51 Sweet Pecan Desserts That Are Southern Favorites

Toasted Coconut-Pecan Cupcakes with Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting
Photo: Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that Southerners are crazy for pecans. The pecan is the South's signature nut, and we sneak it into lots of sweet and savory recipes. But we can't resist pecan desserts. We grew up snacking on Pecan Pralines and we know that no Thanksgiving dessert spread is complete without a classic Pecan Pie. After all, the smell of roasting butter pecans is the signature scent of Southern holidays.

One of the best traits of pecans is their versatility. They pair beautifully with bittersweet chocolate and bourbon, like in our Kentucky Derby Pie, but they also complement the sweetness of fresh fruit like peaches (have you tried our Pecan-Peach Cobbler? Now's the time). From Carrot Cake Cheesecake to Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, pecans play the supporting role in fresh twists on our favorite seasonal recipes.

We've compiled our favorite classic and inventive pecan desserts to spice up your holiday table this year.

01 of 51

Butter Pecan Layer Cake with Browned Butter Frosting

Butter Pecan Layer Cake with Browned Butter Frosting
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Butter Pecan Layer Cake with Browned Butter Frosting

Switch up your holiday cake rotation with this dreamy three-layer cake. A tip from the test kitchen: When browning the butter for the frosting, pour the butter into a bowl as soon as it turns golden brown, or it will continue to cook and get too dark.

02 of 51

Flourless Pecan-Chocolate Cake

Flourless Pecan-Chocolate Cake
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe: Flourless Pecan-Chocolate Cake

Toasted pecans add a nice crunch to this smooth chocolate cake.

03 of 51

Butter Toffee-Pecan Layer Cake

Butter Toffee-Pecan Layer Cake
Greg DuPree

Recipe: Butter Toffee-Pecan Layer Cake

The inviting swirls of brown butter toffee frosting topping this cake are so inviting, you'll have to resist the temptation to cut into the cake before the party guests arrive.

04 of 51

Caramel Pecan Icebox Cake

Caramel Pecan Icebox Cake
Joy Howard

Recipe: Caramel Pecan Icebox Cake

This icebox cake comes together with just 25 minutes of hands-on time.

05 of 51

Spiced Pecan Pie Bars

Spiced Pecan Pie Bars
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Spiced Pecan Pie Bars

If you're preparing Thanksgiving for a crowd, swap out the Pecan Pie for these portable, pre-portioned Pecan Pie Bars.

06 of 51

Buttermilk-Pecan Pralines

buttermilk pecan pralines
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Buttermilk-Pecan Pralines

Make a batch of these indulgent candies and they'll have disappeared by the end of the weekend.

07 of 51

Double-Chocolate Pecan Pie

Double-Chocolate Pecan Pie
Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Double-Chocolate Pecan Pie

Amp up your pecan pie this holiday season with a double dose of chocolate.

08 of 51

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Jennifer Causey

Recipe: Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brown butter and pecans add new dimension to the classic chocolate chip cookie in this indulgent recipe.

09 of 51

Pumpkin Spice Magic Cake

Pumpkin Spice Cake
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Magic Cake

They call this cake magic for a reason. With surprising layers and flavor combinations, this cake is a standout on any spread.

10 of 51

Georgia Pecan Double-Decker Brownies

Georgia Pecan Double-Decker Brownies
Jennifer Causey, Prop Stylist: Lindsey Lower, Food Stylist: Torie Cox

Recipe: Georgia Pecan Double-Decker Brownies

A crust made from chocolate wafers makes these brownies even more decadent.

11 of 51

Pecan Tassies

Pecan Tassies
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Pecan Tassies

A cross between a cookie and a slice of pecan pie, these cute-as-a-button tassies will be the star of the holiday cookie swap.

12 of 51

Double-Decker Pecan Cheesecake Pie

Double-Decker Pecan Cheesecake Pie Recipe Image
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Double-Decker Pecan Cheesecake Pie

This pretty dessert combines the flavors of pecan pie and cheesecake into one slice. Plus, it takes just 20 minutes of hands-on time to pull together.

13 of 51

Salted Butter-Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Salted Butter-Pecan Shortbread Cookies
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Salted Butter-Pecan Shortbread Cookies

The dough for these cookies can be made up to two days in advance and stored in the refrigerator until baked.

14 of 51

Pecan Pie

Best Pecan Pie
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Oxbow Bakery Pecan Pie

You can't go wrong with the classics. If you really want to impress at Thanksgiving this year, bring this perfect pecan pie.

15 of 51

Coconut-Pecan Truffles

Coconut-Pecan Truffles
Greg DuPree; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl Jones

Recipe: Coconut-Pecan Truffles

No baking is required to pull together these bite-sized treats.

16 of 51

Maple-Pecan-Pear Cheesecake

Maple-Pecan-Pear Cheesecake
Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Christine Keely

Recipe: Maple-Pecan-Pear Cheesecake

In-season pears not only add flavor to the cheesecake but come together with maple syrup and pecans to create a gorgeous finish.

