Ina Garten’s Pecan Squares


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Pecan Squares on a wooden table

We don’t get a lot of Halloween candy here in Bangkok.  It’s something I’m really okay with…especially if it gives me an excuse to make some other festive fall dessert.

For the first time ever, Frank and I had ourselves a faux Thanksgiving.  It was really just an excuse to make some of our favorite turkey-day dishes without the pressure of the actual holiday.  Minus the turkey (because roasting a full turkey scares me).  I did a few pieces of lemon chicken a la the Silver Palate cookbook instead.

Frank made enough mashed potatoes for days.

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making mashed potatoes in a dutch oven

I made sweet potatoes, an impromptu stuffing, and my favorite squash and spinach gratin.  The whole thing was so festive and fun that I’m thinking we may make it an annual tradition.  It made for a fun date-night in and leftovers that we were happy to have all week.

Faux Thanksgiving table

But about those Pecan Squares for dessert.  Let me just tell you that they are every bit as good as one would expect from the queen of all things butter and baked goods.  The crust is soft and buttery and the topping has the right amount of give while still being chewy and rich and chock full of pecans.

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Pecan Square with a bite taken out of it

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3.82 from 370 votes

Ina Garten’s Pecan Squares

Soft shortbread topped with rich caramel and pecans.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 20


  • Stand Mixer
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Half Sheet Pan
  • Saucepan


For the Crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups Unsalted Butter, room temperature (this is 5 sticks of butter or 1.25 lbs)
  • 3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3 large Eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 4 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt

For the Topping:

  • 2 cups Unsalted Butter (this is 4 sticks of butter or 1 lb)
  • 1 cup Honey
  • 3 cups Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon Grated Lemon Zest
  • 1 teaspoon Grated Orange Zest
  • 1/4 cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 pounds Chopped Pecans


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Make the crust: Beat the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, until light, approximately 3 minutes.
  • Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix well.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Mix the dry ingredients into the batter with the mixer on low speed until just combined. Press the dough evenly into an ungreased 18 by 12 by 1-inch baking sheet, making an edge around the outside. (Note: The crust dough will be very sticky. To make it easier to work with, dust your hands and the dough with some flour as you work.)
  • Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is set but not browned. Allow to cool.
  • Make the filling: Combine the butter, honey, brown sugar, and zests in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over low heat until the butter is melted, using a wooden spoon to stir. Raise the heat and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  • Stir in the heavy cream and pecans.
  • Pour the filling over the crust, trying not to get the filling between the crust and the pan.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold.
  • Cut into bars and serve.


Recipe adapted a bit from the original by Ina Garten, shared at

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $4.00
Keyword: bite sized desserts, dessert bars, easy recipe, easy recipe ideas
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Pecan Squares


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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

3.82 from 370 votes (368 ratings without comment)

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    1. Hi Adele – I do think they would freeze, but would need to be really well defrosted before eating. The filling would be very hard if served chilled. Hope that helps!

  1. 5 stars
    My niece made these for Thanksgiving they were absolutely delicious. I am trying the recipe today. Note she substituted Pure Maple Syrup instead of Honey. I am going to stick to the recipe.

    1. Oh it’s great to know that pure maple syrup worked in these! I haven’t tried them that way, but I bet it adds a great flavor!

  2. Oooohhh my goodness!!! A co-worker brought these to share today. One of the best treats I’ve had. Excited to make them

    1. I made these and followed the recipe to the letter. They’re not as good as my usual pecan squares. I was so disappointed. I’m actually considering adding more sugar to the crust! The 3/4 cup wasn’t really enough to sweeten it. I used a 12” x 18” cake pan. I don’t think that could have dramatically altered the recipe… but, stranger things have happened. Maybe I will half the ingredients and give it another go. The filling was good. Flavorful and a nice consistency.

  3. I have tried soooooo many Pecan square recipes that I lost count.- they ALL failed. Until now this is perfect!!! I made it for a party and got so many compliments.
    One tip I have is to line the pan with foil leaving a 2 1/2 inch wall so you filling will not spill all over the bottom of your oven.

  4. how could anything with over 2#s of butter in it even be thought of as “bad” except it sounds really really really “BAD” to say the least, 4 cups sugar and heavy cream, oops catch me, falling over just reading this recipe, must must try, Ina strikes again!!!!!!!!!

    1. why is the butter measured by pounds and not tablespoons? I put the butter boxes in the garbage and the 4 1/2 cup bars in the fridge and they have no weight on them so why not give this in tablespoons unless this come from a foreign country. Once I bought a cookbook from England and the directions and terminology were confusing. In pounds this sounds like way to much butter for human consumption.

      1. Hi Clyde – I had no idea this would be confusing – sorry about that! This is an Ina Garten recipe, so she often lists butter in pounds (she loves her butter!), but I just typed the conversion into google. What you need is 40 Tbsp. of butter. These are in no way diet friendly, but they’re every bit worth the splurge. 😉 Enjoy.

  5. I’ve never made any sort of pecan squares or pecan bars, but every time I see one they look so perfectly sweet, rich, and buttery that I kick myself for not having made them yet. These are no exception; they look totally heavenly, and I would definitely have polished off one after the first bite just like you did!