Apricot Shortbread Bars

12 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Apricot Shortbread Bars are the perfect soft, buttery bars with sweet apricot jam spread over the top for a bright summery flavor.

Shortbread Cookies are a classic Dessert Recipe that you can make with a handful of simple ingredients. This version adds apricot jam to the top of the traditional shortbread base for a sweet and tangy fruit flavor. 

Apricot Shortbread Bars sliced on baking sheet


The simple shortbread base for this recipe is made with simple and wholesome ingredients. Everything you need, like eggs, vanilla, flour, sugar, and butter, is probably already in your pantry. Then to make these bars a more special dessert, we’ve added a simple apricot spread. The gorgeous apricots take this shortbread recipe to a whole new level with sweet and refreshing summer flavors that you won’t be able to get enough of. 

While apricots are at their most fresh during the summer, you don’t have to wait until then to enjoy these apricot squares. Because the apricot flavor comes from jam, which stores exceptionally well, you can make this perfect apricot shortbread recipe any time of year. I’ve even made them for family gatherings during the holiday season. The fruit adds a bit of unexpected bright flavor to the classic Cookie Recipes

Apricot Shortbread Bars collage of prep steps


If you have fresh apricots, you can use them to make your own luscious apricot jam. 

  • Wash 2 pounds of apricots. then cut the delicate fruits in half and remove the pits. 
  • Add them to a large pot with ½ cup of water and simmer for 10 minutes while stirring. 
  • After the 10 minute cook time, the apricots will have turned to soft mash. You can use a masher to break up any chunks. Mix in 1 cup of sugar and ¼ cup lemon juice. 
  • Stir and cook over low heat for 40 minutes while it thickens. 
  • Pour the jam into jars, and leave a little space at the top. 
  • Put them in the fridge to finish chilling. 
  • Spread 1 ½ cup over your shortbread bars, and save the rest for your family to enjoy over toast for breakfast or other desserts. 



  • Prep time: Preheat the oven and spray your baking dish with nonstick baking spray. You should also take the butter out of the fridge a few minutes in advance so it has time to soften. 
  • Dough: Add the softened butter and sugar to your stand mixer. Cream the two together on medium speed for about 2-3 minutes until the butter mixture is light and fluffy. Then add in the egg yolk and vanilla extract. Mix the ingredients until creamy. Finish the dough by adding the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir until just combined into moist crumbs.
  • Assemble: Divide the mixture in half, and spread one half of the shortbread over the prepared baking dish. Press down gently until it’s in one even layer. Spread the apricot jam evenly over the top. Then sprinkle on the remaining dough as a crumb topping. 
  • Baking time: Bake for 35-40 minutes until it’s lightly golden brown with crisp edges. Let the bars cool completely before slicing into squares. 

Apricot Shortbread Bars sliced in baking dish


  • Jams: Apricots are the perfect fruit for a sweet, summery, bright flavor. However, you can experiment with the recipe by using different kinds of jams as the topping. Strawberry, raspberry, Blueberry, blackberry, or marmalade would all bring their own unique and delicious flavor to the shortbread bars. 
  • Flavorings: You can add some different flavorings to the original recipe by swapping out the vanilla extract for a teaspoon of almond extract. Or, mix in some warm baking spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or allspice. 
  • Toppings: There are a variety of fun toppings you could sprinkle over the top of this bar recipe. Try adding some large-grain sugar for some sparkle. You could also sprinkle on shredded coconut, chopped nuts, or sliced fruit to give the bars extra texture and flavor. 



  • Serve: After the baking time, you can keep the Shortbread Bars at room temperature for up to 4 days. Cover the dish in tin foil or transfer the bars to an airtight container to keep them fresh. 
  • Store: You can also store them in the fridge for up to 1 week. 
  • Freeze: Seal the bars in an airtight container or freezer bag to keep them long-term in the freezer. They can stay good frozen for up to 3 months. Let them defrost in the fridge before reheating them in the oven for a few minutes to enjoy the perfect Apricot Shortbread Bars.

Apricot Shortbread Bars after baking in baking dish

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Apricot Shortbread Bars

Apricot Shortbread Bars are the perfect soft, buttery bars with sweet apricot jam spread over the top for a bright summery flavor.
Yield 12 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups apricot jam


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8x10 baking dish with baking spray.
  • To your stand mixer add the butter and sugar and mix on medium speed until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add in egg yolks and vanilla extract until creamy.
  • Add flour, baking powder, and salt until just combined.
  • Spread about half the mixture into the baking dish and press gently.
  • Spread apricot jam over the shortbread.
  • Sprinkle remaining shortbread mixture over the apricot jam.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Cool completely before slicing.


Calories: 357kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 65mg | Potassium: 87mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 574IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg

Apricot Shortbread Bars Collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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  1. The instructions say mix sugar butter and cream, but I don’t see cream in the ingredients list. Can I make it without cream? I don’t have any.

    1. Sorry for the late response. The instructions should have read add the sugars/butter and MIX not cream. The idea is to mix until creamy. Sorry for the confusion. We have updated the recipe card.

    1. Followed the recipe and it came out delicious! Served it with vanilla ice cream. Definitely going to to this bar recipe with other fruit jams!

  2. Good afternoon Sabrina: Prepared shortbread bars recipe today, followed your recipe and ended up with a gooey mess. Unable to get butter and sugar to fluffy stage and it was very sticky. I,did use unsalted butter. My butter was previously frozen. could that be the problem? Your comments please. Enjoy your site and read it every time you post.
    Thank you:Charles Kaiser

    1. oh no, so sorry the recipe didn’t work for you. How long had the butter been in the freezer?
      Frozen butter takes at least 8 hours to thaw in the refrigerator or about 3 to 4 hours to thaw at room temperature. If a recipe calls for softened butter, frozen butter should be left out at room temperature for several hours or overnight.

  3. Sabrina, these are simply the most delicious cookie bars ever!!!
    I only had a cup of apricot jam so I chopped a half cup of dried apricots and stirred them into the jam. I have made many of your wonderful recipes so I just knew these would be amazing. Many thanks, Susan

  4. Made this twice in one day!! Awesome buttery flavor. I used my own Apricot pineapple jam. This recipe is a keeper.
    Thank you,
    Baking in Silicon Valley ?

  5. This recipe is unbelievably delicious. I made it today and couldn’t get over how incredibly tasty the bars are. I used Nature’s Promise apricot fruit spread instead of a jam (bought accidentally) so I sprinkled a little brown sugar on top of the spread just in case it wouldn’t be sweet enough. Out of this world!