Corn Syrup Free Pecan Pie

by Eddy Van Damme on October 31, 2011

For some time now I have wanted to write another article on pecan pie which is one of the most beloved desserts in the United States. Just like brownies it is a dessert which is gaining popularity worldwide. In America, many of our customers believe that pecan pies have to be made with corn syrup, not knowing that the original pecan pies were actually made with brown sugar. In the early 20th century less expensive corn syrup started to replace brown sugar and became the custom for pecan pies.

Several years ago, I started working on a corn syrup free pecan pie recipe because I felt that corn syrup versions were too sweet and the flavor was never “clear”. Since then I have been making pecan pies with brown sugar with excellent results and an unsurpassed flavor which I believe will be loved by your customers as well.

Although this recipe works perfect as is, for this particular pecan pie I have added some dark chocolate which further cuts the sweetness.  Pecans do like the company of Dark Rum, Cognac or Brandy and I do recommend adding some.  Most often pecan pies are made using standard pie dough (pâte brisée) but there is something to be said for using sweet tart dough (pate sucrée) instead. A prebaked sweet tart dough shell ensures a well baked crust which can be hard to achieve when using standard pie dough and rack ovens.


Pecan pie without corn syrup

Yield: 2 – 9 inch pies


6 Large eggs 6
12 oz Water 240 g
1 lb 12 oz Medium brown sugar 840 g
  1 tsp Salt 5 g
4 oz Butter, melted 120 g
1 oz Dark Rum, Cognac or Brandy 30 g
1 tbsp Vanilla extract 15 g
1 lb Pecan halves 480 g
  4 oz Chocolate (58-64% cocoa mass) 120 g


  1. Line 2 pie tins with sweet tart dough and prebake. Alternatively use pie dough (pâte brisée) and do not prebake.
  2. Whisk together the eggs and water until smooth. Add brown sugar, salt, butter, liquor and vanilla extract.
  3. Chop less than half of the pecans in small pieces and scatter in the pie shells along with the chocolate.  Fill with the filling about half full. The pecan pieces will automatically float.
  4. Arrange the pecan halves in a circular fashion above the floating pecan pieces.
  5. Carefully drizzle the remaining filling over the pecan halves.
  6. For a pie made with sweet tart dough place in a 325°F (160°C) oven and bake until the center is set, about 65 minutes total. For pies made with standard pie dough place the pies in a 400°F (200°C) oven for 10 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 325°F (160°C), bake until the center is set.

43 comments on “Corn Syrup Free Pecan Pie

  1. Hilary Adams on said:


    I have tried the pecan pie without corn syrup before, but I am anxious to try it with the chocolate! Pecan pie is one of those desserts that I typically DON’T love because it is too sweet for me! Yours without the corn syrup was perfect, and I’m sure this one will be even better!

    Can’t wait to try!! ;0)

  2. Carina on said:

    I actually had the chance to try this pie last week and it was sooooo good. This was my first time trying it with rum and the flavors are phenomenal! Great combination of flavors, rum and chocolate. You dont expect that in a traditional pecan pie. Also, the fact that it was made with brown sugar definitely makes this pie rich and flavorful. Corn syrup does tend to take away or “coat” the flavors and that was not the case with this one. Did not realized that pecan pies originally were made this way. Unfortunately,when made with corn syrup, we sacrifice flavor to save a few bucks.

  3. Darienne McAuley on said:

    Rum, chocolate and pecans. It doesn’t get much better than that. I’d like to try this pie using piloncillo or panela for a very interesting sugar taste.

  4. Vanessa Villarreal on said:

    I am so looking foward to making this pecan pie I’ve always been the kind of person who expects a pecan pie at the thanksgiving dinner table, but I haven’t ever tasted it with chocolate or rum although i’m sure it will taste delicious as it looks. I actually do prefer using brown sugar rather than corn syrup especially when I make candy with a variety of nuts.

  5. I think this pie will make an appearance at my in-law’s Thanksgiving table this year…. it’s a southern affair for sure. Maybe a corn-syrup free pie will open the door to more conversation. If I decided to use the classic pie dough (because I love it so much!), do you recommend baking it for a few minutes first before I fill it since you’ve expressed concern for an underbaked crust?

  6. Niah Clark on said:

    If you don’t buy any of the dark rum, brandy and the cognac, what else can you use?

  7. lisa ibanez on said:

    Hi chef, I am really excited to try this out for thanksgiving becauae I too like pecan pie. The differents versions I have tried are indeed way too sweet for comfort. I did not realize that the dark chocolate would cut down the sweetness! If we used dark chocolate chunks instead would it be the same?

  8. Chef Van Damme, I have made this pie several times because I love the flavor, but my filling never turns out as smooth and creamy as yours appears to be. Can you tell me what I am doing wrong?
    This recipe is the best pecan pie I’ve ever eaten. Thanks.

  9. Lee Ann Romero on said:

    Pecan pie is one of my favorites. Love your idea of using tart dough. I will like that consistency over a sometimes too soggy pie crust.

  10. FYI the pecan is the major tree nut native to USA and it produces 80% of the worlds crop. It’s also the official state tree in Tx(now greatly affected by the drought). Your twist sounds tempting. I like there is no cornstartch use. I’m interested to test the flavor play between the 64% chocolate and the brandy or cognac in recipe. Will definately try it! Tks, Anita

  11. Adriana Diaz on said:

    It looks great and it sounds so much more natural and wholesome with the brown sugar versus the corn syrup. I recently saw a show where they incorporated whiskey in a sauce for their pecan pie…do you think whiskey could be a possible liquor substitute in the recipe as well?


  12. Yesenia Garcia on said:

    Chef Eddy,
    This recipe is going to be a hit at thanksgiving dinner. I never thought to see chocolate in a pecan pie, it sure looks delicious.
    Thank you,

  13. Victoria Bishop on said:

    Pecan pie is one of my favorite pies. However, I’ve never tried this recipe. It is interesting how you can subsitute brown sugar for corn syrup.

  14. Mayah Cash on said:

    Does subsituting the corn syrup for brown sugar change the texture or the pie?

  15. Crystal Swaim on said:

    Chef Eddy,

    I can’t wait to share this with my mother-in-law over the Thanksgiving break! She loves to bake and she will really enjoy knowing she can use brown sugar in place of corn syrup. I’ll have to convince her on the Rum though. I’ll bring her a bottle when we go to visit and then she’ll have to use it!

  16. I made it today and totally successful. Doesn’t look as pretty as the pictures but it tasted divine. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  17. Amy Anglin on said:

    Someone in class gave me a piece of this pie last week and made it from this recipe. It was so delicious, moist and light! I will make it for my family because it’s their favorite pie! Also I made pies last week and I took some of your rum syrup for my pecan pie and bet its delicious. Will eat it tomorrow for Thanksgiving.

  18. Ok – they are in the oven cooking now! I can’t wait to try’em! Thanks for sharing this Chef Eddy!

  19. hai vonguyen on said:

    Tastes great, and healthy….as long as you don’t eat the whole pie in one sitting.

  20. Marisa Esqueda on said:

    I wonder if we can used white chocolate for this pie….

  21. just wanted to let you know that I made this over thanksgiving and it was a big hit even with my most critical taster! I used a ratio of light brown & dark brown sugar. I used Cognac which was great against the 64% . Thank you!

  22. Rocio Ramirez on said:

    This recipe is so great, specially with the chocolate inside.

  23. Tilly Sherwood on said:

    You know at thanksgiving I made pumpkin spice cake and brought pumpkin truffles from chocolates come to find out half out my family does not like pumpkin. I did make them the candied pecans that we made in class. They loved them! Guess what they are getting for Christmas treat this wonderful pecan pie love the addition of the chocolate.

