Best EVER Easy Millionaire’s Shortbread Recipe

(This post has been updated from the original April 2014 version to provide a better experience for you)

Millionaire’s shortbread is a British baking classic! With a shortbread biscuit base, sweet soft caramel and oodles of chocolate, this is a treat that everyone will love. My easy to follow step by step picture recipe, video tutorial and helpful tips make this, by far, the easiest millionaire’s shortbread recipe there is! Not only is it the most popular recipe on this site, it’s also very easy to recreate in your own home.

Millionaire's shortbread bar leaning on another bar on scrunched up white baking paper

Whether it’s the original 3 layered classic recipe or one with a modern twist (like snickers millionaire shortbread, chocolate orange caramel shortbread or millionaire brownies) you know these beauties are going to disappear much quicker than they were made.

Millionaire's shortbread bar leaning on another bar on scrunched up white baking paper

It doesn’t matter if I’m at a cafe, a friend’s house or just fancy making something myself – millionaire’s shortbread is always my top choice. It’s a personal all time favourite!

A bar of millionaire's shortbread on a scrunched up piece of white baking paper.

The sad stigma behind millionaire shortbread is that it can seem tricky to make if you’re not confident in the kitchen. I’m hoping my recipe will change all that! 

Millionaire's shortbread bar leaning on another bar on scrunched up white baking paper

My aim is to give you the confidence you need, using my easy step by step picture recipe approach, to master making this delightful treat. Please read through all my tips to ensure you have the best possible chance of succeeding first time. (Which I’m absolutely sure you will!)

A bar of millionaire's shortbread on a scrunched up piece of white baking paper.

How to make millionaire’s shortbread

It may seem a little daunting at first but I assure you, it’s not as complicated as you think! 

  1. Cream together butter and sugar then add flour and salt to make a dough.
  2. Press into a lined tin, prick all over with a fork and bake. Cool completely.
  3. Add all the caramel ingredients to a saucepan set over a low heat.
  4. Bring to the boil then simmer, stirring constantly, until it reaches 107°C.
  5. Take off the heat, stir for a minute or two then pour over the biscuit base.
  6. Melt the chocolate, either in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water or in the microwave.
  7. Smooth over the caramel. When set, cut into bars.

 

Millionaire's shortbread bar leaning on another bar on scrunched up white baking paper

Millionaire’s shortbread ingredients

Here’s everything you need to know about the ingredients needed to make this recipe.

  • Butter – Always use unsalted butter in baking as it gives you control of the salt content/flavour. Ensure this is at room temperature for the biscuit layer.
  • Sugar – My favourite is golden caster sugar as it adds a slight caramel flavour. Regular caster sugar (superfine in the US) will work great too.
  • Flour – Plain (all purpose in the US) flour works best in this recipe, don’t substitute it for others varieties.
  • Salt – No need for fancy types here, regular table salt will work fine. We want flavour not texture.
  • Condensed Milk – In my experience, any brand will work. Make sure it’s the sweetened variety though.
  • Golden Syrup – Brand doesn’t matter but golden syrup gives the best flavour. (You can use light corn syrup or honey in the US.)
  • Vanilla – A good brand (like Nielsen Massey) works well here. Supermarket versions seem flavourless in comparison.
  • Chocolate – This is a prominent flavour so worth investing in one that you know you will love, rather than using a cheaper alternative.

 

Millionaire's shortbread bar leaning on another bar on scrunched up white baking paper

Does brand matter?

When it comes to which brand of condensed milk works best, in my experience, it really doesn’t matter. Whether it’s a big brand like Carnation or a supermarket own brand – I’ve found that all of them work equally as well in this recipe. As a result I tend to opt for the cheaper option to save some pennies.

The one ingredient I will say to buy good quality is the chocolate. It’s quite a big part of the overall flavour so worth splashing out on a nice one as you will taste the difference.

Over the years I’ve also fallen in love with Nielsen Massey’s vanilla extract. It’s such good quality and you can really taste the flavour. Supermarket own brands don’t seem to compare!

A bar of millionaire's shortbread on a scrunched up piece of white baking paper.

Other recipes you might like

 

Millionaire's shortbread bar leaning on another bar on scrunched up white baking paper

Millionaire’s shortbread recipe tips

If I could offer any preemptive words of advice, it would be to take your time, read the recipe all the way through and prepare your ingredients (weigh, chop etc) before you start. There’s nothing worse than getting to a critical part of a recipe, realising you have to weigh another ingredient then returning to the pan to find it’s already ruined.

