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. Jilly on said:

    I have a question, does the time in the oven vary if you’re using a porcelain pie dish instead of a pie tin? And if it does, how much longer or shorter amount of time should you bake it for?

  2. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi, It may take a little longer depending on the oven. What I would do is bake the pie until the filling is set in the center. If the center starts to rise a little, it certainly is done baking.
    All the best, Eddy

  3. Kevin Fuller on said:


    This pecan pie recipe looks great I will try it and send my comments.

    Please email me the “moist white cake from scratch” recipe



  4. Wonderful! Absolutely Wonderful!
    I can not wait to get my hands on some fresh Pecans so I can try this out!
    I have been wondering ‘why’ corn syrup for years… I knew that the first ones could never have been made with that garbage! Corn Syrup is the substitute… so, IT is the ‘one that never is quite right’!
    Thanks for your post!

  5. Oneil Sharma on said:

    I am glad to find that you don’t have to use corn syrup. Can I ask if you blind bake the pie crust or not and if not why not?

  6. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi Oneil,
    It is custom not to bake a crust for pecan pie blind since it bakes pretty well this way. However, I must say that it is indeed very nice if you do prebake blind to ensure a perfect crust. Another thing which I love is to use a prebaked pate sucre or sweet tart dough for pecan pie.
    Thanks for your reply!

  7. Oneil Sharma on said:

    Made it, ate it, loved it! This is better than some of pies I ate in the US. Thanks for such a great recipe.

  8. Taking part in a bake sale in November, just before Thanksgiving. I think I will bake a few of these. I LOVE pecan pie and we are working on a corn syrup free and all organic lifestyle. I’m happy I don’t have to leave out my favorite Holiday dessert!

  9. One of my favorite and most moist made-from-scratch cakes is by Crisco, although I have since switched over to palm shortening which contains no hydrogenation and no trans fat. I am trying very diligently to go back to the basics of baking which means I use more butter. From my heart, I am a farm girl. Real maple syrup is the only syrup I let in my house, sometimes to the dismay of my dear husband! That’s all we had on the farm and anything else is simply putrifying to my senses!

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe as I keep no corn syrup on hand, but have been longing to make a pecan pie. This is my first attempt, but the piecrust I have in mind will be the best as I have learned that adding some lemon juice to the water elongates the gluten and makes it so much easier to handle!

  10. Joseph Christianson on said:

    Hi, I love Pecan Pie, and have been searching for one without the syrup. This one you have here sounds fabulous. If I did want to add some chocolate, how much would I put in? Could I use bourbon as well, instead of Brandy or Rum?

  11. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Sure you can change the liquor. On the chocolate, a good hand full will do, it really is up to your personal taste.

  12. Arunee Jainim on said:

    I love Pecan Pie. I always ordered it at the restaurant. I used to think it might be too complicated and difficult to make one by myself. Here I am…I made the first Pecan Pie following your recipe and steps. It’s easy and fun to follow and taste just awesome!!!

  13. oneil sharma on said:

    I have been a big fan of your work for a while now and love to make your pecan pie. The problem is that I have been recently diagnosed as gluten intolerant (celiac disease). I cant bare to go through life without baking any more pies! Do you know of a gluten free alternative to your pie crust? If not can you recommend a good source?

    Many thanks


  14. yea it sounds good my sister is diabetic and can have brown sugar it doesnt affect her but splenda does and so she wanted a recipe for one with out the syrup and its great

  15. Jacqueline Laurencelle on said:

    Just wanted to share that I made this pie last year and it was truly scrumptious! It has such a pronounced caramel flavor without the toothache sweetness. Will definitely be making it again this year!! ( I used a fluted, removable bottom tart pan, and it worked beautifully.)

  16. Jacqueline Laurencelle on said:

    Eddy – the metric measurement for water – should I weigh 180g or should I be measuring it as 180ml?

  17. Suzy Bindrup on said:

    Chef Van Damme,

    Thank you for the great recipe! So nice to get a good pie without the corn syrup. AND I made it in a gluten-free crust.


  18. June Munger on said:

    All you need for gluten free baking is a wheat free mix already made in the health food stores, or a mix of the following:
    Brown rice flour
    Sweet rice flour
    Sorghum flour
    Potato Starch or Flour
    Tapioca flour (small amount)
    Quinoa or amaranth flour (small amount)
    The trick to gluten free baking is XANTHAN GUM–add one teaspoon to every cup of gluten free flour
    I can’t do garbanzo or fava bean flour, so you will have to experiment with making your own mix.
    Whatever proportions you use, keep your mixture in the fridge. When you want to bake, take out the amount of flour you need and let it come to room temperature.
    Good luck. I have finally perfected my gluten free popovers recipe. YUM.
    My homemade mix works better than any single flour by itself.

  19. Caroline Worsham on said:

    Excellent recipe. Thank you.

  20. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    I have been on Holiday and I cannot remember if I responded to your question… In case of water, 180 g or 180 ml happens to be the same. Flour would be hugely different since it is light.
    All the best,

  21. I can tell this will be awesome and that you are a wonderful cook, just from reading the way you write about the details here. Thank you for the international equivalents, and thank you for posting this, as I also never have corn syrup on hand, and we all love brown sugar anyway!

  22. can i substitute oil for the butter?

