Bourbon Pecan Pie Recipe

[Ed note: I really need to take new pictures of this bourbon pecan pie!]

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As the only granddaughter living in the same city as my paternal grandmother, I was the one gifted with her mother’s recipe collection last year. It brings me incomparable joy to read through them, connecting with a woman I never knew. From her notes, I gather that she made a lot of desserts and threw a lot of parties. There’s one sheet of paper with four recipes written on it in faded pen: pecan pie, lemon pie, molasses pie, and chocolate pie. The pecan and lemon pies both have several check marks next to them, as if they’ve been tried and tested many times. The molasses pie has a big ol’ X next to it. I guess I won’t bother with that one. Thanks for the heads up from beyond the grave, Agnie.

Normally, I’m not a huge fan of pecan pie. They are almost always WAY too sweet, not to mention the fact that people can be so stingy with the pecans. (I can’t blame them when pecans are going for 11 bucks a pound, really, but it’s the holidays, people! Live large! Or make some other kind of pie instead.) The bourbon, though, cuts through the cloying sweetness and adding lots of toasted pecans makes a pie that will wow your socks off, especially if you pair it with some hot, black coffee.

What?! Coffee AND bourbon?! Is that the devil behind me?!

Nope. False alarm. It’s just a mirror.

One more thing before I get on with the recipe. Great-grandma’s original called for white sugar and dark corn syrup (Karo brand to be precise). I had smashing success using sorghum molasses in place of the dark Karo. Of course, I like the fruity, mineral-y, molasses-like flavor of sorghum so take that into account. If you have no qualms about corn syrup, you can either follow her recipe as written, or use brown sugar with light Karo. Or use brown sugar and dark Karo for an even richer taste ‘splosion. Can’t find sorghum and don’t want to use corn syrup? Try brown rice syrup from a health food store. Molasses would probably work, too, but it would be a mighty rustic pie.

Bourbon Pecan Pie Recipe Video (scroll down for recipe)

Bourbon Pecan Pie Recipe – printable!

Bourbon Pecan Pie
Recipe Type: Dessert
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Total time: 55 mins
Serves: 8
A Southern tradition
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup dark Karo (or sorghum molasses)
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract for a booze-free pie)
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped pecans (really just halved will do)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 deep-dish 9-inch pie crust
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
  2. Whisk the eggs together with the sugar, syrup, and bourbon.
  3. Toast the pecans in the butter over medium heat for about 3 minutes until they start to smell <em>delicioso</em>.
  4. Mix those in with the eggs and sugar.
  5. Pour into pie crust.
  6. Bake 35-45 minutes or until the pie is slightly puffed but the center is still a little jiggly.
  7. Cool completely.
  8. Serve with whipped cream if you like and hot coffee. Yum!

If you like this recipe, you might like this eggnog recipe from the same era. If you’d like to make your own pie crust, use this recipe.


  1. Janet on November 25, 2011 at 8:42 am

    I made this for thanksgiving and it came out great! I’m sooooo happy you showed the “jiggle” test because up until now I was never sure exactly how much jiggle was supposed to be left before the pie was done. Thanks so much, Hilah!

    • Hilah on November 26, 2011 at 9:37 am

      Yay! I’m so happy you liked it, Janet! Mine came out really good too. We had it with coffee and coffee ice cream. Hope you have a great holiday weekend!

  2. Concerned Fan on December 6, 2011 at 10:20 pm


    I don’t mean to alarm you, but I think Ach Food Companies Inc. stole your grandmas recipe! The Karo dark corn syrup has almost the same recipe. Minus 1/2 cup of pecans and the toasting of the nuts.

    My pie is currently cooling. I’m so exited to taste it!

    • Hilah on December 7, 2011 at 9:00 am

      Ha! I better call the recipe police! 😉
      Hope you enjoy it!

