Need a Thanksgiving dessert shortcut? Costco has giant pecan pies that weigh more than four pounds

Alas, we have an important signal that the most wonderful time of the year is (almost) here

By Michael La Corte

Deputy Food Editor

Published November 11, 2022 11:00AM (EST)

Shopping carts are lined up in front of a Costco store on February 25, 2021 in Inglewood, California. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Shopping carts are lined up in front of a Costco store on February 25, 2021 in Inglewood, California. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Alas, we have an important signal that the most wonderful time of the year is (almost) here. Costco's iconic — and positively ginormous — pecan pie has officially returned to the bakery section. Let the countdown to Turkey Day commence: T-14 days until Thanksgiving!

If you're looking for a dessert to feed a crowd this holiday season, you may not need to look any further than the warehouse chain, which is known for its bulk treats. After spotting a shelf full of pecan pies, Laura, who operates the popular Instagram account @costcohotfinds, remarked that they could "could feed 10" people.

Should I put this hypothesis to the test? If so, it would be solely for the joy of dessert. An Instacart listing confirms that these pies weigh in at more than 4 pounds.

While Laura warmed up a slice with a "scoop of vanilla ice cream and a little sprinkle of cinnamon," she noted that some may instead opt for the slightly lighter option of whipped cream as their go-to topping. (Laura also pronounced pecan "puh-cahn," but that's a conversation for another day.)

Pecan pie is a fascinating entrant in the world of pies, as it's one of the few that doesn't have a fruit base. Some include chocolate chips, while others include liquor. But the focus of the pie is always clear: a ton of pecans, a flaky crust and that hard-to-pinpoint, almost-caramel-esque custard. Embracing the nuttiness and crunch, the pecans are often suspended in an amalgamation of molasses and corn syrup. The whole shebang caramelizes and solidifies once baked, creating the classic flavor that has been cherished for years on end.

Dana Hatic writes for Eater that pecans are "native to North America," and their natural season actually runs from September through November (which has certainly helped to certify the pecan's place in the autumnal holiday lexicon). She also notes that the pie's gooey-ness is created by the combination of butter, sugar, corn syrup and egg, as well as that the pecans "rise to the top" during the baking process. This results in that perfect bite: a mix of smooth, even custard, buttery crust and brittle, baked nuts.

Want more great food writing and recipes? Subscribe to Salon Food's newsletter, The Bite.

Southern Living adds that the "milk-custard-based pecan pie" originated in the American South and was first printed in a cookbook as early as 1824. Fast forward a century later, and the pie truly experienced a boon in popularity when it was promoted as a primary use for Karo corn syrup. According to Hatic, while Karo syrup is a requisite ingredient in many recipes, it's not always necessary. Many iterations replace it with brown sugar, molasses or liquor. (The original Karo recipe included a full cup of corn syrup, plus eggs, sugar, margarine, vanilla, salt, pecans and a pastry shell).

Masterclass poetically sums up the allure of the traditional pie, noting that "pecan pie is a quintessential American dessert featuring a mosaic of pecan halves suspended in a silky, sugary blend of eggs, butter and a sweetener — traditionally corn syrup — held together in a flaky pie crust."

Whether you decide to pick up a pie at Costco to share with a crowd or eat entirely by yourself, the journey is entirely yours for the making.

Are you shopping at the best Costco location in the country? In case you missed it, that store is located in this state.

By Michael La Corte

Michael is a food writer, recipe editor and educator based in his beloved New Jersey. After graduating from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, he worked in restaurants, catering and supper clubs before pivoting to food journalism and recipe development. He also holds a BA in psychology and literature from Pace University.

MORE FROM Michael La Corte

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Costco Desserts Fall Food Holidays Pecan Pie Pecans Supermarkets Thanksgiving