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Pecan Sandies

Pecan sandies are a classic cookie recipe that combines a sweet, buttery shortbread with crunchy chopped pecans. Simple and delicious!

If you’re a big fan of homemade shortbread, try these 3-ingredient shortbread cookies, this butter pecan shortbread recipe, or this chocolate shortbread, too!

Stacks of pecan sandies on a plate, with one cookie on its side.

Homemade Pecan Sandies Cookies

I loved, loved, loved pecan sandies as a child—the store-bought ones, that is. In my adult years, though, I have come to prefer homemade baked goods to the store-bought varieties. I simply couldn’t pass up the chance to make my very own pecan sandies.

This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart and you can consider it a classic, old-fashioned pecan sandies recipe. There are no unexpected additions or tweaks here, and the flavor is exactly what you want it to be—a much-improved version of grocery store sandies.

The dough comes together quickly and easily, but do note that it’s a bit crumbly. While this texture isn’t ideal for forming into balls, it’s key to that melt-in-your-mouth quality that the best pecan sandies all have in common. 

Why You’ll Love This Pecan Sandies Recipe

Here’s why this pecan sandies recipe should be up next on your list of must-make cookies:

  • Buttery and crunchy. Sweet, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread studded with chopped pecans is an unbeatable combination.
  • Quick and easy. It takes just over half an hour to make these cookies from start to finish!
  • Freezer-friendly. I often make a batch of these cookies and freeze them for any time I need a quick snack!
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What Are Pecan Sandies?

Pecan sandies are shortbread cookies with chopped pecans thrown in. If you’re wondering where the name comes from, it has to do with their texture. As mentioned above, when the dough comes together it is quite crumbly and sand-like.

Overhead view of ingredients for pecan sandies.

What You’ll Need

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

What Is the Best Way to Chop Pecans?

When it comes to chopping pecans, you have a few different options. You can use a food processor, a blender, or a chef’s knife. I prefer using a knife, as it is easier to control the size of the pecan pieces. Place the pecans on a large cutting board, then coarsely chop them. Repeat until the pecans reach your desired size.

Plate of pecan sandies cookies.

How to Make Pecan Sandies

With simple recipes like this, it’s all about technique and the quality of the ingredients. Don’t stray from the directions below and you won’t go wrong.

  • Prepare. Preheat your oven to 350°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
  • Cream the butter and sugar. Use an electric mixer on medium-high speed to beat the butter and sugar for 3 to 4 minutes, or until they’re fluffy. Next, beat in the vanilla extract and salt.
  • Finish the dough. Reduce the mixer speed to low, then gradually add the flour and beat just until combined. Fold in the nuts.
  • Form the cookies. Roll the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls and place them about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Dip the bottom of a glass in water, then use it to lightly flatten each ball of dough.
  • Bake. Bake the cookies one pan at a time for 12 to 16 minutes, or until they’re golden brown.
  • Cool. Set the hot pans on a wire rack and let the pecan sandies cool for 10 minutes. Then, transfer the cookies directly onto the wire racks to finish cooling. (Learn more by reading about why every baker needs wire cooling racks.)
Overhead view of pecan sandies cooling on rack.

Tips for Success

If you’re new to baking, start with my baking tips for beginners. Here are some additional pointers for this pecan sandies recipe.

  • Use the best quality ingredients you can find. Pecan sandies are a variation of shortbread, which means the butter you use is quite important. It’s a key player, so spring for the good stuff.
  • Don’t over-bake the cookies. Doing so will dry them out and they’ll be more likely to crumble when handled or stored.
  • Let pans cool between batches. If you don’t have enough pans to fit all of the cookie dough, let your pans cool before you add more dough to make another batch. This will keep your cookies from spreading and over-baking on the bottoms.
Stack of 5 pecan sandies on a wire cooling rack.

Substitutions & Recipe Variations

This is a recipe where proportions are important, so you don’t want to make any big changes to these pecan sandies, but you can make some small tweaks:

  • Nuts: Swap out the pecans for chopped walnuts, hazelnuts, or macadamia nuts. 
  • Spices: Add a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg to the batter for a warm, cozy flavor. 
  • Extracts: Replace the vanilla extract with almond or rum extract.
  • Chocolate: Dip the cooled cookies in melted dark chocolate.
Overhead view of pecan sandies stacked on a plate.

How to Store

Store these pecan sandies in an airtight container at room temperature. They will keep for up to 5 days when stored properly. 

Can I Freeze Pecan Sandies?

Yes, you can freeze these pecan sandies. Simply allow the cookies to cool completely, then store them in an airtight container or freezer bag. When you’re ready to enjoy them again, let the cookies thaw at room temperature, then serve.

