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Member recipe

Millionaires' Shortbread

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(49 ratings)

Member recipe by


Serves 1 - 24 Squares

Whether in small sqaures or bars, this caramel shortbread is always popular. The different textures are the principal appeal - the crunch of the shortbread base, the caramel in the middle and the cold, crisp chocolate on top.

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  • For the shortbread:
  • 250g plain flour
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 175g butter, softened
  • For the caramel:
  • 100g butter or margarine
  • 100g light muscavado sugar
  • 2 x 397g cans condensed milk
  • For the topping:
  • 200g plain or milk chocolate, broken into pieces


    1. Pre-heat the oven to 180'C/Gas mark 4. Lightly grease a 13 x 9inch (33x23cm) Swiss roll tin.
    2. To make the shortbread, mix the flour and caster sugar in a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Knead the mixture together until it forms a dough, then press into the base of the prepared tin. Prick the shortbread lightly with a fork and bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes or until firm to the touch and very lightly browned. Cool in the tin.
    3. To make the caramel, measure the butter, sugar and condensed milk into a pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time, then reduce the heat and simmer very gently, stirring continuously, for about 5 minutes or until the mixture has thickened slightly. Pour over the shortbread and leave to cool.
    4. For the topping, melt the chocolate slowly in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Pour over the cold caramel and leave to set. Cut into squares or bars.

Comments, questions and tips

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Comments (78)

MadeleineB's picture

Instead of using two cans of condensed milk for the caramel, I would just use one and add a couple of tablespoons of golden syrup. This works perfectly every time for me. Great recipe otherwise.

ncaffrey's picture

Terrible recipe - cooked the caramel for 10 minutes and still way too runny and tasted of condensed milk. Have made millionaire shortbread many times by using googled recipes -
It's always been perfect so just presumed this was a standard recipe. Avoid!!!

Coates46's picture

Amazing!!!!! Followed the recipe
Except I used only one can of condensed milk.. used a square roasting pan 9x9 . Cooked the caramel for 15 mins until thicker and set on a frozen plate.
wish I could put a photo on here they are divine. Truly scrumptious. .

Ilovesweets's picture

1st time I made this! Didn't need 2 cans. Used marg for the shortbread too. Wonderful! My favourite next to Brownies.

chocolatebabz's picture

Made as per recipe with the exception that I had a 325g bag of chocolate chips. My caramel maybe took an extra 2-3 minutes but if you follow the recipe you should get to the right point, it does thicken and almost starts to come away from the sides of the pan, still pourable though and it set beautifully. Great buttery shortbread base too.

nlar's picture

great recipe! I halved the caramel and there was still plenty! My husband thought it was very yum! and has requested it to be made again

rhianna1995's picture

Changed the recipe slight with just 1 tin of condensed milk and 300g instead of 200g of chocolate. I also heated the caramel whilst constantly stirring for 20-30 minutes until it got really thick which made it set beautifully.

Charliee_15's picture

I followed the recipe as it is stated - with both tins of condensed milk - and it worked fine for me. I would definitely follow karen246's advice and melt the butter and sugar first before adding the condensed milk, as I feel like this would have helped keep the caramel as smooth as possible. I cooked the caramel for a little over 5 minutes just to ensure it would thicken up enough when it cooled; it definitely does thicken up for any one who's sceptical about that! I used the same amount of chocolate (200g) but I used extra white chocolate to drizzle all over the top with a fork. It tasted amazing and I only cut it into little squares so have loads to eat!! Fab recipe, would definitely recommend!!

5diva5's picture

Just made this recipe as a sweet treat on Valentines day - Yummy (with a capital 'Y'). I found, as other reviews that one can of condensed milk was more than enough, and if have a sweet tooth! I used 200g of plain choc & 100g of milk choc for the topping and to be honest, I think it could handle a slightly thicker topping of chocolate next time, - perhaps 200g of each. Great recipe, but pre-cut in smaller than usual squares and bring back to room temp (rather than being impatient and eating straight from fridge)!

