Caramel Cashew Shortbread Bars

These Caramel Cashew Shortbread Bars are made with the BEST buttery shortbread crust topped with a layer of chewy caramel, crunchy cashews and sea salt!

Caramel Cashew Shortbread Bars | Creme de la Crumb

Caramel caramel caramel heavennnnnn. plus cashews. and sea salt. and shortbread.


Caramel Cashew Shortbread Bars | Creme de la Crumb

When I was a kid I hated all nuts except for cashews because hello, cashews are delicious. Over the years I’ve come to appreciate many other nut varieties – particularly pecans, pine nuts, walnuts (except for that time I ate so many my mouth broke out in sores and then didn’t eat walnuts for 5 years) and pistachios.

If I’m just going to eat a handful of nuts though, I always reach for the cashews. In fact, last week we visited my in-laws and I spent at least 17 minutes sifting through a can of mixed nuts to fish out all of the cashews.

Yes, I’m that person, and yes I am also the trail mix m&m thief.

Caramel Cashew Shortbread Bars | Creme de la Crumb

Okay really quick sidebar…

IT’S SNOWING. Like right this second hoards of frozen fluffy white stuff is falling from the sky outside my office window and I’m freaking out just a little bit because this has been the warmest winter I’ve ever seen in Utah and my dream came true when the one big snow storm we got this year came on Christmas day and then melted a week later.

Phew. Back to cashews and normal stuff…

Caramel Cashew Shortbread Bars | Creme de la Crumb

Oh oh oh, I got so carried away with blabbing on about my cashew thievery that I almost forgot to tell you that these bars feature my all-time favorite, BEST-EVER ultra buttery shortbread crust! Seriously. Usually when I eat something with a shortbread crust it tends to be dry and flavorless and it’s really just a vehicle for getting the top layer into my mouth. Not today. I could skip any toppings and eat this shortbread crust with a fork it is so. darn. good.

And I don’t think I even need to mention the chewy gooey caramel and sea salt here right? Because you already know that salted caramel is innately wonderful.

Caramel Cashew Shortbread Bars | Creme de la Crumb

Caramel Cashew Shortbread Bars

Buttery shortbread crust topped with chewy caramel, crunchy cashews and sea salt!

Course Dessert
Keyword caramel, cashew, short bread
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 12
Author Tiffany


  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Caramel Layer

  • 2 cups caramels (see note)
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream or other milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup cashew halves
  • coarse sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9x9 inch baking pan with foil or parchment and grease well. In a medium bowl blend together butter and powdered sugar until fluffy.

  2. In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to butter bowl and mix until smooth.

  3. Press mixture in the bottom of your prepared baking pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes until very lightly golden (not overdone!).

  4. When you crust is done baking, set it out to cool. In a microwave-safe bowl heat caramels and heavy cream for 2 minutes on half-power. Stir and return to microwave for another 20 seconds at a time, stirring after each, until smooth.

  5. When caramel is completely melted and smooth, stir in vanilla and caramels. Immediately pour mixture over shortbread crust. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt (if desired - highly recommended!) and allow to cool completely before cutting into bars and serving. Store in airtight container.

Recipe Notes

For the caramel: You can use the popular caramel squares - unwrapped - or Kraft makes "bits" now that come in a bag near the chocolate chips in most grocery stores and one bag works great for this recipe. 

If you use salted cashews, you might want to go light on the added sea salt.


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These bars look delicious! Can you tell me when I want to make the caramel with sugar instead of Caramels, how much sugar do you think I need? Your photography looks great btw, pinned it!

    Hi! The first time I made this recipe I made homemade caramel for the top layer and the recipe I used started with 1 cup of sugar. 🙂

This look amazing! Can’t go wrong with caramel and when you add cashews in, oh my gosh I’m hooked. Can’t wait to try these!

    I am so there with you, caramel and cashews is a beautiful combo!

Oh these look so dreamy, and I totally have literally the SAME recipe idea written on my idea brainstorm list. Great minds think alike 🙂 now I just have to use your recipe to try these because they look unreal delicious. Pinned!

I am seriously just drooling here over the images of these caramel cashew shortbread bars. They look divine!

These look beyond amazing! I love cashews and I feel like they are soo underrated. Everyone’s blending them into cheesecakes and cream sauces and forgetting how great they are on their own! These bars look amazing 🙂

Just delicious! But to eat in moderation!!!!

Instead of heavy cream, what other milk can be used? Is the butter melted before mixing in powdered sugar?

    Hi Jo, no the butter is not melted. Also, you can use half & half or regular milk in place of heavy cream.

      Thank you. They look so delicious!!

It says to add caramels into caramel mixture. I’m guessing you meant add cashews into caramel mixture?

    Yes! Sorry for the confusion 🙂

Do you use cold butter or softened butter for the crust?


My Goodness, I’m gaining weight just eating these divine shortbreads with eyes! What about my slimming diet now???
Well, let’s try this recipe out, my extra pounds and slimming diet will wait : )

Seriously give us a real caramel recipe!! Kraft Caramels aren’t really real. or is this an ad?
Real short bread deserves real Caramel!! let’s do home made all the way please!!

    This is not a sponsored recipe, feel free to use your homemade caramel.

after the caramel is melted, should it not be ” stir in the vanilla and CASHEWS” Just a typo I am thinking! lol

In this recipe you have 1 1/2 cups sugar when there is already powdered sugar. There is no mention in the ingredients list of flour though you refer to it in the instructions. Was that 1 1/2 cups in the list supposed to be flour not sugar? Please email me as I’d live to make these. Thanks!

    Hi Pamela- You are correct! Thank you for pointing out that typo. It’s fixed now 🙂

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