  • Leave an overhang when you line your tin. This will make it much easier to remove later.
  • Don’t be tempted to increase the heat to speed up the cooking of the caramel. It will likely catch on the bottom and burn.
  • When making the caramel, stir constantly and right into the edges. If you don’t, you could get burnt bits running through.
  • Allow each layer to cool completely before moving onto the next step. This way you will get beautiful clean lines.
  • Make sure the caramel has cooled completely before topping or your chocolate could bloom.
  • Use room temperature butter for the biscuit dough. (Ingredients blend better when all at the same temperature.)
  • Treat yourself to a sugar thermometer. They’re cheap and worth the investment. It is possible to make caramel without one but it’s tricky. 
  • Don’t know what to do with the remaining condensed milk? You could make another batch or check out the ‘other recipes you might like’ section above for more inspiration.

 

A bar of millionaire's shortbread on a scrunched up piece of white baking paper.

Troubleshooting

  • My chocolate bloomed (has white streaks) – Your chocolate was exposed to dramatic temperature changes. This could be that you didn’t allow the biscuit/caramel to cool before topping, you heated the chocolate too much on a cold day or even that you chilled the caramel and poured warm chocolate on top.
  • The chocolate set too quickly and didn’t spread – This could happen if you chilled the caramel first. Allow it to set at room temperature to avoid it.
  • The caramel has burnt bits – Either your heat was too high and/or you weren’t stirring often and thoroughly enough. Make sure you stir vigorously and right into the edges. Worst case – you can sieve them out if you’re quick enough.
  • My caramel didn’t set – Your mixture didn’t reach 107°C. Use a thermometer next time to take out the guess work and avoid disappointment.
  • The caramel was hard – Your caramel got hotter than 107°C. Use a thermometer to ensure this doesn’t happen.

 

Millionaire's shortbread bar leaning on another bar on scrunched up white baking paper

A bar of millionaire's shortbread on a scrunched up piece of white baking paper.

Easy Millionaire’s Shortbread Recipe

Here is what you will need to make 12 pieces.

(For a printer friendly version, see the recipe card at the end of this post)

Biscuit Base

  • 125g (1/2 cup) Unsalted Butter, Room Temp
  • 50g (1/4 cup) Golden Caster Sugar
  • 175g (1 + 1/3 cup) Plain Flour
  • Pinch Salt

 

Caramel

  • 200g (2/3 cup) Condensed Milk
  • 125g (1/2 cup) Unsalted Butter
  • 125g (2/3 cup) Golden Caster Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Golden Syrup
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch Salt

 

Topping

  • 200g (7 oz) Good Quality Milk Chocolate

 

Equipment

  • 18 x 28cm (7 x 11″) Baking Tray
  • Electric Stand Mixer or Large Bowl With Electric Hand Whisk
  • Fork
  • Large Heavy Based Saucepan
  • Sugar Thermometer (optional but very handy)
  • Glass Bowl
  • Wooden Spoon

 

How to make the biscuit base

Lightly grease and line the base and sides of your baking tray and preheat your oven to 180°C/Fan 170°C/356°F.

First, either in a stand mixer or a large bowl using an electric hand whisk, cream together the butter (125g | 1/2 cup) and sugar (50g | 1/4 cup) until light and fluffy.

softened butter in the bowl of an electric stand mixer

Then sift in the flour (175g | 1 + 1/3 cup) and add the salt (pinch). Beat until you get a crumbly dough.

shortbread biscuit base dough in the bowl of an electric stand mixer

Tip the dough straight out into the prepared tray and flatten out as evenly as you can. Prick the base all over with a fork (this will stop it rising too much) then pop it into the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 mins until just turning golden.

Shortbread dough pressed into the base of a lined rectangular baking tin

Baked shortbread base in a lined rectangular baking tin

Leave the biscuit to one side to cool completely while you make the caramel.

How to make the caramel layer

Add all the caramel ingredients into a large, heavy based saucepan and set over a low/medium heat.

(200g | 2/3 cup condensed milk, 125g | 1/2 cup unsalted butter, 125g | 2/3 cup golden caster sugar, 2 tbsp golden syrup, 1 tsp vanilla extract, pinch of salt.)

Caramel ingredients in a large saucepan over a low heat

Stir gently until all the ingredients have dissolved then bring the mixture to the boil. 

