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!

So much easier than baking an entire pie! These brown butter pecan pie bars are made with maple syrup and brown sugar. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

So much easier than baking an entire pie! These brown butter pecan pie bars are made with maple syrup and brown sugar. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Brown Butter Pecan Pie Bars Video

brown butter

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 crust on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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!

How to make brown butter pecan pie bars on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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!

So much easier than baking an entire pie! These brown butter pecan pie bars are made with maple syrup and brown sugar. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

So much easier than baking an entire pie! These brown butter pecan pie bars are made with maple syrup and brown sugar. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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

Print

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

So much easier than baking an entire pie! These brown butter pecan pie bars are made with maple syrup and brown sugar. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

186 Comments

  1. Hi Sally;

    Question about the Nut factor… would it be aweful to used chopped peanuts opposed from pecans being their so costly where i come from ..for example a small cup costs about 7 dollars. And peanuts are so so much cheaper

  2. 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!

  3. Hi Sally,
    Can I use honey instead of maple syrup.
    Maple syrup is very hard to find where I live. If not is there any substitute that you recommend?

  4. Can i substitute dark corn syrup without any other changes? We don’t care for the maple flavor. Thanks for all you recipes.

      1. I have made them with gluten free flour. They were every bit as delicious.
        I’ve made these at least a dozen times in the last 2 years.
        They are always a hit!

  5. 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!

  6. I’d like to make these without cream for my father-in-law (he’s allergic to milk products, except butter). Would these turn out okay if I leave out the cream, or replace with water? Thanks!

  7. I love these SO MUCH! I have made them 3 times in the past week. They are such a hit!

    I was wondering if dark chocolate chips could be added to this recipe to make a bar version of your dark chocolate pecan pie.

    I’m not sure at what point I would add the chocolate since the filling it cooked on the stove.

    Thanks for another great recipe!
    -Shawn

    1. I have the same exact question and would love your advice Sally on if adding chocolate chips could work, and if so, how best to do it. Thank you!

  8. 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) ?

  9. Since it doesn’t say the crust needs to be cool, I didn’t allow the crust to cool first. Also, I removed the 1/2 cup during the 3 minutes, because it says ” as it is boiling”. So it smells great, and it’s in the oven, and I’m hoping I got this right! P.S. I don not possess a light-colored skillet, so I used a small light-colored saucepan. Couldn’t see what was happening at the bottom due to death of butter, but after 8 minutes, it smelled amazing and nutty — and I’m thinking, hey, I am happy with that.

    1. Hate spell correction. *Do not own light- colored… * And no butter died during the preparation of this recipe. The word is *depth*.

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

    1. This happened to me too, I’m not sure what happened? I thought maybe I didn’t cook it long enough, but I put it in for an extra ten minutes after testing it initially and it was still very “sandy”. They’re still delicious though!

  13. 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.

      1. Sally, THANK YOU for saving the day, once again! You are always so quick to respond, which is so helpful! I will, indeed, double the recipe; however I will probably just bake them separately because I want to make double the bars! I’ll probably cut them a bit smaller, too!

        Merry Christmas!!!

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. Oh my!!!! These are sooooo good. This is what you get when you mix butter, vanilla, maple syrup, heavy cream, brown sugar, and of course… pecans! Excellent!!!

  17. Oh my! The bars were AMAZING, I could eat the whole batch myself (but I had to share with family). It was gone in a blink of an eye:) Thank you for the recipe.

    Regards from Poland;)

  18. When you were born and raised in Georgia, you know and love pecans. Now that I have tiwd this recipe, I know and love Sally’s Brown Butter Pecan Pie Bars.

    The salty butter crust coupled with the rich and creamy topping is sublime! Thanks for another great recipe, Sally!

  19. Is it possible to sub out the maple syrup for Lyle’s Golden syrup? I don’t really care for the taste of maple and I don’t want to use corn syrup. Thank you for your recipes. I have yet to make something that was not fantastic!!

  20. Hi Sally! Could this recipe be made in a standard tart shell?

    I want to make a pecan pie tart, but with this crust rather than a traditional pie crust. Any tips?

    1. Hi James! I can’t see why not. This recipe is for a 9×13 pan which is larger than a standard tart pan. You’ll have extras or you can try halving the recipe. Make sure it’s completely cool before slicing, too.

    1. Hi Dione, you can replace the maple syrup with corn syrup. Add 1/2 – 1 teaspoon maple extract (depending how much maple flavor you like).

  21. Hi Sally..just wondering if I could use this filling to top a batch of par baked brownies..other recipes are using corn syrup and I was hoping to avoid that.

    thank you, Lori

  22. Hello Sally, I’m looking forward to trying this recipe, looks delicious! But I’m not sure I completely understand the filling “how to”, I have lots of questions! Just want to make sure I get it right.

    1. You say to pour the 1/2 cup of hot mixture into the eggs, but the eggs wheren’t mentioned before, so i guess I should beat my eggs in a separate container before I start cooking the filling, right?
    2. Then, you say “Once all of the mixture is added to the beaten eggs, slowly drizzle and whisk this back into the pot. ” I’m guessing “all of the mixture” means the eggs mixed with the 1/2 cup, right? And I pour this (eggs+1/2 a cup) back into the original pot where I started cooking it.
    3. But while I was mixing eggs and 1/2 cup hot mixture, what happens to the pot? You say to remove from heat only at the end, but while I’m doing the egg bit is it still on the stove?

    If you could further explain this bit I would hugely appreciate it. Thank you!

    1. Hi Ana! I’m glad to help. (1) The recipe calls for 2 eggs beaten, so make sure you beat them first. (2) This step is called tempering the eggs. You temper them with a little of the hot mixture (1/2 cup), then you pour the 1/2 cup + beaten egg mixture back into the pot. (3) The tempering step only takes a few seconds, so the rest can stay on heat.

      Enjoy!

  23. WOW! These are amazing! The crust is super flaky, the filling is just the right amount of sweet! My family enjoyed these! I will probably be making these over pecan pie now!

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