Butter Pecan Cookies

Buttery, soft ‘n chewy cookies exploding with toasted pecans and brown sugar flavor. 

butter pecan cookies on a cooling rack

Maybe it’s just me, but I think butter pecan is an underrated ice cream flavor. Quite often overlooked and running with the “boring” pistachio and rum raisin ice cream crowd. For the record, I love all three of these ice cream flavors! And that’s exactly why I made today’s cookie recipe. They’re salty, they’re sweet, and they’re rich with butter flavor.

If it’s not their chewy edges, soft centers, and buttery flavor– it’s the toasted pecans that make these cookies so incredible. The toasty, nutty flavor of these pecans is crucial to their flavor. If you’ve never toasted nuts before adding them to a recipe, you are missing out. The flavor is 84573849% better. I actually did the calculation yesterday; it’s really that much better.

butter pecan cookies on a baking sheet after baking

Behind the Recipe

Butter is where most cookie recipes begin. It has several jobs, including keeping the cookies tender and also imparting flavor. As today’s butter pecan cookies bake, the milk proteins inside of the butter begin to brown– giving these cookies a nutty flavor. Which is intensified with the toasted pecans. A win win butter pecan situation.

Not only this, how butter is mixed into cookie dough affects a cookie’s texture. In my favorite chocolate chip cookies recipe, I use melted butter. Melted butter provides a denser, chewier texture. But with today’s cookies, I chose to cream the butter and sugars together. During this creaming process, air is incorporated into the dough which, in turn, helps leaven the cookies as they bake. The cookies rise up, the centers stay soft, and the edges slightly crisp and become chewy.

This cookie dough is supremely soft and a little sticky. And you know what’s best for soft, sticky cookie dough? Chilling it in the refrigerator before baking. Chill this dough for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days. Chilling allows the cookie dough to thicken and the brown sugar, butter, and toasted pecan flavor to enhance.

2 images of pecans in a measuring cup and cookie dough in a bowl with a paddle attachment

butter pecan cookie dough rolled into balls

butter pecan cookies

butter pecan cookies

These butter pecan cookies are perfect for the holidays because they’re slightly more complex in flavor than Christmas sugar cookies. Everyone will love their chewy edges, toasty flavor, and soft centers. If you want to go overboard, and you definitely should, crush them up and sprinkle on top of butter pecan ice cream.

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butter pecan cookies

Butter Pecan Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 3 hours, 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 30 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Buttery, soft ‘n chewy cookies exploding with toasted pecans and brown sugar flavor. This cookie dough requires chilling – at least 3 hours and up to 3 days.


  • 1 and 1/2 cups (195g) chopped pecans
  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (200g) packed dark or light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (312g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • 1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar, for rolling
  • sea salt, for sprinkling


  1. In a 300°F (149°C) oven, toast the chopped pecans on a large parchment paper or silicone mat-lined baking sheet for 15 minutes. Stir twice during this time. Turn oven off and set pecans aside.
  2. In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the 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 fluffy and light in color. Beat in eggs and vanilla 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. The cookie dough will be quite thick. Add the toasted chopped pecans, mix on low for about 5-10 seconds until evenly distributed. Cover dough tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough.
  4. Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes– if the cookie dough chilled longer than 3 hours, let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This makes the cookie dough easier to scoop and roll.
  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 might be slightly crumbly, but will come together if you work the dough with your hands as you roll into individual balls. Scoop and roll balls of dough, about 1 Tablespoon of dough each, into balls. You may roll the cookie dough balls into the 1/3 cup of granulated sugar listed under the “optional” ingredients. It’s optional because I merely did this for looks– the sugar gives them a pretty sparkle. Or you can bake the cookies without the sugar rolling and sprinkle with a little sea salt when they come out of the oven. If you love salty/sweet, do the sea salt.
  7. Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes (13 minutes for crispier cookies), 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 extremely 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. They will slightly deflate as you let them cool. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing 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. Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.

Keywords: butter pecan cookies


Comments are closed.

  1. Wow these are good! I left the dough to chill for 1 day and it def is worth it. Also much easier to roll in balls. I made large tablespoon balls and even plus secret cookie dough nibbling I still had 3 dozen cookies. Probably a bit tinier than yours. Froze 12.

    Followed the recipe to the T and with dark brown sugar.

