Pecan Pie Bars (Vegan + GF)

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Overhead shot of vegan gluten-free pecan pie bars

Pecan pie lovers, this one’s for you! We’ve tried for some time to create the perfect vegan pecan pie, and after some pie struggles last year, we changed our vision a bit and boy are we happy with the result! Introducing: pecan pie bars with crunchy, buttery pecans and a shortbread-like crust.

With all the classic flavor of pecan pie, they’re undetectably gluten-free and vegan, and perfect for your holiday table. Even better? They’re made with simple methods (no food processor required!) and just 9 ingredients. Let’s make dessert!

Brown sugar, dairy-free milk, pecans, almond flour, maple syrup, tapioca starch, vanilla, salt, and vegan butter

Origins of Pecan Pie

In our search for the origins of pecan pie, we found a few theories. But the most common one is that it was invented by French settlers in New Orleans who were introduced to pecans by Native Americans. Recipes then appeared in cookbooks in Texas in the late 1800s. And by the 1920s, the company Karo began printing a recipe for pecan pie made with their corn syrup, turning the dessert into a nationwide sensation!

The following is not your usual pecan pie recipe but our inspired take on the classic dessert — made gluten-free, vegan, and without corn syrup.

How to Make Pecan Pie Bars

These pecan pie bars begin with a shortbread-like crust made by mixing almond flour, tapioca starch, and salt, then adding in vegan butter and maple syrup to form a dough.

Using a fork to mix the shortbread crust ingredients

The dough gets pressed into a baking dish and into the oven it goes!

Chopped pecans on a cutting board

While the crust bakes and cools, we make the filling with chopped pecans, melted vegan butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, dairy-free milk, and tapioca starch. It goes over the par-baked shortbread crust and back into the oven.

Pecan pie filling before baking

After baking, the filling transforms into a crispy, gooey, buttery, majorly addictive masterpiece. You’ve been warned!

Crispy, buttery pecan layer of pecan pie bars

Lastly, it must cool before being sliced into bars. We know, it’s the hardest part! But it makes them perfect for prepping the day ahead to free up oven space for other Thanksgiving recipes.

Stack of gluten-free vegan pecan pie bars

We hope you LOVE these pecan pie bars! They’re:

Sweet
Buttery
Rich
Classic
Decadent
& BURSTING with pecan flavor!

They’re the perfect dessert for the holiday table or any time you have an abundance of pecans! Top them with Coconut Whipped Cream or Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream for extra decadence.

More Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Close up shot of a pecan pie bar

Pecan Pie Bars (Vegan + GF)

Rich, buttery, decadent pecan pie made vegan, gluten-free, and in bar form! All the classic flavors without the corn syrup. Simple methods and just 9 ingredients required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Overhead photo showing crispy pecans on pecan pie bars
4.87 from 58 votes
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 16 (Bars)
Course Dessert
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 3-4 Days

Ingredients

CRUST

  • 1 ½ cups almond flour (can try subbing cashew flour, though we haven't tested it and can't guarantee the results)
  • 1 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 6 Tbsp vegan butter, cold and cubed (we used Miyoko’s)
  • 5-6 Tbsp maple syrup

FILLING

  • 1/3 cup melted vegan butter (we used Miyoko’s)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (see notes for substitutions)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp plain unsweetened dairy-free milk (we used almond milk)
  • 2 Tbsp tapioca starch
  • 2 cups raw pecans, roughly chopped

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F (176 C) and line an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
  • CRUST: In a medium mixing bowl, combine almond flour, tapioca starch, and salt. Whisk to combine and break up any clumps. Add cold vegan butter to the flours, and use clean hands, a pastry cutter, or a fork to cut the butter and mix it with the flours until the mixture looks like wet sand. It should hold together when squeezed, and there should be no clumps of butter larger than a pea. Add the maple syrup (starting with the lesser amount) and stir well until the dough comes together.
  • Transfer mixture to the parchment-lined baking dish and spread evenly to distribute. If you are struggling to get it even, place parchment paper on top and use a flat-bottomed object, like a drinking glass, to press down firmly until it’s evenly distributed and well packed. Place crust into the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes until it looks pale and dry in the center and the edges just start to look golden.
  • FILLING: While the crust bakes, make the filling. To a medium mixing bowl, add melted butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, dairy-free milk, and tapioca starch. Whisk to thoroughly combine, making sure to break up any clumps of tapioca starch. Add in the chopped pecans and give it a stir to evenly distribute. Remove the crust from the oven and let it cool for 5-10 minutes.
  • After the crust has cooled, add the filling to the crust, spreading it evenly and making sure the pecans are distributed throughout. Bake for 35-40 minutes. The edges should be bubbly and the filling slightly darkened in color. The middle should still be slightly wiggly when it’s done, so don’t worry! It firms up quite a bit when it cools.
  • Let the bars cool completely before slicing. Once cooled, cut into 16 equal squares and serve! Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Not freezer friendly.