Melted caramel ingredients in a large saucepan over a low heat

As soon as it’s boiling – you must stir often and vigorously. Don’t leave this unattended or you will get lumps of burnt caramel running through the mixture.

When it turns a light caramel colour and becomes thick, (or reaches 107°C on a sugar thermometer) remove from the heat and keep stirring briefly to stop it from catching on the bottom, as the pan will still be very hot.

Cooked caramel in a large saucepan set over a low heat with a wooden spoon.

Then pour the thick mixture over the biscuit base, spread evenly and set aside to cool completely.

Caramel smoothed over the shortbread biscuit base in a lined rectangular baking tin.

How to make the chocolate topping

Break the milk chocolate (200g | 7 oz) into pieces and place in a glass bowl.

To melt using a hob, set the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and stir until melted, smooth and shiny. If you want to temper the chocolate, only melt three quarters of the chocolate then remove the bowl from the heat, add the remaining chocolate and stir until melted.

Milk chocolate being melted in a glass bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water on the hob.

To temper chocolate in a microwave heat in 10 second intervals, stirring well between each time, until it’s two thirds melted. Once it’s reached this stage, stir the rest of the way until it’s completely melted. The trick is to not get the chocolate too hot.

Pour your melted chocolate over the caramel layer and smooth out evenly using the back of a wooden spoon.

Melted chocolate smoothed on top of the caramel layer in a lined rectangular baking tin.

Allow your millionaires shortbread to set completely at room temperature. If you have tempered your chocolate then place it in the fridge, you will lose that lovely shine you worked so hard to get.

Once set, slice into 12 bars and store in an airtight container at room temperature. Consume within 5 days. (As if it’s going to last that long!)

Millionaire's shortbread bar leaning on another bar on scrunched up white baking paper

 

And that’s how you make the greatest sweet treat in the history of the world! When you get it right (as you obviously will have done using my easy to follow recipe!) millionaire’s shortbread is truly exquisite. Definitely a treat you will be proud to share with family and friends! Or maybe just ‘taste test‘ the whole batch… you know, just in case!

Millionaire's shortbread bar leaning on another bar on scrunched up white baking paper

Have you made this recipe?

Have you made this millionaire’s shortbread? I’d love to know if you have! Send me your pics, comments and questions on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram or email me at emma@kitchenmason.com.

Millionaire's shortbread bar leaning on another bar on scrunched up white baking paper

Like baking to be as simple as possible?

You need the right equipment! Check out my favourite Products That Make Baking Easier!

 

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Millionaire's shortbread bar leaning on another bar on scrunched up white baking paper

Millionaire's shortbread bar leaning on another bar on scrunched up white baking paper

Millionaire's shortbread bar leaning on another bar on scrunched up white baking paper

Best Ever Millionaire's Shortbread Recipe

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Buttery shortbread, soft caramel and smooth chocolate... millionaire's shortbread is a delicious British classic that everyone will love!

Ingredients

Biscuit Base

  • 125g (1/2 cup) Unsalted Butter, Room Temp
  • 50g (1/4 cup) Golden Caster Sugar
  • 175g (1 + 1/3 cup) Plain Flour
  • Pinch Salt

Caramel

  • 200g (2/3 cup) Condensed Milk
  • 125g (1/2 cup) Unsalted Butter
  • 125g (2/3 cup) Golden Caster Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Golden Syrup
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch Salt

Topping

  • 200g (7 oz) Good Quality Milk Chocolate

Equipment

  • 18 x 28cm (7 x 11″) Baking Tray
  • Electric Stand Mixer or Large Bowl With Electric Hand Whisk
  • Fork
  • Large Heavy Based Saucepan
  • Sugar Thermometer (optional but very handy)
  • Glass Bowl
  • Wooden Spoon

Instructions

The Biscuit Base

  1. Grease and line the baking tin then preheat your oven to 180°C/Fan 170°C/356°F.
  2. Beat together the butter and sugar in a stand mixer (or large bowl with an electric hand whisk) until light and fluffy.
  3. Sift in the flour and add the salt. Mix until a dough forms.
  4. Press the dough evenly into the prepared tin then prick all over with a fork.
  5. Bake in the oven for 15-20 mins until just golden on top. Cool completely.

