Best Chocolate Pecan Pie

Chocolate Pecan Pie is the deceptively simple dessert of your dreams that will be the first to disappear at every holiday!  It’s make ahead friendly, made with ONE BOWL and either store-bought or homemade pie crust that won’t shrink into the filling and is 100% foolproof thanks to my tips and video tutorial.  This recipe is leveled up with dark chocolate, dark brown sugar, dark corn syrup, and a touch of cinnamon and both chopped and whole pecans for the ultimate chocolaty, buttery, nutty, caramel-like filling.

Watch How to Make Chocolate pecan Pie

chocolate pecan pie in a white pie dish with slices missing showing the inside filling


 

You will love this Easy Chocolate Pecan Pie

  • EASY.  The filling requires less than 15 minutes to whip up – chop the pecans, chop the chocolate, whisk together the sugar, egg, butter, corn syrup – done and done!  
  • FOOLPROOF FILLING:  Common chocolate pecan pie problems include runny, cracked, hardened, bubbled over, overly sweet, or grainy filling.  This recipe includes foolproof techniques to remedy each, so your chocolate pecan pie recipe will turn out perfectly every time.
  • BEST TEXTURE:  Roughly chopping the pecans creates a tantalizing crunch in every bite while whole pecans creates a showstopping, crunchy crust.
  • BONUS TIP: Brushing the whole pecans with butter prevents them from burning!
  • BEST HOMEMADE PIE CRUST: The pie crust is made with both butter and shortening to create the best flavor and texture: mega buttery, mega tender, mega flaky deliciousness. The crust can be made ahead of time and stashed in the refrigerator or freezer.
  • OR STORE-BOUGHT CRUST: Although I highly recommend my homemade pie crust, you can certainly use a frozen pie crust for extra ease.
  • NON-SHRINKING CRUST:  While some recipes don’t call for blind-baking the pie crust, it is the sure-way so it doesn’t shrink and creates the best buttery, flaky texture!
ingredient icon

Pecan Chocolate Pie ingredients

This pecan chocolate pie is made with easy to find ingredients. You may not stock the “dark” ingredients already, but they are worth the splurge. Let’s take a closer look at what you’ll need (full recipe in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post):

  • Pecans: Use raw, unsalted pecan halves. Most of the pecans will be chopped into about 1/4-inch pieces, and about one cup will be left whole for topping the pie.
  • Chocolate: A combination of bittersweet and semi-sweet baking chocolate creates deep, robust chocolaty flavor. Baking chocolate is cooled, hardened chocolate liquor with a higher percentage of cocoa butter than chocolate chips because it’s intended to be baked with and therefore melts beautifully.
  • Butter: Use unsalted butter so we can control the salt. The butter should be fully melted but slightly cooled so it doesn’t scramble the eggs.
  • Dark brown sugar: This sweetens the filling with a rich caramel-y flavor to stand up against the chocolate. You may use light brown sugar but the flavor won’t be as intense – or delicious.
  • Dark corn syrup: This helps sweeten the filling, glue it together and prevents it from hardening. Use dark corn syrup for its richer, robust toasty flavor and far superior chocolate pecan pie!
  • Vanilla extract: Use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor.
  • Spices: A little ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves flavor the filling with exciting dimension.
  • Salt:  A good pinch of salt balances the sweetness in the filling.
top view of chocolate pecan pie showing the decorative pattern of pecans on top

Chocolate Pecan Pie recipe variations

  • Add bourbon or whisky: Whisk 2 tablespoons bourbon or whisky directly into the filling. The alcohol will burn off, and leave behind a warm, tangy, bite.
  • Coconut Chocolate Pecan Pie: Replace ½ cup sugar with 1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut.
  • Maple Chocolate Pecan Pie: Swap the corn syrup for pure maple syrup and 1 tablespoon flour for a strong maple flavor.
  • Honey Chocolate Pecan Pie: Swap the corn syrup for honey and 1 tablespoon flour for a strong honey flavor.
  • Salted Caramel Chocolate Pecan Pie: Drizzle salted caramel sauce over the pecan pie after it’s cooled.
  • Orange Chocolate Pecan Pie: Add orange zest to the filling for a citrusy twist.
  • Espresso Chocolate Pecan Pie: Add a shot of espresso or a couple of teaspoons of instant coffee to the filling.
a slice of chocolate pecan pie recipe showing the gooey filling

How to make Chocolate Pecan Pie

This chocolate pecan pie is incredibly easy to make – the filling takes less than 15 minutes to whip up! The homemade pie crust is what takes some time and planning, but is definitely worth it. Let’s take a closer look at how to make this pecan pie recipe (full recipe in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post):

