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Butter Pecan Shortbread

Butter pecan shortbread cookies are wonderfully simple yet so soft, crumbly, and delicious. With a short list of ingredients and a quick prep time, these are sure to be among your favorite quick and easy treats!

Looking for more easy shortbread recipes? Be sure to try 3-ingredient shortbread cookies, old-fashioned pecan sandies, and chocolate shortbread as well!

Overhead view of a stack of butter pecan shortbread cookies.

Shortbread is one of the simple joys of the baking world. Usually, there are just a handful of ingredients. The effort is minimal. And, the simple flavors are just right!

Why You’ll Love These Pecan Shortbread Cookies

These butter pecan shortbread cookies are an excellent addition to the “quick and easy desserts” section in your recipe box. If you’re a fan of all things butter pecan, you’re going to love having these in your baking arsenal!

  • Sweet and buttery. Soft, buttery cookies and toasted pecans are heavenly together – you’ll love this divine combination.
  • Simple ingredients. This shortbread recipe is made with just 6 ingredients, most of which are probably sitting in your pantry right now!
  • No chill time! No need to chill the dough for this recipe, you can just pop the cookies straight into the oven.
  • Perfect for any occasion. You can make these cookies any time you’re craving something sweet, or you could include them on your holiday cookie tray. It’s really up to you!
Stack of butter pecan shortbread on a white plate.

What You’ll Need

Here’s the wonderfully short list of ingredients for these amazing shortbread!

  • Unsalted butter – Set out the butter about half an hour before baking to allow it to soften.
  • Brown sugar – You can use light or dark brown sugar, depending on your taste preferences.
  • Vanilla extract – Pure vanilla extract provides the best, strongest flavor.
  • All-purpose flour – As always, measure your flour by weight for the best results. Otherwise, spooning and sweeping is the way to go.
  • Pecans – Remember to set some aside for the topping.
  • Coarse sugar – I love the look of coarse sugar (like sanding sugar) on these bars. It really helps dress up a simple baked good. If you don’t have coarse sugar or sanding sugar, you can certainly use regular granulated sugar. It might not have the same aesthetic appeal, but it will still add that extra sweetness.

How to Make Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies

You’ll love how quickly and easily these shortbread bars come together!

  • Prepare for baking. Heat the oven to 350°F. Then, line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, allowing the lining to hang off on two sides so that it will be easy to lift after baking.
  • Combine the wet ingredients. With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter and brown sugar until the mixture is creamy. Next, mix in the vanilla.
  • Add the flour and pecans. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour and mix until combined. Then, stir in 1/4 cup of the pecans. The mixture will be crumbly but should hold together when pinched.
  • Transfer the dough to the pan. Spread the dough evenly in the bottom of the prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining pecans and the coarse sugar over the top of the dough.
  • Bake the shortbread. Place the pan in the oven, and bake until the edges are lightly browned (about 25 minutes). After baking, place the pan on a wire rack and allow the bars to cool for 10 minutes. Then use the overhanging lining to lift the bars from the pan onto a cutting board, and cut the cookies into squares.

Video Tutorial For Butter Pecan Shortbread

Check out this video to see just how simple the steps to making these pecan shortbread cookies are!

Tips for Success

Here are some quick tips and tricks to read through that will make this shortbread recipe even easier.

  • Make careful measurements. This is always important in baking, but especially so with shortbread. I highly recommend using a food scale to be completely accurate!
  • It’s okay if your shortbread dough seems crumbly. Shortbread dough doesn’t have the same consistency as something like chocolate chip cookie dough. When mixed, it will be crumbly but should hold together when pinched or pressed.
  • Don’t over-mix. While it will likely take several minutes to mix the dough, don’t overdo it. Too much mixing leads to tough, dense cookies.
  • Use a light-colored metal pan. Dark pans tend to over-bake the bottoms and edges.

How to Store

Place the cooled bars in an airtight container and store them at room temperature for up to 5 days. For a few more days of storage, place the container in the refrigerator and bring the bars to room temperature before serving.

Can I Freeze This Shortbread Recipe?

Yes! For longer storage, wrap the shortbread well with plastic wrap and place it in an airtight, freezer-safe container or bag. Properly stored, it should keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator or for an hour or so at room temperature.

