Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

Brown Butter Pretzel M&M Cookies

Brown Butter Pretzel M+M Cookies by

If you’ve been reading for awhile, you may be familiar with my favorite soft-baked chocolate chip cookie recipe.  Many of you have made these cookies and are hooked too!

The secret behind the cookies is adding a bit of cornstarch, which softens and expands the dough making the cookies extra thick in the process.  Think of how cornstarch thickens soups, gravies, and pie fillings – well, it does the same thing in cookie dough.

I’ve used this cookie dough base recipe with cornstarch in many of my cookie recipes, using all sorts of different add-ins like white chocolate and  caramel. However, there is one thing that I have never done with this recipe: I’ve never changed the actual dough base. Why fix it if it ain’t broke?

Craving something salty and sweet, I decided to take a risk and make the cookies in a very different way. And boy, am I glad I did! I used pretzel pieces, M&Ms, and browned butter.

And can I just say… wow! What a combination. Brown butter is my secret little weapon in the kitchen. It adds so much more concentrated, deep flavor to your baked good than creamed or melted butter would. Think lots of caramel and butterscotch undertones paired with a nutty aroma. Brown butter makes something ordinary… extraordinary.

Brown Butter Pretzel M+M Cookies by

Even though I love brown butter so much, I have always favored using butter in its solid state over butter in its liquid state for my cookie recipes.  Comparatively speaking, creaming solid butter makes the cookie dough less greasy and prevents the cookies from spreading so much in the oven. My cookies are always thicker when I use creamed butter over melted/browned butter.

I decided to test my super thick chocolate chip cookie recipe with browned butter. Given the cornstarch and full teaspoon of baking soda in the cookie dough recipe, I figured using browned butter wouldn’t make my cookies flat like it usually does.  After browning the butter, I cooled it in the refrigerator in a shallow dish so it became solid again. Then I creamed it into the dough like I usually do. Even though the brown butter was in its solid state after chilling it, it still is a bit more greasy than softened butter is. However, the cornstarch worked its magic and the cookies still came out super thick. Mission accomplished. 🙂 

Brown Butter Pretzel M+M Cookies by

Let’s talk about the secrets behind browning butter.

It’s pretty easy to overcook and burn butter when you are browning it. Brown → Burnt is a VERY thin line, so you have to be very careful and watch it closely. First, melt 1.5 sticks of unsalted butter in a saucepan. I usually do this over low-medium heat. Constantly stir the butter around with a whisk.  The butter will begin to bubble and get a bit foamy. Keep watching it and keep whisking it.  After 2-3 minutes of bubbling action, you’ll notice the color of the butter change to amber brown. Once you begin to see brown specks in the butter, remove it from heat – you’re done.

Brown butter smells amazing – kind of nutty and almost like pancakes. Am I the only one who thinks it smells like pancakes? Anyway, if you brown your butter for too long (even just 10 seconds too long), you’ll wind up with burnt butter. You’ll know you’ve burnt the butter just by its smell.  If you burn it, I suggest dumping it and starting over.

Brown Butter Pretzel M+M Cookies by

In short: browning butter is quite easy if you use visual cues like watching for the butter to turn an amber color with little specks of brown. Constantly stir it, constantly watch it. Use your nose and wait for that distinct nutty aroma.

The best part about using brown butter for this cookie recipe is that you don’t have to plan ahead and bring your butter to room temperature. You can use cold butter when you are browning it.

Brown Butter Pretzel M+M Cookies by

After you have your brown butter, be sure to chill it and allow the butter to become solid again – this step is mandatory to avoid your cookies from spreading too much in the baking process. I’ve made these cookies twice now and the first time, I did not chill the brown butter. The cookies were MUCH thinner than today’s.

Using a shallow dish, cooling the brown butter to a solid state will take about two hours in the refrigerator.  Then, make the cookie dough as usual. Using a mixer, cream the solid brown butter with your sugars. I always like to use more brown sugar than white sugar, which keeps the cookies extra moist and soft.

The nutty, caramel-y vibe from the brown butter pairs well with salty pretzels and chocolate. I used mini M&Ms for my sweet chocolate craving and pretzels for my salty craving.

Be sure to chill the dough again. Yes I know – chilling the brown butter and then chilling the dough?! Trust me on this.  Chilling the dough will make it much easier to handle, produce a much thicker cookie, and allows the flavors to get nice and friendly.  Chill the dough for 1 – 2 hours (or even overnight).  I chilled my dough for 2 hours before scooping and baking.

