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Butter Pecan Turtle Bars

These Butter Pecan Turtle Bars feature so many layers of rich, decadent deliciousness!

stack of Butter Pecan Turtle Bars on parchment paper

Butter Pecan Turtle Bars

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.

Video Tutorial: Butter Pecan Turtle Bars

Butter Pecan Turtle Bars

Yield 24 2-inch bars
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 38 minutes

These butter pecan turtle bars feature so many layers of decadent deliciousness! A buttery shortbread is topped with gooey caramel and pecans, then finished with rich chocolate ganache and more nuts.

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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    25 Comments on “Butter Pecan Turtle Bars”

  1. Those are some delicious looking bars! And bring on the Christmas baking! 😛

  2. long time lurker first time poster!

    those look just like these turtle bars that my mom makes around christmas time! I am so excited to start baking and spending time in the kitchen and decorating.
    i so look forward to all the things you will bake/blog! yay for christmas!

  3. Oh my…your blog is simply the bomb. So many delicious things to make and eat. I’m not the Christmas kind…I lean towards Festimas…but there is certainly room at our table for any of your recipes. I’ll be back!

  4. What is not to love about these… yum!

  5. Thanks, y’all! I hope to do a lot of holiday baking in the next several weeks.

  6. I think these are wonderful to give away during the holidays! I certainly would enjoy a plate right now! Happy Cooking

  7. These look great…and my boyfriend would love ’em except for the chocolate on top he doesn’t dig it 🙁 How about white chocolate on top? any suggestions?

  8. Gina, I think white chocolate is a great idea!

  9. I think I’d have a problem eating only one of those.

  10. Oh. Wow.

    I would have eaten all of these if I’d been present!

  11. I love the holidays! What a perfect time of year to showcase the many wonderful sweet recipes such as this one.
    These look so delicious.

  12. These look delicious! I’ll have to add this recipe to our Christmas cookie list!

  13. I’ve made these for funerals, good times and work. Everyone loves them and I always get requests for the recipe. I make the crust in my food processor for a really fast recipe. I also use a fine quality dark chocolate chip and plenty of them!

  14. I made these last night exactly as stated and I found my crust was crumbly. Did anyone else have that problem? I wondered if I should use less flour or more butter next time? Suggestions?

    • Hi, Heather. It sounds like you might have had too much flour. If you’re not weighing the flour, then try fluffing the flour and then spooning it into a measuring cup until it’s overfilled. You can then use the back of a knife to scrape across the top to remove the excess.

  15. Looks wonderful

  16. Not really a dark chocolate fan – would I be able to substitute white chocolate??

  17. Would milk chocolate be okay to use instead of the dark?

  18. The filling layer turned out dry and gritty for me. Is it supposed to be more like a caramel? The overall bar was not as gooey as I hoped.

  19. Fantastic! I made it with a gluten-free crust using Krusteaz flour plus 1 t. xanthan gum and Truvia brown sugar blend for the sugar throughout to reduce sugar, and sprinkled a cup of sugar free Lily’s dark chocolate chips on the top. Tasted soooo good!

  20. I made this recipe exactly as written.  Not great.  The dark chocolate isn’t good. It didn’t harden up either. It might be better with semi sweet or milk chocolate. My husband liked the shortbread bottom though.  But there was too much chocolate and couldn’t taste the filling part. 

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