sugar cookies on blue cloth napkin surrounded by glasses of milk

Decadent Brown Butter Sugar Cookies

Say hello to the most divine Brown Butter Sugar Cookies you’ll ever meet! They’re soft, buttery, and perfect for decorating with icing!

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So I’m gonna level with you. Sugar cookies are rarely the type of cookie I get excited about. I mean, they’re alright, but I will choose chocolate chip every time. However, that all changed when I dreamt up these Brown Butter Sugar Cookies. I mean, talk about DECADENT. They’re soft and chewy with a warm and nutty flavor that’s to die for. My sister, a self-proclaimed sugar cookie aficionado (and the June Table’s fearless photographer!), ate about 8 of them in one sitting. If that doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will!

Wet Ingredients for Brown Butter Sugar Cookies

Unsalted Butter: Salted will work too if it’s what you have!

Cane Sugar and Brown Sugar: We’re using an equal amount of both for that perfect sugar cookie flavor.

Eggs: For structure and binding!

Vanilla Bean Paste or Extract: Either works! If you want to make these cookies extra fancy, definitely go for the paste. Those vanilla bean flecks will really make you feel like the Queen of Christmas Cookies.

Almond Extract: The most underrated ingredient! It will give these cookies that signature sugar cookie vibe.

sugar cookies on blue cloth napkin surrounded by cups of milk

Dry Ingredients for Brown Butter Sugar Cookies

All-Purpose Flour: I haven’t tested any other flours.

Baking Soda: For that proper rise of course.

Sea Salt: To round out the flavor of these cookies.

How to Brown Butter

I can’t get enough of brown butter. It’s aromatic, nutty, warming, and positively alters whatever dish it’s added to. To make brown butter, simply add butter to a medium saucepan over medium heat. As the butter melts, it will begin to bubble and foam. Whisk or stir constantly during this process to ensure it doesn’t burn. Continue to whisk until the butter turns golden brown and takes on a nutty scent, 3-5 minutes. There should be brown flecks on the bottoms of the pan. Remove from heat immediately and set aside to cool slightly.

sugar cookie being dipped into a cup of milk

Baking Tips & Tricks

  • Measuring the Flour: Make sure to spoon your flour into the measuring cup and then level it with a butter knife. If you pack the flour, it may cause the cookies to be dry and crumbly, which no one wants! I put my measuring cup in a bowl as I spoon and level to catch excess flour to minimize waste.
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda: Make sure you’ve purchased both within the last six months for best results. It loses effectiveness over time. You can write the date you open your baking powder and baking soda on the top of your containers with a sharpie.
  • Mixing Your Batter: Don’t overmix! It puts too much air in the dough, which leads to more gluten development. This can cause flat cookies or unpleasantly gummy and chewy cookies.
  • Mixing Speed: While it can be tempting to crank that speed up on your mixer to quickly combine everything, this is not recommended. It will break down the eggs too much and make the cookie lose its structure. This will lead to a flat cookie. No fun! I recommend using low to medium speed and paying good attention throughout the mixing process.
  • Chilling Your Dough: Don’t skip this step! It’s essential to making sure the cookies keep their structure and rise properly.
  • Oven Time: Ovens are finicky. Temperature can vary fairly significantly. I recommend beginning to check your cookies around the 11-minute mark. It’s okay if they’re slightly undercooked, as they will continue to bake on that hot cookie sheet!

If you make these Brown Butter Sugar Cookies, be sure to leave a rating and review! This encourages others to give the recipe a try. You can also find me on Pinterest and Instagram. I always love hearing from you!

More Holiday Desserts

overhead shot of cookies on cloth napkin
sugar cookies on blue cloth napkin surrounded by glasses of milk

Brown Butter Sugar Cookies

Say hello to the most divine Brown Butter Sugar Cookies you'll ever meet! They're soft, buttery, and perfect for decorating with icing!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Chilling Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 32 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 20 cookies

Equipment

  • Hand or Stand Mixer
  • Baking Sheet
  • Cooling Rack

Ingredients
  

Wet Ingredients

  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • ½ cup cane sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste or extract
  • ¼ tsp almond extract

Dry Ingredients

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt

Instructions
 

  • First, brown your butter! Add butter to a medium saucepan over medium heat. As the butter melts, it will begin to bubble and foam. Whisk or stir constantly during this process to ensure it doesn't burn. Continue to whisk until the butter turns golden brown and takes on a nutty scent, 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat immediately and set aside to cool slightly, about 15 minutes.
  • While the butter is cooling, whisk your dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  • Place all wet ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a hand mixer (using dough hook attachments) or a stand mixer (using paddle attachment) on medium speed for 1-2 minutes until just combined. Add dry ingredients and beat on medium speed until just combined.
  • Wrap dough completely in plastic wrap or place in airtight container and put in the refrigerator to chill for at least two hours or overnight. If your dough is really solid after the allotted time, it may need to sit out at room temperature for 20 minutes or so to soften slightly.
  • Pre-heat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat for easy clean-up.
  • Use a small cookie scoop or rounded tablespoon to form the cookie dough into 20 balls. Place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. You may need to do multiple batches depending on the size of your baking sheet. Bake for 11-14 minutes, or until the top of the cookies are just slightly golden brown. Remove from oven and let them set and cool for 20-30 minutes on baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack. Enjoy!

Notes

Storage: Should be kept in an airtight container at room temperature. Enjoy within 5 days!
To make nut-free: Omit almond extract.
Keyword brown butter, christmas cookies, holiday cookies, nut-free, sugar cookies, vegetarian

Photography by Hope Agresti

3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Yes you’re my sister but these are legit my fav cookies so thankful you exist bc you brought me these cookies into my life(JK LOVE U FOR EVERYTHING YOU ARE YOU’RE AMAZING) <3

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