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Pecan Shortbread Cookies are easy to make shortbread bars that are freezer-friendly, rich and soft and full of chopped toasted pecans. You can bake them soft or crunchy – bakers choice – and everyone who tries them absolutely loves them!

Stack of pecan shortbread cookies with more in background

Pecan Shortbread Cookies are a classic shortbread cookie bar that taste like pecan sandies. The base cookie is soft and buttery – almost like a blank canvas that you can change with different mix-ins, pecans in this case.

Toasted pecans are mixed into the dough, and they add the most wonderful flavor and texture. They’re better than Walker’s shortbread recipe – I can promise you that! Each bite practically melts in your mouth!

Shortbread can be shaped in all different ways – sometimes, you see them as round slices or cut into various shapes with cookie cutters. I think the easiest way to make them is in a baking dish, so they’re easy to slice into bars. Plus – you can make these soft shortbread or crunchy, depending on how you like them.

ingredients in pecan shortbread bars with checkered towel

Ingredients Needed

  • Chopped Pecans: The main flavor secret is toasting the nuts. When you toast nuts, the natural oils are released, and they take on a nuttier flavor. Those oils get into the cookie dough, flavoring it even more. Learn how to toast nuts easily.
  • Butter: Start with softened unsalted butter for easy mixing. If using salted butter reduce salt to 1/4 teaspoon.
  • Sugar: This recipe uses granulated sugar. I know some shortbread recipes call for powdered sugar but we’re using cornstarch as well, so that would be too much.
  • Cornstarch: This is a cornstarch shortbread recipe. Not all recipes call for this, but I like it because cornstarch gives the cookies a nice, soft texture. 


  • You can use powdered sugar (confectioners’ sugar) in place of the granulated, if needed.
  • Want to turn these into slice-and-bake pecan shortbread cookies? Just roll the dough into a log, chill, then slice and bake on parchment-lined baking sheets.
  • Mix and match your add-ins – you can use any kind of nut or even chocolate chips.
  • Make chocolate dipped shortbread with the bars after they cool!

How to Make Pecan Shortbread

  1. Toast the pecans in a small skillet – don’t walk away or they might burn. Allow them to cool
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl on medium speed. You can do this with a hand mixer or with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the vanilla, salt, and cornstarch and mix to combine. Slowly add the flour.
  3. Mix in the toasted pecans and then press the dough into a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  4. Bake the bars at 350°F until no longer glossy on top, baked through, and light golden brown on top.

Crunchy vs Soft Shortbread

I love a soft shortbread cookie recipe, but if you prefer a crunchy pecan shortbread cookie recipe, all you have to do is bake them a little longer. Soft bars bake in 25-30 minutes and crunchy bars take up to 35 minutes.

Pecan shortbread cookies cut into squares on a metal cooling rack

Tip From Dorothy

Expert Tips

  • No chilling time needed for this shortbread recipe!
  • There are no eggs in this recipe – making it a traditional shortbread.
  • Pecan shortbread dough should not be crumbly – as you can see it’ll be a cohesive cookie dough. If it’s crumbly chances are you need to mix it longer. Add the flour slowly so it easily incorporates into the dough.

How to Store Shortbread Bars

Store pecan shortbread in an airtight container at room temperature. They will last several days. Or you can freeze them: Once the bars are thoroughly cooled, layer them with paper towels in an airtight container. The towels will keep the layers from freezing together and absorb excess moisture when you thaw the cookies. Properly stored, they will keep for up to three months in the freezer!

Stack of pecan shortbread cookies with more in background

Pecan Shortbread Bars Recipe

4.99 from 119 votes
Easy Pecan Shortbread Cookie Bars are made with toasted pecans – they’re soft and rich and the PERFECT shortbread cookie recipe!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Yield 24 bars
Serving Size 1 serving


  • 1 ½ cups (180g) chopped pecans
  • 1 cup (227g) unsalted butter, softened
  • cup (134g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon (8 g) cornstarch
  • 2 cups (248g) all-purpose flour
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  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13-inch pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Place pecans in a small frying pan and heat over medium low heat, stirring often, until toasted, about 3-5 minutes. Don’t walk away or they’ll burn – as soon as you smell them they’re done. Remove from pan to a plate to cool completely.
  • Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Mix in vanilla, salt, then cornstarch. Slowly mix in flour until combined, then stir in toasted pecans.
  • Press dough into a thin layer in prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes for soft-baked or up to 35 minutes for crunchy.
  • Cool completely before slicing into bars. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Use any kind of nut you like in these bars!

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 176kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 116mg | Potassium: 42mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 240IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

Favorite Shortbread Recipes

Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

4.99 from 119 votes (101 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. I love these, my friends love these, my Uncle loves, my aids all really love these. But my Mom, Mom she soooooo loves these especially when I drizzle dark chocolate all over them. So glad I came across this recipe…. most of the time, lol. When I make them I have to be ready to make at least 4 to 5 batchs. Then literally hide a few for myself, hehe

    As a side note I like that the are good both as cooked soour or longer to make a little crunchy. b

  2. Wondering why my comment re the gram measurement being off for the pecans hasn’t been responded to?

    I gave up and went with the cup and a half. They turned out ver well.

  3. My husband I loved these cookies! I was hoping for mine to look as beautiful and perfect like yours but mine came out a little thinner and when cutting them in squares they started breaking and crumbled when trying to lift the individual bar… do you have any advise where I went wrong? I used the right temperature and baked 25 minutes to 30 minutes. At 25 minutes they looked very pale so I added an additional 5 minutes per your instructions but although they taste delicious they do break and crumble very easy even upon cutting them in bars shapes. I was planning to bag them individually for a special treat on our Easter gathering but they won’t work for bagging them unless I give them a baggie with cookie crumbles lol But regardless they are still delicious and my husband and will definitely eat all of them 😉