Go Back
+ servings
Five big turtle bars are stacked up on a table. You can see a big layer of chocolate, a thick layer of caramel full of pecans and then a layer of shortbread cookie on the bottom.
Print Recipe
3.9 from 10 votes

Easy Turtle Shortbread Bars

Turtle bars are a decadent chocolate, caramel, shortbread and pecan cookie bar that is easy to make.  It takes 20 minutes to make a pan of these making them one of my go to holiday cookie recipes!  (Any nut you like is fine here - pecans or walnuts are the most popular.)
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time18 mins
Total Time38 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: turtle bars, cookie bars, holiday cookie recipes, best holiday cookies, turtle candy bar, shortbread cookie
Servings: 48
Calories: 159kcal
Author: Mirlandra Neuneker


For The Shortbread Layer

  • 1/2 cup salted butter softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans can sub walnuts or any nuts

For The Chocolate Turtle Layer

  • 28 small square caramels such as Kraft
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup salted butter
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips can sub milk chocolate


The Shortbread - Caramel Cookie Layer

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter a rectangular 9”x 13” glass pan.
  • Combine the ½ cup butter, 1 cup brown sugar, and 2 cups of flour in a large mixing bowl. Mash together with a fork until the mixture becomes a fine crumb.
  • Use your hands to press the crumb mixture into the glass pan so that it is firmly packed down to form the shortbread.
  • Sprinkle the chopped nuts over the top of the top of the crust and set the pan next to the stove.
  • Remove the wrappers from all the caramels and microwave them in a small bowl for 30 seconds.
  • Add the soft caramels to a large sauce pan with the ½ cup brown sugar and the 2/3 cup butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon (once the butter is melted switch to a whisk to beat the mixture smooth.
  • When it comes to a boil, immediately poor the caramel mixture over the nuts and crust. Use a spatula to spread the mixture all the way to the edges.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes until caramel is bubbly. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

The Chocolate Top

  • When the caramel is set, microwave the chocolate chips until melted stirring with a fork every 30 seconds. When no lumps remain use the back of a spoon to smooth the chocolate over the caramel.
  • Cool again and cut into squares. You can cut 12 large squares or 24 medium squares or 48 small squares.
  • Store tightly covered at room temperature for up to five days. If you live in a warm climate store the cookie bars in the refrigerator to keep them from melting.


Calories: 159kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 40mg | Potassium: 58mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 143IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 1mg