These brown butter sugar cookies are nice and crispy on the edges and have a soft, chewy, under-baked center. I used to think sugar cookies were super boring and plain. In fact, I can't even remember eating sugar cookies growing up because I just didn't like them. Turns out, I just hadn't had a good sugar cookie. So I present to you, the best dang brown butter sugar cookies you'll ever sink your teeth into!
The brown butter adds a rich nutty flavor that's enhanced by the almond extract. And chilling the dough keeps the cookies from spreading too fast so that the centers stay super chewy and under-baked. Every time I make these cookies, Kyle eats almost all of them as soon as they come out of the oven. So I've learned I have to hide some for myself.
What Makes These Cookies So Special?
Texture – These sugar cookies are soft, chewy and have that perfect crispy edge. Best of all, they keep their texture long after they come out of the oven!
Effortless – These cookies are SO easy to make. All you do is scoop, chill, and bake.
Longevity – Most cookies are best eaten when fresh from the oven, but these brown butter sugar cookies are delicious no matter when you serve them. Because of how soft and buttery they are, they keep that perfect chewy texture for up to a week!
Everyone loves them! – I bake these cookies all the time, and I always get so many requests to make them for special events! They're one of the most popular recipes on the blog!
You just need a few simple ingredients to make these chewy brown butter sugar cookies!!
- Brown Butter - My favorite ingredient of all time is brown butter!! Brown butter is just unsalted butter that has been melted and gently cooked to bring out a toasty, nutty flavor. If you've never made brown butter before, you can check out this post with all my tips for how to make brown butter!
- Almond Extract - I just love the way the flavor of almond extract compliments the brown butter!
- Lemon Juice - I know this might sound like a weird ingredient, but I just love the slight tang that lemon juice adds to the cookies! But you can leave it out if you want.
- Sparkling Sugar - This is optional but I just love adding a bit to the tops of the cookies for extra sparkle!
Browning the butter is [technically] optional but the extra time is SO worth it! The biggest problem I see people run into when using brown butter in cookies, is not letting the butter cool completely to room temperature before adding it to the dough.
How to Make Sugar Cookies
Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or hand mixer, cream the room temperature brown butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth and creamy.
Add in the eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract, and lemon juice and beat until light, fluffy, and pale in color. This should take 2-4 minutes which seems like a long time, but you'll see a huge difference in the texture afterwards.
Add in the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix until thoroughly combined. The dough should be wet and sticky and you might think you need more flour but you don't!
Scoop a generous 3 tablespoons of dough and roll into balls. I use a size 20 cookie scoop.
Cover the dough balls and chill in the fridge overnight for best results. If you absolutely can't wait, just chill it for at least 2 hours.
Chilling the dough is super important so that the cookies don't spread!
If desired, gently roll the tops in Sparkling Sugar to give your cookies some extra pizazz.
To bake, place 2-3 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Note: I only bake 5-6 cookies at a time on a half sheet pan because they're big and will spread out.
Place the rest of the cookie dough back in the fridge while the first batch bakes.
Bake at 350°F on the center rack of the oven for 9-11 minutes or until the edges are set and the centers are still soft.
Remove from the oven and let rest on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
Why do I Have to Chill the Dough?
Chilling the dough is super important for a few reasons!
First, letting the dough rest gives the flour time to hydrate. Eggs are the only liquid in these cookies and it takes flour a long time to absorb that moisture. When the flour is hydrated it helps contain the spread of the cookie so that you get a nice set edge and soft, chewy center.
Similarly, the brown butter needs to be as cold as possible before baking so that the cookies don't spread too much.
But don't we want the cookies to spread? Yes, we do and they will. We just don't want them to spread too much because then you get a flat, crispy cookie instead of one with a soft, chewy center.
Tips for Perfect Cookies
Measure your flour correctly! It's most accurate to use a kitchen scale, but if you're measuring by volume you want to spoon and level! Fluff up the flour a bit with a spoon, and then spoon flour into the measuring cup. Once it's overflowing, use the back of a knife to level it off. Don't ever pack flour into the measuring cup or you'll end up with way too much! Improperly measured flour can lead to dry, crumbly cookies that don't spread.
