Brown Butter Pecan Pie Bars

Made with brown butter and maple syrup, you’ll love the sweet and salty flavor in each bite of brown butter pecan pie bars. They’re so much easier than baking an entire pie!

stack of brown butter pecan pie bars

Though these bars aren’t shaped like your typical pie, they’re every bit as mouthwatering in square form. Especially when that square combines not only pecan pie + crust, but brown butter, quality nuts, pure maple syrup for extra flavor, and a sprinkle of sea salt on top.

overhead image of brown butter pecan pie bars cut into squares

Brown Butter Pecan Pie Bars Video

brown butter in a pan with a silver spoon

Why We Love Pecan Pie Bars

While I don’t usually like to stray from the classic, unadulterated pecan pie– I do believe there is room for both traditional pecan pie (here’s my favorite pecan pie recipe!) and jazzy pecan pie. Who doesn’t want a little jazzy every now and then?? These pecan pie bars are certainly jazzy and there’s so much to love about them.

  • Deliciously flavored with brown butter, brown sugar, and sea salt
  • Made with maple syrup which adds flavor and takes the place of corn syrup that’s typically used in pecan pie recipes
  • The shortbread crust is soft and simple
  • Lots of wonderful crunchy and gooey texture in every bite
  • The pecan pie topping is sweet and salty
  • They’re easier to make than an entire pie– no pie crust to chill and roll
  • A fun alternative to the classic pie and perfect for serving a crowd
  • No mess to clean up because they’re easy to eat and transport!

brown butter shortbread crust in a glass baking pan

Brown Butter Shortbread Crust

Brown butter brings a whole new level of flavor to these pecan pie bars. It’s the same crust as my salted caramel apple pie bars, only doubled to make a larger batch and– of course– made with brown butter. All you’ll do is brown some butter on the stovetop, then mix it with sugar, vanilla, salt, and flour. Press it into the pan and pre-bake for a few minutes while you make the pecan pie topping. So simple yet so delicious!

Here’s a full tutorial on how to brown butter. It’s quick and easy.

ingredients for brown butter pecan pie bars including pecans, brown sugar, maple syrup, eggs, butter, and heavy cream

Pecan Pie Bars Without Corn Syrup

I chose to make these pecan pie bars without corn syrup and formulate a way to have maple syrup get the job done. It works like a charm here. You’ll boil butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, and cream together into a syrup– then temper the eggs. Now before you go running at the term “tempering” let’s chat about it for a second.

Tempering means you’ll add a hot liquid to the beaten eggs. If you add the eggs directly to the pot of boiling ingredients– guess what? You’ll have some funky scrambled egg sauce. By slowly whisking *some* of the hot syrup into the beaten eggs, you are slowly bringing up their temperature– not shocking them. And then you’ll slowly drizzle and whisk that warm egg mixture into the pot. This way you’re avoiding that funky scrambled egg situation that sounds, and probably is, horrifying.

For an entire pecan pie made without corn syrup, try my maple pecan pie!

brown butter pecan pie filling in a saucepan with a wood spoon

How to Make Pecan Pie Bars

They’re truly easier than pie!

  1. Brown the butter. Let cool for 5 minutes.
  2. Combine all of the crust ingredients. Press the mixture evenly into a prepared 9×13 pan.
  3. Bake the crust. 15 minutes is all it takes.
  4. Make the pecan pie topping. Combine the butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, and heavy cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk this mixture and bring to a boil.
  5. Temper the eggs. As the mixture boils, carefully spoon 1/2 cup of the mixture into a glass measuring cup. Slowly drizzle it into the beaten eggs. Stir frequently to keep it moving so the eggs do not scramble. Once the 1/2 cup mixture is added to the beaten eggs, slowly drizzle and whisk this back into the pot.
  6. Add the pecans.
  7. Spread topping evenly onto the crust. Don’t be alarmed if the pecan topping is too syrup-y. It will cook just fine!
  8. Bake. These bars take about 30-35 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out *mostly* clean. If the top is getting too brown as it bakes, loosely cover with aluminum foil.
  9. Cool, cut into squares, and enjoy!

brown butter pecan pie bars

The flavors marry together wonderfully between the brown butter, maple, toasty pecans, and brown sugar. I’m not a fan of cloyingly sweet pecan pie, so I added a sprinkle of sea salt on top of the baked bars. They’re crunchy in some places, soft in others. Moist with big chunks of delicious pecans on a bed of brown butter. It most certainly doesn’t get better than this.

brown butter pecan pie bars on a white plate

Like my cranberry crumble pie bars, this process is much easier than an entire pie!

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stack of brown butter pecan pie bars

Brown Butter Pecan Pie Bars

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours
  • Yield: 18-24 squares
  • Category: Pie
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These ultra flavorful brown butter pecan pie bars made with maple syrup are so much easier than baking an entire pie.