  • Step 1:  Make the pie dough.  Use my favorite homemade pie crust. I suggest making the crust the night before so it’s all ready to fill the next morning.  The crust post is full of tips and tricks for foolproof pie crust even if you’ve never made it before – so don’t be intimidated!
  • Step 2: Blind bake pie crust: Line the pie shell with parchment paper; fill with pie weights, dried beans or rice (this keeps crust from shrinking). Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until pale and just beginning to brown but not raw.
  • Step 3: Make the pecan pie filling. Add all the filling ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
showing how to make chocolate pecan pie by whisking eggs, corn syrup and brown sugar together
  • Step 4: Combine. Spread chopped pecans evenly inside the cooled pie shell, followed by the chocolate. Pour filling mixture over the top.  Arrange the whole pecans in a pattern on top. Brush pecans with melted butter.
a collage showing how to make chocolate pecan pie by 1) adding pecans, 2) adding chocolate, 3) adding filling, 4) adding whole pecans
  • Step 5: Combine. Bake at 350 degrees F until the center registers 195-200 degrees F on an instant read thermometer, about 40-50 minutes.  
showing how to make chocolate pecan pie by baking until the filling is set and reaches 200 degrees F

TIPS FOR making Best chocolate pecan pie

Follow these tips and tricks for the best chocolate pecan pie!

  • Use the freshest pecans you can, aged nuts can go rancid.
  • Use baking chocolate because it’s meant specifically to melt; traditional chocolate chips have less cocoa butter and won’t melt well.
  • Don’t chop the chocolate too large, keep to 1/4-inch or smaller, otherwise, it won’t melt.
  • Don’t add more pecans than the recipe calls or the proportions will be off and the pie may overflow as it bakes.
  • Whisk the filling just until combined, because over-whisking creates air bubbles which create foam. Room temperature eggs also make the filling easier to combine.
  • Use a light hand on the egg wash to create a beautiful golden crust, and more importantly, prevent a soggy crust. Don’t add to much, however, or the crust won’t brown.
  • If your crust is browning too quickly, place a pie crust shield on top of the pie edges or use foil.
  • If the top is browning too quickly, loosely tent the whole pie with foil.
  • If your filling is not set after the prescribed baking time, bake on!   Every oven is different so it is important that you bake filling until it reaches 195-200°F for it to set properly.
  • Don’t overbake the pie because it will continue to cook as it cools.  If you overbake the pie, it can become rock hard and crack.
  • Use an instant read thermometer to test for doneness!  This is the only 100% accurate method to tell when the filling is done.  A perfect filling will be just set, soft and custardy but firm enough so you can slice into it without it oozing everywhere.
  • Let the pie cool COMPLETELY in order for the filling to set. If you break into the pie too early, the filling will be runny.  
up closer of chocolate pecan pie showing what set filling looks like

How to serve this Recipe for Chocolate Pecan Pie

  • Allow the pecan pie to cool completely to room temperature before slicing/ serving or the filling will be runny and your pie slices will fall apart.
  • To slice, fill a glass with hot water then dip a serrated knife into the glass to warm the knife up, then dry the knife with a paper towel.  The warm knife will easily glide through the custard without sticking.  Use the serrated knife to cut through the pecan crust slowly, then push down to slice the custard.  Wipe the knife in between slices as needed and dip into the hot water. 
  • Serve pecan pie slices plain or top with whipped cream or ice cream to beautifully complement the richness and nuttiness of the pie.

Best Chocolate Pecan Pie Recipe FAQs

What is pecan pie?

Pecan pie is an old-fashioned southern dessert; a delightful play of creamy, crunchy textures and rich, sweet and salty flavors.  It’s made by pouring pecans into a pie shell and topping with a filling made with butter, sugar, eggs, and corn syrup.  As the pie bakes, the filling thickens into a silky custard, pushing the pecans to the top of the pie. 

As with all classic recipes, countless variations have emerged over the years. Some popular additions include molasses, bourbon, rum, whiskey, butterscotch, maple, pumpkin, shredded coconut, and chocolate like I’m sharing with you today! There are also countless pecan pie spin-offs like pecan hand pies, pecan pie cookies, pecan pie brownies, pecan pie bars, chocolate pecan pie bars, pecan pie cobbler and pecan pie-cheesecake.

Why is my chocolate pecan pie so runny?

A runny filling indicates that the pie wasn’t baked long enough or wasn’t allowed to cool completely:

-Bake long enough: Most recipes require 50-60 minutes of baking time, but depending on the oven, your pie might take up to 90 minutes! 
Due to the baking variables, always use an instant read thermometer and bake the filling until it reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees F. 
-Cool completely: Wait until the pie cools to room temperature before cutting into it because the filling continues to cook and set as the pie cools. To correct a runny filling, cover the pie with foil and place it back in the oven until at 425 to 450 F for about 12-15 minutes.

