Get the same rich & nutty dessert flavors of pecan pie without all the work of pie crust with this easy pecan pie bars recipe. Also known as “pecan pie surprise bars”, this recipe uses cake mix as an added shortcut for the crust.
My husband’s favorite pie recipe is pecan pie. But, after 32 years of marriage, I just made my first one! (Recipe coming soon.) While I was searching for fun Fall dessert recipes to try this year, I found this recipe in an old, old cookbook of my mom’s.
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
If you’re looking for a recipe that is quick & easy to put together and get in the oven, this is for you! A cake mix makes the crust layer easy to put together, and the filling mixes together in minutes.
This bar recipe makes a 9×13 pan full, so it can be cut into quite a few pieces. Cut them really small for bite sized pieces for a party assortment tray, or larger if served as a dessert. They freeze beautifully, so you can bake ahead and be ready for dessert for whenever you need it.
(For the exact measurements, please refer to the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.)
- 1 package yellow cake mix
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1 egg
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups dark corn syrup
- 3 eggs
Instructions for the Pecan Pie Bars Crust
- Line the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan with a sling of parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Set aside 2/3 cup dry cake mix to be used in the filling later. In a large mixing bowl, combine the rest of the dry cake mix, melted butter and 1 egg until mixed together and crumbly.
- Press into the bottom of the parchment lined pan. I found the mixture was quite sticky, so I folded down the parchment paper while I pressed it into the pan. (Then pulled the parchment back to the sides to bake.)
- Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until starting to turn golden brown.
Instructions for the Pecan Pie Bars Filling
- While the crust is baking, prepare the filling by mixing together the reserved dry cake mix, 1/2 cup brown sugar, corn syrup and 3 eggs. Use an electric stand or hand mixer and beat at medium speed for 1-2 minutes.
- Pour the filling over the warm, partially baked crust and sprinkle with chopped pecans.
- Turn up the oven to 375 degrees and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the filling is set.
- Run a knife alongside the edges of the pan (where the parchment paper isn’t touching) to loosen the bars from the pan while it is warm.
- Cool bars in the pan and then remove by pulling up the edges of the parchment sling.
- Cut with a hot, sharp knife and serve.
Tips & Tricks
- I found the crust dough to be quite sticky and difficult to press into the bottom of the pan. Using parchment paper to help press it down worked really well.
- Be sure to run a knife along the narrow ends of the pan while the bars are still hot, or the filling will harden against it and the bars will be harder to remove.
- To get nice even bars, cut with a very sharp knife that has been heated under running hot water and dried with a cloth. Reheat and dry between cuts.
How to serve pecan pie bars
These delicious pecan pie bars are very rich, so they can be cut into small squares if you want to serve them as finger food at a party. Or if you’d like to serve them as more of a dessert, cut them into larger slices and serve with a scoop of ice cream or whip cream. Yum!
I love to use a professional baking pan for squares like this so the corners are nice and square. I’ve listed some of my favorite tools below.
(Don’t forget to check out my Amazon storefront for some of my favorite kitchen tools!)
Pecan pie bars can be stored on the countertop in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
To freeze pecan pie bars, lay the completely cooled bars in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw them overnight before serving.
More Bar Recipes:
- Scotcheroos – a delicious no bake dessert bar recipe
- This rice crispy chocolate bar recipe is one of my favorite bar recipes ever.
- Peanut butter fudge bars are always a hit at potlucks and bake sales.
- Cranberry lemon bars are a yummy dessert bar perfect for the holidays – or anytime of the year!
- This classic lemon bar recipe came from my Grandma’s recipe box.
PIN THIS RECIPE TO REMEMBER IT LATER: