Best Pecan Pie Bars + Video

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These pecan pie bars have caramelized topping on a shortbread crust, for the perfect nut bar. Make this easy pie recipe in under an hour!

titled (shown on plate) Pecan Pie Bars

These taste just like your favorite Thanksgiving pecan pie, but in an easy-to-snack form. In fact, this is our most requested treat for holiday gift baskets!

In general, dessert bars are a great option for gifting. It’s easy to make a big batch and wrap them up in cute little packages.

Or, serve them on a dessert platter for a gathering of family or friends.

pecan pie dough in mixing bowl

Recipes like Pecan Pie Bars

Easy Lemon Bars are always a favorite for the dessert table and make a lighter option to cut through the heaviness of a full holiday meal.

For something that’s a little less gooey, try Salted Caramel Pecan Toffee Bars. They come together quickly and you only need 7 ingredients!

Other holiday favorites are my No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Bars or these Cranberry Bliss Bars, which are a copycat recipe of the popular Starbucks treat.

RECIPE VIDEO

Watch the video in the recipe card at the bottom of this post to see how easy it is to make pecan pie bars!

pecan pie dough pressed in bottom of rectangle pan

Tips For Making Pecan Pie Bars

  • Making The Crust: The dough will be very sticky, so it helps to sprinkle both the dough and your hands lightly with flour when pressing it into the pan. Also, if you line the pan with parchment first, you can lift the bars right out when you’re done baking and cut them on a cutting board.
  • Easy Prep: Either buy chopped pecans or pulse them a few times in a food processor to make quick work of them. Pulse just until roughly chopped, otherwise you’ll end up with nut powder instead.
  • Cutting Even Slices: Let the bars cool completely before cutting them and use a sharp knife to get clean edges. I like to refrigerate the pan overnight so they firm up really well.
  • Adjust The Recipe: It’s so easy to make half or quarter batches if you don’t need as many or just want a few for yourself. Just use a smaller pan and see the recipe card below for the correct ingredient measurements
pecan pie mixture boiling in pot

Recipe Notes + FAQ

Can pecan bars be frozen?

They sure can! Transfer them to a gallon size freezer bag with sheets of parchment between each layer. Keep in the freezer for up to 6 months and thaw in the refrigerator or on the counter.

pecans on top of brown sugar mixture

How will I know when they’re done?

The bars are ready when you get just a little movement in the middle when you jostle the pan. They will continue to set up as they cool as well. If there’s still a lot of jiggling all over, bake for a little longer.

pecan pie filling spread on top of pie dough

Can I substitute maple syrup for the corn syrup?

While I haven’t tried it myself, it should work just fine. This is a great option for those needing a low sugar option, and it will add some extra fall flavor!

pecan pie bar held up to camera

How can I make these dessert bars dairy free?

Sure! Use a plant based butter that comes in stick form, not a tub. Earth Balance and Country Crock are great options.

There are one or two dairy free whipping creams available, but they can be hard to find. In that case, full fat coconut milk that comes in a can should do the trick.

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best ever pecan pie bars

Other Easy Dessert Recipes


pecan bars, close up

Best Ever Pecan Pie Bars + Video

Donna Elick
Best Ever Pecan Pie Bars is a pecan bars recipe for caramelized pecan filling atop flaky shortbread crust. A mouthwatering pecan dessert!!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Method Oven, Stovetop
Servings 24 – 36

Ingredients
 

Shortbread Crust

  • 1 1/4 pounds unsalted butter, 5 sticks, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Pecan Pie Topping

  • 1 pound unsalted butter, 4 sticks
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 3 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 pounds pecans, chopped

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • For the crust, beat the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, until light, approximately 3 minutes.
  • Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix well. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the batter with the mixer on low speed until just combined.
  • Press the dough evenly into an ungreased 18×12 by 2-inch baking sheet, making an edge around the edge like you would a pie crust . It will be very sticky; sprinkle the dough and your hands lightly with flour. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is set but not browned. Allow to cool.
  • For the topping, combine the butter, corn syrup, and brown sugar in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan.
  • Cook over low heat until the butter is melted, using a wooden spoon to stir. Raise the heat and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the heavy cream and pecans.
  • Pour over the crust, trying not to get the filling between the crust and the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is set.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. Cut into bars and serve.

Video

Donna’s Notes

FOR A 9×13 pan (serves 18)
Crust
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Topping:
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 pound pecans, chopped
Follow directions above. Watch your cooking time. Time will be decreased for smaller pan sizes.
 
FOR AN 8×8 pan (serves 9)
Crust
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Topping:
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 pounds pecans, chopped

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 841cal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 64g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Cholesterol: 122mg | Sodium: 66mg | Sugar: 46g | Fiber: 4g | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 2mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
best pecan pie bars

Originally published January 2013, updated and republished October 2020

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195 Comments

  1. Hi Donna,
    For those of us who aren't good cooks, do you have any shortcuts for the crust? Shortbread cookies, premade dough, etc? Thank you

  2. I had to comment on these pecan bars. I read some comments before making them, and saw someone write they were not good and a waste of time! Well I just want to say to her… you either didnt follow the recipe, missed an ingredient or two, or just plain can not bake! These bars are to die for, and I can't wait to get the family reviews today at our family bbq. I see them fighting for it! Delicious is all I can say

  3. so i made these this morning for work at 6am….still a little bleary eyed and accidentally doubled the pecans…ended up making pecan praline bars that everyone loved!

  4. I made these yesterday for our Thanksgiving dessert. They are wonderful! I have to hide them from my husband or we won't have any by Thursday….

  5. These are so good, I don’t even know where to begin. The recipe could use a little more detail but I was able to figure it out. I had to bake it a little longer but my oven is ancient and the temp has to checked often. I did the 8×8 because I wasn’t sure my family would eat pecans but they loved it. Definitely something I would make again and will try 9×13 next. Thank you for the recipe!

  6. Cutting the shortbread crust in half still yields PLENTY of crust! I did not alter the amount of pie topping. I have made the bars 3 times now. The first time I made it I had to throw out half of the crust. The two times after that, when I cut the recipe in half for the crust, came out perfect. Keep the amount of topping the same. Absolutely delicious!

    1. I totally concur! use half the crust or double just the topping and use two pans! or use it for some kind of yummy shortbread treat, but yeah, half is plenty.

  7. (9×13) My only concern is when i pulled the crust out it shrank! No more sides! Was this due to using a mat vs parchment?

    1. you know, I’ve never used a lining. I just use a glass pan, no greasing it because the crust is so buttery. but yeah, it doesn’t really hold its shape well, but still try pressing it to the sides a little thick so that when it shrinks, you still kinda get an edge for the syrup not to go down the pan.

  8. I have made these every Christmas since finding this recipe. We have been craving them again, so I went and bought everything and made them today! Thank you so much for this recipe, we absolutely LOVE these!!! My house smells amazing too!

  9. 5 stars
    I have been making these for the past 3 yrs. I am not allowed to go to the family reunion without them! I also have to put aside several goody bags for family members who want more than just a few pieces.

    1. Hi Kathleen,
      They are a family favorite here for any occasion, we are so happy your family enjoys them as well!
      TSRI Team Member,
      Holli

  10. I have made these for years now and they’re a solid favorite! I’ve found it is truly important to let the crust cool before adding the caramel nut mixture. The bars are such a lovely mix of textures and flavors, it’s definitely an annual repeat!

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