These pecan pie bars are a brown sugar shortbread crust topped with plenty of gooey pecan filling. An alternative to the traditional pecan pie that’s perfect for feeding a crowd!

When I’m entertaining during the holidays, I serve a variety of seasonal dessert recipes including cake truffles, thumbprint cookies, pizzelle, pumpkin dump cake, apple cobbler, and these decadent pecan pie bars.

A serving platter full of pecan pie bars.

Most of the time I am not a huge pie fan, I’m more of a cake lover. That being said, pecan pie is my weakness, I can never turn it down. These pecan pie bars have all the same great flavors of pecan pie in a hand held form. It’s a buttery crust topped with the BEST pecan caramel, and these pecan bars also happen to be super easy to make. If you’re a pecan pie lover, you must add these bars to your holiday menu!

Pecan Pie Bars Ingredients

To make this recipe, you will need unsalted butter, light brown sugar, vanilla extract, all purpose flour, water, light corn syrup, heavy cream and pecans.

How Do You Make Pecan Pie Bars?

Start by lining a baking pan with parchment paper, then coat it with cooking spray. Beat together half of the butter with some brown sugar, then add vanilla extract, water and flour to make the dough for the crust. Place the dough into the pan, and press it into the pan in an even layer. Bake the crust until it is golden brown. Melt the rest of the butter in a pan with the rest of the brown sugar and the corn syrup. Bring the sugar mixture to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat. Whisk in the heavy cream and vanilla. Add the pecans and stir to coat them in the sugar mixture. Pour the pecan mixture over the pie crust and spread it into an even layer. Bake until the topping has set. Let the bars cool completely, then cut into squares and serve.

A shortbread crust in a baking pan.

Tips For The Perfect Dessert

  • I chilled my bars to make them easier to slice. They’re great straight from the fridge or you can bring them to room temperature after you cut them.
  • You can buy a bag of pre-chopped pecans to make prep time go a little faster.
  • The crust will look like coarse crumbs when you mix it together. This is normal, and the cookie crust will take shape as more of a dough once you start pressing it into the pan.
  • These bars stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or you can freeze them for 2 months.

Quick Tip

It takes a little time to work the crust into the pan. I found that using an offset spatula coated with cooking spray really helped with the process.

Pecan pie filling in a pan.

Flavor Variations

I love this recipe exactly as it’s written, but you can add other ingredients to the mix to customize the bars to your tastes.

  • Chocolate: Stir 1/2 cup of chocolate chips into the pecan topping.
  • Spice: Add 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice when you stir the pecans into the brown sugar mixture.
  • Nuts: Try using other types of nuts such as walnuts or almonds for a different flavor.
Pecans and brown sugar poured over a cookie crust.

Recipe FAQs

What is the filling made of in pecan pie?

Pecan pie filling is made with butter, pecans, brown sugar, corn syrup and vanilla extract. It also may contain other ingredients such as heavy cream, eggs, bourbon or spices.

How do you make pecan pie crust not soggy?

Pre-baking the crust is the key to making sure you don’t end up with soggy pecan pie bars. Once the crust is golden brown, it is firm and will not absorb the liquid from the filling.


A stack of pecan pie bars on a plate.

Once you try these delicious treats, you’ll find yourself making them every year during the holidays. I love that you can cut them as big or as small as you want, which means you can make bite sized squares and feed a large group. Try serving the bars with a scoop of ice cream on top, you’ll be glad you did!

More Holiday Desserts

Pecan Pie Bars Video

Love This Recipe?

Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments section further down the page.

5 from 15 votes

Pecan Pie Bars

AuthorSara Welch
A serving platter full of pecan pie bars.
These pecan pie bars are a brown sugar shortbread crust topped with plenty of gooey pecan filling. An alternative to the traditional pecan pie that's perfect for feeding a crowd!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Serves 24


  • 2 cups unsalted butter softened, divided use
  • 2 cups light brown sugar packed, divided use
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract divided use
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound raw pecans chopped
  • cooking spray


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9"x13" pan with parchment paper. Coat the pan with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl using a mixer, beat together 1 cup of the butter and 1/2 cup of the brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  • Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of water, then mix until combined. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour and mix until coarse crumbs form.
  • Scoop the dough into the pan. Use your fingertips to press the dough evenly into the pan. It helps to use an offset spatula coated with cooking spray to get an even layer.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, until crust is lightly browned around the edges.
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar and the corn syrup. Stir until well blended. 
  • Bring to a boil and stir frequently for 3 minutes. The mixture will get light and airy. Remove the pan from the heat and add the heavy cream and the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Stir until combined.
  • Add the pecans and stir until they are completely coated.
  • Pour the pecan mixture over the crust, and spread into an even layer.
  • Return the pan to the oven and bake for 25 minutes, until the pecan topping is set (it will move slowly when you wiggle the pan).
  • Allow the bars to cool completely before cutting into squares.


  1. You can buy a bag of pre-chopped pecans to make prep time go a little faster.
  2. The crust will look like coarse crumbs when you mix it together. This is normal, and the crust will take shape as more of a dough once you start pressing it into the pan.


Calories: 404kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 13mg | Potassium: 119mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 520IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 1mg

Hello! I’m Sara!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    These were amazing! I didn’t have a 9 x 13 pan, so I used a 9 x 9 square pan. It made a thicker bar so required extra baking time, but they turned out perfectly! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  2. I apologize if I missed this question in the comments: can these be made ahead and frozen? I’ve become a sloth and at 78 having multiple medical catastrophic cannot accomplish much in any given day. I appreciate the time it takes for you to answer. Thank you, Sara!

  3. Has anyone had difficulties with the filling? I have baked for 40 minutes and it’s still too runny. I don’t want to waste all these ingredients. The butter alone is $6!!

    1. Can you provide more details as to what you are experiencing? The filling will not set up 100% straight from the oven as it’s hot. It should be mostly set, not liquid but not completely firm, and will continue to firm up as it cools.

  4. 5 stars
    Wow!! I was in the mood to bake something pecan pie-ish and decided to make these for a party. I was blown away at how delicious and balanced they were, way better than any pecan pie I have ever had. The crust was delicious and the caramel gooey filling was do decadent. These easily serve 24 because of how rich they are.
    Thank you for such a great recipe!!

  5. I used to make similar for a cookie exchange but lost the recipe. Thanks for this recipe; I’m going to make it for 2021 Christmas. A tip for serving: cut each square bar in half diagonally to make triangles, then drizzle with chocolate. (Melted chocolate chips and a little butter.) The presentation this way is very festive and adds variety to the goodies platter.

    1. In the video you said chill the dough but recipe. It said bake 15 min be more precise in instructions do you chill or bake it for 15 mins before adding pecan filling

      1. Thanks for catching that error! The video is not correct, there is no chilling. Follow the recipe as written. I will update the video and post a new one shortly.

  6. Hi there. The recipe says to use a 9×13 pan, but the helpful hints section says a 9×13 pan is for 1/2 the recipe.