Pecan Pie Bars
Pecan pie bars! Everything you love about pecan pie, in easy bar form. Caramel-y pecan filling on a buttery shortbread crust. No corn syrup!
Now that Halloween is behind us, I’m so ready to really throw myself into Thanksgiving recipes!
Are ya with me??
I’ve already got so many on this site that I truly love. And so does my family! It just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving if I didn’t make our favorite Thanksgiving stuffing recipe, homemade cranberry sauce, and classic pumpkin pie.
But there are a few more staples lingering on my to-do list, so definitely stay tuned!
For now, I’m kicking off the season with these mouthwatering pecan pie bars.
I made these for a recent socially-distant get together, and they were a huge hit. With their tender, buttery shortbread crust and their gooey brown sugar topping, loaded with crunchy pecans, everyone was positively raving.
Like most of the desserts here on Baking a Moment, they’re made with all-natural, wholesome ingredients, and they’re just sweet enough. You won’t get a toothache eating these pecan bars, and they’re made without a drop of corn syrup.
HOW TO MAKE PECAN PIE BARS
This easy recipe consists of 2 main components:
- Buttery shortbread crust
- Luscious, caramel-y nut filling.
Let’s start with the crust!
If making a whole pecan pie scares you, this is the answer! The crust on these bars couldn’t be simpler. You don’t even have to get out your rolling pin!
Just whisk flour, powdered sugar, and salt together in a big bowl.
Then, add in the cubed butter. The butter should be cold.
Cut the butter into the flour mixture. The best tool for this is a pastry blender (here’s a link to buy one, if you don’t already have: Pastry Blender.), but you could also use 2 knives or just quickly work it in with your hands.
For the most tender, melt-in-your-mouth crust, don’t blend the butter all the way in. You should still see some small bits of butter. Ideally, they should be around the size of peas.
Turn this mixture out into a parchment-lined 9×13 pan.
Then, just press it into an even layer and pop it into the oven to bake.
The pre-bake will ensure that your crust comes out lovely and golden on the bottom.
PECAN PIE FILLING
The filling is even easier to make than the crust.
Whisk eggs, dark brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, melted butter, vanilla, and salt together in a big bowl.
Then fold in pecan pieces. Pecan pieces are less costly than whole pecans, and for pecan pie squares I think they actually work better.
Pour the filling right over the crust, and into the oven they go!
You’ll know your pecan bars are done baking when the filling is set. If you jiggle the pan and it’s just the slightest bit wobbly in the center, you should be good to go.
GLUTEN-FREE AND/OR DAIRY-FREE AND/OR VEGAN PECAN PIE BARS
For gluten-free pecan squares, look for a gluten-free flour blend that subs 1:1 for regular flour.
For dairy-free pecan pie bars, just swap in your favorite non-dairy butter substitute. As long as the package says it’ll sub 1:1 for regular butter, it should work just fine.
For vegan pecan squares, omit the honey and replace it with an equal amount of maple syrup.
HOW TO CUT THESE INTO BARS
It’s important to wait until the bars are completely cooled before cutting them into squares. They will cut much more cleanly this way.
In fact, it’s probably best if you chill them first. For the pics and video you see here, I did not and I wish I had because I think they would have come out a little neater.
If you follow this tutorial for lining pans with parchment, you’ll have little parchment “handles” overhanging each side of the pan. Run a thin, sharp knife along the short sides, then grab that overhang and pull the bars up and out of the pan.
Place them on a cutting board and cut into squares. I love to use this kind of knife: Pastry Scraper.
CAN THEY BE MADE AHEAD?
Absolutely! These bars are perfect for making ahead.
Because they need time to cool, and because they keep so well, this pecan pie bars recipe is perfect for making in advance.
HOW TO STORE PECAN BARS
These can be left out at room temperature for probably 2 days or so in an airtight container.
Or you could extend their shelf life even longer by storing them in the fridge. They’ll probably stay good there for a week or two.
CAN YOU FREEZE THEM?
Pecan pie bars freeze beautifully. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, slip them into a zip-top freezer bag, and they’ll keep for several months.
Thaw them in the fridge or at room temperature.
You can even reheat them for a few seconds in the microwave or in a 170-degree oven until warmed through. So scrumptious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!
A FEW MORE OF MY FAVORITE BAR RECIPES:
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Pecan Pie Bars
For the Shortbread Crust:
- 1 3/4 cups (218.75 g) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (90 g) powdered sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon (3.7 g) kosher salt
- 3/4 cup (170.25 g) unsalted butter, (1 1/2 sticks), cold
For the Pecan Pie Filling:
- 3 (132 g) eggs,, large
- 1/2 cup (110 g) dark brown sugar, (light brown can be substituted)
- 1/3 cup (113 g) honey
- 1/3 cup (107.33 g) pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup (56.75 g) unsalted butter, , melted
- 1 teaspoon (4.93 g) vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon (4.93 g) kosher salt
- 2 cups (218 g) pecan pieces
To Make the Shortbread Crust:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, powdered sugar, and salt.
- Cut in the cold butter until only pea-sized pieces remain.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan, pressing it into an even layer.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until set.
To Make the Pecan Pie Filling.
- Whisk the eggs, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, melted butter, vanilla, and salt together in a large bowl.
- Fold in the pecans, and pour the mixture over the partially baked shortbread crust (it's ok if the crust is still hot).
- Bake the pecan pie bars until the filling is set (20 to 25 minutes).
- Cool completely, run a thin knife around the edges to loosen, then remove to a cutting board to cut into squares.
I think these were about the same amount of work as a pecan pie with a homemade crust, but worth it. My family loved them for the pecan pie taste, more pecans than sweet goo and more servings. I may have added about a half cup extra pecans – it was amazing!
These are HEAVENLY and so much easier to make than traditional pecan pie! Thank you for our new favorite recipe!
Yay! I think they’ve taken the place of pecan pie at my house too! Try adding some mini-chocolate chips- I did that this past Thanksgiving and they were phenomenal!
Hi Allie !
Is there a substitute for the maple syrup ?
This is one ingredient that my family does not like.
Thanks in advance.
Sure you can just replace it with more honey or brown sugar, or you can use dark or light corn syrup. Take your pick! Whatever you like best or happen to have on hand. Good luck!
I made these for my vegan, gluten free daughter. She LOVED them. Actually, our whole family did. This recipe is a ‘keeper.’ Great recipe for Thanksgiving, Christmas and gifts from kitchen.
Made these today to freeze for Thanksgiving. Of course I had to sample, and they are delicious! Thanks for a great recipe!
I’d love to make this, and it looks fantastic, but there are only two of us in my household. Do you know what adjustments I would need to make for a half-batch?
With this pecan bar recipe, may I substitute walnuts, or almonds. Instead of the pecans? If so, any changes to the recipe? Thank you
Yes- no other changes needed!
The only recipe I use for Pecan Pie Bars! No crackers for me. The shortbread crust is an absolute have to. I make my Pina Colada Bars with the same crust. Yummy!
What about the eggs if you want to make a vegan version?
Try a flax egg or chia egg! Good luck!
What’s a good sub for the eggs for s vegan version?
I would try using a flax egg or chia egg. Good luck!
Thank you for this recipe! I’m allergic to corn (and dairy and gluten), and I’ve been searching for a pecan pie filling that doesn’t use corn syrup for years. I’m so excited to try these out, they look scrumptious!!
Hope you enjoy!