Make sure your oven is the proper temperature! Use an oven thermometer to make sure your oven is exactly 350°F. If the oven is too cold, the cookies will spread too much and if it's too hot they centers won't bake all the way through. For example, my oven is about 20 degrees off. So I have to set the oven to 370°F in order to get it to bake at 350°F.
Use a lightweight, light colored baking sheet for best results! Believe it or not, a lighter pan makes the cookies bake more slowly than a dark pan, which helps keep them from spreading too much. My favorite pans for baking cookies are:
You also want to use either parchment paper or silicone mats on your cookie sheet to help keep the cookies from spreading.
Bake the cookies one sheet at a time, on the center rack. This will ensure all your cookies cook evenly and the bottoms don't burn. Then let the cookie sheet cool completely between batches. This ensures the cookies cook evenly and don't spread too much by being put on a hot pan.
Always under-bake the cookies! If you slightly under-bake the cookies (so the centers are still soft when you remove them from the oven), they'll stay soft and chewy for days!
Do the cookie scoot! In order to get perfectly round cookies, use a large cookie cutter to gently scoot them around as soon as they come out of the oven!
The reason cookies spread too much either has to do with the dough not being chilled long enough, or improper oven temperature. Make sure the cookie dough is cold before baking and use an oven thermometer to make sure the oven is exactly 350°F.
Store the baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. You can also store the dough in the fridge for up to a week and bake a few cookies at a time, as desired.
Yes! Freeze the pre-rolled cookie dough on a baking sheet, once frozen transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 6 weeks. The frozen dough can go straight from the freezer to the oven, just add 2-3 minutes to the cooking time.
Tips for Success!
For best results I always recommend using weight measurements (especially when baking) because it's the most accurate. Kitchen scales are super affordable and also reduce the number of dishes you have to do! However, all my recipes also include US customary measurements for convince. Use this chart to convert measurements for common ingredients!
Substitutions: In all my recipes, I've included substitutions that I know will work, but I cannot guarantee results if you substitute ingredients that I have not recommended. [For example, granulated sugar and honey are indeed both sweeteners but they have very different properties so they can not always be swapped 1:1. Using honey in a cookie recipe that calls for granulated sugar will yield a giant mess.] In the recipe card you'll find links to the specific ingredients/brands that I use.
A note on salt: I almost exclusively use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt because it's the best all-purpose salt for cooking and baking. If you're not using kosher salt, consult this handy guide for a conversion chart! When in doubt, if you're using table salt just reduce the amount by half for baked goods. When cooking, I prefer to under-salt because you can always add more! If you've over-salted, adding a little bit of acid (like lemon juice) can help.
More Brown Butter Recipes!
If you make this recipe, please leave a star rating at the bottom of the page! This provides helpful feedback to both me and other readers. And if you want more delicious, scratch-made recipes you can subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook!
Brown Butter Sugar Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted brown butter, room temperature
- 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract, optional
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice, optional
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- sparkling sugar, for topping
- Using a stand or hand mixer, cream together the brown butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until smooth and creamy. Add in the eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract, and lemon juice and beat for 3-4 minutes until the texture is light and fluffy (it should look much paler than before).
- Add in the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix until thoroughly combined. The dough should be wet and sticky.
- Spoon a generous 3 tablespoons of dough and roll into balls. If desired, roll the tops in sparkling sugar.
- Cover the dough and chill in the fridge overnight (minimum of 2 hours if you just can't wait).
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a light colored baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place dough balls at least 2-3 inches apart on the baking sheet (they will spread, I usually only do 6 cookies on a half sheet pan). Place the rest of the cookie dough balls back in the fridge while the first batch cooks.
- Bake cookies for on the center rack of the oven for 9-11 minute or until the edges are set and the centers are still soft.
- Remove from the oven and let rest on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
Browse more cookie recipes →