Pecan Pie Surprise Bars

Easier than a pecan pie these Pecan Pie Surprise Bars are a sweet and chewy dessert recipe that is a staple on the Thanksgiving table.

Close up semi-homemade pecan pie bar with cake mix crust

Farmhouse Pecan Pie Bar Recipe

A cross between a candy bar and a pie, pecan lovers are delighted by every bite. Each pecan surprise bar is loaded with chopped pecans. Add a dollop of whipped cream for a special touch and holiday favorite dessert recipe.

Even people that don’t crave pecans love this recipe.  This and Pecan Pie Brownies are desserts that is a stepping stone to loving all things pecan.  A box of yellow cake mix forms a thin base layer that is topped with a rich pecan pie like filling.  Pecans are sprinkled on top for more flavor and more eye appeal. 

These pecan pie bars are like our Pecan Pumpkin Bars and Frosted Banana Bars, they are a portable handheld treat that can be easily picked up to enjoy. The aroma that fills the kitchen while these Pecan Pie Surprise Bars bake is heavenly!

9 x 13 pan of easy pecan pie bars

In our Carrot Cake Loaf and Old-Fashioned Cinnamon Rolls, pecans offer a nice accent, but they are the featured ingredient in these Farmhouse Pecan Pie Bars. While this popular recipe is most popular at Thanksgiving, it’s delicious all year around.

Save this Recipe
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Enter your email and I’ll send this recipe right to your inbox! Plus, I’ll send you new recipes every week!

Ingredients Needed:

  • Yellow cake mix
  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Pecans
  • Dark brown sugar
  • Dark corn syrup
  • Vanilla

Can light corn syrup and light brown sugar be used?

The bars won’t look quite as dark, but will still be very sweet and enjoyable if light corn syrup and light brown sugar are used.

Tips & Tricks

  • Chop pecans well to mix in crust layer, while whole or lightly chopped pecans can be sprinkled on top
  • Wet fingers to make spreading out base layer with cake mix easier as it is a pretty tacky mixture
  • Use a sharp knife to slice bars and keep a damp dishcloth handy to clean off the filling often to maintain clean cuts

How to Make Pecan Pie Bars

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9 x 13 baking pan.

Reserve 2/3 cup of yellow cake mix and set aside.

Mix remaining cake mix, stick of butter and 1 egg. Mix well.

Cake mix with egg and butter in mixing bowl

Fold in 1 cup of well chopped pecans and spread into baking pan. Mixture will be tacky. Wet fingers to help spread out the base layer.

Box of cake mix with pecans pressed into 9x13 pan

Partially bake for about 15 minutes. If mixture still looks very moist bake an additional 5 minutes.

While crust is baking mix up the sweet filling! Using an electric mixer beat reserved cake mix, firmly-packed brown sugar, dark corn syrup, 3 eggs and vanilla. Beat well for 1 – 2 minutes.

Pour filling over partially bake crust. Sprinkle remaining cup of pecans over the top of the filling. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until filling is set.

pecan pie filling poured over par baked cake mix crust

How to Tell When Pecan Filling is Set

Pecan pie filling is set when the center no longer wiggles or jiggles when firmly tapped. There will also be a slight edge around the pan where the pecans have moved in just a bit as the mixture condenses while it bakes.

The key to enjoying pecan pie surprise bars is to remove from the oven as soon as they are set. If a little bit of wiggle remains it will continue baking for a few minutes after being removed from the oven.

Semi homemade pecan pie bars sliced in pan

More Classic Thanksgiving Recipes:

Citrus Glazed Sweet Potato Casserole glazes tender sweet potatoes with a pineapple juice, orange zest and brown sugar mixture, then sprinkling with chopped nuts makes the dish irresistible.

Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole mixes a lot of bacon and cheese into a classic mashed potato recipe to make it even more rich and flavorful.

Grandma’s Dressing Recipe has a surprise step to make the smoothest dressing you’ve ever eaten.

Sweet Potato Souffle adds butter, eggs and brown sugar to enhance the sweet potato experience.

Printable Pecan Pie Surprise Bars Recipe

Pecan covered pie bars in baking dish

Pecan Pie Surprise Bars

Servings 36 bars
Easier than a pecan pie these Pecan Pie Surprise Bars are a sweet and chewy dessert recipe that is a staple on the Thanksgiving table.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 1 box yellow cake mix reserve 2/3 cup
  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup pecans chopped


  • 2/3 cup reserved cake mix
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs


  • 1 cup pecans chopped


  • Grease bottom and sides of a 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Preheat oven to 350°F. Reserve 2/3 cup of dry cake mix for filling.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine remaining dry cake mix, butter and 1 egg.
  • Fold in 1 cup chopped pecans. Mixture will be tacky.
  • Wet fingers and press into prepared pan. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes.


  • Using an electric mixer combine all filling ingredients together on medium speed for 1 – 2 minutes. Pour filling over partially baked crust.
  • Sprinkle with pecans. Bake 30 – 25 minutes until filling is set. Cool and cut into 36 bars.


Calories: 172kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 2gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 151mgPotassium: 80mgFiber: 1gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 109IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 30mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Plowing Through Life” is not a dietitian or nutrition professional. Any nutritional information shared is an estimate and can vary greatly depending on specific products are used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator of your choice.

Tried this recipe?Mention @PlowingThroughLife or tag #PlowingThroughLife!


  1. Lindsey Fishback says:

    Hello! Would you recommend making these the night before? If so, how would you reheat? Also, should leftovers be stored on the counter or fridge?

    1. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      Hey there! These bars can be made ahead and I’m not sure that reheating would be necessary. As long as there’s no whip cream on them they should be fine covered on the counter for a day or two. If you have any concerns feel free to store in the refrigerator. Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!

  2. This recipe is amazing! My family loved it when I mad it for Thanksgiving last year. I made them again and just noticed that it makes 36 bars. How large are the bars? I’m struggling to get 36 bars out of a 13 x 9 pan. Thanks!

    1. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      Thanks so much for sharing! So glad to hear you enjoy the recipe! 36 bars are very small bites since the recipe is so rich. You all may very well prefer larger bars.

      Hope you keep enjoying 🙂

  3. Does this recipe use the 16.25 oz. cake mix?

    1. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      Yes! Good question! Hope you enjoy 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    My high school culinary students made these for one of their catering jobs, and everyone raved at how good they were! We doubled the recipe into hotel pans and baked slightly longer. One thing my students found helpful for the stucky dough was to pull out sheets of waxed paper the length of the pan, spray the paper with cooking spray, and use it to press the dough into the bottom of the pan. Minimal mess!

    1. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      This is great to hear! Thanks so much for sharing & glad you enjoyed them 🙂

  5. Jennifer Reinninger says:

    I have made this several times and everyone loves them

  6. 5 stars
    Great recipe. I’ll take them to a Sunday school
    Dinner or small group

  7. Are these supposed to be gooey filling?

    1. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      Hey There! Yes, the filling is usually a little bit gooey. Hope you enjoy!

  8. Can these be made ahead and frozen?

    1. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      Hey There! I haven’t tested this, but I think it would work okay. Hope you enjoy!

  9. Can you use clear corn syrup and regular brown sugar instead of dark?

    1. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      Hey There! Yes – I think that will work, the overall color will just be a bit lighter. Hope you enjoy 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating