Brown Butter Sugar Cookies

Prep 20 mins
Cook 15 mins
Add'l 20 mins
Total 55 mins
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Brown Butter Sugar Cookies are sure to impress with their rich, nutty flavor and their chewy, soft texture. This homemade sugar cookie recipe is incredibly easy to prepare, but totally guest-worthy at the same time!

Chewy Brown Butter Sugar Cookies

When making sugar cookies, there is a wide selection of recipes to choose from. You can change up the size, the shape, the flavor, the decorations, etc. Today, though, we’re essentially making classic sugar cookies as you’ve come to know them, but with one small twist… the addition of brown butter.

Little did I know until a couple of years ago that cooking butter – a seemingly simple and insignificant action – could be life-changing. That’s right. You heard it here first, folks, brown butter is life-changing! It takes any recipe to the next level, and that level is called pure amazingness. The nutty-ness, the depth of flavor, the creamy quality that still lingers… it just can’t be described.

Of course I had to include all of those components in a dessert, and that dessert is these Brown Butter Sugar Cookies. They’re perfectly golden-brown around the edges, soft and chewy in the middle, and full of the aforementioned fantastic nutty/sweet flavor.

Keeping all of this deliciousness to myself seemed utterly wrong, so get in on the goodness, okay?

What is Brown Butter?

Brown butter is just a regular stick of butter that has been cooked in a pan/skillet until, you guessed it, brown. During the cooking process the fat and water in the butter separate, the water cooks out, and an addicting, rich flavor begins to shine through. The milk particles in the butter are what actually turn brown by the end, and when they are properly toasted (but not burned!) the trademark nutty flavor is achieved. Here’s more info/a tutorial on how to brown butter if you’re curious!

A sugar cookie split in half, set against a glass of milk.

Recipe Ingredients

Okay, now that we’re all dreaming about drool-worthy brown butter, let’s talk ingredients! Here’s what goes into these simple brown butter sugar cookies:

  • Butter: I generally use a stick of unsalted butter for this recipe.
  • Flour: I like to use unbleached flour, but regular all-purpose flour will work too.
  • Baking Soda and Baking Powder: Including both ensures that your cookies will have a nice lift to them instead of turning out flat.
  • Salt: To enhance and balance out the sweetness in the cookies.
  • Sugar: This recipe uses a mix of packed brown sugar (both light and dark) and granulated sugar. The brown sugar offers caramel notes that complement the brown butter really well, and granulated sugar keeps the traditional sugar cookie texture/flavor intact.
  • Egg: This is the binding agent for your cookie dough.
  • Vanilla Extract: For extra sweetness!

How to Make Brown Butter Sugar Cookies

Making these brown butter sugar cookies probably takes a little more time than your typical sugar cookie recipe does. However, that’s only because you’ve got to brown the butter and let it cool a little before you start the rest of the recipe.

The wait is absolutely, 100% worth it, though. Promise.

Here’s how to construct these life-changing, irresistible cookies:

Brown the Butter: Heat butter in a small saucepan, over medium heat, until melted. Continue cooking butter, whisking or swirling the pan as needed, until the melted butter takes on a light golden brown color. There will be small flakes of dark brown on the bottom of the saucepan. Remove butter from heat and transfer to a small bowl immediately. Let cool until the bottom of the bowl is no longer warm to the touch, about 20 minutes.

Preheat the Oven to 350 Degrees: Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

Mix Sugars Together, Then Dry Ingredients: In a shallow bowl, combine the 2 tablespoons light brown and granulated sugar. I used my fingers, but you could also use two forks. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Mix Brown Sugar and Brown Butter: Add 1 cup brown sugar to the bowl with cooled, browned butter and mix until combined. Add egg and vanilla and mix until combined and there are no lumps. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined.

Form Cookie Balls: Roll about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough into a ball using your hands. Then toss the dough in the brown/granulated sugar mixture. Place on the prepared baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between each cookie.

Bake the Cookies: Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through. The cookies are ready to come out when the edges have just turned a light golden brown. They will appear underdone in the center… but they will be fine after resting!

