These brown butter pecan cookies have a rich, buttery flavor and are packed full of candied, buttered pecans and lots of caramely brown sugar. Our butter pecan cookies have crispy edges, soft and chewy centers, for the perfect cookie.
Why This Recipe Works
Butter pecan is so much more than an ice cream flavor and I think once you try these cookies, you’ll agree. The browned butter adds a rich, toasted nutty flavor to the cookie and enhances and complements the pecan flavor.
The high ratio of butter and sugar and because these cookies are baked at a higher temperature caramelizes the sugar and gives the cookies a crispy exterior. Baking at a higher temperature, but not for too long makes the outside crispy but keeps the inside soft. A little cornstarch also helps keep the cookies soft.
The candied pecans have touch of cinnamon making these the best brown butter pecan cookies you’ll try.
- Butter. The butter is browned adding an extra, nutty and toffee-like flavor to these brown butter pecan cookies.
- Sugar. White sugar gives these cookies crisp edges. Sugar is also used to candy the pecans, caramelizing them before adding them into the cookies.
- Brown Sugar. Dark brown sugar adds molasses to the cookies, adding some moisture, giving these cookies a chewy center and a more complex flavor.
- Vanilla. Vanilla ups the buttery pecan flavor.
- Eggs. Large eggs help bind and lift the cookies.
- Cornstarch. A little cornstarch helps keep these cookies soft.
- Baking Soda. Baking soda helps these cookies rise, spread, and gives them those beautiful wrinkles.
- Salt. A little salt enhances the flavors and cuts through the sweetness.
- Flour. We use all-purpose flour as the body of these cookies.
- Pecans. What would butter pecan cookies be without pecans!
- Cinnamon. Just a touch of cinnamon in the candied pecans that get mixed into the cookie dough adds a lot, but isn’t overwhelming.
How to Make this Recipe
- Brown the Butter. Place the butter in a saucepan and melt. Let the butter brown until a deep golden color. Pour into a bowl and place in fridge or freezer until it has returned to a room temperature, but solid state.
- Butter the Pecans. In a small bowl mix together 1 tablespoon sugar,1 teaspoon cinnamon, and a pinch of salt, set aside. a) Melt 1 ½ tablespoons of butter in a frying pan, then add pecans halves and coat in butter. b) Add cinnamon-sugar mixture and coat pecans. . Stir with a spatula for a 2-3 minutes until caramelized. c) Remove pecans and let cool on a piece of parchment paper. Separate out 20 pecan halves for topping the cookies with and d) finely chop the remainder of the pecans for adding into the cookie dough.
- Cream the butter and sugar. Once browned butter has returned to solid, cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar together for 1 minute.
- Add Eggs and vanilla. Add eggs and vanilla and continue creaming for another 3 minutes.
- Add Dry Ingredients. Add salt, cornstarch, baking soda, and flour and mix in until just barely incorporated. . Stir the pecans into the dough until evenly dispersed.
- Scoop Dough. Scoop about ¼ cup of cookie dough, roll cookie dough ball in white sugar and place a single pecan half in the center of the dough ball.
- Bake. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place cookie dough balls on a parchment lined or greased baking sheet leaving plenty of room for them to spread (I put 6 on a sheet). Bake for 9-11 minutes. Cool for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Browning the Butter
Brown butter adds rich, nutty flavor that enhances the toffee flavor of these brown butter pecan cookies and complementing the molasses in the dark brown sugar and the candied, buttered pecans.
Browning butter is pretty easy, place the butter in a heavy-bottomed pot and melt the butter. Keep stirring the butter as it starts to boil. The butter takes around 8 minutes to brown, you want it to reach a deep amber color.
Let the butter cool and return to a solid state before using. Check out our post on how to brown butter that will walk through the process, step-by-step, with pictures and answer all the frequent questions.
Frequently Asked Questions and Expert Tips
Because the brown butter needs time to cool and return to a solid state before you mix up your dough, you cannot be in a rush when making these cookies. If you know you want to make them, feel free to brown the butter in advance and put it in your fridge or freezer until you need it. Just remove the brown butter from the fridge and let it sit on the counter and return to room temperature before you use it.
Flour makes up the majority of this recipe and can drastically change these cookies. Too much and your cookies will be dry, too little and the brown butter pecan cookies will spread too much and could be greasy.
I typically weigh my flour, 130 grams per cup. Weighing is by far the most accurate way to measure flour. If you don’t have a food scale, use the spoon and level method. We have a detailed post on how to measure flour. Follow one of these two methods to guarantee you have the best butter pecan cookies.
These buttery brown sugar pecan cookies are designed to be big. Big cookies give you the perfect ratio of crispy edges and soft, chewy centers. By making the cookies smaller, you will lose some of the soft, chewy centers. If you decide to make them smaller anyway, you will need to adjust the bake time.