Brown Butter Pretzel M+M Cookies by

You’ll have to roll the balls of dough with your hands and not scoop them with a cookie scoop – the warmth of your hands will allow the dough to come together quite well.  I rolled my balls of dough to be taller, rather than wide. See here for more details on a “tall” cookie dough ball.

The final result is one thick, flavorful cookie.  The nutty, caramel flavor notes from the brown butter, the salty and crunchy pretzel pieces, the sweet chocolate M&Ms, the moistness from the extra brown sugar… everything just works.  Brown butter is the ultimate secret ingredient and it’s something you already have in your kitchen.

The cookies get soft on day two and even softer on day 3, something you usually don’t find in cookie recipes.  I think that’s the best part about them.

Give me a soft cookie over a dry, crispy cookie any day!

Brown Butter Pretzel M+M Cookies by

The cornstarch ratio with the baking soda and flour produces an extra thick and soft cookie. Chewy around the edges, soft and melty on the inside. The dough itself is fantastic! You’ll love the way it tastes, even without the extra sweet & salty add-ins.  But those are mandatory, right?! 😉

Do you like salty/sweet treats as much as I do?

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make! 

Brown Butter Pretzel M&M Cookies

Makes about 2-2.5 dozen cookies. Do not drop dough onto warm cookie sheets. Allow cookie sheets to cool completely between batches


  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks or 170g) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup (150g) packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour* (measured correctly)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch (aka cornflour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup pretzel pieces
  • 3/4 cup M&Ms


  1. First, melt 1.5 sticks of unsalted butter in a saucepan. I usually do this over low-medium heat. Constantly stir the butter around with a whisk.  The butter will begin to bubble and get a bit foamy. Keep watching it and keep whisking it. After 2-3 minutes of bubbling action, you'll notice the color of the butter change to amber brown. Once you begin to see brown specks in the butter, remove it from heat - you're done. Pour into a shallow dish and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
  2. In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the solid browned butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar and mix on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Mix in egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. On low speed, slowly mix into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be quite thick. Add the pretzels and M&Ms and mix for about 5 seconds until evenly disbursed. Cover dough tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough.
  3. Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
  4. Once chilled, the dough will be slightly crumbly, but will come together if you work the dough with your hands as you roll into individual balls. Roll balls of dough, about 1 Tablespoon of dough each, into balls. Bake for 8-9 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges. They will look extremely soft when you remove them from the oven. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. If the cookies are too puffy, try gently pressing down on them with the back of a spoon. They will slightly deflate as you let them cool. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
  5. Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week. Baked cookies freeze well - up to three months. Unbaked cookie dough balls freeze well - up to three months. Bake dough balls in their frozen state for an extra minute or two - do not thaw.

Recipe Notes:

*Recipe originally called for 2 cups of flour. Readers have commented that 1 and 3/4 cups of flour work best for them to avoid a dry, crumbly texture.

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I use brown butter in a recent oatmeal cookie recipe, too. For those cookies, I made sure to chill the brown butter and bring it to a solid state before creaming it in with the sugars – just like what I did in today’s recipe. Works like a charm!

Brown Butter Milky Way Oatmeal Cookies

Brown Butter Chunky Milky Way Oatmeal Cookies



  1. Hi Becky! I made these cookies over weekend again. I reduced the flour to 1 and 3/4 cup and that seemed to help any issues. I also had my friend make them using less flour – try that next time. Thank you so much for reporting back!

    • Hi Sally! I made the recipe again with the 1 and 3/4 cup of flour and the dough and cookies turned out great! The cookies are so soft and delicious. Once again, thank you for another great recipe! 🙂

  2. Made these cookies for Easter (not because they’re particularly Easter-y, but because they sounded yummy, I’m WAY into brown butter recipes lately, and I was on dessert duty!). They were SO yummy — I’m surprised I had dough left for any cookies! I kept sampling the dough and exclaiming to my husband “Try this! This is SO GOOD!” while doing a happy dance. I *did* make some actual cookies, though, and they were a hit! Thanks for the recipe 🙂

    • Hey Jillian! Oh I love brown butter in cookies. I’m so glad you tried these. Isn’t the dough wonderful? It’s hard not to “taste test” it so much. 🙂 Thanks for reporting back!

  3. my granddaughter, I made the XXL death by chocolate chip cookies today. they were so “delicious” as she said lol. thanks for the recipes. well be trying more soon.

  4. Hi Sally! I’m making these right now, but I’m not sure how many pretzels I should use? It says 3/4 pretzel pieces. Thanks!

