Home Foods 10 Pecan Pie Problems And How To Fix Them

10 Pecan Pie Problems And How To Fix Them

by Gina Elizabeth
Pecan pie problems

Having a pecan pie emergency?

You’ve come to the right place.

Here’s everything you need to know to fix & prevent every pecan pie problem.

#UltimatePecanPie

HOW TO FIX 10 COMMON PECAN PIE PROBLEMS

Common pecan pie problems include: watery, cracked, hardened, cracked, bubbled over, overly sweet, grainy, or foamy filling. As well as crust issues like overbaking crust and/or a soggy bottom crust. Following a good recipe is key to eliminating these and other baking issues.

Here’s how to fix your pecan pie problems if you have…

1. Watery Filling

Place It Back In The Oven

Easy as pie!

  • Use an oven thermometer to ensure the right oven temperature (if your dial isn’t accurate).
  • Cover the pie with aluminum foil, place it back in the oven and bake it at 425 to 450 F for about 12 minutes.
  • Wait until the pie cools/sets (about 2 hours at room temperature) before cutting into it. Or, it’s almost certain that you’ll end up with a juicy, wet mess when you slice it.

Can you blame your oven for a runny pecan pie? Some ovens don’t heat evenly and/or display the wrong temperature. Bad oven, bad!

[RELATED: How To Cook A Turkey For The First Time]

2. Cracked Filling

A little whipped cream, and all is forgiven:

Here’s how to fix cracked pecan pie with whipped cream topping:

  1. Remove the pie from the oven and scoop out the filling.
  2. Wait for the pie to cool.
  3. Then top with a whipped cream crust.

Pecan filling will crack if the pie is over-baked or cools too quickly. Do not refrigerate your pie until it’s completely cooled.

3. Hardened Filling

Cool your pie. Then use a sharp, serated knife to cut into your pecan pie. Top slices with ice cream or whipped cream to hide any imperfections.

To avoid a hardened pecan filling crust:

  • Cover the top with a piece of aluminum foil for the last 10-15 minutes of the baking.
  • If your oven’s heating element is on the top, try placing the pie on a lower rack.
  • Pre-cook the filling on the stove and then you don’t need to bake it as long in the oven.

4. Foamy Filling

The best way to fix foamy pecan pie filling is to prevent it. After you have heated your filling on the stove, skim off any foam before pouring the filling into the crust. Be sure not to over mix the filling, this is going to create the foam.

5. Filling Bubbles Over

Bake your pecan pie on a sheet pan to catch and collect any filling juices that bubble over during baking. Make sure not to over fill your pie plate to avoid a stick mess inside your oven.

6. Bottom Pie Crust Not Cooked

How to prevent soggy bottom pie crust

The best way to ensure a crispy, golden pie crust is to blind bake it. To prevent your pie’s bottom crust from becoming soggy, it needs to be partially cooked before adding fillings. This is known as blind baking.

How to blind bake a pie crust

  1. Chill your pie crust before baking
  2. Pre-heat oven to 425°F
  3. Place parchment paper on the pie crust. Fill the pie with weights to keep the crust from bubbling up.
  4. Place pie on a cookie sheet. This helps liquefy the solid layers of fat in the dough.
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the edges of the crust are start browning.
  6. Poke holes all over the bottom of the crust with a fork.
  7. Coat the surface of the bottom crust with a layer of slightly beaten egg white to create a barrier to prevent sogginess. This will form a seal between the pie dough and the filling and will help make the crust crisp.
  8. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. Cool before filling.

Tip #1: Roll your bottom crust slightly thicker than your top crust. This will keep the filling from seeping through the dough. 

Tip #2: Add crushed cornflakes on the bottom crust before adding the filling. This will help prevent a soggy crust. 

How to fix soggy bottom pie crust

  1. Remove the pie from the oven and scoop out the filling.
  2. Cover the edges with foil or a pie shield.
  3. Put the pie back in the oven and allow the bottom crust to cook all the way through.
  4. Simultaneously heat the pecan pie filling on the stove (over a low simmer) until the juice reduces.
  5. Once the bottom crust cooks, reinsert the filling.
  6. Wait for the pie to cool.
  7. Then top with a whipped cream crust.

Which oven rack is the best for baking pie?

Baking the pie on the lower rack will ensure that bottom crust gets crispy and golden brown.

