Soft and chewy, these delightful Butter Pecan Cookies feature butter pecans and brown butter for a melt-in-your-mouth cookie.
Easy Butter Pecan Cookie Recipe
If you love pralines and brown sugar cookies, you will love these Brown Butter Pecan Cookies – they’re the best soft, chewy, buttery combination of both, with a nice textural crunch from the pecans.
This recipe begins with making butter pecans and then also making brown butter. Both are easy to do and really make these cookies next level, giving them a nutty, toasty flavor.
The dough does require some chill time, but these cookies are so worth the wait. Don’t rush the chill time, it will change the texture of the cookies and you want these in all of their soft, buttery glory!
What You’ll Need
These holiday cookies are made with baking staples, lots of butter, and pecans!
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Pecans: Pecans are chopped and sautéed before being mixed into the dough. Pecan halves are also added to the cookies before baking.
- Butter: Butter is used to make the butter pecans as well as turned into nutty brown butter.
- Sugars: Both granulated and brown sugar are used in this recipe for the best flavor.
- All-purpose flour: Be sure to use the exact amount, too little or too much will change the cookies.
- Cornstarch: This helps create a tender inside and slightly crisp outside.
- Baking soda: A leavening agent to give the cookies a little lift.
- Salt: For flavor, so the cookies don’t taste flat.
- Eggs: Helps bind the tough together.
- Vanilla: For flavor.
How to Make Butter Pecan Cookies
These brown butter pecan cookies are easy to make in a few steps, just be sure to leave enough time for the dough to chill.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for complete details.)
- Make the butter pecans.
- Brown the butter.
- Make the cookie dough.
- Chill the dough.
- Form the dough and Bake.
Tips for Success
While butter pecan cookies are simple to make, there are a handful of things to keep in mind. The details are important here to get perfectly nutty, chewy cookies.
- How to properly measure the flour. Adding the right amount of flour is essential to achieving the right texture in these butter pecan cookies. For this recipe, you want to spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it instead of scooping the cup into the bag, for the most accurate measurement.
- Allow the butter to cool after browning. You want the butter to be warm, but not at all hot or the cookies will spread way too much while baking.
- Don’t burn the butter. Keep an eye on the butter as it cooks. Brown butter can turn to burnt butter within seconds. If you accidentally burn it, you’ll want to start over as burnt butter has a less than desirable taste.
- Be sure to fully chill the dough. The dough needs to chill for at least 2 hours, otherwise the cookies will not bake properly. However, it can also last for up to 3 days in the fridge. If you chill it for more than a few hours, leave it at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.
- Don’t crowd the cookie sheet. The balls of dough should be placed at least 2 inches apart on the baking sheet as they will spread during baking.
- Don’t over-bake the cookies. The tops of the cookies should still be quite soft when you remove them from the oven, and may even appear slightly under-baked in the center. But they will firm up as they cool. This will result in a soft chewy cookie. If you over-bake, they will be dry and crumbly.
Make Ahead & Storage
- Make the dough in advance. You can keep the dough in the fridge for up to 3 days. Allow it to set at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking. You can also freeze the cookie dough for up to a month in the freezer.
- How to store baked cookies. Baked brown butter pecan cookies can be stored at room temperature, in an airtight container, for up to 5 days.
- Can I freeze butter pecan cookies? Yes, the baked cookies can be frozen for up to 3 months. Just be sure they cool completely first.
More Cookie Recipes:
- Cut Out Sugar Cookies
- Snickerdoodle Cookies
- Peanut Butter Blossoms
- Oatmeal Craisin Cookies
- Hot Cocoa Cookies
Butter Pecan Cookies
For the Butter Pecans
- 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
For the Brown Butter
- 1 cup unsalted butter (cut into equal pieces)
For the Cookies
- 2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 large eggs (at room temperature)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- pecan halves (to decorate, optional)
- Make the butter pecans: In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, sauté the chopped pecans and butter until fragrant and toasted, about 3-4 minutes. Stir frequently and keep an eye on the small crumbs, they will brown quicker than the bigger pieces and you don't want anything to burn. Set aside to cool.
- Brown the butter: Bring the butter to a strong bubble in a light colored skillet over medium heat (this is ideal so you can actually see when it browns.) Continue cooking, stirring continuously, until the solid particles at the bottom turn golden brown and smell nutty (about 5-8 minutes.) Keep an eye on it – brown butter can turn to burnt butter within seconds. Immediately pour into a large mixing bowl to stop the browning. Let cool slightly, about 10-15 minutes (you want the butter to be warm, but not at all hot or the cookies will spread way too much while baking.)
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt.
- Whisk the granulated sugar and brown sugar into the cooled brown butter. Then whisk in the eggs and vanilla until thoroughly combined.
- Add in the dry ingredients and stir until no streaks of flour remain.
- Stir in the chopped butter pecans.
- Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic down on the surface of the dough. Chill for 2 hours. (Don't be impatient – they need to chill or the cookies will not bake properly.)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with a rack in the middle position. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Roll dough into balls (2 tablespoons each) and place on the parchment paper, at least 2-inches apart.
- Gently press a pecan half onto the top of the unbaked ball of dough.
- Bake until the edges are set and JUST beginning to turn golden brown, about 9-12 minutes. The tops of the cookies should still be quite soft when you remove them from the oven, and may even appear slightly under-baked in the center. But they will firm up as they cool. This will result in a soft chewy cookie. If you over-bake, they will be dry and crumbly.
- Let rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.