Pecan Pie, Corn Syrup Free

by Eddy Van Damme on October 25, 2009

pecan pie without corn syrup

Pecan Pie, corn syrup free

It was not until I arrived in America that I became familiar with pecan pies. In Belgium they simply are not known. Pecan pies have now become one of my favorite desserts and when I visit my family in Europe, it is one of the pies they always request I make.

For many years I made pecan pies but I felt that they were really never as good as they possibly could be. I would add chocolate to cut the tooth achingly sweetness which did made it better, but then you have pecan pie purist, who believe a good pecan pie contains absolutely no chocolate! Oh no.

The biggest recipe request I consistently have (Another one is a moist white cake from scratch) is for a pecan pie which is not overly sweet. Clearly it was time for me to get in the kitchen and get serious about replacing corn syrup in pecan pies. From lots of experience I have discovered that substituting is, well, usually just a substitute. Has anyone out there ever had a diet version of something, which was actually better than the original? Me neither. But is replacing corn syrup in a pecan pie actually a substitute? Were the first pecan pies made by French settlers in Louisiana actually not made with pure sugar? With this bit of history knowledge I decided to check out original pecan pie versions and I began to work on pecan pie recipes the way they used to be made, smooth and custardy with delicious caramel flavor and made with real sugar.

pecan pie without corn syrup

Some people like to toast pecans destined for pecan pies which certainly adds another dimension to the flavor profile. It really is up to you if you prefer toasted pecans or not. A touch of Brandy or Rum will make the pie just a touch more special. This pecan pie does not contain flour for a couple of reasons. Flour takes away from the creamy smoothness and makes the pecan filling somewhat chunky. Pecan pie filling is essentially a type of custard which should be velvety and nicely flavored. Flour containing custards tend to create a cloudy coating on our tongue, which inhibits full flavor revealing.

Getting it all together!

You can easily make your pie dough, roll it out and line your pie shells and then freeze for up to a week or two. Similar like the ones you would buy in the freezer section of your grocery store. Take out the freezer the day when needed and make the filling. If you like the flavor of toasted pecans, place the pecans in a 350°F (175°C) oven until they are fragrant. Time will depend on the size of the pecan pieces.

Pecan pie, without corn syrup

Yield: 1- 9 inch pie

3 (3) Large eggs 3
¾ Cup (6 oz) Water 180 g
1 ¾  Cup, well packed (14 oz) Medium brown sugar 420 g
½ teaspoon ( ½ tsp) Salt 2.5 g
½ Stick (2 oz) Unsalted butter 60 g
1 Tablespoon (0.5 oz) Brandy or Rum (optional) 15 ml
2 teaspoon (2 tsp) Vanilla extract 10 ml
2 Cups (8 oz) Pecan pieces 240 g
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Whisk together the eggs and water until very well blended. Add the brown sugar and salt. Melt the butter and add to the mixture. Add the Brandy and vanilla extract.
  3. Place the pecans in the pie shell and pour the custard filling over the pecans, the pecans will automatically float to the surface. Since nine inch pie shells vary in depth and thus volume, not all the custard filling may fit.  By not mixing the pecans into the custard filling you will possibly prevent throwing away extra custard filling containing pecans.
  4. Place in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 325°F (160°C) and bake until the center of the pie is set and no longer trembles when touched, about 65 minutes.

117 comments on “Pecan Pie, Corn Syrup Free

  1. I have been looking for a recipe for pecan pie not using corn syrup. It looks delicious and I cannot wait to make this pie.

  2. Diana Wallace on said:

    This is the best pecan pie ever! Everyone should try for the holiday’s! The taste and textures are amazing! Great job Chef Eddy!

  3. Anna Moreno on said:

    Wow Chef Eddy, thanks for this recipe, I love the fact that something extremely good can still be made the old (and very old) fashion way. I share your point of view on not letting the technology come in to our kitchen to spoil old times good recipes like this one… if those French settlers were able to make it good and famous then, there is no reason for not doing it today. I’ll definitely give it a try for this season although New Yorkers may not be as huge fans of it as Texans are. Cheers, Anna

  4. This morning I made two of these pies for my party this evening. I only needed one pie so I already cut one, it is amazing! I may serve this with passion fruit ice cream.

  5. Hilary Adams on said:

    If this is the one we were lucky enough to try in class, then I know it’s a hit!! I have some pecan pie lovers in my household and this one will surely get made more than just during the holiday season!

    Thanks, Chef Eddy!

  6. Rita Alarcon on said:

    Hi Chef Eddy,

    This looks fantastic! I plan on making it for my dad for Thanksgiving. I will let you know how it turns out.
    Thanks for sharing it.

