In search of a holiday dessert? This pecan pie recipe is simply magic

Southern Kitchen’s Pecan Pie
Southern Kitchen’s Pecan Pie

This story is courtesy of Nashville cookbook author Anne Byrn's blog, Between the Layers. More about Byrn here. Subscribe to her blog here.

My brother-in-law Steve brought pecan pie to Thanksgiving one year, and just like that, my family didn’t ask me to bake pie anymore.

We just want Steve’s pie, Mom.

And so last year when the pandemic Thanksgiving list didn’t include Steve and there were only four of us, we scaled the menu back to the bare essentials — turkey, dressing, gravy and Steve’s pie.

Steve McDonough is a retired Chattanooga pharmacist who transitioned from not baking at all to baking pecan pies every Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Now he's known across the country for them!

A generous soul, he bakes enough for second helpings. What’s not eaten at the holiday table goes home with people.

Now, Steve is humble and will say his pies are a cinch to crank out because the recipe is foolproof, but I can’t help wonder if it’s not the precision of the pharmacist that got the recipe where it is today. His exactitude, making sure the pecans are new crop and grown in Georgia and the halves right side up before baking because they look better that way, that the butter is salted, and the corn syrup is dark — these could be strong arguments for why his pie is extraordinary.

USA TODAY Gift Guide:  No matter how you holiday, make it iconic. Shop the USA TODAY holiday gift collection. 

Ann McDonough's pecan pie.
Ann McDonough's pecan pie.

Steve and Ann's pecan pie

Steve’s recipe originally called for 45 minutes baking, but he's more partial to 30 to 35 minutes. It should depend on your oven.


1 cup sugar

1/2 cup Karo syrup (blue label)

1/4 cup melted butter

3 eggs, well-beaten

1 cup shelled pecans

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

9-inch unbaked pie shell


Combine everything except beaten eggs and pecans. Add them after the syrup mixture is well combined. Mix well.

Pour everything into the shell. Moisten the edges of the crust and then cover the crust edges with foil to prevent burning. Bake at 350 degrees. Check at 30 minutes for doneness. Bake for up to 45 minutes.

This article originally appeared on Southern Kitchen: Holiday dessert: This pecan pie recipe is simply magic