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These Easy Pecan Pie Bars are a perfect make ahead holiday dessert recipe to serve a crowd! The sweet, crunchy filling of a pecan pie tops the buttery shortbread crust for a simple, decadent treat that completes any celebration.

Pecan Pie Bar on a plate with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce

Y’all. If I you make ONE dessert this season, these pecan pie bars should be THE ONE. After all, they include every flavor and texture that you could want in a dessert — from sweet to salty, buttery to crunchy, and everything in between!

I don’t even remember where the recipe originated, since the Pecan Pie Bars have been on my holiday baking menu for as long as I can remember (at least 20 years)! They’re a convenient way to prepare a big batch of treats to share with friends, family, neighbors, and school teachers…and they’re freezer-friendly!

Easy Pecan Pie Bars on a spatula

How to Make Pecan Pie Bars:

One reason these bars are so great? They only require a handful of basic pantry staples.

You’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Butter
  • Powdered sugar
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Corn syrup
  • Brown sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Eggs
  • Pecans

Let’s start with the shortbread crust!

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together the softened butter, powdered sugar, and salt.

Creaming butter and sugar in a bowl

The mixture should be light and fluffy!

Creamed butter sugar salt for pecan pie bars crust

Gradually add the flour into the butter mixture, and then spread the batter into the bottom of a large baking dish.

Shortbread crust in baking dish for pecan pie bars

Bake the crust at 350 degrees F for about 18 minutes, or just until it starts to turn golden brown. Then prepare the filling:

Whisk together melted butter, corn syrup, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and salt.

Pecan pie filling in bowl with whisk

Add two eggs, and then pour the filling evenly over the warm shortbread crust.

Pouring pecan pie bars filling over crust

The final ingredient? Two cups of chopped pecans! I buy a bag of already chopped pecans to save myself a step, but you can obviously chop your own pecans if you prefer.

Chopped pecans in measuring cup

Sprinkle the pecans over the filling,

Sprinkling chopped pecans over pecan pie bars filling

and pop the bars back in the oven at 350 degrees F for 25-30 more minutes, or until the filling is just set.

Pecan pie bars in pan before baking

How can you tell when pecan pie bars are done?

The bars are done and the pecan pie filling is ready to come out of the oven at the first signs of solidity in the center of the bars. The center might jiggle a little bit, but it should not slosh around. How’s that for a scientific explanation?! ????

Pecan pie bars on blue and white plates with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce

Do the bars set as they cool?

Yes! The filling will still look a bit “soft” and slightly jiggly when you pull the bars out of the oven. As the bars sit on a wire rack to cool, the filling will continue to cook and fully set. Allow the bars to cool, undisturbed, on a wire rack for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving.

Spatula removing a pecan pie bar from pan

Cook’s Tips and Recipe Variations:

  • Should you refrigerate pecan pie bars? I like to make these bars at least 1 day in advance, so that I know they will be ready to slice and serve when I need them. They will keep (covered) at room temperature on the counter for a day or two — no refrigeration necessary. If you want them to stay fresh for a few more days, I recommend refrigerating the pecan pie bars.
  • How long do pecan pie bars last? The bars will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Can I freeze the bars? Yes! If you want to prepare the bars far in advance, I suggest freezing them. Wrapped tightly, they will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months.
  • Make Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars by adding chocolate chips to the top of the bars at the same time that you add the pecans! You can also melt chocolate chips and drizzle the melted chocolate over the bars after they come out of the oven.
  • Make sure that the bars are completely cool before slicing.
  • Serve the pecan pie bars on their own as a casual finger-food dessert at your next holiday party.
  • For a fancier, sit-down dessert, try topping the bars with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce or whipped cream. The combination can’t be beat!

Close up of fork in a pecan pie bar

Looking for other delicious holiday desserts? Try these favorites:

Easy Pecan Pie Bars

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 48 minutes
Cooling Time 2 hours
Total: 3 hours 8 minutes
Servings 24 bars
Calories 366.8 kcal
These Easy Pecan Pie Bars are a perfect make ahead holiday dessert to serve a crowd!

Ingredients
  

FOR THE SHORTBREAD CRUST:

  • 4 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 c. confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ t. salt
  • 2 ½ c. all-purpose flour

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 1 stick butter, melted and cooled
  • 2/3 c. light corn syrup
  • 1 c. packed light brown sugar
  • 4 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 c. chopped pecans

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

FOR THE CRUST:

  • In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar and salt until fluffy. Gradually beat in flour. Spread into a greased 13-in x 9-in baking pan. Bake for 16 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • Remove the hot crust from the oven and set aside.

FOR THE FILLING:

  • Whisk melted butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla and salt in a large bowl until the sugar dissolves. Whisk in the eggs.
  • Spread the filling evenly over the warm crust and sprinkle with pecans.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until set. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

Notes

  • How can you tell when pecan pie bars are done? The bars are done and the pecan pie filling is ready to come out of the oven at the first signs of solidity in the center of the bars. The center might jiggle a little bit, but it should not slosh around.
  • The filling will still look a bit "soft" and slightly jiggly when you pull the bars out of the oven. As the bars sit on a wire rack to cool, the filling will continue to cook and fully set. Allow the bars to cool, undisturbed, on a wire rack for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving.
  • Should you refrigerate pecan pie bars? I like to make these bars at least 1 day in advance, so that I know they will be ready to slice and serve when I need them. They will keep (covered) at room temperature on the counter for a day or two -- no refrigeration necessary. If you want them to stay fresh for a few more days, I recommend refrigerating the pecan pie bars.
  • How long do pecan pie bars last? The bars will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Can I freeze the bars? Yes! If you want to prepare the bars far in advance, I suggest freezing them. Wrapped tightly, they will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months.
  • Make Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars by adding chocolate chips to the top of the bars at the same time that you add the pecans! You can also melt chocolate chips and drizzle the melted chocolate over the bars after they come out of the oven.
  • Make sure that the bars are completely cool before slicing.
  • Serve the pecan pie bars on their own as a casual finger-food dessert at your next holiday party.
  • For a fancier, sit-down dessert, try topping the bars with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce or whipped cream. The combination can't be beat!

Nutrition

Serving: 1barCalories: 366.8kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 2.9gFat: 26.7gSaturated Fat: 12.9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2.9gMonounsaturated Fat: 9.2gCholesterol: 67.1mgSodium: 301.9mgPotassium: 100.9mgFiber: 1.4gSugar: 21.1g
Keyword: dessert bars, Pecan Pie Bars
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in December, 2013. It was updated in November, 2018.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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