Holidays centered around food traditions can be a double edged sword for those of us who love to cook and bake. Every year around Thanksgiving, I grapple with simultaneous urges to make all of the classic dishes while also trying completely new recipes. Thankfully our families are very flexible and I never need to worry about anyone fussing about something I did or did not make. Still, it can be tough. This is the time of year to make pumpkin and pecan pies – I just don’t crave them out of season. But then, every once in a while, I come across something new (to me, at least) that has the potential to become a new classic. Case in point: this salty honey pie.

I had never even heard of this pie until a year ago when my friend Audra wrote about it. I was instantly intrigued. I love honey but it almost never plays a starring role. Add to that the awesomeness of salty-sweet desserts and it was a sure thing that I would like this pie. In fact, I adored it.

The sweet, creamy filling with the crunchy salt topping and buttery flaky crust is truly a perfect combination. I can easily imagine this becoming a part of our Thanksgiving tradition but, since it doesn’t contain any particularly seasonal ingredients, it can and should be made all year round. And let’s be honest – I sure don’t think I’ll be waiting an entire year before I make it again.


1 recipe basic pie dough

For the filling: 

  • ½ cup (4 oz.) unsalted butter, melted
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. white or yellow cornmeal
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¾ cup honey
  • 2 tsp. white vinegar
  • 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise (or 1 tsp. vanilla paste)
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1-2 tbsp. large flake sea salt for finishing (such as Maldon)


  • 01

    To blind-bake the pie shell, preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Roll pie dough out on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch disc.  Place it in a 9-inch pie plate, trimming away the excess and creating decorative edges as desired.  Prick the bottom and sides of the crust with the tines of a fork.  Line the crust with a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper and fill with baking beads.  (If you don’t have baking beads, dried beans or rice also work.)  Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove the baking beads and foil and bake about 5-10 minutes more, until light golden.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 350.

  • 02

    To make the filling, combine the butter, sugar, cornmeal and salt in a bowl and mix well with an electric mixer until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Blend in the honey, vinegar and the seeds scraped from the vanilla beans. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then blend in the cream. Pour the filling into the pre-baked pie shell and transfer to the oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until just set and only slightly jiggly in the center. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool at least 1 hour before topping with the finishing salt, slicing and serving. Serve with fresh whipped cream, if desired.


  • Kerry @ Kerry Cooks

    Ooh so unusual but this looks absolutely delicious Annie! I bet the salt really helps the flavour of the honey to sing

  • Keeta

    I love this pie! I’ve made it once before and it is really freakin’ good. In fact I think I’m about due to make it again… thanks for the reminder :)

  • Melissa Brooker

    OMG. This dessert looks amazing. Sweet/salty is my kryptonite. I’m not much on sweets, but if it is also salty, count me in! And (weird i know) I hate pumpkin pie, so this time of year, i really love finding other alternatives! I will try this for sure.

  • Holy moly this is jaw-dropping! Sweet and salty is my jam. So are natural sweeteners. Though our pie situation is down pat this Thanksgiving, I maaaay just have to add this guy to the list.

  • Ala Shih

    Fabulous! I’m all about salty-sweet and was just looking for a great holiday pie. I’ve always been about crack pie (Momofuku) but heyyy, this looks like a winner! Cheers for sharing!

  • Liv @ Healthy Liv

    This looks delicious! I love baking both new and classic desserts on Thanksgiving! Last year, I made an ice cream pie, German chocolate cake, pecan pie, and pumpkin pie, which was a fun mix of both old and new!

  • Liv @ Healthy Liv

    This looks delicious! I love baking both new and classic desserts on Thanksgiving! Last year, I made an ice cream pie, German chocolate cake, pecan pie, and pumpkin pie, which was a fun mix of both old and new!

  • Liv @ Healthy Liv

    This looks delicious! I love baking both new and classic desserts on Thanksgiving! Last year, I made an ice cream pie, German chocolate cake, pecan pie, and pumpkin pie, which was a fun mix of both old and new!

