Pecan Pie Won’t Set? Here Are Some Solutions

Pecan pies are sweet and delicious, but they can sometimes frustrate you. If your pecan pie won’t set, it’s usually for one of these reasons:

  • you haven’t cooked it long enough
  • your oven wasn’t the right temperature
  • you haven’t let the pie set long enough
  • your pie pan is too deep
  • you’ve forgotten the eggs (or one of them)

Pecan pie in a glass pie dish

Reasons Your Pecan Pie Won’t Set

Here are some of the main reasons why your pecan pie might not be setting:

It’s Underbaked

When you bake a pecan pie, the baking time is crucial. Pecan pie recipes usually call for the pies to be baked in a 350 F oven for 60–70 minutes.

The eggs are particularly important, because if they aren’t cooked long enough, the pie is not going to set. And while the recipe needs to be followed to the letter, each oven is unique and yours may require a different amount of time. Remember, the eggs have to cook long enough and at a high enough temperature for the pie to set.

If you like, you can sprinkle a little flour over the bottom of the crust before placing the filling there and cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil. This way, you can bake the pie as long as necessary without burning the crust.

Your Oven Isn’t The Right Temperature

For pecan pies, the filling has to reach a minimum of 200 F and stay that way for a certain length of time to come out just right, so if your oven isn’t at the right temperature, the pie simply isn’t getting hot enough to bake correctly.

Over with the door open
Make sure your oven is at the right temperature and don’t let too much heat out the door.

If you’re paying attention to the instructions and it’s still not setting, it could be your oven itself. Get it checked out to make sure the temperature you have it set on is, in fact, the temperature it reaches.

You Haven’t Let It Set Long Enough

A slightly runny pecan pie is nothing new because these pies are always a little runny when you first take them out of the oven. When you first take your pecan pie out of the oven, let it sit for a while before you try to slice it. If it’s too runny and watery, you might not be able to salvage it, but if the filling is just a little wobbly and slightly runny, it will eventually set if you let it sit there long enough.

If it’s completely watery, you might need to bake it longer because it could simply be undercooked.

You’re Using the Wrong Pie Pan

A deep-dish pie pan always takes a lot longer to set simply because there’s more filling in it. If you only have deep-dish pans and nothing else, it is recommended that you turn the oven temperature down some and bake the pie a little bit longer. Even better, though, is to use a regular size pie pan and bake it just like the recipe recommends.

Pecan pie cooked in a shallow pan
The deeper your pan, the more difficulty you’re likely to have getting the pie to set. Keep it shallow!

You Forgot to Add Eggs

As you’ve likely already guessed, eggs are a very important ingredient in pecan pie, so if you accidentally leave them out or eliminate them because a family member is allergic, your pie won’t set. That being said, there are vegan pecan pie recipes that use flax eggs and cornstarch instead of regular eggs, but you can’t just eliminate the eggs and keep everything else the same. If you wish to omit them, make sure you’re specifically following a recipe made for vegans that doesn’t require this ingredient at all.

Baking Pecan Pie at High Altitude

High altitude creates other unique challenges for baking pecan pie. It’s not that it will have trouble setting—it may do other strange things because of the way moisture evaporates more easily at high altidue.

If you live in the high mountains, you have to adjust your baking directions to accommodate this. Most of the time, this involves reducing the amount of sugar, increasing the amount of butter, and reducing the oven temperature.

You’ll want to check your recipe, though, because each one is a little different. There are recipes specifically for high-altitude pecan pie. Make sure you follow the directions exactly as they’re printed.

Baking a pecan pie has its challenges, but if you know what to do and what not to do, it’s a lot easier to get it right. These are some of the things that might cause your pecan pie not to set properly, and now that you know what they are, it should be a little easier to bake the perfect pie that everyone will love.