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Brown Butter Pecan Cookies

Browned butter and toasted pecans makes these brown butter pecan cookies chewy and rich. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger make them the perfect fall cookie!

brown butter pecan cookies on a counter.

Fall is the perfect time to bake with browned butter! It adds such a depth of flavor and gives these cookies a caramel-like taste.

These cookies are soft and chewy with a bit of a crunch thanks to the toasted pecans. If you’re looking for a similar version of this cookie, check out these brown butter sugar cookies. More fall inspired desserts: apple pie cinnamon rolls, Turtle cheesecake with Biscoff cookie crust, and tahini banana bread.

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Caramel Flavor – The brown butter gives these cookies a caramel flavor. I’m a huge fan of browned butter desserts and this one is so simple!
  • One Bowl – You only need one bowl to make these cookies, which means less dishes and clean up!
  • Chewy, Soft Cookies – These cookies are chewy but still have a crunch thanks to the toasted pecans.
  • Simple Ingredients – The ingredients here are simple. Browning the butter is not scary, I promise! You could also leave out the nutmeg and/or ginger if you don’t have it on hand or aren’t a fan. The cookies will still turn out lovely.

Ingredients

ingredient shot of brown butter pecan cookies.
  • Browned Butter – You’ll need 1 cup (two sticks) of butter. I use salted butter. You may also use unsalted butter. Just make sure to add 1/2 a teaspoon of salt to the dough as you prepare it. Full instructions on how to brown the butter is shown in detail below!
  • Brown Sugar – This gives an even more caramelly flavor to the cookies! I used dark-brown sugar. You can also use light-brown sugar.
  • Granulated Sugar – Helps balance out the brown sugar a bit.
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla Extract – Packs a ton of flavor!
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Toasted Pecans – It’s super easy to toast the pecans in the oven. After toasting, let them cool a bit before chopping them up. I add the chopped pecans to the dough and also roll the dough balls in a bowl of chopped pecans before baking to make sure they are topped with them too.

See recipe card for quantities.

Step-By-Step Instructions

butter cubed in a sauce pan.

Step One: Cube the butter and add it to a saucepan over medium heat on the stove. Mix it continuously as it melts, boils, and eventually turns brown.

brown butter in saucepan.

Step Two: You’ll know the browned butter is done when it is covered with a layer of foam. While the brown butter cools, toast the pecans. To toast the pecans: set the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lay the pecans flat on a baking sheet. Cook for 5-7 minutes, making sure to stir the pecans around halfway through baking. Let cool before chopping and adding to ingredients.

Butter and sugars in mixing bowl.

Step Three: Add the cooled brown butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar to a mixing bowl. Whisk for about two minutes.

Adding cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda, and baking powder to mixing bowl.

Step Four: Add the eggs, vanilla extract, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg to the bowl, whisking thoroughly. Finally, gradually add the flour in to the bowl. I use a spatula to mix the flour since the dough will be thick. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to combine all the ingredients.

Adding chopped toasted pecans to the cookie dough in the mixing bowl.

Step Five: Add the chopped pecans. I use my hands to work them into the dough.

24 cookie dough balls on a baking sheet.

Step Six: Scoop the cookie dough with a 2-teaspoon cookie scoop or your hands on to a baking sheet. Chill in the fridge for 20-30 minutes. Bake cookies at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-12 minutes. The cookies will be golden brown around the edges and still slightly uncooked in the middle.

Eight brown butter pecan cookies laying next to each other on a counter top.

Helpful Hints:

  • It’s absolutely necessary to chill the cookie dough balls. Doing so keeps the cookies from spreading too thin. Cookies that spread equal thin, crispy cookies. We do not want that! Scooping them into balls ahead of time makes the process easier.
  • I like to bake my cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet, 6 cookies at a time. Space them out by 2 or 3 inches.
  • Top the cookies with more chopped pecans by rolling the dough in a bowl of pecans. You can also push them into the top of the cookie.
  • Bake the cookies until the edges are golden brown and the middle is still a little undercooked. They will bake more sitting on the baking sheet before you transfer them to a wire rack. Overbaking them will result in a crispy cookie and that’s not what we’re going for in this recipe!
  • There will be little brown specks in your browned butter. This is normal and expected. Make sure to add them to the dough as well! We want it all in there.

