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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.

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Pecan Shortbread Cookies

3.50 from 2 votes
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 make these practically perfect! 
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 14 minutes
Chill Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 44 minutes
Servings: 12 Cookies

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 175kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 2gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 1mgPotassium: 33mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 239IUVitamin C: 0.05mgCalcium: 7mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
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About Alyssa Rivers

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Alyssa Rivers and the food blogger behind The Recipe Critic. The blog launched in 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family. Each recipe is tried and true, family-tested and approved.

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6 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    My favorite commercial cookie was Keebler’s Pecan Sandies. I seldom buy anything commercially made now, preferring to avoid all the chemicals and artificial everything. This recipe is very close to those Pecan Sandies I craved as a young’un. WONDERFUL! I used salted butter instead of unsalted – it was fine. I think the recipe needs a hint of salt. I ground the pecans fine with a hand blender which is not perfect so there were enough little chunks to make the cookies pretty. I extended the “roll” to about 10 inches and could have gone to 12. I found that forming a long square with the dough instead of a cylinder made it easier to work. It also made 22 cookies. I did not have the coarse grain sugar; so, I just used regular sugar, and it worked fine. The flavor and texture of the cookies was so YUMMY!

  2. 2 stars
    Made them exactly; chilled the dough, all that. These are good for Saturday afternoon don’t really want to cook but i want something cookie, but wouldn’t use to impress. 2.5 star.

  3. totally confused on the 1/4 cup granulated sugar and then 1/4 cup coarse sugar????
    surely it is not 1/4 cup coarse salt
    Help!!

    1. You use the granulated sugar in the dough mixture. The course sugar is to roll the dough in and it sticks to the outside of it! There are detailed instructions on the recipe card at the bottom of the post! 🙂

  4. I have a question. It says the recipe makes 12 cookies. You shape the log into 8″ and cut cookies a little more than 1/4″ thick. So if you get 3 cookies to an inch, that would be 24 cookies. So is the number of cookies wrong OR should the log be sliced into cookies that are little thicker than 1/2″? I am guessing the cookies should be sliced thicker than 1/2″.

  5. I like to weigh ingredients when I bake, and hope that one day you will offer ingredients for baked items by weight. Some recipe authors use 120 grams for a cup of flour, others as much as 150. In a recipe like the pecan shortbread, where the dough will be crumbly after it’s mixed, it would be very helpful to know as nearly as possible how much flour to use. Here, I’ll try 120 grams and hope for the best.

    I realize that there will always be variations based on humidity and exactly what flour one uses, but still, ingredient weight would give me more confidence going in.

    Thank you for your very useful and entertaining website. I appreciate the effort you put into it and I’ve used many of your recipes very successfully.