Individual Pecan Pie Bars are so much easier to make and way more convenient to serve than a pecan pie! Plus, they are perfectly portioned and freeze beautifully!
You can literally grab one out of the freezer and eat it. No thawing, no waiting, just enjoy the BEST pecan pie bar you have ever tasted.
When I owned my restaurant, I made all of the desserts from scratch and this is a take-off of my pecan pie that everyone raved about. Even people who don't love pecan pie (me!), love this recipe!
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It's not too sweet, it's not too gooey, and it's not too nutty. It's the perfect balance of everything that makes these pecan pie bars even BETTER than a whole pecan pie.
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely! I used a quarter pan in this recipe that measures about 9"x 13", so you can adjust your ingredient amounts up or down depending on the size pan you have and how many pecan pie bars you want to make. The baking time will be the same as long as the depth of the crust and filling are just about an inch high.
They can be kept room temp for up to 2 hours but, according to the USDA, they should be refrigerated after that because they contain eggs. I usually let my pecan pie bars cool for an hour or so on the counter and then put them in the refrigerator to completely cool. This makes them much easier to cut into perfect squares and allows the filling to set up completely. I go into more detail about how to freezer them for longer storage later in this article.
What is Blackstrap Molasses?
The key ingredient in this pecan pie bar recipe is the blackstrap molasses. Please don't skip it!
Blackstrap molasses is the least sweet variety of molasses due to a third boiling. It's thick and dark and balances the sweetness of the corn syrup and sugars in this pecan pie bar recipe.
There are 3 basic types of molasses.
Light molasses is when sugarcane or beet juice is boiled once. This produces a thin, light colored molasses and is best used for sweetening hot cereals and is often used in deserts. It contains the highest percentage of sugar.
Dark molasses is when sugar cane or beet juice is boiled a second time. This produces a darker color and is less sweet. It is often used in baking and gives a very distinct taste to food.
Blackstrap molasses goes through a third boiling and is the least sweet of all three. It has a distinct flavor and makes these pecan pie bars absolutely delicious!
Blackstrap molasses is easy to find in most grocery stores or speciality markets and it's also available on Amazon.
Amazon affiliate link: Blackstrap molasses
If you can't find blackstrap molasses, use an equal amount of the darkest molasses you can find.
What is the Best Way to Freeze Pecan Pie Bars?
After the bars are baked and cooled at room temperature, I refrigerate them overnight to make it easier to cut the bars.
Then, I line a few trays with parchment paper and set the individual bars about ½" apart and freeze overnight.
You can then put them into freezer bags or containers and they won't stick together. When you want want one, just grab one out.
You don't even need to let them thaw before eating. In fact, frozen is my favorite way to eat them! The filling doesn't freeze all the way and the shortbread is nice and crunchy. Give it a try!
The pecan pie bars will last in the freezer a good 6-12 months. That makes them perfect for making ahead and grabbing out of the freezer when you need a quick dessert. YAY!
Can I use this Recipe to Make a Pecan Pie Instead?
Yep! In fact, it started out as a Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker & Air Crisper Recipe and I tested it twice that way before switching to pecan pie bars.
The reason I switched is because not everyone has a pie pan that will fit into the Ninja Foodi and this recipe is so delicious, I wanted everyone to be able to make it!
The pie pan that I used for testing this recipe as a pie is the 9" Fat Daddio pie pan and it fits perfectly in the Ninja Foodi PC & AC.
You can also use the filling ingredients to make a pie in a larger pie pan to bake in the oven if you prefer. Here are the instructions.
Pecan Pie in the Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker & Air Crisper
The 9" Fat Daddio pie pan fits in the 6.5qt and the 8qt Ninja Foodi on the reversible rack in the low position. This makes a full size pie with 8 good size pieces.
If you have the 5qt Ninja Foodi, the pie pan will fit, but you will need to use the legs from the basket to hold the pan and it will be a little harder to remove. I would wait until it cools and you can simply reach in and pull it out. Or, you can make a sling out of foil to lift it in and out.
For the 9" Fat Daddio pan, you will want to buy or make a pie crust. Here is my recipe for a double pie crust, so you can simply cut the ingredients in half for one pie. I also recommend blind baking the crust before adding the pecan pie filling for the best crust, but it is not absolutely necessary.
I just found that the bottom crust was soggier and less cooked if I didn't blind bake it. Because the pecan pie bakes for a long time, only pre bake your pie crust until the edges are just set and pale in color or you run the risk of burning the edges. You can also cover the edges in foil when you bake the pecan pie.
Homemade Pie Crust Recipe
How to Blind Bake a Pie Crust in the Ninja Foodi
To make the pecan pie filling for the 9" Fat Daddio Pie Pan, use the same measurements as in this recipe for pecan pie bars. Instead of chopping the pecans, add 1-1½ cups of pecan halves to the top after pouring in the filling.
Bake the pie on the reversible rack in the low position using the bake/ roast function on 325℉/165℃ for about 10-15 minutes and then cover with either silicone covers or aluminum foil and continue to bake another 25-30 minutes or until the filling is set and firm.
Allow the pie to cool for about an hour and then place in the fridge to completely set up.