Ingredients

Brown Butter Crust

  • 1 cup (230g; 2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)

Pecan Pie Topping

  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar (I prefer dark here)
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) heavy cream
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups (300g) coarsely chopped shelled pecans
  • optional: sea salt for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 9×13 inch pan or line with parchment paper leaving an overhang on the sides to lift the finished bars out. Set aside.
  2. For the crust: Slice the butter up into pieces and place in a light-colored skillet. (Light colored helps you determine when the butter begins browning.) Melt the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once melted, the butter will begin to foam. Keep stirring occasionally. After 5-8 minutes, the butter will begin browning– you’ll notice lightly browned specks begin to form at the bottom of the pan and it will have a nutty aroma. Once browned, remove from heat immediately and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, stir the brown butter, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, and salt together in a medium bowl. Stir in the flour until evenly combined. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. For the topping: Combine the butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, and heavy cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk to combine the ingredients and dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 3 minutes. As it is boiling, carefully spoon 1/2 cup of the mixture into a glass measuring cup. Slowly drizzle it into the beaten eggs. Stir frequently to keep it moving so the eggs do not scramble. Once the 1/2 cup mixture is added to the beaten eggs, slowly drizzle and whisk this back into the pot. The trick is to always be stirring/whisking to avoid scrambling the eggs. Remove from heat, stir in the pecans, and pour evenly over the crust.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out *mostly* clean. If the top is getting too brown as it bakes, loosely cover with aluminum foil. Remove from the oven, set on a wire rack, and allow to cool completely before cutting into squares. Cover and store leftover bars at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: Bars freeze well up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then bring to room temperature before serving.
  2. Special Tools (affiliate links): Glass Baking Dish, Stainless Steel Saucepan, and Wooden Spoon

Keywords: brown butter pecan pie bars, pecan pie bars

227 Comments

  1. These are so good! I made them to give to our family later this week since we won’t be having Thanksgiving with them. I need to freeze them so my family doesn’t eat them all (no joke)! What’s the best way to freeze them? They seem a little fragile.

    1. These bars are dope

    2. I freeze half of mine every year to save me from myself. I just place them in a large ziplock with was paper separating them. I usually kind of lay the bag on a plate or small baking sheet so they dont get jostled, then freeze

  2. Hi! Lactose intolerant pecan pie lover here. Can I substitute anything for the cream? Will margarine work here rather than butter? Thank you!

    1. Hi Julia, I wish I had more advice for dairy free desserts. You can try canned full fat coconut milk for the heavy cream and coconut oil for the butter. I haven’t tested the recipe this way though.

  3. Followed this recipe including weighing my ingredients for flour, sugar, etc. it’s delicious however the crust is very crumbly to the point that you cannot cut into it to make bars without the top sliding off of the crust and the crust sticking to the glass baking dish. I didnt have parchment paper so I buttered the dish but didnt seem to help with the nonstick abilities.

    1. Edward Hunter says:

      Sarah- I made a batch (for a friend who is allergic to barley) substituting 1/2 coconut flour & 1/2 oat flour. The crust was just like you said – crumbly and sandy – more so than the King Arthur unbleached flour batch. A friend suggested I add an egg yolk to the crust mixture, which I did. I let it cool at room temperature for 3 hours or so, then put it in the fridge overnight. The crust came out perfectly – professional bakery quality! Also, I’ve had good luck greasing the dish liberally with a combination of salted butter & coconut oil.

  4. Meredith Harris says:

    Could I make these with a pre-made pie crust? I know it would loose some flavor fut just as a short cut?

    1. I did! It worked well!

  5. The flavor is yummy! But the crust came out sandy and crumbles when I cut the bars. I made these today for the pecan pie lovers in my family. Disappointed for presentation.

    1. Edward Hunter says:

      Amy – See my response to Sarah above.

  6. Had to double the recipe, it wasn’t enough for 9×13 rectangle baking pan. What did I miss?

  7. These were amazing and easy. I made them for thanksgiving. Your recipes never disappoint. I made these along with pumpkin bars. Both were crowd favs. The flavour is rich and the brown butter adds depth. Love that it uses maple syrup. They are not overly sweet which I love. The crust reminds me of shortbread.

  8. These were amazing and easy. I made them for thanksgiving. Your recipes never disappoint. I made these along with pumpkin bars. Both were crowd favs. The flavour is rich and the brown butter adds depth. Love that it uses maple syrup. They are not overly sweet which I love. The crust reminds me of shortbread.

    I did forget to put parchment paper under the crust and when I cut them at first they did crumble. However I let them rest overnight and cut them the next day and the cut wonderfully.

  9. Kathleen Bressler says:

    I rarely leave reviews on recipes, but this one demands it. It. Is. Amazing. I made it for Thanksgiving and everyone raved about it. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out as I only have dark pans so I couldn’t tell when the butter was the correct shade of brown, and after baking the top was dark brown. But everything turned out perfectly. Truly an incredible dessert! Thank you!

  10. Insanely good. The brown butter in the crust packs a punch. My only complaint is that the crust was crumbly the night we ate these, but after we put them in the fridge from that night on, the crust stayed put. Will definitely make these again and again.

  11. Hi sally! I love your recipes, but I can’t seem to find one for regular sized butter tarts. Do you have a recipe for these? If not, I would love to see one in the future!!!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Serena, We don’t have a recipe for a butter tart but let us know if you find a good one!

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