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 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
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 13 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 36 cookies
- Category: Cookies
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
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 Stand Mixer, Skillet, 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
Reader Comments & Reviews
Best sugar cookies yet! Perfect chewiness while still being super soft
Best cookie I’ve ever baked, hands down. My wife was shocked!
This is a simple and quick cookie with awesome flavor! A little gem of a recipe!
Quick question. Your recipe starts out with 230g butter, but when browned it is reducedd considerable. Do you adjust the recipe? thanks
Hi Susie, the amount of butter as written takes into consideration that some moisture will be lost during the browning step. So no need to adjust any further!
This may be a stupid question, but why does the refrigerated cookie dough need to come to room temperature prior to baking (if making ahead), but the balls can be baked directly from frozen?
Hi Beth, perfectly fine question to ask! Refrigerated cookie dough is often quite hard and solid, and letting it sit for a little will help soften it so the cookies can actually spread. (But not get quite as soft as if you reduced or skipped the chilling time.)
These cookies are so dang delicious!! And easy to make. I want to try them using almond flavoring but I’m not sure if I should completely replace the 2 teaspoons of vanilla with 2 teaspoons of almond. Or should I use 1 teaspoons of vanilla and 1 teaspoon of almond?
Hi Susie! We’d recommend a combination of vanilla and almond extract, so a teaspoon of each should be perfect.
can i use bread flour? I wanted to make them as a last minute idea and don’t have nearly enough AP flour ! 🙁
Hi Margie, while that should work in a pinch (the texture of your cookies will be a bit different), all-purpose flour is best here.
My browned butter remains pretty hot after the recommended cooling time. Should it be hot or more like room temp or does that not matter?
Hi Kaysa, It will still be warm but not piping hot. Refrigerating the cookie dough balls helps solidify the butter again before they go in the oven.
Tastiest cookie I have ever made! So glad I tried this recipe. Only problem now is I can’t stop eating them!!
Incredible! I don’t do sprinkles so I toasted chopped pecans and added them to the batter. Rolled the balls in a teeny bit of coarse salt, as suggested in the comments. Definitely a keeper. I will try not to eat one each time I walk past them. Yum!
I love these cookies. I would like to make an extra batch of these cookies to bring to my mother on my next visit. Can this recipe doubled?
Hi Angela, doubling this recipe should work just fine. Enjoy!
I went all out and used Kerrygold for the butter – wow! We thought the regular drop sugar cookies were the best ever but these are even better…the richness of the brown butter (worth the extra effort) and perfect mix of crunch and chew. As my sister in law said, this is like the cookie around the chocolate chips – you always kind of wonder what it’d be like to just eat the cookie. Well, we know what it’s like now and we’re fans!
You can roll these out. You will just need to gather the cookie dough between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper and then use a rolling pin to roll out the dough.
It’s a good idea to use parchment paper over plastic wrap, because then you don’t have to transfer the shaped cookies off of the plastic wrap to your cookie sheet.
I would roll the dough out and then set it in the fridge for about 30 minutes (maybe longer if the day is warm). If you put it in the fridge for longer like I did (overnight), you’ll probably have to let the dough warm-up a tad to get the cookie cutters through the dough.
I added almond extract to my dough. The flavor is phenomenal. We’re about to decorate our cookies for Mardi Gras! I’m super excited that this dough worked out! I tried a different dough earlier this week and it was super bland.
Hi – I have baked these three times, they are AMAZING! However my cookies never spread. I have spooned and leveled my flour (texture looks exactly as your picture), roll them first and then refrigerate. All measurements are followed exact. Two things I can think of: after resting the butter for 5 minutes in a bowl it is still hot, is that causing it? Should it cool down more? Also I have an old hand mixer that on the lowest speed goes VERY fast and no paddle attachment – could that be causing it? Would this still work to mix by hand?
Thanks in Advance!
I’m glad you love these cookies! I don’t think it’s the temperature of the butter nor the speed of the mixer though. The cookie dough balls may simply be too stiff, which is an easy problem to fix– just skip the dough chilling step or reduce the dough chilling time down to about 10 minutes as you preheat the oven. If that doesn’t work, you can reduce the flour in the dough by 1-2 Tablespoons.
I just made these and the dough came out super crumbly. I added in a little more browned butter and am hoping they will hold. I was never able to “roll” them, but formed them together with my hands. Any advice Sally?
Hi Emily, This is a thick cookie dough. The dough is a little too crumbly to roll after chilling, so we 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!
These cookies were fantastic. The brown butter and salt added a nice depth! I have one question–how do I avoid these cookies from becoming too hard? They were soft right when they came out of the oven, but after 30 minutes or so, they became very hard (like, bite with your back molars and not your front teeth kinda hard).
Hi Monica! Sounds like your cookies were over-baked. Cookies will always firm up as they cool. Try reducing the bake time next time!
Hi, Sally! Quick question: I just made these and they are delicious. I did notice, however, that the tops cracked, almost like fault-lines in the Earth. Any idea why that happened? Again, they taste great but they have a different appearance than yours do.
Hi Mary! Our cookies have crackles on top, but you can’t really see under the sprinkles. I wonder if your cookies were over-baked though?
I just took a batch of these cookies out of the oven – they are awesome! If i would like to make these less sweet, how can I alter the recipe? Do i need to add in more of any ingredients if i use less sugar/brown sugar?
Thanks for your help!
Hi Lisa, We are so happy you enjoyed these! Sugar is used for moisture and texture in baked goods as well as taste. You can certainly try reducing the sugar, but the resulting texture will be different than intended. You can try topping the cookies with some coarse salt to cut the sweetness a bit.
Do you think these could be used for Roll Out Sugar Cookies?
Hi Morgan! We don’t recommend these cookies for roll-out/cookie cutter cookies. The dough is a little too crumbly for it.
Amazing! Super easy to make and taste is out of this world! Will be a staple especially since we can change the sprinkles to go with the seasons!
Me encantan !!! I LOVE IT ❤
Wow this recipe is one of the best cookies recipes I made it, super soft and unique flavor, my husband loves this cookies, thank you Sally you are the best
I just made these and the flavor and texture are amazing. Unfortunately, they sank a bit in the middle, but that could be due to my oven. Even though I have a thermometer in there, the temp is most likely off. But next time, I may freeze these instead of just chilling! Another great recipe!
I want to purchase one of your cookie books on Amazon and I don’t know which one to buy. I made your jumbo “perfect chocolate chip cookies” and so good but I am a book person and I don’t know which one would be the best for me.
Hi Shona! If you’re looking for all cookie recipes, we’d recommend Sally’s Cookie Addiction. Happy baking!
This cookie is fantastic! The unique nuttiness of the browned butter adds so much flavour! This cookie will be a frequent bake at my house. New family favourite!
These cookies are the bomb.com!!!!