Walnut pie is nutty, rich, sweet, and similar to pecan pie. This vegan take on the southern favorite uses creative substitutes for eggs and dairy and is sweetened with maple syrup and brown sugar instead of corn syrup. It's easy to prepare and perfect for your fall and winter holiday gatherings!
Pair the maple-walnut filling with our popular vegan gluten-free pie crust for a vegan Christmas dessert that's sure to please the whole crowd!
Have you ever tried walnut pie? It's new to me, and I'm not sure how I've missed it all these years. Apparently, Dolly Parton has a famous walnut pie recipe, which only made me more excited to create a vegan version.
It sounds silly, but I feel sort of geographically connected to Dolly. I grew up south of Nashville, regularly visiting family there. I remember my uncle taking us on a driving tour of famous homes and showing us Dolly and Carl's house in Brentwood. And now, decades later, I live not all that far from Dollywood and East Tennessee.
Anyway, I couldn't resist giving Dolly Parton's pie my usual vegan makeover. And we absolutely loved it!
Instead of butter, eggs, and corn syrup, I took inspiration from two of my vegan pecan pie recipes - vegan pecan pie and bourbon pecan pie - for a vegan walnut pie that's perfectly rich, nutty, and sweet!
Maple syrup and brown sugar work together to create a filling that isn't cloyingly sweet, like pies made with corn syrup. The maple and brown sugar really give the filling a lovely flavor. And vegan butter gives it just enough richness to balance the sweetness. Truly, I think you're going to love it!
- pie crust - my vegan gluten-free pie crust is usually my go-to, but for the pie you see in the photos, I took a shortcut and used a Wholly Wholesome pie crust I picked up at Whole Foods (it was Thanksgiving week, and I was short on time)! Any pie crust you like that works well with baked pies is fine.
- walnuts - look for raw walnuts for this recipe, either halves or pieces.
- rolled oats - oatmeal serves as our egg replacer. If you need a substitute, I suspect increasing the starch and milk could work, or possibly using ⅓ to ½ cup silken tofu. Although I haven't tested either of these.
- maple syrup - it lends wonderful, fall-vibes flavor and gives the pie filling just enough moisture and gooeyness. I can't recommend any substitutions.
- brown sugar - I used light but dark brown sugar is fine, too.
- corn starch - in addition to the oats, this helps the filling set. Feel free to sub arrowroot starch.
- non-dairy milk - any plant milk you like is fine. I've tested almond, soy, and oat milk.
See the recipe card below for amounts and full instructions.
How to Make Vegan Walnut Pie
From start to finish, not including cooling time, preparing the pie takes about 1 hour.
First, cook the oats and milk until softened. Stir in the butter.
Combine the oatmeal with the remaining filling ingredients, and blend until smooth.
Reserve about ¼ of the walnuts, and spread the rest in the pie shell.
Pour the filling over the nuts, and sprinkle the reserved walnuts on top.
Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for about 50 minutes or until the center looks just set.
Though classic walnut pie recipes don't usually call for additions like spices, bourbon, or citrus zest, I thought a touch of pumpkin spice would taste nice, and it sure does! Feel free to play around with the spices, try cinnamon or other blends, or skip it altogether.
And just like pecan pie, you can add a splash of bourbon or orange zest if that sounds good.
Dial up the fun with a glass of oat milk eggnog on the side!
Walnut Pie FAQs
Absolutely, especially if you use the vegan gluten-free pie crust linked in the recipe. That pie crust stays more crisp and holds up better overnight than pie crusts made with flour.
Similar to pecan pie, walnut pie is typically served at room temperature or slightly cool. This is because the filling may become runny if served warm or hot. However, the filling in this particular walnut pie recipe is more stable than most and may be served slightly warm, if desired.
Either cover the whole pie with plastic wrap or transfer the pie to an airtight storage container and refrigerate. Enjoy within 4 to 5 days, or freeze for up to one month.
Ovens can vary so it's a good idea to keep an eye on the pie during the last 10 to 15 minutes just in case the filling is getting too bubbly or the crust too brown.
If you use a traditional flour-based crust you will likely need to cover the edges of the pie with foil or a pie shield so it doesn't get too brown.
If you use my almond flour pie crust you won't need to cover the edges. Just make sure to roll the dough somewhat thin, as mentioned in the instructions. If the edges are too thick it can become tough to slice.
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I hope you enjoy this vegan walnut pie. If you try it I would love to hear from you. Comment below to let us know!
Vegan Walnut Pie
- 1 unbaked 9-inch vegan pie crust - tap for recipe; or your favorite pie crust
- ⅓ cup rolled oats - certified gluten-free if needed
- 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk plus 1 to 2 Tbsp - such as oat or almond
- 4 Tablespoons salted vegan butter
- ⅔ cup maple syrup
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons corn starch - sub arrowroot starch if needed
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice blend - optional but delicious!
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon good quality balsamic vinegar, optional
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 cups chopped walnuts - approx. 7 ounces
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Dock the bottom of the pie crust with a fork and par-bake for just 5 minutes. Set aside.
- In a small sauce pan, bring the oats and 1 cup milk to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until thick and creamy. Add the vegan butter to the pot, and stir to melt.
- Transfer the oatmeal to a blender, and add the maple syrup, brown sugar, starch, pumpkin spice, vanilla, balsamic, and salt. Slowly increase to high speed, and blend until smooth. The filling should be somewhat thick, but if it seems too thick to pour, add a splash of milk and blend again.
- Add most of the walnuts to the pie shell, reserving a handful to sprinkle on top. Pour the filling over the nuts, making sure they're coated and evenly dispersed. Sprinkle the remaining walnuts on top. Bake the pie for 45 to 50 minutes or until the center looks just set. Keep a close eye on it during the last 10 to 15 minutes. The filling may puff up slightly but shouldn't overflow. If the crust begins to brown too much, cover with foil or a pie shield. If using my GF crust it will be fine uncovered.
- Set the pie aside to cool for at least 2 hours before slicing. If not serving the same day, let cool completely then cover and refrigerate. Serve with a dollop of vegan whipped cream and enjoy!
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.