Brown Butter Sugar Cookies

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Our soft and chewy brown butter sugar cookies have perfectly crisp edges and lightly golden bottoms.

brown butter sugar cookies

These cookies are a personal favorite of mine! The inspiration for this recipe struck when my daughter let me try these cookies made by a fantastic black-owned catering company at her school. Their brown butter sugar cookies, adorned with colorful sprinkles, became an instant craving and a Friday treat my daughter and I both looked forward to at the end of the week.

What sets these cookies apart is the rich warmth and depth of flavor. The magic lies in the brown butter, a simple yet transformative ingredient. As it simmers, the butter takes on a nutty aroma and imparts a deliciously nuanced taste to the cookies. Then comes the star of the show – a heaping tablespoon of vanilla. Trust me; vanilla is a non-negotiable addition. Both of these ingredients make these cookies extraordinary, and without them, regular ol’ sugar cookies taste one-note.

Our Brown Butter Sugar Cookies aren’t just a treat for your taste buds; they’re also perfect for the holiday season. I made these for a Christmas cookie exchange because they’re easy to make, easy to transport, versatile, and universally loved.

What you’ll love about this recipe:

  • BROWN BUTTER FLAVOR – The rich, nutty aroma and deep, caramelized notes that only brown butter can bring to these sugar cookies make these an instant favorite.
  • SOFT & CHEWY – The irresistibly soft and chewy centers are perfectly complemented by crisp edges and lightly golden bottoms.
  • QUICK & EASY – These are the perfect treat for those seeking a delicious homemade cookie fix in about an hour with ingredients you likely already have in your pantry.
butter, eggs, flour, sugar, baking soda, brown sugar, salt, and vanilla on a light background


  • Butter
  • All purpose flour
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Granulated sugar
  • Light brown sugar
  • Egg
  • Vanilla extract

Tip: Add some sprinkles for a fun and festive update! Roll at least half of the cookie dough balls into sanding sugar to cover completely. When the cookies spread during baking, this will ensure that the top of the cookie is coated in the sugar. Choose colorful sprinkles to match the occasion!

Tools you’ll need

To make these Brown Butter Sugar Cookies, you’ll need the following special equipment and tools:

  • Light colored skillet
  • Mixing bowls
  • Whisk
  • Hand mixer
  • Rubber spatula
  • Baking sheets
  • Parchment paper or silicone mats
  • Large plate
brown butter sugar cookies

How to make

Grab your butter and slice it up. Toss butter pieces into a light-colored skillet and melt them down over medium heat. Give it a whisk every now and then. Once it’s all melted, the butter will start to get a bit foamy. Turn down the heat to medium-low and let it simmer without whisking. After about 5–8 minutes, those golden brown specks show up, and you catch a whiff of that nutty aroma. That’s your cue it’s ready! Remove the skillet from the heat immediately and pour the browned butter into a large, heat-safe mixing bowl. You should be left with about 3/4 cup browned butter. Let it cool for a few minutes.

browned butter in a metal mixing bowl

While the butter’s chillin’, grab another bowl and whisk together the flour, baking soda, and a pinch of salt. Set it aside. Back to the brown butter – add granulated sugar and brown sugar to the butter. Get your hand-held or stand mixer (with the paddle attachment) and give it a good beat on medium speed for around a minute. Toss in the egg and a splash of vanilla extract and keep mixing.

brown butter sugar cookie batter in a bowl with a hand mixer

Now, pour in the flour mix slowly, starting with low speed. Towards the end, grab a rubber spatula and fold in the last bit of the flour mix. The dough’s gonna be thick and a little greasy, but that’s what we’re aiming for. Roll the dough into balls, roughly a tablespoon each (I weighed mine and each dough ball was about 30-32 grams, which yielded 24 cookies). Pop ’em on a plate or baking sheet, cover them loosely with plastic wrap, and let them chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

brown butter sugar cookie dough in a metal bowl with a red rubber spatula

Preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C). Line those baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Grab those chilled dough balls and space them out on the sheets, about 3 inches apart. Bake cookies for 12–13 minutes or until they’re lightly browned around the edges. Once out of the oven, let them cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Boom! You’ve just baked up some seriously tasty brown butter sugar cookies.

