Chewy Brown Sugar Cookies

Super soft and chewy brown sugar cookies – no mixer required!

brown sugar cookies on a white plate

brown sugar cookies

Sometimes I like cookies with a lot going on. Chips of chocolate, swirls of peanut butter, butterscotch morsels, chunks of nuts, stuffed with caramel, and other delightful candies. Sprinkle cookies, chocolate chip cookies, frosted cookies – the more stuff going on, the better.

But not all the time.

Sometimes I prefer a pure, simple cookie like sugar cookies without the icing. (I can’t believe I’m saying that because I love icing!) Today’s recipe highlights my favorite flavor: brown sugar. Moist, molasses-spiked brown sugar in every single bite. Soft, chewy, and kissed with cinnamon. These simple brown sugar cookies are undeniably impressive.

They’re not at all “plain” – rather, today’s cookies are exploding with flavor.

You’re going to recognize today’s cookie recipe. It’s a spin-off recipe of my chewy chocolate chip cookies. I used a few of the same ingredient ratios and recipe techniques in today’s brown sugar cookies.

brown sugar cookies on a cooling rack

Start with melted butter. Most of the cookies I make call for creaming softened butter with the sugars. However, sometimes I prefer to use melted butter instead of creaming it. Melted butter, when paired with the correct ratio of dry ingredients, increases the chewy factor in the baked cookie. Since you are using melted butter, you don’t need a mixer for this cookie recipe!

You’re also going to use only brown sugar in this cookie recipe (except for the rolling… more on that below). 1 and 1/4 cups of dark brown sugar bring so much moisture to these baked cookies, as well as a modest molasses flavor. Light brown sugar may easily be substituted here!

In the original chocolate chunk cookie from which this recipe is adapted, I call for 1 egg and 1 egg yolk. Today, you just need 1 egg. 1 egg and less flour than the original recipe. Don’t worry, these cookies are still just as chewy! You’ll also add a touch of cinnamon to the cookie dough. The cinnamon is completely optional, but the pronounced brown sugar flavor paired with the slight kiss of cinnamon spice really takes these cookies to the next level!

Look at how thick these cookies are. To achieve their thick texture, chill the cookie dough. Also, I make sure there is enough flour to soak up the melted butter. Melted butter is greasy and unless there is enough dry ingredients to soak it all up, you’re going to have some cookie spreading sadness!

stack of brown sugar cookies

I also add a bit of cornstarch to the cookie dough. Cornstarch thickens cookie dough just as it thickens gravies, soups, and jams. It’s a miracle worker in cookie recipes!

Don’t you love the brown sugar cookies’ crinkled tops? That’s achieved by slightly pressing the cookies down. After chilling the cookie dough and rolling the dough in a bit of sugar, you’ll bake them. Now, pay attention to this: Remove the cookies from the oven after 8-9 minutes, gently press down on the tops with the back of a spoon or fork, and then place them back into the oven for 1-2 more minutes. Why are you doing that? Not only so you can achieve some crinkly tops, but also because the cookies need a little help spreading during bake time. You could always just press the cookie tops down after the entire bake time, but then your cookies may just look like you carelessly smashed them down. I feel that they looked better when put back into the oven for 1-2 minutes after pressing down. I’m all about pretty cookies, ok?

I have a confession. We’re heading to a work holiday party and clearly, I can’t go empty handed. However, I made these cookies two days ago. And guess what? They are STILL just as soft on day 3 as they were on day 1. And to be completely honest, their cinnamon and brown sugar flavors are heavily pronounced today. You know a cookie recipe is a winner when its softness isn’t compromised as the days go by. I just love that about this recipe! True “soft-batch” style, just like the cookies you get at bakeries and those tempting mall kiosks.

brown sugar cookies

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brown sugar cookies on a white plate

Chewy Brown Sugar Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 13 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 20 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Super soft and chewy brown sugar cookies – no mixer required!


Ingredients

  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch*
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (use 1 teaspoon if you love cinnamon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled*
  • 1 and 1/4 cups (250g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar, for rolling

Instructions

  1. Toss together the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a medium size bowl, whisk the melted butter and brown sugar together until no brown sugar lumps remain. Whisk in the egg. Finally, whisk in the vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together with a large spoon or rubber spatula. The dough will be very soft, yet thick. Cover the dough and chill for 2 hours, or up to 3 days. Chilling is mandatory.
  3. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and allow to slightly soften at room temperature for 10 minutes if you had it chilling for more than 2 hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  5. Pour the granulated sugar into a bowl. Take 2 scant Tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball, then roll into the sugar. Place 3 inches apart on the baking sheets.
  6. Bake for 8-9 minutes. Remove from the oven and gently press the top of the cookie down with the back of a utensil or even use your fingers. You’re trying to obtain a crinkly top. Place back into the oven for 2-4 more minutes. The total time these cookies are in the the oven is 10-13 minutes. The cookies will be puffy and still appear very soft in the middle. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for ten minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. They will continue to cook in the center on the baking sheet after being removed from the oven.
  7.  Cookies will stay fresh covered at room temperature for 1 week.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature, if desired, before serving. Unbaked cookie dough balls (before rolling in sugar) will freeze well for up to 3 months. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, pre-heat the oven, then roll in granulated sugar. Bake as directed. Click here for my tips and tricks on freezing cookie dough.
  2. Butter: Simply melt the butter in the microwave. Let it cool down for about 5-10 minutes before mixing with the other ingredients. Don’t want to cook that egg with the hot butter!
  3. Cornstarch: Cornstarch helps promise a softer, thicker cookie. I highly recommend it. I use it in my chocolate chip cookies, too. Feel free to leave it out if needed.
  4. Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.