7. Burnt Pie

If your pecan pie is burnt or unsalvageable make a sundae, parfait, or shake out of the unburnt sections:

Make A Festive Sundae

The best kind of mess.

Instructions: Pecan Pie Sundae

  1. Scoop ice cream into individual serving bowls or glasses.
  2. Top with the pecan pie filling and crust.
  3. Garnish with whipped cream and nuts.

BOOM!

8. Underbaked Crust

If you don’t bake your pie at a high enough temperature, the crust becomes raw and soggy. This is due to the butter in the crust melting into the dough without evaporating.

To fix this, start out your pecan pie at a higher temperature, between 425 and 450 degrees F. Then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F after about 20 to 30 minutes and continue baking until the pie is nicely browned and the pecan filling is bubbling.

9. Grainy Pecan Pie

This is the one time you’ll want to make a baking mistake.

If the eggs in your pecan pie overcook, it can give your filling a grainy texture. To remedy this, make a pecan pie bourbon shake.

Easy. Boozy. Beautiful.

10. Too Sweet

Pecan pie turn out too sweet to eat?

Make a pecan pie smoothie

You’ve got a festive & easy holiday shake or smoothie and your guests are none the wiser.

It’s totally healthy, its got has pecans AND milk! ????

Here’s the recipe:

INGREDIENTS

Serves: 1 thirsty person

  • 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecan pie
  • 1/3 cup oats
  • Handful of ice
  • Unsweetened whipped cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • Optional topping: cinnamon powder

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a blender, combine all ingredients.
  2. Blend until desired consistency. (Add more pie if too thin, or more almond milk if too thick)
  3. Pour into a tall glass.
  4. Garnish with unsweetened whipped cream, crumbled pecan pie, and an optional dash of cinnamon.

12 BAKING TIPS TO AVOID PECAN PIE PROBLEMS

Things That’ll Help You Bake The Best Pecan Pie Ever!

Making your first pecan pie? Want to impress everyone with your baking skills?

Here’s how:

1. Choose A Reliable Recipe

Pecan pie is very finicky & unforgiving. Make sure to use the best pecan pie recipe you can find and follow it exactly, for the perfect pie every time.

Tip: Read the whole recipe once or twice before getting started. You’ll be much more likely to get it right the first time!

2. Measure Ingredients Accurately

Baking is more science than art. Eyeballing ingredients or making substitutions isn’t good practice for baking!

Tip: If your recipe calls for a specific brand (like Karo Syrup), don’t use a generic brand. this may add moisture and cause runny pecan pie.

3. Press Down Your Pecans

Make sure pecans in the filling don’t poke out. Use a wooden spoon to press them down into the syrup mixture. This will prevent the pecans from burning.

Tip: Toasting pecans before folding them into the filling also keeps them crisp and intensifies their flavor.

How do you toast pecans?

Here’s how to toast pecans in the oven:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Spread 1 cup of pecans on a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil for easy cleanup.
  3. Toast in oven for about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir or shake the pan occasionally so the nuts brown evenly without burning.

Here’s how to toast pecans on the stove:

  1. Place pecans in a medium skillet over medium heat.
  2. Stir occasionally for about 2 to 5 minutes.

4. Put a cold pie into a hot oven

“Make it cold, bake it hot.”

Putting a cold pie into a hot oven will help avoid a soggy bottom.

  • Everything should be chilled: ingredients, bowls, and materials.
  • Refrigerate the pie crust dough until your filling is ready. Warm dough causes butter to soften—which will cause a soggy instead of a flaky crust.
  • You can also chill your pie in the fridge for 15 minutes before baking.

5. Cover Your Crust Edges

Don’t use the brownness of pie crust to judge doneness.

  • Cover the crust edges with foil to avoid burning. Or purchase a pie crust shield.
  • Remove the pie crust shield during the last 15 minutes of baking.

6. Use An Oven Thermometer

Pre-heat your oven and verify the baking temperature with an oven thermometer (don’t trust your dial).

  • Pecan pie baked at too hot a temperature may cause the egg custard to break and weep.
  • Oven temperature that is too cool may also cause runny pecan pie.

7. Do Not Overfill Your Pie Plate

Stick with the amount of filling that your recipe calls for to avoid a watery mess. Extra filing can also cause a soggy crust. Stick with the amount that your recipe calls for to avoid watery pecan pie filling.