Tips for Making Brown Butter

  • Choose the Right Pan: Opt for a light-colored skillet. This makes it easier to monitor the color changes in the butter.
  • Cut Butter Into Even Pieces: To ensure even melting, cut the butter into uniform pieces. This helps in achieving an even brown color.
  • Medium Heat to Melt: Begin melting the butter over medium heat. Stir occasionally to promote even melting.
  • Reduce to Low-Medium Heat: Once melted, reduce the heat to low-medium. This slows down the cooking process and allows the butter to brown gradually so you don’t burn the butter by mistake.
  • Don’t Whisk Constantly: Let the butter simmer without whisking constantly. Stirring occasionally is okay, but allowing the butter to settle helps in the browning process.
  • Watch for Foam: As the butter heats, it will foam. When the foam starts to subside, you’ll start seeing brown specks at the bottom. Use a rubber spatula to gently move the foam out of the way so you can see the bottom of the pan.
  • Look for a Nutty Aroma: Brown butter should have a nutty aroma. If it starts to smell nutty and you see those brown specks, it’s time to take it off the heat.
  • Remove from Heat Promptly: Brown butter can quickly go from beautifully browned to burnt, so as soon as you notice the desired color, remove the skillet from the heat.
  • Transfer to a Heat-Safe Bowl: To stop the cooking process, immediately transfer the browned butter to a heat-safe bowl. Leaving it in the hot pan can lead to overcooking.
  • Cool Before Using: Let the browned butter cool for a few minutes before using it in your recipe. This prevents it from cooking the other ingredients prematurely.
a stack of brown butter sugar cookies, the top one has a bite mark


How do I know when the butter is browned enough?

Look for brown specks forming at the bottom of the pan and a nutty aroma. Be cautious not to let it burn (see recipe note below).

Can I brown the butter in advance and store it?

Absolutely! Refrigerate it until needed, just bring it to room temperature before using it in the recipe.

Is it okay to skip the chilling step for the dough?

Chilling helps with the formation, but if you’re short on time, you can bake the cookies without chilling, although they will spread more.

How long do the cookies stay fresh, and how should they be stored?

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 4-5 days.


These Brown Butter Sugar Cookies boast soft, chewy centers and crisp golden edges. They’re quick and easy to make, and a must-try for anyone seeking a delectable upgrade to the classic sugar cookie. Perfect for holiday gatherings or a cozy evening treat.

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Brown Butter Sugar Cookies

  • Author: cooks with soul
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 24 cookies 1x
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: american


Brown butter sugar cookies have soft, chewy centers and crisp golden edges. Perfect for holiday gatherings or a cozy evening treat!


  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (240 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (150 grams)
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar (150 grams)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


  1. Slice the butter into and place in a light-colored skillet. Melt over medium heat, occasionally whisking.
  2. Allow the melted butter to foam, then reduce heat to low or low-medium, letting it simmer without whisking. After 5–8 minutes, check for the formation of browned specks and a nutty aroma.
  3. Remove the skillet from heat promptly and transfer the brown butter (including the browned specks) to a large heat-safe mixing bowl. It should yield about 3/4 cup browned butter. Allow it to cool for 5 minutes.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  5. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar to the browned butter.
  6. Using a hand-held or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat on medium speed for about 1 minute until relatively combined.
  7. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
  8. Gradually pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients at low speed. Towards the end, use a rubber spatula to fold the remaining flour mixture into the dough. The resulting dough will be thick and slightly greasy.
  9. Roll the dough into 1-tablespoon-sized balls (approximately 30-32 grams each).
  10. Place the dough balls on a parchment-lined plate or baking sheet. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  11. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
  12. Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Space the chilled dough balls about 3 inches apart on the baking sheets.
  13. Bake for 12–13 minutes or until lightly browned on the sides. Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Then, transfer the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.


It is very easy to burn browned butter! Once the butter is melted, simmer on low heat, or increase the heat slightly to low-medium just to maintain a light simmer. Check every couple of minutes, but try not to disturb by whisking or stirring. The foam will start to dissipate. Use a rubber spatula to carefully move the foam so you can see to the bottom of the pan. As soon as you see the little browned bits, remove the butter from the heat and pour it into the bowl. Scrape the little browned bits into the bowl as well, this is where all of the flavor resides!

Keywords: brown butter sugar cookies, christmas cookies, brown butter, sugar cookies

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