Stack of 3 pecan sandies cookies.

More Shortbread Recipes

If you loved this pecan sandies recipe, be sure to check out some of these other easy shortbread recipes!

Pecan Sandies

Yield 18
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 17 minutes
Total Time 37 minutes

Pecan sandies are a classic cookie recipe that's buttery, nutty, and perfectly crisp! They're easily made in just over 30 minutes.

Overhead view of pecan sandies on a plate


  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (100g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (120g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (120g) pecans, coarsely chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
  2. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Beat in the vanilla and salt.
  3. With mixer speed on low, gradually add the flour and beat just until combined. Fold in the pecans.
  4. Roll the dough into 1 & 1/2-inch balls. Place them about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Lightly flatten each with the bottom of a dampened glass.
  5. Bake the cookies (one pan at a time) until golden brown (about 12-16 minutes).
  6. Place the pans on a wire rack, and allow the cookies to cool for 10 minutes. Then transfer the cookies from the pans directly onto a wire rack to cool completely.


  • Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart.
  • Yield: About 18 cookies.
  • To store: Store these pecan sandies in an airtight container at room temperature. They will keep for up to 5 days when stored properly. 
  • To freeze: Simply allow the cookies to cool completely, then store them in an airtight container or freezer bag. When you're ready to enjoy them again, let the cookies thaw at room temperature, then serve.

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    57 Comments on “Pecan Sandies”

  1. These were my favorite cookies as a kid, my mom used to always buy them! And now that I think of it, I never have made them myself, but I must try this recipe for deliciousness and nostalgia’s sake!

  2. Pecan Sandies remind me of us at Vacation Bible School. I’m sure your homemade ones are much better though!

  3. These look so delicious! Pecan sandies are one of my favorite cookies – homemade only though. There’s something about the ones in the package that I don’t like. And I just saw the related post for cocoa macadamia nut sandies.. HEAVEN! Thank you.

  4. YUM-drooling:) These look awesome!!!

  5. The cookies look delicious, I have never tried these. Things I missed out on since I don’t live in the US:)

  6. This has to be much better than the packaged ones. Two thumbs up!

  7. Shut. Your. Face. I absolutely LOVE pecan sandies! I can’t wait to try this recipe! Thanks!!!

  8. These look fabulous – I’ve really enjoyed reading your cookie recipes. I now just need to find the time to give them a try. Thanks for sharing.

  9. MMMM..these look delicious, one of my favorite cookies!

  10. Glad you are back!!!

  11. Wow! Looks too good to be true!

  12. These things look gorgeous and I am sure are delicious.

  13. Oh wow ive never heard of pecan sandies before, Id love to try them though, I love pecan nuts so i can imagine in these they are delicious!

  14. Oh wow, I forgot how much I loved the packaged Pecan Sandies as a kid. I definitely want to try making them myself!

  15. Ooh… those look delicious! If there are enough pecans in the bag I have I’m going to make them tonight.

  16. Pecans are magical. The end. Beautiful shot, as always!

  17. Pecan Sandies were my favorite childhood cookie too. I need to make these. 😉 I’m so envious you were invited to Martha’s set for the launch of her iPad cookie application. What an honor and experience that must have been! 🙂

  18. These cookies look awesome, haven’t eaten them ever! So kicked that you saw Martha!

  19. Coming from Queensland in Australia, I can’t say that Pecan Sandies are a childhood favourite! (more like lamingtons) But now that I have seen your recipe, I might have to bake up a batch and start a new tradition!!

  20. i made these and they were delicious. i doubled the recipe, a definite keeper in my recipe box

  21. I made these tonight. My only complaint is the recipe only makes 18 cookies, which by the time I stopped munching on the batter, yielded only 16 baked cookies! The cookies themselves are excellent with a great buttery pecan flavor. Warm out of the oven, they are excellent. One last comment: My toaster oven had them baked in 15 minutes, while the recipe states a significantly longer period of time. I would recommend you keep an eye on them in your oven to prevent overbaking. Thanks for the recipe!

  22. Whoops….I said my oven had them baked in 15 minutes, I meant to say 11 minutes. The recipe says 15-17 minutes.

  23. I think I’ll try these luscious looking cookies half-dipped in chocolate and served with a pot of chocolate hazelnut tea!

  24. That’s so excited that you were invited to tweet at the show! These cookies look so good and your photos are great. I just found your blog, I love it. I’m always searching through baking blogs for inspiration so I can;t wait to look through your recipes.

