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This Pecan Shortbread Cookies recipe is easy to make, freezer-friendly, and great for gifts! The cookies are made with toasted pecans for the best nutty flavor and texture. Everyone will love these tender, buttery shortbread cookies – they’re irresistible.

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Stack of pecan shortbread cookies with more in background

Shortbread cookies are a classic, especially during the holiday season. The best part is that they’re not hard to make, and there are so many variations! The base cookie is soft and buttery – almost like a blank canvas that you can change with different mix-ins.

One of my favorites is pecan shortbread bars. 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.

I’ve already mentioned the flavor but repeating it – if you love melt-in-your-mouth buttery cookies, you have to try these. When I’ve made them for friends and family, they’ve told me it’s the best shortbread cookie recipe in the world! I’ve made them so many times, and they always get rave reviews.

ingredients in pecan shortbread bars with checkered towel

Ingredients in Pecan Shortbread

You might be surprised to see a short ingredient list. That’s the magic in these pecan shortbread bars – they’re incredibly simple, but they don’t taste simple. I bet if you check, you already have most of the ingredients on hand.

  • 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. Untoasted nuts just don’t do that. So, yes, it adds a step, but it’s worth it. Learn how to toast nuts easily.
  • Butter: Start with softened unsalted butter for easy mixing.
  • 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.
  • Vanilla Extract: For flavor
  • Salt: Needed for flavor since we’re using unsalted butter. If using salted butter reduce salt to 1/4 teaspoon.
  • 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. 
  • All-purpose Flour: Typical in shortbread.
Overhead shot of three images showing the process of making pecan shortbread cookie dough

How to Make Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies

  1. The first thing to do is toast the pecans. Place them in a small skillet and warm them over medium-low heat. Stir them often and, once they are fragrant and toasted, take them off the heat. It’s crucial to keep an eye on them – don’t leave them alone because they can burn quickly. It will take less than five minutes to toast them. Set the toasted nuts aside to cool while you make the cookie dough.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl. You can do this with a hand mixer or with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  3. Add the vanilla, salt, and cornstarch and mix to combine. Slowly add the flour while mixing and then stir in the toasted pecans.
  4. Press the dough into a 9×13″ baking pan lined with foil coated with cooking spray. Use your hands to press the dough into an even layer, but do so lightly, so you don’t compact the dough.
  5. Bake the bars for 25 to 30 minutes at 350°F. I like soft pecan shortbread bars, but if you prefer yours crunchy, bake them for up to 35 minutes.
  6. Cool them completely before slicing and storing them.
Overhead shot of pecan shortbread cookies cut into squares on a metal cooling rack

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. I’ve included the baking times for both in the recipe card.

How to Store Shortbread Bars

Beyond the fact that they’re just hands-down the best flavor and texture-wise, they keep well at room temperature, or you can freeze them. So, if you’re getting a head start on your holiday baking, they need to be on your list.

Pecan shortbread cookies cut into squares on a metal cooling rack


Do I have to use pecans?

No, any nut will work. Walnuts, almonds, even chopped peanuts will work if you want to change them up. But no matter which kind you use, definitely toast them first for the best flavor.

How do you store shortbread?

Pecan shortbread cookies keep great at room temperature. Shortbread will keep for up to four days at room temperature. Wait for the cookies to completely cool, and then store them in an airtight container. If you are gifting them, I always think it’s good to separate the layers with wax paper or parchment.

Can you Freeze Shortbread cookies?

Yes, homemade shortbread freezes great! 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!

Do you need a shortbread pan? 

No, a regular 9×13″ baking pan works great.

Why is my shortbread dough too crumbly? 

If your dough is crumbly, it is most often one of three things:
1. Too much flour was added – for the best results, use the spoon and level method to measure your flour. Or, even better, use a kitchen scale to weigh it. I’ve included both weighted and cups measurements in the recipe.
2. Not enough butter was added – butter is what pulls the dough together in this recipe, so double-check you have the right amount.
3. Not mixed long enough – when you add the flour, add it slowly, so it easily absorbs into the wet ingredients. Keep mixing until the dough comes together. It should hold together when you lightly squeeze some in your hand. If it’s crumbly, mix a little longer.

More Shortbread Recipes You’ll Enjoy

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Stack of pecan shortbread cookies with more in background

Pecan Shortbread Bars Recipe

4.99 from 117 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


  • 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
Four pecan shortbread cookies stacked on eachother with more in the background

Easy Pecan Shortbread Cookie Bars are made with toasted pecans – they’re soft and rich and the PERFECT shortbread cookies recipe!

Last Updated on September 8, 2022

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.

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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 😉

  4. These were great!!! I was a little concerned using granulated sugar, but it was tasty 🤤 thank you for a great bar

  5. Not as good as I expected. Very bland. I do love shortbread but like a more buttery taste. They were good, not great.

  6. I like toasting whole pecans and course chopping vs buying toasted pieces. Also, adding crystal sugar to the top before baking adds texture and sparkle.