Table of Contents
  1. These pecan pie bars are easier than pie!
  2. Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.
  3. Here’s how to make this recipe.
  4. These pro tips will make this recipe a success.
  5. Frequently asked questions about this recipe.
  6. What other recipes
  7. Watch how to make this recipe.
  8. Have I convinced you to make this recipe?
  9. Pecan Pie Bars Recipe

If you want to make something that’s easier than pie, then these pecan pie bars are the answer! They’re just like their namesake but without the work of rolling out a crust. Instead, the layers of filling and pecans are made right in a baking sheet. It’s super easy and delicious!

These pecan pie bars are easier than pie!

Thanksgiving can be overwhelming. Whether you plan for a large or small gathering, the food preparations can be daunting. Instead of thinking of shortcuts, I look for ways to enjoy the same flavors and traditions. These pecan pie bars are a perfect way to not make a pie but instead have the same ingredients and flavor in a slightly quicker and easier process. Instead of making and rolling pie dough, this uses a quick press in the crust. After prebaking to ensure the crust will be dry, the same filling used in pecan pie is poured over the crust and baked until just set. The result is the decadent pecan pie we all love but in easy to make and serve bar form.

White plate with square of pecan pie bars sitting on plate with fork cutting off a bite showing gooey interior texture.

Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.

  • All-purpose flour in the filling binds together the mixture, so it’s cohesive enough to hold together but still has a touch of gooeyness.
  • Vanilla extract adds a bit of additional flavor to the pie. Pecan pie itself doesn’t have a ton of flavor besides the pecans. Since it’s mostly a pie made of sweetness, the vanilla is a welcome flavor addition. If you want to make your own at home, make sure to check out my homemade vanilla extract recipe.
  • Eggs give structure to the filling and help create a custard-like base. Be sure not to overcook the filling to maintain the correct consistency.
  • Brown sugar will give just a hint of molasses-like flavor that tempers the sweetness, so it’s not overpowering.
  • Maple syrup helps flavor and sweetness but also the iconic gooey consistency that’s expected in pecan pie. Many recipes would use corn syrup, but maple syrup acts similarly and is a naturally-occurring sugar. 
  • Melted butter provides flavor and creates the correct consistency. An oil or fat added to this filling will create the desired texture and will be the final step in creating a gooey filling.
Marble surface filled with all ingredients needed to make pecan pie bars including brown sugar, pecans, maple syrup, eggs, butter, and more.

Here’s how to make this recipe.

  1. Prepare the crust. In a bowl, add the flour, sugar, and salt. Mix those three ingredients together, then add in the cubed cold butter. Toss the butter in the flour mixture, making sure to coat the butter with the flour. Pick up pieces of butter and push them together with your thumb and forefinger to smash the butter, creating flat, irregular pieces. Once the dough is shaggy and somewhat sandy in texture, pour it into a shallow 9×13 sheet pan lined with parchment. Spread it out to an even layer and press it in with your hands or a flat-bottomed object. Bake the crust in a 350°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Once baked, remove it from the oven and set aside.
  1. Prepare the filling. In a bowl, add the eggs, and whisk them slightly to break up the yolks. Then add the brown sugar, maple syrup, flour, vanilla extract, melted butter, and salt. Whisk together the mixture until evenly combined.
  1. Add in the nuts. Chop up the pecans into small pieces and add directly to the filling mixture. Mix the chopped nuts into the filling and pour directly into the pre-baked crust. Push the filling out to the corners of the sheet to make sure it’s evenly distributed.
  1. Bake the bars. Place the bars into the 350°F oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. The top should be slightly golden, while the middle will retain some jiggle. The internal temperature can be checked with an instant-read thermometer and should register 185°F in the center. Let cool completely before slicing.

These pro tips will make this recipe a success.

  • When preparing the crust, make sure that the butter is cold. This will make it easier to work together with the flour mixture and ensure that the crust is flaky once baked.
  • The dough should be somewhat drier than a regular pie crust. When making a fist with a handful of the dough, it should stick together but then be crumbled apart easily.
  • Since these bars can be sticky, it’s best to line your baking dish with parchment. This will allow for easy removal once the bars are baked, as well as easy cleanup.
  • Once the bars have been baked, let them cool completely before slicing. If they are cut when still warm, the filling could spill out. Make sure to slice the edges where the parchment paper does not cover so the bars can be removed easily from the pan.
White marble surface with pecan pie bar squares sitting on top with white cup of black coffee and small spoon sitting beside.

Frequently asked questions about this recipe.

Do the pecans have to be chopped? Can they be layered on top in a pattern instead?

The pecans do not necessarily have to be chopped. They can be layered in any desired design, but you would not want to simply fold in whole or halved pecans without ensuring they would be evenly spread over the crust. Since this is a thin bar as compared to a traditional pecan pie, there is not as much space for the pecans to self-adjust during baking.

