Browned Butter Maple Pecan Pie Recipe (Without Corn Syrup!) | Handle the Heat
Filed Under: Pie | Thanksgiving

Browned Butter Maple Pecan Pie (Without Corn Syrup!)

By Tessa Arias
November 9th, 2021
5 from 5 votes
5 from 5 votes

This Browned Butter Maple Pecan Pie is made without corn syrup and has the perfect balance of sweet and salty flavors. Truly the best pecan pie I’ve ever had! This recipe is sure to be a hit on your Thanksgiving dessert table.

Yield: 12 servings

Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Loaded with warm fall flavors.
Texture: Crunchy yet gooey yet flaky!
Ease: The filling takings minutes to bring together, the hardest part is waiting for it to cool.
Appearance: The flaky sea salt on top really takes this to a new level!
Pros: The perfect no corn syrup pecan pie recipe.
Cons: Only that the texture is slightly different than your traditional pecan pie.

A few months ago I asked you guys what holiday pie recipes you wanted to see this year.

One of the most highly requested pies was for a pecan pie recipe made WITHOUT corn syrup!

I had actually tried my hand at this last year to poor results. It was incredibly frustrating. I ran out of time before I could get it right. This year I knew I had to try again!

Except this time I had the help of HTH team member, Emily, who gave me tons of feedback as we tested this recipe to get it just right.

I think you’re going to love the depth of flavor this pecan pie has to offer. Although I can’t say it raises above my all time favorite Chocolate Silk Pie…. it definitely deserves a place on your Thanksgiving dessert spread!

How to Make Browned Butter Maple Pecan Pie

Ingredients for browned butter maple pecan pie:

  • Pie dough – homemade pie dough is the way to go! I used my Best Ever Pie Crust for this recipe. It’s ultra flaky, buttery, and practically foolproof. Tons of pie baking tips inside the recipe post!
  • Unsalted butter – Browned to brown butter perfection for the most flavorful pie filling ever. Always use unsalted butter when baking so you can control the amount of salt in your recipe.
  • Pecans – I used roughly chopped halves so it’s easier to cut and serve cleaner slices.
  • Eggs absolutely essential to creating that rich custard-y filling that holds everything together!
  • Maple syrup – our star ingredient here! We’re using maple syrup to keep this pecan pie corn-syrup-free. I share more on this ingredient below. We also brush a bit of maple syrup on top of the pie after it has baked.
  • Dark brown sugar – creates that toffee-like sticky sweetness without being too cloying. If you need to, light brown sugar will work in a pinch.
  • All-purpose flour – we use some flour inside the pecan pie filling to help it thicken up nicely. Nobody wants sad, oozing pie that seeps through pie crust!
  • Bourbon (optional) – although optional, I highly recommend it to balance out the sweetness and enhance the warm sweet flavors of this pie.
  • Vanilla extract – because no pie is complete without it.
  • Fine salt – in addition to the finishing salt (below), make sure the filling has enough salt to bring out the nutty sweetness.
  • Cinnamon – just a touch truly makes a big difference!
  • Fleur de sel or flaky sea salt a sprinkle of flaky sea salt on top of the pie after it has baked provides the perfect balance of sweet and salty.

How to make pecan pie WITHOUT corn syrup:

Instead of corn syrup, this recipe uses a mixture of maple syrup and brown sugar with a tablespoon of flour to achieve the thickness and stability of the filling that corn syrup usually creates. The texture of this pie is slightly different than a typical corn syrup pecan pie, but I think the taste is so much better!!

How to brown butter:

Use a stainless steel sauté pan for best results. Nonstick prevents the butter from browning completely and prevents you from being able to visually see how browned it’s getting. Same with the dark color of cast iron. Something with a wider surface area, like a sauté pan over a saucepan, encourages more browning more quickly.

Don’t step away from butter that’s browning after it’s melted. It can go from browned to burnt quickly. At the same time, don’t be afraid of letting that color develop. It should become a rich and fragrant amber. Scrape all the brown bits into the mixing bowl – that’s where the flavor lives!

How to blind bake pie crust for pecan pie:

If you do some pecan pie googling, you’ll see some recipes call for blind baking the pastry crust before filling and others don’t.

I personally much prefer the texture of the crust when it’s baked first. It’s crispier and stays that way for longer.

Line the chilled crust in the pan with foil, pressing all the way to the edges to ensure they don’t slump down. Fill the crust completely with pie weights, rice, or dried beans. It’s important that you fill completely to the top edge of the crust to prevent shrinking or slumping.

Place on a rimmed baking pan. This will help catch any butter that might bubble over. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes at 400°F, or until pale and just beginning to brown but not raw. The higher baking temperature allows the crust to set quicker, preventing it from losing its shape or flute.

