Caramel Pecan Pie

This sweet and salty Caramel Pecan Pie is a Southern classic with a caramel twist and no corn syrup involved! Paired with a flaky butter pie crust made from scratch, every holiday could use a dessert as yummy as this one!

One piece of caramel pecan pie on a plate with a bowl of pecans and a full pie behind it

Perfect Caramel Pecan Pie Recipe

A few months ago, I tried a caramel pecan pie at a restaurant and fell completely in love. I knew I had to recreate it at home. I started off trying a few recipes I found online and was disappointed. Many were made with store-bought caramels and it just wasn’t the flavor and texture I was looking for. With others, the caramel flavor just wasn’t coming through. After some serious experimentation with a recipe of my own, I was able to make the ultimate pecan pie with a homemade caramel sauce that totally delivered.

In total, I made about 10-15 versions of this pie before I arrived at this fool-proof recipe. And it was worth every second! I initially started with my Easy Caramel Sauce, which a reader favorite, but since it’s made using a wet method rather than a dry one, it wasn’t ideal for this pie. It lost some of the flavor that makes it so irresistible as a topping or a dip. When I used a dry-method caramel sauce instead, the rest was history. The flavor and texture were just right. I know dry method caramel sauce can be a little tricky, but it’s 100% necessary for this pie.

I did also test store-bought caramel sauce, because I know that’d be a great shortcut. But I found that store-bought caramel sauce tasted good, but developed a funky, chunky texture after it was baked.

The final filling is creamy, crunchy, salty and sweet, and it goes so well with the classic butter pie crust. You’ll never make another pecan pie once you get a load of this one!

What Is Pecan Pie?

Pecan pie filling is a famous Southern creation composed of pecans, eggs, butter and corn syrup. While the corn syrup is key in pecan pie recipes, this version doesn’t need it. I messed around with using it in different proportions, and decided that this pie was best without it. This pecan pie is flawless as it is!

A slice of caramel pecan pie on a plate with one bite on a metal fork

Ingredients You’ll Need

Before we get into the ingredients for the caramel sauce and the pie filling, let’s give the floor to our lovely foundation. This Homemade Flaky All- Butter Pie Crust is where it all begins!

For the Caramel Sauce

  • Sugar: Granulated white sugar. Brown sugar won’t work here.
  • Salted Butter: Cut into cubes and partially melted. It MUST be room temperature or warmer.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream: This MUST be brought to room temperature or warmer as well.

For the Pecan Pie Filling

  • Eggs: Brought to room temperature.
  • Caramel Sauce: From above.
  • Dark Brown Sugar: For sweetness and flavor.
  • Vanilla Extract: This enhances the other flavors in the filling.
  • Unsalted Butter: Melted.
  • Salt: To balance out the sweetness.
  • Pecans: Toasted and finely chopped.
A piece of homemade pecan pie on a white plate with cutouts in the rim

How to Make Caramel Pecan Pie

This homemade pie is very easy to put together – it just takes a little time to prepare, bake and cool. As long as you plan around that, your pie will be ready to go right when you need it!

Make the Caramel Sauce

  1. Melt Sugar: Pour the sugar into an even layer in a large saucepan. Cook it over medium-high heat, whisking until the sugar melts. It will clump up at first, but it will eventually melt completely. This process takes about 10 minutes.
  2. Continue Cooking a Bit: Once the sugar has melted, stop whisking. If you’d like, you can keep cooking it until the sugar takes on a slightly darker amber color to get a deeper caramel flavor. You may notice a nutty aroma. The change in color will happen quickly. Don’t let it get too dark or it will burn. Remove your caramel from the heat.
  3. Add Butter: Add the butter and whisk until combined. The mixture will bubble up, but keep whisking until all the butter is melted and combined. The butter MUST be room temperature or warmer or your caramel sauce will seize and harden.
  4. Add Heavy Cream: Slowly pour the heavy cream into the caramel and whisk until incorporated. The cream MUST be room temperature or warmer or your caramel sauce will seize and harden.
  5. Let Rest: Pour the caramel into a bowl or jar so that it doesn’t continue cooking and burn and set it aside.