  7. justin on said:

    This pecan pie is tremendous! Thank you for sharing this recipe. We will never make pecan pie with corn syrup again.

  8. I must say I was a little skeptical to make pecan pie with just sugar. But I was wrong, it turned out fabulous. Thanks for this recipe.

  9. Manuel on said:

    We have not made this pie yet but we will this weekend. Your blog is great.

  10. Mayra Gonzalez on said:

    Hey chef , i love the new way you have made this old time favorite my family loves to have a pecan pie on the table every thanksgiving and it will be amazing to show them what i have learned in class. Totally worth it to try it thanks for everything and hope to see more new ideas to show my family what true creativity is all about

    Thanks Chef

  11. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Glad you liked the corn syrup free pecan pie.

  12. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Anytime Lenny. Glad you like the corn syrup free pecan pie.
    Eddy Van Damme

  13. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Thank you for the compliment and visiting my site.
    Eddy Van Damme

  14. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Nice to hear from you again! The corn syrup free pecan pie will turn out great.


  15. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Thank you for the compliments.
    Best, Eddy.

  16. Allie Sunshine on said:

    Coming from a person that doesn’t like pecan pie, I could eat this one everyday of the week, it is simply fantastic. Thank you for working this recipe out, soon we will all be corn syrup free!!!

  17. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Thank you!

  18. As the baker in the family I handle dessert at the holidays. For thanksgiving I was asked to make 3 different pies. I know I will make a pumpkin spice and a 5lb apple, as they are standards at our thanksgiving, but the third i wasn’t sure. I like pecan pie but it’s usually so sweet and heavy I thought it might not be a hit after such a big me. ThenI found this recipe. I did a trial run today (not that I didn’t trust you all but you never know) It is great. instead of sugary corn syrup you really taste the “autumny” flavor of the nuts. Test bake was a success and it will be on my thanksgiving table possibley as a new standard.

  19. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    A sincere thank you! Happy Thanksgiving.
    Eddy Van Damme

  20. Mary Schaad on said:

    My brother-in-law is allergic to high fructose corn syrup but mentioned a while back that he loves and misses Pecan Pie. I cannot wait to serve him this recipe! You have brought joy to many people with this recipe, it seems; especially, I’m sure, Tony!

  21. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Mary, I am very glad I could help. All the best!

  22. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Thanks for testing this corn syrup free pecan pie and your very kind comments. I hope to have more articles coming soon which you will be able to use.

  23. Linda Monroe on said:

    I am so happy to have come across your recipe for pecan pie with no corn syrup. I will try it for thanksgiving. Would it be overdoing it to put chocolate in this recipe? If so, what type of chocolate would you recommend and would I just put it in the pie crust before putting in the pecans? Thank you.

  24. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Yes, certainly you can add chocolate to this corn syrup free pecan pie. I have done it countless times. I would suggest to use chocolate with a cocoa content of about 50%-60%. Higher cocoa content would start to overshadow the pecan flavor. Simply place chocolate chips or chunks on the bottom of the pie shell and then cover with pecans, followed by the syrup filling. (Pecans always flow to the surface automatically.) You can also add 2 TBSP of sifted cocoa powder to the egg mixture to add additional chocolate flavor. Thank you for your question Linda and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  25. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Yes, certainly you can add chocolate to this corn syrup free pecan pie. I have done it countless times. I would suggest to use chocolate with a cocoa content of about 50%-60%. Higher cocoa content would start to overshadow the pecan flavor. Simply place chocolate chips or chunks on the bottom of the pie shell and then cover with pecans, followed by the syrup filling. (Pecans always flow to the surface automatically.) You can also add 2 TBSP of sifted cocoa powder to the egg mixture to add additional chocolate flavor. Thank you for your question Linda and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  26. Jacqueline Laurencelle on said:

    Greetings Eddy!

    I look forward to making this pie! I have a couple questions about the brown sugar – you list “medium”. I only know about light and dark varieties, is there a preference? One other question is I have read on other sites that it is better to use brown sugar from cane rather than beets – any thoughts? Thank you so much, Jacqueline

  27. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Thank you for visiting my blog and your question.
    If I had to chose between light or dark brown sugar I would go with the dark variety. More delicious caramel flavor this way. If you can find brown sugar made from cane, I would indeed chose this type.
    All the best!

  28. Well, my daughter phoned me this evening and needs a pecan pie baked tomorrow for a Thanksgiving dinner at 5 pm. Not a big deal? Well I live in New Zealand and corn syrup is very hard to find here, so I was really thrilled to find such a nice corn syrup free recipe. I’ll be making this tomorrow afternoon, just curious, how long does it take to set ? From the time I bake it, until she needs to collect it there will be only 3 hours at the most ?

