These Pecan Pie Shortbread Bars are the only dessert you’ll need this Thanksgiving. Brown butter pecan shortbread is topped with homemade pecan pie filling to create incredibly rich and delicious bars that are so much better than pie.
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This Thanksgiving should be all about the desserts. We deserve it.
And when it comes to holiday desserts, things get serious. Like, maybe we need a buffet situation.
These buttery, crumbly, sticky sweet bars are rich and so very good.
Pecan Pie Shortbread Bars
Listen, I know Thanksgiving is all about the pie but I promise you these bars are like pie on steriods. I promise the pecan pie won’t be missed with these bars on the table.
First, the filling is so sticky and rich. It’s the same filling I use for my mini pecan pies and I swear I could eat it with a spoon.
The bar form rather than pie makes them easier to eat. Who doesn’t love a handheld treat?
You can mingle while enjoying your dessert without fear of balancing that plate somewhere.
Easy to Prepare
No messing around with a pie crust here. No dough chilling required.
The crust for these bars is one of my favorite shortbread recipes. It features brown butter (hello extra nuttiness) and lots of chopped pecans.
Because we’re browning the butter, you do need a little extra time to allow the butter to cool. But because that is not active baking time, these bars are still very easy to prepare.
The filling is even easier. All that’s needed is a quick stir to combine the ingredients and you’re good to go.
Brown Butter is Life
I mentioned above that the shortbread base uses brown butter. I promise you, it’s worth the extra time to brown and cool the butter.
The nutty, rich flavor the the browned butter provides is unreal. It combines so beautifully with the pecan pie filling.
If you’ve never browned butter, don’t be alarmed. It’s super easy and I’ll tell you how to do it.
Start off by heating a skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and allow it to melt. Once it’s melted it will start to bubble and sizzle a little. This is fine.
Whisk the butter almost constantly, watching the bottom of the skillet. The butter will separate a bit and form little bits on the bottom of the skillet. We want these to get browned.
Watch carefully and continue to whisk. The butter may start to foam a lot and make it hard to see the bottom of the skillet. It will eventually stop foaming.
When the bits on the bottom of the skillet are a deep golden and the butter is letting off a nutty smell, you have browned butter. This will only take 5 to 10 minutes.
Ingredients for Pecan Pie Shortbread Bars
How to Make Pecan Pie Shortbread Bars
Start by browning the butter. Once it’s ready, pour it into a shallow dish and place it in the refrigerator for about an hour. You’ll need it to be back in solid form but still soft enough to cream.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Once butter is ready, add it to the bowl of a stand mixer. Add brown sugar and powdered sugar to the mixer and cream together until well combined, 1 minute.
Add flour and mix until it just comes together. Stir in chopped pecans. Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment. Press the shortbread dough into the prepared pan. Bake for 12 minutes. Meanwhile, make the filling.
Whisk together the filling ingredients in a bowl. Pour onto the parbaked shortbread crust. Place back in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
It will start to get brown at this point. Remove from the oven, cover in foil and bake another 12 minutes.
Allow to cool completely then cut into 2-inch squares.
More Thanksgiving Desserts:
Pecan Pie Shortbread Bars
For the Brown Butter Pecan Shortbread:
- 3/4 cup salted butter
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans
For the Pecan Pie Filling:
- 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp. butter, melted
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 cups finely chopped pecans
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8 pan with foil and set aside. For the shortbread crust: Cook butter in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, 6 to 8 minutes or until butter begins to turn golden brown. Remove pan from heat immediately and pour butter into a shallow dish. Do not cover. Chill 1 hour or until butter is cool and begins to solidify.
- Beat butter at medium speed with a stand mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugars, beating until smooth. Gradually add flour to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended. Stir in the pecans.
- Press the shortbread dough into the prepared pan. Bake for 12 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the pecan pie filling.
- Whisk together all the filling ingredients. Pour into the prebaked crust. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Cover top with foil and bake another 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Carefully lift out the foil and cut into even squares.