How to Store This Recipe
Storing at Room Temperature
I like to store my cookies on the counter, loosely coved. They’re freshest if eaten within the first 2 days.
Storing in the Freezer
Feel free to freeze these cookies to enjoy later! Cool the cookies completely before transferring to an airtight container. I like to put them in a freezer gallon bag and squeeze all the air out. Let the cookies thaw completely before eating. They are best eaten within 3 months.
Freeze the Cookie Dough
You can scoop and freeze the cookie dough for later! So next time you’re craving a butter pecan cookie, just pop a cookie dough ball out of the freezer, let it thaw for 30 minutes before baking like normal. You may need to add 1-2 minutes to the bake time if they aren’t spreading enough.
I recommend scooping the cookie dough and freezing it on a baking sheet for at least 30 minutes before transferring to an airtight container. This will help prevent freezer burn. They are best eaten within 3 months of freezing.
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Brown Butter Pecan Cookies
- 1 ¾ cup pecan halves
- 1 ½ tablespoons butter
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 ¼ cups butter
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup dark brown sugar packed
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 ¾ cup flour measured correctly
- In a large pot, over medium heat, place your butter (for the cookies) and let it melt. Brown the butter until it reaches a deep amber color. Pour into a bowl and place in the fridge or freezer until the butter returns to a solid state.
- While the butter is chilling, butter the pecans.In a frying pan, over medium-high heat, melt 1 ½ tablespoons of butter. Addpecan halves and stir around until coated in butter.
- In a small bowl mix together the sugar cinnamon, and salt. Sprinkle over the pecans and stir until the pecans are coated evenly. Continue to cook over medium to medium-high heat until the sugar has melted and caramelized. Be careful to not let the sugar burn.
- Remove the pecans from heat and pour on to apiece of parchment paper to let cool.
- Separate out 20-24 pecan pieces for topping your cookies with. Then, finely chop the remaining pecans for adding to the cookie dough.
- Once the brown butter has returned to a solid, room temperature state, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Add butter, sugar, and dark brown sugar to a mixing bowl or stand mixer. Cream together for 1 minute.
- Add in eggs and vanilla and cream together on high for 3 minutes. The mixture should be pale and light and fluffy.
- Add in the cornstarch, baking soda, salt, and flour to the creamed mixture. Mix until just barely incorporated and evenly dispersed.
- 1. Stir in chopped pecans until evenly dispersed. Scoop¼ cup of dough into a ball. Roll dough in sugar before placing on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper, a silicone mat, or greased. Leave plenty of room for the cookies to spread (I usually place 6 on a baking sheet).Top dough balls with a pecan half and bake for 9-11 minutes. Let cookies cool for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Yields 20-24 cookies.
Storing at Room TemperatureI like to store my cookies on the counter, loosely coved. They’re freshest if eaten within the first 2 days.
Storing in the FreezerFeel free to freeze these cookies to enjoy later! Cool the cookies completely before transferring to an airtight container. I like to put them in a freezer gallon bag and squeeze all the air out. Let the cookies thaw completely before eating. They are best eaten within 3 months. Can I make these butter pecan cookies smaller? These buttery brown sugar pecan cookies are designed to be big. Big cookies give you the perfect ratio of crispy edges and soft, chewy centers. By making the cookies smaller, you will lose some of the soft, chewy centers. If you decide to make them smaller anyway, you will need to adjust the bake time.
originally posted October 20, 2018
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Hi Dianna and Alyssa,
I just made these for the second time. They are awesome and beautiful and would make a great “From my Kitchen” Holiday gift.
Health concerns had me cut the 1 t salt in half the first time around which I did again this time. I don’t think we missed it as we’re getting accustomed to less salt. I did use more generous “pinch” with the pecans.
First time around I was somewhat nervous about caramelizing the sugar too long—hard to tell in a black skillet—but extended the process this time with great, flavorful results.
Last but not least, my taste buds I couldn’t really discern the cinnamon so with this batch, I increased it by half and love the results.
Taste buds differ for sure but this works for me.
And this cookie has such great texture!
I can't eat just one-or two. My dough must have had to much flour as they didn't spread much, But you know what? These are to die for.
I noticed that this recipe is mostly the same recipe from the brown butter chocolate chip cookie, the only difference is you added 1 more tablespoon of vanilla, used 1 teaspoon of slat and added cornstarch. Did you notice a different in the cookies as far as taste, texture, and thickness goes ( excluded the fact that it has pecans in them)?
Good eye! The chopped pecans added into the dough and cornstarch for change the texture and of course the pecans change the taste as well. These tend to turn out a touch thinner for me than the brown butter chocolate chip cookies, but the caramelized chopped butter pecans add a bit of crunch and because these are baked longer they tend to be crispier. Then the added cornstarch to to the dough keeps them not too hard. I think the flavor is quite different, they’re definitely worth trying!