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Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies

4.75 from 48 votes
Nothing says "holiday baking" quite like my Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies recipe-rich, buttery, and nutty, and a wonderful Christmas treat.

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Hi Bold Bakers!

From giving them as gifts, to making them as a fun activity with friends and family, I love how baking cookies is a way to bring people together during the holidays.  And nothing says “holiday baking” quite like these Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies — they are rich, buttery, and nutty, and a quintessential Christmas shortbread cookie.

As you know, shortbread is a staple for this festive season, but these aren’t just your average shortbread cookies, because they incorporate one of my favorite nuts: pecans. Easy to make in a large batch, and great to make ahead, these are lovely cookies to add to your holiday repertoire.

What is a shortbread cookie?

Shortbread cookies — not to be mistaken with a sugar cookie — are dry-yet-buttery cookies that are usually made of mostly butter, a bit of sugar, and a bit of flour. The reason it’s referred to as “short” bread is because of the nature of the crumb of the cookie.

The texture of my Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookie is on the cracker-like and crumbly side, making it delicate without much chew. One of the best parts about shortbread is that it always starts out the same, by creaming butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then adding in flour. My Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies combine both brown and white sugar, making all the difference in the flavor and aroma.

Then, of course, I add pecans — which take this cookie above and beyond. The added crunch and flavor from the toasted nuts is so lovely, making these truly special enough from any holiday occasion.

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Can shortbread cookies be frozen?

When the holidays hit, the key to culinary success is always preparation.

My Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookie can not only be made ahead, but they should be! Because the butter content of the butter pecan shortbread is so high, they can’t be shaped when the dough is fresh — they need to be chilled or frozen in the shape of a log, then sliced into discs to be baked. These shortbread cookies need to be chilled for a minimum of 2 hours to overnight.

If you do choose to make the dough ahead of time, it will also freeze beautifully. To bake from frozen: simply defrost, slice, and bake away!

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How to Make  Slice and Bake Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies

The best part about my Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies is how easy they are to bake off. Once the dough has been whipped up, I turn it out of a bowl and then use my hands to shape it into a log. I wrap the log in plastic wrap, then twist each end like you would a piece of hard candy.

The result is an even shape that allows you to slice the cookies into really uniform discs. I love this effect, as it makes each cookie comes out perfect. The more uniform the cookie, the more evenly they bake, too. The finished cookies looks so professional and stack up perfectly making a great little stocking stuffer or gift.

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Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies Recipe

4.75 from 48 votes
nothing says "holiday baking" quite like these Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies — they are rich, buttery, and nutty, and a quintessential Christmas shortbread cookie.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 25
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 11 minutes
Total Time 36 minutes
nothing says "holiday baking" quite like these Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies — they are rich, buttery, and nutty, and a quintessential Christmas shortbread cookie.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 25

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (8oz/225g) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (3oz/85g) brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (2oz/57g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups (12 1/2oz/355g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (2 ½oz/71g) pecans, roughly chopped

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add in the egg and vanilla and mix until combined. 
  • Fold in the flour and chopped pecans.
  • Bring the dough into a ball and divide in half. Roll each half into an 8 inch log, then wrap it in plastic wrap. Twist the ends of the plastic wrap tightly to create a compact even log. Chill the dough for 2 hours to over night. 
  • When ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 350°F (180°C) then line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. 
  • Remove the logs of dough from the fridge and unwrap them. Using a large sharp knife slice each log into 1/2 inch rounds.
  • Arrange the sliced cookies on the cookie sheets about 1 inch apart. 
  • Bake the cookies for 18-20 minutes or until lightly golden and slightly crispy.
  • Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and allow the cookies to cool completely.
  • Cover and store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 
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Sue
Sue
4 years ago

My husband’s favorite cookie has always been pecan sandies. So when I saw this recipe I quickly whipped up the dough and put it in the fridge. This afternoon I cut and baked them off and he is over the moon for how delicious they taste! (I love them too!!). Once again, thanks for a winning recipe Gemma!

Lisa
Lisa
4 years ago

I like to add a little almond extract as well…just a little tip!
I will try your recipe, looks yummy.

BellaIMT
3 years ago

My husband declared those cookies as the best cookies he ever had. I will be baking few more batches today…hopefully I will have a chance to take some photos to post. Thank you so much for the amazing recipe.

Dawn Seow
Dawn Seow
3 years ago

Just tried out the recipe this week and it was a hit! Nice crisp with a buttery taste. Brought it to work to share with my colleagues, many said that it was delicious and some asked for the recipe… which I’ve directed her to your site 🙂 I replaced it with pistachios instead of pecans as they’re pretty hard to find and expensive in my country.

Colin Upham
Colin Upham
3 years ago

These are delicious. I made them and also made the hot chocolate mix and gave them to some neighbors for Christmas. They both were a big hit.

kara
kara
4 years ago

is there a video for this recipe?? it will be my first time trying out shortbread cookies.

Lisa
Lisa
4 months ago

Can we use Irish butter for this recipe, rather than American? As you know, it has more fat and less liquid. Is that the same with your homemade butter recipe, or does it depend on where ( which country) we purchase the cream? Could you please respond to my email…I will see your response more quickly. I am baking your recipes tomorrow, and making the shortbread dough today. Also, could I add mix instead like orange peel and cranberries, or toffee with the pecans in the butter pecan? Thank you so much for your excellent recipes! I have Irish heritage,… Read more »

Nancy
Nancy
6 months ago

You state the cook time as 11 minutes, but in instruction #8, it’s 18-20 minutes. I think it’s the latter, but I don’t want to guess.

Heather
Heather
6 months ago

I adore pecans and shortbread so cannot wait to try this recipe out.

One question though, can I substitute Almond Flour for the all purpose flour? If yes, would it be a 1:1 substitution?

Benjamin
Benjamin
6 months ago

Thank you so much for this amazing recipe, Gemma! I put a little bit of my own touch on these and used brown butter to give these already wonderful cookies a more rich and complex nutty flavor. Those were an absolute hit at Christmas last year, and I’m excited to make them again and again!

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About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

 

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