Make the Pecan Pie Filling

  1. Prepare Crust: Make the crust and place it in a 9-inch pie pan. You can blind bake the crust if you’d like, but it’s not required. If you’re not par-baking it, put the crust in the fridge while you prepare the other ingredients. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Combine Ingredients: Whisk together the eggs, caramel sauce, dark brown sugar, vanilla, butter and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Arrange Pecans Over Crust: Place the pecans over the crust in an even layer.
  4. Add Filling: Pour the caramel mixture over the pecans, which will float to the top slowly while the pie is baking.
  5. Bake & Lower Temperature: Bake the pie for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.
  6. Finish Baking: Bake for another 25-30 minutes, or until the pie is set around the edges and the center is set but still a little jiggly. If it begins to brown too much, cover it with foil for the remaining bake time.
  7. Let Cool: Remove your pie from the oven and set it on a wire rack to cool for about 1 hour, then refrigerate it until it’s firm, about 4-5 hours.

Can I Make Pecan Pie Filling in Advance?

Yes, you can definitely get a head start on this recipe! The caramel can be made a couple days in advance and refrigerated in a covered container, but you’ll have to bring it to room temperature or warm it up before combining it with the other filling ingredients.

Alternatively, you can make the entire pie 1-2 days before you serve it. Make sure it’s tightly covered and kept in the fridge.

A caramel pie in a white pie dish beside a glass full of caramel sauce

Tips for Success

Throughout the trials and tribulations of perfecting this pie, I picked up some helpful tips that ensure a successful result. Here they are!

  • Toast the Pecans: You won’t get that classic nutty pecan pie flavor if you forget to toast your nuts. Simply place the pecans onto a foil-lined baking sheet and bake them at 350°F for 6-7 minutes. Make sure they’re arranged in a single layer so they toast evenly.
  • Add the Heavy Cream Little by Little: When you’re whisking the heavy cream into your caramel sauce, it helps to start by adding just a little bit at a time. Once the caramel starts to thin out, you can slowly mix in the rest.
  • Pre-Bake the Crust: I stand by what I said about not needing to pre-bake the crust, but I did notice that doing so prevented the crust from shrinking while the pie baked. If this is important to you, go ahead and partially bake it before you move on with the recipe.
  • Keep the Crust from Over-Browning: I recommend using a pie crust shield or a tented piece of aluminum foil if the crust is browning too quickly. This is more necessary when the crust has been pre-baked.
  • Cracking is Okay: If you find that your pie is cracking a bit on top, don’t worry about it. It will rise up as it bakes and fall down again while it cools, smoothing out any cracks that formed during the baking process.

Serving Suggestions

The fun has just begun! Check out these delicious serving ideas for your caramel pecan pie and get ready for your mouth to start watering on overdrive.

  • Top with Whipped Cream: Every dessert tastes great with a dollop of my Homemade Whipped Cream on top. Especially this sweet and crunchy pecan pie!
  • Pair with Ice Cream: At our house, everyone lines up at the Thanksgiving dessert table for two things – pie and ice cream! So naturally, I can’t help serving this pie alongside a big tub of ice cream fresh from the freezer.
  • Top with Chocolate Curls: A sprinkle of Chocolate Curls makes this pie a little fancier and even more irresistible. Plus, they’re super simple to prepare!
  • Mare Caramel: Add a drizzle of my delicious homemade caramel sauce to each slice!
A slice of pie on a plate with a jar of caramel sauce and more pie in the background

How to Store Pecan Pie

This particular pecan pie must be refrigerated. Keep it in an airtight container or cover it tightly in plastic wrap. Enjoy leftover pie within 2 days of making it. If you want to store it for longer, refer to the freezing instructions below.