17 of 51

Texas Pecan Cake

Texas Pecan Cake
Photographer: Jennifer Causey; Food Stylist: Rishon Hanners; Prop Stylist: Audrey Davis

Recipe: Texas Pecan Cake

You can whip up this pecan cake in just 15 minutes.

18 of 51

Caramel Pecan Tart

Caramel Pecan Tart on a blue background
Will Dickey

Recipe: Caramel Pecan Tart

A pecan pie is an incredibly easy pecan dessert, but this tart is even easier, if you can imagine it. A simple caramel is cooked up and poured into a tart shell. It solidifies while baking and cooling so it's easy to dish up whether you're at a potluck or holiday gathering.

19 of 51

Kentucky Bourbon Pie

Kentucky Bourbon Pie
Antonis Achilleos

Recipe: Kentucky Bourbon Pie

Make Derby day every day with this decadent pie that combines chocolate, bourbon, and pecans.

20 of 51

Pumpkin-Spice Bundt with Brown Sugar Icing and Candied Pecans

Pumpkin-Spice Bundt with Brown Sugar Icing and Candied Pecans
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Pumpkin-Spice Bundt with Brown Sugar Icing and Candied Pecans

This Bundt cake has all the flavors of fall, and it's picture-perfect for a Thanksgiving dessert spread. A tip from the test kitchen: For the smoothest texture and most impressive presentation, make sure the icing is still warm when you spoon it over the cake.

21 of 51

Mama's German Chocolate Cake with Coconut-Pecan Frosting

German Chocolate Cake
Southern Living

Recipe: Mama's German Chocolate Cake with Coconut-Pecan Frosting

You'll be requesting this indulgent layered chocolate cake every year for your birthday.

22 of 51

Utterly Deadly Southern Pecan Pie

Utterly Deadly Southern Pecan Pie
Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Utterly Deadly Southern Pecan Pie

Once you've made a pecan pie in a cast-iron skillet, you may never go back to a pie plate. Simply press a refrigerated pie crust into the skillet, sprinkle with sugar, top with the pecan mixture, and bake. Serving it in the skillet is also easy and makes the dish even more Southern.

23 of 51

Pecan Pie Cake with Browned Butter Frosting

Pecan Pie Cake
Photographer: Antonis Achilleos, Prop Stylist: Kay Clarke Food Stylist: Rishon Hanners

Recipe: Pecan Pie Cake with Browned Butter Frosting

This dessert starts with pecan pie cake layers that are filled with pecan pie filling and then covered with a browned butter frosting.

24 of 51

Georgia Pecan Mist Cake

Georgia Pecan Mist Cake
Alison Miksch; Food Styling: Erin Merhar; Prop Styling: Prissy Lee

Recipe: Georgia Pecan Mist Cake

You may be surprised to see the short ingredient list for this recipe, but trust us, that's all you need to whip together this pecan dessert.

25 of 51

Slow-Cooker Cinnamon Roll Casserole

Crock Pot Cinnamon Roll Casserole
Caitlin Bensel

Recipe: Slow-Cooker Cinnamon Roll Casserole

Once you've put pecans in your cinnamon rolls, you'll never go back to the plain kind.

26 of 51

Butter Pecan Cheesecake

Butter Pecan Cheescake
Photo: Alison Miksch, prop styling: Prissy Lee, food styling: Erin Merhar

Recipe: Butter Pecan Cheesecake

You'll find pecans in the crust and topping of this cheesecake.

27 of 51

Pecan Pie Bread Pudding

Pecan Pie Bread Pudding

Recipe: Pecan Pie Bread Pudding

While this dish is made to be a dessert, we also think it's great to enjoy for breakfast alongside a cup of coffee.

28 of 51

Pecan Snowball Cookies

Pecan Snowball Cookies
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Pecan Snowball Cookies

Rolled in powdered sugar, these Pecan Snowball Cookies look like they've been coated with a fresh dusting of snow.

29 of 51

Carrot Cake Cheesecake

Carrot Cake Cheesecake
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Carrot Cake Cheesecake

A base layer of carrot cake meets a fluffy stripe of cheesecake topping in this best-of-both-worlds dessert.

30 of 51

Banana Pudding Cheesecake

Banana Pudding Cheesecake
Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Banana Pudding Cheesecake

Banana pudding and cheesecake, all in one bite? We must be dreaming.

31 of 51

Amy Grant's Banana Nut Bread

Amy Grant's Banana Nut Bread
Southern Living

Recipe: Amy Grant's Banana Nut Bread

When you have company, always have a loaf of this favorite breakfast or dessert bread on hand.

32 of 51

Hummingbird Bundt Cake

Hummingbird Bundt Cake
Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Hummingbird Bundt Cake

No Southern dessert spread is complete without some variation of the Hummingbird cake, and this one is in Bundt form.

