These Pecan Pie Bars are a seasonal favorite. A rich, buttery shortbread crust holds a chewy, caramelized pecan filling and tastes just like your favorite pecan pie. It's like a pecan pie you can hold in your hand!
These bars are so much easier than baking a traditional pecan pie and they're a fantastic dessert for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or really any time of year.
Wow! These pecan pie squares are even better than pecan pie! And they are so much easier to make than a whole pie. There's no making pie dough, rolling crust, or crimping edges, in fact, it's practically dump and go. And so delicious, that even those that don't like pecan pie love these!
Bar cookies are one of the easiest sweet treats to make and so versatile. Favorites like Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars, Creme Brulee Cheesecake Bars, and these pecan bars go together super quick, taste absolutely amazing, and are an excellent sweet to serve for parties or pack into Christmas cookie tins.
Try this easy pecan bar recipe and you'll see what I mean. They come out perfectly moist, with the perfect balance of sweet and crunchy, while the buttery crust just melts in your mouth. Believe me, if you love pecan pie, you'll love these bars! Oh, and don't miss trying them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top! (just sayin')
Table of contents
All-Purpose Flour - used as the base for the shortbread and as a thickener for the filling.
Butter - Use high-quality butter to make a crust that is rich and decadent.
Brown Sugar - gives a nice molasses flavor to both the shortbread and the filling.
Salt - enhances all the flavors and adds a balance to the sweetness.
Eggs - helps bind the filling together.
Corn Syrup - gives the pecan pie filling its sweetness with a hint of vanilla. I use light corn syrup but dark corn syrup can also be substituted which will add more color and a toastier flavor.
Vanilla Extract - adds a deeper, richer flavor to the recipe.
Cinnamon - adds a rich, toasty warm flavor to the pecan bars.
Pecans - add the crunchy, nutty flavor that the bars are named after. Make sure to coarsely chop the pecans. You don't want them ground too fine.
After baking the required time, gently shake the baking dish. If the center jiggles just slightly and the outer edges are firm and set, they are done. The bars will continue to set as they cool.
Absolutely! Baking the crust makes it firm enough to hold the pecan filling. If left unbaked, the liquid from the filling will make the crust soggy and it will not bake through.
Since these pie bars are made with eggs, they will last much longer (about 1 week) when stored in the refrigerator. They will also hold their shape and be easier to eat with your hands. However, if you are going to eat them right away, they will keep up to 2 days on the counter.
Yes you can. I love to wrap them individually in plastic wrap and store in the freezer so I can grab one whenever I want. They will last 3-4 months.
When you are ready to eat one, thaw in the refrigerator then warm up in the microwave for a few seconds.
How to Make Pecan Bars
- Gather the 3 ingredients, flour, butter and brown sugar. Make sure the butter is very cold!
- Place in a food processor or in a small bowl.
- Process until it resembles small crumbs. this can also be done in a small bowl with a pastry cutter.
- Your finished mixture should look like this.
- Press shortbread into parchment lined baking dish and bake for about 14 minutes.
Hot Tip: These bars are extra sticky so be sure to line your baking dish with parchment paper. Line it both horizontally and vertically to form a sling to make lifting them out easier. Plus it makes cleanup a breeze.
- Pour light corn syrup into a large bowl and add the eggs.
- Add brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt and vanilla extract.
- Pour in melted butter.
- Whisk well then add in pecans.
- Mix well.
- Pour into warm shortbread crust.
- Pecan Pie Squares are ready to bake! Bake for 45-50 minutes.
- Baked bars are golden colored and set. Let cool on wire rack for an hour or so and then chill for several hours prior to cutting into bars.
- Once bars are cooled, lift out of baking dish using the parchment sling you created. Set on cutting board.
- Finish by cutting pecan bars into squares with a very sharp knife.
Maple Pecan Bars - replace the corn syrup with maple syrup or use half of each for added flavor.
No Corn Syrup Pecan Pie Bars - substitute golden syrup or cane syrup for the corn syrup.
Chocolate Pecan Bars - add ½ cup of chocolate chips to pecan filling or bake the bars then drizzle melted chocolate over the top for some awesome Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars!
Tropical Pecan Bars - add ½ cup coconut to pecan filling.
Bourbon Pecan Bars - add 2-3 tablespoons to pecan filling.
Other Nuts -pecans not your favorite? Try these bars with walnuts or cashews.
Salty - add a little salty to the sweet and sprinkle sea salt on the top.
Gluten-free version - change out the all-purpose flour for gluten-free 1:1 flour.
Why You Need to Make These Pecan Pie Squares
- No need to make a pastry crust, roll and crimp edges.
- The shortbread crust is so rich and buttery you may just want to eat it on its own.
- These pecan bars have all the ooey-gooey flavor and texture everyone loves in pecan pie in spades.
- These bars are great to make for holiday dinners and parties.
- Their small size means you can have a piece of pumpkin pie too!
- Easy to carry to potlucks and super popular too
- Great to give as hostess gift or make them a part of your Christmas cookie tins
- Lastly, these pecan bars are so much easier to make than an entire pie!
More Pecan Recipes
Pecan Sandies - a melt-in-your-mouth cookie with plenty of pecan flavor.
Maple Pecan Sticky Buns - a fall must for the breakfast table!
Pecan Pie for Beginners from Platter Talk - put it together in 10 minutes and ready in under an hour.
Sweet Candied Pecans - are crunchy, cinnamon-sugar coated nuts that make one deliciously, addictive snack.
Pecan Pie Bars with Shortbread Crust
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup light brown sugar packed
- 1 cup very cold butter
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup light brown sugar packed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup butter melted
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups pecans chopped coarsely
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 11”x8” baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line with parchment paper creating a sling by extending the edges of the parchment over the sides of the dish.
- In a medium bowl, stir flour and sugar together.
- Cut very cold butter into cubes and add to bowl. Using a pastry cutter or food processor, mix until it resembles small crumbs.
- Firmly press the shortbread into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes or until it is a light golden brown.
- Prepare filling while crust is baking as you want to add it as soon as the crust comes out of the oven.
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar, vanilla extract, flour, butter, cinnamon and salt.
- Stir in pecans and immediately pour into warm crust.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes or until filling is set. Look for only a slight jiggle in the center of the bars when the dish is gently shaken. The sides should look firm and set.
- Let cool completely on wire rack then chill in refrigerator for several hours before cutting into squares.
- When ready to cut, lift out of the baking dish with the parchment paper sling you made and set the chilled bars on the cutting board. Using a very sharp knife, cut firmly through the pecan bars. I cut mine into 20 bars but you can make them smaller and get 25 bars.