Remove the foil and weights and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until lightly golden.

If you typically have soggy crust problems, try baking the pie on the bottom rack of your oven or on a baking stone.

Why is my pecan pie runny or watery?

We want the filling to be gooey, not runny. This all comes down to baking.

You want to cook pecan pie to an internal temperature of 200°F. The edges should be set but the center should wobble a bit, kind of like gelatin. If you cook pecan pie too much, it’ll crack and be dry. Underbake and it will be runny and watery.

Does pecan pie need to be refrigerated?

Yes. Since pecan pie contains eggs, it should be refrigerated after sitting out for about 2 hours.

How to store pecan pie:

Store the cooled and baked pecan pie loosely covered in the fridge. Pecan pie lasts for up to 3 days.

How to freeze pecan pie to make ahead of time:

Place the baked and cooled pie in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. This is easiest done with one of those aluminum disposable pie tins. When ready to serve, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before slicing. You can refresh in a 300°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes to really re-crisp the crust.

More Thanksgiving Pie Recipes:

P.S. Check out my full Thanksgiving dessert recipe headquarters HERE!

5 from 5 votes

How to make
Browned Butter Maple Pecan Pie

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Chilling time 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
This Browned Butter Maple Pecan Pie is made without corn syrup and has the perfect balance of sweet and salty flavors. Truly the best pecan pie I’ve ever had! This recipe is sure to be a hit on your Thanksgiving dessert table.


  • 1 batch pie dough
  • 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups (283 grams) pecan halves, roughly chopped
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (230 grams) real maple syrup, plus more for finishing
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Fleur de sel or flaky sea salt, for serving


Prepare the pie crust:

  1. Roll the dough out on a generously floured work surface. Keep turning the dough after every roll to ensure it doesn’t stick to the counter and is of even thickness. Make sure you’re not rerolling the same sections too many times and overworking the dough. Use your hands to cup the edges of the dough to keep it smooth and prevent cracks. Add additional flour to the dough, the counter, and your rolling pin as needed. Roll out into a 12 to 14-inch circle, depending on how deep your pie tin is.

  2. Gently roll the dough up and around the rolling pin then unroll and drape over a 9-inch pie tin. Gently press into the pie tin, being careful to avoid stretching it to fit. Use scissors or a knife to trim the excess dough, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Fold the overhang under itself and crimp or flute. Pierce the base of the dough with a fork.
  3. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Blind bake the pie crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and adjust baking rack to the lower third position.
  2. Line the chilled crust with foil, pressing all the way to the edges to ensure they don’t slump down. Fill the crust completely with pie weights, rice, or dried beans.
  3. Place on a rimmed baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until no longer raw. Remove the foil and weights and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until lightly golden. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

Toast the nuts:

  1. To toast the pecans, place on a small rimmed baking tray in the 350°F oven for about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once, until fragrant. Let cool before coarsely chopping the nuts.

Brown the butter:

  1. In a medium stainless-steel skillet set over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Stirring with a rubber spatula occasionally, continue to cook the butter, increasing the heat to medium. It should become foamy with audible cracking and popping noises. Once the crackling stops, continue to cook, stirring every 30 seconds, until the butter develops a nutty aroma and brown bits start to form at the bottom. Once the bits are amber in color, remove from heat and pour into a mixing bowl, scraping the brown bits into the bowl. Let cool slightly.

Finish the filling:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs until well beaten. Add the maple syrup, brown sugar, flour, bourbon (if using), vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Gradually whisk in the warm browned butter until combined.
  2. Place the chopped pecans in still-warm partially baked pie crust. Pour egg mixture into crust.
  3. Bake on rimmed baking sheet for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until the edges of the filling are set but the center is still slightly wobbly. If the crust begins to brown too much, cover with a pie shield and continue baking. Remove from the oven and brush with about 1 tablespoon of extra maple syrup, then sprinkle with flaky sea salt.

  4. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before slicing and serving.

Recipe Video

Course : Dessert
Cuisine : American
Keyword : browned butter pecan pie, pecan pie

Photos by Ashley McLaughlin

Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Becky — November 26, 2022 at 7:21 pm

    I made this pie for Thanksgiving this year & the flavor was absolutely amazing! However, I’m thinking I might have used too many nuts in this first try as it seemed to be more nuts than custard. I suspect that my error was in thinking that the amount needed was 2 1/2 cups of the chopped nuts vs. unchopped? Before I make it again I thought I’d best get the amount clarified.

