Bourbon-Brown Butter Pecan Pie

Tested & Perfected Recipes

Made with brown butter and bourbon, this pecan pie has a richer, more complex flavor than the typical pecan pie.

bourbon pecan pie

This is my new favorite pecan pie, and the recipe credit goes to one of my wonderful longtime readers, Jeff Winett from Sherman Oaks, California. Jeff is an avid cook and baker so when he emailed me his “never-fails-to-thrill” pecan pie recipe a few months ago, I bookmarked it for the holidays.

With Thanksgiving finally upon us, I gave it a test-run over the weekend and it did not disappoint! Made with dark brown sugar, golden syrup, brown butter, and a shot of bourbon, the pie is richer with a more complex praline flavor — and also less cloyingly sweet — than your typical pecan pie. And the good news is that it barely requires any more effort. The only extra step, and it takes just five minutes, is browning the butter until it smells nutty and fragrant. I promise — the payoff in flavor is well worth the time.

What you’ll need to make pecan pie

For the Filling

how to make pecan pie

The only ingredient you may not be familiar with is golden syrup — a thick, amber-colored sweetener with a slightly toasty, caramel-like edge. You can find it in the baking aisle of most large supermarkets near the corn syrup and molasses. The most well-known brand is Lyle’s, which is widely available in the UK (and sold at Whole Foods in the US) but King Golden Syrup is more common in the US.

For the Crust

how to bake a pecan pie

I like to make a homemade crust for my pecan pies — it’s easy once you get the hang of it — but a store-bought crust will work, too. Just be sure to buy a 9-inch deep dish crust, otherwise, you won’t have room for all of the filling. Baking powder might seem like an odd addition but it helps the crust expand into the pan, rather than shrink and slip down the sides as it bakes.

How To Make Bourbon-Brown Butter Pecan Pie

Step 1: Make the Crust

To begin, combine the flour, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade.

Add the butter and shortening in pieces. (You can use all butter if you like, but shortening helps the crust hold its shape and makes it a little easier to work with.)

Pulse until you have coarse crumbs with lots of pea and chickpea-sized clumps of butter and shortening within.

Add the water and pulse a few times until the mixture is just evenly moistened and very crumbly. It will not come together into a mass — that’s good!

Dump the crumbly dough out onto a work surface.

Gather it into a ball.

Then pat the dough into a 5-inch disc and wrap it in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes or up to 3 days to rest.

Take the dough out of the refrigerator and dust your work surface lightly with flour. Place the dough on top and sprinkle a little flour over the dough.

Roll the dough, turning it frequently and adding more flour as necessary so it doesn’t stick, into a 13-inch circle.

Fold the dough into quarters without creasing it and transfer it to a 9-inch deep dish pie pan (the pan should be at least 1-1/2 inches deep).

Gently fit the dough into the pan, easing it inwards rather than stretching it outwards. Don’t worry if it tears, just patch it right back up.

Trim the edges to 1/2-inch beyond the lip of the pie pan, if necessary. Turn the edges under to create a rim on the crust (you can use the scraps to patch in any thin areas); then press the rim against the lip of the pan, forming it into an even edge as you go. Using your fingers, crimp the rim. Place the crust in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes while you heat the oven.

Remove the crust from the refrigerator and cover with a piece of parchment paper. Fill the crust at least halfway full with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the crust is pale and partially cooked. This step, called blind baking, ensures that the crust is crisp on the bottom (otherwise the wet filling will prevent the crust from cooking through). Remove the parchment and dried beans/pie weights and set aside while you prepare the filling.

Step 2: Make the Filling

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until the butter smells nutty and is golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Once you smell that nutty aroma, take the pan off the heat and pour the browned butter into a large heat-proof bowl to cool.

To the bowl with the brown butter, add the brown sugar, corn syrup, and golden syrup and whisk until smooth.

Add the eggs, bourbon, vanilla, and salt.

Whisk until smooth.

Step 3: Assemble and Bake the Pie

Sprinkle the pecans in the baked pie crust and then pour the syrup mixture over them. The nuts will float to the top. (For a prettier finished pie, use your fingers to flip over any whole pecans that are upside down, and arrange the whole pecans evenly on the surface.)

Put the pie on the baking sheet and bake until just set and bubbling at the edges, 50-55 minutes. The pie will still wobble just a bit when nudged; that’s okay – it will continue to cook as it cools. Remove the finished pie from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely, about 4 hours or overnight. For the neatest slices, use a serrated knife to gently saw through the pecans. Serve at room temperature with unsweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

You may also like

 

Bourbon-Brown Butter Pecan Pie

Made with brown butter and bourbon, this pecan pie has a richer, more complex flavor than the typical pecan pie.

Servings: 8
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 45 Minutes, plus at least 45 minutes for the dough to rest

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled with a knife
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons very cold vegetable shortening, in 3 pieces
  • 4 tablespoons very cold water

For the Filling

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup golden syrup (such as Lyle’s or King)
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon (optional but highly recommended)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-1/2 cups pecan halves (coarsely chop half of them, and leave the rest whole)
  • Unsweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, for serving

