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

157 Comments

  1. I made these today for Sunday dessert and they were soooooooooooooo good! I’m currently trying not to eat the entire batch before bed!!!!!

  2. Can honey be used as a substitute for maple syrup? If so, would it be the same 1:1 ratio measurement and will the consistency of the bars be similar as if I had used maple syrup?

    Thank you! I can’t wait to try these out.

    1. It would be a 1:1 switch, yes. The consistency should relatively be the same– just a flavor difference.

  3. I made these pecan pie bars today, and I thought they were delish! I love this flaky, tender, buttery crust (I love this crust with your salted caramel apple bars, which are also SO good). I loved that this wasn’t overly sweet. Sometimes, I get nervous trying pecan pie bars/pies not knowing if it’s going to be overly sweet, but I really liked the sweetness in these. I made only half a batch (8×8 pan), since only my husband and I like nuts (I’ve got 5 picky eaters). I think the bars were a little over-baked around the edges (my fault), so I should definitely bake them for less time next time. I baked them for 30 minutes, and it was too much. Great recipe!

  4. Hey Sally! I made these last night. And while they taste delicious my crust burned on the bottom…but the tip didn’t. Any tips on how to avoid that? Thanks! 

    1. Oh no! I’d say to reduce the pre-bake time down to 8-9 minutes. That will help.

  5. Made these and there are no words to convey the deliciousness!!! Probably in the top 10  best tasting desserts I have ever made! Thank you! This is the first time I have made pecan pie bars. Make pie and pecan tassies all the time! Wonderful! Happy Thanksgiving!!! This will be my go to from now on!

  6. Hi, Sally!  I usually have 100% success on all of your recipes, but I struggled with this one.  My crust fell apart and would never stay together with the topping when completely cooled.  Do you have any suggestions of what might have gone wrong?  I have went back over the recipe multiple times, but it looks like I followed it all correctly.  Thanks!

    1. Hi Bailey! Were you sure not to change anything in the ingredients? And you used a full cup (2 sticks) of butter? Make sure you don’t let it fully cool before layering with the topping. Also, you can try pre-baking the crust for less time. Maybe only 10 minutes. The should help.

  7. Wonderful recipe! Made these today for our Thanksgiving feast tomorrow. One question though: the crust doesn’t seem to be setting up so that I can cut them into bars. When I mixed up the crust it didn’t look exactly like the picture….a little more wet looking. So, I added a tiny bit more flour. I did grease the pan as well instead of using paper. Any ideas? I’m still waiting for it to color completely. I’m sure they will be amazing either way but I just might not be able to cut them into bars. Thanks!

    1. I had the same problem, but did not add more flour. I cooked the crust for 15 minutes, and then followed the rest of the directions. The crust tasted off, almost raw. I would think it would continue to cook after filling it and putting it back in the oven, but it didn’t improve (too much butter?). They fell apart and didn’t taste as good as pecan pie. Oh well, I’m serving them anyway, topped with ice-cream. I’m sure they’ll be fine.

    2. Had the exact same problem! I added almost a cup more flour, and half a cup more sugar and a little more vanilla. I kept going until it had the same structure as in the picture and it worked out very well. This is a great recipe if you just play with those things a little bit. 

  8. This recipe was amazing! I made it for Thanksgiving and it tasted like pecan pie on top of a brown butter short bread cookie. Now I have requests to make it for everything. Recipes like this one are why this is my go to for new baked goods. Thank you!

  9. Shilpa Nicodemus says:

    The top part came out great, but the crust was a crumbly mess.  Did I not bake it long enough?  I also couldn’t find my usual 9×13 pan, and had to bake it in a glass 9×13 dish.  Is that what messed it up?

  10. I have tried countless of pecan pie recipes over the last five years and I have NEVER been successful. Either my crust isn’t fully cooked or my pie is way too runny. I would love to try these to see if I am finally able to make something within the pecan family. After countless tries I have read that after pre baking you should wait to cool the pie before adding the syrup. Please tell me how long should I let the pie cool before adding my hot syrup. As always, thank you for sharing your delicious recipes. 

  11. Just made these last night for an engagement party on Saturday and CANNOT wait to eat them! Brown butter is my new favorite scent, flavor, everything. I hope they make it into a candle soon! The crust looks so good and I am dying to try the topping. I’ve made the sticky buns before and am hoping it is similar to that. Right now, I wrapped it tightly and am storing it in the fridge. Should I take it out the day before or leave it in the fridge Saturday and take it out in the morning to serve by 5:00 PM? thanks!! I am making so many of your recipes for this and other parties and they are always a hit!

