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Twelve butter pecan cookies arranged on wax paper and a pink linen napkin, with chopped pecans scattered around., one cookie on a plate with a bite taken out of it.

Butter Pecan Cookies

Heather Smoke
Thick and chewy cookies made with brown butter and crunchy pecans, for a sweet and salty treat.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 13 mins
Chilling Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 33 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 17 cookies


  • Stand Mixer


  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp coarse Kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
  • 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • 17 pecan halves


  • In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Continue to cook the butter, swirling occasionally, until the water evaporates, and the butter forms fragrant, nutty brown solids at the bottom of the pan.  Remove from the heat and immediately pour the hot butter into a bowl, scraping all the browned bits off the bottom of the saucepan with a spatula.  Let the butter cool at room temperature for several hours, until it becomes somewhat solid again.  As the butter cools, it may not become firm enough to hold its shape (depending on how warm your kitchen is), and may remain a little soft and spreadable, but allow it to cool until it is no longer a liquid.
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cooled browned butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar for 5 minutes on medium speed, scraping the bowl occasionally, until very light and fluffy.  Gently mix in the egg and the vanilla.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon salt and the chopped pecans.  With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined, briefly increasing the speed to medium to incorporate all of the flour.
  • Use a cupcake/ice cream scoop to divide the dough into 17 portions, about 2 ounces each.  Shape the dough into balls, and press the pecan halves on top. Place the dough balls in an airtight container and refrigerate for two hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  While the oven is preheating, place the container of dough balls in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  • Place the frozen balls of dough on the baking sheet, spaced three inches apart.  Bake for about 13 minutes, until the edges are crisp and light golden brown, and the centers are gently puffed and look slightly underdone.  Sprinkle the cookies with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  As the cookies cool, the soft centers will settle down a bit, leaving a lightly crisp edge around the cookies with chewy centers.
  • Store cooled cookies in an airtight container for several days, or freeze indefinitely.


Pro Tip:  If after baking your cookies, your pecans are slightly off-center, gently nudge them perfectly into place while the cookies are still hot.
Keyword Brown Butter, Butter Pecan, Cookies, High Altitude