The best brown butter pecan cookie recipe is one that is also easy! In no time at all you'll have chewy, buttery cookies coming out of the oven.
There is something special about brown butter and it complements pecans perfectly. With the tips (and a shortcut) here you'll find these cookies to be a breeze to make and a real crowd pleaser.
Where the recipe idea came from
One of our most popular sweet southern recipes is the one for Charleston Chewies. They have the same flavor profile of butter pecan, but are in bar form.
We wanted to incorporate the enriched taste of the butter being browned, and present it all in cookie form. So, there you go.
- Self-rising flour - We use this shortcut often and always keep it on hand. If you don't have any you can get the formula to make it in the post for easy buttermilk biscuits.
- Brown sugar - we made these cookies with light brown sugar but dark brown would be fine too.
- Butter - you can use salted or unsalted.
See recipe card for full ingredient list and quantities.
How to make them
- Start by browning your butter. Cut it into pieces and then heat over medium heat, stirring until you start to see little brown bits. It can go from brown to burned quickly so keep a close eye on it, stirring constantly. As soon as the butter is brown remove it from the heat. (see expert tips below)
- Next toast your chopped pecans if you have time. This recipe can be made without toasting the pecans, but it really does give another element of flavor that's amazing. You can toast them in a small skillet over the stove top or in the oven, but stir them every few minutes for even toasting. The fragrance is the best way to tell when they're ready, but it should take no more than 8-9 minutes at medium heat.
- Mix the browned butter, sugars and vanilla together and then stir in the egg.
- Stir in the flour and cornstarch and then the chopped pecans.
- Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.
- Make cookie dough balls of about one and one-half Tablespoons and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheets.
- Mash lightly with the bottom of a glass or measuring cup and if desired, press a pecan half in the center.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes or just until lightly browned.
- Cool on pan about 2 minutes before removing to wire rack to complete cooling.
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- It's always best to make baked goods with room temperature eggs. If you don't have time to set them out just put them in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes.
- Chilling the dough for at least 30 minutes prevents the cookies from spreading too fast in the hot oven and getting thin.
- Using a cookie scoop like this one gives consistently sized cookies.
- Lightly mashing the scoop of cookie dough with a glass or bottom of a measuring cup gives it a head start to being a nice round cookie.
- Take the cookies out of the oven when they are just lightly browned around the edges. They will still look a bit "gooey" in the center, but will cook slightly more after they come out. This results in a chewy cookie.
- If you have a light colored pan to brown your butter in it's easier to keep an eye on when it hits the right stage of brown.
- Add about one half cup of chocolate chips to this recipe and you'll have awesome brown butter chocolate chip cookies!
- Use your favorite nut if you like, but around here pecans are king!
- Add a half cup of coconut if that's your thing.
- Sprinkle with a little coarse sea salt. Everyone loves that salty/sweet contrast of flavors.
What to serve with brown butter pecan cookies
These cookies are perfect for putting on a dessert platter with other cookies, bars, and small bite desserts.
It adds depth and a rich, nutty flavor that you won't get with butter that hasn't been browned.
We've covered all 3 secrets in this recipe. The first is to add cornstarch in small amounts. It keeps the cookie tender. The second secret is to chill the dough so the cookies don't spread out making them flat and crispy. The final is to take them out of the oven when the center still appears gooey and moist.
It all depends on the flavor profile you're after. Some cookies, like a simple spritz cookie, are best with the butter not browned.
Absolutely! Make sure they're completely cool and then cover them tightly with as little air in the bag or container as possible. They should keep fine for up to 2-3 months. When ready to eat, just let them thaw at room temperature.
Brown Butter Pecan Cookies
- Brown butter in a pan on stove top over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat as soon as desired level of color is reached. Let cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Mix the brown butter, sugars and vanilla. Stir in the egg.
- Mix in the flour and cornstarch until well blended. Stir in pecans.
- Chill dough for 30 minutes minimum.
- Make cookie dough balls about 1½ Tablespoons and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Mash tops of dough balls lightly with a flat surface.
- If desired a pecan half can be pressed into the center of the cookie.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven when lightly browned on edges and centers still appear moist.
- Allow to cool on pan about 2 minutes and then move to a wire rack to complete cooling.
- Pecans can be toasted over medium heat on stove top or in oven about 8-10 minutes, or until fragrant. Stir several times to promote even toasting.
- Egg can be brought to room temperature by sitting in a bowl of warm water.
- Brown sugar can be light or dark.
- Butter can be salted or unsalted.