 2 c flour measured correctly
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- ½ teaspoon salt
Pecan Pie Filling:
- 1 cup dark brown sugar packed
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 ¼ cups pecan halves
- Beat together butter and sugar until fluffy. Then add in vanilla extract, salt, and flour until mixture is crumbly.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Press dough into a pie dish (I used a 9” pie dish), pushing it up the sides into an even layer and making a nice crust. Line your crust with parchment paper or aluminum foil and fill it with pie weights, sugar, or dry beans (this is called blind baking) and bake the crust for 10 minutes.
- Remove your weights and let the crust cool before adding your pecan pie filling.
Pecan Pie Filling:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Beate ggs with a hand mixer until they get foamy. Add in both of your sugars, flour, vanilla, and milk. Beat until smooth.
- In a saucepan, add your butter and brown it until fragrant and an amber color. Add a little bit of the butter to you filling and beat until incorporated. Repeat this until all the butter has been added in.
- Fold in your pecan halves. Then pour your
filling into you shortbread crust. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
- Lower the temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for an additional 40-50 minutes until the pie is no longer jiggly in the center. Watch your pie crust and cover the pie with foil if it starts to get too dark. I usually cover mine about halfway through.
- Cool pie completely before slicing and eating.
Amazing. A pie shop opened in our area featuring shortbread crusts and I just had to make one. The fact that it is my favorite, pecan is serendipity. This will become my signature pie, the one my family comes home for.
In Fine Taste
Thank you Alice! It's such a great pecan pie, I hope your family appreciates your cooking!
This was truly delicious. I do not bake pies often so I didn't have a pie tin but had a huge craving for pecan pie. I used a 5.5" x 14" rectangular tart pan and everything fit perfectly. I even used brown butter for the shortbread crust. Slightly warm from the oven, we topped it off with a little vanilla ice cream and the results were dangerously good.