Pecan pie bars are the best way to enjoy all the flavors of classic pecan pie but with half the effort. It has a delicious buttery shortbread crust topped and a sweet crunchy pecan filling that is baked and cut into bite-sized squares or bars. If you are a pecan pie lover, you will totally love this easy handheld version. They are the perfect treat to serve at holiday parties and work potlucks, or wrapped up as a holiday gift.
Why You'll Love Pecan Pie Bars
- Bite-sized pecan pie. Pecan pie is a timeless and classic fall dessert, and one of the best pies out there—and everything is made so much better when it becomes bite-sized and handheld, especially pecan pie. These pecan pie bars are easy to share, making them the perfect dessert to feed friends and family at social gatherings or to package up and gift during the holidays..
- A delicious shortbread crust. In most pies, we overlook the importance of the crust. But not today. The bottom layer of these pecan pie bars is basically like a large shortbread cookie loaded with sweetness of buttery flavor.
- The perfect pecan pie filling. Making pecan pie filling is actually quite simple. You just combine the ingredients together, stir in the chopped pecans and pour in. Once it's baked, all the pecans float to the top creating this perfect crunchy pecan layer on top and sweet custard layer in the middle. It's pecan pie heaven.
Ingredients and Substitutions
To make these delicious pecan pie bars, you will need the following ingredients (full quantities in recipe card below):
- shortbread crust - made with all-purpose flour, butter, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla extract. The confectioners' sugar give it a very smooth texture. You can also substitute it with granulated sugar for a little more coarser texture.
- brown sugar
- all-purpose flour
- maple syrup - you can substitute this with light corn syrup (typically what is used in pecan pie), or liquid honey.
- vanilla extract
How to Make the Best Pecan Pie Bars
- Make the shortbread dough. Cream the butter and sugar together using a stand mixer or hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla and beat on medium until incorporated. Gradually add the flour and beat on low speed until combined. Turn the mixer to high speed and beat for 1-2 minutes until dough becomes more breadcrumb like and less dry.
- Bake the crust. Grease a 9-inch square pan with cooking oil spray and line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides to easily lift out the finished bars. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the lined pan and pack it in to form a single thin layer. Bake in a 350F preheated oven for 18-20 minutes until the edges are just starting to lightly brown. Remove the pan from the oven and add the pecan topping while the crust is still hot.
- Make the pecan pie filling. While the crust is baking, prepare the pecan pie topping. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together brown sugar, flour, and salt. Then add maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla and whisk until smooth and combined. Stir in the pecans.
- Bake. Pour the topping over the shortbread crust immediately once the crust is removed from the oven and is still hot. Return the baking pan back into the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes until the filling has set. You will know when it's set if the edges are set and the centre is slightly jiggly but not watery. The centre might also peak out but it will settle as it cools down.
- Cool and serve. Allow the pecan pie bars to cool to room temperature, then cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (or overnight) before slicing. Once cooled, easily lift it out of the pan using the parchment paper overhang. Then, slice and serve.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- How to serve: Pecan pie bars taste great cool or at room temperature. So, you can safely leave them out on the table for people to take at their leisure. To bring things up a notch, throw the pecan pie bars in the microwave for 10-20 seconds and eat with cold vanilla ice cream. It's so good!
- How to store: Store pecan pie bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- How to freeze: You can freeze pecan pie bars so that they last longer. Keep them in a sealed, airtight container or freezer bag or wrapped tightly in plastic cling wrap for up to 3 months in the freezer.
More Pecan Dessert Recipes
- Caramel Pecan Pie Cheesecake Bars
- Candied Pecans
- Old-Fashioned Pecan Pie
- Pecan Snowball Cookies
- Slice and Bake Pecan Shortbread Cookies
- Chopped Pecan Pie
Did you make this recipe? I would greatly appreciate a comment and rating below, letting me know what you thought of the recipe. You can also snap a picture and tag me on Instagram @aheadofthyme or share it on the Pinterest pin so that I can follow along.