Pumpkin Pecan Pie Bars
Combine two delicious desserts into one to make these pumpkin pecan pie bars! This homemade fall treat has the perfect blend of cozy flavors. Try the recipe for Thanksgiving or on a crisp fall day!
Pecan pie and pumpkin pie are fine and dandy on their own, but they are even better together. I took the brown sugar shortbread crust from my maple pecan bar recipe and topped it with pumpkin pie filling and pecan crumble topping. The layers are perfectly paired and delicious! Plus, it was easy to make.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Two desserts in one! Pumpkin pie plus pecan pie in dessert bar form, what could be better?
- Cozy fall flavors. The pumpkin spice paired with pecans and brown sugar makes the perfect blend of seasonal flavors.
- Easy holiday recipe. These bars would be the perfect dessert for Friendsgiving.
- Satisfying texture and flavor. Creamy pumpkin filling against buttery shortbread crust and crunchy pecan topping makes this a treat for the tastebuds!
- Pumpkin purée: Use 100% pure pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling). I prefer Libby’s.
- Pecans: Nuts are used in both the crust and the topping. I suggest
- Evaporated milk: You will need one 12-ounce can. Shake it well before using.
- Butter: Unsalted butter is needed for the shortbread crust. Make sure it’s room temperature so the mixture comes together easily.
- Pumpkin pie spice: Use store-bought or make your own!
Refer to the recipe card for ingredient details and measurements.
Make a graham cracker crust. Combine 2 cups graham cracker crumbs with 1/3 cup sugar and 1/2 cup melted butter. Press into a 9×13 pan and bake at 350 F for 10 to 15 minutes.
Add a topping. A dollop of whipped cream or scoop of vanilla ice cream pairs perfectly! You could also do a drizzle of salted caramel or maple syrup.
Use different nuts. Walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts would be a delicious substitute for pecans.
Halve the recipe and bake it in an 8×8 pan. This is a good option if you are having a small dinner party or just baking for two! Baking time will be the same for the crust and 5 minutes shorter for the filling.
How to Make Pumpkin Pecan Pie Bars
- Make the crust. In a food processor, chop pecans into small pieces. Add flour, brown sugar, butter and salt. Process until large crumbles form. transfer to a 9×13 pan and press down firmly.
- Bake the crust at 350 F for 15 minutes or until fragrant. Set aside to cool.
- Make the filling. In a large bowl, whisk together all the pumpkin filling ingredients. Transfer to the crust and spread into an even layer.
- Bake the bars at 350 F for 30 minutes.
- Make the pecan topping while the bars bake. Combine chopped pecans, brown sugar and melted butter until nuts are evenly coated.
- Add topping to bars and bake for 10 minutes longer. Cool bars complety, cut and serve.
Weigh your ingredients. This is important for the crust so it doesn’t turn out too dry. if you don’t have a scale, spoon the flour into a measuring cup and level with a knife.
Use a metal pan, not glass. Glass retains heat longer and can cause the bottom and sides of the bars to over-bake.
Don’t over-bake. The crust is done when fragrant and slightly golden. Add the pecan topping when the pumpkin filling is pretty jiggly on the center. The bars are done when the edges are set and center only slightly jiggles and is not unsteady.
Cool completely before cutting. The filling continues to cook as it cools so it needs time to set. If the bars are still warm when cut, the crust will crumble and the slices won’t be as clean. Best to wait until they’re cooled!
Storage and Make Ahead Tips
Store bars covered in the refrigerator before up to 4 days. Place parchment paper between layers if necessary.
Freeze bars for up to 2 months. After they have cooled completely, flash freeze for an hour, or until firm, then wrap in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container in the freezer. Unwrap and defrost in the refrigerator before serving.
Make ahead the bars a day ahead of time and store in the refrigerator. Serve cold or at room temperature. Alternatively, you can bake the crust ahead of time and store it loosely covered at room temperature for up to 24 hours. Mix the filling and store covered in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Bring to room temperature before baking.
Yes, but it tends to have more liquid than canned filling. I suggest patting it dry with a clean cloth to remove excess moisture.
Yes, but you will have to reduce the sugars. I suggest cutting them in half. If you try this substitution, let us know in the comments!
Yes. Chop the pecans into fine crumbs and use an electric mixer to combine the ingredients. You can also use your hands if you prefer!
Whichever you prefer! They taste delicious either way. The bars will keep at room temperature for a few hours if you decide to serve them that way.
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Get the Recipe: Pumpkin Pecan Pie Bars
Pecan Shortbread Crust
- ½ cup (57 g) pecan halves
- 1 ½ cups (187 g) all-purpose flour, measured properly
- ½ cup (100 g) packed light brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (113 g or 1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1 inch cubes
- ½ cup (100 g) light brown sugar
- ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- 1 (15 ounce can) pure pumpkin purée, (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 (12 ounce can) evaporated milk
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 cup (120 g) coarsely chopped pecans
- ½ cup (100 g) light brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons melted butter
Pecan Shortbread Crust
- Preheat oven to 350℉ and grease a metal 9×13 baking pan. Set aside.
- In a food processor, chop pecans into small pieces. Add flour, brown sugar, salt and butter. Process in 1 second pulses until crumbles form.
- Transfer mixture to prepared pan and press evenly into the bottom.Bake at 350℉ for 15 minutes or until firm and fragrant. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, vigorously whisk all the pumpkin filling ingredients until smooth.
- Transfer mixture to partially baked crust (it’s okay if it’s still warm). Spread into an even layer and bake for 30 minutes. Prepare the pecan topping while the bars bake.
- In a bowl, toss together the pecans, brown sugar and melted butter until the nuts are evenly coated.
- After 30 minutes of baking, remove the bars from the oven and sprinkle the pecans over the top. Return the bars to the oven to bake 10 minutes longer. Bars are done when the edges are set and the enter jiggles slightly when gently shaken.
- Cool completely before cutting into 15 large squares. Serve at room temperature or chilled.