Can this be baked in a regular pie dish rather than a 9×13 baking dish?

This recipe is not designed to be a pecan pie. While the filling is somewhat the same, the crust in this recipe would not hold up in a pie dish.

Can this recipe be made ahead of time?

Yes, these pecan pie bars can be made 24 hours in advance. Keep in mind that the crust can begin to absorb some of the filling and become soft. However, the bars should be fine if consumed within 24 hours. Alternatively, the bars can be frozen and consumed within three months.

What other recipes

Watch how to make this recipe.

Have I convinced you to make this recipe?

I hope you make this recipe and put some food on your dessert table. Leave a comment and share a star rating so you let others know how much you love this recipe. This helps show others that this is a recipe they too can make, enjoy, and love!

Slices of pecan pie bar sitting on parchment surface on marble countertop with white plate in background.

Pecan Pie Bars

5 from 10 votes
If you want to make something that’s easier than pie, then these pecan pie bars are the answer! They’re just like their namesake but without the work of rolling out a crust. Instead, the layers of filling and pecans are made right in a baking sheet. It’s super easy and delicious!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Servings 12 servings

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 7 tbsp unsalted butter cut into ½-inch size pieces

For the filling

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 ½ cups maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp melted unsalted butter
  • 2 ½ cups chopped pecans

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • To prepare the crust, in a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Mix to combine. Add the pieces of butter. Coat the pieces with flour and work the butter into the flour. Smash pieces of butter between your thumb and forefingers until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal and holds together when squeezed into a fist.
    1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, 3 tbsp sugar, ¼ tsp salt, 7 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Spray a 9×13 or quarter sheet pan with nonstick baking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. Spread the crust mixture evenly in the prepared pan and press down, making a crust. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, 15-20 minutes.
  • While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. In a bowl, whisk the eggs to break up. Add the brown sugar, maple syrup, flour, melted butter, salt, and vanilla. Whisk to combine. Then fold in the chopped pecans.
    4 large eggs, 1 cup light brown sugar, 1 ½ cups maple syrup, 1 tbsp all-purpose flour, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 3 tbsp melted unsalted butter, 2 ½ cups chopped pecans, ½ tsp salt
  • When the crust is finished, remove it from the oven. Pour the prepared filling over the warm crust. Return to the oven and bake until the filling is set around the edges and jiggles slightly in the middle, 20-25 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and cool for 2 hours before slicing.

Notes

  • When preparing the crust, make sure that the butter is cold. This will make it easier to work together with the flour mixture and ensure that the crust is flaky once baked.
  • The dough should be somewhat drier than a regular pie crust. When making a fist with a handful of the dough, it should stick together but then be crumbled apart easily.
  • Since these bars can be sticky, it’s best to line your baking dish with parchment. This will allow for easy removal once the bars are baked, as well as easy cleanup.
  • Once the bars have been baked, let them cool completely before slicing. If they are cut when still warm, the filling could spill out. Make sure to slice the edges where the parchment paper does not cover so the bars can be removed easily from the pan.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 536kcal
Course Bars
Cuisine American
Difficulty Intermediate
Method Baking

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Kaleb

I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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13 Comments

  1. I made these pecan pie bars and they are delicious. However I had to chisel them out of the pan, even though I sprayed the pan well. Any ideas as I’m sure I will try them again. Thanks for your help.

    1. You might try using the non-stick spray that has flour in it. I think PAM makes one and there are a couple other brands, You might want to google it.

    2. I used Kaleb’s suggestion of lining the pan with parchment paper and it helped a lot. After cutting the edges loose on the ends I ran a long metal spatula under the parchment to release everything and it worked well

    1. 5 stars
      They freeze beautifully so go ahead and make the full recipe and enjoy the rest later as a special treat. Happy Thanksgiving.

  2. 5 stars
    Made this evening for Thanksgiving . Supper easy and delsh! Definitely use parchment paper as the filling is extremely sticky . Make sure to use right size psn . While this was cooking I also made Wyse’s pie crust for my pumpkin pie . ( my favorite pie dough recipe )

  3. I want to make this recipe. Do you use light or dark brown sugar? Also real maple syrup or pancake syrup? I love pecan pie and easier recipes. Your recipe looks yummy! Thank you.

  4. 5 stars
    I am the “dessert girl” for all of our family get togethers. I made these for Thanksgiving this year and they turned our great! Everybody loved them! I think using maple syrup instead of corn syrup really stepped up the flavor.
    Thanks, Kaleb!

  5. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious…these are replacing pecan pie for me going forward. So easy to cut and serve too! It’s always a challenge to cut a smaller pie without things falling apart.

  6. 5 stars
    I followed the recipe to a tee on this one. It turned out perfectly! I struggled a little with the crust but it turned out nicely. These were delicious!!!! Five stars from my husband for sure!