    1. You can simply take them out in the morning for serving later that evening 🙂 And I share your love of brown butter!!

  12. Do you think its possible to half the recipe? What size pan would you use? Having a thanksgiving dinner for a small crowd…

    1. Yes, use a 9×9 square pan.

  13. Made these yesterday, but had a dilemma with the crust.  It was on the soupy side after pouring in the butter.  I doubled checked the recipe, but couldn’t find where I messed up!  I put the crust in the fridge for awhile to see if it would firm up before baking it.  Turned out ok, the crust is rather crumbly, not holding together, tastes great, but would like to know where I went wrong.  Thanks

  14. These were tasty but my crust fell apart a little while cutting and serving them

  15. Hi Sally! I apologize if someone already asked, but I didn’t see in comments…can I use whipping cream or 1/2 and 1/2 in place if the heavy cream? Thanks!! 

    1. Hi Kathy! Whipping cream and heavy cream are the same (just a super slight difference in fat content).

  16. Juse made these for a thanksgiving potluck this Thursday because of the vast quantity I could make – sure is new to me in the UK! Nibbled some of the edges from cutting them into bars and they are DELICIOUS even though I subbed maple syrup for agave as that was all I had on hand! Thanks for the recipe 😀

  17. I made these for Thanksgiving. The topping was delicious, but the crust didn’t turn out. I measured by weight, and after mixing it up it looked like soup. I had to add almost a full cup more of flour to get it to resemble the picture. It was tough, and none of us liked the flavor of it. 🙁 I would definitely make the topping again, though!! And I really appreciate not having the corn syrup.

  18. This is a fantastic recipe! I’ve made it twice and both times it was all gone in a few days. 

    I was initially concerned with the lack of salt in the rust but wow does the brown butter make up for it! Never used brown butter before, what a revelation! I want to use it on everything now. 

    Easily my new favorite recipe… the perfect combo of salty and sweet and the textures of the crust and filling are heavenly!

  19. EASY! Delicious…and there’s only one issue…you can’t eat just one! These are so good…the maple syrup isa great add to pecan bars! And a much better ingredient than corn syrup! I will be making these again and again!

  20. WOW ! Amazing recipe , easy and very delicious ..
    Will definitely make them again
    Thank you !

  21. Rebecca Sharar says:

    I often bake the dessert for my husband’s safety meetings and I have had such success with all your recipes! Thank you ! This one is a little small for his crowd and was wondering if I could double it and use a 1/2 sheet pan (17×12 are close measurements) ?

    1. Hi Rebecca! Yes, doubling the recipe will be plenty for a 12×17 pan.

  22. Can you add bourbon to this recipe? If so how much and when would you add it? I made these bars without it before and they are great! Thanks.

    1. Hi Jennifer! You absolutely can add bourbon to this pecan pie bar recipe. I recommend reducing the maple syrup by 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons then add 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons your favorite bourbon. Whisk it with the other filling ingredients.

  23. These bars are AMAZING!!! I made a batch for a treat for my husband’s work and my daughter could not stop eating them so I made 2 more batches for everyone else!! EXCELLENT!! I will make from now on instead of pie!

  24. Could you half this recipe in an 8×8 pan?
    If so, how long would it bake for?

    1. Hi Emily! Sure can. The bake time will be similar, maybe a couple minutes shorter.

  25. Georgia Walton says:

    Can I use half and half instead of cream? Only asking because it’s what I have in the fridge right now.

    1. Half-and-half is fine to use in a pinch.

  26. Morgan Tupper says:

    Hi! Made these today and everything seemed to go really well, but when I cut into the bars after cooling the base just seemed to have zero structure and fell apart into “sand.”

    When I poured the base mixture into my pan I didn’t press down with my hands, but I did press it down with a rubber spatula to make it even. Any ideas what could have gone wrong? I checked the recipe over again and I didn’t miss any ingredients/amounts.

  27. Hi Sally,

    I’m hoping to make these for Christmas and I just have two questions.
    1) Can I double the recipe? If so, how do I go about doubling a recipe? Do I literally just take each ingredient and double them? Or would baking powder or any other ingredient change? I usually just stick to the recipe provided.
    2) Should I toast the pecans before using them in this recipe? If so, how long should I toast them for?

    Hopefully you see this before Christmas!

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Veina! So happy to help. (1) I recommend making the bars twice instead of doubling. You can combine the two into 1 large baking pan, but it’s best to make them separately. (2) no need to toast the pecans since they’ll be baking for a good bit.

  28. Hi Sally!
    I made this for my little one and she absolutely loved it. I think I did pretty well, except the crust turned out very crumbly. The crust was not hard enough, so the bottom was falling apart when I tried to cut it into pieces. I don’t know what I did wrong. I would love to make this again, but I am afraid I will make the same mistake again. Any suggestions? Thank you in advance!

    1. I’m happy that she loved it, Victoria! For the crust it sounds like there was either not enough butter or too much flour. Make sure you are measuring the flour with the “scoop and level” method.

  29. Hi Sally
    I tried your pecan square recipe and it was off the charts amazing.
    It was also my first attempt to bake this dish.

    Much appreciated

  30. I made these yesterday and they are so good! I can eat all of them!

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