    Thank you 

  2. Jennifer Eckhardt says:

    I made these as Gluten Free cookies and substituted 1.5 C Bob’s Red Mill all purpose Baking mix (the one with the garbanzo flour) and 1C Almond meal/flour. I also added 1/2 teaspoon of Xanthan Gum. All other ingredients the same with the additional of two tablespoons of Amaretto liquor and 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut.  I let the dough chill overnight. The texture of these -especially given that they were GF, was amazing!! I did use 1/2 cup organic sugar and 1 cup Coconut sugar. (I did not have brown sugar available. ) The coconut sugar worked well and resulted in a slightly less sweet cookie. I think the brown sugar would make it more “Butter Pecany”. Anyway, they were really good. 

  3. OMG, these cookies are delicious!
    Me: Would you like to try these cookies I just made?
    Son: Sure mom but just one. 
    Me: Ok.
    Son: Mom come back. I’m going to need a couple more of those cookies!

    The recipe is prefect as is. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Wow these are delicious! I also threw in some chocolate chips which worked well. We used these cookies as the sandwich for a pecan pie ice cream sandwich and it was perfection. 

  5. Hi Sally, I mixed up this batter and let it chill overnight. I’m baking them this morning any mine are coming out very flat, not like your picture at all. What am I doing wrong? I want them to be thicker. Your picture looks like it has a cake texture inside the cookie. I want that!! 

    1. Hi Kerry, these cookies should definitely be on the thicker side. Did you change anything about the recipe? Was your butter melted at all? Make sure you’re using large eggs, not extra large. Is the dough too soft? Keep it cold as long as possible right before baking the cookies.

      1. I used eggs from a friends chicken so I’m not sure what size they were. That could be the problem. I’ll try it with store eggs next time. Either way they were declicious!

  6. These look wonderful and I’m going to make them! I have a new gas range with a gas convection oven. Is the temperature and time listed for convection cooking? If not, what temp and timing should I use? Thank you!

    1. My recipes are for conventional ovens. If using convection, decrease temp by 25 degrees. The bake time will be about the same, maybe a minute less.

  7. Thank you! I can’t wait to bake these!!!

  8. Do you think these cookies would hold up if I shipped them to Arizona (HOT!)?


    1. I think they’d be just fine since there is no chocolate!

  9. I typically just make oatmeal or pb w/chocolate chip cookies, but I had pecans and opted to try my hand at making your recipe a few days ago.
    I followed all the ingredients minus the option of rolling them in more sugar and sprinkle salt. I whipped up the batter on Monday and set it in the fridge to chill 24 hrs. Yesterday I scooped individual dough ball at 74oz each and was able to get 52 (more that 2 1/2 dozen). I set the dough balls back into the fridge  (didn’t roll, simply dropped as the scoop intended) and refrigerated them another hour before putting each, on a tray, in the freezer to later bag today. 
    Out of the 52 cookies I removed 8 from the freezer to bake. These cookies came out perfect. I didn’t flatten the top as I liked the way they baked and settled. Very happy my family and I have 3 different cookie options in our 2nd freezer and very thankful not only that you’ve shared the recipe, but thankful you provided actual gram weight when making them.  Perfect!!!

  10. They are so good, my friends can never get enough. I freeze them and before I know it they are gone and I need to make more.

    1. Sally I made this cookie recipe as a gift for a relative birthday. I accidentally put 1 tsp of baking powder instead of 1 tsp baking soda. Could you tell me how this effect the outcome when she bakes them for her birthday next week ?

      1. It’s best to start over– the cookies won’t rise very much. 🙁

  11. My cookies came out as flat as pancakes. But, they had a great taste. I chilled the dough for 3 hours. Not sure if my dough was not chilled enough or I beat the batter too long. Any suggestions, Sally?

    1. I saved some of the dough chilling until the next day and I had the same results. I tested my baking soda to make sure it was still good and it was. So…I must have beat the butter/batter too long.

    2. Hi Teresa! How about chilling the dough then rolling the dough into balls and chilling for another hour or two? I know that’s a long time, but you can always let it chill overnight. Or even add a few extra Tablespoons of flour. That will help too!

  12. I baked these for only 8 minutes because I made them a little smaller and they burned on the bottom.

  13. They were perfect! Shape, taste, consistency, everything was perfect. Followed the recipe, every step and it was perfect! Love them, yummy! Thanks!

