A classic Southern dessert, Brown Sugar Pie has a richly flavored filling that's pleasingly sweet with a soft pecan pie-like texture, and needs only five ingredients. Make this crowd-pleasing sugar pie today!
[September, 2021: I've reworked the recipe and updated this post with all new pictures. Enjoy!]
Why this recipe works
- Uses only five common pantry staples
- Combines rich brown sugar flavor and a gooey texture that's a nice contrast to the buttery, flaky pie crust
- Make a homemade pie crust or use a ready-made pie shell
Back when I was in culinary school, one of the first lab classes I took was American Regional Cuisine (ahh…memories). Each week we made a meal based on the area of the country we were studying, and it was an interesting class for me because I was unfamiliar with many of the dishes.
When we got to Cuisine of the South, there were lots of new dishes for me (Hush Puppies? Hoppin’ John Salad? Shrimp Perloo?). Some items I had known and loved, especially desserts like Pecan Pralines, but had never made.
I discovered another unfamiliar but wonderfully easy sugar pie recipe, Southern Brown Sugar Pie!
What you need
Kind of like a cross between Butterscotch Pie and Pecan Pie (minus the pecans), a sugar pie has the same gooey filling consistency and rich brown sugar flavor. And if you use dark brown sugar, it really emphasizes the molasses flavor even more.
The filling for a brown sugar pie recipe is very quick to throw together, having only five ingredients: brown sugar, eggs, butter, salt, and vanilla extract.
How to make a brown sugar pie
Making this easy brown sugar pie recipe is as simple as mixing all the filling ingredients and pouring it into the unbaked pie shell. And boy, does the house smell good while it's baking!
Step 1: Prepare the pie shell
If you are making your own pie crust, simply roll out the dough and ease into a 9-inch pie pan (photo 1). Chill the pie shell in the freezer for 15 minutes while you prepare the filling.
Step 2: Make the filling
Beat the eggs, then add the brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla, and salt (photo 2). Whisk it all together, making sure that you don't have any lumps of brown sugar hiding at the bottom.
Step 3: Bake the pie
After pouring the filing into the chilled pie shell, bake at 350°F for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the filling is golden brown, gooey, but set (photo 3). You may need to put aluminum foil around pie crust edges about halfway through the cooking time to prevent them from getting too brown.
The filling does puff up during baking, but settles down nicely once cooled.
Step 4: Allow the pie to cool
After letting the pie cool on the counter, place in the the refrigerator for a bit. That helps the filling to set.
Questions asked and answered
Here are some questions you might have...
The two use similar ingredients, but not in the same proportions, and there might be the addition of corn syrup or lemon juice in the filling. Butter tarts are also frequently made into little tartlets (not unlike my Two-Bite Lemon Tartlets), and some folks add raisins as well.
Again, they are similar, but not exactly the same. The Amish version adds flour and milk to the filling, to make a version of sugar cream pie.
Since there's no dairy in this pie, it will keep for several days at room temperature. If you prefer the pie chilled, then by all means keep it in the refrigerator.
Pro tip: scale the recipe up or down
If you don't want a full-sized pie tempting you from the refrigerator, scale the recipe by half and use a 7-inch pie pan.
If you want a deep dish or two 9-inch pies, just double the recipe (except use three eggs) and just adjust the baking time accordingly.
I've even converted the recipe into Brown Sugar Pie Bars, a fun twist for pie in bar form. They're portion-controlled bits of pie goodness you can hold in your hand.
An easy pie that's full of flavor
With little effort needed, this easy pie is a snap to make. It's brown sugar flavor is pleasantly sweet without being cloying, and the ooey-gooey texture is a nice contrast to the buttery, flaky crust.
You can serve the pie chilled, room temperature, or even warmed a bit. It doesn't hurt to add a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Oh, and it pairs beautifully with a wee dram of whisky if you're so inclined.
Make this Southern Brown Sugar Pie recipe your go-to for a holiday (Thanksgiving pie, anyone?) or any day you want a special treat. With only five ingredients, keep this pie recipe handy. It'll be a real crowd-pleaser!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
Pies and tarts can be sweet or savory, and there are so many fillings from which to choose. From fruits to nuts and custards, there's bound to be a pie or tart that catches your fancy! Here are a few choices to try.
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Easy Classic Southern Brown Sugar Pie
For the crust
- 1 single pie crust, homemade or store bought, see Recipe Notes
For the filling
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature, see Recipe Notes
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed, see Recipe Notes
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F.
- Prepare the crust: Prepare a single pie crust recipe. Roll out the pie dough, then ease into a 9-inch pie pan. Chill the pie shell in the freezer for 15 minutes while you prepare the filling.
- Make the filling: While the pie shell is chilling, whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Add the brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt, and whisk together until the filling is well combined and smooth.
- Pour filling into the chilled pie shell.
- Bake the pie for 45 to 55 minutes or until the filling is golden brown, gooey, but set. It will puff up during baking, but will settle as it cools. You may need to put aluminum foil around pie crust edges about halfway through the cooking time to prevent them from getting too brown.
- Allow pie to cool on a cooling rack, then refrigerate to set up further.
- Serve chilled or at room temperature. Top with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if desired.
- This pie will keep for several days. You can keep it in the refrigerator, but it's not strictly necessary.
- For a 9-inch deep-dish pie, double the recipe (though using 3 eggs), and increase the baking time to 55 to 60 minutes.
- For a 7-inch pie pan, prepare ½ the recipe (using 1 egg), and reduce the baking time to 30 to 40 minutes.
- If you prefer your pie in hand-held form, consider making Brown Sugar Pie Bars. They're portion-controlled bits of pie goodness!