Pecan Bars

Rich, sweet, and incredibly addicting pecan bars taste just like a pecan pie but in a portable bar form. Pecan pie has to be one of my favorite desserts, so when I saw this recipe in Baking Illustrated I about fell out of my chair! Nothing screams Thanksgiving and Christmas than a homemade pecan pie, well in this case homemade pecan pie bars! Toasted pecans, bourbon, and brown sugar combine to create a quick, easy and delicious dessert.  The bourbon accents the pecan bars flavor, so feel free to add more if you want a more boozy taste. If you do not want to use bourbon in the filling, substitute it with 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. Thanksgiving is almost upon us and I thought that these pecan bars are the perfect last minute dessert idea. So what are you waiting for, your guests are waiting! :)

Pecan Bars

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For the Crust:

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped coarse
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces

For the Pecan Filling:

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (½ stick), melted
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon or dark rum
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups toasted pecans, chopped coarse


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the pecans (2 1/4 cups) onto a baking sheet and place in preheated oven 6-8 minutes until fragrant. Shake the baking sheet halfway through baking so the nuts will toast evenly. Remove nuts from oven and set aside to cool completely.
  2. For the crust: Spray 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Put a long piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan pushing it into corners and letting the parchment extend up the two short sides of the pan and overhang slightly on both ends. Fit second sheet of parchment paper in pan in same manner, perpendicular to first sheet. Spray sheets with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Place flour, brown sugar, pecans, salt, and baking powder in food processor. Process mixture until it resembles coarse cornmeal, about five 1-second pulses. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles sand, about eight 1-second pulses. Pat mixture evenly into prepared pan and bake until crust is light brown and springs back when touched, about 20 minutes.
  4. For the pecan filling: While crust bakes, whisk together brown sugar, melted butter, corn syrup, bourbon, vanilla, and salt in medium bowl until just combined. Add egg and whisk until incorporated.
  5. Pour filling on top of hot crust and sprinkle pecans evenly over top. Bake until top is brown and cracks start to form across surface, 22 to 25 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 1 hour. Remove bars from pan using parchment handles and transfer to cutting board. Cut into bars that measure 1½ inches by 2¼ inches.

Source: Baking Illustrated

19 Responses to “Pecan Bars”

  1. #
    Annie — November 23, 2010 @ 7:27 am

    My husband would absolutely love these! I am going to give these a try after Thanksgiving.

    • Christina replied: — November 23rd, 2010 @ 2:40 pm

      Let me know how they turn out! :) Everyone who tried them loved them!

  2. #
    HappyWhenNotHungry — November 23, 2010 @ 9:02 am

    These pecan bars look amazing!!!! I might have to add these guys to my Christmas cookie repertoire. Thanks for sharing and Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Christina replied: — November 23rd, 2010 @ 2:39 pm

      Thanks, you too! :) You should add these to your Christmas cookie baking list…they are awesome!

  3. #
    therealnutritionist — November 23, 2010 @ 12:59 pm

    These look SO yummy!!

    • Christina replied: — November 23rd, 2010 @ 2:38 pm

      Thanks! I thought they were amazing!! So perfect for this time of year! :)

  4. #
    Sophia — November 24, 2010 @ 12:10 pm

    Oh, this dish looks fabulous! I love the picture too! If you’re interested, you should submit it to Recipe4Living’s Tasty Thanksgiving Recipe Contest :)

  5. #
    Medifast Coupons — November 26, 2010 @ 2:48 pm

    These pecan bars look awesome, thanks for your posting, can’t wait to try.

  6. #
    Peggy — November 27, 2010 @ 6:51 am

    These sound great! I bet they were pretty darn tasty!

  7. #
    Shayla — December 1, 2010 @ 3:07 pm

    I made these for Thanksgiving. HUGE hit. I will probably never make Pecan pie again. So much better, easier to serve and the feed more people. And I love easy bars.

  8. #
    Patty — December 18, 2010 @ 4:58 pm

    Yum! I bet these would be great with whipped cream too… :)

  9. #
    Becky — October 16, 2011 @ 5:52 pm

    I’m usually wary of making Pecan Pie because I think it can turn out almost too sweet to eat sometimes, but the salt really accented the pecans and made this one stand out. I made it last night for a dinner party and everybody raved about it! It’s really good with some caramel and vanilla ice cream.

    I made a few tweaks to it though: I only had a 9 1/2 inch round pan, so I skipped the parchment paper and buttered the pan instead. I used dark corn syrup in the filling instead of light, and cut the bourbon (Jack Daniels) in half. I also added an extra egg, and reduced the amount of pecans for the filling by 1/4 cup (I only had a 2 cup package).

    Thanks for the recipe! I’m definitely going to add it to my rotation during the holidays.

    • Christina replied: — October 18th, 2011 @ 9:50 pm

      Thanks so much for letting me know how these pecan bars turned out! I am so glad to hear that everyone enjoyed them! :)

  10. #
    Margarita — November 17, 2011 @ 11:07 pm

    Did I get this right? If I don’t want to use rum, I have to add another teaspoon of vanilla extract to the existing two?

    • Christina replied: — November 20th, 2011 @ 11:36 am

      Yes, if you do not want to use bourbon in the filling you substitute it with 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. I you end up giving them a try I would love to hear how they turn out for you! :)

      • Margarita replied: — November 27th, 2011 @ 11:34 am

        I made them as a special treat for my boyfriend who loves pecans. Unfortunately, the crust turned out extremely salty:( But my boyfriend liked them anyway. I’ll have to make it again with less salt next time.

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  12. #
    Lisa — February 28, 2014 @ 10:03 am

    I like that this recipe cuts down on the syrup in the filling by adding butter and bourbon – I’m not scared of butter! 😉 I will definitely try these, my husband loves pecans and i recently found a shop that sells them at a reasonable price (a bit tough in europe). I would reduce the salt in the crust, based on another commenters opinion, too.

    • Christina replied: — March 2nd, 2014 @ 9:17 pm

      I hope you enjoy them Lisa! If you give them a try I would love to hear how they turn out! :)

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