These Pecan Pie Bars are made with a buttery shortbread crust and delicious pecan pie topping. These bars are easy to make and perfect for the holidays!
When it comes to Thanksgiving, pecan pie is always one dessert that makes it on our holiday table. Over the years I’ve shared some of my favorite pecan pie recipes like my mini pecan pies and my classic homemade pecan pie. So this year I’m sharing a new favorite — these pecan pie bars.
These pecan bars are made with a simple shortbread crust instead of a pie crust, so they’re even easier than a traditional pie. All you have to do is press the crust into the pan, bake it, mix up the pecan pie topping, then pour it on top and bake it again.
The bars are also a great make-ahead option for Thanksgiving. I’m planning to make a batch the day before Thanksgiving this year!
Ingredients in This Recipe
These pecan pie squares have two layers: the shortbread crust and the pecan pie filling that goes on top. Here’s everything you’ll need to make these bars:
- All-purpose flour: Make sure to spoon and level flour when measuring it so your crust doesn’t turn out crumbly and dry.
- Light corn syrup: I always use light corn syrup because it’s what I keep on hand. You can also use dark corn syrup or possibly even maple syrup too (I haven’t tried this yet though).
- Granulated sugar and brown sugar: For extra sweetness and flavor.
- Melted butter: I only use 3 tablespoons of melted butter, it’s the perfect amount to give the bars that rich buttery flavor.
- Eggs, Vanilla Extract, & Salt: The eggs help bind the topping and hold it together and the vanilla and salt enhance the flavors.
- Chopped Pecans: The most important ingredient to pecan pie bars! I use 2 cups of chopped pecans, but feel free to add even more if you like.
How to Make These Pecan Pie Bars
To make these pecan pie bars, you’ll start off with my homemade shortbread crust. It’s the same base that I use for my lemon bars and it works beautifully with this recipe too. Here’s a little breakdown of how to make the crust:
- Whisk together the dry ingredients: You’ll whisk together some all-purpose flour, sugar, and salt.
- Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly: I suggest letting the butter soften first so it’s easier to cut into the dry ingredients. I prefer to use a pastry cutter for this step, but you could easily use a fork or even your hands.
- Line a pan with parchment paper: This will make it much easier to remove the bars from the pan and easier clean up too! You can also use aluminum foil for this step.
- Press the mixture into the pan: Make sure the crust is pressed down firmly and in one even layer.
- Pre-bake the crust: This step is crucial, so don’t skip it! This will ensure that the crust is firm enough to hold up to the gooey, delicious pecan pie filling. I usually bake the crust for 20-25 minutes. It should be set and lightly browned around the edges like the picture above.
- Prep the pecan pie filling: As the crust is baking, you’ll mix up the pecan pie topping. I based the topping off of my homemade pecan pie recipe filling with a few small adjustments to make it even thicker so it would be easier to slice into.
- Bake the bars: Once you’ve whisked up the filling, you’ll pour it directly on top of the warm pre-baked shortbread crust and return it to the oven for another 25-30 minutes or until the topping is set. You’ll know the topping is done when it’s lightly browned and bubbling.
I also suggest letting the bars cool completely before you slice into them so that the filling has time to firm up. Once they’re cooled, you can slice them up or store them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve them!
Storage & Freezing Instructions
Store leftover pecan shortbread bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. These bars will also freeze well for up to 3 months. When ready to enjoy, thaw them overnight in the refrigerator.
Can I Use This Recipe to Make Mini Pies?
If you’d rather make mini pecan pies, I recommend following this recipe.
- When measuring your flour, avoid scooping it from the container. Instead, stir the flour around, spoon it into your measuring cup, and level it off with the back of a knife.
- Before you measure the corn syrup, I suggest greasing your measuring cup or spraying it with nonstick cooking spray. This will make it much easier to get the corn syrup out of the cup.
- You can make this pecan pie bars recipe up to 48 hours before you plan on serving them. Perfect for prepping before the holidays!
More Easy Thanksgiving Desserts to Try!
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Apple Hand Pies
- Pumpkin Bread Pudding
- Apple Cake
- Cranberry Orange Bread
Pecan Pie Bars
For the crust:
- 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
- ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (230 grams) unsalted butter , softened
For the pecan pie topping:
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- ¾ cup (150 grams) light brown sugar , lightly packed
- 3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter , melted and slightly cooled
- 2 large eggs , room temperature and lightly beaten
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups (220 grams) chopped pecans
To make the crust:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 9x13-inch pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, leaving some overhang for easy removal, and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, and salt until well combined. Slice the butter into pieces and add it to the dry ingredients. Using a pastry cutter, or fork, cut the butter into the mixture until it starts to come together and is crumbly.
- Scoop the mixture into the prepared pan and firmly press it down into one even layer in the pan.
- Bake at 350°F (177°C) for 20-25 minutes or until the top is set and the edges are lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside while you prepare the topping.
To make the pecan pie topping:
- Combine the corn syrup, brown sugar, melted butter, beaten eggs, pure vanilla extract, and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk until fully combined. Stir in the chopped pecans.
- Spray the edges of the foil or parchment paper with nonstick cooking spray, then pour the mixture on top of the warm crust and spread it around into one even layer.
- Return to the oven and bake at 350°F (177°C) for 25-30 minutes or until the topping is set and lightly browned.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once cooled, lift the bars out of the pan using the overhang from the foil or parchment paper, slice into bars, serve, and enjoy!