Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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 times guarantees a 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
  • 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

  • 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.

135 Comments

  1. I just made me these cookies for my family–they were devoured within an hour. These are honestly the best cookies I’ve ever eaten, so thank you for the fantastic recipe.

    Note: We were out of low fat milk when I made the dough, so I used almond milk instead. It worked perfectly. I also ended up adding slightly more than 2 tablespoons so that the dough came together properly.

  2. Hi ! I made these for Christmas and let me just say WOW !! I mean it. These cookies are so delicious ! They are chewy, thick as a brick, (but not hard as a brick !!), the brown butter gives them a unique caramel-ly kind of flavor .

    Outstanding !

    Thanks so much for giving out this recipe. Chilling the dough really does make a difference too !

  3. I just made 4 dozen of these cookies and I had a difficult time not eating a single one!  I made these for a youth event so they should enjoy each bite.  I will say I did see first hand a differenc in the dough when it is over mixed versus not over mixed.  Either way they smell amazing.  I will drop the baked cookies off early in the morning so they have the correct amount for the group.

    -no store bought cookies coming from me!  Thank you for this delicious recipe.  It’s a keeper.

  4. Sally, let me say. Before coming to your site, I had never baked a day in my life. But, after trying some of your recipes, I am hooked! This browned butter cookie recipe is the bomb! I always get so many compliments when I make them!

  5. Sally if I leave out the cornstarch will I have a crisper cookie? I do not like soft chocolate chip cookies!! My mom use to make them with shortening and I loved their texture.

    1. You can leave it out– and also bake for an extra minute or two.

  6. Ok this is SERIOUSLY the best cookie I’ve ever baked -or eaten- my entire life!! Thank you Sally, the browned butter surely does add an amazing aroma. Will make it in bulk and keep it in the freezer at all times!
    Greetings from Egypt 🙂

  7. I was a little disappointed in these cookies as they spread more then I was expecting and they turned out a little flat. I made the brown butter on Sunday evening and refrigerated overnight. I made the cookie dough on Monday morning. Chilled for 1 hour, rolled into balls then chilled again for about 24 hours. I baked them on Tuesday morning.

    The only changes I made to the recipe were, I used Chopped chocolate instead of chips and also used half m&ms. I also made a double batch so ended up with 56 cookies.

    I didnt have any issues with the regular cookies using melted butter so I was wondering if the brown butter makes them spread more? I am from the UK so i weighed the ingredients rather then measured in cups as that is what I have been brought up to do. So i doubt there is any issue with the weights of ingredients. They taste great though so thanks a lot.

  8. Hi Sally. Have been baking a lot of your recipes pretty successfully so I’m looking forward to trying this one. I just have one question: once the browned butter has solidified in the fridge, do I need to wait for it to come to room temperature before mixing, or just go at it with cold browned butter? Just had to ask since I know it’s important to have everything at room temperature when baking, but perhaps this is an exception.

    1. Hi Jillian! You certainly can, but when you beat the solid and cold brown butter in step 2, it creams and softens quite nicely.

  9. Karen L. Hiser Hagley says:

    I made these Browned Butter Toffee Chocolate Chips Cookies for my brother and sister-in-law. Heavenly smells in my kitchen while they were baking. This recipe is from your book, “Sally’s Cookie Addiction”. Just amazing!!

  10. I made these but subbed flour with a gluten free all purpose flour (I’m celiac) and they are the most delicious chocolate chip cookies that I have ever made- you would never know that they are GF as most GF flours leave a weird taste. I suspect browning the butter masked the taste?
    Anyways, so delicious and perfect texture! Definitely bookmarking this one!

  11. Oh my! The smell of brown butter is incredibly insane! I wish they made a candle for that smell! I never knew butter could smell so amazing!
    These cookies are perfect, soft and chewy. Easy to make.