Can I Freeze This?

Absolutely! This pie freezes well for up to 3 months. Make sure it’s in a freezer-safe container or wrapped tightly in two layers of plastic wrap to avoid freezer burn. Thaw out frozen pie in the fridge before enjoying it.

Print
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A slice of pie on a plate with a jar of caramel sauce and more pie in the background
Recipe

Caramel Pecan Pie

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 6 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 10
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This sweet and salty Caramel Pecan Pie is a Southern classic with a caramel twist and no corn syrup involved! Paired with a flaky butter pie crust made from scratch, every holiday could use a dessert as yummy as this one!


Ingredients

For the Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup (207g) sugar
  • 6 tbsp salted butter, cubed & partially melted (MUST be room temperature or warmer)
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (MUST be room temperature or warmer)

For the Pecan Pie Filling

  • Homemade pie crust 
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups (300ml) caramel sauce, above
  • 3/4 cup (108g) dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (56g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (125g) finely chopped & toasted pecans

Instructions

Make the Caramel Sauce

  1. Pour sugar into an even layer in a large sauce pan.
  2. Heat on medium-high heat, whisking the sugar until melted. The sugar will clump up first, but will eventually completely melt. This will take about 10 minutes.
  3. Once the sugar has melted, stop whisking. You can allow to cook until the sugar has turned to a little darker amber color to get a deeper caramel flavor, if you like. You may notice a nutty aroma. The change in color will happen quickly, so don’t let it go too long or get too dark or it’ll burn. Remove caramel from the heat.
  4. Add butter and whisk until combined. The mixture will bubble up, but keep whisking until all the butter has melted and is combined.
  5. Slowly pour the heavy cream into the caramel and whisk until incorporated. I find it can help to add just a bit at a time until the caramel starts to thin out, then you can add the rest.
  6. Pour caramel into a bowl or jar so that it doesn’t continue cooking and set aside.

Make the Pie

  1. Make the crust according to instructions and place the pie crust in a 9 inch pie pan. You can partially blind bake the crust if you’d like. If not, put the crust in the fridge while you prepare the other ingredients. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, caramel sauce, dark brown sugar, vanilla, butter and salt.
  3. Put the pecans in the bottom of the crust in an even layer.
  4. Pour the caramel mixture over the pecans, which will float to the top slowly while baking.
  5. Bake the pie for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.
  6. Bake for another 25-30 minutes, or until the pie is set around the edges and the center is set but still a little jiggly. Add a pie crust shield (or aluminum foil), when needed, if the pie crust is browning too much.
  7. Remove the pie from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool for about 1 hour, then refrigerate until firm, 4-5 hours.

Notes

Pie can be made 1-2 days ahead and refrigerated until ready to serve

Keywords: how to make pecan pie, caramel pie, holiday pie, caramel pecan pie

More Holiday Pies to Try

Everyone has that one kind of pie that they simply can’t get enough of. Have you found yours?

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Recipe rating

10 Comments
    1. Lindsay

      I wrote about this a little bit in the post. I actually tried store bought sauce and the flavor wasn’t as good, nor was the texture.

    2. Kari

      I think so! Used Trader Joe’s jarred and very thick caramel sauce with excellent results. There are some very good brands out there as you said, high quality, and if you need to sub due to lack of ingredients on hand or time crunch, it worked for us:) I also will reduce some of the sugar next time as even my kids said it was too sweet. Good luck!:)

  1. renata

    a must try recipe. thanks a lot, lindsay. a kiss for mckenzie. she will be one year, right.
    a photo would be appreciated, thank you

    renata

      1. Bernadette

        I made this pie for thanksgiving and it was DIVINE!

        The homemade caramel and toasted pecan flavors are a match made in heaven! I added some brown butter to help elevate everything and it did wonderfully!! I always have an amazing time with your recipes, thank you!!

        Hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving 😊!

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12