Salted Caramel and Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

I normally don’t like nuts in desserts, but I recant everything I’ve ever said after these.

They’re some of the best bars I’ve ever made.

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars - You'll never want plain pecan pie again! Caramel and chocolate makes the bars taste amazing!

To top it off, I don’t even really like pecan pie but the inspiration for the bars started after trying a rich, buttery, chewy caramel with nuts from See’s Candies, and I’ve always loved their chocolate-coated walnut chews.

The pecan pie bars combine rich, gooey, homemade salted caramel filling with chocolate, there’s texture and crunch from the nuts, and the soft, tender shortbread crust is the perfect base for it all.

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars - You'll never want plain pecan pie again! Caramel and chocolate makes the bars taste amazing!

The bars are thick, rich, decadent, filling, salty-and-sweet. They’re wonderfully satisfying, easy, no mixer is necessary and I always prefer making pie bars to actual pie. So much easier.

To make the shortbread crust, I used the same crust I created for The Best Lemon Bars and Peanut Butter Caramel Twix Bars. A bit of cornstarch keeps the crust tender enough so when you bite down, it isn’t rock hard, nor does it give way and crumble.

The crust is hearty enough to stand up to a literal pound of nuts, chocolate, and salted caramel sauce, while staying perfectly flaky and not tasting too dense or heavy.

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars - You'll never want plain pecan pie again! Caramel and chocolate makes the bars taste amazing!

Then I sprinkled on Trader Joe’s roasted salted pecans and chocolate chips. If your pecans are raw, toast them for 5 to 10 minutes in a 400F oven for added flavor and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.

Making the salted caramel sauce is as easy as melting together butter, cream, brown sugar, and stirring in vanilla and salt. So easy and it’s done in the microwave in two minutes.

As the bars bake, the caramel sauce thickens and the finished bars are more caramely than traditional pecan pie filling, which I call ‘pie goo’. The bars have some goo, but there’s plenty of luscious, drippy, salted caramel.

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars - You'll never want plain pecan pie again! Caramel and chocolate makes the bars taste amazing!

The bars aren’t overly sweet, but they are ridiculously rich. They are worth all the cardio you’ll need to do.

They are good enough to forever change my mind about nuts in desserts and pecan pie.

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars - You'll never want plain pecan pie again! Caramel and chocolate makes the bars taste amazing!

 Salted Caramel and Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars - You'll never want plain pecan pie again! Caramel and chocolate makes the bars taste amazing!

Print Recipe

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

The bars are one of my all-time favorites, even if you're not a huge pecan pie fan. They're thick, rich, decadent, filling, salty-and-sweet. The pecans add amazing texture, crunch, and are a great contrast to the soft, tender shortbread crust, homemade salted caramel sauce, and chocolate. The bars are wonderfully satisfying, easy, no mixer is necessary, and are easier than making pie. I used roasted salted pecans and if yours are raw, toast them for 5 to 10 minutes in a 400F oven for enhanced flavor and sprinkle with a pinch of salt before using them in the recipe. While the bars bake, the easy caramel sauce made in the microwave thickens and the finished bars are loaded with luscious, drippy, salted caramel.

Yield: one 8-by-8-inch pan, 9 to 12 very generous squares

Prep Time: 20 mintues

Cook Time: about 30 to 32 minutes

Total Time: about 4+ hours, for cooling and setting up


1/2 cup unsalted butter, very soft (1 stick)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
pinch salt, optional and to taste
8 ounces roasted salted pecans, halves or pieces okay; about 2 cups (I used Trader Joe's roasted salted halves)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup whipping cream or heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside. I strongly urge lining the pan with foil for easier cleanup.
  2. Crust - In a large bowl, combine all crust ingredients and using two forks or your hands (I find hands easier), cut butter into dry ingredients until evenly distributed and pea-sized lumps and sandy bits form. The softer the butter is, the quicker and easier it is.
  3. Turn mixture out into prepared pan and pack down firmly with a spatula or hands to create an even, uniform, flat crust layer.
  4. Filling - Evenly sprinkle the pecans.
  5. Evenly sprinkle with the chocolate chips; set pan aside.
  6. In a large, microwave-safe bowl, combine 1/2 cup butter, brown sugar, whipping cream, and heat on high power for 1 minute to melt.
  7. Remove bowl from micro, and whisk until mixture is smooth; it's okay if butter hasn't completely melted.
  8. Return bowl to microwave and heat for 1 minute on high power.
  9. Remove bowl from micro, and whisk until mixture is smooth.
  10. Whisk in the vanilla and salt.
  11. Slowly and evenly pour the caramel sauce over the chocolate chips and pecans.
  12. Place pan on a cookie sheet (as insurance against overflow) and bake for about 30 to 32 minutes, or until caramel is bubbling vigorously around edges, with bubbling to a lesser degree in center. Allow bars to cool in pan on a wire rack for at least 3 hours, or overnight (cover with a piece of foil and/or put pan inside large Ziplock), before slicing and serving. Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

