This no bake turtle pie recipe might be the most delicious pie you make this year. It has a chocolate Oreo cookie crust, chocolate truffle ganache, thick caramel, salted candied pecans, and a caramel cheesecake filling, all topped off with freshly whipped cream.
Why this Recipe Works
My love for this pecan turtle pie recipe runs deep. The recipe was inspired by the Edward’s turtle pie you get out of the freezer section (pretty good for an inexpensive frozen pie, if you ask me!). However, we had to level it up! It needed more chocolate, more caramel, and definitely more pecans.
The chocolate truffle ganache and caramel layers add so much richness to this pie and ensures that the flavors aren’t overshadowed by the tangy caramel cream cheese filling. The salted candied pecans help balance out the sweetness and add the perfect crunch and nuttiness that this turtle pie needs.
I love that this is a no bake pie, however, this does mean it needs some time to set up in the fridge. It’s perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or even birthdays, especially if you’re not a big cake lover, like my husband.
- Oreos. Oreos are used to make the chocolate cookie crust, you can use off-brand chocolate sandwich cookies as well.
- Butter. Melted butter helps hold the chocolate cookie crust together. You can use salted or unsalted.
- Chocolate Chips. We use semisweet chocolate chips at make a chocolate truffle ganache layer. You can use dark chocolate if you prefer. I do not recommend milk chocolate chips for this part.
- Cream. Heavy whipping cream is used in the chocolate truffle layer, it’s whipped for the caramel cream cheese filling, and sweetened and whipped to top off the pie.
- Caramel. You need thick caramel for this recipe. Thin caramel will ooze out the bottom and make your filling too watery and soft. I usually use a can of dulce de leche. You can also use thick caramel apple dip, or melt down soft caramel candies with a splash of milk or cream. Homemade caramel works too.
- Pecans. The pecans are candied and salted and layered on top of the caramel and on top off the turtle pie.
- Sugar. White, granulated sugar is what you need to candy the pecans.
- Salt. A little salt goes into the candied pecans as well as the caramel cream filling. It enhances flavors and balances the sweetens. I used table salt, sea salt works great too.
- Vanilla. Vanilla adds flavor the caramel pie filling and whipped cream.
- Cream Cheese. Make sure you are using full-fat, room temperature cream cheese. Low fat can prevent your pie filling from setting up.
- Powdered Sugar. Powdered sugar is added to the filling to sweeten it.
- Chocolate Sauce. We use a little chocolate sauce, hot fudge, or melted chocolate to decorate the top of the pie. You can omit if you prefer.
How to Make this Recipe
- Make Crust. You’ll want to use a 9-inch deep pie dish or a springform pan, otherwise you may find your filling is overflowing out of it. Grind the Oreos into fine crumbs using a high-speed blender or food processor (the finer the Oreo crumbs the better they will pack down and slice better). Mix the crumbs with melted butter until fully coated, then press the mixture firmly into a deep 9-inch pie dish or a 9-inch springform pan, covering the bottom and sides. Freeze until ready to use.
- Candy Pecans. Prepare salted candied pecans by placing pecan halves, sugar, and salt in a nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Stir to coat pecans as the sugar melts, ensuring it doesn't burn. Once melted, remove from the pan and let cool on parchment paper.
- Make Truffle Layer. Create the chocolate truffle layer by heating cream in a microwave-safe bowl for 30 seconds, pouring it over chocolate chips, and letting it sit for 1-2 minutes. Whisk until a smooth ganache forms. Pour this into the chocolate cookie crust, spreading it evenly over the bottom. Freeze for 10 minutes.
- Add Caramel & Pecans. Spread a ½ cup of caramel over top of the chocolate truffle layer. Once the pecans are cool, roughly chop them and reserve half for topping the pie with. Take the other half and sprinkle them on top of the caramel.
- Make Caramel Cream Cheese filling. For the caramel cream cheese pie filling, combine room temperature cream cheese, room temperature caramel, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Beat with a hand mixer on high for about 2 minutes until smooth.