Let Cool: Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Let them cool completely and store them in an airtight container until ready to enjoy! I found they were the best after 12 hours of resting… when I can wait that long, that is.

7 brown butter sugar cookies on a piece of parchment paper.

Tips for Success

See? Easy! Brown butter sugar cookies are so simultaneously simple and delicious that they are fast becoming the solution to my daily “what should we have for dessert?” dilemma…

Anyway, before you head into the kitchen, I’ve got some last minute tips that could make the baking process even easier:

  • Let the Brown Butter Cool: 20 minutes may seem like a lot of time, but you want the butter to solidify so that it will blend completely with the sugar (don’t quite cream them together, but make sure they are completely combined).
  • If You End Up with Flat Cookies: After some readers had issues with flat cookies, I retested the recipe. I baked some immediately after rolling, but I also rolled some, put them in the fridge for 15 minutes, and then baked them. Both methods had awesome results, so if you are having issues, and you know your ingredients are fresh and your oven is the correct temperature, try popping them in the fridge before baking.
  • Make Ahead Option: If you want to bake the cookie dough at a later date, feel free to roll the cookie balls, save them in the fridge for a couple days, and proceed with the rest of the recipe later.
  • Add Sprinkles: Why not? They’re super festive and fun, and you can color coordinate for holidays, seasons, etc!

How to Store Homemade Cookies

I like to keep these brown butter sugar cookies in an airtight container on my countertop for a week or so. That way they’re easily accessible for midday snacks!

Can I Freeze These?

Sure thing. Freeze your brown butter brown sugar cookies in an airtight container for 2-3 months – thaw them in the fridge overnight before eating again!

Yield: about 16 cookies

Brown Butter Sugar Cookies

Brown butter sugar cookies set near a glass of milk.

Brown Butter Sugar Cookies are sure to impress with their rich, nutty flavor and their chewy, soft texture. This homemade sugar cookie recipe is incredibly easy to prepare, but totally guest-worthy at the same time!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup unbleached flour, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Heat butter in small saucepan, over medium heat, until melted. Continue cooking butter, whisking or swirling the pan as needed, until the melted butter takes on a light golden brown color. There will be small flakes of dark brown on the bottom of the saucepan. Remove butter from heat and transfer to a small bowl immediately. Let cool until the bottom of the bowl is no longer warm to the touch, about 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
  3. In a shallow bowl, combine the 2 tablespoons brown and granulated sugar. I used my fingers, but you could also use two forks. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  4. Add 1 cup brown sugar to bowl with cooled, browned butter and mix until combined. Add egg and vanilla and mix until combined and there are no lumps. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  5. Roll about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough into a ball using your hands. Then toss the dough in the brown/granulated sugar mixture. Place on prepared baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between each cookie.
  6. ::Edit:: After some readers had some issues with flat cookies, I retested the recipe. I baked them immediately after rolling and they came out great. I also rolled some, put them in the fridge for 15 minutes, and then baked them…and those came out great too. If you are having issues, and you know your ingredients are fresh & your oven is the correct temp, try popping them in the fridge before baking.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through. The cookies are ready to come out when the edges have just turned a light golden brown. They will appear underdone in the center…but they will be fine after resting!
  8. Remove cookies from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container until ready to enjoy! I found they were the best after 12 hours of resting…if you can wait that long. 🙂

Notes

I found this recipe in the back of an old cookbook at the library many years ago. It was on an old index card and was being used as a bookmark. I like to imagine the kitchens that little index card passed through…leaving these amazing cookies in their wake.

TNCB

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 89Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 98mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 0gSugar: 14gProtein: 1g

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This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

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Comments

80 Responses
  1. Rosie Peacocke

    Did you use dark brown or light brown? I used dark and they’re much darker than yours, but also lovely.
    Wait 12 hours, are you mad? Mine barely made it 12 seconds out of the oven before they were in my tummy!

    1. A woman holding a camera standing in front of some shelves.
      Jessica

      I used light brown sugar, but as you found out either are good!

      And I know it’s nearly impossible – but I swear they were even better the next day!

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Welcome!

Jessica
I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.
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