P- Lincoln's picture

I followed this recipe to the letter with the exception of only using 1 tin of essential Waitrose condensed milk instead of two.
It is the first time I've made this and both my wife and daughter said it was amazing.
Brownie points for me I think.
Thank you for sharing this recipe, I will undoubtedly be making lots more.

karen246's picture

I've just made this recipe and it was gorgeous! I followed the original recipe until I got to the filling stage and used just one tin of condensed cream. I melted the butter and sugar together before adding the condensed cream and it melted wonderfully and took about 10 minutes. I also used extra chocolate for the topping, 200g of milk chocolate and 100g of plain dark chocolate. I've bought these from shops before and they taste nowhere near as nice. I didn't even use expensive chocolate (Just the cheapo Tesco's 30p per 100g bars) and it still tasted far superior than the so called 'homemade traybakes' sold in deli's. Definitely a 10/10 for this one !

lindsaysharman's picture

I've just made this recipe for the final of an office bake off competition. I followed the recipe exactly. I cooked the caramel for slightly too long (about 30 mins on a low heat) because I was worried about it being to sloppy. It tastes wonderful but there's not the variety of consistency that I was hoping for. But that's my fault not the recipe's! Overall it is very sweet so I've divided into small squares. Totally yummy - will absolutely make it again. Fingers crossed for the comp!

Queen Cupcake's picture

I made this recipe for my family. My Nan is the Queen of all things sweet and desert baking. She decided the caramel was a bit sweet and when baking i found it particularly difficult to dissolve the sugar.
But overall everyone loved it, would defiantly make it again!

sexychele's picture

Made this today ,followed recipe stirred caramel for full 20mins and it turned out lovely ,will definitely make again

Emmie6's picture

I have made this before but think I used a different recipe. Anyway I found this one and it looked very similar. I did not have the exact sized tin that is suggested - I used a flat tin about 2" high and about 15 X 30 cm. I made the shortbread but it didn't seem quite enough - as in it never spread evenly across the tin and I feared it would be quite thin - so I doubled the mixture :P It is baking now and looking good!

As I doubled the shortbread I also doubled the caramel mix - using 3 tins of condensed milk and so on.... I will double the chocolate or triple it (as some people are saying that they doubled it, so as I have doubled the rest of the recipe this should work). I did have a can of the caramel condensed milk, but why cheat when you don't have to?

In our family we love a thick layer of shortbread, caramel and chocolate! I'll let you know how it turns out :P

Update - It is fabulous....just the perfect balance of everything and the taste is amazing! They charge about £1.40 for a small slice here in bakery's, I made this whole slab (and a bigger slab than the recipe on here) for , oooohhhh around £7 and it is 100 times better than any bakery stuff - my son said that first too :P

harriguyer's picture

Good recipe, produced delicious results! Irelana is absolutely right that the caramel needs a good twenty mins of stirring. I followed her advice and the results are great. It cuts just fine. However, whilst my husband loves the thicker layer of caramel, I would have preferred more choc. If you like your choc, opt for 300 grams!

stelaholder's picture

This is actually Mary Berry's recipe from her book Baking Bible, page 235.
Whoever published this here should have been honest about the source

jomagcin1's picture

This is, infact an old Be-ro recipe. I have been using this for at least 30 years. It's in edition 38 if you can get hold of one. not sure about any edition before that. But I was making this over 25 years ago when my kids were small.

Beelicious's picture

I made this yesterday exactly as stated in the recipe, except that I increased the amount of chocolate on the top to 300g (200g milk/100g plain). The recipe was a complete success, although very indulgent. I should think you could easily halve the quantity of caramel to make it less rich and less expensive.

