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Millionaire Bars

These millionaire bars are made with thick layers of buttery shortbread, rich homemade caramel, and decadent chocolate ganache.

image of a millionaire bar that's been cut into a square to show it's thick layers of shortbread, caramel, and chocolate ganache

It’s a classic flavor combination that truly hits every time!! You can tell I’m a big fan by the fact that I’ve also made millionaire cheesecake, millionaire brownies, and even millionaire rice krispies!

How to Make This Millionaire Bar Recipe

Let’s walk through each step of this recipe to make sure it turns out as amazing as possible.

I’ve also shared a video tutorial below.

Step 1: Make the Shortbread Base

I recommend making the shortbread base first because it needs time to bake and cool.

Use a fork or electric hand mixer to combine the butter, powdered sugar, and fine salt.

image of shortbread down being mixed together with a fork

Then mix in the flour until just combined. The dough might look a little crumbly at first, but as you keep mixing it should come together and form a soft dough.

Spread the dough evenly into the prepared pan, and prick thoroughly with a fork.

image of a shortbread crust being poked with holes using a fork before being baked

Bake for 20-24 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Set aside to cool.

image of a baked shortbread crust that's ready to be used as the base of millionaire bars

Step 2: Make the Caramel

Next, we tackle the caramel! Heat the sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar, butter, light corn syrup, and fine salt over medium heat in a heavy saucepan.  

image of ingredients being whisked together over a stove top to make a thick caramel topping

Stir frequently and let the mixture just begin to bubble (if you have and are using a candy thermometer, cook until the mixture hits 212 F/ 100 C).

It will start bubbling up on the sides of the pan first. Once this happens, turn the heat down to low to let the caramel simmer.

image of thick caramel being cooked down on a stovetop while being stirred with a whisk

Continue to stir frequently until the mixture thickens (about 10 minutes). You should be able to drag a spatula through the mixture and see the bottom of the pan for a second or two once it’s ready.

Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Then pour the filling over the cooled shortbread and spread it in an even layer.

image of caramel being spread over a shortbread crust to make millionaire bars

Let this cool completely before adding the chocolate topping (or place it in the freezer for 20 minutes to accelerate the cooling process).

If you make the caramel filling in advance, cover the bowl and store it at room temperature overnight or in the fridge for up to a week.

If you refrigerate the caramel, heat it in the microwave in short 10-second intervals until it reaches room temperature and is a more workable consistency.

image of thick caramel filling cooled before being added to millionaire shortbread cookies

Step 3: Make the Chocolate Ganache

The last step is to make the decadent dark chocolate ganache.

Add the heavy cream into a medium-sized bowl and heat it until it just begins to bubble. This can be done in either the microwave (takes me about 45-60 seconds in my microwave) or a double boiler.

Then add in the dark chocolate and let the mixture sit for a minute.

image of spreadable dark chocolate ganache being mixed together

At this point, the chocolate should be softened.

Stir the mixture until the mixture is combined and smooth. If any bits of chocolate aren’t fully melted, heat the mixture again for 15 seconds and stir until smooth.

image of chocolate ganache being mixed together in a glass bowl with a whisk

Then mix in the unsalted butter, corn syrup, and fine salt until combined.

Pour the chocolate ganache over the cooled caramel filling, and top with a sprinkle of flakey sea salt. Set aside to fully cool, then cut and enjoy!

If you want the top to have a bit of texture like mine in the picture below, let the ganache cool and thicken a bit before spreading it over the caramel.

image of finished millionaire bars that have been sprinkled with sea salt and are ready to be removed from the pan and cut

Substitutions & Swaps – Shortbread Base

This recipe uses quite a few ingredients and I know you might not have all of them on hand.

Below are some swaps and substitutions that can be made in this recipe.

  • Unsalted Butter – Salted butter can be used in place of unsalted butter, just omit the salt that the shortbread recipe calls for.
  • Powdered Sugar – Adding powdered sugar to the shortbread gives it the perfect hint of sweetness and helps stabilize the crust.
  • AP Flour – A good baking gluten-free flour blend can be used in place of the AP flour.
image of a millionaire bar that's been bitten into to show it's thick layers of caramel, chocolate ganache, and shortbread crust

Substitutions & Swaps – Millionaire Bar Toppings

  • Granulated Sugar – You can increase or decrease the amount of sugar by a few Tablespoons based on your preferences.
  • Light Brown Sugar – I prefer using light brown sugar to make the caramel, but you can also use dark brown sugar.
  • Light Corn Syrup – Using a bit of corn syrup in the caramel and ganache gives it a glossy, silky smooth consistency. However, it can be omitted if needed.
  • Dark Chocolate – Use good quality dark chocolate chips (at least 60% cocoa) to make the ganache topping (like Guittard or Ghirardelli). If you want to use milk chocolate to make the ganache, use 1/3 cup of heavy cream instead of 1/2 cup.