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 28, 2022 at 2:25 pm

      Hi Becky! I’m so glad you enjoyed this pie, even if there were a few too many nuts for your preference! The cup measurement is un-chopped nuts; measure out, toast and then chop for best results 🙂 I hope that helps!

  2. #
    Deborah — December 26, 2021 at 9:04 am

    I made this as mini tarts on Christmas Eve for Christmas Day and it was a great success. Soooo good even 2 days later. Will make again for sure.

    • #
      Emily — December 27, 2021 at 10:46 am

      Sounds incredible, great idea!!

  3. #
    Susan — December 23, 2021 at 11:45 am

    I want to make this but am intimidated by your crust right now, can I use mine and do i still blind bake it?

    • #
      Emily — December 23, 2021 at 2:59 pm

      Hi Susan! We prefer the texture of the crust when it’s baked first, it’s crispier and stays that way for longer. Feel free to use your own pie crust, but I do hope you give ours a try too! I make mine using the food processor method as explained in the directions on our Best Ever Pie Crust recipe. Check out the step-by-step photos above the recipe as well, it’ll help you know what each step should look like. It’s easier than you think, I promise! Let me know what you think of this recipe when you give it a try 🙂

  4. #
    MARGUERITE STERLING — November 26, 2021 at 1:30 pm

    This recipe for pecan pie is far superior to the overwhelmingly sweet pecan pie most of us are familiar with made with corn syrup. The flavor of maple, browned butter and a touch of bourbon allowed the toasted pecan taste to shine. I followed this recipe exactly and would not change a thing. Even people who were not pecan pie fans in the past liked this one! I will be making it aagin, for sure!

    • #
      Emily — December 1, 2021 at 11:39 am

      Amazing!! So happy to hear how much you loved this recipe and that it was such a hit, especially with non pecan pie fans!

  5. #
    Michael Dwyer — November 26, 2021 at 9:19 am

    Loved it. The texture felt a little dry, but no complaints. Maybe because it was on the counter for 2 days before Thanksgiving. But, the taste was wonderful! (I used a peach brandy-flavored syrup from Burton’s Mapelwood Farms, and Jack Daniels instead of bourbon. I may try a good barrel-aged stout next time.) The pie was beautiful coming out of the oven! Photos are on Instagram.

    • #
      Emily — December 1, 2021 at 11:38 am

      Glad you enjoyed this recipe 🙂 It is definitely possible the texture was dry due to its age, but I’m happy the taste was still delicious!

  6. #
    Alex — November 25, 2021 at 7:32 am

    So excited to make this! Do you butter the tin before placing the pie crust in?

    • #
      Emily — November 29, 2021 at 4:28 pm

      Hi Alex! You don’t typically need to grease a pie pan as the crust includes a significant amount of fat and won’t stick. Please let us know what you think when you give this recipe a try 🙂

  7. #
    Debbie Brown — November 21, 2021 at 8:52 am

    I like to make my pecan pie into bars with a shortbread crust. Do you think this filling work for that?

    • #
      Emily — November 22, 2021 at 3:37 pm

      Hi Debbie! Yum, that sounds incredible! I honestly can’t say for sure how it’d turn out as we haven’t tested that, but this pie does have a nice and thick custard-y filling that holds together well. Please let us know how it goes if you give it a try!

  8. #
    Kristine — November 20, 2021 at 6:58 am

    The is the best pecan pie recipe I have ever had! The maple syrup and flaky sea salt take it to the next level.

    • #
      Emily — November 22, 2021 at 2:51 pm

      I completely agree with you, those two additions make such an impact on the taste of this pie! So happy to hear this is the best pecan pie you’ve ever had, thanks for the rave review!

  9. #
    Mariangela — November 19, 2021 at 11:53 am

    I have a question about pie dough and pie pan depth. I bought the Oxo glass pie dish but that is pretty deep – is the single Best Ever Pie dough recipe is sufficient to fit that pie dish? What size do you roll the dough out to fir the Oxo dish vs standard pie plates? And importantly, is the filling quantity for the pecan pie best suited to a standard depth pie pan?

    • #
      Emily — November 19, 2021 at 5:18 pm

      Hi Mariangela! Yes, the Best Ever Pie dough recipe will work well, even with a deep-dish pie. I always end up cutting off about 3 inches extra of pie dough in my shallower pie pan. Tessa specifically made her pie crust recipe with more ingredients than other recipes because we wanted to make sure that there was extra dough for deeper pie dishes or if you want to get fancy with any designs 🙂 It also helps to have a little extra if you get any rips or tears!

      For a 9-inch pie pan, you want a 12-inch diameter rolled out crust. A deep-dish is typically about 13 inches. What size is the pan you purchased, or could you provide a link? THIS is the pie dish Tessa typically uses.

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