  12. I have been baking since I was a little girl (45+ years now). Baking all sorts of cookies, cakes, breads, pastries and muffins. I bet I’ve made well over 100K chocolate chips cookies alone and hands down these are the very best chocolate chip cookies I’ve had. The only changes I made is I swapped 6 oz of the chocolate chips for chopped bittersweet chocolate bar and added 1/2 cup of chopped homemade toffee. Instead of rolling them in balls I rolled fat logs so they were taller than the width so when baked they were really thick. I only baked 12. I froze the other 12 for another day. I set aside the biggest one for me for dessert so I only got 1. My husband scarfed down 4 during the day and my son ate the rest. Declaring these are the very best cookies I have ever made. Thanks so much for your blog. I was a King Arthur Flour loyalist for recipes, but now I come here first.

  13. Hi, Sally! I’m going to make these cookies today. I was wondering if I only browned the cup of butter or I needed 1 cup of brown butter. I know the recipe stated one cup and to brown. Didn’t know if it would lose a bit of volume. Should I add a bit more to the cup before browning or should I just use the cup of butter.

    1. Hi! There is a slight difference, but you shouldn’t have a problem using the full 1 cup of brown butter.

  14. Shoot! I just realized that I only have salted butter on hand! Have you used it in this recipe? What differences will it make? Can I omit the salt from the recipe?

    1. Hi Laura, Just cut the added salt in half. Enjoy!

  15. I’ve made these several times and they turn out GREAT every time!! They are a HUGE hit w my whole family. I LOVE anything that involves browned butter The brown butter icing is another one of my ABSOLUTE FAVES! Thank you, Sally! ❤

  16. Patrick McClave says:

    Excellent recipe. I made a batch and can say one of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made. The subtle brown butter adds a touch of toffee flavor. I did alter recipe partially, I used half bread flour and half all purpose. Cookies puffed up perfectly, crispy edges, and entirely gooey center however my oven needed about 15 minutes per batch maybe because the dough was too cold. Will add this to my vault of go to recipes. I’d even say it’s dethroned the the Alton brown chewy cookie recipe. Thank you so much for introducing me to the joy of brown butter. My next brown butter recipe is going to be the copycat sea salt brown butter rice crispy treat from Starbucks.

  17. Hi Sally,

    Probably a silly question but i’m a new baker. If i’m freezing the dough, do i need them to get to room temperature before baking? Or can i put them straight to the oven?

    Can’t wait to try these cookies! Doug is chilling 🙂

    1. Hi Hilary, If you freeze the dough already portioned out into balls then you can place them directly in the oven – no need to thaw, just add an extra minute to your bake time. Enjoy!

  18. Oh wow, these are stellar! The brown butter almost gives a caramely taste to the cookies.

  19. Hi Sally!
    I want to make these this weekend. I would like to make them larger in size, around 3 tablespoons. What would you suggest as far as baking time/temp goes? Maybe same temp but a few minutes longer?
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Kristin, That’s correct – same oven temperature but they will take a minute or two longer. Enjoy!

  20. John Buckley says:

    You are such a baking genius! May I ask a silly, very-old-man question? When I take out the chilled brown butter, do I allow it to come to room temperature, or do I try to use it right away while it’s hard? Thanks so much for the help!

    1. Hi John, If you chill it in the refrigerator for longer than 2-3 hours you may want to let it sit out again to soften back up. When you mix it in your mixer you want it to be smooth and creamy!

      1. John Buckley says:

        Thanks so much! Thant’s what I assumed, as the pieces of hardened butter clanked into the bowl of our old KitchenAid (and when I say old, I mean it was a wedding gift 51 years ago!) I probably should have let it soften a bit longer as it never seemed to reach what I’d characterize as creamy. I’ll definitely remember for the next time – which will be soon. By the way, I forgot to add the milk at the end and worried what would happen, but the cookies were just delicious, and more on the crunchy side, which is my preference anyway.