How to Make a Pecan Pie in the Oven
The only differences between making a pecan pie in the oven versus the Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker & Air Crisper are in the size of the pie pan you might use and you will need to increase the baking temperature.
If you are using a deep dish pie pan, you will want to increase your filling ingredients. Here are my suggestions.
- ½ cup butter (salted or unsalted)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 ½ Tablespoons blackstrap molasses
- 1 - 1 ½ cups pecan halves
- 1 pie shell
Combine butter, sugar, and corn syrup over low heat. Add salt and blackstrap molassesStir until all the sugars are melted. Turn off the heat.
Beat up the 4 eggs with the vanilla extract and temper the eggs with the warm sugar mixture. See recipe below for more details and video.
Pour mixture into pie shell and bake in a preheated oven at 325℉/165℃ for 50-55 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
How to make Pecan Pie Bars
I used the Ninja Foodi XL oven to make the Pecan Pie Bars, but you can use any oven, and my only suggestion to is watch the browning on top and decrease the temperature if needed.
In my experience the XL oven does cook a little faster than a traditional oven, but not by much.
If you are using the Ninja Foodi Digital Flip Oven, you will want to decrease your temperature to 300℉/150℃ and keep an eye on them because they may cook faster since it is a smaller space with less heat loss.
I love this recipe because it is super easy and I'll take you through it step-by-step, so no worries if this is your first time making homemade pecan pie bars.
The crust I use is a homemade shortbread dough and it goes perfectly with the pecan pie filling. The shortbread, even though cooked prior to adding the filling is not a crispy cookie like bottom. It does soften up, but it's delicious!
Make the Shortbread. Cream the butter and sugar together either using a hand mixer, stand mixer or by hand with a wooden spoon. Add in the vanilla extract and the sea salt. Mix to combine.
Add the flour and mix to combine until you have a crumbly mixture. I start out with a wooden spoon and then finish mixing with my hands because it's easier!
The mixture will be very crumbly and look like a mess. Do not worry, it will come together. When you squeeze some of the mixture, it should hold together.
When all of the flour is combined and you have crumbly mixture, pour it out onto a cutting board or clean surface. You don't have to flour the surface, the dough won't stick.
Press the mixture together until you have a ball of dough.
Prepare your 9"x 13" pan by coating with a little butter and lining with parchment paper. The purpose of the butter is to hold the parchment in place.
Press the shortbread dough into the pan. I usually start at the edges and form those first and then press the rest into the bottom of the pan. You want to make sure the shortbread crust goes up the sides of the pan.
Try to get it as even as possible, but don't worry too much. It will work out just fine.
Place the pan into the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes. This step is important so that the butter gets cold before baking.
Make the filling. While the shortbread is chilling, make the pecan pie bar filling. You can use the Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker & Air Crisper or any medium size saucepan on the stove.
Add the corn syrup, sugar, and butter to the pot and heat on high, stirring frequently. Add salt and blackstrap molasses. Stir until the sugars dissolve and the butter melts. Turn off the heat.
With the pot turned off, let the sugar mixture cool slightly. I usually transfer it to a large measuring cup with a pour spout to make it easier to temper the eggs, but you don't have to.
Beat three eggs with the vanilla extract in a medium size mixing bowl.
When the sugar mixture has cooled slightly, it's time to temper the eggs. Give the sugar mixture a stir and pour about ¼ cup of the warm sugar/molasses mixture into the eggs. Whisk until combined. If you see any strands of cooked egg, your sugar/molasses mixture is too hot. Stop and wait for it too cool longer. Continue adding the sugar/molasses mixture ¼ cup at a time until you have a good cup of the sugar/molasses mixture mixed in with the eggs.
Then, you can either dump the egg/sugar mixture into the inner pot and stir to combine or pour in the remaining sugar/ molasses mixture into the egg mixture and whisk to combine. Either way works just fine. Set the mixture to the side.
Prebake the shortbread crust. It's important to prebake the shortbread crust so it has a chance to set up completely before the filling goes on top. If you skip this step, you will end up with uncooked shortbread.
I used the Ninja Foodi XL oven for this, but you can use any oven and keep the times and temps the same, except for the digital flip oven. If you are using the Ninja Foodi Flip oven, I would decrease the temperature to 400℉/200℃.
Preheat the oven for 5-10 minutes on 425℉/220℃. Even though the Ninja Foodi oven has a short preheat time, I let it preheat longer for this recipe.
Place the tray with the shortbread on the middle rack. In the Ninja Foodi XL oven, I used level #2.
Bake on 425℉ for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool 5-10 minutes.
Top with Filling & Pecans and bake. Pour the filling over the top of the cooled shortbread and top with pecan pieces.
I don't measure the pecan pieces, but it's between 1-1½ cups. If you have pecan halves, crush them up a little to make the pecan pie bars easier to cut and to eat.
Sprinkle the pecans over the filling until they are covering most of the surface.
No need to preheat the oven this time, put the tray into the oven and bake at 325℉/165℃ for 30 minutes.
