Pecan Shortbread Cookies – The Recipe Critic


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These pecan shortbread cookies are insanely delicious! They melt in your mouth with their fall-apart texture and sweet taste. The added texture of crunchy pecans makes these practically perfect!

I am a lover of all cookies. Really, I haven’t met one that I didn’t like! A few more of my favorites are these almond cookies, these flourless peanut butter cookies and these amazing cream cheese snickerdoodles.

A stack of pecan shortbread cookies.

Thes pecan shortbread cookies are sophisticated and not lacking in style or taste! They are insanely delicious and buttery soft. My kids love making these cookies with me because they love the part where they can roll the dough into a log. I love that part because I can make all of the cookies look uniform and so delicious by rolling them in sugar!

These pecan shortbread cookies are definitely going to be a showstopper at any gathering or party. Plus, most people probably stick to chocolate chip cookies or sugar cookies so I like bringing these as a dessert. They always surprise people, and by the end of the day, everyone asks me for the recipe. In fact, because they are so popular, I would suggest doubling the recipes so that you can still have some leftovers. You will thank me later!

Ingredients in Pecan Shortbread Cookies

I love the texture of a shortbread cookie. It’s soft, yet the delicious flavors crumble in my mouth. These turn out perfect every time! Check out the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact measurements.

  • Butter: I use unsalted butter that is softened to room temperature for this recipe.
  • Granulated Sugar: The sugar will sweeten up the dough but not too much.
  • Extract: Adding in vanilla extract and almond extract bring the most delightful flavor to these cookies.
  • Flour: I used all purpose flour and it give the cookies just the right texture.
  • Cornstarch: This is mixed with the flour to create the right texture.
  • Pecans: Chop up your pecans. you will use these nuts in the dough.
  • Coarse Sugar: This is my favorite part of the recipe and I think it really takes these cookies up a notch.

How to Make Pecan Shortbread Cookies

These pecan shortbread cookies are actually very simple to make! Like I said before, double the batch if you want any for yourself because they will fly off the table!

  1. Prep: Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Beat: In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the extracts and beat until combined.
  3. Combine and form into cylinder: Add in the flour and cornstarch and mix until combined. The mixture will be very crumbly. Add the chopped pecans to the bowl and stir to distribute. Use your hands to press the dough together and form a cylinder of dough about 8 inches long.
  4. Chill: Cover and chill the dough for about 10 minutes.
  5. Press into sugar: Once the 10 minutes is up, remove the dough from the fridge. Add the coarse sugar to a shallow plate or pie pan and roll the cylinder of dough in the sugar until the outside is fully coated. Use your hands to gently press the sugar into the dough then brush off any loose sugar.
  6. Slice: Using a sharp knife, slice the dough into circles that are slightly thicker than ¼ inch. Place the sliced dough on the prepared baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between cookies.
  7. Bake: Bake these pecan shortbread cookies for 12-14 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.
  8. Cool: Let cool for 4 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
4 process pictures showing how to make the dough, form the dough and cut slices of pecan shortbread cookies.

Crumbly Shortbread Dough

As you make your pecan shortbread cookies, you may look at the cookie dough and see that it is all crumbly and ask if that’s normal. Yes, it is! It will start out crumbly, but as you combine it together and form a cylinder with your hands, it will form together nicely!

The top view of baked cookies on parchment paper.

Can I Make the Dough Ahead of Time?

Yes! Since the dough for these pecan shortbread cookies needs to be chilled anyways, it’s a great dough to make ahead of time and then bake just before you need to serve it. No one will complain about cookies that are warm straight out of the oven!

  • Roll, cover and chill: Roll the dough up in plastic wrap (before you roll it in the sugar) and store it in your fridge for 2-3 days. When you are ready to make the cookies, begin following the instructions where you roll the crlinder in sugar.

Pecan shortbread cookies stacked on another. The top one is broken in half to show what the inside looks like.


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

  • In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the extracts and beat until combined.

  • Add in the flour and cornstarch and mix until combined. The mixture will be very crumbly. Add the chopped pecans to the bowl and stir to distribute. Use your hands to press the dough together and form a cylinder of dough about 8 inches long.

  • Cover and chill the dough for about 10 minutes.

  • Once the 10 minutes is up, remove the dough from the fridge. Add the coarse sugar to a shallow plate or pie pan and roll the cylinder of dough in the sugar until the outside is fully coated. Use your hands to gently press the sugar into the dough then brush off any loose sugar.

  • Using a sharp knife, slice the dough into circles that are slightly thicker than ¼ inch. Place the sliced dough on the prepared baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between cookies.

  • Bake for 12-14 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.

  • Let cool for 4 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack to finish cooling.



Serves: 12

Calories175kcal (9%)Carbohydrates18g (6%)Protein2g (4%)Fat11g (17%)Saturated Fat5g (25%)Polyunsaturated Fat1gMonounsaturated Fat4gTrans Fat0.3gCholesterol20mg (7%)Sodium1mgPotassium33mg (1%)Fiber1g (4%)Sugar9g (10%)Vitamin A239IU (5%)Vitamin C0.05mgCalcium7mg (1%)Iron1mg (6%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Dessert

Cuisine American

Keyword pecan cookies, pecan shortbread cookies



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