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.
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!
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 (just like my quick and easy shortbread recipe)
- Adorable and perfect for any gathering
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.
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!
Texture of Brown Butter Sugar Cookies
- Very soft in the centers
- Crisp bottoms
- Slightly chewy edges
- Crunch from sprinkles!
Taste of Brown Butter Sugar Cookies
- Brown butter-tastic, obviously
- Slight brown sugar flavor (for EXTRA brown sugar flavor, try my brown sugar cookies)
- Sweet vanilla
- Brown butter brown butter brown butter
Brown butter sugar cookies are easy to make, incredibly flavorful, and ready in under an hour!
- 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
- 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.
- Meanwhile, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.)
- 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.
- 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. Read my tips and tricks on how to freeze cookie dough.
- Special Tools: KitchenAid Hand Mixer, Skillet, Fun Mixing Bowls, Glass Mixing Bowls, Silpat Baking Mat, Baking Sheet, Red and Green Nonpareils, and Gold Sprinkles
- 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