Pecan Sandies are a classic holiday cookie recipe that have the perfect balance of sweet and savory. To make these Christmas treats, mix up a dough of butter, flour, sugar, and pecans, freeze it in a roll, then slice and bake. A homemade version of this old-fashioned Keebler favorite will definitely be on your holiday cookie rotation.

Pecan Sandies are the perfect sweet and savory cookie.

Irresistible Pecan Sandies Recipe

Every year my mom would roll up, freeze, slice, and then bake a big batch of Pecan Sandies for Christmas.

But “Pecan Sandy” wasn’t the name I grew up calling these. No, somewhere along the way our family affectionately referred to them as “icebox cookies” due to the fact they needed to chill before being baked in the oven.

It wasn’t until recently that I learned the buttery and crumbly pecan shortbread cookie I loved was actually a recreation of the Keebler classic.

The old-fashioned cookie that tastes absolutely INCREDIBLE when dipped in a mug of coffee or hot chocolate…

Is the perfect balance of sweet and savory…

And somehow always seems to win the mass approval of whatever holiday function you bring them to!

The ingredients to make Pecan Sandies.

Ingredients

The simple ingredients you need to make these pecan sandies cookies include:

  • Butter. For this recipe, definitely opt for salted butter. You need it almost melted if not completely melted.
  • Egg. One large egg is used. If the egg is too small, the dough might be crumbly.
  • Sugar. Plain, white, granulated sugar is called for and needed to keep the right consistency.
  • Vanilla. Pure vanilla extract adds a nice, warm flavor to the cookies.
  • Flour. All-purpose flour or a gluten-free 1-to-1 blend can be used. Whole wheat flour is too grainy and will cause the cookies to fall apart.
  • Pecans. You need about 1 cup of finely chopped pecans. Steer clear of salted or roasted nuts, though. 

How to Make Pecan Sandies

These are the steps to follow to make this old-fashioned pecan sandies recipe:

Start the Dough

If you didn’t buy chopped pecans, be sure to cut them into very small pieces so they mix evenly through the cookies.

You can either use a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer to make these.

Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl and beat for 1 minute. You want a smooth and creamy consistency.

Next, add in the egg, vanilla, and cinnamon. Continue mixing until everything is combined.

Add the Flour and Pecans

If you have one, use a sifter or fine mesh strainer to add the flour into the sugar mixture a little at a time. Beat the dough well after each addition.

After you have incorporated all of the flour, stir in the finely chopped pecans. Likely, you will need to use a spatula. The batter will be thick.

Roll and Freeze

Lay out a piece of wax paper about two feet long. Spoon the dough across the paper.

Either use your hands or a spatula to shape the dough into a rough cylinder.

Roll up the paper around the dough so that if forms a log. Twist each end to seal the dough inside.

Place the log in the freezer for at least 1 hour, or even up to 4. If you leave it in longer, you will need to let the dough thaw for at least 30 minutes before proceeding to the next step.

Slice and Bake

When you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350℉. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Unroll the wrapped dough onto a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to slice the cookies into ⅛-¼-inch slices.

Place the cookies on the prepared cookie sheet at least ½-inch apart.

Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes. Start watching around 15 minutes. They are done when the edges start to turn brown. If you like them with more of a crunch, bake them for a few minutes longer.

Let the Pecan Sandies cool completely on a wire rack, then enjoy!

Meal Prep and Storage

  • To Prep-Ahead: These buttery shortbread cookies are perfect to prepare days or even weeks before you need them. Simply make the dough, roll it, then freeze it until you’re ready to bake.
  • To Store: These cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 4 to 5 days on the counter.
  • To Freeze: You can keep the dough frozen for up to 2 to 3 months. Or, you can tightly wrap the baked cookies and freeze for up to 3 to 4 months.

Dietary Modifications

The recipe you’ll find below is already vegetarian as written.  Here are some adjustments and substitutions you can make to help it fit your other dietary requirements:

  • Gluten-free: Stick with a gluten-free 1-to-1 blend.
  • Dairy-free: Opt for vegan buttery sticks, but find some with a butter flavor for the best results.
A stack of Pecan Sandies is surrounded by nuts.

What are Sandies cookies made of?

A Sandie is traditionally a sugar or shortbread cookie made with the usual ingredients like flour, sugar or brown sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla. Sometimes, Sandies include nuts, like pecans or walnuts, and often they are dusted in powdered sugar after baking.

Why are they called Sandies?

Just like many other cooking terms, the base of the name “Sandy” is from France. “Sablé” is French for “sandy” and refers to the crumbly texture of the cookie. Typically, the cookies are a sandy color, as well.

Who originally made Pecan Sandies?

The Keebler Company is generally given credit for Pecan Sandies and has been mass producing them since the 1950s.

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • Give ’em the chop. Be sure to finely cut up the pecans so there are no large chunks left.
  • Be sure to melt it. The butter needs to be at minimum almost completely melted, if not totally liquid. Otherwise, the cookies will be too crumbly.
  • Frozen solid. If the cookies aren’t cold enough, you won’t be able to evenly slice them.
  • Let them cool. Though it might be hard to wait, these cookies really are better after coming to room temperature.
  • Double up. Make extra and freeze so you can have these whenever the mood strikes.
A hand holds a pecan shortbread cookie.

More Cookie Recipes

Who doesn’t love a good cookie? Try one of these recipes next.

Cinnamon Roll Cookies are fancy and delicious, and Lemon Blueberry Cookies are so refreshing.

Everyone needs a good Cut Out Sugar Cookie recipe.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies and Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies won’t last long in most kitchens.

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5 from 5 votes

Homemade Pecan Sandies Recipe

Pecan Sandies are a classic holiday cookie recipe that have the perfect balance of sweet and savory. To make these Christmas treats, mix up a dough of butter, flour, sugar, and pecans, freeze it in a roll, then slice and bake.
Yield 48 cookies
Prep 20 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 1 hour 40 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 2 sticks butter salted, almost melted
  • 1 egg large
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup pecans finely chopped

Instructions 

  • Add butter and sugar to a large bowl and cream with a handheld or stand mixer for 1 minute. Add the egg, vanilla, and cinnamon. Continue mixing until they’re well combined.
  • Gradually sift in the flour, beating well after each addition. Once all of the flour is incorporated, mix in the pecans. You may have to cut them in with a spatula as the batter gets pretty thick.
  • Spoon the cookie dough across an 24”-long piece of wax paper. Shape the cookie dough into a cylinder that is roughly 18-inches long. Roll up the dough in the wax paper so that it forms a log and twist the ends.
  • Freeze the cookie dough for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours.*
  • When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut the cookies into ⅛-¼” slices. Add these to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place the cookies at least ½-inch apart.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown.
  • Let cool completely before serving. Enjoy!

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5 from 5 votes

Video

Notes

  • *If you have to freeze it for longer than this, pull the cookie dough out at least 30 minutes before slicing into it.

Meal Prep and Storage

  • To Prep-Ahead: These buttery shortbread cookies are perfect to prepare days or even weeks before you need them. Simply make the dough, roll it, then freeze it until you’re ready to bake.
  • To Store: These cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 4 to 5 days on the counter.
  • To Freeze: You can keep the dough frozen for up to 2 to 3 months. Or, you can tightly wrap the baked cookies and freeze for up to 3 to 4 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 57kcal, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 0.2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Cholesterol: 3mg, Sodium: 2mg, Potassium: 10mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 6IU, Vitamin C: 0.02mg, Calcium: 8mg, Iron: 0.3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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