Instructions

Make the Crust

  1. Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the pieces of butter and shortening and pulse until you have coarse crumbs with lots of pea and chickpea-sized clumps of butter and shortening within. Add the water and pulse a few times until the mixture is just evenly moistened and very crumbly. It will not come together into a mass -- that's okay. Dump the crumbly dough out onto a work surface and gather it into a ball. Pat the dough into a 5-inch disc -- don't worry if the edges crack -- and wrap it in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes or up to 3 days to rest.
  2. Take the dough out of the refrigerator (if it was in the fridge for a long time, let it sit on the countertop for 10-15 minutes so that it's malleable enough to roll). Dust your work surface lightly with flour and place the dough on top; sprinkle a little flour over the dough. Use your hands to quickly work the dough into a smooth disc -- don't overwork it or warm it up too much, just smooth the edges as best as you can so it's easier to roll. With a rolling pin, roll the dough, turning it frequently and adding more flour as necessary so it doesn't stick, into a 13-inch circle. Fold the dough into quarters without creasing it and transfer it to a 9-inch deep dish pie pan (the pan should be at least 1=1/2 inches deep). Gently fit the dough into the pan, easing it inwards rather than stretching it outwards. Don't worry if it tears, just patch it right back up. Trim the edges to 1/2-inch beyond the lip of the pie pan, if necessary. Turn the edges under to create a rim on the crust (you can use the scraps to patch in any thin areas); then press the rim against the lip of the pan, forming it into an even edge as you go. Using your fingers, crimp the rim. Place the crust in the refrigerator for 30 minutes while you heat the oven.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the crust from the refrigerator and place it on a baking sheet (this makes it easy to move in and out of the oven). Cover the crust with a piece of parchment paper and fill it at least halfway full with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the crust is pale and partially cooked. Remove the parchment and dried beans/pie weights and set aside while you prepare the filling.
  4. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

Make the Filling

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until the butter smells nutty and is golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Once you smell that nutty aroma, take the pan off the heat and pour the browned butter into a large heat-proof bowl to cool. (The milk solids will darken and settle on the bottom of the saucepan. When you transfer the brown butter to the bowl, try to leave as much of this sediment in the pan as possible but don't worry about it too much.)
  2. To the bowl with the brown butter, add the brown sugar, corn syrup, and golden syrup and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, bourbon, vanilla, and salt.
  3. Sprinkle the pecans in the baked piecrust and then pour the syrup mixture over them. The nuts will float to the top. (It isn't necessary, but for a prettier finished pie, use your fingers to flip over any whole pecans that are upside down, and arrange the whole pecans evenly on the surface.)
  4. Put the pie on the baking sheet (be sure you reduced the oven temperature to 350°F!). Bake until just set and bubbling at the edges, 50-55 minutes. The pie will still wobble just a bit when nudged; that’s okay – it will continue to cook as it cools. Remove the finished pie from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely, about 4 hours or overnight. For the neatest slices, use a serrated knife to gently saw through the pecans. Serve at room temperature with unsweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
  5. Note: If using a store-bought crust, follow the instructions on the package for blind baking.
  6. Make Ahead: The pie can be made one day ahead of time and stored, loosely covered, at room temperature.
  7. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: To freeze the pie, after it has cooled, wrap it tightly with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before you plan to serve it.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (8 servings)
  • Calories: 731
  • Fat: 45 g
  • Saturated fat: 14 g
  • Carbohydrates: 79 g
  • Sugar: 41 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 8 g
  • Sodium: 363 mg
  • Cholesterol: 112 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

See more recipes:

Reviews & Comments

  • Hi Jenn!

    We made this for Thanksgiving and the flavour was spot on!

    It did turn out a tad runny in the middle… And after reading through the comments, it looks like if one uses a ceramic pie plate, the cook time should be 65-70 minutes.

    I have 2 questions for this!

    1) Should the blind bake time for the crust also be increased? The edges were good but the bottom was slightly tacky/moist looking after blind baking.
    2) Is it possible to add a note in the recipe about the time increase if using a ceramic pie plate?

    Thank you again for another fabulous tasting and easy to make recipe!

    Tina

    • — Tina Manz on October 11, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Tina, Sorry to hear that the middle was a little runny. Yes, if you found that the bottom of the crust was still a little tacky after blind baking it, next time I’d add another minute or two onto the baking time. And I’m going to update the recipe with a note to increase the baking time if using a ceramic pie plate. Thanks for the suggestion!

      • — Jenn on October 15, 2021
      • Reply
  • This is perfection. It’s the flavor I’ve been seeking for decades of baking. I applaud you for the perfect balance of flavors. Now that I’ve found this I’m never lowering my standards again. Thank you.

    • — Jennifer Dressel on July 7, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hello again! My house smells amazing, the pie is beautiful. I have so enjoyed your apple cake, strawberry cake, and many more. I am looking so forward to gifting this pecan pie to my friend. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • — Heather on June 3, 2021
    • Reply
    • My pleasure!!

      • — Jenn on June 4, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hello, could you please tell me if I should toast the pecans first? Does it matter?

    • — Heather on June 3, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Heather, you don’t need to toast them first. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 3, 2021
      • Reply
  • Another recipe we made for our gourmet group dinner and it was a hit. As you said the brown butter makes for a richer and more complex flavor and we agree. We used Kings Syrup…couldn’t get Lyle’s. Our daughter-in-law makes a gang buster pecan pie and I’m thinking of challenging her to a blind taste test pitting hers against this one.

    • — Mike Kaz on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I have always love Pecan Pie, but learning from Jen to Brown the Butter, really elevated this pie. I make it for my family about once a month. Its the best

    • — Joel M on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Absolutely delicious pie! The Bourbon does make a difference! If you’re looking for a very neat nut topping, i usually make the filling without the nuts, and then arrange them in a circular pattern on top but sort of push them into the filling so they are covered by the filling – hope that makes sense! Looks professional 😉

    • — Rui Min Chin on January 28, 2021
    • Reply

Add a Review or Question

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.