★★★★★

Butterscotch Shortbread Bars

With a light crumb and buttery taste, these easy shortbread bars have real butterscotch pieces in every bite. This recipe for Butterscotch Shortbread Bars is as deliciously easy as it gets!

Butterscotch recipes get so under-represented. This Butterscotch Pudding Cake is packed with flavor and only 5 ingredients. Or try some gooey sweet Butterscotch Marshmallow Bars for a decadent but easy dessert.

Butterscotch shortbread cookie bars on parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Why this Recipe Works

Shortbread cookies are one of the easiest cookies to make. The ingredient list is short, the steps are straight forward and the results always taste incredible.

But for some reason, these Butterscotch Shortbread Cookies gave me a little bit of a challenge at first.

See normally when I make shortbread, I make the dough, wrap it in saran wrap, chill it, slice and bake.

But today I wanted to change things up.

I browned the butter first (something I don’t usually do when I make shortbread) because I wanted to infuse a little extra butterscotch flavor into these.

Browning the butter changed the texture of the dough, so if you’re wondering why this shortbread cookie has egg, that’s why!

Instead of slicing the dough into cookies, I pressed it into a pan and made bars! Even quicker and easier.

The texture is spot on and the browned butter flavor complements the rich butterscotch morsels perfectly.

I may never make another shortbread recipe ever again.

Kidding. I can’t live without Apple Shortbread or Chocolate Chip Toffee Shortbread or Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies or. . .well, you get the idea.

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed for butterscotch shortbread cookies.

I love how few ingredients you need to make shortbread!

  • Butter – Unsalted butter works best in this recipe.
  • Powdered sugar – The key to shortbread that melts in your mouth!
  • Egg – I used one whole egg to help the dough stay together without becoming dense.
  • Kosher Salt- Learn why I use kosher salt in baking! You can skip this if you use salted butter.
  • All purpose flour – Bleached or unbleached white flour are both fine.
  • Butterscotch Morsels – find these next to the chocolate chips at the grocery store!

Easy Instructions

Step by step photos showing how to make butterscotch shortbread cookies.

STEP 1. Brown the butter

Melt the butter, bring it to a boil and allow it to brown for a couple of minutes. Let the butter cool completely.

STEP 2. Make the dough

Combine the cooled butter with the dry ingredients to form a crumbly dough then mix in an egg and butterscotch chips.

STEP 3. Bake

Press the dough into the pan to form a rectangle. Bake until lightly browned, then let them cool for 5 minutes.

STEP 4. Cut

Cut the baked shortbread into bars and let them finish cooling completely. Separate the bars, serve and enjoy!

Butterscotch shortbread cookie bars on marble counter.

Tips & Tricks

  • Browning the Butter: Heating your butter on the stove top gives the shortbread a richer, almost toasty butter flavor. After boiling the butter, you only need to heat it for a couple of minutes, just until the butter turns golden. Be sure to let the butter cool completely before adding it to the dough!
  • Don’t spread too thin: A 15 x 11 inch cookie sheet with rimmed edges is the perfect size for making the bars but your dough doesn’t have to reach all the edges of the pan. My shortbread rectangle was about 12 x 10 inches and 1/4 inch thick.
  • Line your pan with parchment: Shortbread dough has a tendency to stick to unlined pans making them difficult to remove in one piece. Parchment paper allows the bars to slide off the pan with ease. DO NOT USE WAX PAPER.
  • Do not separate the bars too soon: Slice the dough into bars about 5 minutes after removing them from the oven but wait to separate the bars from one another until they’re totally cooled.
Stack of four shortbread cookie bars.

Recipe FAQs

How do you store shortbread?

Shortbread bars should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

Can you make shortbread dough ahead of time?

Yes, shortbread dough freezes well for up to 3 months. Feel free to make a few batches of dough to keep in the freezer for any sudden shortbread cravings!

Can you make butterscotch cookies without browning the butter first?

Yes, you can skip the browning step if you don’t want as much butterscotch flavor. However, I love the unique and deep buttery taste you get when you take the extra effort of browning the butter.

Can shortbread be made with regular granulated sugar?

No. Using granulated sugar will completely change the consistency of the shortbread dough. Powdered is the way to go!