- Whip Cream & Fold. Whip 1 cup of cold cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the caramel cream cheese mixture until no streaks remain.
- Pour into Crust. Pour the caramel cheesecake mixture into the cookie crust, spread evenly, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for a minimum of 4 hours, preferably overnight. The longer it sets the stiffer it will be.
- Top off. Before serving, drizzle chocolate sauce and caramel over top of the caramel turtle pie. Pipe swirls of freshly whipped cream and decorate with the remaining salted candied pecans.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
This turtle pie has a chocolate cookie crust, chocolate ganache truffle, caramel, salted candied pecans, no bake caramel cheesecake filling, all topped off with whipped cream and chocolate and caramel sauce.
A “turtle" refers to a trademarked candy made by Chicago’s Demet’s Candy Company. The “turtle” candy originally came from San Francisco during the early 1900s. Louis Gordon Hooper created the candy consisting of caramel, pecans, and chocolate in the shape of a turtle. These are the key flavors in “turtle” desserts, including this turtle pie.
Turtle pie features the key flavors of a turtle candy: chocolate, caramel, and pecans.
The entire turtle pie can be made several days in advance before serving. The pie is best eaten within 5 days of making.
You can also make certain elements of this chocolate turtle pie in advance for a quicker assembly later. The Oreo cookie crust can be made and pressed into the pan and frozen until you are ready to use.
The salted candied pecans can be made and once completely cooled stored in an airtight container.
The chocolate truffle layer can be made and stored in the fridge, tightly covered until ready to assemble. You will need to warm it up again to make it spreadable into the bottom of your pie crust.
I recommend using either a deep 9-inch pie dish or a 9-inch springform pan (this is what I used).
If you use a shallower pie pan you’ll find your crust is super thick and you will have to mound the filling up in the center to keep it from overflowing.
Alternatively, you could also use an 8 or 9-inch square pan and cut the pie into squares instead.
- Use thick caramel. Don’t be tempted by the watery, thin caramel sauces at the store. This caramel turtle pie needs a thick caramel to work. If you use a thin caramel sauce it will ooze out the bottom when you try to layer it. Thick caramel also ensures your caramel cheesecake filling sets up and is sturdy. I usually use a can of dulce de leche, my other favorite options for this turtle pie are caramel apple dip or soft caramel candies (like Kraft of Werther’s) melted down with a splash of milk or cream. If you find that the caramel is too thick to drizzle over the top of the pie at the end you can warm it up with some milk or cream to thin it out and make it drizzle-able.
- Bake the crust if needed. I don’t usually bake this Oreo cookie crust, I like to keep it a true no bake pie. However, baking the crust does make it a little more sturdy. If you would like to bake the pie crust, press the buttered cookie crumbs tightly into the pan, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-10 minutes. Make sure you cool pie crust completely before adding any elements to it.
- Get stiff peaks. When whipping the cream add to the caramel cheesecake filling, make sure you reach stiff peaks, but do not over beat it. If you undermix the whipped cream the caramel cream cheese filling will not set right. Similarly, if you beat the whipped cream beyond the point of stiff peaks the whipped cream will start to curdle, separate and the whipped cream will collapse and not hold its shape.
- Wait to top. I recommend waiting to add the chocolate and caramel drizzle, candied pecans, and whipped cream until right before serving. If added too early the chocolate and caramel can ‘bleed” into each other and the whipped cream may start to fall. If you want to make a sturdier whipped cream, try using one of our stabilized whipped cream methods.
Variations and Substitutions.
- Crust Substitutions. You can swap the Oreo crust for something like a graham cracker crust. To make a graham cracker crust use 3 ⅓ cups graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and 7 tablespoons of melted butter. Mix them all together, press into the pan tightly, and freeze until ready to use.