  • Stephanie

    Can any one recommend a good vanilla bean paste? The ones I keep finding are juat sugar and chemicals.

  • Oh lovely idea. i am always wanting honey recipes.

  • Sarah Townsend

    Sugar Cream Pie is one of my family’s traditions for winter holidays (usually the Wick’s frozen one but i’ve made it from scratch too). So this this looks like a good amped up substitute.

  • MmmI think it sounds amazing! And so different, too!

  • Jessie Oleson Moore


  • annieseats

    Thanks Jessie!

  • annieseats

    Just use actual vanilla beans instead. That is the same as vanilla paste, minus whatever additives are included in the paste.

  • lemonsugar

    Um, YUM! WE already have seven pies planned for Thanksgiving, might have to make it eight! :)

  • I’ve been eyeing this pie for a while also…there’s no time now to make it for Thanksgiving but I think making it for a random Tuesday sounds just as good. :P

  • Jennifer Lintzeris

    If I’m making this today (Wednesday) for thanksgiving tomorrow…does it need to be refrigerated like a pumpkin pie, or can it stay on the counter?)

  • annieseats

    Most pies I refrigerate but this one I recommend to stay at room temp. I have had mine at room temp for several days and it has kept well. Enjoy!

  • Jennifer Lintzeris

    Awesome! And even better that I don’t need to use up precious fridge space! And I prefer it’s at room temp anyway! :) Thanks for the speedy reply! Have a very Happy Thanksgiving, we are looking forward to this PIE!!!!!

  • Lisa Harkins

    Perhaps this recipe could use some proof reading in the filling section? I baked my filling at 400 since there was no other temperature listed and ended up with a burnt crust and scorched filling. I noticed only later that the original recipe says to bake the filling at 350. Also, you list adding salt twice in the first two sentences of the filling instructions. I am sure it doesn’t make a difference but it is confusing.

  • annieseats

    Thanks for the heads up on the salt mentioned twice. I fixed it. I baked my pie at 400 both times I have made it so that is the temperature included in the recipe. Sorry to hear yours was overcooked that way.

  • tjomomma

    Thanks for sharing- mine began to burn as well at 400. I wonder what is going wrong since Annie’s did well at that temp!

  • annieseats

    Ugh, so frustrating! I just went ahead and changed the temp in the recipe. I swear I thought I baked it at 400 but if you aren’t having good results that way, I may have lowered the temp without even thinking about it. So sorry!

  • taketwotapas

    I can’t wait to try this recipe for Christmas! I am always looking for a new pie to make and this reminds me of my grandma’s chess pie! Thanks for a cool recipe!

  • Monica Gregory

    I just made this tonight for my husband to enter into his annual company dessert contest tomorrow. I’m not usually one to make braggart predictions, but I made your chocolate chip cheesecake last year, and he brought home a second place win (out of 30 entries!). I’ll let you know if we move up in the standings this year!

  • annieseats

    Yay! I definitely think it’s worthy of a win!

  • Shari

    This is cooling now, can’t wait to try it. Read other reviews baked at 375 for 50 minutes, came out perfectly.

  • Katie Mandel

    Made this today and it is SO yummy! Thanks Annie!

  • Kerry Keenan Gil

    Made this for a work Thanksgiving and now I’m making more for two more Thanksgiving celebrations. Thanks- it was delicious and the first empty pie pan.

  • mamy81

    Okay, so me and this pie went a couple of rounds. First off, next time I will completely cover the edges of the pie, as it took significantly longer to cook than I expected so the crust really darkened. Secondly, it never quit being really jiggly. However, it firmed up after about 60-75 minutes of sitting on the counter. The cook time was about 30min at 375 then 30min more at 350. It is very easy to make and you could easily double or triple it with ease. But the taste is sooooo good! Kind of like the taste of pecan pie without the pecans. Deeeee-Licious!