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  1. these bars are the perfect example of something I wouldn’t have thought I liked a few years ago but, now that I know better, I’m all like *droooooool* must. have!

  2. Oh Averie, I wish I could meet you in real life! First you’re speaking my language with your salsa, now you’re talking about how you don’t like nuts in desserts… Me either!! I always pick nuts out of brownies, and usually cookies too. I’d rather eat them plain by themselves or in a salad. I want my cookies soft and chewy, no strange hard things in the middle! ;) But if you said these changed your mind forever about nuts in desserts, they must be out of this world!

  3. These look amazing! Totally pinned!

  4. I have no words – this just looks insanely delicious. I won’t be making this until the weather cools off (ugh, so hot), but I’m definitely making this some day. Pinned.

  5. I was excited to see this recipe, but sorry to say it was a flop for me. The caramel during baking turned out odd, (I followed instructions to the T) the crust didn’t bake through, the foil stuck and it tore the bottom up even more trying to peel it off. Perhaps if I ever try this again I’ll pre-bake the crust, then just proceed like a traditional pecan pie and use chocolate chips & skip the caramel part. I really wanted to love this.

  6. Just made these, fantastic! Though next time I will use more chocolate. Also, for easier clean up – prepare the crust right in the baking pan!

  7. Just found your website through Pinterest and now I know that you’re the cause of all the most delicious looking treats all over Pinterest! Quick question about making the caramel – Could it be done in a double boiler instead of the microwave?

    • Yes probably but I haven’t tried that method. I love my micro for stuff like this and almost never double boil things so can’t speak to the duration/time needed, etc.

      And thanks for the compliments and glad you found me!!

  8. I was baking for a large crowd where a couple people had dietary restrictions so I subbed coconut oil for the butter, coconut cream for the heavy cream, gf flour for the regular flour, and used ghiradelli’s semisweet chocolate chips to make these vegan and gluten free and they were incredible!!! SO yummy! They were a huge hit :)

    Thanks for a great (and easy!!) recipe!

    • So impressed that you made them vegan and GF and that using coconut oil and coc cream, and GF flour, all worked out great for you and you’re happy! That’s wonderful to hear! Thanks for the feedback that those substitutions work since others will likely see this in the comments!

  9. So I need to make these but need to know if you have ever doubled the recipe? I know sometimes you can’t just double everything so I want to check first.

  10. These bars are delish! I just shared the recipe on my blog. YUM!

  11. Holy Smokes! Averie you kill me with these incredible photos and the desserts themselves. These look so worth the extra miles on the bike I’ll need to pedal when I make these!

  12. I just made these bars this morning and they are fantastic! The shortbread crust is so buttery, and it’s got such a flaky texture (maybe from the corn starch?) I’d never guess it wasn’t pie crust. The filling is gooey but holds its shape, and without eggs it’s so smooth; there’s no gumminess at all like in most pecan pie fillings. I’m also thrilled that there’s no corn syrup in the recipe. This rich and delicious dessert may just replace pecan pie in my holiday lineup!

    • So glad you loved them and that the crust had you fooled. Yes I think it is the cornstarch! And that you liked the filling, sans eggs and sans corn syrup. I know, I thought of all this too when I was creating these because I am so picky about all that stuff too! Glad it could possibly replace pecan pie in your lineup, too – way easier right!

  13. What am I doing wrong? I have tried this recipe twice and my sister has tried it once and the crust just falls apart. That being said the pecan filling is just delicious. Help! I want this recipe to work out.