More Shortbread Recipes

If you can’t get enough when it comes to shortbread, check out some of these other easy recipes!

Butter Pecan Shortbread

Yield 30
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Butter pecan shortbread are deliciously sweet and nutty! These soft, crumbly pecan cookie bars are so easy to make... and they only require 6 ingredients!

overhead view of a stack of Butter Pecan Shortbread


  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup (67g) firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 & 1/4 cups (150g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (38g) chopped pecans, divided
  • 2-3 teaspoons coarse sugar (may substitute granulated sugar)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on 2 sides.
  2. Using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the butter and brown sugar until creamy. Add the vanilla and mix well.
  3. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour, beating until well-mixed. Stir in 1/4 cup pecans. The mixture will be crumbly.
  4. Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top with 1 tablespoon pecans and coarse sugar.
  5. Bake until the edges are lightly browned, about 25 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Using the foil, lift the shortbread out of pan. Cut into bars.


  • Recipe slightly adapted from Land O Lakes.
  • To store: Place the cooled bars in an airtight container and store them at room temperature for up to 5 days. For a few more days of storage, place the container in the refrigerator and bring the bars to room temperature before serving.
  • To freeze: For longer storage, wrap the shortbread well with plastic wrap and place it in an airtight, freezer-safe container or bag. Properly stored, it should keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator or for an hour or so at room temperature.

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    23 Comments on “Butter Pecan Shortbread”

  1. yes these do bring joy don’t they?

  2. When a cookie promises you that it will be buttery from the name alone, it’s golden. Love a good bite of shortbread.

  3. Oh wow, these look beautiful!

  4. Your shortbread looks gorgeous. I usually just make plain shortbread, although I have made a lemon & basil shortbread beofer. I love the sound of pecans in shortbread and it just shows you, it is adaptable.

  5. OMG!!!Gonna get the recipe right now!!!


  6. Oh man these look good! The whole pan shall be mine! *insert maniacal laugh*

  7. Mmm a butter bar is just what I need right now – maybe studded with chocolate chips as well… 😀
    Gorgeous recipe!

    Choc Chip Uru
    Latest: Fresh Fruit Tart

  8. Ok I want to bake EVERYTHING that you post. And I share your love of pecans! Thanks for all the happy eating, keep up the great work 🙂

  9. They look incredible. Love that they are so simple but they certainly look like they don’t skimp on taste.

  10. I’m planning to try these

  11. I’m drooling and gaining weight just going through and printing out so many of your recipes…I just wish they listed the CALORIES so I could pick and choose where to start on my GROWING collection! I think Bake or Break is WONDER-FULL! So there.

  12. Is the flour measurement pre or post sifting?  I was always taught to measure post sift but the mixture was not crumbly enough so I added a little.  

  13. I can hardly wait to make these for supper dessert tonight. You had me a butter, pecan, and shortbread all…that is a win!win!win! recipe. It will be worth the pound I gained just reading the recipe!!!Thanks so much for sharing your expertise!

  14. Very delicious and sooo quick and easy to make!  I need to get these in the freezer before I eat way more than I should!  Thanks for a great recipe. 

  15. How long will these keep at room temperature? I can’t wait to try them! 

  16. Can I bake these in a glass pan ???? 
    These are right to my alley lol 
    My hubby loves anything butter  Pecan  lol
    Don’t tell him I do too 😂😂 
    Also I’m going to try the butter pecan cake I know he will be very pleased 
    Every recipe I have used of yours we have absolutely loved and it turned out exactly as you said 
    I’m excited every time I see your emails lolol 
    It’s so fun trying these from you I still picture you as the lil cute always smiling girl running around and having fun on the church building lolol I sure miss those days!! 

    • Hi, Michelle! It’s good to hear from you! Glass pans can be tricky because they conduct heat differently than metal pans. If you need to use a glass pan, try decreasing the oven temperature by 25 degrees and watch that the edges don’t get over-baked. Hope you and your husband enjoy them!

  17. I made these yesterday and there are none left today. They are delicious and so easy to make. I would like to double the recipe and bake in a 9 in. square pan. Do you see any issues with this?

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