Why is my chocolate pecan pie filling foamy?

Over-mixing the filling creates air bubbles which creates the foam.  Take care to just whisk the filling until combined.  Room temperature eggs also make the filling easier to combine.

Why is my chocolate pecan pie filling cracked?  

A cracked pie indicates that the pecan pie was baked too long or refrigerated before it cooled completely.  Next time, use an instant read thermometer and bake just until the internal temperature of the pie reaches 200 degrees F and only refrigerate after the pie reaches room temperature. 

To fix your cracked pie, top with a layer of whipped cream and sprinkle with chopped pecans and/or cinnamon.

Why is my chocolate pecan pie hard? 

A hard pecan pie means it was cooked too long.  Again, bake the pie just until the filling is set and registers 200 degrees on an instant read thermometer.   You can also try covering the top of the pie with a piece of aluminum foil for the last 10-15 minutes of the baking time and/or baking the pie on a lower rack.

Why is my chocolate pecan pie grainy?

A grainy pecan pie filling is a sign the pecan pie is overbaked.  When the eggs overcook, they cause a grainy texture.  Bake the pie just until the filling reaches 200 degrees F.  You may also want to verify your oven is accurate 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, and/or become grainy.

How do I prevent burnt pecans?

Brush the whole chopped pecans with melted butter to prevent burning. For chopped pecans, make sure they are completely submerged in the filling before baking, using a spatula, as needed, to press them down. Keep an eye on the filling.  If it starts to brown too quickly, be ready to cover the entire pie with foil.

How do I prevent a soggy crust on the bottom?  

To ensure a crispy, golden pie crust:

1. Brush the entire crust with an egg wash before blind baking and adding the filling.  The egg wash acts as a moisture barrier and prevents a soggy crust.
2. Keep the pie shell chilled until it is time to blind bake, otherwise the butter and shortening will start to melt. 
3. Blind bake the pie crust by filling the pie shell with parchment paper followed by pie weights and bake until the pastry is pale but not raw. Cool completely before adding the filling.
4. Stick with the measurements in the recipe. Extra filling can also cause a soggy crust.

How do you prevent chocolate pecan pie from leaking out of the crust?

The filling can leak through the bottom crust and stick, making serving difficult.  To prevent this, brush the entire crust with an egg wash:  1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon milk or heavy cream, before blind baking.

What if my filling bubbles over?

Do not over fill your pie plate to avoid a sticky mess inside your oven. Make sure you are using the correct pie pan for the recipe and measure the ingredients accurately. Also, don’t over whisk the filling.  You can bake your pecan pie on a preheated rimmed baking sheet to catch any overflow.

How do I prevent the pie crust form burning?  

The edges of the pie crust will likely need to be covered during the baking, so don’t use the brownness of pie crust to judge the pie doneness.  Never shorten the baking time or lower oven temperature to avoid over-browning your crust. Instead, when the crust is browned to your desired doneness, cover the crust edges with foil or I use this pie shield to avoid burning.

How do I prevent chocolate pecan pie from collapsing?

Cool the pie for at least 2 hours on a wire rack before serving. Cutting into a hot pie will cause it to collapse because the filling is not set yet.  Also, placing a hot or warm pie into the fridge will also cause it to collapse because the temperature difference is too drastic (just like cheesecake).

How do you keep pecans from sinking in a pie?

Preventing pecans from sinking in a pie can be a common challenge when making pecan pie. However, this recipe tackles this issue by using chopped pecans which more evenly distribute throughout the filling and provide a stable base to top with a design of whole pecans which will stay on top.  For further troubleshooting, make sure the filling has the right consistency. If the filling is too runny, the pecans are more likely to sink.

How do you know when a chocolate pecan pie is done?

Chocolate pecan pie is done when an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the pie registers 195-200 degrees F. If you don’t have a thermometer (highly recommend one!) to see when the pie is done, tap the center surface of the pie lightly – it should spring back when done. Shake the pan, the center should be mostly set and only jiggle slightly.

Does chocolate pecan pie need to be refrigerated?

Yes, after the pecan pie has cooled, it should only be left at room temperature for up to 2 hours because the pie contains eggs that can grow bacteria in temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F.   You will need to serve the pecan pie within two hours or transfer it to the refrigerator or freezer.

Where is chocolate pecan pie from?

Pecan pie is as American as Thanksgiving itself.  Pecans are native to America, originally cultivated alongside the Mississippi river then propagated by Native Americans as far north as Illinois.  After the Civil War, commercial developers began growing pecans in Georgia which remains the top producers of pecans to this day.