- Use Cool Whip. This recipe really is best using freshly whipped cream, but if you prefer you can replace the whipped cream that is added to the caramel cheesecake filling with an 8 ounce tub of Cool Whip (non-dairy whipped topping).
- Alternative toppings. Feel free to add some extra toppings to this turtle pie recipe! It would be delicious with toasted coconut, a drizzle of melted peanut butter, chocolate curls, toffee bits, or a butterscotch sauce.
How to Store this Recipe
In the Fridge
This pie should be covered and stored in the refrigerator. It is best eaten within 5 days of making.
In the Freezer
Yes, you can freeze this pie! However, be warned, the turtle pie will undergo a slight texture change, as is normal when freezing dairy-based recipes like this. You can either freeze the entire pie or individual slices.
If you do decide to freeze it, I recommend not adding the whipped cream before freezing. You can wrap the entire pie in a tight layer of plastic wrap and then in a second layer of aluminum foil. Or do the same with individual slices. The double layering helps prevent freezer burn. Thaw the pie in the fridge when ready to eat. Once frozen, it is best eaten within 2 months.
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- 34 Oreos (Chocolate Sandwich Cookies) (about 3 and ⅔ cups of cookie crumbs)
- 7 tablespoons butter melted (99 grams)
Salted Candied pecans
- 1 cup pecans halves (112 grams)
- 4 tablespoons sugar (50 grams)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Chocolate Truffle Layer & Caramel Layer
- ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips (90 grams)
- ⅓ cup heavy cream (80 grams)
- ½ cup thick caramel room temperature (about 156 grams)
Caramel Cheesecake Pie filling
- 16 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar (125 grams)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream (240 grams)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- ½ cup thick caramel room temperature (see notes) about 156 grams
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2-3 tablespoons caramel
- 2-3 tablespoons melted chocolate or chocolate sauce
- Reserved candied pecans
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- Crush chocolate sandwich cookies (Oreos) in a high speed blender or food processor until you have fine crumbs. You can also place them in a gallon bag and crush with a rolling pin, just make sure they are finely crusted. Mix with melted butter until cookie crumbs are completely coated. Press the cookie mixture into a deep 9-inch pie dish or a 9-inch springform pan. Press the cookies tightly into the pan and all the way up the sides. Chill in the freezer until ready to use.
- Make the salted candied pecans. In a nonstick frying pan over medium heat, place the pecan halves, sugar, and salt and mix together. Once the sugar starts to melt stir with a wooden spoon to coat the pecans. Continue stirring until the sugar has completely melted and the pecans are thoroughly coated. Be careful not to let the sugar burn. Remove from the frying pan and let cool on a piece of parchment paper.
- Make the chocolate truffle layer. Heat the cream in a microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds. Pour over chocolate chips and let sit for 1-2 minutes. Whisk together until you have a smooth, glossy ganache. If needed, you can microwave in 10 second increments, stirring in between, until smooth. Pour into the bottom of the chocolate cookie crust and spread evenly over the bottom. Freeze for 10 minutes.
- Spread ½ cup of thick caramel over top of the chocolate truffle layer.
- Once the salted candied pecans are cool, roughly chop them and reserve half of them for the topping. Top the caramel layer with half of the chopped candied pecans.
- To make the caramel cream cheese pie filling, add room temperature cream cheese, room temperature caramel, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt to a medium mixing bowl. Beat with a hand mixer on high 2 minutes until completely smooth.
- Whip 1 cup of cold cream until you’ve reached stiff peaks. Then fold the whipped cream into the caramel cream cheese mixture until there are no streaks. Pour the mixture into your cookie crust and spread evenly in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for a minimum of 4 hours, ideally overnight.
- Before serving, drizzle caramel over top (if it is too thick to drizzle, warm it up and add a tiny splash of milk) and chocolate sauce or melted chocolate. Sprinkle reserved candied pecans and top with whipped cream. To make homemade whipped cream, whip the cold cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla together with a hand mixer until you have stiff peaks.