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Pecan Pie Bars

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Easy pecan pie bars are the less messy version of pecan pie. A rich, buttery shortbread crust is topped with a classic pecan pie filling. This is basically a pecan pie that you can eat with your hands!

overhead shot of pecan pie bars cut into squares on a white background with a blue and white striped linen towel

Pecan pie bars should have their own tagline and a dramatic movie announcer to say it. “Pecan Pie Bars: The Easy, Mess-Free Alternative to Pecan Pie” – can you just hear it in your head now? Lol

Okay but honestly, these pecan pie bars are the perfect solution for anyone who loves pecan pie but hates the hassle of making it. The buttery shortbread crust is easy to make and the chewy pecan filling is simply irresistible. These bars are definitely a great way to enjoy pecan pie without all the fuss! When you’re getting ready for a houseful of guests, the last thing you want is fuss.

Did you know? Pecan pie bars have been around for centuries and are believed to have originated in the Southern United States. The first recorded recipe for pecan pie bars was in a cookbook published in 1864, but it is likely that the dish was being made long before then. They became popular because people wanted an easier alternative to pecan pie – brilliant!

up close overhead photo of a pecan pie square bar where you can see the detailed pecans and filling.

What You’ll Need

Exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of the post.

overhead shot of all ingredients for pecan pie bars: eggs, dark corn syrup, salt, pecans, confectioners sugar, flour, butter, vanilla, brown sugar

Crust:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Confectioner’s sugar
  • Salted butter

Filling: 

  • Eggs
  • Brown sugar
  • Dark corn syrup – this works well in this recipe because it provides a deep, rich flavor to the pecan pie filling. It also helps to bind the ingredients together and gives the filling a lovely, thick texture.
  • All-purpose flour
  • Vanilla
  • Salt
  • Pecans – the star of the show in these pecan pie bars! They provide a delicious, nutty flavor and a lovely chewy texture. Be sure to chop the pecans roughly so that they retain some of their texture and don’t turn into pecan powder!

How to make pecan pie bars

Full directions in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

Preheat oven. Set oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit then line a 9 inch square pan with parchment paper and spray it well with cooking spray.

Make the crust. Combine all the ingredients for the crust in a food processor until it’s crumbly then press it into the prepared pan. Bake for 15ish minutes.

Prepare the filling. While the crust is baking, prepare the filling by combining all the ingredients for the filling in a bowl.

Bake. Pour the filling on top of the baked crust and return the pan to the oven to bake further.

Cool. Let the bars cool a bit before slicing into bars.

pecan pie bars stacked on top of each other and sliced to see the insides

Substitutions and variations

There are plenty of substitutions and variations you can make with this recipe. If you’re not a fan of pecans, you could try using a different type of nut. Walnuts or almonds would work well. Hazelnuts would be my choice.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you could try adding some chocolate chips or shredded coconut to the pecan filling. Or, for a fun twist, try using a different type of pie crust. A graham cracker crust would be delicious but it might be slightly soggy and fall apart – you could experiment!

up close shot of the insides of pecan pie bars

Serving and storage instructions

These pecan pie bars are best served at room temperature. Cut them into small squares and enjoy! They can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

If you’re looking for something to serve with these pecan pie bars, why not try a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream? You could also drizzle them with a bit of caramel or chocolate sauce to be extra decadent!

Frequently asked questions

  • Can I use margarine in the crust instead of butter? To get the really tasty shortbread crust you really must use butter – it does make a difference.
  • Do these bars need to be refrigerated? No, they may be stored at room temperature. You just want to chill them prior to cutting so that you will be able to cut neat bars.
  • How can I be sure that the bars are fully cooked? The center should be almost set, not runny (a slight jiggle is fine), the edges will be completely set.
  • Do I really need to bake the crust before adding the filling? Yes, the blind baking will help the crust not to be soggy, which would happen if we added the filling to an unbaked crust.  
  • I don’t have corn syrup – can I just add more sugar instead? You really won’t get the look or taste of pecan pie without the corn syrup.  
five pecan pie bars stacked on top of each other surrounded by other pecan pie squares and a green and white striped linen

Other desserts for your table:

Pecan Pie Brownies

Pecan Pie Cheesecake Bars

Cranberry Shortbread Bars

Pecan Pie Bars

An easier alternative to pecan pie!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Cooling time:: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 16 squares
Author: Julie Chiou
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Ingredients 

Crust:

  • 1 cup flour
  • cup confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ cup salted butter, cold, cut into ½ inch pieces

Filling:

  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup dark corn syrup
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups roughly chopped pecans

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 °F
  • Line a square 9 inch pan baking pan with parchment paper. (I lay a large rectangle the width of the pan with the edges hanging over, and another going the opposite direction, again with the edges hanging over.)
  • Make the crust: Combine the flour, confectioner’s sugar, and butter with a food processor (or pastry cutter) until it is crumbly. Press the crust gently and evenly into the baking pan.
  • Bake the crust for 15-18 minutes or until just turning golden.
  • While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, corn syrup, flour, vanilla, and salt. When this is fully combined, stir in the chopped pecans.
  • When you remove the crust from the oven, pour the filling evenly on top of the crust.
  • Return the pan to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the filling is set.
  • It is best to allow the pecan bars to cool completely, and chill in the fridge for at least an hour before cutting them.

NUTRITION FACTS

Serving: 1 square | Calories: 263 kcal | Carbohydrates: 31 g | Protein: 3 g | Fat: 15 g | Saturated Fat: 5 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7 g | Trans Fat: 0.2 g | Cholesterol: 36 mg | Sodium: 153 mg | Potassium: 87 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 22 g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bar recipe, Thanksgiving
Recipe Rating




Mimi Clark

Tuesday 13th of November 2018

Julie, I just was looking over your Thanksgiving recipes. I came across your pecan bars. Oh my gosh they look so good so I’m including them in my menu next week! Thanks so much

Julie Wampler

Tuesday 13th of November 2018

Yay! Enjoy

sheryl

Friday 8th of August 2014

No sharing.....after all it's ONLY a 9X13 size pan!

Colleen

Wednesday 4th of December 2013

I made these for Thanksgiving and they were a HUGE hit! My husband even liked them and he is pretty picky about desserts. Will definitely make them again next year or maybe even before!

Julie

Wednesday 4th of December 2013

Yay! Oh this makes me so happy, Colleen :) thanks for coming back to tell me!

mayra

Sunday 24th of November 2013

This is caramel+nut paradise! I used cashew nuts, for they are cheaper and easier to find in Brazil, and salted cashews did especially great! Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe! :)

Julie

Sunday 24th of November 2013

Glad you enjoyed this, Mayra!

Makani

Saturday 23rd of November 2013

Hey Julie,

Do you think I can follow this recipe and make a pie instead? Also, I like to add chocolate chips to my pecan pie, should I lower the sugar amount? Thanks!