Keywords: brown sugar cookies, chewy brown sugar cookies

137 Comments

  1. Was feeling “Autumnal” so I replaced the cinnamon with a tsp of pumpkin pie spice and pressed a pecan into the tops during the flattening step. Great tender/chewy texture and so easy to whip up! Going on my favorites list, along with Sally’s candy bar blondies–I guess I hate waiting for butter to soften <3

  2. Excellent recipe! Easy to follow, not complicated at all. I added more cinnamon than recommended (about 1 1/2 tbsp), and it turned out great! I also rolled the dough balls in coconut flakes, it in the end it added an extra burst of flavor. Will be making this again in the future!

  3. I had the best time making these. I followed the recipe and made the best brown sugar cookies.

  4. Would these be good frosted?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Alexa, you certainly could if you wanted to!

  5. I didn’t read the instructions properly as I was trying to do this with a 3 year old and 1 year old. I ended up literally dumping everything in a bowl and mixing with an electric mixer. Then I just baked them for 13 mins straight through. They were still AMAZING! Certainly will do this again but actually follow the instructions

  6. I only want to bake half this recipe (to test to see what we think). Would you suggest using just 1 egg yolk?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ashley, You will want to use half of a whole egg. You can crack the egg into a separate bowl, mix it, then add half to the dough.

  7. This recipe was great! My family ate the entire batch in less than 24 hours! Thank you Sally. Love your recipes.

  8. Followed this recipe to a T but the cookies turned out incredibly flat. I use a food scale and have made many of Sallys recipes and I have no clue what went wrong. The dough was chilled for over 24 hours. I may try making them again but with more flour. It would probably be helpful to include a picture of the dough before being rolled so you can see that its the right consistency.

    1. The same thing happened to le.

  9. Awesome recipe!!!! I did add a pinch more of flour & vanilla but, I threw my dough in the freezer until the outside was firm NOT FROZEN… other than that followed recipe to the T.

  10. As advertised! Mine turned out looking basically like the pictures. I would def recommend using a teaspoon of cinnamon, I think these cookies would make a good base for interesting flavours and I’m looking forward to trying different spice combinations in them. I used light brown sugar and pressed them down after rolling before baking, and they turned out not so much chewy but definitely soft and lovely (might be chewier with darker sugar and not pressed down). A lovely, mild cookie with a soft crumb and good versatile potential.

  11. I followed the recipe exactly – but instead of getting soft, chewy cookies as described, I got super spread-out, undercooked greasy puddles that, even after sitting 10 minutes on the cookie sheet, had to be put in the freezer to solidify enough to get off the cookie sheet without falling apart. Sure, they taste good but anything would with tons of butter and sugar. Very disappointed and definitely not going to make these again.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Thank you for giving these a try, Karen! These tips to keep cookies from spreading may help for next time.

  12. I made these but because I swapped the flour for bobs red mill baking 1 2 1 flour, I had to bake them a little longer. I also add sultanas to my recipe, which tastes delicious .

  13. I used Allspice and Cinnamon and it worked great ^^!

  14. These were really good. I added 1/4 tsp of nutmeg and 1/2 tsp of all spice and they came out like a browns sugar spice cookie. I love these!!

  15. Forrest Cohan says:

    You make baking fun!
    About the whole scientific method thing, why is everything measured but the final product? Yours and most other recipes call for “a meager 1.5 tbsp of dough”, “a scant tbsp” Or my favorite “a #7 (or the like) scoop full of dough”. I know it’s the least important measurement to get 100% accurate but is there a trick you use? Do you take one scoop and eye out another to 2 tbsp? Why isn’t the final scoop given to us g’s?
    I will be able to sleep at night again after receiving your answer, regardless! You are my number one go to when I have a technique or recipe question. Thanks for making your knowledge available.

    1. Hi Forrest! I suppose the reason gram measurements for cookie dough balls aren’t typically given (or at least why I don’t usually list it) is because it will not make/break the recipe. I don’t use any special tricks for this recipe– usually just measure 2 Tablespoons using a Tablespoon measuring spoon twice. If it’s a little more or less than 2 Tablespoons, it will not ruin the cookie and the bake time typically isn’t affected. I hope this helps!

  16. These are some of the best cookies I have ever tasted. I tried them with Gluten Free flour and they still work and taste great!

  17. I made these last week for my family and they were obsessed! I’m making them again today for a get together. Recommend 1000%. These are simple, delicious and super easy.
    If you don’t have cornstarch at home and are debating making them- make them. The are still chewy and wonderful.
    This recipe is truly amazing.

  18. Melissa Scanlon says:

    Loved this straightforward and delicious recipe! Thank you!

  19. Made these today, and while they taste great, they look nothing like the ones pictured above. I followed the recipe to a T, refrigerated overnight, but they seemed undercooked to me. Cheap butter maybe with too much water? Suggestions please.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Gayle! Sounds like they could simply need a couple extra minutes in the oven next time.

  20. These cookies are delicious, so soft chewy, and fluffy that you’ll want more! I found they needed to be kept in the oven for longer, so keep that in mind when baking :).

  21. These cookies are lovely and I wanted to let you know they come out perfectly when made with margarine too! (it was all I had lol). I think I’d have liked them better with more cinnamon but my SO isn’t crazy about that flavor so I went with the smaller measurement… now I’m thinking about rolling it in cinnamon sugar next time so I can eat the whole batch myself! Thank you for the recipe!

  22. Turned out perfect!!!

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