My first taste of these rich Southern Pecan Bars was in a childhood friend’s kitchen. I was sold on this pecan dessert with my first bite!

Full of butter, brown sugar, and toasted pecans, these chewy Pecan Squares are incredibly delicious. Make this easy recipe for all the pecan lovers in your life!

3 down south bars on a round white plate

Why You Must Make

  • If you love pecan pie, you’ll adore these, too!
  • These are one of the easiest cookie bars you’ll ever make!
  • The simple flavors of real butter, brown sugar, and toasted pecans shine through!

3 pecan bars stacked on a square white plate

How to Make

The technique is a bit unusual, but the recipe has been around for decades, so there you go! It works.

  1. Preheat the oven and line an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with nonstick foil.
  2. Toast the pecans in the oven or in a skillet. Let cool and chop.
  3. Melt your butter in the prepared pan.
  4. Whisk the eggs, set them aside.
  5. In a bowl, mix the sugar, flour, soda, and nuts.
  6. Add the flour mixture and the vanilla into the eggs.
  7. Pour this mixture over the butter. DO NOT STIR.
  8. Bake as directed.
  9. Cool slightly, then sprinkle with powdered sugar. Remove the bars from the pan using the foil and invert them onto a cutting board. Remove the foil and sprinkle this side with powdered sugar.
  10. Cut, garnish each bar with a pecan half if desired, and serve.

Expert Tips

  • Always toast your nuts so they have optimal flavor. Pecans are best, but if you prefer walnuts, they’ll work well, too.
  • With the small number of ingredients in these pecan squares, use quality ingredients. Don’t substitute margarine for the butter or use imitation vanilla.
  • Mine were done at exactly 20 minutes, but if the middle does not look set, bake for a few minutes longer. All ovens bake a little differently.
  • Make sure the bars are cool before flipping them out of the pan. I used a cutting board, put it on top of the pan, then inverted them together. Remove the foil and dust with more powdered sugar.
Pecan squares lined up on a white tray.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do You Toast Nuts?

When toasting nuts, the heat helps release their essential oils. By doing their flavor is intensified and it also boosts their crunchiness.

Why don’t you stir the batter into the butter?

It is definitely a mystery. This recipe has been around since at least the 1970s, and I’m sure there is some baking chemistry involved. It works, so I don’t advise stirring.

Are These Pecan Pie Bars?

Pecan pie bars usually have some sort of crust and a gooier topping resembling pecan pie filling. These Down South Bars or Pecan Bars are similar as they are both tasty bar cookies with pecans, but they’re not pecan pie bars.

How Do You Store Pecan Bars?

Keep them covered with plastic or in an airtight container so they don’t dry out. They’re fine at room temperature for a day or two, then refrigerate for up to 3 days more. They also freeze well for 2-3 months.

How Do You Freeze Pecan Bars?

Wrap in plastic wrap first, then either wrap in heavy-duty foil or place the wrapped bars in an airtight container. This will prevent them from drying out in the freezer.

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2 pecan bars on a small square plate

Southern Pecan Bars Recipe

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Yield 16

These Southern Pecan or Down South Bars are a delicious way to showcase pecans.


  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toast whole, then chop
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract


  1. Toast pecans in the oven or in a skillet. See notes for details.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°
  3. Line an 8 x 8-inch pan with nonstick foil, then melt butter in the pan.
  4. Whisk eggs in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  5. Mix (I used a whisk) the brown sugar, flour, baking soda, and nuts.
  6. Stir the dry mixture into the eggs. Add the vanilla and stir again.
  7. Pour over the butter, but do not stir.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes.
  9. Cool slightly and sprinkle with powdered sugar. If desired, cool to room temperature, then flip the bars onto a cutting board, remove the foil, and sprinkle the bottom side with more powdered sugar.
  10. Cut and serve.


Toast the pecan halves in a skillet, stirring occasionally for 3-5 minutes or until they darken slightly and develop a nutty aroma.

To toast the nuts in the oven, preheat to 350°, place the pecan halves on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring once or twice, until they darken slightly and develop a nutty aroma.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 126Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 70mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 11gProtein: 2g occasionally offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site. This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased can change the nutritional information in any given recipe. Also, many recipes on recommend toppings, which may or may not be listed as optional and nutritional information for these added toppings is not listed. Other factors may change the nutritional information such as when the salt amount is listed “to taste,” it is not calculated into the recipe as the amount will vary. Also, different online calculators can provide different results. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information obtained is accurate.


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