(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.
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.
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!
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!
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!)
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!
- Cream together butter and sugar then add flour and salt to make a dough.
- Press into a lined tin, prick all over with a fork and bake. Cool completely.
- Add all the caramel ingredients to a saucepan set over a low heat.
- Bring to the boil then simmer, stirring constantly, until it reaches 107°C.
- Take off the heat, stir for a minute or two then pour over the biscuit base.
- Melt the chocolate, either in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water or in the microwave.
- Smooth over the caramel. When set, cut into bars.
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.
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!
Other recipes you might like
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.
- 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.
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)
- 125g (1/2 cup) Unsalted Butter, Room Temp
- 50g (1/4 cup) Golden Caster Sugar
- 175g (1 + 1/3 cup) Plain Flour
- Pinch Salt
- 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
- 200g (7 oz) Good Quality Milk Chocolate
- 18 x 28cm (7 x 11″) Baking Tray
- Electric Stand Mixer or Large Bowl With Electric Hand Whisk
- 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.
Then sift in the flour (175g | 1 + 1/3 cup) and add the salt (pinch). Beat until you get a crumbly dough.
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.
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.)
Stir gently until all the ingredients have dissolved then bring the mixture to the boil.
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.
Then pour the thick mixture over the biscuit base, spread evenly and set aside to cool completely.
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.
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.
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!)
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!
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 email@example.com.
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125g (1/2 cup) Unsalted Butter, Room Temp
50g (1/4 cup) Golden Caster Sugar
175g (1 + 1/3 cup) Plain Flour
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
200g (7 oz) Good Quality Milk Chocolate
18 x 28cm (7 x 11″) Baking Tray
Electric Stand Mixer or Large Bowl With Electric Hand Whisk
Large Heavy Based Saucepan
Sugar Thermometer (optional but very handy)
The Biscuit Base
- Grease and line the baking tin then preheat your oven to 180°C/Fan 170°C/356°F.
- Beat together the butter and sugar in a stand mixer (or large bowl with an electric hand whisk) until light and fluffy.
- Sift in the flour and add the salt. Mix until a dough forms.
- Press the dough evenly into the prepared tin then prick all over with a fork.
- Bake in the oven for 15-20 mins until just golden on top. Cool completely.
- Put all the ingredients into a large saucepan and set over a low/medium heat.
- Stir until everything has dissolved then bring to the boil. STIR OFTEN AND VIGOROUSLY.
- Once boiling, stir continuously so it doesn't catch and burn on the bottom/in the edges of the pan.
- 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.
- Pour the caramel over the biscuit base, spread evenly and leave to cool completely.
- Break the chocolate into a glass bowl.
- 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.
- Pour the melted chocolate over the caramel and smooth out using the back of a wooden spoon.
- Allow to set at room temperature then cut into 12 slices.
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.
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