A buttery shortbread crust meets an indulgent pecan pie filling in these delicious pecan pie bars with sweetened condensed milk. The recipe has all the classic flavors of pecan pie in an easy bar dessert and might become your new favorite fall dessert!
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Condensed milk pecan pie bars without corn syrup
These simple and quick pecan pie bars with sweetened condensed milk deliver all the deliciousness of real pecan pie with way less hassle. The recipe comes together in a heartbeat, and there’s no need to mix, chill, and roll out pie crust. All good things in my book.
The bars consist of a buttery, chewy shortbread layer topped with the stars of the show, pecans and condensed milk. Using condensed milk puts a delicious twist on classic pecan pie bars and makes a great stand-in for corn syrup.
I love the subtle caramel flavor and gooey texture condensed milk lends to these bars. It’s the perfect amount of sweetness without being cloying.
These nutty, chewy pecan pie bars are one of my favorite holiday desserts, and they are perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas. They are also great for cookie platters and cookie boxes to gift away.
Friendly warning though, these condensed milk pecan bars are so scrumptious and positively decadent, it’s impossible to eat just one! You bet I’ve sneaked them in for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Reasons to love no corn syrup pecan bars
- Quick + easy: Because they whip up in no time, these easy pecan bars make the perfect sweet treat when you’re in a hurry and need a last-minute dessert.
- Feeds a crowd: Pecan bars without corn syrup are a great recipe for a group of people and can easily feed 10 to 16. You can also double the recipe if you need more servings.
- Customizable: You have so many options to adapt the recipe and make it your own. I’ll share tips for ingredient swaps and add-ins in the variations section below.
Get ready to fall in love with these irresistible pecan pie bars with sweetened condensed milk! They bake up easy with a handful of ingredients and just 15 minutes prep time. Refer to the recipe card at the end of the post for exact quantities.
- Pecans provide crunch and have a slight bitterness that pairs beautifully with the condensed milk and brown sugar. I used whole pecan halves, but you can also make the recipe with chopped pecans.
- Condensed milk: No corn syrup is needed for these bars! Instead, we use a can of sweetened condensed milk. Condensed milk and pecans are a heavenly pair because the milk caramelizes as the bars bake, creating a delicious milk toffee aroma.
- Brown sugar gives amazing flavor and sweetness. We use brown sugar in both the crust and the filling.
- Butter infuses an irresistibly buttery aroma in every bite. Salted and unsalted butter will work here. There’s no need to soften the butter. Cold butter is perfect for shortbread.
- Flour: 2 cups of all-purpose flour is all you need for this simple pecan bar recipe. For best success, spoon and level the flour into your measuring cup or weigh it with a digital kitchen scale.
- Eggs: The recipe requires 2 large eggs. Allow the eggs to warm up on the counter or soak them in warm water for 15 minutes before making the filling.
- Sea salt (optional): Magic happens when you sprinkle flaky sea salt onto the bars to help balance out the sweetness of the pecan pie filling.
How to make pecan pie bars with sweetened condensed milk
Let’s bake! From beginners to seasoned bakers, pecan pie bars without corn syrup are a dessert that anyone can make! Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of the recipe.
Step 1: Prepare for baking
Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C / gas mark 4. Line a 9 in x 13 in / 23 x 33 cm baking pan (tin) with parchment (baking) paper.
Step 2: Mix shortbread crust
Add the flour, butter, and brown sugar into a large mixing bowl. Using a pastry cutter or a large fork, cut the butter into the flour until the flour is coated and the mixture looks crumbly.
Step 3: Pre-bake crust
Transfer the dough mixture into the prepared baking pan (tin). Use your hands or a spatula to press the crumbs into an even layer. Bake the crust for 20 to 25 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool for 15 minutes.
Step 4: Mix the filling
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the condensed milk, brown sugar, and eggs until well combined. Fold in the pecans.
Step 5: Bake bars
Evenly spread the pecan topping over the pre-baked crust. Bake for a further 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges are set and the center is baked through.
Step 6: Cool
Let the bars cool completely in the pan.
Step 7: Slice and serve
Slice into squares and enjoy! If desired, serve the pecan bars with caramel sauce, whipped cream, or ice cream.
Tips for success
Sticky sweet pecan pie bars with sweetened condensed milk make a superb Thanksgiving dessert and holiday bake. Here are some tips to help you achieve success.
- Toast pecans: To amplify the nutty aroma, toast the pecans. Arrange them in a single layer on a rimmed, lined baking sheet in a 350°F / 180°C / gas mark 4 oven until browned and fragrant, for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Don’t overbake. Take care not to over-bake the bars after adding the pecan layer, or they might turn out dry. For the best texture, bake the bars until the edges are set and the center is just cooked through.
- Let bars cool before cutting, or they might fall apart. I recommend refrigerating them for a few hours or overnight. Then slice them with a sharp knife and wipe the blade with warm water and paper towels between cuts.
Variations & add-ins
Here are a few ways you can customize your ooey-gooey pecan bars. It’s the perfect fall dessert, filled with so much cozy flavor. You’ll love how this recipe for pecan pie bars turns out!
- Different pecans: Instead of whole pecans, try any combination of pecans, halves, chopped, chips, etc.
- Walnuts: If pecans aren’t your thing, try these bars with walnuts or a mix of different nuts.
- Cinnamon: For a festive holiday twist, add 1 to 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon to the filling.
- Toffee bits:
- Chocolate chips: To make chocolate chip pecan bars, stir 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips into the filling. Any type will work here, milk, semisweet, or bittersweet.
- Cocoa: Create chocolate pecan pie bars by mixing 1/4 cup cocoa powder into the filling.
- Chocolate: Another idea is to drizzle melted chocolate on top of this pecan bar recipe.
You can enjoy the pecan pie bars “plain” – they are truly delicious this way. But then again, why not go for a little extra indulgence and drizzle them with caramel sauce? Or you can go all in and add a scoop of ice cream and sweetened whipped cream.
Making condensed milk pecan bars ahead of time
Pie bars are fantastic to prepare ahead of time, so feel free to bake this recipe a day or two in advance.
Alternately, you can combine the crust, mix the filling, and store them covered in the fridge for a day.
How to store pecan pie bars with sweetened condensed milk
Once the gooey pecan pie bars have fully cooled, store them well covered at room temperature for 3 days. If you would prefer to keep them refrigerated, place them in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.