Pecan Pie Shortbread

Pecan Pie Shortbread on a wooden table

Pecan Pie Shortbread — this cookie/pie mashup recipe is a fun twist on tradition. It looks just like a classic pecan pie, but underneath the crunchy pecans there’s a thick layer of  buttery vanilla shortbread. 


This pecan pie shortbread has the same familiar flavors that we all love in pecan pie, but in a lighter form. 

It makes a beautiful presentation with very little effort. Great taste + easy to make + beautiful to look at = a winner recipe in my book.


To make this I spread a batch of my basic vanilla shortbread dough into a tart pan, and then I stud the top with pecan halves. 

A small bag of nut halves was enough to cover the surface and it’s fun to create the design. I pressed them in gently with the palm of my hand so they stay put when cutting later. The pecans crisp up in the oven and develop a rich toasted flavor. If you ask me they’re so much better this way than all candied up in pie goop (sorry pecan pie lovers.)  The shortbread puffs up just slightly in the oven, and the whole thing is just delightful.



Another great feature of this shortbread is its versatility. It goes from coffee break to holiday dessert…you can slice it just like pie and eat it with a fork, or pick it up with your hands. I’ve eaten it for breakfast twice already.




My husband discovered that adding a drizzle of the caramel sauce I made for the “Frozen Turkey cocktails yesterday is not a bad idea at all…

I think this would make a great gift, especially if you leave it whole and wrap it up with cellophane.

More pecan treats from the archives…

Pecan Pie Shortbread on a wooden table
5 from 2 votes

Pecan Pie Shortbread

A wonderfully easy, light alternative to traditional pecan pie, Serve with coffee or tea for the perfect end to a meal, whether it's the holidays, or every day.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Yield 10 servings
Author Sue Moran


  • 9 inch tart pan with removable bottom


  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups pecan halves


  • Set oven to 350F
  • Cream the butter and sugar well in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or use a hand held mixer.
  • Blend in the vanilla, and then mix in the flour, just until it comes together to form a dough.
  • Turn the dough out into a nonstick 9" tart pan, preferably with a removable bottom for neat cutting. Use your hands to smooth out the dough into an even layer. Finish smoothing with an offset spatula or spreader. You are looking for a flat even surface.
  • Arrange the pecan halves decoratively across the entire surface. When you are satisfied with your design, press them into the dough with gentle pressure from the palm of your hand. This will ensure they won't fall off when you cut the shortbread.
  • Cover the top of the tart loosely with a square of foil to keep the pecans from browining too much, and bake for about 35-40 minutes.
  • Cool on a rack and then remove from the pan and slice into thin wedges with a sharp knife.

Cook's notes

The vanilla bean paste is really worth it, it gives a richer vanilla flavor, plus you get the beautiful vanilla bean seeds throughout. It can sometimes be hard to find, but you can always order it online.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.


Pecan Pie Shortbread --- this cookie/pie mashup is a fun twist on tradition.  It looks just like a classic pecan pie, but underneath the crunchy pecans there's a thick layer of  buttery vanilla shortbread. #pie #dessert #pecans #recipe #thanksgiving #shortbread #cookiepie #homemade #easy #holidaydessert #holidays #Christmas #pecanpie #pie #tart


You Might Also Like


    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    December 31, 2013 at 10:28 am

    only have an 11inch tart pan! How long to bake?

  • Reply
    December 7, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    Thanks so much for this simple recipe. Have baked two tarts thus far in two weeks for my family.
    One of the easiest baking recipes I have ever tried. This is definitely a coffee time treasure for mom visits and in-laws

    • Reply
      December 7, 2013 at 5:05 pm

      Really glad to hear it, Tony. Now that you’ve mastered the recipe, you’ll probably think of great ways to vary it. Hope Mom likes it!

  • Reply
    November 19, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    such precise pecan placement! i’m sure you picked out all the perfect halves. 🙂

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    November 18, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Did you write that you want to gift this to me? My mailing address coming right up! I love the pecans – so pretty!

    • Reply
      November 18, 2013 at 2:48 pm

      haha! You never know…watch your mail!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    I made this… ooo – la -la!!

    I am another of the “a sliver of pecan pie is goo, but hurts my teeth” camp and so this appealed to me greatly. I was NOT disappointed.

    I don’t have a tart pan but I DO have a springform pan…not as pretty but it worked.

    YUM! and a definite repeat!!

    • Reply
      November 18, 2013 at 7:18 am

      I’m glad you liked it, I’m already planning to make it again.

      • Reply
        November 18, 2013 at 7:49 am

        I’m thinking of lightly “candy-ing” the pecans … egg white wash, vanilla & cinnamon-sugar maybe… Have you tried anything like that?

        • Reply
          November 18, 2013 at 2:16 pm

          Have you tried candy-ing the pecans yet? That sounds like a great idea. If you have, I’d love to hear how it turned out.

          • Sue
            November 18, 2013 at 2:47 pm

            No I haven’t tried that, it sounds good, but I’m not sure how they would fare in the oven…

        • Reply
          November 18, 2013 at 3:25 pm

          re how they’d fare in the oven…

          The egg white wash, etc. version… is an oven candying kind of thing so I thought it might work here. Vs a more traditional candying process…just a bit of sweet that the oven might caramelize a little. Guess I will try it!

    • Reply
      November 27, 2013 at 6:09 am

      I haven’t made a candied pecan version yet, but this morning I made a candied almond version. It is not near as pretty visually but it is VERY good!

      I didn’t measure extracts exactly but filled what looked like 1/4 of my tablespoon with almond extract and then filled the rest with vanilla extract.

      For the topping, I frothed the white of 1 XL farm fresh egg, 2 T of sugar and 1 cup of shaved almonds. Mix and spread over the shortbread before baking. Just like with the pecans, I covered with foil to keep the nuts from over-browing but took the foil off for the last 10 minutes.

      The pecan pie shortbread is the first time I’ve made shortbread – wow, what I’ve been missing. Next on my list is your varieties of wine crackers.

      • Reply
        November 27, 2013 at 7:30 am

        Beautiful almond shortbread, Liz — I really like your idea of candying the nuts. Glad you liked the original recipe, and I KNOW you’ll like the wine crackers…I’m so glad to have made another shortbread convert!

  • Reply
    Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl
    November 17, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Part cookie and part pie? Oh goodness, cut me a piece of this please!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Every decade or so, I eat a sliver of pecan pie. Then, I get a toothache. This is, indeed, a beautiful tart. How fun would this be to make in a tartlette pan? I’ll let you know! I think these would make great gifts!

    • Reply
      November 18, 2013 at 7:21 am

      Tartlettes would be great, and yes, the perfect gift.

  • Reply
    November 17, 2013 at 5:54 am

    So pretty..
    I prefer shortbread to pie any day!!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2013 at 4:52 am

    Easy, beautiful and delicious is absolutely a win, win, win and this is it!
    Mary x

1 2

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!


Get my tips, tricks & recipes for easy

foolproof baking


logo png