Browned Butter Pecan Pie in a Crust That Won’t Stick to the Pan

Sneak Preview: Try this Browned Butter Pecan Pie, and you’ll learn how to make a pie crust that won’t stick to the pan. The secret to the fabulous flavor is the brown butter. You won’t be disappointed.

two pieces of Browned Butter Pecan PIePin

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Do you ever have problems with your pecan pie sticking to the pie plate? Me, too. It’s impossible to serve gracefully and can be downright embarrassing!

Along with this amazing recipe for Browned Butter Pecan Pie, I’ve included 5 tips to help keep your crust from sticking like cement to the pie plate.

This recipe has converted many pecan pie haters.

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I promise you. This recipe makes the lightest, most delicate pecan pie I have ever eaten in my entire life. If you have any leftovers, please call me, and I’ll take them off of your hands.

What’s even better is when the crust doesn’t sabotage all your work. Don’t miss my five suggestions to keep the crust from sticking at the end of this post.

Recipe inspiration:

This recipe was first published in 2009, and it was time to revisit it. So, after borrowing some techniques from America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book, I tested and retested them. I think I’ve got it now!!

If you’re like me, pecan pie is a once-a-year treat. So it better be fabulous.

The secret is the brown butter.

It contributes a nutty, buttery, toffee-like flavor without taking over the show. It’s the magic ingredient in this pie! Add chocolate drizzles on top to dress it up, but that’s optional.

Uncut baked pecan pie with chocolate drizzlePin
With chocolate drizzle
uncut browned-butter pecan pie without chocolate drizzlePin
Without chocolate drizzle

How to brown butter:

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.

The amount of time this process takes depends on three things:

  • The amount of butter
  • The level of heat
  • The cooking vessel you use
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First, slowly melt butter in a saucepan on the stove.
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The solids will start to separate.
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The buttery liquid will turn a golden brown and become fragrant.

You can also brown butter in the microwave. It’s pretty straightforward.


Five tips to keep pecan pie from sticking to the pan:

1. Spray your pie plate with an oil/flour mixture like Baker’s Joy.

Do this before you place the pie crust dough into the pie dish.

spraying pie plan with baker's joyPin

2. Make sure your crust is not too thin and has no cracks.

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3. Partially bake your pie crust before filling.

Cover a well-chilled or frozen raw pie crust with two layers of aluminum foil. Press the foil down to fit the pie crust snugly. Then, fold the foil over the crust to protect the edges from over-browning.

raw pie shell covered with aluminum foil and filled with a chain instead of pie weightsPin

Fill the pie shell with pie weights, rice, pennies, or my favorite, a heavy chain (sold by the foot at hardware stores). Bake at 375˚F for 25-30 minutes. (I suggest a longer time for frozen crusts.)

Remove the foil and let the crust cool slightly. You want the crust to be warm when you pour in the filling.

Kitchen Tip: To catch any buttery drips, place a cookie sheet topped with a silicone mat on the rack beneath your crust while baking. It’s easier to throw the mat into your dishwasher than scrub your oven after the drips burn on the bottom.

4. Heat the pie filling before pouring it into your pie crust.

Before adding the vanilla, lemon juice, and pecans, I cook the custard mixture in the microwave on HIGH for 45 seconds. You want it to reach 130˚F when measured with a quick-read thermometer.

5. Fill the pie crust with filling while the crust is still warm.

As you might have figured out, this “no-leak” process requires a bit of timing.

This is my schedule for making Browned Butter Pecan Pie:

  • Prepare a pie shell. Chill well or freeze.
  • While the pie shell pre-bakes, prepare the filling.
  • Pour the hot pie filling into your warm pre-baked crust.
  • BAKE!

Try this recipe for Browned Butter Pecan Mini-Tarts. These are just as delicious but easier to serve and eat. Nice for holidays and those people who “want one of everything.”

Use a 7-inch pie plate and cut this recipe in half.

Assembling the pie filling for Browned Butter Pecan Pie:

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Brown the butter first, then stir in sugar and salt.
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Whisk eggs together, then whisk into the mixture above. Stir in corn syrup.
Microwave on HIGH for 45 seconds to 1 minute until mixture reaches 130˚ F. (Times will vary according to your microwave)
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Add vanilla, lemon juice, and pecans, Pour filling into the partially baked pie shell.
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Bake at 275˚ F for 50-60 minutes.
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If necessary, shield the crust with a pie crust protector or strips of aluminum foil.

