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Butter Pecan Turtle Bars

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.

a stack of three butter pecan turtle bars on a white plate

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!

Why You’ll Love This Butter Pecan Turtle Bar Recipe

  • Easy to make. These bars are a great quick and easy baking project. Even with a few different layers, they still are surprisingly fast to come together. 
  • Go a long way. With all these layers and flavors, you’ve probably guessed that these bars are quite 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.
  • Rich and decadent. 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!
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overhead view of ingredients for butter pecan turtle bars

What You’ll Need

Scroll down to the recipe card to find the ingredient quantities and recipe instructions.



  • Unsalted butter
  • Brown sugar
  • Salt – Just a pinch keeps the caramel layer from being cloying. You can add extra for more of a proper salted caramel flavor.
  • Vanilla extract – Use homemade vanilla extract or a high-quality store-bought brand.


  • Dark chocolate – Learn more: Types of Chocolate: A Home Baker’s Guide
  • Corn syrup – 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.
  • Heavy cream – This is not a recipe where you can skimp; you’ll need heavy cream for that signature ganache texture.
  • Pecans

Should I Toast the Pecans for This Recipe?

It’s up to you! You can use roasted or raw pecans, or purchase raw pecans and toast them yourself. Here’s how to toast pecans.

How to Make Butter Pecan Turtle Bars

  • Prepare. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  • Cream the butter and sugar. Use an electric mixer on medium speed to beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. 
  • Finish the shortbread dough. Add the salt and gradually mix in the flour until just combined and the mixture is sandy, but holds together when pinched.
  • Form the crust. Press the shortbread dough into the bottom of an ungreased 9″x 13″x 2″ pan. Sprinkle the pecans on top.
  • Make the caramel. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the brown sugar and salt, then let the mixture come to a boil. Continue stirring for about 30 seconds; remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  • Bake. Pour the caramel over the crust and pecans, then bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until the edges are browned. Set aside to cool.
  • Warm the cream. Pour the cream into a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then remove from the heat. 
  • Finish the ganache. Pour the warm cream over the chocolate and corn syrup in a heat-proof bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes, then stir until smooth.
  • Top and cool. Pour the ganache over the bars and sprinkle the remaining chopped pecans over the top. Allow the ganache to set before cutting the bars.
a butter pecan turtle bar on a cookie spatula over the remaining bars in a baking pan

Tips for Success

  • Soften the butter. This allows the shortbread crust to mix more smoothly. Learn more: How to Soften Butter
  • Use a good quality chocolate. Since it’s the main flavor in the ganache, use the best quality you can find.
  • Weigh the flour if you have a scale. 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. 
  • Cool before cutting. Allowing the bars to cool completely makes cutting them easier and neater. 
  • Know the basics. If you’re new to baking, read over my baking tips for beginners.
a stack of three butter pecan turtle bars with another propped against the stack on a white plate


Although turtles (and butter pecan turtle bars!) are typically made with pecans, you can use any nuts you like in this recipe. Walnuts, almonds, and cashews would work quite well, or try macadamia nuts or hazelnuts for something a little bit different. 

For more of a sweet-and-salty flavor, add flaky fleur de sel or Maldon sea salt to the tops of the bars.

sliced butter pecan turtle bars stacked in a baking pan

How to Store

Store butter pecan turtle bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. For longer storage, you can refrigerate them for up to a week. If you prefer your turtle bars chilled, they can be quite delightful straight from the refrigerator, or you can let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to warm up a bit.

Can I Freeze This Recipe?

Yes, butter pecan turtle bars freeze wonderfully. Place them in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet to freeze. Once frozen, transfer the bars to a freezer-safe bag or container, separating layers with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Freeze for up to 3 months, then thaw the bars at room temperature for a couple of hours before serving. 

a butter pecan turtle bar with a bite missing stacked on top of two other bars on a white plate

More Crowd-Pleasing 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.

a stack of three butter pecan turtle bars on a white plate


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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    26 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. 

  21. They sound delicious, anyone making them tonight would be great to have some delivered to my door!! (Dream on, Granny!!) I don’t have all the ingredients on hand & if I did & baked some, I don’t think I could stop at 1 or 2or ?? for sure!!!

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