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The BEST Pecan Pie – With No Corn Syrup!

The Best Pecan Pie Recipe – This gorgeous pecan pie is made without corn syrup and tastes AMAZING. (Gluten-free, dairy-free, and paleo friendly!)

Overhead view of a gluten free pecan pie in a white ruffled pie dish.

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…

Front view of a pecan pie with a slice removed.

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!
Collage of images of no corn syrup pecan pie

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.
Side view of a slice of pecan pie on a white doily plate with a fork next to it.

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…

  1. 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!)
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
Partial view of a gluten free pecan pie

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!

Overhead view of a slice of gluten free pecan pie on a white doily plate.

More Delicious Pies To Fall In Love With:

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Front view of a pecan pie with a slice removed.

The Best Pecan Pie Recipe – No Corn Syrup!


  • Author: One Lovely Life
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 1 (9″) pie (1216 slices) 1x

Description

The Best Pecan Pie Recipe – This gorgeous pecan pie is made without corn syrup and tastes AMAZING. (Gluten free, dairy free, and paleo friendly!)

Note: Nutrition facts are for filling only, and assume you slice the pie into 16 slices.

(Adapted from Deliciously Organic)


Ingredients

Scale

1 (9″) unbaked pie crust – Gluten Free, Paleo or Traditional (store-bought pie crust or homemade)

FOR THE PECAN PIE FILLING:

  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or maple sugar*)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, ghee, coconut oil, or vegan butter
  • 3 large eggs, whisked until very smooth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups pecan halves (or chopped pecans)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and put a rack in the center of the oven.
  2. Place your pie crust in a 9-inch pie pan and put the pie pan on a baking sheet.
  3. In a small saucepan, bring the maple syrup to a boil over medium heat. (There should be bubbles all across the surface of the syrup.) Boil 5 minutes. Don’t rush this step or your pie will not set properly.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in coconut sugar, and butter/ghee/coconut oil. (This will help it cool down a bit. Make sure it’s not boiling hot before adding your eggs, or they’ll scramble.)
  5. Whisking constantly, slowly pour in the whisked eggs.
  6. Stir in vanilla and salt.
  7. Pour filling mixture into your prepared pie crust.
  8. Gently, add pecan halves in any design you like on the top, or gently spoon over chopped pecans.
  9. Put the pie in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the center is only slightly wobbly. Check the pie at the 20 minute mark to be sure your pecans aren’t over-browning. If either the crust or your pecans are browning too quickly (which can happen if your oven runs hot), you can cover it with foil for the last few minutes.
  10. Let the pie cool completely before slicing (the filling will continue to set as it cools). Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if desired. 

Notes

Making this in advance? Store it in the refrigerator, then thaw to room temperature before serving. You can also bake it, cover it and freeze up to a month in advance. 

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Dessert, Pie
  • Method: Stovetop, Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: pecan pie, pecan pie recipe, paleo pecan pie recipe, gluten free pecan pie recipe, dairy free pecan pie recipe

Originally shared Nov 2018. Updated Nov 2021.

46 Comments

    1. You can bake it, cool it, and freeze it up to a month in advance, then reheat in the oven to thaw. Or, you can make it a day in advance. I wouldn’t recommend much longer ahead than that for best results. The pie itself will keep 3-4 days, but the crust will get increasingly soft over time.

  1. If I am using a frozen gluten-free piecrust, do I need to bake it before or do I just put the filling in and then bake it?

  2. My husband loved the pie, but the filling was runny. What do I need to do different next time?

    1. Chandra – Oh dear! It sounds like it might not have been quite done. (Was it still jiggly in the middle?) You’re looking for almost no jiggle except for the very center when you pull it out, so it can continue to set as it cools. Hopefully that helps for next time! Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂

  3. My pie was runny and it never set 🙁 My husband loves pecan pie and I felt so bad he didn’t have pie to eat for Thanksgiving. He doesn’t like pumpkin pie.

    1. Stephanie – I’m so sorry to hear that. I made ours last night using this recipe and it’s set perfectly. My guess is that yours didn’t quite bake long enough (which would be why it wouldn’t set). I’m so sorry!

  4. I made this for Thanksgiving (my first ever pecan pie) and it was delicious! I used your gluten free pie crust, coconut sugar, and butter. It was very quick and simple to make. I tried to arrange the pecans artfully, but because the filling was so thin they would just float where they wanted, so I ended up just gently sprinkling them all around. I made it the day before, cooled, then refrigerated. It tasted and looked very good and had ZERO sogginess! It was sweet but not overly so. I don’t think anyone could tell that it was not a traditional pie, but I think it does taste even better. I would say it I plan on making this a lot!

    1. Darcy – I’m SO HAPPY to hear this! It’s my all-time favorite pie. We made one this Thanksgiving, too, and I’ve had to make a real effort to share!

  5. I made this for Thanksgiving and it was the most delicious baked good I have ever made! It truly made our Thanksgiving the most delicious one ever. Thank you for the amazing recipe. I will be making it again and again.

  6. I just wanted to say thank you for this recipe. I made it for Thanksgiving. Although I also made my traditional pecan pie I prefer this one. The texture is amazing and the flavor is over the top delicious!

  7. This pie was delicious, but I couldn’t get it to set. I baked it several times. 34 minutes, then 10 minutes, then 15 minutes. Could the issue be that I’m using a stainless steal pie pan and stainless steel baking sheet? Or do you think I wiped the eggs too much? Let me know thoughts as I want to give it another go!

    1. Nat – I’m so sorry you ran into trouble! Usually, when it doesn’t set, it’s actually because the syrup didn’t boil a full 5 minutes. It helps reduce and set the syrup during the bake. You really want to let it get to that rolling boil (where bubbles are covering the whole surface of the syrup) for a full 5 minutes before moving on to the next steps. I’d double-check that for next time! (Fingers SO CROSSED for you!)

  8. Hi Emily! So excited to make this pie and thank you for creating a pecan pie recipe that doesn’t contain corn syrup! If I add 2 TB of bourbon, do you recommend that I need to also add a couple teaspoons or TB of flour? Thanks!

    1. Astrid – That’s a great question! I’ve never added bourbon to this pie, so I’m not totally sure. If I were going to add something to offset the extra liquid, I’d probably go with cornstarch over flour, but you may not need it since the alcohol may cook off during the bake.

  9. If you weren’t going to use maple syrup, would you use 1 1/2 cups coconut sugar in the recipe? Using the 1 cup of sugar to make the syrup? Just checking. I’m excited to try this recipe for Thanksgiving this year!

    Thank you,

    Anna

    1. Anna – You can’t leave out or substitute the maple syrup in this recipe. I’m sorry! Using sugar alone won’t provide the filling the body and liquid it needs to set, so you really need some kind of syrup or liquid to do that job. If you’d like an old-fashioned pecan pie that uses corn syrup, this one is delicious.

  10. If I’m using a frozen crust, I saw you mentioned in another comment you’ve done it a few times, do I need to adjust the cooking time with it being frozen? Or did you set it out to thaw first and cook it the usual amount of time in the recipe? I am SO looking forward to making this, I’ve been pecan pie deprived for a few years now and so happy I found this recipe!

    1. Emily – Hi! I made it with a frozen crust just yesterday! 😊You won’t need to adjust the bake time. Frozen crusts thaw super fast. You can pull the crust out and unwrap it before you make the filling and it will be softened quite a lot by the time the filling is ready to go in. Easy-peasy! Hope this pie is a huge winner for you today! (Make sure you boil the syrup the full 5 minutes so it sets for sure!)

      Happy Thanksgiving!

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