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Brown butter chocolate chip cookies are thick, chewy, and unlike any other chocolate chip cookie. There’s as much flavor in one of these brown butter chocolate chip cookies as there is in an entire batch of classic chocolate chip cookies!

brown butter chocolate chip cookies
Brown butter chocolate chip cookies on a white plate

There’s as much flavor in one of these brown butter chocolate chip cookies as there is in an entire batch of ordinary chocolate chip cookies. If you’ve browned butter before, you’re familiar with the unsurpassable nutty flavor that comes along with it. Browning butter, a simple technique, can be done on the stovetop. The aroma of browned butter alone is enough to anyone salivate and the flavor is absolutely marvelous.

What is Brown Butter?

Browning butter is a basic technique that considerably changes the flavor of anything it touches. I wrote an entire tutorial on how to brown butter if you’re interested in learning more about this one ingredient wonder. Browning butter is very easy because all you’re doing is gently cooking butter. This melting method gently cooks the butter until it develops a nutty flavor and toasted aroma. It’s like toasted hazelnuts swimming in a pool of caramel sauce. So good! You can taste this upgraded flavor in recipes like blondiesbrown butter pound cakebrown butter cream cheese frosting, brownies, and today’s chocolate chip cookie recipe.

How to Brown Butter

How to brown butter: Cut the butter into pieces and place in a light-colored pan or skillet over medium heat. A light colored pan helps you determine when the butter has browned. This is important because there are only a few seconds between beautiful brown butter and burnt butter! Stir the butter as it melts. After the butter has completely melted, continue cooking on medium heat until the butter turns a light amber color and smells nutty. Immediately remove from heat and pour into a heat-proof bowl. There will be little bits of milk solids at the bottom of the pan. Don’t leave those behind! The toasted milk solids carry a lot of the brown butter flavor.

brown butter in a skillet

Can I Use Brown Butter in Any Cookie Recipe?

Going the extra mile to brown butter for cookie recipes makes a good cookie, a great cookie. But browning butter isn’t a technique that will work with ALL cookie recipes. Typically the recipe requires some testing if you’re replacing creamed butter with browned butter or melted butter with browned butter.

What’s the reason? During the browning process, as butter goes from yellow to amber in color, it loses some moisture, about a 20-35% loss. This is a considerable amount of moisture to leave out of your recipe! Maybe adding a little extra butter or another egg yolk to the cookie recipe will make up for this moisture loss? But then you may have too much concentrated fat in the cookie recipe. Confused? Trust me, I was too.

Let me make it easy for you. Browning butter = unbeatable flavor with moisture loss. Cookie dough using browned butter needs extra moisture. Adding 1-2 Tablespoons of milk will add the proper amount of moisture back to the dough.

brown butter chocolate chip cookie dough

brown butter chocolate chip cookie dough balls on a silpat baking mat

Chilling is Crucial for Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

  1. Chill browned butter: After browning the butter, chill it in the refrigerator. Chilling the brown butter will solidify it. Once chilled into a solid mass, cream it with the sugars just as if you were creaming softened butter. The key to chilling the brown butter? Chill it in a large container or baking pan. The larger the container or pan, the thinner the layer of butter will be and the quicker it will solidify.
  2. Chill cookie dough: After the cookie dough is all mixed up, you have to chill it again. This takes another 3 hours, but there’s a reason for it. Chilling cookie dough not only ensures a thicker, more solid cookie but an accentuated flavor. Time in the refrigerator develops a heightened buttery and caramel flavor. Pair this with the flavor of brown butter? MIND BLOWING.

Chilling the brown butter until it’s totally solid takes about 2-3 hours and chilling the prepared cookie dough requires the same. We’re looking at 4-6 hours of chill time. Taking this time guarantees thick and majorly flavorful chocolate chip cookies. I promise they’re worth the wait!

Brown butter chocolate chip cookies on a white plate

How does this recipe compare to these popular chewy chocolate chip cookies? That cookie uses melted butter, not browned. You can definitely sub brown butter for melted (in fact, some readers have!) but I find the resulting cookie a little crumbly which is in part to the missing moisture, explained above.

Quick Tips for Perfect Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Cornstarch: Cornstarch creates a softer cookie. Do not leave it out!
  • Sugars: Use more brown sugar than white for a chewier, softer cookie.
  • Eggs: An extra egg yolk equals a richer tasting cookie.
  • Milk: Milk makes up for the loss of moisture in the browning process.
  • Plan Ahead: Make sure you plan ahead and have enough time for both stages of chilling. Chilling is everything in this cookie recipe.
  • Nuts: Feel free to add chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts, making sure to leave the total amount of add-ins (including chocolate chips) at 1 and 1/2 cups.
  • Pro Tip: Sandwich butter pecan ice cream in the center of two cookies. You’re welcome.
brown butter chocolate chip cookies

If there’s any cookies leftover, wait until you try these brown butter chocolate chip cookies on day 2. The flavor is out of this world!

