These pecan pie bars, a tasty and simple variation of a classic pecan pie, have a rich, sweet filling with pecans and a buttery shortbread crust. They have the ideal balance of sweet and salty flavors.
If you love a pecan pie, you will love this variation. It’s great for a crowd because you can make such a large amount of them compared to a pie. It’s also great for picnics or potlucks where you want to bring something that travels well but does not lack flavor.
Table of Contents
Why we love pecan pie bars
- The shortbread crust is soft and simple.
- A fun alternative to the classic pecan pie, with no pie crust to chill and roll.
- can be made into a big batch and cut anywhere from 16 to 28 pieces, which are great for holiday events and feeding a crowd.
- They are easy to transport and there is no mess to clean up because they can be cut into squares and not remain in a pie plate.
Ingredients for pecan bars
- All-purpose flour make sure to measure the flour correctly, I like to fluff up the flour and then scoop it into a measuring cup and level it out.
- Powdered Sugar You can use granulated sugar or powdered sugar; it gives the crust a lightly sweet flavor.
- Salt to enhance the flavor of the crust
- Unsalted butter at room temperature, and cut the softened butter into chunks. If you’re using salted butter, omit the additional salt in the crust.
- Light brown sugar has molasses which adds rich color and caramel flavor
- maple syrup I like to use this in place of corn syrup
- Unsalted butter butter adds richness and caramel and buttery flavor.
- Heavy Whipping Cream Make sure to use heavy cream or a cream with a high amount of fat this helps the filling thicken.
- Salt I use a little bit of salt to balance out the sweetness
- Vanilla extract We recommend pure vanilla for the best flavor.
How to make Pecan Pie Bars
- Brown the butter set aside and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Crust ingredients and press the mixture evenly into a prepared 9×13 pan.
- Bake the crust for 15 minutes in the oven.
- Pecan topping Combine the butter, brown sugar, honey, and heavy cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk the mixture until it comes to a boil.
- Temper the eggs Once the mixture has come to a boil, carefully remove 12 to 1 cup into a glass measuring cup. Slowly add the eggs. You want to make sure to keep moving the eggs in the hot mixture so that the eggs don’t scramble. Once that has been combined, add it back to the rest of the mixture in the pot.
- Pecan chop up the pecans and add them to the heated mixture. I like to leave a few whole pecans so they are not all chopped up, but that is optional.
- Spread topping Over the pre-baked crust, the topping may seem runnier or syrupier, but it will thicken as it cooks in the oven.
- Bake At 350°F, place the bars in the oven for 30–35 minutes. When you insert a toothpick, it should come out mostly clean.
- Use a scale to measure your flour, as it helps to have more accurate results because a little bit too much flour can make the crust too dry. If you don’t have a scale, you can fluff the flour with a spoon and then spoon it into your measuring cup and level it off with a knife.
- Prepare the baking pan This is an important step so that the pie bars come out easily and without a lot of mess. I like to line a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray (the sides and the bottom) or line it with parchment paper.
- Cutting the pecan bars There are a few tips when it comes to cutting the cars. The first one is to allow all of them to completely cool before removing or cutting. The second tip is to lift out the bars from the pan. You may need to run a sharp knife around the edges to loosen the bars. I have found that lifting the bars out all at once and cutting on a cutting board with a straight knife makes it a lot easier to cut into squares.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Freeze them?
Yes, you can freeze the pecan pie bars in the pan or freeze them individually. Wrap the entire pan in plastic wrap and foil, or you can freeze them in a freezer-safe bag. They are good in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Why are my bars runny?
If your bars seem runny, you need to bake them longer for the filling to set; they should not jiggle when you shake the pan. If the top is already a darker color, I would cover the pan with foil so that it doesn’t continue to get darker.
Can I double this recipe?
Yes, this recipe can be doubled or even tripled; you just need to separate the ingredients into separate pans and bake as directed.
How do I Store leftovers?
I recommend storing the bars in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
The Best Pecan Pie Bars
- 1 9×13 pan
- 2-1/2 cup flour 300 grams
- ⅔ cup powdered sugar 66 grams
- 1 tsp pure vanilla
- 1 cup unsalted butter 230 grams
- ½ cup unsalted butter 115 grams
- ½ cup brown sugar light or dark
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- 2 large eggs
- 3 cups pecans coarsely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9×13 inch pan or line with parchment paper leaving an overhang on the sides to lift the finished bars out. Set aside.
- Slice the butter up into pieces and place in a light-colored skillet. Melt the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally. After 5-8 minutes, the butter will begin browning–Once browned, remove from heat immediately and allow to cool for 5 minutes
- In a large bowl, stir the brown butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and flour together in a medium bowl. Stir in the flour until evenly combined. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes
- Combine the butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, and heavy cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk to combine the ingredients and dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 3 minutes. As it is boiling, carefully spoon 1/2 cup of the mixture into a glass measuring cup. Slowly drizzle it into the beaten eggs.
- Stir frequently to keep it moving so the eggs do not scramble. Once the 1/2 cup mixture is added to the beaten eggs, slowly drizzle and whisk this back into the pot. The trick is to always be stirring/whisking to avoid scrambling the eggs. Remove from heat, stir in the pecans, and pour evenly over the crust.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out *mostly* clean. Remove from the oven, set on a wire rack, and allow to cool completely before cutting into squares. Cover and store leftover bars at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.