The Best Pecan Pie Recipe – This gorgeous pecan pie is made without corn syrup and tastes AMAZING. (Gluten-free, dairy-free, and paleo friendly!)
The first pecan pie I ever tried was on Pi Day (March 14/3.14) in geometry class in small-town Ohio. We’d only lived there a few months, and I didn’t know it was even a thing. Our geometry teacher invited anyone who wanted to, to bring a pie. I brought chocolate pudding pie with chocolate cookie crust, but when I saw a pecan pie in the lineup and heard classmates ooh-ing and ahh-ing, I knew I had to try it.
It was a revelation.
A few months down the road, there was a pecan pie recipe published in the “Dear Abby” column of the newspaper (yes, I’m 100 years old), and my mom and I clipped it out and tried it, since she’d heard me raving about the amazing pecan pie I tried at school.
It had something to the effect of 1 cup of brown sugar and 1 cup of corn syrup and about half a stick of butter. And, by golly, it was tasty, even though it wasn’t even the tiniest bit healthy.
In years since, I prefer to choose more natural sweeteners when possible, so I’ve been slowly adapting and adjusting my pecan pie recipe till it’s perfect. And, friends, I’ve finally nailed it. My FAVORITE ever pecan pie. And this pecan pie is made without corn syrup, which makes me even happier when I serve it up on Thanksgiving, or Pi Day, or whenever the mood strikes. Here’s what makes it great…
What Makes this the Best Pecan Pie Recipe:
- It’s made from better-for-you ingredients. To be clear: this is absolutely a dessert. There IS sugar. It IS sweet. It is NOT vegetables. AND. It’s a beautiful pecan pie with NO corn syrup. Or white sugar. Or brown sugar. Instead, this beauty is made from things like pecans, pure maple syrup, maple or coconut sugar, eggs, vanilla, etc. And it’s DELICIOUS.
- The texture is unreal. If you’re new to pecan pie, it’s got a delicious custardy texture inside that’s sweet and syrupy in all the best ways. All that gorgeous goodness is topped with a layer of oven-toasted pecan crunch that’s just a match made in heaven. (Did I mention it’s a no corn syrup pecan pie recipe? Woot!)
- The taste is even better. Pecan pie filling has notes of caramel and vanilla tucked under the toasty pecan topping. It’s sweet and satisfying in all the right ways. It’s a true dessert wonder.
- This kind of pie *looks* fancy. This is one of those lovely desserts that looks fancier than it really is. Whether you arrange your pecans in a fun design to look amazing (see below for ideas), or chop them up and sprinkle them haphazardly across the surface, your pecan pie will look gooood. Even though…
- It’s EASY. Even if you’re not super fancy in the kitchen, you can make this pie. Can you whisk? Can you keep an eye on a pot for a few minutes? Then you can make this pecan pie recipe. You’ve got this!
Here’s What You Need To Make Pecan Pie Without Corn Syrup:
So how do you make a no corn syrup pecan pie? Magic! Just kidding–science! Here’s how we replicate that same custardy-sweet filling without corn syrup:
- Pure Maple Syrup – The natural stuff, not pancake syrup! It’ll have gorgeous caramel-y notes. So good! It’s the perfect base for a corn syrup substitute.
- Coconut Sugar or Maple Sugar – These more natural sweeteners work great and help keep this pecan pie paleo friendly!
- Butter, Ghee, Coconut Oil, or Vegan Butter – You can choose whichever works best for your dietary needs! (Vegan butter is my favorite dairy-free option)
- Eggs – These are crucial for structure. The eggs bind everything together and help the pecan pie filling set.
- Vanilla & Salt – Two important ingredients! These two balance the flavor and make it taste just right.
- Pecans! Can’t make a pecan pie without pecans! I love making a design with whole pecans, but chopped pecans also totally work.
Let’s Talk Pie Crust: 3 Pie Crusts To Try With Pecan Pie
Pie crust is, obviously, the base of this yummy pecan pie. You can totally keep things easy for yourself and use a store-bought crust (I often do if I’m making lots of pies for Thanksgiving!). Sprouts and Whole Foods carry pre-made gluten free crusts that are pretty good. Otherwise, here are my favorite homemade pie crust suggestions…
- Gluten Free Pie Crust – As for gluten free, this is my Gluten Free Pie Crust tutorial. It’s flaky, light, tender, MUCH easier than you might think, and has been a favorite for lots of folks over the years. Friends and relatives often don’t even notice that mine’s the gluten-free pie. (I’ve got step-by-step photos & how-to video to walk you through it–you’ve got this!)
- Paleo Pie Crust – If you don’t tolerate grains or choose to follow a paleo diet, you can still totally make this pie (see my notes in the next section). Just swap in a paleo pie crust. This one made with almond flour, coconut flour, and tapioca flour gets GREAT reviews!
- Traditional Pie Crust – If you don’t have any dietary restrictions, this is my great aunt’s pie crust recipe. It’s REALLY easy to make (even if you’ve never made pie crust) and turns out perfectly every time.
FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The Best Pecan Pie Without Corn Syrup:
CAN I MAKE THIS PECAN PIE WITHOUT EGGS? Unfortunately, not with this recipe. Eggs are crucial to the structure of this pie and a powdered egg substitution or flax/chia eggs won’t give you the same gorgeous texture. You’ll need to use another recipe (search for a vegan one!) if you can’t do eggs.
COCONUT SUGAR OR MAPLE SUGAR. Coconut sugar (made from crystalized coconut blossom nectar) is considered in some circles to be a more natural and lower glycemic sweetener, though the research is still kind of up in the air about that. I really like it and use it in my baked goods. It WILL NOT taste like coconut. Coconut sugar has a deep, almost caramel-y taste that’s really nice here. Maple sugar is the queen of all the sugars (it’s basically crystallized maple syrup), but it’s EXPENSIVE. I might go all out and splurge on it for Christmas or Thanksgiving, but most of the time, I use coconut sugar for this pie.
CAN I USE WHITE SUGAR OR BROWN SUGAR INSTEAD? Yep! Just swap in the same amount (1/2 cup) of white or brown sugar in place of the coconut or maple sugar. Do know that it’ll be a bit more sweet-tasting.
PALEO PECAN PIE NOTES. The filling for this pie is paleo-friendly! Just use grass-fed butter or ghee (depending on your preferences) for the fat. If you don’t like to use dairy, you can swap in coconut oil (the flavor will be very subtly different). You’ll just need to use a paleo pie crust.
PST! LOVE CHOCOLATE WITH YOUR PECANS? You might love this gluten-free chocolate pecan tart. YUM!
Originally shared Nov 2018. Updated Nov 2021.