Video

Notes

*Coconut sugar is the next best option to replace brown sugar, but the filling will be less firm and more difficult to cut. We also tested dates blended with coconut milk, which had a delicious flavor, but the mixture made the filling dense and did not allow the pecans to get crispy.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with the lesser amount of maple syrup.

Nutrition (1 of 16 servings)

Serving: 1 bar Calories: 309 Carbohydrates: 26.8 g Protein: 3.5 g Fat: 22.2 g Saturated Fat: 6.9 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 4.2 g Monounsaturated Fat: 8.9 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 124 mg Potassium: 175 mg Fiber: 2.5 g Sugar: 15.1 g Vitamin A: 8 IU Vitamin C: 0 mg Calcium: 61 mg Iron: 0.7 mg

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    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Amanda, we haven’t tried this recipe with GF flour and can’t guarantee results, but it might work. We suggest checking the texture of the dough in the photos and trying to replicate it. You might need slightly less flour!

  1. Liketoeat says

    I really loved the pecan pie filling. However, I realized that I didn’t have any tapioca starch in the house so had to substitute it with corn starch 1 to 1. My results with this substitute was that certain parts of my crust turned out very crumbly and overall had a sandy aftertaste. I’m thinking maybe I should have reduce the amount of corn starch to reduce the sandy taste? Despite that, the bars tasted delicious, and I feel tasted better days after I made them.

  2. Dr. J says

    I have been cooking holiday meals for 40 years, and nearly every Christmas and Thanksgiving I make a pecan pie because it’s everyone’s favorite. I have literally a dozen variations in my recipe archives, and can say with some authority that I have finally found THE PERFECT PECAN PIE. I know, I know: technically these are bars, but I don’t care! They’re absolutely perfect! And the crust — where has this been all my life? These bars got rave reviews at our Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. They’re my new go-to holiday dessert.

  3. Eugenia says

    AMAZING! I don’t particularly like pecan pie, but thought I would give this a shot. I used coconut oil for the crust, instead of vegan butter. I also subbed coconut sugar for brown sugar and used 1 cup pecans and 1 cup walnuts. The result was absolutely amazing. Wonderful texture and fantastic flavor. We can’t get enough of it! I like it cold, straight from the fridge, while my husband prefers it in room temperature. Either way its delicious. Thank you so much for sharing such wonderful recipes. I made several of your recipes for yesterday’s Thanksgiving dinner and they were all a hit. I’ll try to leave comments for each one of them.

  4. Judy says

    This is amazing. I’ve been on the hunt for a healthier, vegan version of pecan pie, and this hit all of the right notes. I made it for the first time today, and took it to a small family Thanksgiving gathering. I was set to take the leftovers home, but my brother-in-law requested a trade for pumpkin pie. What could I say?! I will definitely be making this on a regular basis. Thank you so much.

  5. Joyce says

    Our persimmon tree decided to give us more fruit than we know what to do with, so I decided to use some dehydrated ones (soaked in hot water & blended) for the filling in place of the maple syrup. I did a 1:1 swap by volume. They turned out!! The filling has a sweet fruity flavor from the persimmon and pairs so well with the buttery pecan. I love this recipe!

    I also had to swap out the tapioca starch due to allergies. Subbed Corn starch and cut the amount by half (as advised by the internet) worked perfect!

  6. Tracy says

    Too much butter in the crust – I had to cook it (crust only) an additional 15-20 minutes to dry it out.

    The center never set completely, even after cooking an additional 10-15 minutes.

    Overall, strange flavor to the filling; but the crust tasted like a good, crispy cookie.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Tracy, we’re so sorry that was your experience! This recipe is a reader favorite, so we wonder if something went wrong. Did you make any modifications? What brand of vegan butter were you using?