Browned Butter Pecan Pie

close up pecan pie 2.jpg
My friend and  writer extraordinaire, Sara Ann, recently requested the recipe for this family favorite. It is the lightest, most delicate pecan pie I have ever eaten in my entire life. If you try it, I predict your family and friends will see it the same way.

Have you noticed my love affair with browned butter? (i.e Soft Cinnamon Cookies with Browned Butter Icing).  It contributes a nutty, buttery, toffee-like flavor to any dessert without taking over the show. It’s the magic ingredient in this pie!

The process of browning butter is simple. Knowing when the butter is brown enough without burning it is the tricky part. Don’t be afraid. I’ll hold your hand.

It can also be tricky to eat this candy-bar-on-a-plate without inducing an attack of overwhelming guilt. NO PROBLEM. I have the solution. Grab a jar of salad for lunch the next day and you’ll be back on track in no time. Works for me anyway. (Can you tell I’m a little paranoid about high calorie foods?)

browned butter.jpg

It will smell indescribably fragrant and be a light caramel color when ready


plain pecan pie whole.jpg

Allow to cool before slicing so filling will set properly.


storyboard pecan pie chocolate decor.jpg

I like to experiment on a paper plate before I start drizzling over the pie to make sure the size of the hole in my “decorating bag” is right.



Happy Thanksgiving.


Browned Butter Pecan Pie
Recipe type: Dessert - Pie
Serves: 8
Pecan pie containing browned butter--the secret ingredient in this holiday pie.
  • 1 8 or 9-inch unbaked pie shell
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup sugar (decrease to ¾ cup for a little less sweetness)
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  1. Browning the Butter:
  2. Heat butter in a small saucepan or skillet over low heat. It will take several minutes. (Please don't substitute margarine for this delicate operation.) When the solids start to brown, it happens quickly. Be alert. It will smell indescribably fragrant and be a light caramel color when ready. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  1. In separate bowl, combine corn syrup, sugar, eggs, lemon juice and vanilla in order listed. Thoroughly blend in cooled, browned butter.
  2. Stir in coarsely chopped nuts. Pecan lovers may want to increase the amount. (If desired, save out a few whole pecans to decorate the top of the pie as shown below.)
  3. Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake at 325 degrees F for 55-65 minutes. When done, filling may be somewhat softer in the middle but it should not be jiggly.
  4. Allow to cool before slicing so filling will set properly.
Decorating with Chocolate (optional):
  1. Place ¼ cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips in a small zippered plastic bag. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute, 15 seconds or until melted. Snip off the tiniest corner of the bag. Squeeze chocolate out of the hole over the pie in the design of your choice. If you want to squirt the leftover chocolate in your mouth, go ahead. It's our secret.

Related Posts:

Soft Cinnamon Cookies with Browned Butter Icing

Pumpkin Cookies with Browned Butter Icing

No-Fuss Brown Butter Icing (Microwave Method)

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

KK January 1, 2013 at 4:59 pm

This pie made a pecan pie hater convert! Thanks for the recipe – loved it!


Tasha November 24, 2012 at 7:56 pm

OMG this was sooooooooo good. I am now in love with browned butter. It adds such a nice flavor to pecan pie. I was worried about it not setting properly or that it would be runny. I made it this Thanksgiving and It came out perfect. The flavor is so nice. Thank you for sharing this. I look forward to trying more of your recipes.


Paula November 25, 2012 at 6:52 am

Hi Tasha,
So glad you liked it. I used my mini-tart crust recipe this year instead of a regular pie crust and it was fabulous too!


Karen November 5, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Hi, I made this yummy pie today. Had a slice for dinner while it was still warm… Fantastic! Thank you for sharing this great recipe.


Natasha December 28, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Well I did make this for dessert at Christmas and it was absolutely delicious (my family loved it). Thank you so much for this beautiful recipe. All the amounts and instructions were spot on.


Natasha December 21, 2011 at 1:49 pm

I know it’s not traditional, but I’m making this for Christmas. Can’t wait to see how it turns out 🙂


Jenny December 26, 2009 at 6:16 pm

Do you foil wrap your crust then? I have tried everything – shields, wrapping, frozen, unfrozen, homemade – the crust gets crunchy – what am I doing wrong?


Romaine December 26, 2009 at 6:23 pm

Jenny, I do not generally use foil, but I occasionally use a metal piecrust shield. They are cheap and it’s way easier.

Are you baking the pie closer to the bottom of the oven?

Is your oven true to temperature? You can check with an inexpensive oven thermometer.


Sis December 9, 2009 at 9:24 am

Just made this pie, and had surprisingly good results browning the butter. (Question, explain why you would use unsalted vs. salted butter) You may have mention this hint about browning sugar on another part of your blog, so overlook this if I am repeating. For years I was a failure at browning sugar like my southern mother-in-law did it. Thought the southern black iron skillet was essential. Just in recent years I realized that the black or dark color of a skillet makes it much harder to determine when the butter is the right color. Today I used a heavy small stainless steel sauce pan, and it worked like a charm.
Now the pie itself?? Well, I set the butter aside to cool, and you guessed it, I forgot to include it in the filling. Knowing it would NOT be pecan pie without the butter, I poured the batter out of the pie shell and put in the butter and returned it to the oven. Big mess! Sure, but can’t wait to taste it when it is finished cooking. Even the raw batter tasted good. I know – I know – raw eggs, etc. :+)


Myra November 27, 2009 at 10:23 am

I made this for Thanksgiving this year and although I was sure I was going to mess up the browning the butter part it turned out very nicely. The pie was a huge hit with my husband. It may have to become a TG staple in our house.


Jill November 25, 2009 at 8:34 am

This really looks delicious. I’m always looking at recipes with browned butter but I haven’t tried any yet. Love the chocolate on top…that seems mandatory rather than optional! 🙂


Jules November 23, 2009 at 9:28 pm

This is going on my list. I need to bake this one. Have you tried the Browned Butter Brown Sugar cookies from Deb at Smitten Kitchen? To die for.


Nina November 23, 2009 at 3:37 pm

Wow—does that look delicious. Thank you for posting the tip from CI on the pie crust!! I saw that on CI, but had not tried it! Your photos are terrific.


Staci November 22, 2009 at 10:07 pm

I will definitely be printing this off for the next time I get the urge to back (after all I’ve done this past week…it may be awhile! lol)


debby November 22, 2009 at 5:41 pm

Yummy, will have to try it.
BTW, you can see my granddaughter baking your oatmeal cookies at


mimi November 21, 2009 at 10:01 pm

I love brown butter too. Mr. Mimi’s says pecan is his favorite pie, but I ‘m beginning to think he says that about every pie he wants to eat.


Sis November 21, 2009 at 7:38 pm

Have you already given the pie CRUST recipe in a former post? If not, I need that recipe too.


Debbie November 21, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Looks great and tastes great! I have had the chance to eat this before. Printed it off the “right way” and will be on my list for Thanksgiving foods to prepare!


Myra November 21, 2009 at 10:16 am

I was just looking for a good pecan pie recipe! This looks so good! Can’t wait to try it this week!


Christine @ Fresh Local and Best November 21, 2009 at 9:57 am

What a stunning and decadent treat! Romaine, how do you stay sooooo skinny?!


amanda November 21, 2009 at 9:36 am

Ummm WOW? That looks awesome!!!


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