Brown Butter Sugar Cookies

Drop-style brown butter sugar cookies are festively sprinkled, boast tons of flavor, and are ready in under an hour. This simple cookie recipe is an easy upgrade from classic sugar cookies— and will have you reaching for seconds.

Want to add more flavor to your sugar cookies? Make brown butter sugar cookies instead. They're easy and ready in under an hour! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Meet brown butter sugar cookies, a cookie whose flavor runs deep and is an easy upgrade from traditional sugar cookies. You’ll be surprised at how quickly and easily these cookies come together!

Want to add more flavor to your sugar cookies? Make brown butter sugar cookies instead. They're easy and ready in under an hour! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

An Upgrade From Traditional Sugar Cookies

Traditional sugar cookies, whether that’s roll-out or drop style sugar cookies, have their own distinct flavor. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but it’s somewhere in between sweet, butter, vanilla, and rainbows. I wanted to create a different kind of sugar cookie– one that could stand up to its big flavor besties– you know, the cookies loaded with chunks, nuts, molasses, oats, caramel, etc. Mission accomplished! Brown butter is always the answer.

These brown butter sugar cookies are:

  • Drop style– no rolling pins, cookie cutters, or royal icing needed (try my cream cheese sugar cookies, drop style Christmas sugar cookies, and soft cakey sugar cookies for more no-roll sugar cookie recipes)
  • Flavored with brown butter for an extra nutty, buttery flavor
  • Topped with festive sprinkles– use your favorite colors or mix them up for different holidays
  • Easy to make and ready in under an hour
  • Adorable and perfect for any gathering

Brown butter for brown butter sugar cookies on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Ingredients in Brown Butter Sugar Cookies

These cookies come together with only 8 ingredients (9 if you count the sprinkles)! Let’s review what you’ll need:
  • Butter: We’re using brown butter in these cookies. Here’s a full tutorial on how to brown butter. (Use this one ingredient wonder in everything!)
  • Flour: All-purpose flour is the base of these cookies.
  • Baking Soda: Baking soda helps the cookies rise.
  • Salt: Salt adds flavor.
  • Sugar: To complement the brown butter flavor, you’ll use brown sugar in this recipe. However, to keep some of the traditional sugar cookie taste– we use some granulated sugar as well. An equal mix of both is just the flavor you’ll crave.
  • Egg: One egg binds everything together.
  • Vanilla Extract: Vanilla adds flavor. Try using homemade vanilla extract.
  • Sprinkles: Sprinkles add a fun and festive touch!

Baker’s Tip: Even though we aren’t creaming butter and sugar together, I still recommend using a mixer to really get the sugar incorporated into the brown butter.

Cookie dough for brown butter sugar cookies on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Cookie dough for brown butter sugar cookies on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to Chill Brown Butter Sugar Cookie Dough

This is a thick cookie dough. You *could* chill the dough and then roll into balls, but I found the dough a little too crumbly to roll after chilling. So I suggest rolling before chilling. This cookie dough isn’t all that wonderful for cookie cutter cookies– I had some crumbly issues. So I suggest sticking to drop cookie style. Easier that way, too!

Here’s what I do: After the dough is made, immediately begin rolling into 1 Tablespoon size balls and dunking into sprinkles– I like red and green nonpareils and/or gold sprinkles for these. After you dunk each one, place the cookie dough balls into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This will help solidify the butter so your cookies don’t spread all over the baking sheet. Likely happens when using melted butter!

Want to add more flavor to your sugar cookies? Make brown butter sugar cookies instead. They're easy and ready in under an hour! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Texture of Brown Butter Sugar Cookies

  • Very soft in the centers
  • Crisp bottoms
  • Slightly chewy edges
  • Crunch from sprinkles!

Want to add more flavor to your sugar cookies? Make brown butter sugar cookies instead. They're easy and ready in under an hour! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Taste of Brown Butter Sugar Cookies

  • Brown butter-tastic, obviously
  • Slight brown sugar flavor
  • Sweet vanilla
  • Brown butter brown butter brown butter
Print

Brown Butter Sugar Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 13 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 36 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Brown butter sugar cookies are easy to make, incredibly flavorful, and ready in under an hour!


Ingredients

  • 1 cup (16 Tbsp; 230g) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups + 2 Tablespoons (265g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (150g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • optional: sprinkles and/or nonpareils for topping