The Caramel

  1. Put all the ingredients into a large saucepan and set over a low/medium heat.
  2. Stir until everything has dissolved then bring to the boil. STIR OFTEN AND VIGOROUSLY.
  3. Once boiling, stir continuously so it doesn't catch and burn on the bottom/in the edges of the pan.
  4. When it becomes thick and is a light caramel colour (or hits 107°C on a thermometer), take off the heat and keep stirring for a minute or two.
  5. Pour the caramel over the biscuit base, spread evenly and leave to cool completely.

Chocolate Topping

  1. Break the chocolate into a glass bowl.
  2. To melt on the hob, set the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and stir until melted. To melt in the microwave, heat in 10 second intervals stirring well each time until two thirds melted. Then stir well until completely melted.
  3. Pour the melted chocolate over the caramel and smooth out using the back of a wooden spoon.
  4. Allow to set at room temperature then cut into 12 slices.

Notes

Store in an airtight container at room temperature and consume within 5 days.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 411Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 61mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 1gSugar: 34gProtein: 4g

Nutritional information on kitchenmason.com should only be used as a general guideline, I am not a certified nutritionist. Please always check labels for allergens where applicable.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to hear about it! Please leave a comment on the blog or tag me on Instagram.

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As featured on Julia’s Simply Southern Meal Plan Monday #228

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54 thoughts on “Best EVER Easy Millionaire’s Shortbread Recipe”

  1. Linda says:

    My mouth is watering. I’m pinning this. I would love for you to come join us on Classy Flamingos blog party sometime. poinsettiadr.com

    1. Emma says:

      Hi Linda, that’s very kind of you thank you!! Emma x

  2. Jessica and Juliette says:

    Hi, I made these with my 4yr old daughter. (All except the lava like caramel) They were delicious, what a great recipe! They were never going to last 5 days.
    I’m going to try the Dr pepper cupcakes next.

    1. Emma says:

      Your comment has made my day! I love baking with my 5 year old daughter (although she does more spoon licking than baking haha!). I’m so glad you both had fun and enjoyed my recipe. Thank you so much for taking the time to share it with me! Emma x

  3. Truthteller says:

    I made this last night found it a tad to sweet and the vanilla overpowered it great crunch on the biscuit base and great consistency carmel overall a good recipe but l would omitt the vanilla next time l make it

    1. Emma says:

      This is why I love cooking and baking so much – it’s always open to interpretation/experimentation! I’m glad you’ve found a workaround for your tastes 🙂 Emma x

  4. Roberta says:

    Hi Emma.
    i want to try this recipe tomorrow. What can i replace the golden caster sugar? I’m in Italy and it is difficult to find it. Thank you! 🙂

    1. Miss KitchenMason says:

      Hi Roberta! You can use regular caster sugar or any ‘fine’ sugar instead. I wouldn’t use granulated (it has quite large crystals) and I definitely wouldn’t use icing/confectioners sugar – it’s somewhere in between those. I hope this helps? Emma x

  5. adela Home Uribe says:

    Great recipe did not have golden syrup did it with corn syrup where do you find golden syrup . 5 stars

    1. Miss KitchenMason says:

      Aww what a lovely comment! I’m SO happy you like my recipe and it all worked out great for you. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, you’ve made my day 🙂 Emma x

  6. Elizabeth says:

    I love these cookies but have trouble with the caramel separating when cooking it. Any thoughts on what I am doing wrong?

    1. Miss KitchenMason says:

      Hi Elizabeth. Are you substituting any ingredients or doing anything differently to the recipe that you know of? Emma x

      1. Elizabeth says:

        No I follow exactly, other than using salted butter. We are in the US but can find golden syrup in a couple of stores.
        It’s like the butter separates out after a bit. I don’t use a candy thermometer tho, so maybe cooking too long??

        1. Miss KitchenMason says:

          Hi Elizabeth. I’ve not come across this problem before so not exactly sure how to help. Using a thermometer would definitely take any guess work out though – I use one every time to make sure it’s going to set 🙂 Emma x

        2. Jacqueline says:

          Hi, I had the same problem. Butter seperating. Had to cook it longer (took more than 10 minutes) before it got to the right temperature. I also used a whisk instead of a spoon to stir in order to get it al incorporated. In the end I had a very thick fudgelike caramel. I suspect it might be the butter. I used one with very high fat content. Will try it again but with a different brand of butter to see if it makes a difference.