Making This Recipe in Different Sized Pans

If you want to make this recipe in a square 8×8-inch or 9×9-inch pan, I recommend halving the entire recipe.

The 8×8-inch bars will be the same thickness as the full-sized version, but the 9×9-inch bars will be a bit shorter.

The bake time for the shortbread will be 17-20 minutes at 350 F /175 C.

image of a millionaire bar that's been cut into a square to show it's thick layers of shortbread, caramel, and chocolate ganache

Making These Millionaire Bars in Advance & Storage Tips

These bars can be stored at room temperature in an airtight for up to 2 days, or in the fridge for up to 5 days.

You can also freeze these bars for up to 3 months in an airtight container! When you’re ready to enjoy them, place them in the fridge overnight to let them thaw gradually, then enjoy them the following day.

Tips for Making the Best Millionaire Bars

  • Make sure the ingredients are at room temperature. It helps them mix together better and will give the bars a smoother texture.
  • Properly measure the flour! I like to use a scale, but the fluff and level method works great too.
  • Let the shortbread cool fully before topping it with caramel and ganache. Otherwise, the layered cross-section of the bars won’t be quite as pretty.
  • Chill the bars before cutting them and use a sharp knife to get clean slices. Be sure to wipe the blade as needed after each cut.
  • I highly recommend adding a sprinkle of sea salt on top of the ganache. Not only is it beautiful, but it also really helps balance out the sweetness of the bars.
image of a millionaire bar that's been bitten into to show it's thick layers of caramel, chocolate ganache, and shortbread crust

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you try this millionaire bar recipe, I’d love to hear what you think of it! Please leave a rating and comment below.

Don’t forget to tag me @chelsweets and #chelsweets if you share on social media! I love seeing your delicious creations.

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Yield: 32

Millionaire Bars

image of a millionaire bar that's been cut into a square to show it's thick layers of shortbread, caramel, and chocolate ganache

These millionaire bars are super easy to make, and are irresistible! They're made with a delicious shortbread base and thick, decadent layers of caramel filling and chocolate ganache.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 52 minutes

Ingredients

Butter Cookie Base

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (226g)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (65g)
  • 2 Tbsp packed light brown sugar (30g)
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt (2g)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (250g)

Caramel Filling

  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk (396g)
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar (150g)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks (113g)
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup (60g)
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt (3g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4g)

Chocolate Ganache Topping

  • 1 cup heavy cream (240g)
  • 1 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (240g)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (56g)
  • 2 Tbsp corn syrup - optional (40g)
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt (3g)
  • 2 Tbsp flakey sea salt, as a garnish - optional

Instructions

Shortbread Butter Cookie Base

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F / 175 C. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray. If you want to bake this recipe in an 8x8-inch pan, make a half batch of the entire recipe.
  2. Use a fork or electric hand mixer to beat 1 cup of softened butter on medium speed until smooth. Then mix in 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 2 Tbsp packed brown sugar, and 1/2 tsp fine salt on a medium speed until combined.
  3. Next, mix in 2 cups of all-purpose flour on a medium-low speed until just combined. The dough might look a little crumbly at first, but as you keep mixing it should come together and form a soft dough.
  4. Spread the dough into an even layer in the prepared pan, and prick thoroughly with a fork. Bake for 20-24 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Set aside to cool.

Caramel Filling

  1. While the shortbread base cools, make the caramel filling. Heat 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk, 3/4 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 1/4 cup corn syrup, and 1/2 tsp fine salt over medium heat in a heavy saucepan. 
  2. Stir frequently and let the mixture just begin to bubble (if you have and are using a candy thermometer, cook until the mixture hits 212 F/ 100 C). It will start bubbling up on the sides of the pan first. Once this happens, turn the heat down to low to let the caramel simmer.
  3. Continue to stir frequently until the mixture thickens and becomes a medium caramel color (about 10 minutes). You should be able to drag a spatula through the mixture and see the bottom of the pan for a second or two once it's ready.  Remove from the heat and stir in 1 tsp vanilla extract. Then pour the filling over the cooled shortbread and spread it in an even layer.
  4. Let this cool completely before adding the chocolate ganache (or place the pan in the freezer for 15 minutes to accelerate the cooling process).