The Chocolate Drizzle:

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

  1. Place chocolate into a small plastic zippered bag.
  2. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute, 15 seconds, or until melted.
  3. Mash to ensure there are no unmelted lumps that might clog the small hole in step 5.
  4. Snip a small hole in one corner of the bag.
  5. Squeeze chocolate out of the hole to decorate. Go back and forth one way. Then turn the pie 90 degrees and go back and forth again.

FAQs about Pecan Pie:

Can I use a store-bought crust?

A store-bought crust is fine, or you can make your own.

I don’t recommend baking your pie in an aluminum foil pan. The cooking process tends to be uneven. If possible, place the foil pan inside a larger glass pan. At the very least, place it onto a cookie sheet.

Do I need to toast the pecans?

YES! Toasting adds additional flavor to your pie.
Throw chopped pecans onto a paper plate and microwave on HIGH for 1 minute. Stir and cook for an additional minute.
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Should I chop the pecans?

Chopping most pecans for your pie may not be as pretty, but your tasty pie will be much prettier when you slice it. Otherwise, cutting into unsliced pecans can squash the custard filling into a ragged mess.

My compromise is to hold out a few pecans to decorate the top of the pie. (See the pie without chocolate above.) I don’t toast them ahead of time. The oven will do that in the baking process.


Parting Thoughts: Let me encourage you about the browned butter called for in this pie. It may seem like a bit of trouble, and it is, but it’s worth it. After all, a homemade pecan pie is a huge treat, might as well go for the gold.

If you have questions or suggestions, email me privately for a quick answer: Paula at saladinajar.com. Hope to see you again soon! 

one slice of browned butter pecan piePin

Browned Butter Pecan Pie Recipe

Paula Rhodes
Pecan pie containing browned butter–the secret ingredient in this holiday pie.
4.43 from 14 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 50 mins
Course Desserts
Cuisine American
Servings 8 slices
Calories 399 kcal

Video

Ingredients
  

  • 1 9-inch partially-baked pie shell
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • Dash of salt
  • 3 large eggs - well-beaten
  • ¾ cup light corn syrup
  • ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/4 cup pecans - coarsely chopped and toasted

Instructions
 

Pre-baking the pie crust:

  • Cover well-chilled or frozen pie crust with two layers of aluminum foil. Press foil to fit the pie crust snugly, then fold edges over the crust to protect it.
  • Fill pie shell with pie weights, rice, pennies, or my personal favorite, a heavy chain (sold by the foot at hardware stores).
  • Bake at 375˚ F for 25-30 minutes. (The longer time is for a frozen crust.)
  • Remove foil and let cool slightly. You want your crust to still be warm when you pour in the filling.

Browning the butter:

  • 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. Browning butter can also be done in the microwave.

Filling:

  • In a separate microwave-safe bowl, combine browned butter, sugar, and salt.
  • Whisk thoroughly beaten eggs and corn syrup into butter mixture.
  • Place filling in the microwave for 45 seconds on HIGH. The temperature should read 130 degrees F on a quick-read thermometer.
  • Add in lemon juice and vanilla. Stir in coarsely chopped and toasted nuts.
  • Pour into partially baked pie shell. Bake at 275 degrees F for 55-60 minutes. When done, the filling may be somewhat softer in the middle, but it should not be jiggly.
  • Allow the pie to cool before slicing so the filling will set properly.
  • Apply chocolate drizzle while the pie is still warm.
  • Pecan pie should be refrigerated after cooling for two to three hours.

Decorating with Chocolate (optional):

  • Place 1/4 cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips into 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 399kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 84mg | Sodium: 147mg | Potassium: 64mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 44g | Vitamin A: 353IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword pecan pie, browned butter pecan pie, making a pecan pie without the crust sticking
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Recipe Rating




21 Comments

  1. Ummm WOW? That looks awesome!!!

  2. Christine @ Fresh Local and Best says:

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

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

  4. 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!

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

  6. 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.
    Mimi

  7. 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)

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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! 🙂

  11. 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.

  12. 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. :+)

  13. 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?

    1. 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.

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

    1. 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!

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