How Pecan Pie Became The Official State Pie Of Texas

Whether it's for Thanksgiving, Pi Day, or the Fourth of July, people living in the U.S. like to celebrate with pie. There may be as many varieties as there are states — pumpkin, cherry, chocolate, and key lime are just a few of the popular ones — but it's apple pie that reigns supreme. According to Instacart, the iconic American dessert accounted for over 27% of pies sales on the grocery delivery platform in 2021. But each state has its own favorite of course, and for Texas, nothing tops the pecan pie.

The nutty, sweet pie is so beloved by the Lone Star state that it was even named the official state pie in 2013 by the Texas Legislature, according to KUT, Autin's NPR affiliate station. The resolution, sponsored by State Representative Marsha Farney, declares that no other dish "says 'Texas' as sweetly as pecan pie." But how did the pie become so popular in the southern state?

Texas origins of pecan pie

It's not just the pie that is a staple in Texas. The pecan tree is native to the state and can be found growing in 152 of its counties, per the 2013 state resolution. Growing in river valleys, it was named the state tree in 1919 and has also been declared the state health nut, so it's clear Texans are fans of the pecan. Pecans are the only commercially grown nut in the state and data from the USDA shows that Texas is the third-highest producer of the nut in the country, behind Georgia and New Mexico.

With the state-wide pecan abundance, it's no wonder that the first-known recipe similar to a modern-day pecan pie came from a Texas resident. According to Eater, the woman submitted the recipe to a church cookbook in St. Louis in 1898, but other recipes featuring the nut had been appearing in Texas cookbooks as early as the 1870s. The rest of the country caught up to the state in the 1920s, when the pecan pie rose in popularity thanks to Karo Syrup.

So there you have it, from tree to pie, Texans have been proclaiming their love of the pecan since the late 1800s; In 2013 they just decided to make the sweet relationship official.