  25. wow your pecan sandies look much better than any i had as a child. i will have to try this recipe out for sure. 🙂 btw your food photography is out of this world! you are amazing at what you do 🙂

  26. Pecan Sandies are my dad’s absolute FAVE cookies. I have to make these for him! (And oh how I love Martha, too.)

  27. These cookies look just fantastic! And since I’ve looked at a lot of cookies while writing my cookie cookbooks, I’m not just saying that! I shouldn’t be looking at these while hungry.

  28. These pecan sandies look wonderful. Thanks for this post.

  29. I used to love pecan sandies! These look really good. I need to test this one out. 🙂

  30. I made these the other night, delicious!! (perhaps a little sweet for our Australian palate, but delicious)

  31. I am making these tonight. Right after I go to the gym that is….they look deadly, and so, *SO* much better than the dried out kind that you get at the store. I will report back ASAP with my findings….and I will also listen to Bob’s advice about the cooktime.

    It’s about time I commented here! I love your blog. Thanks for making me excited to check in 🙂 xo, Cory

  32. I agree with Bob regarding the cook time. My batch took only 11 minutes as well. They look beautiful. I’m waiting for them to cool so I can taste 🙂

  33. These cookies are great, big fans in my house

  34. Can’t wait to make these. I bake cookies for Hospice families and am always looking for great – new recipes – thank you

  35. I’ve never had these homemade…wow!

  36. Yummy! Mouthwatering!

  37. This is exciting! I’ve loved Pecan Sandies since I was Very Little in the 50’s. Alas, as so many things, they have changed. They do not taste the same anymore, can’t even eat the ones the elves make anymore. Thanks for this recipe. I will be trying it soon!

  38. Oh my gosh. These are fantastic. I’m not even a shortbread cookie person, made these for my hubbie. Thanks for the fab recipe! ♥

  39. These comments above kill me Jen glad to see I’m not the only one addicted to these jewels? I was just wondering if you would turn into a pecan cookie if you ate too many of these? :o)

  40. These are wonderful cookies. A little sweet I will add a little less sugar next time. The dough taste delicious also and since no eggs I ate too much dough.

  41. I made these today, & were a disappointment! I didn’t read these reviews, my first batch burned, cuz I put it on 15 minute timer (it says 15-17 so I went earlier than later!) ugh. Used real butter & they are all scorched. Hubby will eat anything,but I was taking them to the festivities today for day after TG gathering! 🙁 I have the 2nd tray in (I got 20 cookies total!) & will watch them like a hawk & see how they turn out!

  42. Made a lot of cookies in my life, but these weren’t total waste of good ingredients.
    Dry, and fell a part. Very aggravating ……..

  43. Needs an egg because the cookies are WAY too crumbly. Was also too sweet. So disappointed with this recipe.

  44. Similar to my mother’s recipe, although that one calls for rolling the dough into balls and then into powdered sugar, similar to Italian (or Mexican) wedding cookies.

    Sandies are considered a shortbread cookie, which does not call for eggs. I will say that the butter to dry ingredient ratio in this recipe is quite different than in mine. Mine always turn out quite tender.

  45. Hi – Looking to see if anyone has had issues with the cookies spreading too much during baking. The first time I made these everything worked perfectly, since my first batch I haven’t gotten the same result. After rolling into 1 and 1/2 in balls and lightly flattening with a glass as suggested the baked cookies are coming out very thin, at 4″ in diameter.


  46. Oh Me Oh My…….I just made these and they are awesome. Thanks for sharing the recipe!!!!

  47. followed directions exactly and these cookies were amazing! read reviews and noted some suggested baking for 11 minutes instead of 17 minutes, so baked for 12 minutes, checked them and baked another 5 minutes, so I suggest 17  minutes as recipe says. Thank you for this great recipe!

  48. I think they were test. I was concerned that there was no egg and the batter was so fluffy. My husband loves them. 

  49. I can see that folks have been thrilling from what you’ve shared for some time, by the dates after their comments. I want you to know Jennifer that in “2023” your recipe was made for the very first time, this past week. This is the rare cookie recipe that really has amazing aromas as you prepare the dough, even before baking. My pecans were chopped finely, and as I mixed the dough with brown sugar, it actually felt like I was already eating :). I kept smelling pecan pie while making the dough, and the eating gave me flavors of maple, believe it or not. Sorry for the rant, but I LOVE THESE cookies. As for “Keebler”, well eat your heart out :). Thank you for your consistent presence in my baking life.

    • Hello, Jeff! I love your description of making these cookies. It’s always fascinating how combining simple things can make such a big impact throughout the entire process. So glad you loved them!

  50. Just made these! Fabulous! Roasted the pecans first. Omg I could eat the dough or allll the cookies myself, lol.  So good. And also easy & quick to make.  Freezing some dough for later in the week to control myself. 

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