Salted Caramel Maple Pecan Pie Bars — This pecan pie bars recipe is a fast, one-bowl, no-mixer recipe, but the bars taste like you slaved over them. So much easier than making pecan pie!
Easy Pecan Pie Bars
I’m not a big pie person. Mostly because I don’t love crust enough to justify the work involved. But pie bars? That’s a whole other story.
These maple pecan pie bars are a spinoff of my Salted Caramel and Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars. Chocolate is replaced with maple syrup and the bars are full of rich, smooth maple flavor. They just scream fall comfort food.
It’s a fast, very easy, one-bowl, no-mixer recipe, but the bars taste like you slaved over them. Love that.
The crust is made with brown sugar, flour, and butter and it’s tender, just sweet enough, and the perfect foundation for the filling. The filling is made with brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, and an egg, before stirring in pecans and baking.
Before serving, I couldn’t resist drizzling salted caramel sauce over the top. Make your own, use Trader Joe’s, or a similar thick sauce.
There are so many textures and layers of flavor in every bite of these pecan pie bars with shortbread crust.
The soft shortbread crust, contrasted with the sweet, maple-ey, pecan filling, and everything tastes better after it’s been drizzled with salted caramel. So much faster and easier than making pecan pie!
What’s in the Pecan Pie Bars?
The ingredients list for this easy Thanksgiving dessert is short and sweet. Here’s what you’ll need to make pecan pie bars:
- All-purpose flour
- Brown sugar
- Unsalted butter
- Maple syrup
- Vanilla extract
- Salted caramel sauce
How to Make Pecan Pie Bars
You’ll first need to make the buttery crust for these pecan bars. Cut the butter into a mixture of brown sugar and flour, then press into the bottom of a greased and lined 8×8-inch pan. Bake the crust until it’s just set.
Meanwhile, prep the pecan pie filling. Simply mix together the remaining ingredients and pour them onto the cooked crust. Bake the pecan pie bars until the center is set and not jiggly. I recommend using an oven mitt to shake the pan gently starting at about 16 minutes, and use your judgment from there.
These pecan bars need to sit on your countertop for at least an hour before they’re safe to slice and serve.
Can I Double This Recipe?
I’ve only made these pecan pie bars as written, but I think it’d be find to double the ingredients and bake these bars in a 9×13-inch pan.
Can I Freeze Pecan Pie Bars?
Yes, these freeze incredibly well. Let them cool completely, then slice and store them in a freezer bag. They’ll last up to 5 months in the freezer.
Can I Omit the Caramel Sauce?
Of course! The maple pecan pie bars are delicious with or without the salted caramel sauce on top.
Can I Use Gluten-Free Flour?
Quite a few readers have reported success using a cup-for-cup gluten-free flour alternative, so I’d say go for it!
Since the pecan pie bars are made with a shortbread crust rather than a lighter, flakier base, you can get away with going gluten-free here.
Tips for the Best Ever Pecan Pie Bars
You can use either light or dark brown sugar in this easy Thanksgiving dessert. Dark brown has more molasses in it, and I find it’s richer and more caramely tasting after baking. Use your favorite.
Also note that you may use either pure maple syrup or pancake syrup. I used sugar-free lite pancake syrup for this particular batch in an effort to save calories, but I’ve tested this recipe both ways and can’t decide which version I like better!
Lastly, note that you can use either raw, unsalted pecans or roasted, salted pecans in this recipe. I used raw pecans, but use your favorite.
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- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed (light or dark)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, very soft
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed (light or dark)
- 1/3 cup maple or or pancake syrup (I used sugar-free lite pancake syrup)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- pinch salt, optional and to taste (consider omitting if nuts are well-salted)
- 1 cup pecans (I used raw, unsalted, whole pecans; use halves and pieces, salted and roasted, or your favorite type)
- about 1/4 cup salted caramel sauce, for drizzling*
- Preheat oven to 35oF. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside. Don’t skip lining the pan with foil because bars are sticky and lining the pan will save lots of cleanup time and elbow grease.
- To a large bowl, add the flour, brown sugar, and cut in the butter using two forks or a pastry cutter. Keep working until butter is evenly distributed and pea-sized lumps and sandy bits form. The softer the butter is, the quicker and easier it is.
- Turn mixture out into prepared pan and hardpack it with a spatula or hands to form a smooth, even crust.
- Bake for 17 to 18 minutes, or until crust is just set. Don’t overbake because pan is going back into the oven after filling is added. While crust bakes, prepare the filling.
- To a large bowl (same one used for crust is fine; just wipe it with a paper towel), add the egg, brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, optional salt, and whisk until combined.
- Stir in the pecans; set aside until crust is done baking.
- After crust has baked, gently and carefully pour filling over crust (give filling one last quick stir before pouring it), smoothing the pecans with a spatula or use your fingers to evenly distribute them. Make sure they’re not clustered in one area and they’re as flat as possible because edges or corners that are jutting up will be prone to burning.
- Bake for about 16 to 19 minutes, or until center is set and not jiggly. Use an oven mitt to shake the pan gently starting at about 16 minutes, and use your judgment from there; bars will set up more as they cool.
- Place pan on a wire rack to cool for at least 1 hour before drizzling with salted caramel, slicing, and serving.
Make the Crust
Make the Filling
- *If desired, you can easily make your own Salted Caramel Sauce.
- Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 389Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 66mgCarbohydrates: 53gFiber: 1gSugar: 31gProtein: 3g
More Thanksgiving Dessert Ideas:
Best Homemade Apple Pie – This fabulous apple pie is a specialty of my grandma’s. The sauce for the apples is slowly poured over the lattice crust until it fills the shell. When it bakes, the top has a nice crispy coating over the flaky crust.
The Best Turtle Brownies — Super fudgy and loaded with chocolate, pecans and caramel! So.crazy.good!!!
Apple Turnovers — These apple turnovers take just 15 minutes to prep and are filled with the most incredible cinnamon apple filling. These are the ultimate fall dessert!
Homemade Turtles — Fast, easy, no-bake and just 4 ingredients! Chewy, gooey, salty-and-sweet! Homemade always tastes better!
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Crumble Bars — Move over, apple pie! These are an apple pie, apple crumble and cheesecake all in one!
Caramel Apple Crumble Pie — Apple pie meets apple crumble with loads of caramel! The easiest apple pie you’ll ever make. Goofproof 5-minute recipe for those of us who aren’t pie makers!
Buttery Pecan Pumpkin Spice Cookies — Buttery soft dough with big chunky pecans in every bite! Salty-and-sweet and so hard to resist!!
Apple Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting — An EASY, one-bowl, no-mixer apple cake that’s to-die-for!! Loaded with juicy apples in every bite, perfectly spiced, and topped with tangy cream cheese frosting! So DELISH!!
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies — Rich, fudgy brownies topped with pumpkin and chocolate chips!! An EASY, no mixer pumpkin brownie recipe that’s FASTER than using a boxed mix!