  29. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Thanks for visiting and I am glad I was able to help with a corn syrup free pecan pie.
    3 hours will be plenty for this pie to set. In fact, once it is cooled it will be firm enough to cut. Certainly if refrigerated first a nicer “cut” will be obtained.
    All the best, Eddy.

  30. Pie in the oven, it smells great – I’m glad I decided to make two, one for her to take to her dinner and one for us to eat, ty very much for the recipe :)

  31. cyberene on said:

    The original recipes were ALL cane’re right..but they used a portion of Cane syrup/molasses to give it that richness in the custard. Molasses was (and is) the byproduct of the grinding of the cane during the sugaring season. Folks who lived down da bayou would grind their own sugar at this time of year and had plenty of pecans at hand from the local trees. They would never have used anything corn. DARK rum was also a must. It’s a simple dessert that you just can’t mess up. Nothing like fall down the bayou with the cane burning in the field and the kettles boiling. yum.

  32. Hi Eddy,

    I can’t wait to try this recipe! I’m living in Asia and need to use the metric weights. Can you confirm that you meant to say 450 g instead of 240 g pecans? I’m pretty sure you mean 2 cups, but just want to get it right!


  33. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi Suzanne,
    It just happens that 2 cups of pecans are not very heavy. (More in weight than 2 cups of cotton balls but not as heavy as 2 cups of sugar) On the scale 2 cups of pecans weigh 8 oz or 240 gram. Good looking out! If you can Suzanne, pre baking the shell, lined with parchement paper and filled with pie weights or beans works best. Once blind baked add the filling and bake the corn syrup free pecan pie at 330F.
    All the best and thank you for taking a closer look at the recipe measurments. Happy holidays.

  34. How about substituting Egg Beaters for the whole eggs. Would that work?

  35. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    I have not tried myself and I can not say 100% that it will give you the same result.
    All the best,

  36. Anne Brew on said:

    May I use molasses in this recipe? I have unsulphured molasses.

  37. Eddy Van Damme on said:


    You can use molasses but I would not use a lot. One or two tablespoons would be the maximum I would add.

  38. Anne Brew on said:

    Dear Eddy,
    Thank you. I forgot to ask if I use a tablespoon of molasses, should I lessen the amount of brown sugar used in the recipe or just add the tablespoon of molasses? I am going to make this pie tomorrow. Thank you.

  39. Michael Kramer on said:

    Hi Eddy,

    I’m excited to make this without corn syrup. One more question about adding chocolate chips though. I’d love to add them; I just don’t what quantity. Can you please tell me how much chips you’d recommend adding? Thanks! Michael

  40. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi Michael,
    Since it sounds like you want some chocolate but do not want to overpower the pecan flavor, I would use 1/2 cup of good quality chocolate chips or a chocolate bar (Not unsweetened). You can simply mix the chocolate pieces with the pecans.
    I do like a chocolate pecan pie as well.
    All the best, Eddy.

  41. Christina on said:

    Hi Chef,
    Should the crust be baked blind? If so, can you provide directions? And finally, what part of the oven should the pie be placed? Many thanks!

  42. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Yes, the crust can be blind baked. Doing so will ensure that the crust is perfectly baked. Once you line the dough in the pie shell and the edges are trimmed, place parchment paper onto the dough. (make cuts around the circle of parchment for proper fitting) Fill with pie weights or uncooked rice or beans and place in the oven at 350F until barely golden. Remove paper, proceed as ordinary. Bake in center of oven.
    Cheers, Eddy.

  43. Georgine on said:

    My son has a corn allergy and pecan pie is his favorite. Now I have a recipe to try that he can eat and doesn’t require any special ingredients.

  44. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    I am excited for you and your son! Thank you for your comment and all the best!

  45. Yvette on said:


    I love your recipe and enjoyed making it. I’m now looking to replace sugar with fructose. Any ideas?

  46. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi Yvette,
    I would have to test first before I can give you an answer I feel 100% good about. Thank you for the question Yvette,

  47. Glenn Perser on said:

    I have had the pleasure of knowing Chef Eddy for many years. Anyone serious about learning or perfecting the art of baking must have a copy of his award winning publications. They are an inspiration to everyone who loves baking.

    Professor Glenn Perser

  48. It is better without corn syrup and it is good to eat… Puttting corn syrup will make the pecan pie taste very different… Thanks…

  49. Windsor on said:

    Really enjoyed this pie and was impressed by the non use of corn syrup in it

  50. The pie has a great taste and it does not contain the overly sweet taste most pecan pies.

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