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brown butter chocolate chip cookies

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 7 hours
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 8 hours
  • Yield: 24 cookies 1x
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Brown butter chocolate chip cookies are thick, chewy, and unlike any other chocolate chip cookie. There’s as much flavor in one of these brown butter chocolate chip cookies as there is in an entire batch of classic chocolate chip cookies!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (313g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) milk
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (270g) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Brown the butter: Have a large flat heat-proof baking dish, such as a 9×13 inch pan, handy. Slice the butter into pieces and place in a light-colored skillet. The light colored helps you determine when the butter begins browning. Melt the butter over medium heat and stir or whisk constantly. Once melted, the butter will begin to foam. Keep stirring/whisking. After 5-7 minutes, the butter will begin browning and you’ll notice lightly browned specks begin to form at the bottom of the pan. It will have a nutty aroma. See photo above for a visual. Once browned, remove from heat immediately and pour into dish. Cover tightly, place in the refrigerator, and chill until solid, about 2-3 hours (or up to 1 day). A large flat dish, as opposed to a bowl, helps the butter solidify quicker.
  2. Remove solid brown butter from the refrigerator and spoon into a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer). Using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the chilled brown butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat on medium high speed until light in color and combined, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract on high speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt together until combined. On low speed, slowly mix into the wet ingredients until combined, then beat in the milk on medium speed. The cookie dough will be thick. Add the chocolate chips and mix on low for about 5-10 seconds until combined. Cover dough tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill for at least 2-3 hours and up to 3 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough or else the cookies will over-spread.
  4. Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes as you preheat the oven. This makes the cookie dough easier to scoop and roll. (If the cookie dough chilled longer than 3 hours, let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.)
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  6. Once chilled, the dough may be slightly crumbly, but will come together if you work the dough with your hands as you roll into individual balls. Scoop and roll dough, about 1.5 Tablespoons of dough each, into balls.
  7. Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes until slightly golden brown around the edges. My oven has hot spots and yours may too so be sure to rotate the pan once during bake time. The baked cookies will look soft in the centers 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. During this time, you can press a few extra chocolate chips into the top of the warm cookies. This is just for looks! The cookies will slightly deflate as you let them cool.
  8. After 5 minutes, transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week. You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Allow to come to room temperature then continue with step 5. Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Unbaked cookie dough balls freeze well for up to 3 months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw. Click here for my tips and tricks on freezing cookie dough.
  2. Dough Chilling Alternative: Chill the cookie dough as a whole for 1 hour. Then remove from the refrigerator and roll into 1.5 Tablespoon balls, as the recipe suggests before baking. Continue to chill the cookie dough balls for the remaining 2-3 hours (or freeze them as suggested in the last step). Some readers find this easier! If you do this, you do not have to let the cookie dough sit at room temperature in the next step.
  3. Cookie Bars: Use a 9×13 pan and bake for 24-28 minutes or until lightly golden brown on top. No need to chill the cookie dough, just chill the brown butter as directed.
  4. Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.

Keywords: brown butter chocolate chip cookies

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I hope someone has told you that you got a major shoutout for this recipe on the recent “Cookies! Cookies! Cookies!” episode of the Stuff You Should Know podcast! I had seen this recipe before but now, with the Josh’s (SYSK host) added endorsement, I HAVE to try!!

      1. I’m here on Josh’s recommendation as well!
        The first batch of these cookies that I made turned out very dark and also spread *a lot* in the oven (they were still delicious!!). Do you have any recommendations for how I might achieve a less flat, less dark cookie on future attempts (or why this might have happened)?
        Thank you!

      2. Hi Zoe! Here’s our best tips to keep cookies from spreading. If the cookies browned a lot, the issue may be an overly-hot oven. We always suggest using an in-oven thermometer for most accurate baking results, but you can try turning your oven down a bit next time as well. And always keep an eye on them as they bake!

      1. I tried this recipe substituting 1:1 Gluten Free Flour from Bob’s Red Mill and it was a total hit! I’m going to make them again (with crushed mini eggs) for an Easter gathering this weekend because they are so loved! Thanks for the great tips. 🙂

    1. This recipe is “the bomb.”
      It Is a bit time consuming, but the end result is so worth it. The layers of flavors really knock this chocolate chip cookie right out of the park.Thank you for sharing the recipe and the little “tricks” you added. Breaking the dropped scoop- pushing back together. Adding the extra chips after baking for a really pretty cookie.

