Southern Pecan Pie Bars feature the classic gooey, caramel-like pecan pie filling topped with lightly candied pecans in a soft, buttery shortbread crust. These indulgent gooey bars are perfect for the holidays and a slice of ooey gooey homemade heaven.
Southern Pecan Pie Bars
Southern Pecan Pie Bars might be the only thing that are better than a classic pecan pie. Gooey, caramel-y pecan filling with real pecans sits on a soft, buttery shortbread crust for a heavenly indulgent bar.
What makes them truly amazing is that the gooey filling soaks into the shortbread just a little bit, giving it even more of a wonderful, gooey, soft texture. Every bite is indulgent.
Pecan Pie Bars are amazing for the holidays because they're pretty easy to make with just simple pantry ingredients and can even be made ahead! Plus, no silverware necessary because they're in convenient bar form.
What is Pecan Pie Bar Filling Made of?
Pecan pie bar filling is a thing of beauty. I actually use the same filling recipe as I do for my classic pecan pie which includes eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and pecans. It's a pretty simple recipe and takes just a couple minutes to whisk it up!
Should I Use Pecan Halves or Pieces?
I prefer to use finely chopped pieces. More of the pecan is able to get that crispy candied coating this way, and I just like the texture better.
However, either one is fine. Whichever fits your taste and texture preferences.
How Do You Know When Pecan Pie Bars Are Done?
When they're done, the filling will be set. While still in the oven, a little bit of jiggle in the center is okay. They will continue to cook while they cool for a bit, which will fully set the center.
Pecan pie bars are NOT done if they are very jiggly or watery. Keep baking and check frequently.
How to Serve Southern Pecan Pie Bars
Before serving, wait for the full uncut dish to cool completely. This will allow the filling to fully set. Then cut into bars before serving.
Serve them as-is or with a little dollop of whipped cream on top. Or if you're feeling super decadent, these are amazing served just a little warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
How to Make Ahead and Freeze Southern Pecan Pie Bars
Since these are often made for the holidays, making ahead, storing, and freezing are important for both safety and time management.
Pecan Pie Bars are made with eggs, so they need to be stored in the refrigerator. After cooling completely stack on a plate (you can put parchment paper or wax paper between layers to prevent sticking), and store covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Make Ahead Directions
Since these bars can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, you can definitely make them ahead as long as you properly store them. However, for maximum freshness, I recommend making them no more than 24 to 48 hours ahead.
For longer storage, these are also freezer friendly!
Transfer cooled bars to a baking sheet. Freeze for 2 hours, until solid. This will prevent sticking and crumbling. Then transfer to a freezer bag or container, and freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, allow to thaw in the refrigerator overnight or reheat in a 300ºF oven for about 15 minutes until warmed throughout.
More Holiday Recipes You'll Love
- Southern Pecan Pie - a classic pecan pie with a gooey brown sugar filling and crunchy candied pecans in a buttery, flaky crust.
- Pecan Cheesecake Pie - the same pecan pie filling we all know and love upgraded with a layer of creamy cheesecake baked right in.
- Cranberry Bliss Bars - these soft, chewy bars are studded with ruby red cranberries and white chocolate chips and are topped with orange-infused cream cheese frosting.
- Divinity Candy - a sweet vanilla candy with pecans that's a cross between marshmallows and meringue and has a very light but slightly chewy texture.
- Sweet Potato Pecan Cupcakes - these cupcakes just scream festive with a sweet moist sweet potato cake with pecans mixed right in, topped with a creamy caramel frosting.
- Southern Sweet Potato Casserole - this casserole might be served as a side dish, but it's just as good as a dessert featuring fluffy sweet potatoes topped with a crumbly brown sugar and pecan topping.
Southern Pecan Pie Bars Video
Southern Pecan Pie Bars
For the Crust
- 2 cups flour
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
For the Pecan Filling
- 3 eggs beaten
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons butter melted
- 1 cup light brown sugar packed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cups chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the ingredients for the crust.
- Spread crust mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 9"x13" baking dish.
- Bake at 350°F. If using a light-colored of glass pan, bake for 25-30 minutes. If using a dark pan, cook for 15-20 minutes. Edges of the crust should be lightly browned and crust should be mostly cooked through.
- While crust is baking, prepare the filling. Combine eggs, corn syrup, butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk together.
- Stir in pecans.
- Pour mixture over crust and spread evenly.
- Bake at 350° for about 30-40 minutes, until pecan filling is set.
- Storage: After cooling completely, store covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- Make Ahead: For maximum flavor and freshness, I recommend making these no more than 24 to 48 hours ahead of time. Be sure to cover tightly in the refrigerator to prevent staleness.
- Freezer Directions: Transfer cooled bars to a baking sheet. Freeze for 2 hours, until solid. (This will prevent sticking and crumbling). Then transfer to a freezer bag or container, and freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, allow to thaw in the refrigerator overnight or reheat in a 300ºF oven for about 15 minutes until warmed throughout.
UPDATE INFO: This recipe was originally published in November 2015. It was updated with new pictures, tips, and video and republished in November 2023.
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