Instructions

  1. Brown the butter: Have a large heat proof bowl handy. Slice the butter into pieces and place in a light-colored skillet. (Light colored helps you determine when the butter begins browning.) Melt the butter over medium heat, whisking occasionally. Once melted, the butter will begin to foam. Keep whisking occasionally. After 5-8 minutes, the butter will begin browning– you’ll notice lightly browned specks begin to form at the bottom of the pan and it will have a nutty aroma. See photo above for a visual. Once browned, remove from heat immediately, pour into bowl. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar to the brown butter. Using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat together on medium-high speed until relatively combined, about 1 minute. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
  4. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and begin beating together on low speed, slowly working up to high speed until everything is combined. The dough will be thick and a little greasy. That’s ok! Just roll into balls as best you can in the next step.
  5. Roll the dough into balls, about 1 Tablespoon of dough each, and dip the tops into sprinkles. Place dough balls tightly together on a lined baking sheet (or a couple large plates). Loosely cover with plastic wrap and  place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.)
  7. Line chilled dough balls onto baking sheets about 3 inches apart. Bake for 12-13 minutes or until lightly browned on the sides. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week. You can make the cookie dough, roll into balls as directed in step 5 and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Allow to come to room temperature then continue with step 6. 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. Special Tools: KitchenAid Hand Mixer, Skillet, Fun Mixing Bowls, Glass Mixing Bowls, Silpat Baking Mat, Baking Sheet, Red and Green Nonpareils, and Gold Sprinkles
  3. I don’t recommend these cookies for roll-out/cookie cutter cookies. The dough is a little too crumbly for it. It’s easier to just bake as drop cookies. Enjoy!

Keywords: brown butter sugar cookies, brown butter cookies

Add DELICIOUS flavor to sugar cookies with brown butter! Takes just minutes and these will be the best sugar cookies you try for Christmas! Quick easy cookie recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

165 Comments

  1. My new “go to” Sugar Cookie recipe! My family went nuts over them….had to make 3 additional batches. Been making cookies for 45 years & this is a keeper. Thanks for this great recipe!

  2. These are delicious, Sally! I think I may have done these 1 minute too long as they’re not too soft. Can I do the old – half slice or slice of bread trick and throw in in the container?

  3. Hi! Just chiming in to say I found this recipe a few years ago and they have become an official christmas tradition in my house and my friends literally ask for them for Christmas. Everyone loves them. So thank you

  4. Hi Sally! I made these, following the recipe to a “T” as far as I could tell, but the dough turned out completely crumbly. What might I have done wrong?

    1. Hi Nicole, This is a thick cookie dough. I found the dough a little too crumbly to roll after chilling, so I suggest rolling into balls immediately after mixing and then chilling the rolled dough. It does feel crumbly but will come together in your hands as you roll it!

  5. I just finished making these to send in a Valentine’s care package to my boyfriend, and they taste incredible! The brown butter really comes through and makes it something special. I made them a little to big at first, but I was able to cut the rest in half and make ones small enough to vacuum seal and put in the container I prepped for them. I’ve never tried a recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction that hasn’t tasted amazing, and this is no exception. 😀

    1. The recipe tastes good but I believe there is too much flour asked for in this recipe. The dough turned out thick and crumbly, despite spooning and leveling. This made turning them into balls very difficult, because too much pressure would cause the dough to crumble apart.

      Did manage to get them all as a tablespoon size however and fridged them covered so no excess moisture would be lost.

      The cookies turned out pretty hard after cooling off ans three days later in a stored container, they must be moistened to get a good bite in.

      I’d strongly recommend skipping the tablespoons of flour, maybe even a little less on the second cup.

      I’m not sure if it’s because of different living locations, maybe where this recipe comes from is more humid, but here in the winter of the midwest, they end up pretty dry and hard, so definitely skim up the flour just a little.

  6. Hi! I made these today with my son and although they are delicious they didn’t spread much at all, resulting in a very thick coolie that’s undercooked in the center. I even let them cook for 16 minutes. I realize some may be a bit too large but most are right about a tablespoon full.

    1. Hi Danielle, Make sure that you are measuring your flour properly (spoon and level, don’t scoop). If you end up with too much flour in the recipe it will absorb too much liquid stopping your cookies from spreading. You can also slightly flatten the dough balls before placing them in the oven to help them spread.

      1. Thanks for the response! My husband said he thinks they’re the best cookies he’s ever had!! So I guess then not spreading didn’t matter much lol

  7. Seriously amazing. Seriously. Only change was the 1/2 tsp baking powder you mentioned to a reader in a comment. I followed the instructions to a “t”. I’ve never browned butter before, but your instructions were spot on. My boys are raving , my husband (who isn’t a fan of sweets) just came in for more exclaiming they were the best cookies he’s ever had. I imagine they will all be gone by dinner time (who needs dinner when you have these?!). I’m a huge fan. But these….these are out of this world.

  8. My husband has a new favorite cookie!! Oh my goodness! These are perfection!! Thank you so much for this amazing recipe!

  9. These cookies are delicious! You are right, they are chewy in the middle and have a wonderful crispness on the bottom! Thank you!

  10. I have been looking for a recipe similar to the Great American Cookie Co.’s sugar cookie, and these delivered!! THEY ARE ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!! I refrigerated my dough for about 3 hours before rolling them into balls… I didn’t have an issue with it being too crumbly. I rolled them in colored sanding sugar and pressed them down about half way. I will cook the next batch for only 8 minutes, as I like mine a little less crispy. Thank you so much for this recipe!!

  11. I’ve made this recipient a couple times now and I really love the way they turn out. Last time I made them I even used 1 cup bread flour and 1 cup all purpose and they were even better, nice crispy outside and soft inside. Awesome recipe.

  12. This was my first time browning butter. I was motivated to make these after I saw the sprinkled episode. I like how simple this recipe is. These were so delicious. It converted my husband to a “brown-butter-anything” type. You won’t be disappointed!

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