Faux Pecan Pie Without Pecans

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My faux pecan pie without pecans is a taste twin to the classic Southern pecan pie but it’s safe for people with a nut allergy. It has an irresistibly rich custard-like pie filling, but with a secret ingredient to replace the pecans.

Faux Pecan Pie Without Pecans hero image

Since I first posted this alternative to a traditional pecan pie recipe, I’ve received countless emails thanking me for helping families bring back this treasured holiday pie to the table for folks who have nut allergies. I’m so grateful that my faux pecan pie recipe has proved to be helpful to families like that, as nut allergies are nothing to play around with! The funny thing is, I didn’t develop this recipe because of that, though. I actually developed it because I felt pecans were just too expensive. I much prefer the unexpected outcome of helping families, though!

At first glance, it looks like a pecan pie and folks usually don’t take a second glance before digging in for a bite and telling you how good it is. My husband’s exact words were, “That is the best pecan pie I’ve ever tasted!”. Then I got to tell him it didn’t have any pecans in it. A similar situation happened at my kid’s school when I took a few of these up there. One of the teachers came into the office talking about how good the pecan pie was and the secretary said, “You mean the pecan-less pecan pie?” 

A few different versions of faux pecan pie

I love that this pecan pie without pecans lives up to all the normal pecan pie expectations without the added expense. Now, I have seen some varying recipes for faux pecan pie around the web. Some add pinto beans, others add old-fashioned oats, and some even add Rice Krispies cereal.

I went down a different path with my faux pecan pie recipe. I started with my Mother’s perfect pecan pie recipe and then blended it a bit with the crust of my strawberry pretzel salad (which is in my cookbook but not on SouthernPlate.com). It took about seven pies to get the proportions and cooking time just right because this pie really needs to be made as a deep dish but I’m finally ready to bring it to you today in its final form.  

So, how do you make a pecan pie without pecans? First, we make our pie filling, which includes corn syrup, butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla, which gives it a custard texture. We pour this into our deep dish pie shell and then add the secret ingredient on top. Have you guessed what it is? Crushed pretzels! You’ve got to give it a go. The pie filling has the taste of pecan pie filling and the pretzels bring the desired crunch and texture. I hope you try this faux pecan pie for dessert this holiday season.

Faux Pecan Pie ingredients

Recipe Ingredients

  • Deep dish pie crust
  • Light corn syrup
  • Unsalted butter
  • Pretzels
  • Granulated sugar
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla extract

How to Make A Pecan Pie Without Pecans

Microwave butter in large bowl.

Following my recipe below, place the butter for the pie filling in a large bowl and microwave it until melted. Allow it to cool.

Mix together cooled melted butter and remaining filling ingredients in a medium bowl.

Once slightly cooled, add the butter and all other filling ingredients to a medium bowl and mix together with a wire whisk. 

Mixed pie filling.

Here is our faux pecan pie filling all mixed up. 

Pour filling into unbaked pie crust.

Pour filling into the unbaked pie crust. 

Faux pecan pie filling in pie crust.

I know it looks yellow now but it will be that beautiful golden color once baked.

Crush pretzels.

Now we need to crush our pretzels.

Place your pretzels in a gallon zipper seal bag and crush those puppies. They don’t have to be pulverized, just broken up kinda good.

Combine pretzels, butter, and sugar.

Melt your butter for the topping (see recipe) and add in your tiny amount of sugar.

Then add in pretzels and stir until coated well.

Sprinkle pretzel topping over pie.

Sprinkle evenly over the top of your pie.

Place the pie plate on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for one hour, covering with foil after the first 30 minutes to prevent it from over-browning.

Allow the faux pecan pie to cool completely before serving. 

Faux Pecan Pie Without Pecans

Here is our finished faux pecan pie without pecans.

Slice of Faux Pecan Pie Without Pecans

This is a closer shot that shows the filling a little better (because I couldn’t pick which one I liked the most).

This post is dedicated to my sweet friend, Alyssa, and everyone else who has a nut allergy or loves someone who does.

Don’t forget to add this pie to your holiday menu!


  • Store leftover pecan-less pie in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the fridge for up to 7 days.

Recipe Notes

  • A note about the pretzels: I know it will seem like a lot of pretzels but don’t worry! They sink down a bit as we cook, which is why I made this a deep-dish pie. The first pie I tried wasn’t a deep dish and it seemed like there was hardly any filling when the pretzels sunk down a little bit. This will come out in perfect proportions to the top crust and the filling.
  • If you’d prefer to make a homemade pie crust, here’s my recipe. Feel free to double the recipe to ensure it fits perfectly in a deep dish pie plate.
  • If you like, use brown sugar for a brown sugar pie filling.

Recipe FAQs

Can I make faux pecan pie ahead of time?

Absolutely! The pie lasts up to 1 week in the fridge, so feel free to make it a few days in advance and store it in the fridge covered in plastic wrap.

How do I make the pie gluten-free as well?

For a gluten-free pecan pie without pecans, you’ll need to use a gluten-free pie crust and gluten-free pretzels. You should be able to find both at your local grocery store, but here’s a recipe for a homemade gluten-free pie crust.

How do I make the pie dairy-free?

Check out this recipe for dairy-free and vegan suggestions, but you’ll want to use vegan butter and an egg replacer.

How do you serve faux pecan pie?

Just like regular Southern pecan pie! Serve it with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream to make the perfect Thanksgiving dessert.

You may also like these recipes that cater to those with allergies:

Chocolate Cobbler Recipe (With Food Allergy Options)

Treasury of Peanut Butter Recipes (With Allergy Options)

And these other pecan pie recipes:

Pecan Pie Cake

Maple Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie Muffins

Pecan Pie Cheesecake

Chocolate Pecan Pie Recipe

Faux Pecan Pie Without Pecans

My faux pecan pie without pecans is a taste twin to the classic Southern pecan pie but it's safe for people with a nut allergy.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pie
Servings: 4
Calories: 512kcal



  • 4 eggs
  • 1.25 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of melted and cooled unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 unbaked deep dish pie shell


  • 1.5 cups crushed pretzels
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • For the filling: Place the first five ingredients in a large bowl and mix with a wire whisk until well combined.
    4 eggs, 1.25 cups granulated sugar, 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of melted and cooled unsalted butter, 3/4 cup light corn syrup, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pour into the pie shell.
    1 unbaked deep dish pie shell
  • Combine all topping ingredients in a medium bowl and stir well with a spoon to coat the pretzels.
    1.5 cups crushed pretzels, 3 tablespoons melted butter, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Sprinkle the topping evenly over the pie.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, covering the pie dish with foil after 30 minutes to prevent it from over-browning.
  • Allow the pie to cool completely before serving. Can be made a day or two ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.


Calories: 512kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!


Sara submitted a great quote on our Give A Penny Page that I think really puts you in the right frame of mind for dealing with life sometimes. We can’t just go out meekly with a weak smile and hope for a good day, we have to do it with Gusto!

“Tackle the world with a smile, and the world will tackle you back with more than one.”

Thank you, Sara! Submit your quote by clicking here.

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  1. 5 stars
    I’ve been craving pecan pie like crazy, but I haven’t been able to enjoy one since I was a kid once my nut allergy was finally diagnosed. When I tell you this pie brought me right bake to my childhood…

    I did end up adding an extra 20 minutes to the bake (covered), and it came out perfectly!

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