          1. Miss KitchenMason says:

            Hi Jacqueline. Without being there, it’s hard to know what went wrong. This article has some good tips which may help you diagnose the problem? Hope it helps! Emma x

  7. Oh my, that caramel layer. It all looks SO good!

    1. Miss KitchenMason says:

      Aww thanks Julie!! Emma x

  8. Barbara A Schreck says:

    Golden syrup — is that corn syrup or maple syrup?

    1. Miss KitchenMason says:

      Hi Barbara. If you’re based in the US I think corn syrup is the closest thing you can get. It’s not the same flavour wise and I believe it’s a little runnier than golden syrup, but it should achieve the same thing. Emma x

      1. Sue says:

        Just making this scrummy shortbread again during lockdown, it’s fab and have shared it with my neighbours, social distancing of course

        1. Emma says:

          Oh I’m so happy you like my recipe Sue! Thanks so much for sharing this with me 🙂 Emma x

  9. Debra L. Caraballo says:

    May be a silly question, but have to be completely sure! The condensed milk in the recipe; is that the thick sweetened condensed milk? Thanks in advance!

    1. Miss KitchenMason says:

      Hi Debra. It’s not a silly question at all! Yes, it is the sweetened thick condensed milk. That’s pretty much all you can buy here in the UK – hence why I didn’t specify. Apologies! Emma x

  10. Isobelhughes says:

    Hi does it have to be unsalted butter?thanks

    1. Miss KitchenMason says:

      Hi Isobell. I personally always use unsalted butter when I bake because I like to control the amount of salt used. You could try regular salted butter and omit the pinches of salt in the recipe but it may still taste a little too salty. Emma x

  11. #indiana says:

    look amazing….
    just like costa coffee and i love costa coffee do anything to have one of those right now!

    1. Miss KitchenMason says:

      Hahaha I love it! Thank you so much for your kind words Indiana 🙂 Emma x

  12. #indiana says:

    wow they look gorgeous.
    will try them soon

    1. Miss KitchenMason says:

      Yay!! So happy you like my recipe. Hope you get to try it out soon 🙂 Emma x

  13. Rachelle says:

    Hey,

    I tried your recipe!
    Because they don’t really sell golden syrup in the Netherlands I replaced it with some honey.
    It’s delicious ! Probably be making this more often!

    Thanks a lot !

    1. Miss KitchenMason says:

      Hi Rachelle. I’m SO happy that you loved the recipe and thank you so much for sharing with me! (It literally made my day!) Honey is a great replacement for golden syrup. Emma x

  14. Emily says:

    I’m 14 and I just made this with my cousin it is amazing thanks

    1. Miss KitchenMason says:

      Aww that’s fantastic Emily, I’m so glad you liked my recipe! Thank you so much for sharing with me! Emma x

  15. Oh wow, this is my faorite treat ever. and this recipe turned out just perfect for us. Thanks for sharing.

    Simon

    1. Miss KitchenMason says:

      Fantastic! So glad you liked it Simon 🙂

  16. Rosie says:

    Do i have to add the golden syrup?

    1. Yes, you do really. Do you not have any where you’re from?

      1. Rosie says:

        I do its just i like to keep it as simple as possible thats all : )

  17. This looks sooo good and your pictures are gorgeous!

    1. Thank you so much! That’s very sweet if you to say 🙂

  18. Dave says:

    Made this tonight… It’s chilling in the refrigerator right now. Since I don’t have some of the ingredients, I had to sub a few things, but each part tasted amazing by itself. I’ll report back if it’s good 😉

  19. That’s looks so perfect!

  20. Crissy says:

    I absolutely love caramel slice. Millionaire’s Shortbread sounds so much classier though. Looking forward to giving it a go on the weekend. 🙂

    1. Aww thank you! You’ll have to let me know how you get on 🙂

  21. huntfortheverybest says:

    I’ve always wanted to try this. it looks so good!

    1. You should totally give it a go! And thank you very much 🙂 x

  22. mm1066 says:

    Reblogged this on Mother Cunning and commented:
    We’re back from Parkes and looking at a cold and dreary end to school holidays, so it’s going to be a special treat bake day! Some people call caramel slice “Millionaire’s Shortbread”, in any country it’s freakin; delicious and we’re going to make some today!

  23. mmmarzipan says:

    Looks like perfection to me! Love the step-by-step images. Happy birthday to your mum!

    1. Awww thank you very much!

  24. These look amazing! Thanks for the recipe! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much! And you’re very welcome 🙂

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Hi, I’m Emma. Let me help you impress with delicious dishes using my easy recipes, step by step pics, tips & videos.

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