    • I’m sorry your crust isn’t holding. Maybe try reducing the flour by 1/4 cup and see if that works, and then sprinkle in as needed, if you need more. So many people have commented they’ve made them successfully and I haven’t had any issues and this is an extremely standard/basic shortbread crust. I use King Arthur brand all-purpose flour (it’s the BEST, try it…that could be it…your flour could have less gluten and therefore less ‘sticking’ power…just trying to think of everything….) C&H sugar and Trader Joe’s butter.

  14. Has anyone tried just adding more nuts and not doing the chocolate? I will try the chocolate recipe too, but I have some people that just want a traditional pecan pie taste.

  15. Can these be made ahead and frozen until needed?

  16. I am confused on the amount of pecans to use since 8 oz is 1 cup. Then it says 2 cups so is it 1 or 2 cups?

    • 8 ounces isn’t always 1 cup; it depends on the item being put into the cup. You want to use 8 ounces, how many ever cups that comes out to. Some nuts are big and clunky and chunky and it’ll take you 2 cups to fit 8 oz. Other nuts are broken down and crumbly and you’ll be able to pack those into a little over a cup. Just depends on the nuts.

  17. Any thoughts about taking the salt out of the caramel sauce, possibly also the pecans? Would they be too sweet or lack enough flavor? My husband isn’t super crazy about salted caramel but loves the caramel-pecan-chocolate combination. Thanks!

  18. These sound delicious. You have a link to a different salted caramel sauce than what is in your recipe. Which do you prefer.

  19. These were really easy to make, and they looked and smelled great. Unfortunately the crust layer didn’t set at all. I couldn’t cut them into bars. They were to be served at Thanksgiving, so that was a big disappointment. I scooped out some with a spoon to eat and it tasted more or less like I ate a spoonful of pecans and chocolate chips. Needless to say I won’t be making this again. :(

  20. I was wondering if there’s anyway to make the shortbread in this recipe a chocolate shortbread. Could you simply add cocoa powder, or would you have to use a different recipe?

    • You could probably add a few tablespoons of cocoa powder, and then you may have to remove some flour. And then you may have to add some sugar since cocoa powder is bitter. So it’s possible for sure, I just haven’t personally played around with it. LMK if you do!

  21. These look sooo good! Pinning for my holiday baking. Looking forward to making them for Christmas:)

  22. These are SO. DELICIOUS.
    If you like salted caramel, chocolate, and pecan pies, you have to make these bars. Have to.

    I made them for Thanksgiving (huge hit!), and again today for a second time. I do use about 3 or 4 more tablespoons of butter for the crust though, because it seemed dry for me otherwise… and really, how can you go wrong with a bit more butter? Also I did like 10oz pecans, and a cup and a half or even maybe two cups of chocolate chips (I mixed semi-sweet with the caramel filled milk chocolate morsels)… whatever looks about right! It’s one of those easy going/forgiving recipes… Sort of like a 7 layer bar. But my gosh, salted caramel chocolate pecan pie? How can you go wrong? o_o

    Anyway, so so so delicious! Definitely will be a regularly recurring dessert.

    • Thanks for making these a few times and so glad it’ll be a regularly recurring dessert! And good call on extra butter if it seemed a little dry to you, and I also like your ‘about a cup and a half or two’ and ‘whatever looks about right’ way of measuring!! That’s how I measure! It’s only been through 6 years of blogging and 2 cookbooks that I am forced to actually measure :)

  23. Can you use half and half instead of whipping cream or heavy cream in filling?

    • I made the recipe with heavy cream and usually I say half and half is okay; but in this situation I haven’t tried it and not sure. I would use a bit less since it’s already thinner than heavy cream is.

  24. I wish I would have looked at the comments before making this. The crust didn’t set for me and the caramel remained too soft. I was able to kind of cuts bars after refrigerating it. I used foil backed parchment, it worked great. Next time I will precook the crust, and precook the caramel so it’s thicker.

    • Thanks for trying the recipe and judging by ‘the crust didn’t set for me and the caramel remained too soft’ would indicate it wasn’t baked long enough. Ovens, pans, climates, and ingredients vary and based on that statement, I am thinking it just needed a bit more time in the oven, but I was not there so just guessing.

      Also while it sounds like you like the parchment, I don’t love baking with parchment because of this reason and that things don’t set as well for me. A darker/reflective surface like foil helps things crisp/firm up better than parchment but again that’s my preference and the recipe was tested with foil in a dry climate, at sea level. Thanks for trying the recipe and sorry it didn’t come out perfectly for you.

  25. I just discovered your blog and have bookmarked many recipes.  I have had difficulties making caramel sauce in the past.  Can the microwave caramel sauce be used as a substitute in any recipe calling for caramel sauce?

    • My recipe for micro caramel sauce could probably be used in most recipes calling for caramel sauce, yes. It’s hard to say ‘always’ because there are exceptions but it’s a good jumping off place.

  26. I made these bars for my mother for Valentine’s Day.  She loved them!  When I asked what she wanted me to bake for her in March for her birthday, she wanted these.  When I asked what she wanted me to bake for her this weekend for Mother’s Day, she wanted these!  Despite my willingness to bake her any dessert she wanted, she wants these bars over and over and over and over!  Great recipe!  Thank you so much!  

    • Thanks for trying the recipe on Valentine’s Day, in March, and now for Mother’s Day for your mom! What a story that this is her most requested dessert that she wants over and over. What a big compliment and thank you! And kudos to you and your baking skills and baking for your mom…so nice!!

  27. I found this site browsing for a way to get rid of some extra salted caramel I made for another recipe and decided to give this bar a try. It didn’t really impress me that much but my boyfriend loves it! It just didn’t give me the sugar fix I was looking for. I wonder if the fact that I used a pre made caramel sauce had anything to do with it? I also wish this site had more of a review system set up as opposed to a comment one. I wanna know what people who actually made this recipe think of it vs posts of people trying to eat their computer or phone screens (which given the pictures is totally understandable, just not very helpful).

    • ‘This site’ is actually run by me, a real human, named Averie, I live in San Diego, I really exist, and develop my recipes. I’m glad your boyfriend loves the bars! Possibly because you used caramel sauce that you made, maybe that wasn’t as sweet as a storebought sauce, I’m not sure. This bar isn’t a super sweet bar per se. Yes, it’s sweet, it’s decadent and rich, but not ‘sugar high’ type of sweet.

  28. Recipe is in the oven, and I expect it to be delicious, based on the overall mix, and I don’t mean to be a troll, but….

    1). Why on earth is there cornstarch in the crust?! I can think of no reason. 2). I think very cold butter cut in with a pastry knife would work better for the crust–I had a goopy mess and had to put it in the fridge to harden up. 3). Microwave instructions were maddeningly vague–I don’t own one. What am I aiming for? A partially cooked caramel? Just a basic mixture of the ingredients that will firm up in the oven? Anyway, I’m sure it will turn out fantastico.

    • I do my best to provide recipes for free to anyone who wants to use them. The cornstarch keeps the crust from turning rock hard. If you like rock hard crusts, leave it out next time. I hope you love the bars as much as I do, Hobo.

  29. I am bot a native speaker, so I didn’t quite get your instructions. Do you bake it in the oven or  in a pan on the stove? I put mine in the oven and it came out…well… There was no crust, it was all combined to a sticky , Sweet, goey lump. You could taste it has potential, but it was not the real thing. Help!

    • You bake it in the oven. It’s really hard to say what went wrong and where since I wasn’t there to see what you did. Maybe something happened in translation. Thanks for trying the recipe.

  30. Decided to make these yesterday but to reduce brown sugar content I used 1/3 cup truvia + 1 teaspoon truvia + 1 tablespoon black treacle (molasses). The caramel turned out really well although I had to bake a lot longer than 30 minutes! Maybe because my caramel sauce was very liquid as less sugar granules? Either way they turned out really well, plus I used dark chocolate chips to further reduce sugar content! Really yummy, the base didn’t look cooked at aall when I took them out of the oven but once they cooled it hardened to perfect consistency. 

    • I think anytime you play with a recipe in a pretty large way like you did with the Truvia you’re going to no doubt effect baking time and I’m sure that was the case here. Glad it turned out well and that you’re happy!

  31. I was wondering if I used mini chocolate chips instead of the regular morsels, how much would you recommend using for this recipe? I don’t want to have too much chocolate in there. 

  32. Hi Averie,
    Any advice for trying to make this (caramel sauce) without a microwave?

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