8. Use A Glass Pie Dish To Bake

Use a glass pie pan. Glass is the best choice for pre-baking a custard pie like pecan or pumpkin. Although metal pans conduct heat better, radiant energy can pass through glass pans and help the crust heat and brown quickly.

9. Partially Blind-Bake Your Bottom Crust.

As an alternative to blind-baking, you can also sprinkle cornstarch (or flour) on top of your bottom crust. This will soak up excess liquid. Sprinkle before adding your pie filling.

If you opt for a frozen crust, place a cookie sheet in preheated oven. Pour filling into frozen crust and bake on the preheated cookie sheet.

10. Judging Doneness

Do not shorten cooking time or lower oven temperature to avoid over-browning your crust.

Pecan pie is a notoriously difficult to bake because it can be difficult to tell when it is done. The crust and the pecans can burn easily if overcooked, but the middle can come out runny if it’s not cooked long enough.

How can you tell when pecan pie is done?

Shake it. Give it a little shake back and forth. It should jiggle a little in the middle. A wobble means it’s not done yet. Another method is to stick a fork in it. Insert a fork in the center of the pie, between the pecans. It should be clean when the pie is ready. The filling will continue to cook and fully set as the pie cools.

11. Adjust Recipe In High Altitude

If you live in a high altitude, adjust the recipe (ingredients and oven temperature).

12. Cool Before Slicing Or Refrigerating

  • Cutting a hot pie will cause it to collapse.
  • Do not place a hot pie into the fridge, the temperature difference is too drastic.
  • Cool for at least 2 hours on wire rack before serving.

BEST PECAN PIE RECIPE

You can’t beat the classics.

This Pecan Pie Recipe (aka Southern Pecan Pie, aka Karo Pie) is the original recipe and still the best.

Why this is the best pecan pie recipe?

  • It’s foolproof!
  • It’s ooey gooey, sticky-sweet

Let’s get cookin’

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Karo® Light or Dark Corn Syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) pecans
  • 1 (9-inch) unbaked OR frozen deep-dish pie crust

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla using a spoon. Stir in pecans. Pour filling into pie crust.
  3. Bake on center rack of oven for 60 to 70 minutes (see tips for doneness, below). Cool for 2 hours on wire rack before serving.
  4. **To use prepared frozen pie crust: Place cookie sheet in oven and preheat oven as directed. Pour filling into frozen crust and bake on preheated cookie sheet.
  5. RECIPE TIPS: Pie is done when center reaches 200°F. Tap center surface of pie lightly – it should spring back when done. For easy clean up, spray pie pan with cooking spray before placing pie crust in pan. If pie crust is overbrowning, cover edges with foil.
  6. High Altitude Adjustments: Reduce sugar to 2/3 cup and increase butter to 3 tablespoons. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
  7. Cool for 2 hours on wire rack before cutting into pie and serving.

Pecan pie is the definition of Southern comfort.

What can I substitute for Karo corn syrup?

Here are great substitution ideas for items you probably have right at your fingertips: 

  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Honey
  • Agave nectar
  • Simple syrup
  • Brown sugar

Is pecan pie a southern thing?

Pecan pie is a southern invention. If you’ve never had Karo corn syrup in your pecan pie before, prepare to become a convert.

If you waived classic Southern pecan pie off years ago, do yourself a favor and give it another try.

Southern Pecan Pie Sweetness

Folks south of the Mason-Dixon line love their pecan pies super gooey and extra sweet (bless their hearts!). The Karo Corn Products Refining Company  originated the traditional pecan pie recipe in the 1930s. Karo corn syrup is the ingredient that distinguishes southern pecan pie from ‘regular’ pecan pie.

PECAN PIE BAKING FAQs

How do you keep a pecan pie from leaking out of crust?

(Buttering the pie plate is important especially for a pecan pie. The filling tends to leak through the bottom crust and stick, making serving difficult.) One way to prevent that leakage is to paint the bottom crust with slightly beaten egg white before adding the filling.

Should I blind bake crust for pecan pie?

If you love a flaky, non soggy crust with your pecan pie then blind baking is for you. If you’ve never heard of blind baking before, its a method where you bake a crust without the pie or pastry filling in it. This method is not difficult, and you don’t need any expensive equipment.

