Bourbon Pecan Pie Bars taste like the favorite holiday pie, but in bar form. Made without corn syrup, these pecan bars have a buttery, crispy crust and a decent pecan filling. They are the perfect dessert for any fall or winter gathering. Makes 9 large bars.
Thanksgiving is all about family, friends and delicious food. Luckily, the food blogging community is all about these things as well.
Today, we’re finishing up the week with desserts, drinks and various Thanksgiving leftovers.
If you scroll on down, you’ll find a list of all these awesome recipes, too. 🙂
Why I love this recipe:
I’ve made us Bourbon Pecan Pie Bars to finish off this week of Thanksgiving deliciousness.
It’s a twist on my Bourbon Pecan Pie, which happens to be one of our Thanksgiving traditions.
I have to say, this treat is well-loved in our home because we’re major fans of pecans in anything… and when you add the bourbon, they just sing.
Also, as an added bonus, these Pecan Bars don’t involve corn syrup, like the traditional pie does.
Since I am currently not drinking, I thought it might be fun to infuse dessert with a little something extra. The bourbon cooks off as the bars bake and leaves a delicious and distinctive taste that’s hard not to love.
Other Thanksgiving desserts that you won’t want to miss: Orange Cranberry Bars | Spiced Apple Upside Down Cake with Bourbon Caramel Glaze | Bourbon Pecan Tassies | Cranberry Crumb Bars
Need baking inspiration? Check out my Dessert Recipe Index for help!
What you need to make this recipe:
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Let’s talk ingredients!
In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Unsalted butter—this serves as the base for the crust of these bourbon pecan bars. I like to use butter in this recipe because it imparts flavor, as well as affects the texture.
- Unsweetened applesauce—this goes into the crust, as well, and helps give the crust a fluffy bite.
- Brown sugar—you may use either light or dark brown sugar in this recipe. Both work well!
- All-purpose flour—we keep unbleached AP flour in our house, but the regular kind works just fine. We have not tried this recipe with a gluten free flour blend and do not recommend it at this time.
- Rolled oats—not the instant kind, otherwise they will fall apart.
- Kosher salt—a medium grain kosher salt is my go-to. You may use a similar grain sea salt, too.
- Granulated sugar—also referred to as white sugar, this is one of the sweeteners we use in these bars.
- Eggs—these provide structure to our bars, and there is no substitute.
- Maple syrup—the real deal, not the “maple-flavored syrup”
- Honey—we keep locally harvested honey in our house, but use whatever you’ve got on hand!
- Bourbon—something that’s worth drinking but not something that’s incredibly fancy
- Vanilla extract—it adds a bit of vanilla undertones to the recipe. Use the real deal if you can afford it.
- Pecan halves—or chopped pecans, if you’d rather. I personally like using halves.
How to make Bourbon Pecan Pie Bars
Prepare. Preheat the oven.
Spray a square cake pan with nonstick baking spray. Line it with parchment paper. Set it aside.
Make the buttery crust
Combine the softened butter, applesauce and brown sugar in a large bowl. Mix until smooth with a hand mixer or a spatula.
Measure in the flour, oats and salt. Mix until combined.
Spread the crust onto the bottom of the prepared baking dish. You may use your hands or an offset spatula to help with this part because the mixture is really sticky.
Since the shortbread crust base is sticky, give your hands a spritz of the nonstick baking spray if you’re using them to spread it out.
Bake the crust once it has been evenly spread out across the bottom of the baking dish. Bake until golden brown.
It does not need to brown up, but it does need to be firm. Why? If it’s not, it will mix with the filling, and we do not want that.
Set the crust aside and let it cool slightly while you mix the filling.
Make the filling and bake the pecan bars
Break the eggs and measure in the sugar in a large bowl. Use a whisk to whip the two ingredients together until light yellow and creamy.
Measure in the salt, maple syrup, honey, bourbon, vanilla extract and melted butter. Whisk until incorporated.
Add the pecan halves. Use a rubber spatula to fold those gently into the filling batter.
Pour the filling on top of the baked crust, and transfer to the oven.
Bake the bars for 45-55 minutes, or until the filling is set.
How do you know the bars are set?
They won’t be jiggly when you pick the tray up!
Let cool for 30-45 minutes before slicing and serving.
Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream, a scoop of ice cream, etc., and enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! You can make these bars 2-3 days in advance. Bake them, let them cool completely, and then cover with plastic wrap. Slice ’em up when it’s time to serve them with a super sharp knife.
The filling of these pecan pie bars gets to be kind of dense, as you’d expect a true pecan pie to become. If it’s runny, that means your pie or pie bars haven’t baked long enough.
These bars puff up in the oven as they bake, but they sink back down once they cool.
The texture is a giveaway for if the pie (or pie bars) are done. These bars shouldn’t jiggle wildly when you move the cake pan they’re in. A little jiggle is OK, but anything that dislodges the pecans means you need to make it a little longer.
Blogsgiving Progressive Dinner Menu for Friday, November 14
More Thanksgiving Dessert Ideas
- Grandma’s Pecan Pie from A Joyfully Mad Kitchen
- Sweet Potato Pie from Think Fruitful
- Nutella Pumpkin S’mores Tart from bethcakes
Thanksgiving After-Dinner Drinks
Thanksgiving Leftover Ideas
- Cheesy Potato Croquettes from Hello Little Home
- Leftover Stuffed Egg Rolls with Cranberry Dipping Sauce from Cake ‘n’ Knife
Quick tips and tricks to the best pecan pies bar recipe:
- Make these bars early for entertaining. They’ll keep for a few days, so make them when you can and reheat slightly in a warm oven before serving. Or serve at room temperature with your favorite toppings.
- Switch it up! We love these bars as they are, but you could easily add a handful of chocolate chips to add some chocolate flavor to the bars! Pecan and chocolate pair beautifully, after all.
- How to store: Store in the refrigerator in an airtight food storage container for up to 5 days.
More pecan desserts to try:
… YUM. That’s all I’ve gotta say, y’all, and I truly hope you’ve enjoyed this Thanksgiving celebration as much as I have!
If you’re interested in trying out these Drunken Pecan Pie Bars, here’s how you can make ’em at home…
Bourbon Pecan Pie Bars taste like the favorite holiday pie... elevated. With a buttery homemade crust, these sweet, decadent bars are the perfect dessert for any fall or winter gathering and are made without corn syrup!
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ½ cup brown sugar (dark or light work)
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup rolled oats (not the instant kind)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Bourbon Pecan Pie Filling
- 3 eggs
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup pure maple syrup
- 1/3 cup local honey
- 2 oz. bourbon
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/3 cup pecan halves
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9"x9" square cake pan with nonstick baking spray, then line with parchment paper. Set aside.
Make the Butter Crust
- In a large bowl, combine the softened butter, applesauce and brown sugar. Using a hand mixer or a rubber spatula, mix together until smooth.
- Measure in the flour, oats and salt. Stir until combined.
- Spread the crust mixture onto the bottom of the prepared baking dish using a rubber spatula or your hands. (If you use your hands, spray them with nonstick baking spray so that the mixture doesn't stick to you.)
- When the crust is evenly spread out across the bottom of the baking dish, pop it in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. You don't want the crust to brown, but you do want it to firm up.
- When the crust has pre-baked, remove from the oven and set aside.
Make the Bourbon Pecan Pie Filling
- In a large bowl, break the eggs and measure in the sugar. Using a hand mixer or a metal whisk, mix until the ingredients are light yellow and creamy.
- Measure in the salt, maple syrup, honey, bourbon, vanilla extract and melted butter. Stir the ingredients until incorporated.
- Add the pecan halves to the mixture, and use a rubber spatula to stir them into the batter.
- Pour the filling on top of the baked crust, and transfer to the oven.
- Bake the bars for 45-60 minutes, or until the bars are set. (They'll have browned on top, and when you move the cake pan, they will not appear to be liquidy anymore.)
- When they are baked through, remove the bars from the oven.
- Let the bars cool for 30-45 minutes, then slice into even bars and serve.
This recipe makes 9 large squares, but you can easily slice the bars into smaller pieces for a bigger crowd. They're decadent enough that you don't need to have them be that big unless you want them to be. 🙂
How to store: Store in the refrigerator in an airtight food storage container for up to 5 days.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Yield:9 large slices
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 532Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 99mgSodium: 210mgCarbohydrates: 65gFiber: 3gSugar: 45gProtein: 6g
Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.
Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her…