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!

Print
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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. Could you please confirm that these keep at room temperature for several days? These look delicious to bring as a gift and I want to make sure that they will stand up to our travel plans.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      You can cover and store leftover bars at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

  2. I want to make these as a treat for football boys – I am concerned about the crust after reading all the comments. Does it make a difference if you use glass or an aluminum pan? I see in the video you have used glass. Can that make a difference in the crust coming out crumbly?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Tracy, We did bake these in a glass pan but you can use either. The only time we’ve experienced this crust not staying together is if the bars are not completely cool before cutting. Let us know if you give this recipe a try!

  3. Smelt amazing. Unfortunately my base turned out super runny. I was conscious of over baking so went ahead to add the filling and it just sank to the middle. I possibly needed more flour in the base… I’ve gone ahead and baked it regardless and my boyfriend is keen to eat it anyway haha. Will definitely try again

  4. Can I double the crust to make the crust thicker and still add the same filling?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Katherine, we haven’t tried it ourselves, but you can certainly give it a go. The pre-bake time for the crust may be a few minutes longer. Let us know if you give it a try!

  5. I have a problem with these bars….they’re WAAAAY too good!! Just the right amount of crust. Perfect filling, not runny but just gooey enough to be perfect. And the sprinkle of salt on top is the crowning touch of taste! Absolutely delicious. And here I was afraid of wasting 3 cups of pecans…..

  6. The extra step of making brown butter is worth the time. And I think the maple syrup is a better sweetener, not as cloying as corn syrup. Perfect pecan bars. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  7. Could I add dark chocolate chips to this?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Nancy, you can add 1 cup of dark chocolate chips to the filling when you stir in the pecans.

  8. My family LOVES these pecan bars and would much prefer them over pecan pie!

  9. I have been wanting to make these, literally since they were published! I’ve always put it off, because I’ve never tempered eggs before and I was really nervous about it. I’m actually a pretty experienced baker but tempering eggs was something I was scared of! Lol. Well last night, I finally made these bars and omg I am kicking myself for not making them sooner. They are absolutely amazing. Tempering the eggs was a cinch! My crust is pretty crumbly but still delicious. It was pretty wet looking before baking, so I think it could’ve used an extra tbsp or so of flour and that might’ve helped with the crumbliness. But I will certainly make these bars again, and will never let tempering eggs stop me from making a recipe again!

    1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Stephanie, we are so glad you tried these and loved them!

  10. This recipe was okay. There are better pecan bar recipes out there. My biggest issue was the crust. I needed significantly more flour than the recipe called for to form a cohesive dough and fill in the pan. I do love the flavor of the crust thanks to the brown butter but it became a bit Sandy when done (I’m guessing due to adding more flour). Now it wants to fall apart when sliced. The filling is pretty good though.

  11. These are sooo good! When frozen, should I take them out of the plastic wrap before defrosting them in the refrigerator?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      You can defrost them the same way they were frozen!

  12. Amazing recipe! Can I use walnuts instead of pecan nuts? Thanks!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Amena, we can’t see why not. Let us know what you try!

  13. I made these for my office Thanksgiving potluck and they received rave reviews!! My base was a little soft when I first mixed it together but I let it sit in the bowl for a few minutes so it had more of a cookie dough consistency before spreading it in the pan. After baking and then cooling for about an hour I stuck them in the fridge overnight and had no issues cutting them and the crust held together nicely. Can’t wait to make them again 🙂

  14. Patricia Moore says:

    Made these today and not impressed. What you basically end up with is a dry crust with a topping of glazed pecans but little or no filling. The filling probably needs to be doubled (but leave the pecans the same) so that there is more of the jellied filling like you have with pecan pie. I think I will toss these and start over with a different recipe.

  15. Ilise Goldman says:

    This is absolutely delicious!! Thank you for the recipe-made it for Thanksgiving!
    (Less a bite for me!)

  16. These have become my Thanksgiving dessert, along with camille styles.com’s no-bake pumpkin pie recipe! My only change was adding a tsp of vanilla to the filling, just because I happen to love vanilla. I came up with a trick to help the parchment stick to the pan for the crust — spray with cooking spray and the parchment will stick.
    Thanks for a lovely recipe!

  17. Delicious! Straight forward recipe, my family loved it. Perfect for people like me who are quite frankly, too lazy to make pecan pie!

  18. I made these Tuesday night for thanksgiving on Thursday. They were delicious and a huge hit. Pretty quick and easy to make. It always nice to have something you can make a couple days ahead of time. I followed the recipe with no adjustments and they came out perfect. I did refrigerate them overnight before I cut the bars and had no issues with crumbly crust.

  19. Looking to make these in advance for holiday gatherings later in December. Do they freeze well? Any freeze/thaw advice please and thanks?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Leslie, they sure do! See recipe notes for freezing details.

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