If you have hotter spots in your oven, rotate the tray halfway through baking. I baked on level 2 in the Ninja Foodi XL oven.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature for 1-2 hours. Then you can either cut and serve or refrigerate for several hours or overnight before cutting.
Cut, Serve, & Enjoy!
Tips for Cutting the Pecan Pie Bars
You can cut your pecan pie bars however big or small you like. The nutritional information is based on cutting the bars about 2"x 3" and I was able to get 42 pecan pie bars out of one recipe.
The easiest way to cut the bars, in my opinion, is to chill them overnight and cut them cold. The parchment paper will lift right out and you can put the bars right on a cutting board.
Take a long, sharp knife and cut equal size strips across the pan and then cut strips the other way to make the individual bars.
Pecan Pie Bars
- Ninja Foodi XL oven
- ⅔ cup white sugar
- 1 cup salted butter room temperature
- ½ tsp fine grind sea salt
- 2 tsps vanilla extract
- 2 cups flour all purpose
Pecan Pie Filling
- ⅔ cup light corn syrup
- ¾ cup white sugar
- 6 TBSP salted butter
- ¼ tsp fine grind sea salt
- 1 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-1½ cups pecan pieces
- Cream the butter and sugar together either using a hand mixer, stand mixer or by hand with a wooden spoon. Add in the vanilla extract and the sea salt. Mix to combine.
- Add the flour and mix to combine until you have a crumbly mixture. I start out with a wooden spoon and then finish mixing with my hands because it's easier! When all of the flour is combined and you have crumbly mixture, pour it out onto a cutting board or clean surface. You don't have to flour the surface, the dough won't stick. Press the mixture together until you have a ball of dough.
- Prepare your 9" x 13" pan by coating with a little butter and lining with parchment paper. Press the shortbread dough into the pan. I usually start at the edges and form those first and then press the rest into the bottom of the pan.
- Put the pan into the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes. I usually make the filling while the shortbread is chilling.
- Preheat the oven for 5-10 minutes on 425℉/220℃. Even though the Ninja Foodi oven has a short preheat time, I let it preheat longer for this recipe. Place the tray with the shortbread on the middle rack. In the Ninja Foodi XL oven, I used level #2. Bake on 425℉ for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool 5-10 minutes.
Pecan Pie Filling
- Add the corn syrup, sugar, and butter to the pot and heat on high, stirring frequently. Add salt and blackstrap molasses. Stir until the sugars dissolve and the butter melts. Turn off the heat.
- With the pot turned off, let the sugar mixture cool slightly. I usually transfer it to a large measuring cup with a pour spout to make it easier to temper the eggs, but you don't have to.
- Beat three eggs with the vanilla extract in a medium size mixing bowl.
- When the sugar mixture has cooled slightly, it's time to temper the eggs. Give the sugar mixture a stir and pour about ¼ cup of the warm sugar/molasses mixture into the eggs. Whisk until combined. If you see any strands of cooked egg, your sugar/molasses mixture is too hot. Stop and wait for it too cool longer. Continue adding the sugar/molasses mixture ¼ cup at a time until you have a good cup of the sugar/molasses mixture mixed in with the eggs.
- Then you can pour the remaining filling into the egg mixture and whisk until combined.
Assemble & Bake
- Pour the sugar/molasses pecan pie filling over the shortbread and sprinkle the pecans on top, covering most of the surface.
- No need to preheat the oven this time, put the tray into the oven and bake at 325℉/165℃ for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature for 1-2 hours. Then you can either cut and serve or refrigerate for several hours or overnight before cutting. Serve & Enjoy!
ABOUT THE RECIPE AUTHOR, LOUISE LONG
Louise is a full-time recipe creator and food blogger @ The Salted Pepper. She has over 30 years of experience with cooking and recipe development. She owned a restaurant for several years and was a full-time RN until retiring to blog full-time.
She published her first cookbook in the Fall of 2018 and is very interested in writing several more.
Louise is also the creator of an online Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooking Course with over 100 instructional step-by-step videos. People absolutely rave about the course and all the value they have received from it.
Louise has several very active Facebook groups that help people with the basics of cooking and getting the most out of the Ninja Foodi.
Louise is also a YouTube creator and you can find most of her recipes in video format on The Salted Pepper YouTube channel.
She is very responsive to messages and eager to help in any way she can. Get more Information about Louise & contact information
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Thank you for sharing this recipe . I tried it this past christmas and everybody loved it . I couldn't find my black strap molasses so i used local organic honey. i'm going to make more ,this time with molasses . i'm interested in tasting the difference.Thank you again. i'm sure this is going to be tradition in my family.
PS I'm a big fan of your youtube channel .
Thank you so much and I'm so glad you enjoyed the pecan bars! I'll be curious to hear which you like better, the honey or blackstrap molasses.
Your recipe says 1 cup of butter for the crust, but your video says 2 cups. I'm in the process of making it. Which should I use?
Both say 1 cup, but it might be confusing in the video because I say 2 sticks which equals 1 cup. Each stick of the butter I used is ½ cup.
my flour mixture is not sticking together - seems dry
It is dry and crumbly, but should stick together when you press it into the pan. If you want to see what mine looked like, you can look at the pictures in the post or watch the video.