Equipment

Storage

Storing already baked cookies:

  • Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature or in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • You can also freeze these cookies for up to 3 months by storing them in an airtight container. Allow them to thaw at room temperature by placing them on the counter before eating.

Storing the cookie dough:

  • To make the dough ahead of time, store in the fridge overnight.
  • To freeze the dough, you’re going to want to chill them first. Scoop the dough into balls and chill for 20-30 minutes in the fridge. Once chilled, transfer the dough balls to a gallon-sized Ziplock bag or another airtight container. Once ready to bake, place six dough balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet 2-3 inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and add an additional minute or two to the bake time.
  • You can also take the cookie dough out of the freezer the night before baking and store them in the fridge to thaw before baking.

FAQ

What is the difference between brown butter and regular butter?

Brown butter is made by heating regular butter until it browns and develops a nutty, caramel flavor. It can be used in a variety of recipes, including cookies, cakes, and frostings.

Why do I need to brown the butter for this recipe?

Browning the butter gives the cookies a richer flavor and helps to create a chewier texture.

Do I need to toast the pecans?

Toasting the pecans helps to deepen their flavor and make them more crunchy. However, you can skip this step if you prefer.

Why are my cookies flat?

If your cookies are flat, it is likely because the dough was not chilled for long enough or because the butter was too soft.

Why are my cookies hard? 

If your cookies are hard, it is likely because they were overbaked.

Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:

brown butter pecan cookies

Brown Butter Pecan Cookies

These brown butter pecan cookies are chewy and taste like fall thanks to the toasted pecans, brown butter, dark brown sugar, and cinnamon. Truly so delicious!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 18 minutes
Cook Time: 11 minutes
Chill Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 59 minutes
Servings: 24 cookies
Calories: 221kcal
Author: Jamie

Ingredients

  • 1 cup salted butter 2 sticks
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans toasted
  • 1 cup brown sugar dark or light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Instructions

To brown the butter:

  • Cube two sticks of butter and add them to a saucepan over medium heat. Mix continuously as the butter melts, boils, and eventually turns brown. This will take about 7 minutes. The butter is ready when it has a layer of foam on it and the color is brown. Set aside to allow it to cool.

Toast the pecans:

  • Lay the pecans flat on a baking sheet and cook in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 5-7 minutes. Stir the pecans around about halfway through. Allow them to cool before chopping them and adding to the dough.

Make the dough:

  • Add the browned butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar to a mixing bowl. Whisk together for about two minutes. There will be little brown specks in your browned butter. This is normal and expected. Make sure to add them to the dough as well! We want it all in there.
  • Then whisk the eggs, vanilla extract, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Gradually add the flour into the bowl about 1 cup at a time. Use a spatula at this point as the dough will get very thick. Mix until completely combined. Make sure to scrape the inside of the bowl to ensure all the ingredients are mixed together.
  • Finally, add 1 cup of chopped pecans. I find it easier to use my hands to incorporate them into the dough. Save 1/2 cup of pecans.
  • Use a cookie scoop or your hands to scoop the dough into 2-teaspoon balls on a baking sheet. Chill the dough balls in the fridge for 20-30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Once chilled, add the chopped pecans to the top of the dough balls and bake the cookies 6 at a time on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Make sure to separate the cookies by about 2 to 3 inches. Bake for 9-12 minutes or until the outside edges of the cookies are golden brown and the middle is still undercooked a bit. Leave them on the baking sheet until cooled, then transfer them to a wire rack.

Notes

To avoid spreading and thin, crispy cookies, you must chill the dough beforehand. 
For soft, chewy cookies, make sure not to overbake the cookies!
Storing the baked cookies:
  • Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature or in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • You can also freeze these cookies for up to 3 months by storing them in an airtight container. Allow them to thaw at room temperature by placing them on the counter before eating.
Storing the cookie dough:
    • To make the dough ahead of time, store in the fridge overnight.
    • To freeze the dough, you’re going to want to chill them first. Scoop the dough into balls and chill for 20-30 minutes in the fridge. Once chilled, transfer the dough balls to a gallon-sized Ziplock bag or another airtight container. Once ready to bake, place six dough balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet 2-3 inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and add an additional minute or two to the bake time.
    • You can also take the cookie dough out of the freezer the night before baking and store them in the fridge to thaw before baking.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 221kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 110mg | Potassium: 64mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 263IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1mg

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