  3. Tony Shylo on December 19, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    In the past I really enjoyed watching your p0dcast on AppleTV, which is much better than watching it on my smaller laptop screen. However, they have stopped working. Please get someone to fix it.

    • Hilah on December 22, 2011 at 9:06 am

      Should be working now.

  4. Lou on June 18, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Hilah, following your instructions are what seems to make the recipes work. The Bourbon Pecan Pie looks just like” as advertised” from your show. I was a little skeptical when I put it in the oven, and it didn’t appear to be rising. Alas, it did and looks great. I used vanilla instead of the bourbon, corn syrup instead of sorghum molassas.
    Thanks, you for presenting basic recipes, with instructions we can rely on.

    • Hilah on June 21, 2012 at 12:12 pm

      Hello Lou!
      Thank you so much for your feedback. I do try hard to give very specific instructions with lots of detail for the cook to look for in the food to know they are on the right track. I’m very happy to hear it works for you!
      And really glad you liked the pie. 🙂

  5. Crystal on June 19, 2012 at 12:01 am

    2 Quick questions….One, what would you use instead of a light karo syrup in a recipe, and 2 what is the brand of molasses do you use? thank you!

    • Hilah on June 21, 2012 at 12:10 pm

      Hi Crystal!
      Substituting Karo depends a little on what the recipe is. Most things could use dark Karo or molasses instead if you don’t mind the stronger flavor, but some things (uncooked recipes) you also might be able to substitute honey.
      I buy unsulfured molasses, but that’s just my preference. Brer Rabbit and Grandma’s molasses are both fine brands.

  6. Robert Klute on November 27, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    You shouldn’t infer that using vanilla extract is booze free. It may not have a boozy taste; but, by law vanilla extract is at least 35% alcohol (70 proof or higher).

  7. Jen on November 27, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    Hey Hilah, where do you find sorghum molasses in Texas grocery stores? I was not able to find it near the regular molasses at the big HEB Plus that I normally shop at. Is it only found in specialty stores like Central Market? I am going to make this tonight with dark Karo and maybe a little regular molasses to cut the sweetness a bit, but I’d love to try your version with sorghum molasses someday, if I can ever find it!

    • Hilah on November 28, 2013 at 8:23 pm

      Hi Jen! I’ve never seen sorghum here, either (but I have not looked). I found it in a gift shop in east Tennessee. It’s surprising because I know we grow sorghum in Texas. You may be able to find it at Central Market or Whole Foods, or I wonder if a specialty spice store would carry it? Either way, with Karo or sorghum it is great!

      • Jen on November 29, 2013 at 8:05 pm

        I ended up making it with 1/4c molasses and 3/4c dark karo and brown sugar instead of white. It is a really dark, rich pie and not overly sweet. I made it along side pumpkin pie and an apple tart for Thanksgiving and the pecan I think was my favorite — surprising since apple is usually my favorite! If I ever find sorghum molasses in Texas, I will let you know! 🙂

        • Hilah on December 1, 2013 at 4:15 pm

          Great compromise, Jen! I’m really glad to hear you liked it! And I’ll keep my eyes out for sorghum here, too.

  8. Alicia on November 11, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    Hello Hilah !
    I’m french, so I hope you understand my bad english.
    I love pecan pie but in France we don’t have pecan pie (only in american restaurant).
    I want make your recipe but I have a question. I read in some pecan pie recipes they liquidize pecans and mix with sugar, dark karo etc. and after they put whole pecans on top pie. So, I can liquidize pecan or it’s better when it’s not liquidize ?
    And please, if possible can you tell me the equivalent of 2 cup chopped pecans in oz ?
    Thanks you.

    • Hilah on November 12, 2014 at 10:09 am

      Hi Alicia!
      I have not heard of a pecan pie with liquified or blended pecans. Chopped pecans is the only way I have seen it made. Two cups of chopped pecans is a little less than 8 ounces by weight.
      Hope you enjoy the pie! Thank you for writing. 🙂

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