  5. Oh no! I’m sorry, Michaela! Perhaps try adding 1 egg yolk. Add it when you beat in the full egg that the recipe calls for. Egg yolks are notorious for bringing moisture to baked cookies. This should help!

  6. Maybe I did something wrong, but these did not come out right. The cookie dough is hard as a rock when I took it out of the fridge and not sticky at all. In fact the dough is a little dry. Also…the pretzels are no longer crunchy. I am dissappointed.

  7. I have creamed my butter and the recipe has seemed to just disappear!

  8. I love this site, Sally’s Baking Addiction. I made the peanut butter ones and they were great. However, I do agree with Lysa’s experience. The same exact thing happened to me. I have been baking for almost 50 years and do a lot of baking. I probably wouldn’t make these again, as there were more steps than usual and I didn’t see the benefit of it all, at least not for me. Perhaps more experimentation is needed, as conditions can vary in each kitchen.

  9. I made these cookies for the holidays with Christmas themed m&m’s, and Oh my gosh, I think these are my new favorite cookies!!! I couldn’t stop eating them and everyone seemed to love them too. I tried to follow all of your steps, I’m usually in a hurry and don’t refrigerate the dough but this time I did and they turned out great. I read some comments before making the recipe and added only 1 3/4 cups of flour and I’m glad I did because the dough seemed VERY crumbly and dry and I’m sure it would have been more so with 2 cups of flour. This is the 3rd cookie recipe I’ve made from your website because of Pinterest and I’m definitely going to be trying more. Thanks!!!


    I had never used brown butter before tonight, and to be entirely honest I didn’t understand what all the excitement was about.. until now!!!

    These are hands down the best tasting cookies I have ever made! I was eating the cookie dough straight from the freezer, and when I finally tried a baked off cookie… YUM!!

    Bring on more recipes using brown butter!! Its totally worth the extra time.

  11. I wish I would have read the comments before making these…. I used 2 cups of flour as the recipe called for and the dough was way too dry and crumbly. I’m sure they would have been perfect with a little less flour (the taste is amazing, but the texture is just a bit too dry with 2 c of flour). I absolutely love this site and can’t wait to try these cookies again with less flour! Thanks Sally!

  12. PLEASE change the amount of flour in the recipe itself so no more poor sad souls like myself make it TWICE without reading comments… The first time I made it my brown sugar was old and the butter and sugars didn’t cream properly. I chalked up the first disaster to that and then tried it again a few weeks later with the still very crumbly batter 🙁 (It should be noted that BOTH times I still got rave reviews for the cookies 🙂 ) Now I will have to try these again with the proper measurements! I am LOVING the browned butter flavor – I think that saved both of my other attempts. Thanks, Sally!!

  13. Hi Sally – I’m a big fan of your site and recipes. I’ve made several desserts and they come out fantastic and fetch rave reviews.
    This cookie recipe, though, turned out to be a disaster. They were rock hard!! I followed the recipe exactly (used the reduced flour method) and refrigerated the dough overnight. The next day the dough was extremely hard. I let it sit out almost 25 minutes before working it, and it was still hard to get the dough into little balls. I baked them,and same deal – no spreading whatsoever and were like little bricks.
    I noticed one thing – there is no milk in this recipe like your other brown butter chocolate chip cookie…is that the missing ingredient that would have helped with the moisture factor? Why wouldn’t this recipe require milk to help with the same brown butter moisture loss as in the other cookie ? Just thought I’d comment and ask – I love pretzels and chocolate so was super excited for this recipe.

  14. These are incredible! They aren’t dry at all with the change to the amount of flour (I may have even added a tad less than that — hard to measure perfectly while baking with a 3-year-old). I made a double batch. They have such a great softness an a caramelly flavor that I think is due to the browned butter, the dark brown sugar, and the salt from the pretzels. Yum! Now I might have to explore some of the other recipes using this dough or make up my own versions. Thanks for this great recipe! I had these about 2 1/2 years ago, but it may have been with the original amount of flour because they were not as soft. 

  15. At 45, I am just discovering baking again! I made these the other day and they are deeeeelicious. So i decided to try the browned butter in your chocolate chip cookie recipe. It is really crumbly. Now I am making these cookies and notice that it calls for less flour. Should I have used less flour in the chocolate chips?

  16. Did the lazy mama version….no brown butter. Used red, white and blue m&m’s and threw in currants. Yummo!

  17. Hello Sally, would you recommend adding 1 egg yolk or low fat milk to that recipe to get moist, chewy cookies? I LOVE the brown butter idea. 
    And thanks for all your amazing recipes. 

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