  24. Tried a few pecan pie recipes but I think I still like this one the best, just made it again for thanksgiving but tried it with sweet tart dough for the first time…it was GREAT! I think they are a perfect marriage of flavors for a perfect pecan pie!

  25. jessica raymond on said:

    I don’t know it’s a Texas thing but pecan pie has always been a staple at holidays and family gathers. as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found the pie to be too sweet. I’m excited to try this pecan pie with the dark chocolate. It sounds like it may taste like a turtle candy.

  26. John Foisy on said:

    Thank you for placing the pecan pie back as a dessert that is richer and mature. The taste of the pecan is featured rather than cheaply masked. I love this pie and feel it is a part of our hertiage.

  27. Demetrias Edwards-Destin on said:

    This looks more appetizing than the corn syrup pecan pie I’ve madefor years,never would have used chocolate though.Now there’s something new to try.Thanks for the tip

  28. I like desserts that aren’t too sweet and filled with a whole lot of sugar, so this would be a wonderul recipe to try! Thanks!

  29. This is one of my favorite recipes,pure,honest ingredients will always make everything better.
    I never thought I could make such a pie with corn syrup or cornstarch.

  30. Mark Holley on said:

    I love this version of pecan pie and this will be one of the first recipe I will try out. I am thinking of pairing it with Buttermilk ice cream.

  31. can’t wait to try this one

  32. Jelani Byerly on said:

    This recipe was such a big hit on Thanksgiving, that most of my family want me to make twice as many for Christmas. It was the only pie on turkey day that was entirely eaten. Now i have my work cut out on for me.

  33. Roslen Hamilton on said:

    This is one of my favorite recipes. Not only is it delicious but I am able to make this recipe without corn syrup.

  34. Nicholas Pringle on said:

    My mother would not believe me if I told her! I would prefer brown sugar because the corn syrup is so sweet and sticky. I want to enjoy the pie not have to to feel like I am eating nothing but sugar.

  35. Carol Weber Abarca on said:

    Hi Chef Eddy,
    I’m glad I found this. Can’t wait to try. I have older relatives and myself that put crushed pecans into the pie dough. Would this be possible if using the tart shell?

  36. Ashly Willis on said:

    I usually don’t like pecan pie, but making it without the corn syrup made it so much better. iI didn’t think it would make that big of a difference, but it really did.

  37. valerie alexander on said:

    I never ate a pecan pie without corn syrup but i going to try this one. The chocolate and the rum is a different twist but it sounds great.

  38. Amy Taylor on said:

    I never would of thought of cutting out corn syrup and adding chocolate! I do agree that traditional pecan pies are way too sweet! I was always torn at what to do when I made my own pecan pies to cut the sweetness. I will definitely be giving this recipe a try.

  39. Sharyll Crawford on said:

    I would have never thought of adding chocloate to pecan pie. Until someone else does, no one really wants to add extra to an already great recipe. But you never know how it will come out until you try it, i must try the chocolate next time.

  40. Meghan Abarca on said:

    When we made the regular pie in class I only took a bite of it. My boyfriend loved it! I normally love sweet things, but it was very sweet. This pie looks interesting just because you added chocolate instead of corn syrup. I look forward to trying this!

  41. I enjoyed the bitterness of the added chocolate to reduce the sweetness of the pecan pie that we made in class. I have found that it was still too rich in flavor. I have tried adding fresh cranberries instead of chocolate. The tartness of the cranberries help balance out the sweetness of the pecan pie.

  42. Eileen Mier on said:

    I really enjoyed this pecan pie. It was a huge hit at Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone loved that it was not too sweet. I used to just eat the pecans off my slice when served pecan pie in the past because the rest of the filling was always so tooth achingly sweet. I never thought pecan pie could be made without corn syrup, and am so glad that you shattered this misconception. Thank you for teaching us this recipe.

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