Chocolate Ganache Topping

  1. As the caramel filling cools, make the chocolate ganache topping. Heat 1 cup of heavy cream in a heatproof bowl in the microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute, until gently bubbling. If you don’t have a microwave or prefer to use the stovetop, you can heat the cream over medium heat in a pan until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat.
  2. Pour 1 1/3 cups of dark chocolate chips into the cream. Make sure the chocolate is fully covered by the cream. Let the mixture sit for 1-2 minutes. If you want to use milk chocolate to make the ganache, use 1/3 cup of heavy cream instead of 1/2 cup.
  3. Stir slowly until the mixture is fully combined and the ganache is silky smooth. If any bits of chocolate aren't fully melted, heat the mixture again for 15 seconds and stir until smooth.
  4. Then mix in 1/4 cup butter, 2 Tbsp corn syrup, and 1/2 tsp fine salt. Stir until combined.
  5. Pour the chocolate ganache over the cooled caramel filling, and top with a generous sprinkle of flakey sea salt. Set aside to fully cool, then cut and enjoy! If you want the top to have a bit of texture like mine in the pictures above, let the ganache cool and thicken a bit before spreading it over the caramel. These bars can be stored at room temperature in an airtight for up to 2 days, or in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Notes

Substitutions and Swaps

If you need to make any substitutions or swaps in this recipe, please check out the section on ingredient substitutions in the post above.

Making This Recipe in Different Sized Pans

If you want to make this recipe in a square 8x8-inch or 9x9-inch pan, I recommend halving the entire recipe.

The 8x8-inch bars will be the same thickness as the full-sized version, but the 9x9-inch bars will be a bit shorter.

The bake time for the shortbread will be 17-20 minutes at 350 F /175 C.

Tips for Making the Best Millionaire Bars

  • Make sure the ingredients are at room temperature. It helps them mix together better and will give the bars a smoother texture.
  • Properly measure the flour! I like to use a scale, but the fluff and level method works great too.
  • If the butter doesn't get fully incorporated into the caramel (this can happen if the caramel gets cooked at slightly too high of a temperature), don't worry! You can gradually stir the butter into the caramel as it cools and it will come together once it reaches room temperature. It won't be quite as smooth as normal, but it will still taste great!
  • Let the shortbread cool fully before topping it with caramel and ganache. Otherwise, the layered cross-section of the bars won't be quite as pretty.
  • Chill the bars before cutting them and use a sharp knife to get clean slices. Be sure to wipe the blade as needed after each cut.
  • I highly recommend adding a sprinkle of sea salt on top of the ganache. Not only is it beautiful, but it also really helps balance out the sweetness of the bars.

Making These Millionaire Bars in Advance & How to Store Them

These bars can be stored at room temperature in an airtight for up to 2 days, or in the fridge for up to 5 days.

You can also freeze these bars for up to 3 months in an airtight container! When you're ready to enjoy the frozen bars, place them in the fridge overnight to let them thaw gradually, and enjoy them the following day.

The caramel filling can be made in advance too! Cover the bowl and store it at room temperature overnight or in the fridge for up to a week.

If you refrigerate the caramel, heat it in the microwave in short 10-second intervals until it reaches room temperature and is a more workable consistency.

Nutrition Information

Yield

32

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 212Total Fat 14gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 29mgSodium 517mgCarbohydrates 21gFiber 1gSugar 12gProtein 2g

Below are some older photos of this recipe from back in 2019, and then way back when I first made them in 2014!! They’re too entertaining to get rid of!

image of millionaire bar with bite
image of bitten into millionaire bar
image of stacked millionaire bars on a plate
image of sliced up millionaire bars at my office
image of millionaire bar

Millionaire Cookies - Delicious, Decadent Recipe

Sunday 19th of May 2024

[…] all the fun of a classic millionaire bar but are made individually to give them a more elevated look! As an added bonus, smoothing the […]

Caramel Chocolate Rice Krispies: Decadent, Delicious Recipe

Saturday 4th of May 2024

[…] remaking my millionaire bars last week, my brain got a little bit hyperfocused and I started thinking about caramel chocolate […]

Jana

Friday 25th of September 2020

I had the same problem and it was more lumpy looking, not smooth. I thought maybe it got too got when I boiled it.

Amanda

Sunday 30th of August 2020

I just made these and they are DELISH!!! Your recipe was so easy to follow, and made me feel like a baking pro after making caramel and ganache for the first time! My ganache was a little messy even after giving them time to set, but I’ve just kept them in the fridge and it helped! Thanks for sharing!!

Lisa

Sunday 26th of July 2020

Same thing happened to me with the caramel. I followed the recipe and watched the video before starting. I took your advise about raising the heat a bit with a good stir and it didn’t work. Looks like I’ll need to search for another recipe to use my shortbread base with so I don’t have to throw it away. Boo boo!

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