Southern pecan pie is pretty much a staple everywhere down south, and it has a ton of variations like derby pie, chocolate pecan pie. But a Kentucky bourbon pecan pie is guaranteed to be your favorite recipe. Decadent, rich, buttery pecans, and a little kick from the bourbon really puts this over the top. Perfect for your Thanksgiving dessert table.
This pie always makes an appearance on my Thanksgiving dessert table along with a good pumpkin pie or two, and there is never a slice of it left over. Southern pecan pir is a quintessential holiday pie recipe that is truly an indulgence, and this recipe really puts it over the top. The filling is thick and rich and full of all things delicious and caloric. Everything we love about Thanksgiving holiday dessert.
Does this pie recipe taste like alcohol?
This is top question I am often asked, and the answer is...no. The alcohol in the bourbon cooks out and what you're left with is a delicious extra nutty and buttery flavor.
Which bourbon is best for pecan pie?
This is an easy one to make the best Kentucky bourbon pecan pie recipe, you need a good Kentucky bourbon - enter Maker's Mark, my favorite and the only bourbon I use when making this classic fall dessert.
Do you have to use Maker's Mark? No, you can use any Kentucky bourbon you have on hand for this recipe. I am no bourbon expert, but I do know, they all taste a bit different so use what you enjoy drinking and what you think best compliments a pecan pie.
The ingredients for this bourbon pecan pie recipe are the usual suspects in the Southern pecan pies you'd find on most people's Thanksgiving dessert tables, with a few secrets:
- Pecans. Toast them in the oven first. This will bring out an extra nutty flavor.
- Butter. More specifically browned butter. This will add another layer of nutty flavor and compliments the bourbon well.
- Bourbon. It is called a Kentucky bourbon pecan pie after all.
- Corn syrup. This is a common ingredient in pecan pie recipes. It is thick and binds well with the eggs for the filling.
- Brown sugar. This recipe uses both light and dark brown sugar.
- Vanilla. Use either extract or vanilla bean paste
- Lemon zest. The big secret ingredient. Traditional pecan pie recipes lack a brightness that comes from acidity and just a little lemon zest gives you just the right amount of bright acidity.
While I don't vary much from my original Kentucky bourbon pecan pie recipe, I certainly wouldn't say no to a few changes to this pie to mix it up a bit.
- Mix up your nuts. Maybe you don't have enough pecans around, throw in some walnuts. Hell, throw in a whole mix whatever nuts you have on hand - just do your very best to toast them first. This will make a huge difference in flavor.
- Sprinkle some chocolate chips on top before baking. A lot of Southern pecan pie recipes call for chocolate. Who would ever say no to a chocolate pecan pie? And chocolate and bourbon are best buds, so this would be amazing.
- Use a rye whiskey instead of bourbon. Rye whiskey is less sweet than bourbon and a great complex flavor profile. This pie is already super sweet from the corn syrup and both sugars, adding a less sweet whiskey is a great idea
I really can't stress enough that adding lemon zest is a not-to-be-missed step in this Kentucky bourbon pecan pie recipe. Even if you choose a different pecan pie recipe for your thanksgiving dessert table, or have a family favorite, I encourage you to add just a little bit of lemon zest. You will not be sorry.
What do you serve with this?
A big huge spoonful of barely sweetened whipped cream will do just fine.\
- pie pan
- 1 Pie Crust
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- ½ light brown sugar
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- 3 tablespoon light corn syrup
- ¼ cup unsalted butter half stick, browned and melted, slightly cooled
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest this makes a difference so don’t leave it out
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 2 tablespoon bourbon I use Maker's Mark
- 2 cups pecans toast in oven at 350 for about 10/15 minutes and let cool; I mix it up, about half whole pecan halves and half chopped pieces, up to you.
- Heat the oven to 350 and place a rack in the lower third of the oven.
- Press pie crust into pie pan and keep in fridge while you prepare the pie filling.
- WIth a stand mixer, a hand mixer or a whisk, beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add both sugars, corn syrup, melted butter, salt, zest and vanilla and beat until increased in volume a bit (a couple minutes is good). Slowly, add the bourbon to your liking and whisk everything together well.
- Place the pecans in the bottom of the pie and slowly and gently pour the filling over the pecans. Be careful you don’t want to waste and spill any of the deliciousness. Shake very gently to distribute the pecans.
- Bake for about one hour, the filling will puff up all the way in the center when it is done. As soon as it is puffed take it out. The filling may start to crack and that’s ok.