irelana's picture

I read and re-read all the comments as this recipe really had mixed reviews before I started. They actually turned out successfully!!!! I followed the recipe quantities (i.e 2 tins of condensed milk). Since it was the caramel setting that seemed to be the challenge I did this bit very slowly and carefully. I melted the caramel ingredients slowly to avoid any lumps. Then I brought to the boil. Then reduced to simmer for 5 minutes. At this point the caramel had thickened and darkened slightly and was the colour of Caramac. Another poster gave a tip of testing how easily the caramel would set by putting a tiny bit onto something from the freezer. I used a frozen Choob yoghurt. It set but I felt that if I cut through it with a layer a chocolate on top it would squish out of the sides. So I followed another posters reccomendation to cook for longer. I brought it back up to boil and reduced to simmer for 20 minutes this time. Yes, I stirred continuously for 20 mins (my shoulder was killing me at the end). About 16/17 minutes into that 20 mins the caramel thickened further and turned the colour you'd expect from caramel. I let it cool for about 5 mins in the pan before I poured onto the shortbread. I also used 300g of chocolate instead of 200g after reading some of the comments. I also added a knob of butter into the pan when I was melting the chocolate which made it easy to cut once set. I did chill mine in the fridge but didn't cut it until it had sat back out on the counter at room temp for a while. The only things I might change next time is to up the quantity of shortbread. My tin was 9in x 13 in but the layer of shortbread was quite thin for my personal perference. I also made a rookie mistake of just greasing the tin (I sprayed with cake release), next time I will line with baking paper or greaseproof as a managed to scrape the coating off my tin lifting out the squares with a pallette knife. My family adored these and I took some into work (to avoid over indulging on it myself). I got several compliments, complimentary e-mails, requests for the recipe and a marriage proposal (not a serious one!) so all in all I'd say it was a great success.


Questions (5)

Woteap's picture

Have made this recipe several times now and the family love it. Would agree with using only one tin of condensed milk and increasing the amount of chocolate. However the shortbread is very crumbly and the caramel doesn't adhere to it well. Am I over cooking it? I've tried decreasing the amount of butter to make it less short.

zannam-jones's picture


I tried to make the caramel, but didn't have a pan so used a wok (i know:/). The caramel is really thick and kind of tastes like custard (i think this is the condensed milk) it has little brown bits in that wasn't always there so i don't think that its sugar that hasn't dissolved. It's now on top of the shortbread (which turned out great) cooling down, it doesn't look much like caramel. reading the comments I noticed that lots of people are saying cook it longer, so do you think I should attempt to remove it from teh shortbread and cook it again?

Queen Cupcake's picture

Exactly what happened to mine, in the end i just spread it on the shortbread and hoped for the best.

Emmie6's picture

Hi zannam - I think what happened there was the sugar descended to the bottom of the saucepan (well wok, ha ;) ) and crystallised, hence burning. It happened to me once before. All you have to do when that happens is take it off the heat and drain it through a sieve in to bowl, then transfer it back in to the saucepan and continue heating. Result - smooth caramel, no brown floating things :P Did you use light muscavado sugar? That is important. Also did you make sure the sugar, butter and condescend milk were all thoroughly mixed before heating? Any clumps of suagr would have weighed heavier and dropped to the bottom, again, hence the burning. :) I see this post is Oct 2013, so by now you have probably mastered it, or given up :D

CuriousCook's picture

Nope, I made them with 2 x 397g tins of Carnations caramel, instead of making the caramel. I think it still tastes the same (YUM <3, I'm in love with these.) Hope I helped x P.S Everyone loved mine and the caramel had a tiny sort of banana flavour, which they thought was lush!

Tips (3)

lor11's picture

This recipe could be simplified if you just used a tin of condensed milk CARAMEL. Only 1 tin needed, I think 2 would be rather excessive!

Beelicious's picture

I let the Millionaires Shortbread go completely cold in the fridge before cutting. I then heat my largest sharp knife over the gas hob before cutting through it cleanly, wiping and re-heating the blade after each cut. I have seen comments telling you not to do this but it works perfectly for me everytime. I think the secret is using a knife that is almost as long as the width of the tin so you can get through it with just one cut.

Alexandersuncle's picture

I made this using all the ingredients exactly as the recipe calls for.
The main error in this recipe is the length of time it takes to turn sugar, butter and condensed milk x 2, into caramel. A long time, is the answer.
I used a low heat initially until all the butter and sugar had appeared to melt. I then gradually ramped up the heat over 20 mins or so, stirring continuously. Eventually as you swipe round the pan with a spoon or other stirring implement, there will be an almost ripping sound as the material changes consistency, the ripping is it sticking to the pan.
I then took it off the heat and kept on stirring. Altogether it was a great deal of stirring but the caramel had a nice firmness to it, whilst still being silky smooth.
A knob of butter in the chocolate topping helped the topping stay silky smooth also.
All in all a lovely treat, certain to be demolished and rebuilt time and time again.