This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy.
This Browned Butter Maple Pecan Pie has become one of my favorite things on my Thanksgiving table.
I have wanted to try my hand at creating a pecan pie made WITHOUT corn syrup.
It was a struggle to really nail both the flavor and consistency of this pie. I couldn’t get it absolutely perfect, and I’d always run out of time to work on it more before the holidays. It was so frustrating!
Thankfully, 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. It definitely deserves a place on your Thanksgiving dessert spread!
How to Make Browned Butter Maple Pecan Pie
The Pie Dough
I highly recommend using my Best Ever Pie Crust for this Browned Butter Maple Pecan Pie. It’s ultra flaky, buttery, and practically foolproof. I promise it’s worth the extra effort! Tons of pie baking tips can be found inside the recipe post.
How to Make Pecan Pie WITHOUT Corn Syrup
Instead of corn syrup, this recipe uses a mixture of maple syrup and dark 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!
Tips for 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 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 to let 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!
- Always use unsalted butter, so you can control the amount of salt in your recipe. Learn more about that here.
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 blind 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, granulated sugar, 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 quickly, preventing it from losing its shape.
- 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 top of a baking stone.
Learn more about blind baking in my How to Blind Bake Pie Crust post here.
Can I Make This Browned Butter Maple Pecan Pie Egg-Free?
Eggs are absolutely essential to creating that rich custard-y filling that holds everything together. I have not found anything that can quite mimic all the magical things a real egg can do, but feel free to experiment if needed.
Can I Use Light Brown Sugar Instead of Dark Brown Sugar?
The dark brown sugar creates that toffee-like sticky sweetness without being too cloying, bringing a beautiful richness and depth of flavor, too. If you need to, light brown sugar will work in a pinch – or make your own dark brown sugar! Learn how here.
Do I Have to Use Bourbon?
No, it’s optional, so feel free to skip it – but I highly recommend adding it, to balance out the sweetness and enhance the warm sweet flavors of this pie.
Why is My Pecan Pie Runny or Watery?
- We want the filling to be gooey, not runny. This all comes down to baking.
- If you cook pecan pie too much, it’ll crack and be dry. Underbake and it will be runny and watery.
- The edges should be set but the center should wobble a bit, kind of like gelatin.
- You want to cook pecan pie to an internal temperature of 200°F. Use a digital thermometer to take out the guesswork.
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 Browned Butter Maple Pecan Pie
Store the cooled and baked Browned Butter Maple Pecan Pie loosely covered in the fridge. This pie will keep for up to 3 days.
How to Freeze Pecan Pie & How 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 a disposable aluminum pie tin (learn more about pie pans here).
- When ready to serve, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before slicing.
- Refresh in a 300°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes to re-crisp the crust, if desired.
More Thanksgiving Pie Recipes:
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
Blind bake the pie crust:
- Preheat oven to 400°F and adjust baking rack to the lower third position.
- Line the chilled crust with foil, pressing all the way to the edges to ensure they don’t slump down. Fill the crust completely to the top with pie weights, granulated sugar, rice, or dried beans.
- 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:
- 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:
- 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:
- 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.
- Place the chopped pecans evenly in the bottom of the still-warm partially baked pie crust. Pour egg mixture into the crust, over the pecans.
- Bake on a 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 or foil and continue baking. Remove from the oven and brush with about 1 tablespoon of extra maple syrup, then sprinkle with flaky sea salt.
- Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before slicing and serving.
Place the baked and cooled pie in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
This is easiest done with a disposable aluminum pie tin. When ready to serve, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before slicing. Refresh in a 300°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes to re-crisp the crust, if desired.