Pecan Pie Bars taste just like a slice of rich, gooey pecan pie without the fuss of pie crust! A delicious maple pecan pie filling is baked atop a crisp cinnamon shortbread crust. Top with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt and a dollop of freshly whipped cream for a crowd-pleasing Thanksgiving dessert.
Why you’ll love these delicious Pecan Pie Bars:
- Handheld Pecan Pie – These bars taste just like traditional pecan pie, but in bar form! A crunchy pecan layer is baked over a cinnamon shortbread layer. If you’re a fan of pecan pie, you’ll flip for these!
- Easy Recipe – Pecan Pie lovers rejoice – this dessert recipe is easier than a pecan pie, because there’s no pie crust! No need to get out a pastry cutter or fuss with pie dough. Perfect for anyone baking for Thanksgiving dinner or Friendsgiving for the first time.
- Thanksgiving Favorite – All the flavor of classic pecan pie is captured in these pecan bars, but these are even better thanks to the flavor from real maple syrup.
As always, the full recipe with measurements & directions can be found at the bottom of this post.
- Pecans – No need to roast your pecans first. I get asked this question frequently! Most nuts you buy at the grocery store are already roasted.
- Butter – I always use salted buter for the best flavor, but feel free to use unsalted butter if you prefer.
- All-purpose flour – Spoon your flour into the measuring cup, then level it with a flat utensil for best results, or use a scale. Scooping the measuring cup directly into your flour will lead to too much flour, and a potentially dry bake.
- Maple Syrup – Use real maple syrup. See FAQs below for more info. Since we’re using simple ingredients, we want to make sure they’re good quality for the best flavor!
- Vanilla extract – Use real vanilla for best results.
- Eggs – Use large eggs, at room temperature.
- Brown Sugar – Use light or dark brown sugar. I like the added depth of flavor from dark brown sugar.
- Gluten-free – I have not tested a gluten-free version of this recipe.
- Dairy-free – Use your favorite trusted dairy-free butter & heavy cream to make this recipe dairy-free.
How to Make this Pecan Pie Bar Recipe Step-by-Step:
Step 1: Make & Bake the Crust. Stir together melted butter, sugar, flour cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl to make the shortbread crust. Bake for 20 minutes. The crust will be slightly golden brown. This ensures the crust will not get soggy under the wet pecan pie filling.
Step 2: Make the Pecan Pie Filling. Cook together butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, and heavy cream. Slowly pour some of this mixture into your beaten eggs, to gently bring them to a warmer temp without scrambling them. Then, slowly whisk that mixture back into the pot with the rest of the maple filling. Stir in your pecans, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon.
Step 3: Bake the Bars. Pour the pecan mixture over the par-baked crust and bake for 30-35 minutes. The hardest part of this recipe is waiting for the bars to bake & cool!
Step 4: Make Whipped Cream. Beat together cold heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add a pinch of nutmeg if desired – it’s delicious in whipped cream.
Serving + Storing these easy Pecan Pie Bars:
Slice the cooled pecan squares and top with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt and a dollop of whipped cream. Enjoy! Store leftover bars and whipped cream (or ice cream!) each in separate airtight containers in the fridge. Leftover bars keep for 3-4 days, and whipped cream is best within 1-2 days, although I don’t recommend making it ahead.
Expert Success Tips:
- Oven Thermometer – An oven thermometer will tell you if your oven is actually running at the temperature you set it to. Your oven may not be accurate. Accurate oven temperature is crucial for most bakes, so I leave an oven thermometer in at all times to keep an eye on my oven’s calibration.
- Kitchen Scale – A food scale is the best way to make sure your flour is at the proper weight, since amounts will vary SO widely based on how you measure it, as well as the measuring cup you use, as they are not standardized.
- Whipped Cream – Make your whipped cream just before you plan to serve it – it’s not something that’s as good when made ahead.
- Thick Whipped Cream – If you’ve ever over beaten whipped cream, try making it in your food processor. It’s foolproof! Pulse 6-10 times on high, then run on medium until it’s thick, stopping to scrape the insides of the machine as needed.
Yes, you can halve this recipe and bake in an 8×8 or 9×9 pan. Even a round 9-inch pan would work.
Yes, corn syrup or brown rice syrup will both work in a 1:1 swap in place of the maple syrup if needed.
Pure maple syrup will have just one ingredient listed on the label – maple syrup, because it is pure maple syrup. It usually comes in a glass bottle and is thinner in consistency than artificial maple syrup, which is made with corn syrup and likely has just a tiny bit of maple flavoring in it. I recommend using real maple syrup always, as the flavor is much better.
- Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars – Feel free to stir 3/4 cup of semisweet chocolate chips in with the pecans to add a chocolate twist to this recipe.
- 9×9 Pan – A ceramic or metal 9×13 pan is ideal for this recipe.
More Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes to Love:
- Dutch Caramel Apple Pie
- Ultimate Pumpkin Cake
- Salted Caramel Apple Pie Cheesecake
- Maple Pie with Brûléed Topping
- Cranberry Apple Slab Pie
Did you make this recipe? Snap a photo and leave a comment!
Salted Maple Pecan Pie Bars
For the Crust:
- 1 cup salted butter, melted 226 grams
- 2 cups + 3 tbsp all-purpose flour, spooned & leveled 284 grams
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed 110 grams
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
For the Pecan Filling:
- 1/2 cup salted butter 113 grams
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 3 tbsp heavy cream, at room temperature
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3 and 1/4 cups pecan halves
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
Whipped Cream (Optional)
- 1/2 cup cold heavy cream
- 3 tbsp powdered sugar or more to taste
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- flaky sea salt, for topping
- ice cream, optional for serving
- Prep: Preheat oven to 350℉. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray & line with parchment paper.
- Make the Crust: Melt the butter in a medium bowl, and stir in the remaining crust ingredients until you have coarse crumbs. Press this into the bottom of your prepared pan in an even layer. Prick the crust all over with a fork (this prevents it puffing up). Press dough into pan and bake for 18-20 minutes. Set aside.
- Make the Pecan Pie Filling: Beat the two eggs in a medium bowl and set aside. In a medium pot, combine the butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, and heavy cream. Heat over medium, and stir to combine. Once butter is melted, bring the mixture to a boil, then let it boil, stirring lazily, for 3 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Spoon ⅓ cup of butter/sugar mixture into a glass measuring cup. Slowly drizzle this into the bowl with the eggs, whisking vigorously the whole time. This tempers the eggs – go slowly so you don’t scramble them. Once this is completed, slowly pour this mixture in the egg bowl back into the pot, whisking vigorously as you go. Stir in the pecans, salt, vanilla, and cinnamon. Pour this mixture over the baked crust.
- Bake: Bake for 28 to 34 minutes. The center will have a slight jiggle when you move the pan and a toothpick will come out mostly clean. Allow to cool completely before slicing and serving.
- Make Whipped Cream: In a medium to large bowl (use larger than you think you need, to contain splatters) beat all whipped cream ingredients together on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Don't over mix. Note: I do not recommend making whipped cream ahead – it's best made just before you'll be serving it.
- Serve & Store: Slice cooled bars and serve with whipped cream. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Let bars come back to room temperature for 20-40 minutes before serving, unless you prefer them cold. Store leftover whipped cream in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days.