Fudgy brownies and gooey pecan pie meet up in this deliciously decadent dessert. Baked in round cake pans to yield pie-shaped wedges, these Pecan Pie Brownies just might replace the traditional pecan pie on your Thanksgiving table.
Table of Contents
Who doesn’t like a brownie? My favorite thing about the chocolate dessert is how endlessly versatile it is. I’ve developed recipes for Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies, Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Brownies, and adorably decorated Christmas Brownies, to name a few.
My recipe for pecan pie brownies is a nod to the famous Thanksgiving dessert, but without the fuss of having to make and roll out a pie crust (Let’s face it, when you’re preparing the feast of the year, do you really want to deal with temperamental pastry dough?).
The setup is simple: Quick-fix homemade brownie batter is topped with pecan pie filling. Once baked, the two layers melt into one another, creating a crunchy, nutty pecan crust atop a moist, chocolatey brownie base.
If your family loves this recipe as much as mine does, I heartily encourage you to make it well beyond November … I certainly do!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- The best of both worlds. Rich chocolate brownie and caramelly pecan filling cook together to make one amazing dessert.
- Makes wedge-shaped pieces. The brownies are baked in round cake pans and cut into wedges, which are fun and easy to eat.
- No crust required! If you have a fear of working with pie crust (no judgment here!), you can still enjoy pecan pie flavor without dealing with pastry dough.
- Prep time is only 15 minutes. The batter is made in one bowl and mixed up by hand, and the pecan pie topping is cooked up in a saucepan. Easy as … er, pie!
- Eggs: Four large eggs add structure to the batter and give it richness.
- Baking cocoa: Unsweetened baking cocoa (also called cocoa powder) gives this recipe a deep chocolate flavor.
- Baking powder: A teaspoon of baking powder helps the brownies rise to keep them from being too dense.
- Instant coffee: A little bit of coffee accentuates the chocolate flavor. Don’t worry, you won’t actually taste the coffee!
- Vanilla extract: Two teaspoons of vanilla are added to enhance the flavor.
- Sugar: The recipe calls for granulated sugar in the brownie batter and brown sugar, which has a natural caramel flavor, in the pecan pie topping.
- Butter: You’ll need three sticks of butter in this recipe. Two sticks (one cup) are melted and stirred into the batter to make it rich and moist. The third stick is used in the topping.
- Flour: All-purpose flour gives the brownies structure.
- Honey: Honey takes the place of corn syrup, traditionally used in pecan pie recipes, for a more complex flavor.
- Heavy cream: A little cream added to the topping gives it a creamy caramel texture.
- Pecans: Two cups of pecans, either whole or chopped, are used in the pecan pie topping for plenty of nutty crunch.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
There are two separate parts to this recipe: Mixing up the one-bowl brownie batter and cooking the pecan pie topping.
- Preheat the oven and melt the butter. With the oven rack placed in the middle, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Melt the two sticks of butter for the batter. For fewer dirty dishes, you can melt the butter in the pan you’ll use for the topping. Let it cool while you make the rest of the batter. Before you start, grease two 9-inch round cake pans.
- Mix the batter. In a large bowl with a whisk, combine the eggs, baking cocoa, salt, baking powder, instant coffee mixed with water and vanilla extract. Stir it until it’s well combined.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients. Add the sugar, cooled butter and flour to the bowl and stir just until combined.
- Bake the brownies. Divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans, smoothing it out with a spatula. Bake for 15 minutes.
- Prepare the topping. In a saucepan, combine the last stick of butter, brown sugar, honey, and heavy cream over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until the mixture comes to a simmer. Simmer for a minute, then stir in the pecans.
- Add the topping to the pan. After the brownies have cooked for 15 minutes, Take the pans out of the oven and immediately pour the pecan pie topping over them, dividing equally. Return the pans to the oven and cook for 15 minutes more, or until the brownie is fully cooked.
- Cool, cut and enjoy! Let the brownies cool completely in the pan. Then use a sharp knife to cut around the edges, remove the brownies from the pan, slice into wedges and serve.