  14. Denise Flores says:

    Just made them..fabulous…xoxo 

  15. I just made these for my husband’s VFW meeting. They are so delicious and dangerous. Hard to stop eating them. I am glad we did leave enough for the Veterans at the meeting. They are buttery and chewy as described. Thank you for a new “go to” recipe when in need of something yummy.

    1. You are welcome, Jeanne! Hope they all enjoyed them!

  16. These sound wonderful. I would like to make them smaller and use a cookie scooper. Also would like to freeze them then cook later. Any suggestions as to how long to cook them?

  17. Hi is there anyway adding cranberries would be good? 

    1. Dried cranberries would be absolutely delicious!

  18. Made these with canna butter. Tasty treat instead of meds. I did add a bit of baking powder to compliment the soda. Yum.

  19. These sound great — all the other Pecan Sandies recipes out there are for crisp cookies. I do have a question, though. You said the edges are chewy…do they stay that way? My husband has trouble chewing (bad dentures) and I want him to be able to have soft cookies. Would maybe an extra egg yolk or some cornstarch make them softer? And how about chopping up the pecans super finely — would that work?


    1. Hi Michelle! They do stay chewy, but are incredibly soft. You can certainly chop up the nuts to be a little more fine. I don’t recommend adding any cornstarch. Try baking the cookies for a minute less. Super soft that way.

  20. Thanks for the quick reply and advice! I’ll definitely be trying these soon! 🙂

  21. I made these cookies just now. I mixed the sugar and sea salt together in a bowl and dipped the top part of the cookie in the mix before putting on the tray.this saved a mess of sea salt on your baking tray 🙂

  22. Justine Marie Gerardi says:

    Is the dough okay to make ahead and freeze? I usually do that when I want to bake a week later.

    1. Yes! See my make ahead tip at the bottom of the recipe.

  23. I made these along with your red velvet magic bars and dark chocolate orange slice n’ bake cookies to bring to a Christmas party yesterday. My friend casually grabbed one and took a bite. Then her facial expression morphed into sheer disbelief and she said, “How?! WHAT?! HOW?!” This went on for a good five minutes as she tried to comprehend how they were so delicious…then she grabbed another one 😉 My other friend tried a red velvet magic bar and said, “That’s it, nobody eat these, I’m gonna demolish the rest!” So basically, because of you I am the cookie queen to all my friends. I’m at the point where I ONLY make recipes from your site because they are consistently fantastic, and I’ve probably made about two dozen of them by now. Thanks for sharing your amazing skills!

  24. Samantha Fountaine says:

    This recipe was a first for my new kitchen aid stand mixer and the first Christmas cookies I’ve made in  several years.  They were perfect.  Had the special taste of rich Christmas flavor that only comes with cookies baked at Christmas time.  I even took a small amount of the dough and added Ghiradeli chocolate morsels (about 5 cookies) which only enhanced the wonderful buttery pecan flavor.  The recipe was exact and easy.  Thanks so much for the warm memories of special times.

  25. John schilling says:

    I used peanuts instead of pecans ,kept all other ingredients the same 
             I guess they are butter peanut cookies now

  26. Can you share measuring adjustments if I wanted to reduce the recipe? I know you simply can’t half the ingredients when baking. I love pecans!
    I’m a pretty good cook not soo much of a cookie maker!  I’d like to get better at cookies but most recipes make 2-4dozens! Alas it’s only 3 of us and I hate wasting food (&time) when they don’t turn out well .


    1. Sheila Franklin says:

      I am not the blogger but wanted to note that I regularly halve cookie recipes with no trouble!

  27. Is cornstarch required ?

  28. Hi Sally, I’m curious about the gram measurements you have included next to the cup/tsp measurements. Is that the correct weight measurement for each ingredient in grams? Looking forward to trying this recipe for my dad who is a huge butter pecan fan. Thanks!

  29. Hi Sally! I’ve made these cookies twice now and they are delicious! However the texture seems to be a bit off… both times I followed the recipe exactly, but the cookies came out very flat and had tiny air bubbles. I even tried chilling the rolled dough in the fridge again before baking but that didn’t seem to help much. Also the batter was very sticky, definitely not crumbly! I’m fairly experienced with making cookies but I’m not sure what the issue is. Any ideas?

  30. Turned out amazing, thank you for the recipe! I used 1/4 cup less (white) sugar and they are just right. Unfortunately, when I baked the first batch for the recommended 12 minutes, they burned and dried out. 9 minutes in the top third of the oven at 165 celsius gave me the perfect result.

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