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.
Step One: Browning the Butter
This is [technically] optional but the extra time is so so worth it! The biggest problem I see people run into when using brown butter in cookies, is not letting the butter cool long enough before adding it to the rest of the ingredients. If you've ever creamed butter and sugar together, you know that lovely airy texture that it should be. If you add butter that too hot to that mixture, it will melt the rest of the butter and start to melt the sugar which will weigh down the dough and take away that light, fluffy texture that we want. So make sure you brown your butter first, then go watch an episode of something on Netflix so that it has time to cool before you start making the dough.
Note: many brown butter cookie recipes call for you to brown all of the butter, however I only brown half. The reason for this has to do with that light, airy texture I was talking about. If all the butter is liquid, it won't properly combine with the sugar and eggs to give us that fluffy texture. So by using half solid butter and half brown butter, we get all of the flavor without sacrificing any texture.
- In a small saucepan, melt ½ cup (1 stick) of butter of medium heat.
- Once melted, stir frequently and watch closely for the formation of brown specs on the bottom of the pan and a nutty aroma.
- Once you see brown specs, stir for just a few more seconds (it browns super quickly).
- Remove from the heat and immediately pour into a different bowl to prevent it from burning.
- Set aside and let cool for at least 20-30 minutes. If it still feels warm to the touch, let it cool longer.
Step Two: Making the Dough
- Using a stand or hand mixer, cream the softened butter, cooled 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 (you don't).
- Cover the dough and chill in the fridge overnight for best results. If you absolutely can't wait, just chill it for at least an hour.
Why do I have to chill the dough?
This is for a couple of 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, since we had to melt half the butter, this gives the butter time to firm back up. We want cold, solid butter going into the oven because that also helps control the spreading.
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.
Step Three: Bake and Enjoy!
- Scoop a generous 3 tablespoons of dough and roll into balls. I use a size 20 cookie scoop*.
- If desired, gently roll the tops in Sparkling Sugar* to give your cookies some pizazz.
- Place 2-3 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Note: I usually only bake 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 degrees 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.
Tips and Tricks
Only bake one sheet at a time; on the center rack. This will ensure all your cookies cook evenly and the bottoms don't burn. Also, let the cookie sheet cool completely between batches. This will also help ensure all cookies cook evenly and don't spread too much by being put on a hot pan.
This dough will keep really well in the fridge for up to a week, so I recommend only baking a few cookies at a time. That way they're always fresh, warm, and delicious!
The dough also freezes great! You can freeze pre-rolled cookie dough balls and store them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 6 months.
The frozen cookie dough can go straight from the freezer to the oven! Just add about 2 minutes to your cooking time!
Store the baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week (if you somehow still have cookies left after a week, please go to the doctor because you must be ill).
If you make this recipe, please leave us a star rating at the bottom of the page! This provides helpful feedback to both me and other readers. Happy baking!Print
These brown butter sugar cookies are nice and crispy on the edges with a chewy under-baked center.
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, browned
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 2 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 salt
- sparkling sugar for topping (optional)
- About 30 minutes to an hour before you want to make the dough, remove the 2 sticks of butter and eggs from the fridge. Brown 1 stick of butter (next step) and let the remaining butter and eggs come up to room temperature.
- To make brown butter, melt 1 stick (½ cup) of unsalted butter over medium heat, stirring frequently. Watch closely for the butter to develop brown specs and a nutty aroma. Once you start seeing brown specs, let cook for just a few seconds longer (watch very carefully or it will burn). Remove from the heat and pour into a small bowl so that it doesn't continue to cook.
Set aside and let cool for about 20 minutes or pop it in the fridge for 5-10 minutes until it's about room temperature.
- Using a stand or hand mixer, cream together the softened butter, 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.
- Cover the dough and chill in the fridge overnight (minimum of 1 hour if you just can't wait).
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a light colored baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Spoon a generous 3 tablespoons of dough and roll into balls. If desired, roll the tops in sparkling sugar.
- 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.
Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week (they'll definitely be gone before then though).
The dough will keep in the fridge for up to a week (which is great for just making a couple of warm cookies at a time) just make sure to transfer to an airtight container so it doesn't dry out.
Freeze pre-rolled cookie dough balls in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- Category: Dessert, Snack
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1 cookie
- Calories: 278
- Sugar: 21.8g
- Sodium: 186.6mg
- Fat: 14g
- Saturated Fat: 8.4g
- Carbohydrates: 35.5g
- Fiber: 0.5g
- Protein: 2.9g
- Cholesterol: 61.4mg
Keywords: cookies, sugar cookies, brown butter cookies, chewy sugar cookies
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