  23. I had the pecans but no corn syrup so my search ended here for a recipe without corn syrup. This came out great, I will make pecan pie this way from now on. It wasn’t sickeningly sweet like my usual recipe. I didn ‘t have any brown sugar, so I used white but added 3 tablespoons of molasses. Can’t wait to try it with brown sugar!

  24. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Thank you very much! So glad you liked it. I will soon post a recipe for pecan pie using other sweeteners as well.
    Cheers, Eddy.

  25. Hoodoo on said:

    I just made this last night for my wife’s birthday. I am allergic to corn so having pecan pie again was a treat. However, I can say that I have never heard of “medium” brown sugar. I have only ever seen light and dark, so I mixed the two 50/50. The pie is fantastic. Thanks for sharing this recipe with us.

  26. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Thank you and I am glad this corn syrup free pecan pie worked out so well for you.

  27. I love pecan pie but sometimes I find it too sweet. When I came upon this recipe for pecan pie without corn syrup, I was delighted. I can’t wait to try this recipe, thanks Chef!

  28. Camilla on said:

    Wow this is a great recipe my dad loved it because he is not a huge cake fan you have an extreme talent for baking and thank you so so so so much for sharing it it really helped me get inspired by baking!

  29. Camilla on said:

    Wow you have a great talent for baking and thanks to you I love baking now it is my favorite hobbie but some times I get a little carried away haha! This pecan pie was delicious can you please make another healthy but delicious recipe because that would be great!

  30. Ben Davenport on said:

    Chef Eddy,

    This the best tasting pecan pie I have ever eaten. The fact that it is not real sweet and sticky like pies made corn syrup is very appealing to the tatse buds.

  31. Gloria Campos on said:

    Chef Eddy,
    I’ve always had pecan pies that are really sticky and sweet. Thank you for this recipe! I have a pecan pie recipe which calls for like 1/2 cup of light and dark corn syrup, which i have to let sit for like a whole day for it to firm up nicely. I am very impressed that you can get a very successful pie with no syrup!

  32. Chef Eddy,

    I am so happy to find a recipe free of corn syrup! I was wondering if I could sub maple syrup for the water?

  33. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi Julia,
    You could use maple syrup for the water but you will also have to reduce the sugar. By how much exactly is something I would have to test first. However, I would start with reducing the same amount of sugar as water.
    My best, Eddy

  34. Eddy, this recipe is the only one I’ve ever made. My friends and family all love it. Thanks for posting. Out of curiosity, do you know the calorie count for one serving? Not that anyone should care if they’re eating it (!!) but I am really curious.

  35. Jessica on said:

    I am from the south and love pecan pie. Thank you for the NO corn syrup recipe. I have tried different recipes in the past and have not done well without the corn syrup. Thanks for doing the history search and recipe. Trying it this Thanksgiving.

  36. This sounds great! I recently discovered I have several food allergies, corn being one of them. Egg is also one so can I use an egg replacement?

  37. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    You sure can!

  38. Kaitlin on said:

    Thank you so much for the recipe! I am studying abroad in Belgium and needed it for my recreation of Thanksgiving to share with my friends here. It just isn’t a holiday without pecan pie!

  39. I made this recipe last Thanksgiving. It was such a hit that it has been specifically requested for this year. Yes, they remembered it! This is the best I’ve ever tasted. Thank you so much for this “keeper!”

  40. I’d been looking for a corn syrup free pecan pie and tried a couple other recipes before stumbling upon yours. This is clearly the best, my family LOVED the taste of this pie, BUT mine does not look like yours. While yours is caramel color, mine is dark brown and not nearly as attractive. Also, mine has a soft texture and when sliced falls apart. Any hints on what I’m doing wrong.

  41. Do you think it would be okay if u substituted milk for the water?

  42. Eddy Van Damme on said:


  43. Julia neustein on said:

    Hi Chef,
    I made the pecan pies with maple syrup by using 1/4 syrup and 1/2 cup water and reducing sugar to 1 cup and it was a huge hit! I love the custard texture of this recipe. Thanks again.

  44. Nancy Charlton on said:

    I want to make little tarts using a rich pie crust in little sandbakkelse molds. Each would take about 4 teaspoons of filling. Is there any adjustment I should make to the recipe, either ingredients or procedure?

    Thanks for any and all advice on this.

  45. Hello there i have to say i am in love with your recipe it is sweet but not “ow my teeth hurt give me some water NOW sweet” i just have a quick question I notice when i make the pie its very spongy at the bottom…. is there something I can use to solidify it a bit more cutting it is also a hassle because of the moist texture at the bottom please help…. thank u

  46. My daughter is allergic to HFCS so I am very excited to try this recipe for Christmas!! I do have a question about the butter measurements though… 60g equals 1/2 a cup, which in the US is one whole stick… did you mean to say 1/2 cup instead of 1/2 stick?

  47. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi Morgan,
    1 stick of butter equals 4 oz or 120 g or 1/2 cup.

  48. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi Nancy,
    it should work just fine.

  49. Kellie on said:

    I am so happy that I found this recipe. I am a Canadian that is now living in Belgium and I have found it so difficult to find the light corn syrup. I have been using the Candico kandijsiroop but its incredibly sickly sweet and just not the same. I will definately try your recipe and share with friends here! Thank you!

  50. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi Kellie,
    When in Belgium make sure you visit the old part of Gent (Ghent) Always good food at Keizerhof, Pakhuis, Belga Queen. In Antwerp Arte has great italian food.
    Enjoy your time in Belgium!

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