Yield: 45 small bars

Butterscotch Shortbread Bars

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

With a light crumb and buttery taste, these easy shortbread bars have real butterscotch pieces in every bite. This recipe for Butterscotch Shortbread Bars is as deliciously easy as it gets!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup butterscotch morsels

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan on medium-low heat, melt butter. Bring to a boil and allow to brown for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to cool for a few minutes.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add melted butter with powdered sugar, mix completely. Add flour and salt. Mix together (will be crumbly). Add in egg and butterscotch, mix until completely combined.
  3. Line a 15x10x1 baking sheet with parchment paper. Place dough on baking sheet and press (with palms of hand) to about ¼ inch thick. Shape into a rectangle (doesn't have to touch side of pan). Mine was about 12x10.
  4. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool about 5 minutes. Using a sharp knife, make slices into cookies about 3-inch x 1-inch. Don't separate, allow to cool completely.
  5. When cooled, separate cookie bars (using knife if necessary). Store in air tight container for one week. ENJOY!

Notes

  • Browning the Butter: Heating your butter on the stove top gives the shortbread a richer, almost toasty butter flavor. After boiling the butter, you only need to heat it for a couple of minutes, just until the butter turns golden. Be sure to let the butter cool completely before adding it to the dough!
  • Don't spread too thin: A 15 x 11 inch cookie sheet with rimmed edges is the perfect size for making the bars but your dough doesn't have to reach all the edges of the pan. My shortbread rectangle was about 12 x 10 inches and ¼ inch thick.
  • Line your pan with parchment: Shortbread dough has a tendency to stick to unlined pans making them difficult to remove in one piece. Parchment paper allows the bars to slide off the pan with ease. DO NOT USE WAX PAPER.
  • Do not separate the bars too soon: Slice the dough into bars about 5 minutes after removing them from the oven but wait to separate the bars from one another until they're totally cooled.
  • Nutrition Information:

    Yield:

    45

    Serving Size:

    1

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 87Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 36mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 0gSugar: 6gProtein: 1g

    *Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

    What could be better than shortbread? Butterscotch Shortbread Bars, of course!

    About Aimee

    Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

    Learn more about Aimee.

    Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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    Posted on April 23, 2021

    Comments & Reviews

    1. OK, I tried these and maybe I did something wrong, but the dough was definitely not “crumbly” after I added the flour. So I kept adding more flour until it got to “crumbly.” The end result was OK, but a little dry. Did I do something wrong? I’m willing to give them another try because they did taste good, it was just the texture that was an issue.

    2. Lose weight? LOL. I’ve done nothing but gain since I started blogging. 🙂 The calories would be totally worth it in these shortbread bars, though. And with butterscotch?!?! Squeeeee, yes please!

    3. ok, i’m convinced, I don’t bake with butterscotch nearly enough. and judging by the drool dripping down my chin looking at this recipe and these photos — I obviously have to change that!!

    4. Happy New Year Aimee! I love shortbread and never thought to add butterscotch to it – sounds delish! I’m back from holidays and can’t wait to catch up on all my favorite blogs – yours included!

    5. I loveee shortbread, and the addition of butterscotch is genius! I somehow always forget that I need to chill shortbread dough and then get so mad when I realize I can’t bake them right away haha Good to know that the egg worked!

    6. I love butterscotch, but never tried it with shortbread! I bet these are irresistible, how you could you stop with the corners!

      1. Oh I only stopped at the corners BEFORE the photo. No stopping after the pictures were done!

    7. Butterscotch is one of my favorites!! And I am with you on the whole eating sweets and not loosing any weight…that’s got to be my problem. But with bars this delicious around, how can you say no?

    8. I spent all day eating my friends’ leftover and unwanted butterscotch Sees’ hard candies…needless to say, you have me convinced that I have not yet met my butterscotch quota yet. Must give this a try! I’ll be making homemade Twix soon, and I think this would make a great crust.

    9. What a great idea – these are so simple but the texture looks great! Glad you pushed through and didn’t give up on them!

      1. Agreed! I was happy the egg didn’t change the texture of shortbread (or give it a weird taste). It just helped bind the dough together!! Thanks for stopping by!

    10. I adore shortbread and have never made butterscotch shortbread! I’ve also never tried your method of rolling out the dough. Fun and delicious!

      1. Bars are so fun. I didn’t really use a roller though, I just pressed it with my fingers and palms of my hands! The dough is too sticky for a rolling pin (I think).

    11. Butterscotch and me, we are BFFs. Um, I think that I need these. Which is why I can’t lose weight either….

      1. I’ve been back at the gym for the New Year, but then I come home and eat half a dozen cookies. Sad.

    12. I love shortbread and the addition of butterscotch sounds amazing! I love when you think a recipe won’t turn out and it turns out delicious 🙂

      1. Hi Lisa! I’ve had my share of fails in creating recipes, but was so excited that this one worked!

    13. These definitely look delicious, Aimee! I heart butterscotch in everything and this shortbread looks perfect!

    14. I think I just died and went to heaven!!! Finally, an incredible butterscotch recipe…and as a shortbread bar – even better!

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