Chewy Peanut Shortbread Bars

16 Servings
Prep Time 7 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Chewy Peanut Shortbread Bars are made with a buttery crust, sweet butterscotch filling, and crunchy peanuts. Ready in 25 minutes!

Simple Shortbread Cookies are an easy, buttery, simple dessert that serves as a great base to which you can add different toppings and flavors. In this Dessert Recipe, we’ve added creamy butterscotch topping and crunchy peanuts for some amazing flavor and texture. 

Chewy Peanut Shortbread Bars squares cut and stacked on parchment


Chewy Peanut Shortbread Bars are an easy treat that’s perfect for a dessert, after-school snack, or to bring to a party. They are quick, simple, and absolutely delicious. The shortbread dough comes together in a matter of minutes, and then you just need the creamy nut topping to pour over the top. It’s the perfect recipe for when you need a dessert in a hurry. 

The shortbread texture in the crust is complimented perfectly by the creamy topping and crunchy peanut mix-ins. These bars absolutely melt in your mouth and are full of sweet flavor, but the salted nuts bring a contrasting texture and flavor to keep the nut squares interesting. You won’t be able to get enough of this sweet and salty snack!

Bar Recipes, like this one, are great for when you’re feeding a big group. Instead of making individual cookies, you just bake it all together in one large pan that’s easy to take in the car to transport without making a mess. Then you just slice the dessert into easy squares for everyone to serve themselves. 



  • Prep time: Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 8×8 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray, and then line it with a piece of parchment paper. 
  • Dough: Add the butter and brown sugar to your stand mixer using the paddle attachment and beat for 1 minute until light and fluffy. Then sift in the all-purpose flour. Mix in the dry ingredients until just combined, but be careful not to over-mix the dough. Gently press half the dough into the base of the prepared baking pan.  
  • Baking time: Put the crust in the oven to bake for 10 minutes.
  • Peanut mixture: Add the butterscotch chips, corn syrup, and butter to a medium saucepan, and put them over medium heat. Stir the ingredients until they’ve melted into a smooth mixture. Stir in the peanuts. Then pour the mixture of peanuts over the shortbread crust. 
  • Bake: Sprinkle the remaining shortbread mixture on top, and bake for another 8-10 minutes. Then let them chill before slicing into squares. 

Chewy Peanut Shortbread Bars squares cut on parchment


  • Pretzel peanut bars: You can break up some pretzel sticks to sprinkle over the top of these bars. They’ll add some extra crunch and salty flavor just like the peanuts do. Pour the butterscotch mixture over the crust, and then sprinkle the pretzel sticks on top. 
  • Peanut butter filling: Instead of using the butterscotch chip mixture, you could use a layer of peanut butter. Add 3 tablespoons of butter, 1 cup of creamy peanut butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract to a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the peanut butter mixture in 30-second increments. Then mix it all into one soft peanut butter mixture. Stir in 1 ⅓ cup of powdered sugar until well combined. Mix the peanuts in, and then pour the nutty peanut butter mixture over the shortbread to make peanut butter bars. 
  • Chocolate topping: To make a chocolate topping for this recipe, melt chocolate chips and drizzle them over the top. Use dark chocolate, white chocolate, or milk chocolate chips for a delicious chocolatey topping. 
  • Coarse salt topping: Sprinkle flaked sea salt over the top for an easy and beautiful topping. 



  • Serve: Once baked, the shortbread bars can keep well at room temperature for up to 4 days. Cover the dish in plastic wrap so that they stay moist. 
  • Store: You could also cover them or put them in an airtight container to store in the fridge for up to 1 week. 
  • Freeze: Slice the Chewy Peanut Shortbread Bars into squares, and put them in a freezer bag or another airtight container with the layers separated by parchment paper to store in the freezer for up to 3 months. 

Chewy Peanut Shortbread Bars squares cut on parchment

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Chewy Peanut Shortbread Bars

Chewy Peanut Shortbread Bars are made with a buttery crust, sweet butterscotch filling, and crunchy peanuts. Ready in 25 minutes!
Yield 16 Servings
Prep Time 7 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar , packed
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 12 ounces butterscotch chips , about 2 cups
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups salted peanuts


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 8x8 baking dish with baking spray and line with parchment paper.
  • To your stand mixer add the butter and brown sugar and cream on medium speed until fluffy, about 1 minute.
  • Add flour until just combined.
  • Spread mixture into the baking dish and press gently.
  • Bake for10 minutes.
  • While crust is baking add butterscotch chips, corn syrup, and butter to a medium saucepan on medium heat.
  • Stir until smooth, then remove from heat.
  • Stir in the peanuts and pour the mixture over the shortbread crust.
  • Sprinkle the remaining shortbread mixture over the top
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes or until bubbly.
  • Cool completely before slicing.


Calories: 364kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 173mg | Potassium: 171mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 242IU | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg

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 recipe calls for “remaining shortbread” to be sprinkled over the peanut topping. However, there are no instructions for holding back some of the shortbread. Is some shortbread supposed to held back? If so, how much?