Do pecans rise to top of pie?

The pecans float in the unbaked filling and therefore rise to the top for an attractive pie. Pecan pies are usually baked in pastry crusts which will contain the liquid filling before it sets.

Can I make substitutions?

No. Substitutions can add moisture, which may cause runny pecan pie.

How do I cut pecan pie?

Wait for the pie to cool/set. Use a serrated knife to cut into the pecan pie. Cut through the pecan crust slowly, then push down to slice the custard.

How do I serve pecan pie?

  • Serve chilled, warmed, or at room temperature. Do not serve hot.
  • Plate with a fork.
  • Top with whipped cream, ice cream or hard sauce. Wikipedia

What is hard sauce?

It’s a dessert sauce made with creamed butter, sugar with rum, brandy, sherry, whiskey, vanilla or other flavorings. It is served cold.

Do I need to refrigerate pecan pie?

Yes! Refrigerate within two hours of baking to prevent food borne illness. Allow your pecan pie to cool to room temperature before refrigerating. If refrigerated, you can enjoy your pecan pie for up to four days after you made it.

Can I freeze pecan pie?

How to Freeze Pecan Pie

Pecan pie can be frozen. Simply allow it to cool completely, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. This will protect your pecan pie from freezer burn and odors. Place the wrapped pecan pie in a freezer-safe container or bag for up to 3 months.

Step 1: Allow to Pecan Pie Cool Completely

After baking, allow your pecan pie to cool at room temperature for up to 30 minutes. Then chill the pecan pie thoroughly in the refrigerator. It’s important that the pecan pie is chilled before being frozen

Do not take your pecan pie out of the oven and place it directly in the freezer. It won’t set properly.

Step 2: Slice and Wrap with Plastic Wrap

The less cold air that comes into contact with your pie, the longer it’ll last in the freezer.

Once your pecan pie is fully chilled, it’s time to prepare it for freezing. If you’re freezing individual slices, slice the pecan pie and wrap each piece tightly with two layers of plastic wrap.

Step 3: Wrap with Foil (optional)

Wrap it well in plastic wrap, then foil. Repeat until all of the slices are tightly wrapped. Then label and date it to keep track of how long your pecan pie is frozen

As you put the pecan pie in the freezer, carefully place it to ensure it doesn’t get crushed by the weight of other foods.

Step 4: Place in a Freezer Safe Container

Place the wrapped pecan pie in a freezer safe, air-tight container. Or place in a zip-top plastic bag. You can freeze pecan pie for up to 3 months. But it is best eaten within the first month.

How long can you keep a pecan pie in the freezer?

Frozen, homemade pecan pie will keep well in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. But it will taste best if eaten within one month.

How do you thaw a frozen pecan pie?

Thaw frozen pecan pie slowly in the fridge. Or allow the pie to thaw completely at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Then reheat quickly in a low oven.

How do you reheat a frozen cooked pecan pie?

After your pie is completely thawed, re-heat it for 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Thawing frozen pecan pie may cause sogginess and the pie likely won’t be the exact same consistency it was before. You can also re-heat an unthawed pecan pie.

Important: Do not place a cold Pyrex or a glass pan directly into a hot oven, it can shatter.

Here are easy to follow instructions for re-heating a frozen or thawed pecan pie in the oven.

How to re-heat frozen pecan pie

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F and place the individual slices or pie in a disposable metal pie pan or foil-lined baking sheet. 
  2. Brush the top crust of the pie with melted butter if desired. 
  3. Line the edges of the pie with foil to prevent over-browning. Or, “tent” a piece of foil over the top of the pie.
  4. Place the pie on the bottom rack of the oven. You can move the pie lower and higher as it bakes.
  5. Bake the pie at 350 °F for 10 minutes, or until heated through.
  6. Remove the pie from the oven. Insert a knife into the center of pie to check if the filling is heated through. If needed, put it back in the oven on a lower temperature. Shield the edges with foil again if necessary.
  7. Let your pecan pie to cool slightly before serving.

How to re-heat thawed pecan pie

Thaw it for up to 30 minutes at room temperature, or overnight in the fridge. Some people suggest thawing the pie before you place it in the oven because it helps the pastry flour cook better.