The earliest printed pecan pie recipes appear in Texas cookbooks in the 1870s, but pecan pie didn’t become popular nationwide until the 1920s when Karo Syrup began printing a recipe for pecan pie on cans of its product.

So, how exactly did pecan pie become a Thanksgiving staple? Thanks to a perfect storm of pecan harvesting between October and December and the need to use the surplus, the advent of corn syrup, and the fact that pecans are native to the states, along with our other native foods like turkey, pumpkin, and cranberries. And let’s not forget the fact that homemade pecan pie is delicious. It’s just the perfect fit.

How do you pronounce pecan pie?

How you pronounce pecan depends on where you are from.  The pronunciation varies from pee-KAHNs to pee-CANs, PEE-cans, pick-AHNs.  I’m from California and have always said pick-AHNs. 

Studies shows that pee-KAHN is dominant nationwide, but in areas of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Mississippi, pick-AHN is the most popular. PEE-can is popular on the East Coast and in New England, while PEE-kahn is the most popular in Wisconsin, northern Minnesota and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. How do YOU say pecans?

showing how to serve chocolate pecan pie recipe with a slice on a plate

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Best Recipe for Chocolate Pecan Pie

Chocolate Pecan Pie is the deceptively simple dessert of your dreams that will be the first to disappear at every holiday!  It’s make ahead friendly, made with ONE BOWL and either store-bought or homemade pie crust that won’t shrink into the filling and is 100% foolproof thanks to my tips and video tutorial.  This recipe is leveled up with dark chocolate, dark brown sugar, dark corn syrup, and a touch of cinnamon and both chopped and whole pecans for the ultimate chocolaty, buttery, nutty, caramel-like filling.
Servings: 8 -10 slices
Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes

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Ingredients

CRUST

FILLING

  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, slightly cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp EACH ground cloves, ground nutmeg

PECANS & CHOCOLATE

Instructions

CRUST

  • Note: It is helpful to complete the pie crust the day before, then just pull the pie shell out of the fridge the next day to blind bake. At the very least, I suggest making the pie dough the night before.
  • Make pie shell: Prepare pie crust recipe (<<<click for recipe) through brushing with egg wash and chilling.
  • Blind bake: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line the pie shell with parchment paper; fill with pie weights, dried beans or rice (this keeps crust from shrinking). Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until pale and just beginning to brown but not raw. Transfer to a rack to cool completely before filling. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

FILLING

  • Add the filling ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk just until combined (don't over whisk).
  • Spread chopped pecans evenly inside cooled pie shell, followed by the chopped chocolates. Pour filling mixture over the top.
  • Arrange the whole pecans in a pattern on top. Brush whole pecans with melted butter (this prevents them from burning).

BAKE

  • Bake at 350 degrees F until the center registers 195-200 degrees F on an instant read thermometer, about 40-50 minutes. Keep an eye on the pie while baking and be prepared to cover the edges with foil or a pie shield to prevent the edges from browning to quickly. If the top is browning too quickly, tent with foil.
  • If you don’t have a thermometer (highly recommend one!) to see when the pie is done, tap the center surface of the pie lightly – it should spring back when done. Shake the pan, the center should be mostly set and only jiggle slightly.

COOL

  • Let the pie cool COMPLETELY on wire rack for the filling to set, about 2 hours. Don’t place in the refrigerator to cool or it can collapse. Serve at room temperature.

Video

Notes

Make Ahead

The chocolate pecan pie recipe can be made 100% ahead of time or prepped in stages:
  • Make pie dough: The dough can be made in advanced and stored in the refrigerator for 5 days or frozen for up to three months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before using.
  • Form the pie shell:  Go one step further and arrange the dough in the pie plate, tightly cover and store in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before blind-baking.
  • Blind bake: Blind bake the pie crust, cool, and cover 24 hours ahead of time.
  • Make the filling:  Whisk the filling ingredients together 24 hours ahead of time, cover and refrigerate.  Bring to room temperature before adding to the pie shell.
  • Make the whole pie:  The pie can be refrigerated for up to 4 days and will taste just as fabulous! Make sure to serve at room temperature. See below.

Storage

Let the pie cool to room temperature, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 days.  Let it come to room temperature before serving, or better yet, refresh in a 300°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes to re-crisp the crust, or microwave individual servings at 10 second intervals. Note, you can only reheat pecan pie after it has cooled completely and the filling has completely set.

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2 Comments

  1. Christine Jones says

    This recipe was the hit at our Thanksgiving table. One of our guests enjoyed it so much I wrapped up the leftover and sent it home with him. Thank you for sharing such wonderful recipes. **I continue to pray for you. **

    • Jen says

      I’m thrilled to hear that this was part of your Thanksgiving feast! Thank you for your prayers, it means so much!