Home / Recipes / Desserts / Bars / Easy Pecan Shortbread Bars Recipe

Easy Pecan Shortbread Bars Recipe

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE SALES LINKS. PLEASE SEE OUR FULL DISCLOSURE POLICY FOR DETAILS

If you’re a fan of rich, buttery treats with a delightful crunch, these Pecan Shortbread Bars will win your heart. They are the perfect blend of tender shortbread and gooey pecan filling, creating textures and flavors that are simply irresistible.

Pecan Shortbread Bars stacked on top of each other on a white plate.
Table of Contents

The shortbread crust is heavenly and using brown sugar for the sweetener gives it an extra nutty flavor.  The topping is just like the gooey goodness that we all know and love from traditional pecan pie.  Together, they are absolute heaven.

To balance the sweetness in this pecan shortbread bars recipe, I have added a sprinkle of kosher salt over the honey filling after baking.  It helps cut through the sweetness and give the pecans an extra special flavor {if you are using salted pecans then you would want to skip this step}. You can also try this Pecan Upside Down Bundt Cake and Pecan No Bake Cheesecake!

Free Email Series

5 Secrets To The Perfect Cookie

Tips & tricks to achieve the most delicious cookies of your life!

What goes in this recipe

The ingredients needed to make pecan shortbread bars.
  • Pecans: Roughly chopped pecans add flavor and a crunchy texture to the filling. to the filling of the pecan pie bars. 
  • Butter: One of the main ingredients in the shortbread crust, giving it great flavor and a flaky texture.
  • Brown Sugar: Used in place of granulated sugar for a deep flavor that pairs perfectly with the pecan topping.
  • Salt: To bring out the flavors in the pecan shortbread bars.
  • Honey: Sweetens the pecan filling and sets the bars apart from other recipes that use light corn syrup. Maple syrup can also be used as a substitute.
  • Vanilla extract: Brings out the flavors of the filling.
  • Heavy cream: Helps to create a caramel sauce for these caramel pecan shortbread bars. 

See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations and Substitutions

  • Chocolate Shortbread: Add cocoa powder to the shortbread crust ingredients for a delightful chocolate twist.
  • Spiced Crust: Add a pinch of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom to the shortbread crust for a warm and aromatic touch.
  • Chocolate Pecan: Sprinkle chocolate chips or chunks over the shortbread crust before adding the pecan filling for a chocolatey delight.
  • Coconut Pecan: Mix shredded coconut into the pecan filling for a tropical twist.

How to make Pecan Shortbread Bars

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and prepare a 9×9 pan square baking pan by lining it with parchment paper and spraying with nonstick cooking spray. Combine butter and brown sugar in a mixing bowl and cream together until fluffy. Add salt and flour, mix until it is a crumbly coarse meal.
  2. Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan.
Steps 1 and 2 of making pecan shortbread bars. 1, making the shortbread. 2, pressing the shortbread into pan.
  1. Bake for 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool the bars on a wire rack.
  2. Lower the oven heat to 325°F. To make the pecan mixture, boil butter, brown sugar, honey, and cream in a medium saucepan
Steps 3 and 4 of making pecan pie bars. 3, bake crust. 4, making pecan topping.
  1. Pour the pecan pie filling in an even layer over the baked crust and bake for an additional 15-20 mins {or until it is bubbly}.
  2. Sprinkle salt on top of the bars, allow to cool completely and then cut into squares.
Steps 5 and 6 of making pecan bars. 5, pour pecan mixture over crust. 6, bake and sprinkle with salt.

Expert Tips

  • Don’t skip the step of preparing the pan for this pecan bars recipe.  The topping is super sticky, so be sure that parchment paper goes up the sides of the pan.  I would also spray with nonstick cooking spray to be sure that it will remove easily.
  • The shortbread dough may look crumbly when you pour it into the pan but that is how it is supposed to be. It will come together as you press it into the pan and create a buttery shortbread crust. If you love shortbread, try these Chocolate Chip Cookies!
  • Be sure not to overcook the crust when you bake it on its own. You will want it to be golden in color but remember that it will cook more after the filling is added.
  • This recipe is great because there is no need for a candy thermometer.  The filling comes together on the stovetop in minutes.
  • This recipe can be easily doubled and made in a 9×13 pan. This will give you a good amount of bars and is great for feeding a crowd. 