Also, be aware that thawing your frozen pie may cause sogginess and the pie likely won’t be the exact same consistency it was before.

How can I avoid soggy pecan pie crust?

Here are some things that can do to keep your crust crispy.

  • Blind Bake. Pre-bake the crust so that it sets and crisps up before you add any wet filling.
  • Or Hot Baking Sheet. Place a baking sheet in the oven while it preheats. Then place your pie directly on the heated baking sheet. The extra heat will get the crust to cook and set quickly.

Why does my pie puff and then fall?

  • Pecan pie has a tendency to soufflé and fall. To test for doneness, look for a filling that’s puffed—it should jiggle just slightly when you gently shake it.
  • Stick to 350°F—a higher oven temperature will make the custard puff up like a soufflé and fall upon cooling.
  • Do not cool it too quickly in the refrigerator, the change is too drastic. Let the pie cool gradually in a warm place.

How do I keep pecans from getting soggy?

All you need to do is toast the pecans before folding them into the filling. This boosts their flavor and keeps them crisp.

How do you fix a burnt pie?

Use a handheld grater to scrape off the burnt parts. Cut or break off burnt edges and garnish the pecan pie with a ring or topping of whipped cream instead. Or re-purpose sections that aren’t burned to make an ice cream parfait or bourbon shake.

Do I use light or dark corn syrup for pecan pie?

You can use either. Light gives a more delicate vanilla flavor. And dark has a more robust flavor.

Can I make pecan pie with alcohol?

I never met a pecan pie that couldn’t be improved by bourbon or whiskey.

Tips

  • Soak pecans in liquor while preparing the pie and layer them on top. Then sprinkle them lightly with a sanding sugar.
  • Don’t forget to finish off the liquor to eliminate waste.

How do I serve pecan pie?

  • Serve chilled, warmed, or at room temperature. Do not serve hot.
  • Plate with a fork.
  • Top with whipped cream, ice cream or hard sauce for a traditional American flair.

What is hard sauce? It’s a dessert sauce made with creamed butter, sugar with rum, brandy, sherry, whiskey, vanilla or other flavorings. It is served cold.

Pecan pie problems - hard sauce
Hard Sauce (Image: Women’s Weekly Food)

Do I need to refrigerate pecan pie?

Yes! Refrigerate within two hours of baking to prevent food borne illness. A warm pie is okay to place in the fridge.

Can I warm up pecan pie?

Warm in a 350 degree oven for approx 10 minutes.

Can I make pecan pie without eggs or sugar?

Yes, there are a lot of vegan pecan pie and keto pecan pie recipes online. And they are just as gooey and delicious.

Vegan Pecan Pie & Keto Pecan Pie. Those things Northerners dare to call pecan pie.

What causes pecan pie to crack?

Pecan pie filling will crack if the pie is over-baked or cools too quickly.

What is blind-baking?

Blind-baking is pre-baking the crust without the filling. This step ensures a crispy crust. For extra crispy pecan pie crust – partially blind bake the crust before adding filling.

How do I partially blind-bake a crust for pecan pie?

To partially blind bake, pierce the pie dough in the pie plate with a fork. Chill for an hour. Then line with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake at a moderate temperature (350 degrees F) for about 5 minutes, or until the crust is lightly browned, removing the pie weights halfway through.

Can I make recipe substitutions?

No. Substitutions can add moisture, which may cause runny pecan pie.

What’s the Difference Between Pecan Pie and Southern Pecan Pie?

Southern pecan pie is usually much sweeter than regular pecan pie. Southern pecan pie uses high fructose corn syrup, typically made by the Karo company. Another difference between pecan pie and southern pecan pie is the pronunciation of pecan. Northerners often pronounce it differently than southerners.

Southern pecan pie is also known as Karo pie. Karo is an American company that makes corn syrup that southerners typically use in their pecan pie. They sell a light and a dark version of the sweetener. In the 1930s, the wife of a Karo executive originated the classic Karo pie recipe. It’s exactly 1 million calories. But I’m told it’s worth every sit-up.

Pecan Pronunciation (North vs South)

And how you pronounce pecan depends on where you hail from. The most common Southern pronunciation of pecan is ‘pih-kahn’. While up here in New York, we Yankees pronunce it ‘pee-can’.

No matter how to slice it (or pronounce it) pecan pie is a crowd pleaser.

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