        Thanks so much for this recipe, for your quick answer to my question, and for all the wonderful work you do on your website. For a very old man who was never allowed in the kitchen for 50+ years to suddenly feel as though he has learned how to bake a few most delicious cookies – and to have so enjoyed the process – well, that’s something to be grateful for!

        Best wishes to you, and do stay healthy!

  21. Hi! I love the flavour, however my cookie appeared flat. I followed your recipe to a T. Chilled it twice. Parchment paper. Correct spoon -> flour. etc. Do you know any other reasons? Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Joanna, it seems like you are following everything perfectly. It may help to add another 2-3 Tbsp of flour to your cookie dough. Additionally, see my 10 Guaranteed Tips to Prevent Cookies from Spreading page. You’ll find more helpful tips there as well.

  22. Ever since I made the brown butter snickerdoodles, my husband has been obsessed with brown butter anything. These cookies were delicious. I’m not sure if I detect the brown butter (I think it’s because the chocolate chips overpower the flavor), but the extra steps in this recipe does yield a more sophisticated tasting chocolate chip cookie – if that makes any sense.

  23. My son is allergic to eggs and I’ve been able to make chocolate chips cookies pretty easily with egg replacer. But what happens to this recipe if I don’t add the extra egg yolk? Will the recipe still work? Thank you!!

    1. Hi Jenny, The dough won’t be as rich and will be slightly more dry and cakey without the extra yolk fat and moisture from the yolk. I haven’t tested this cookie with an egg replacer though.

  24. I wanted these to just be mediocre so I didn’t have to feel obligated to brown the butter. Sadly, they were amazing and I will now have to budget for an extra 4 hours to make cookies. So worth it! I’m hiding them away in my freezer so my kids don’t get them.

  25. Hi, I just want to ask: how do I know if the brown butter is really brown butter? I tried your recipe, and the cookies are great, but I just wanted to be sure I did it properly: essentially I just mixed the butter until the milk solids at the bottom were toasted. Thank you!

    1. Hi Margaret, I’m so glad you enjoyed the cookies! Here is my full tutorial (including a video) on How to Brown Butter.

  26. Sally, the instructions read “cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.” This is very vague and subjective. In a Kitcahenaid pro (bowl lift) model and a paddle attachment, about how long is this? Or can you add to this description?

    This recipe has become my go-to recipe for chocolate chip cookies, and have made them several times during quarantine. I also add about a full (talk about vague lol) cup of toasted nuts, usually mixed walnuts and pecans. Going to attempt to make them with butterscotch chips and toffee bits for a neighbor that doesn’t like chocolate. I know…is that even possible?

    1. Hi Tim! Happy to clarify and help. Usually about 2 minutes or until they’re completely combined and light in color. Your other additions sound incredible with this brown butter flavor.

  27. Maria Vasquez says:

    I LOVED these cookies! The brown butter gave the cookies an extra nutty flavor. It was simple to make, and all the kids (and grown ups ) devoured them!! Thanks Sally for this wonderful recipe!

  28. Hi Sally!

    Thank you for this recipe! A while back a friend brought Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies from Whole Foods to work. It was the best cookie that I ever had until now. I was nervous browning the butter but was able to get it to a nice amber color. The down time waiting for things to chill was great as it gave me time to clean up in between. I actually ended up with 48 cookies with a little left over to indulge. Kept 2 trays in the fridge as the first two baked. The result, amazing! Bringing more than half to family tomorrow and keeping the rest. Can’t wait to see how they taste tomorrow.
    Thanks again!

  29. Is actually required to chill the brown butter in the fridge to solidify? Or can I just leave them cool at room temperature?

    1. Hi Anika, You do need the butter to be solid so that you can cream it. Using it in a liquid state will result in greasy cookies.

  30. I successfully cut back the butter by 1 Tbsp and the granulated sugar by 2 Tbsp. The dark brown butter makes the flavor of these cookies outstanding. Shaping the cookie dough into a roll using waxed paper makes storage easy in the refrigerator and slicing easy.

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