These gluten-free and vegan pecan pie bars feature a delicious caramel brown sugar pecan filling and golden shortbread crust.

Close up of a stack of pecan pie bars on a cutting board.

Pecan pie bars are the ultimate holiday dessert, don’t you think? They’re decadent, gooey and full of pecan pie flavour without the actual pecan pie. Perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas dessert spreads.

This vegan pecan bar recipe is made with just 8 ingredients plus some baking basics like cinnamon and vanilla. You’ll love how easy they are…oh, and no corn syrup needed!

They also happen to be gluten-free, so they work well for those with special dietary needs.

Recipe Features

  • Dietary Features: These bars are completely vegan and gluten-free.
  • Amazingly rich and decadent but made without corn syrup, heavy cream or butter.
  • Perfect dessert for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • Great for serving a crowd since they come in the perfect bite-size serving, instead of large slices of pie. No cutlery required!
  • They transport well so you can take them to share or gift them.

Ingredient & Substitution Notes

Visual list of ingredients for making gluten-free pecan pie bars.

Complete list of ingredients with amounts and instructions is located in the recipe card below.

  • Flour: This recipe is gluten-free so uses almond flour and tapioca flour to create the shortbread base. It has not been tested with other flours. I recommend using a kitchen scale for accurate measurements and best results.
  • Maple Syrup: You’ll need maple syrup for both the crust and filling. It cannot be substituted with dry sweetener but you can use agave syrup or liquid monk fruit sweetener if you prefer.
  • Coconut Oil: Can be substituted with vegan butter if needed.
  • Cornstarch: You’ll need this to thicken the pecan filling. You should be able to swap it for arrowroot powder but I haven’t tried it.
  • Brown Sugar: Can be substituted for cane sugar or coconut sugar but brown sugar works best.
  • Almond Butter: Can be substituted for peanut butter, cashew butter or even tahini.
  • Pecans: Use plain, raw pecans with no added oil, sugar or salt.

How to Make Pecan Bars

Scroll down to find the complete written recipe. This section shows step-by-step photos for visual reference. Have a peek before you begin!

Before You Start: Gather all your ingredients and line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper so it sticks out over the edges of the pan. When you’re ready, preheat the oven to 365 F.

Step 1: Mix the shortbread crust ingredients together until it forms a soft dough.

Crumbly shortbread dough in a glass mixing bowl.

Step 2: Firmly press the dough into the lined baking pan until you have an even layer. Poke 15-20 small holes into the dough using a fork.

Step 3: Bake the dough for 13-15 minutes until lightly golden brown on top. Remove from the oven.

Tip: While the crust is baking you can begin preparing the pecan caramel filling

Step 4: Mix the cornstarch and water together in a small dish and set aside.

Add the coconut oil, maple syrup, sugar, almond butter, vanilla and cinnamon to a small saucepan.

Heat over low to medium heat until everything is melted and combined into a smooth mixture.

Stir in the cornstarch mixture and cook for another 20-30 seconds, stirring, until starting to thicken. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pecans.

Pour the pecan filling over the base layer and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Overview view of a pan of pecan pie bars.

Let cool at room temperature until you can place the pan in the fridge. Cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour to set before slicing and serving.

Enjoy your delicious pecan pie bars!

Stack of pecan squares on a small cutting board. Jar of coffee and stack of plates are in the background.

FAQs


Can you freeze pecan pie bars?

Yes! Pecan pie bars freeze well so you can go ahead and make them in advance to prepare for the holidays.

To freeze, I recommend slicing into squares then freezing in a freezer-safe ziplock bag, removing as much air as you can.

You can store them in the fridge for up to 3 months and simply pull from the freezer, thaw at room temperature or in the fridge and enjoy.

Stack of pecan pie squares on a cutting board.

Storing

Store the bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. If storing longer than 2 days, they’ll keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

They can also be frozen in a freezer-safe bag or wrapped and stored in airtight container for up to 3 months.

Be sure to let them cool completely before storing.

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Click here to leave a review.

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Stack of pecan squares on a small cutting board. Jar of coffee and stack of plates are in the background.

Vegan Pecan Pie Bars

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

The most amazing vegan and gluten-free pecan pie bars featuring the best shortbread crust and decadent caramel pecan filling. No corn syrup needed!


Scale

Ingredients

For the Shortbread Base

For the Pecan Caramel Filling

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch + 3 tablespoons water 
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil (70 g)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup (85 g) 
  • ½ cup brown sugar (80 g) 
  • 3 tablespoons almond butter (45 g)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt, optional
  • 1 heaping cup roughly chopped pecans (200 g)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 365 F and line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper so it sticks out over the edges of the pan on at least two sides (this will help you lift the bars from the pan after baking).
  2. Add all the ingredients for the shortbread base to a bowl and mix until you get a soft dough. 
  3. Place the dough in the prepared pan and press down firmly with your hands until you have an even layer. Poke approximately 15-20 evenly spaced out little holes in the crust using a fork.
  4. Bake the crust for 13-15 minutes, then remove from the oven and set aside. While the crust is baking, begin preparing the pecan filling.
  5. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water into a paste and set aside.
  6. Add all of the filling ingredients except for the pecans to a small pot on the stovetop and cook over low to medium heat until thick, smooth and fully combined.
  7. Add the cornstarch mixture and cook for a few more seconds, stirring until fully incorporated and starting to thicken.
  8. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pecans until they’re fully coated.
  9. Pour the mixture over the crust and and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  10. Let cool at room temperature until you can safely place in the fridge. Cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving. 

Notes

Store the bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. If storing longer than 2 days, they’ll keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. They can also be frozen in a freezer-safe bag or wrapped and stored in airtight container for up to 3 months. Be sure to let them cool completely before storing.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 388
  • Fat: 24 g
  • Carbohydrates: 24 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 5 g

Keywords: vegan pecan bars, vegan pecan pie bars