Pro Tip: Don’t have cooking spray? Use the paper used to wrap the butter to grease your pan. There should be enough butter remaining on each wrapper to coat the bottom and sides of the two pans.
- Cut Cleanly: Make neater cuts in these sticky brownies by either lightly coating the knife with cooking spray or running the knife under hot water to heat the blade, wiping it dry between cuts. (See more tips on how to cut brownies cleanly.)
- Melt the Butter without Mess: Use the saucepan you’ll use to make the filling to melt the butter for the batter over low heat. No need to clean the pan before you make the filling! You can also melt the butter in the microwave by putting it in a microwave-safe bowl and heating it in 30-second increments at half power, stirring occasionally. Use an inverted plate on top as a loose lid to prevent splatters.
- Make a Grown-Up Version: Replace the coffee with a tablespoon of bourbon or Kahlua in the batter for an over-21 version.
Store leftover brownies in an airtight container at room temperature for three to four days.
If you’re making the brownies ahead of time, they will stay freshest if you leave them in the baking pan, uncut and tightly wrapped in plastic wrap for two to three days before cutting and serving.
Brownies can also be frozen. Wrap them tightly with aluminum foil and plastic wrap and eat within four to six months. Brownies can be defrosted, wrapped, at room temperature.
Frequently Asked Questions
Baking cocoa, also known as cocoa powder, is made from the roasted cacao bean. The fat, or cocoa butter, is mostly pressed out, and then the remaining substance is finely ground to produce cocoa powder. The resulting powder gives a recipe intense chocolate flavor without sweetener or fat, which are added separately. In the baking powder, look for cocoa products that are labeled unsweetened and 100 percent cacao.
These brownies are definitely on the fudgy, rather than the cakey, side of the brownie spectrum. The addition of four eggs and two whole sticks of butter gives them their dense, toothsome texture. The pecan pie topping also sinks into the brownies a bit during cooking, which further enhances the texture.
There are only two teaspoons of instant coffee in this recipe, and it serves to enhance the chocolate flavor rather than to add a coffee flavor note. But if you’re serving this to kids and you’re worried they’ll detect the coffee flavor and not like it, you can certainly leave out the coffee.
Brownies do not need to be refrigerated, and in fact, if they’re stored in the fridge they could absorb the flavors and odors of the food around them. It’s fine to store them on the counter, tightly wrapped.
- Quick and Easy Skillet Brownie
- Samoas Coconut Caramel Brownies
- Chocolate Chip Shortbread Brownies
- Butterscotch Cheesecake Brownies
For the brownie batter:
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups baking cocoa
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons instant coffee mixed with 2 teaspoons water
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
For the pecan pie topping:
- 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 cups pecans (whole or chopped)
- two (9-inch) round cake pans
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and grease two 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, baking cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso mixed with water, and vanilla until well combined.
- Stir in the sugar and melted butter until well combined, then stir in the flour. Divide the batter equally between the two greased pans, using a spatula to smooth it out.
- Bake the brownies for 15 minutes then remove them from the oven and set aside. While the brownies are baking, prepare the pecan pie topping by combining the butter, brown sugar, honey and heavy cream in a saucepan, stirring over medium heat. Simmer the mixture for 1 minute, then stir in the chopped pecans.
- Immediately pour the pecan pie topping over the brownies, dividing it equally between the two pans. Return the brownies to the oven for 15 minutes, or until the brownie is fully cooked.
- Remove the brownies from the oven and allow them to fully cool in the pans. Use a sharp knife to cut around the edges, remove the brownies from the pan, and then slice and serve.
- For clean cuts, lightly coat the knife with cooking spray or run the knife under hot water to heat the blade, then wipe it dry, between cuts. (See more tips on how to cut brownies cleanly)
- To melt the butter for the batter, use the saucepan you’ll use to make the filling and melt butter over low heat. Or put it in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave it in 30-second increments at half power, stirring occasionally. Use an inverted plate on top as a loose lid to prevent splatters.
- For a grown-up version, replace the coffee with a tablespoon of bourbon or Kahlua in the batter.
- ★ Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!
This post may contain affiliate links.