Butter Pecan Cookies: Meltingly soft, & infused with warm brown sugar, toasty browned butter, & crunchy nuts. They’ll make you feel so cozy!

Butter pecan cookies served in a vintage pie plate with a cup of coffee and a small pitcher of cream.

Now that the weather is getting cool and the days are getting shorter, I find myself craving foods that make me feel warm and cozy. Heartier textures and flavors like nutty brown butter, warm brown sugar, and toasty nuts seem to be calling to me lately…

And dishes like this robust mushroom risotto, this flambeed bananas Foster, and this decadent pecan pie cheesecake really satisfy those cool-weather cravings.

So today I thought I’d share my recipe for butter pecan cookies. They’re everything I’m wanting at this time of year, all wrapped up in a meltingly soft cookie. I love them with a glass of milk, but they’re even better with coffee.

PS- Is it really that bad to eat cookies for breakfast? Asking for a friend… 😉

Soft brown sugar cookies with pecans, arranged on a plate with coffee and a text overlay above that reads "Butter Pecan Cookies."

WHAT ARE BUTTER PECAN COOKIES?

These cookies bake up soft and pillowy, with a deep, buttery taste, punctuated by crunchy, toasty pecans.

If you like the taste of butter pecan ice cream, then you’ll love these cookies!

HOW TO MAKE BUTTER PECAN COOKIES

To make this recipe, you’re first going to want to brown the butter and toast the nuts.

I’ve got lots of info on how to brown butter in this post: How to Brown Butter. To put it in a nutshell, you just have to melt the butter (it’s best to do this in a lighter-colored pan so you can really see the color changing). Keep it over the heat and it will start to bubble, then sizzle, then turn brown.

Browning butter in a stainless steel saute pan.

Take it off the heat immediately once you see it turning nutty-brown, and pour it into a heat-safe bowl to stop the cooking before it burns.

Transferring browned butter to a heat-safe bowl.

This browned butter will then need to be set aside and allowed to re-solidify. You’ll want it solid but soft for this cookie recipe.

Solidified brown butter in a large glass mixing bowl.

The chopped pecans can be toasted on a baking sheet in the oven until aromatic, or in a dry skillet over medium heat.

Once those ingredients are prepped, it’s time to make the cookie dough.

Cream the soft brown butter together with the brown sugar until very pale and fluffy. (I use dark brown sugar for this recipe, but light brown sugar will work just fine in a pinch.)

Creaming brown sugar and browned butter together.

Next, add the eggs. You’ll need one whole egg plus one yolk.

Adding eggs and vanilla to butter pecan cookie dough.

Work these in, along with the vanilla extract, until combined.

Now it’s time for the dry ingredients. Flour, the toasted pecans, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt can all go into the bowl.

Adding dry ingredients to butter pecan cookie dough.

Mix it all up until just barely combined. You don’t want to overmix, or your cookies can come out tough or not spread as they should.

Scoop the dough into balls, using a 1 1/2-tablespoon scoop.

Scooping butter pecan cookie dough onto baking sheets.

Then garnish them with a little pinch of demerara sugar, for added sparkle.

Sprinkling cookies with demerara sugar.

The finishing touch is a whole pecan half, pressed into the top of each cookie.

Unbaked butter pecan cookies on a tray.

Bake these until set around the edges but still quite soft in the middle. The cookies will continue to firm up quite a bit as they cool.

CAN THESE BE MADE ALLERGEN-FREE?

For gluten-free butter pecan cookies, look for a gluten-free flour blend that subs 1:1 for regular flour.

If you are avoiding eggs, try using a flax egg or chia egg as a replacement. Just mix 1 tablespoon of ground flax or chia seeds with 2 to 3 tablespoons of water. Allow this to sit for 15 minutes or so, until thickened/gelled.

Dairy-free butter pecan cookies might be a little bit trickier. According to my research, it is possible to brown vegan butter in some cases, but it might not have quite the same nutty flavor, or the proper consistency. Here’s more info on that: Can Vegan Butter Be Browned?.

Close-up overhead image of brown butter cookies with pecans, piled into a pie dish.