  2. SO glad we tried this recipe! My husband came home from work and said, “you have to make this cookie recipe, it was featured on my favorite podcast today (Stuff you should know) that talked all about cookies”. Browning the butter wasn’t as hard as I thought- especially since the video features specific how-tos. These cookies are very soft, chewy, and tasty! By far, the best cookie I have ever had. Perfect texture, flavor and sweetness. Keeping this one close by!

    1. I was thrilled a recipe of mine was named on that podcast! Thank you so much for trying the recipe and I’m glad to read you enjoyed them!

      1. Oh my gosh I heard about them on the same podcast and I am making them today for the first time! The raw dough is delicious so I have high hopes for the baked result!

  3. This is the last CCC recipe I’ll ever try. This one can’t be beaten! It’s a bit more work than the previous recipe I swore by, but it definitely pays off! The browned butter really takes this to the next level! You’d pay a lot of money if you bought t his in a bakery, plus you have the satisfaction and joy from making it yourself.

  4. I have tried dozens of chocolate chip cookies recipes in search of the best one. The search is over! These are hands down the best chocolate chip cookies. It is chewy in the middle and crisp on the outside. The perfect cookie.

  5. What are the recommendations for freezing ?
    Freeze dough and bake when ready?If doing that… how long would the cookie last if heat sealed in a cellophane bag after baked? What about freezing already baked cookies in heat sealed cellophane bags?

    1. Hi Lauren, Unbaked cookie dough balls freeze well for up to 3 months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw. Click here for tips and tricks on freezing cookie dough.

    1. Hi JD, we haven’t tested this recipe with gluten free flours. If you try it, let us know how it goes!

  6. these are literally the best chocolate chip cookies i’ve ever had.

  7. Hi Sally! Can I use milk chocolate callets instead of semi sweet chocolate Chips for this recipe? Do I need to reduce the sugar? Thanks! 🙂

      1. Great! Can I also prepare the dough a day before and just chill it in the fridge? 🙂

      2. Hi Anna, You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Allow to come to room temperature then continue with step 5.

  8. Hi! I just made this cookie dough and it’s in the fridge right now. Will bake it tomorrow for my daughter’s birthday.

    I made a mistake with the flour. I think I added too much flour, I accidentally added about 33g more flour to the recipe. Is there a way to fix it tomorrow before baking? Can I add more butter or olive oil to it? Help! I wouldn’t want to ruin my daughters first try if chocolate chip cookies.

    1. Hi Anna, we wouldn’t recommend adding anything else to the dough – they should bake up OK. They may be a but thicker but will still be delicious!

  9. So good! Chilled for 36 hours and distributed to friends, the brown butter was a great addition (though took a while to cream). No issues with spreading.

  10. This recipe is now on my weekly rotation my family loves it so much! The layers of flavor are delicious every time. I plan to try this as a chipless cookie soon as I am not a huge chocolate chip fan. Thank you for this recipe for heavenly chocolate chip cookies!

  11. Excited to try this recipe but when I have previously browned butter for baking, it seems to lose its brown butter flavor when I bake it? The butter smells nutty and my dough tastes like brown butter, then I bake and it goes away. Why would that be? Could It be the quality of butter having less fat or something? Thank you!

    1. Hi Haley, I haven’t noticed that before– it could be the brand or quality of butter you’re using. Also, you may not be browning it long enough– see if you can leave it on the stove for a few extra seconds to brown a little more.

  12. I have made these many times now… They are the so good! After they have been in refrig. for a few days, then they get even better the longer they are in the freezer. I usually mix 2 to 3 types of chips – combo dark, semi sweet and milk chocolate..

  13. These turned out great! I was a bit concerned at the sheer amount of sugar I was putting in, but it didn’t turn out overly-sweet like I was expecting. I used white chocolate chips instead and tried to colour my cookies pink, but they turned out a muddy orange instead. Sally, do you mind making a post on how to colour cookie dough that isn’t white, like this one?

    1. Hi Elena! There’s no great way to color cookie dough like this one. You could try adding a LOT of gel food coloring, but you’ll always have the light brown undertones of the cookie dough in the background. Adding colored sprinkles can be a great way to add a pop of color to cookies instead – like we do with these drop sugar cookies and cake batter cookies. Glad you enjoyed these!

      .

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