These easy pecan pie bars are out of this world! They are perfectly sweet and filled with a generous amount of pecans. It takes less time to bake than a classic pecan pie, so that’s a win! Plus, I’m sharing tips and tricks that will prevent the bottom from getting soggy. You’ll love these!
If you’re a pecan pie lover, will absolutely love these pecan pie bars! They are very easy to make, and are SO delicious. I love that these are not too sweet and that the bottom crust doesn’t get soggy.
Instead of a regular pie crust, I use a shortbread crust to give the bottom better structure. I mean, nobody wants their pecan pie bars to fall apart!
Plus, they only need to bake for 30 to 35 minutes, which is way less time than baking a regular pecan pie. Easy, quick, and yummy! You can totally make them ahead of time too.
Let me show you how to make them!
I love everything about the crust! It’s perfect for these pecan pie bars.
It’s not regular pie crust, and it’s intentional. Regular pie crust can get very soft or even flaky, so the pecan pie bars would just fall apart really easily if you use regular pie crust. That’s why, for these bars, I use a shortbread crust, which provides much better structure.
The shortbread crust is made of only a few ingredients:
- VERY cold unsalted butter: Freeze the butter for at least 30 minutes before using.
- Flour: All-purpose flour works here.
- Granulated sugar: For sweetness.
- Salt: To bring out flavors.
The ingredient quantities can be found in the recipe card below, as always.
The key here is to keep the butter REALLY COLD as you combine it with the flour. I use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour, but you can also use a food processor. Just pulse it a few times (each pulse should only be 1-2 seconds), until you get pea-size crumbles.
The crust will look very crumbly and dry. You don’t need to add any liquid. After you bake it, it will actually be perfectly moist and hold its shape well.
The Pecan Filling
Now, let’s talk about that delicious pecan pie filling. It is seriously amazing! Perfectly sweet and filled with lots of pecans.
If baked for the right amount of time (about 30-35 minutes), it sets very well after baking, so it won’t be sloppy at all. Just be sure to let it cool down completely before cutting into it.
Here’s what goes into the pecan filling:
- Chopped pecans: Roughly chopped is fine.
- Corn syrup: The corn syrup will prevent the sugar from crystallizing and from getting grainy.
- Dark brown sugar: Dark brown sugar has a more molasses-y flavor, which is great for pecan pie bars.
- Vanilla extract: For flavor.
- Unsalted butter: The fat component, and also for flavor. Melted and cooled.
- Salt: To bring out the flavors.
- Ground cinnamon: For flavor.
- Eggs: For structure.
So Easy to Make
Making pecan pie bars is really easy! Plus, you can make it the day before or so and keep it refrigerated.
To give you an idea, here are the steps to make pecan pie bars:
- Make the shortbread crust: Use a pastry blender or a food processor. Press the mixture evenly over a lined 9×13 inch baking pan.
- Pre-bake the crust: Pre-baking the crust will prevent it from getting soggy after you add the filling. Pre-bake it for 15 minutes.
- Make the pecan filling: Just combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl. No need to pre-cook the filling.
- Spread the filling to the pre-baked crust: Evenly spread the filling over the pre-baked crust. The recipe below is made for a 9×13 inch baking pan. Don’t use a smaller one, or the bars could take longer to bake.
- Bake! For 30 to 35 minutes at 350 degrees F. The bars will be done when the center is set, and it’s okay if the center is a little bit jiggly. The edges should be completely set though.
Pre-baking the crust before adding the filling is a key step. Don’t skip it. This will prevent the bottom from getting soggy.
How to Tell When The Pecan Bars Are Done
The filling, when baked in a 9×13 baking pan, should be done in about 30-35 minutes in a 350 degrees F oven.
Here are ways to tell when the pecan pie bars are done:
- The center is set, and it’s okay if it jiggles just a little bit. It should not be runny.
- The edges should be completely set and should not jiggle.
- The internal temperature should be 200 degrees F.
- Tip: Try not to open and close the oven too much. Opening the oven can decrease the temperature pretty quickly.
You will absolutely love these easy pecan pie bars! The bottom holds very well, and the pecan pie filling is delicious.
These are best when served cold, which means it’s best to refrigerate them overnight before serving. This makes these bars a wonderful make-ahead recipe!
You can store them in the fridge for 3-5 days in an airtight container.
More delicious holiday desserts:
Tips for Success
- The shortbread crust mix will look dry and crumbly. Don’t worry! Once you bake it, the moisture of the butter will melt into the flour and make an amazing shortbread crust.
- Be sure to pre-bake the crust for about 15 minutes. This will prevent the bottom from getting soggy once you add the filling.
- Let them cool completely before cutting into them, or they will fall apart. I like to refrigerate it for a few hours or overnight before cutting into squares. Before refrigerating, let it cool on the countertop though. You probably don’t want to put something really hot in the fridge.
Pecan Pie Bars
- 1 cup (2 sticks) VERY cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes - (freeze it for 30 mins or more)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 cups roughly chopped pecans
Make the shortbread crust
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 ceramic or glass baking pan with parchment paper, leaving some overhang on the sides.
- In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, and salt until well combined. Add the cold cubed butter and cut in the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry blender, until the flour mixture is incorporated and you get pea-size crumbles or smaller. It will look very dry and crumbly. Note: You can also use your food processor instead. Just pulse a few times until you get pea-size crumbles or smaller.
- Press down the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Make sure it's compact and evenly distributed.
- Bake the crust for 15 minutes. Then, remove from the oven and let it cool slightly for about 3 minutes. If needed, use a spoon to press down the crust slightly and carefully, as some parts may have expanded with the heat.
Make the pecan filling
- While the crust is baking, make the pecan filling. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla extract, salt, and ground cinnamon until evenly combined. Fold in the chopped pecans. Spread the pecan filling mixture over the pre-baked crust evenly.
- Return to the oven and bake for another 30-35 minutes or until set. The pecan pie bars will be done when the center is set. It’s okay if it jiggles a little bit in the center, but the edges should be set.
- Let them cool completely, at least 2 hours, or refrigerate to help it set faster. Do not cut into them until they are completely cooled or they will fall apart. Once cooled, cut into squares. These are best when they are cold, so refrigerate them overnight if you'd like to. Enjoy!
- Special equipment: 9×13 inch baking pan, parchment paper, pastry blender or food processor.
- Pre-baking the crust before adding the filling will prevent the bottom from getting soggy.
- Do not cut into the pecan pie bars until they are completely cooled down, or they could fall apart.
- These pecan pie bars are best served cold. I’d recommend them 1 day ahead of time and refrigerating them overnight.
- Storing: Store in the fridge in airtight containers for 3-5 days.