Storage and Freezing

Storage: To keep this pecan bar recipe fresh, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Freezing: If you want to save some for later, these bars can be frozen for up to 3 months. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, or place them in an airtight container or freezer bag.  If you are not wrapping them, be sure that the layers are separated by parchment paper to prevent sticking. 

When you’re ready to enjoy the pecan shortbread bars, simply thaw at room temperature for a few hours or in the refrigerator overnight.

Recipe FAQs

Can I use a different type of nut instead of pecans for the filling?

Yes, you can substitute pecans with other nuts like walnuts, almonds, or even a combination of nuts, like this Baklava Bundt Cake.

Do I need to toast the pecans before adding them to the filling?

Toasting the pecans can enhance the flavor of the pecan squares, but it’s not necessary.

You can use raw pecans if you prefer or if you’re short on time and still get the flavors of classic pecan pie. These Salted Buttered Pecans would also be wonderful

Can I use gluten-free flour for the shortbread crust?

Absolutely, you can use a gluten-free flour blend as a suitable replacement for regular flour in the shortbread crust to make it gluten-free.

How do I serve Shortbread Pecan Bars?

​This recipe is the perfect Thanksgiving dessert.  Serve this classic recipe on any holiday with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  They would also be wonderful cut into a small portion and added to a plate of assorted cookies as a gift.

Baked pecan shortbread bars on a white plate for serving.

Do you love pecan recipes? Try one of these…

Did you try this recipe?

Leave a ⭐️ review below and tag @practicallyhomemade on Pinterest!

Pecan Shortbread bars stacked on each other.

Easy Pecan Shortbread Bars Recipe

Buttery brown sugar shortbread is topped with a delicious honey pecan filling and sprinkled with kosher salt for the ultimate Pecan Shortbread Bar.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 12 bars
Calories: 342kcal
4.77 from 21 votes
Pin Print

Ingredients

Shortbread Crust

  • ½ cup butter {softened}
  • cup brown sugar {packed}
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups flour

Pecan Filling

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar {packed}
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • ½ Tablespoon vanilla extract {or vanilla bean paste}
  • 2 cups pecans {roughly chopped}

Instructions

Shortbread Crust

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a 9×9 pan by lining it with parchment paper and spraying with non-stick cooking spray, set aside. 
  • Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar until it is light and fluffy.  Add salt and flour, continue to mix until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Pour mixture into prepared pan and pat down into an even layer.  Bake for 15 minutes or until the sides start to turn golden brown.  Remove from oven and cool.

Pecan Filling

  • Once crust has cooled, preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Combine butter, brown sugar, honey and heavy cream in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat.  Stir mixture and cook until it boils.  Remove from heat, add vanilla and stir.  Finally, add the chopped pecans and stir until coated. Pour the filling over the prepared crust.  Spread filling out into an even layer and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the filling is bubbly.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle the top with a small amount of flakey sea salt {optional}.  Cool and cut your pecan shortbread bars into squares.  Store in an air tight container for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Video

Notes

  • Don’t skip the step of preparing the pan for this pecan bars recipe.  The topping is super sticky, so be sure that parchment paper goes up the sides of the pan.  I would also spray with nonstick cooking spray to be sure that it will remove easily.
  • The shortbread dough may look crumbly when you pour it into the pan but that is how it is supposed to be. It will come together as you press it into the pan and create a buttery shortbread crust.
  • This recipe can be easily doubled and made in a 9×13 pan. This will give you a good amount of bars and is great for feeding a crowd. 
Variations:
  • Chocolate Shortbread: Add cocoa powder to the shortbread crust ingredients for a delightful chocolate twist.
  • Spiced Crust: Add a pinch of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom to the shortbread crust for a warm and aromatic touch.
  • Chocolate Pecan: Sprinkle chocolate chips or chunks over the shortbread crust before adding the pecan filling for a chocolatey delight.
  • Coconut Pecan: Mix shredded coconut into the pecan filling for a tropical twist.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bar | Calories: 342kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 194mg | Potassium: 119mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 402IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @PracticallyHomemade or tag #practicallyhomemade!

Similar Posts

3 Comments

  1. I followed this recipe exactly and it came out amazing. Brought them to work today for pharmacy week and am making another batch for my boyfriend who loves pecans!! Thank you for a wonderful and easy recipe 😊

  2. 4 stars
    I used 2 6×6 pans and kept the recipe the same and it worked great! Spiced the crust and added some walnuts in one of the pans, and kept the other original. The crust was a bit dry (maybe user error) but very great otherwise!

Comments are closed.