33 of 51

Seven-Layer Cookies

Seven-Layer Cookies
Southern Living

Recipe: Seven-Layer Cookies

Graham crackers, coconut, pecans, chocolate, and butterscotch all mingle together in these decadent vintage cookies.

34 of 51

Pecan-Peach Cobbler

Pecan-Peach Cobbler
Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Recipe: Pecan-Peach Cobbler

Two Southern favorites, pecans and peaches, come together in this ultimate summer dessert.

35 of 51

Peach Crisp

Peach Crisp
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Peach Crisp

A crisp peach crumble is the effortless dessert of the summer, and pecans add new dimension to this carefree treat.

36 of 51

Brown Butter-Maple-Pecan Blondies

Brown Butter-Maple-Pecan Blondies
Linda Pugliese

Recipe: Brown Butter-Maple-Pecan Blondies

The brownie's blonde sister gets a serious makeover with brown butter, maple, and pecans.

37 of 51

The Ultimate Carrot Cake

Ultimate Carrot Cake
Alison Miksch

Recipe: The Ultimate Carrot Cake

This carrot cake's thick layers and sweet-and-savory brown sugar-cream cheese frosting earn it high praise. Top with candied carrot curls for extra flair.

38 of 51

Fudgy Flourless Chocolate-Pecan Cookies

Fudgy Flourless Chocolate-Pecan Cookies Recipe
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Fudgy Flourless Chocolate-Pecan Cookies

These crisp-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside cookies are so much richer than their short ingredient list lets off.

39 of 51

Coconut Pound Cake

Coconut Pound Cake
Antonis Achilleos

Recipe: Coconut Pound Cake

Use a ridged Bundt pan to achieve the gorgeous shape of this unique pound cake.

40 of 51

Putt's Butter Pecan Sundae

Putt’s Butter Pecan Sundae Recipe
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Putt's Butter Pecan Sundae

Putt Wetherbee knows how to do sundaes. This one has homemade toasted-pecan ice cream and a praline sauce that's richer than rich.

41 of 51

Mini Pecan Monkey Bread Loaves

Mini Pecan Monkey Bread Loaves Recipe
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Mini Pecan Monkey Bread Loaves

This caramel-drizzled monkey bread can be enjoyed any time of day. To lessen your load, make this recipe a day ahead, store in the refrigerator overnight, and bake when you're ready to serve.

42 of 51

Pumpkin-Pecan Streusel Pie

Pumpkin-Pecan Streusel Pie
Photo: Helen Norman

Recipe: Pumpkin-Pecan Streusel Pie

Create the chunky texture by leaving those extra-big blueberry-size pieces in the Pecan Streusel Topping mix.

43 of 51

Candied Pumpkin Spice Pecans

Candied Pumpkin Spice Pecans
Greg Dupree; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe: Candied Pumpkin Spice Pecans

Whether you use these candied pecans to top a cake or enjoy them on their own, they'll pack plenty of fall flavor into every bite.

44 of 51

Pecan Pie Cobbler

Pecan Pie Cobbler
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Pecan Pie Cobbler

Two classic dishes come together in one skillet for a decadent dessert.

45 of 51

Pecan Bourbon Balls

Pecan Bourbon Balls
Photo: Iain Bagwell

Recipe: Pecan Bourbon Balls

Think a bourbon ball is a bourbon ball is a bourbon ball? Think again. Try coating them in spiced toasted pecans for a sweet-salty variation and you'll be a convert for life.

46 of 51

Mini Pecan Pies

Mini Pecan Pies
Lee Harrelson; Styling: Jan Gautro, Laura Zapalowski

Recipe: Mini Pecan Pies

The spirit of Thanksgiving distilled into tiny bite-sized pie crusts.

47 of 51

Mini Bananas Foster Sticky Buns

Mini Bananas Foster Sticky Buns
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Tina Bell Stamos

Recipe: Mini Bananas Foster Sticky Buns

These sticky buns may technically be breakfast, but they're so divine, we'll eat these for dessert, too.

48 of 51

Tenntucky Blackberry Cobbler Sundaes

TennTucky Blackberry Cobbler Recipe
Photo: Jennifer Davick / Food Styling Marian Cooper Cairns

Recipe: Tenntucky Blackberry Cobbler Sundaes

It's creamy, it's crunchy, and it's absolutely decadent. This sundae hits all the right notes.

49 of 51

Tropical Carrot Cake

Tropical Carrot Cake
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Tropical Carrot Cake

Warm spices like cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger combine with pineapple and coconut in this Hummingbird-carrot cake fusion.

50 of 51

Millionaire Pie

Millionaire Pie
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Millionaire Pie

This pink pie will be the belle of the ball at your next potluck.

51 of 51

Pig Pickin' Cake

Pig Pickin' Cake
Southern Living

Recipe: Pig Pickin' Cake

There's no better way to finish off a Southern Pig Pickin' or cookout than with this signature cake.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles