This twist on the traditional pecan pie is made with caramel sauce instead of corn syrup. It's nutty, chewy, deeply caramelized, and full of brown sugar and vanilla flavors cradled in an all-butter, flaky crust.
Nobody will be able to deny the swirls of homemade caramel sauce atop this nutty pecan pie. A bit of flaky sea salt adds the perfect touch to this classic holiday recipe.
Make this pie for Thanksgiving or Christmas. It is festive and fun!
Replacing the corn syrup of a traditional pecan pie with caramel sauce adds so much extra flavor. It is bursting with brown sugar goodness that you and your guests will freak out over.
Here are the ingredients you will need to make this recipe:
- Blind baked pie crust
- Brown sugar
- Unsalted butter
- Kosher salt
- Vanilla extract
- Granulated sugar
- Heavy cream
See recipe card for quantities.
Tools and Equipment
- Rimmed baking sheet
- Mixing bowl
- General kitchen tools (measuring cups, spoons, etc.)
See the recipe card for full baking instructions.
Fit the pie dough into the pan and crimp the edges.
Blind bake the pie crust until it feels dry to the touch and gently browned.
Place the pecans on the the bottom of baked pie crust then pour in the filling.
Make sure that all of the pecans are submerges and coated in the filling before baking.
Hint: Bake the pie on a rimmed baking sheet. This will make it much easier to transport in and out of the oven, and you won't have to worry about spills.
Pecan pie is such a classic, but here are some substitutions to make it your own.
- Walnuts or Peanuts - swap pecans for walnut pieces or peanuts.
- Oats - Have a nut allergy? Try this oat variation.
- Corn Syrup - traditional pecan pie is prepared with corn syrup. Swap out the caramel sauce in the recipe for 1 cup light corn syrup.
Quick Steps for Making Pecan Pie
- Make the pie dough - the pie dough will need to chill at least 2 hours before baking
- Roll out the pie dough
- Blind bake the pie crust - bake the pie crust until lightly golden before adding the filling
- Make the caramel sauce -the sauce needs to cool before making the filling.
- Mix the pecan pie filling
- Bake the pie
- Cool - allow the pie to cool then chill in the refrigerator before serving
Homemade Caramel Sauce
Fall in love with homemade caramel sauce, and you'll never need to buy it again! What is awesome about making caramel sauce at home is that you don't need a candy thermometer or any extra tools.
Begin cooking plain granulated sugar until it melts.
Stir the sugar every so often so that it melts evenly into a dark golden color.
Carefully add the butter and stir to melt.
Whisk in the cream before finishing with sea salt and vanilla.
This caramel is made with just three ingredients: granulated sugar, heavy cream, and butter (plus salt and vanilla for flavor, if you want).
I often put a squirt of corn syrup in my salted caramel sauce to keep the sugar from crystallizing. But with this pecan pie without corn syrup, I used a dry caramel method and found it even easier to make.
Remember that the deeper the caramel in color, the more flavor will develop. If taken too far, the caramel will have a slight bitter, burnt taste.
Cool the pie for up to 2 hours at room temperature then store in the refrigerator.
To freeze, wrap well in plastic or foil then place the pie in a zip-top bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
Caramel sauce may be made in advance and stored in a jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. To make the filling, reheat until pourable but not hot.
Remove the pie from the oven before the center of the filling completely sets. The edges should be slightly puffed but the center should have a tiny bit of wiggle to it (not waves of filling).
Yes. Pecan pie contain cooked eggs and should be refrigerated after it cools.
Pecan pie has a variety of textures from the crunchy nutty, chewy filling, and crisp crust. It tastes of brown sugar and nuts.
Yes. After the pie completely cools, wrap it well in plastic or foil. Pop the pie into a zip-top bag and freeze up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature.
Pecan pie is ready to come out of the oven when the edges are puffed and set but this center has a slight jiggle if you shake the pan. The filling will continue to set as the pie cools.
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Caramel Pecan Pie without Corn Syrup
For the Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tea vanilla extract
- pinch salt
For the Pecan Pie
- 1 blind baked pie crust
- 2 cups chopped pecans
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
- ½ teas salt
- 1 teas vanilla extract
- ¾ cup Caramel Sauce cooled
- flaky salt for sprinkling
- sweetened whipped cream for topping, optional
To Make the Caramel Sauce
- Place the sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir intermittently with a wooden spoon or heat safe spatula until all of the sugar melts.
- Cook the sugar until it turns amber in color.
- Add the butter and immediately stir to combine. Be careful of splatters as the caramel may bubble up.
- Remove from the heat. While whisking, slowly stir in the heavy cream.
- Place the caramel back on the stove and bring back to a boil. Cook the caramel for about 1 minute.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Transfer the caramel to a heat-safe container to cool
To Make the Pecan Pie
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place a baked pie crust on a rimmed baking sheet and add the chopped pecans to the bottom of the pie. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs. Add the brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until smooth.
- Pour in the cooled caramel sauce and whisk to combine.
- Pour the filling mixture over the top of the pecans. The pecans will float, so make sure to poke any exposed nuts into the filling to coat.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the pie from the oven and tent with foil. Continue to bake for 20 to 25 minutes. The pie is done when the edges are puffed and set but there is still a slight jiggle to the center when gently shaked.
- Cool the pie at room temperature then refrigerate until serving.
- To serve, swirl on extra caramel sauce, sprinkle with flaky salt, or top with whipped cream.