TROUBLESHOOTING: WHY COOKIES SOMETIMES DON’T SPREAD

It can be a bit of a tricky tightrope walk, trying to get the perfect balance of cookies that are thick & chubby, but that still spread properly and don’t just stay in a ball shape. Here are a few of my best tips for cookies with the perfect spread:

  1. Make sure the butter is softened. It should be room temperature, slightly cool but not cold.
  2. Really whip the butter and sugar together until very pale and fluffy. It should look almost white. This takes a minimum of 5 minutes on medium-high speed. Seven minutes is better!
  3. Once the flour’s gone in, be careful not to overwork the dough. Just mix in the dry ingredients until combined, and then turn the mixer off. Overmixing will develop glutens that may prevent the cookies from spreading properly.
  4. Scoop the balls of dough to 1 1/2 tablespoons. Any larger than that, they may spread too much. Any smaller, they may not spread at all.
  5. If all else fails, try upping the baking soda by 1/8 teaspoon.

STORING/SHELF LIFE

These butter pecan cookies will keep at room temperature for several days. Just be sure to wrap them up tightly or put them in an airtight container so they don’t dry out or become stale.

They’ll last even longer in the fridge- probably several weeks or so.

You can also freeze them, either baked or unbaked. I actually prefer to freeze them unbaked, because there is truly nothing more comforting than a freshly baked cookie, warm from the oven.

To do this, scoop the dough, add the garnishes, and freeze on a baking sheet. Once they’re frozen solid, they can be transferred to a zip-top bag. When you’re ready to bake them, just place a few onto a parchment-lined baking sheet (it’s ok if they’re still frozen) and bake according to the recipe directions.

Extreme close-up of pecan cookies in a dish, garnished with coarse sugar and whole pecan halves.

IF YOU LIKE COOKIES WITH YOUR COFFEE, HERE ARE A FEW MORE OF MY FAVORITES:

  1. Irish Oat Cookies
  2. Jam Thumbprint Cookies
  3. Thin & Crisp Pizelle
  4. Soft Ginger Cookies

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5 from 1 vote
Butter pecan cookies served in a vintage pie plate with a cup of coffee and a small pitcher of cream.
Butter Pecan Cookies
Prep Time
35 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Cooling Time:
1 hr 30 mins
Total Time
2 hrs 15 mins
 

Butter Pecan Cookies: Meltingly soft, & infused with warm brown sugar, toasty browned butter, & crunchy nuts. They'll make you feel so cozy!

Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: brown butter cookies, brown sugar cookies, butter pecan cookie recipe, butter pecan cookies, pecan cookies
Servings: 48 cookies
Calories: 98 kcal
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place the butter in a wide, light-colored pan over medium-low heat, and allow it to melt, then boil, then sizzle and turn nutty-brown.

  2. Immediately pour the browned butter into a heat-safe dish, and allow it to cool and solidify.*

  3. Toast the chopped pecans, either on a baking sheet in a 350 degree F oven, or in a dry skillet over medium heat, until browned and aromatic (about 5 to 10 minutes).

  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment.

  5. Place the solidified brown butter in a large mixing bowl, along with the brown sugar.

  6. Beat on medium-high speed until very pale and fluffy (5 to 7 minutes minimum).

  7. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla, mixing until combined.

  8. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula, then add the flour, toasted chopped pecans, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt, mixing just until combined (be careful not to overmix).

  9. Use a 1.5-tablespoon scoop to portion the dough into balls, spacing them about 2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.

  10. Sprinkle the unbaked cookies with demerara sugar and press a pecan half into each one (optional).

  11. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until set around the edges but still very soft towards the middle.

  12. Cool on the baking sheets.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

For more info on how to make browned butter, click here: How to Brown Butter.

Nutrition Facts
Butter Pecan Cookies
Amount Per Serving (1 cookie)
Calories 98 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 15mg5%
Sodium 50mg2%
Potassium 30mg1%
Carbohydrates 11g4%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 101IU2%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 9mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Butter pecan cookies on a plate with a text overlay that reads "Butter Pecan Cookies."

Brown sugar cookies with toasted pecans, with a text overlay above that reads "Butter Pecan Cookies."

Brown butter cookies in a pan with a text overlay that reads "Butter Pecan Cookies."