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Blueberry Pecan Shortbread Bars

Nutty, buttery shortbread is topped with juicy blueberries and a crumble topping to create these irresistible Blueberry Pecan Shortbread Bars.

Overhead view of 4 Blueberry Pecan Shortbread Bars on marble slabs

The Perfect Blueberry Bars for Summer

I usually find my way toward baking berries into bar form at least once every berry season. But these particular bars benefit from the presence of one of my favorite things—shortbread—in combination with fresh blueberries. Add in pecans, and these are pretty perfect!

The recipe starts with that simple, nutty shortbread. This is topped with fresh blueberries and a sprinkling of sugar and lemon zest, adding a bright citrus note. Then it’s all topped off with a little bit more of the shortbread, this time in crumbled form.

There are plenty of blueberries in these bars, so there is no shortage of sweet, fruity flavor. You’ll get a pretty solid layer of blueberries running through these. And all that blueberry deliciousness works so very well with the soft, sweet, nutty shortbread. They are really just lovely.

(If you’re looking for more ways to use blueberries in your baking, try my Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins, Blueberry Cream Cheese Tart, or Mini Blueberry Cream Cheese Pies next!)

What You’ll Need

Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

Variations

Try substituting different nuts and berries in these bars, or swap the lemon zest for lime or orange. Add a small amount of minced thyme or rosemary for an herbal note, or swap the vanilla extract for almond extract.

3 Blueberry Pecan Shortbread Bars on marble slab

How to Make Blueberry Pecan Shortbread Bars

These Blueberry Pecan Shortbread Bars are the kind of effortless dessert you can put together on a whim. Here’s what you’ll need to do.

Prepare. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 9″x 13″x 2″ baking pan with butter or nonstick spray.

Mix the dry ingredients. Stir together the flour, pecans, and salt in a medium bowl.

Finish the shortbread. In another mixing bowl, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed. Beat in the vanilla, then reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly beat in the flour mixture, continuing to mix just until a dough forms.

Assemble. Press a little more than half of the shortbread mixture into the bottom of the pan. Top this with the blueberries, followed by the sugar and lemon zest. Crumble the remaining shortbread mixture over the top.

Bake. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the bars are golden brown. Cool in the pan for 2 hours before cutting the bars.

Should You Chill Shortbread Before Baking?

Normally, shortbread is chilled before baking, so you may wonder why it’s not in this recipe.

When making shortbread cookies, the dough is chilled to keep it from spreading on the pan. Here, the shortbread is a crust, so spreading isn’t an issue.

Tips for Success

Here are some simple tips for perfect Blueberry Pecan Shortbread Bars.

  • Toast the nuts. This is optional, but it will enhance the flavor and make the finished bars taste nuttier.
  • Don’t skip softening the butter. Softened butter will mix much more easily with the other ingredients. Remember that butter begins to melt at 68°F, so don’t let it come all the way to room temperature.
  • Use fresh blueberries. Frozen berries will release too much liquid, making the bars soggy. 

How to Store

Your Blueberry Pecan Shortbread Bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Can This Recipe Be Frozen?

These bars can be frozen for up to 3 months in a freezer bag or airtight storage container. Let them thaw at room temperature before serving.

Blueberry Pecan Shortbread Bars

Yield 24 2-inch bars
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Nutty shortbread and fresh blueberries are a delicious pairing in these Blueberry Pecan Shortbread Bars!

Overhead view of 4 Blueberry Pecan Shortbread Bars on marble slabs

Ingredients

  • 2 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 & 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • zest of half of a medium lemon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9"x 13"x 2" baking pan.
  2. Stir together the flour, pecans, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla.
  4. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing just until a dough forms.
  5. Transfer slightly more than half of the mixture to the prepared pan. Press evenly and firmly into the bottom of the pan. Top with the blueberries.
  6. Stir together the sugar and lemon zest. Sprinkle over the blueberries. Crumble the remaining shortbread mixture over the berries.
  7. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until the bars are golden brown. Cool in the pan for 2 hours before cutting into bars.

Notes

*Toast the pecans to add even more flavor!

Recipe slightly adapted from Southern Living.

To store: Blueberry Pecan Shortbread Bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.

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    15 Comments on “Blueberry Pecan Shortbread Bars”

  1. Hi – this recipe sounds excellent! I do have a couple of questions: when do you add the 2 tbps granulated sugar and lemon zest? Do you mix them together and sprinkle over the blueberries, or do you mix them in with the blueberries, or do you mix them in with the dough? Thanks!

  2. Those look fantastic! Great way to use fresh blueberries 🙂

  3. i think I could eat an entire tray of these. Wow they look good!

  4. Soon as we have fresh local berries I’m doing this one!! Sounds wonderful, Jennifer. Thanks for a great berry option.

  5. would you use frozen berries differently?

  6. Jennifer, these look so delicious! I love blueberry and streusel together. And I love that these have pecans, they’re one of my favorites. Nice job!

  7. These sound excellent and look really great! A wonderful way of using fresh berries. I love that it’s nutty because of the pecans. I could just eat all of it!

  8. Excellent bars! Made these yesterday and they went together beautifully and quickly too. I had some vanilla sugar which I mixed with the lemon zest to sprinkle over the blueberries. This added a little bit more vanilla goodness to the batch! Also thought the toasted pecans really added an extra tasty touch. Will definitely make them again, especially when I have fresh blueberries from the Farmstand in my area!

  9. For fruity bars, I definitely prefer a shortbread crust to a pie crust. Buttery juicy perfection is what these are!

  10. These bars definitely look fantastic! Blueberries and shortbread! Oh my! My husband has a severe allergy to all tree nuts. So I would, unfortunately, have to leave out the pecans. I don’t need to make any other adjustments to the recipe, do I?

  11. These were delish! I used one stick butter and 1/2 cup smart balance, because that is what I had on hand. I used a pint a blue berries and about a cup of sliced strawberries. I substituted lemon zest with a splash of lemon juice. I sprinkled the sugar and lemon juice over the berries and let them sit for a minutes.

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