Butter Pecan Turtle Bars

I first shared this recipe for Butter Pecan Turtle Bars with you way back in 2006. As of July 2017, I’ve updated both the recipe and the photos for these fantastic bars. Happy baking!

stack of Butter Pecan Turtle Bars on parchment paper

Any dessert labeled turtle or butter pecan is irresistible in my book. Add the two together, and I don’t stand a chance. That is evidenced by these rich and delicious Butter Pecan Turtle Bars!

These bars are a great quick and easy baking project. Even with a few different layers to make, they still are surprisingly fast to come together. And the best part, of course, is how amazingly delicious they are. If you’re craving a sweet, nutty, gooey dessert, these are just the thing!

The foundation of these bars is a simple shortbread made with just a few ingredients. As with most shortbread recipes, you’ll need to make sure that your ingredients are measured accurately. It’s so easy to end up with too much flour, so be sure to review my tips for measuring flour if you need a refresher. Once mixed, the mixture will be fairly sandy, but it should hold together when it’s pressed into the bottom of the baking pan.

There’s a caramel-like layer on top of that shortbread and a good dose of pecans. It’s a simple filling that will only take you a few minutes to make. Be warned that you won’t end up with a thick layer of caramel. But there’s plenty if you take your time and pour it evenly over the crust. Keeping it thin gives you the caramel flavor without it turning into a tough layer that’s difficult to eat.

For the topping, I like to go with my go-to ganache topping. It is easy to make and complements the layers underneath it perfectly. I prefer to add just a bit of corn syrup to the ganache to make it sturdier, but you can certainly omit it if you like.

With all these layers and flavors, you’ve probably guessed that these bars are deliciously rich. The ones you see here were cut into 2-inch square bars, which will yield 24 bars. I’ve also cut them into smaller bars for when you just want a couple of sweet bites.

I’ve been making these bars for years, and they are always a big hit. If you love all things butter pecan and turtle like I do, then you’re going to adore these Butter Pecan Turtle Bars!

Find more bar recipes in the Recipe Index.
Yield: 24 2-inch bars

Butter Pecan Turtle Bars

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 38 minutes

You only need a handful of ingredients to make these sweet, rich, delicious Butter Pecan Turtle Bars.

stack of Butter Pecan Turtle Bars on parchment paper


For the crust:

  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200g) firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (198g) chopped pecans

For the filling:

  • 2/3 cup (150g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (100g) firmly packed brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the topping:

  • 8 ounces (226g) dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup*
  • 1/2 cup (118ml) heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup (49g) chopped pecans


To make the crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the salt and gradually add the flour, mixing just until combined. The mixture will be sandy but will hold together when pinched.**
  3. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9″x 13″x 2" pan. Sprinkle with the pecans.

To make the filling:

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the brown sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, and continue stirring for about 30 seconds.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  3. Pour over the crust and pecans. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until the edges are browned. Set aside to cool.

To make the topping:

  1. Place the chocolate and corn syrup in a heatproof bowl. Set aside.
  2. Place the cream in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove the cream from the heat, and pour it over the chocolate. Let sit for 5 minutes. Then stir until smooth.
  3. Pour the ganache over the bars. Garnish with chopped pecans. Allow the ganache to set (10-15 minutes) before cutting into bars.


*The corn syrup makes the ganache topping sturdier, but you can omit it if you like.

**With shortbread crusts like this one, it's very important that your ingredients (especially the flour) are measured well. If you need a refresher on how to measure flour properly, click here for my tips.

Recipe adapted from Southern Living.

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