Brown Butter Sugar Cookies

I love a traditional cut out sugar cookie with a good icing or frosting on top just as much as the next person. But, dare I say, these Brown Butter Sugar Cookies are so good they don’t even need icing. Yes, you read that right. Browning our butter brings a rich, slight nuttiness, and warmth to these sugar cookies. They’ll become a must make on your holiday cookies list.


Brown Butter Sugar Cookies with holiday sprinkles on a cooling rack

Brown Butter Tips!

  • The #1 tip is to watch the butter closely! It can go from perfectly browned to burnt quickly.
  • Use a light colored pan! This makes it easier to see the color.
  • Chop your butter into chunks. This aids in even melting.
  • If you think your butter is burnt (some of the specks will be black and it will have a slightly burnt smell), then start over. Seriously. It will give your cookies an off flavor.
  • Finally, Keep extra butter on hand! (just in case your batch burns..)

Want to make another cookie with brown butter? I love these Brown Butter Almond Shortbread Cookies!

close up of brown butter cookies on parchment paper

Once the butter is browned, mix in both white sugar AND brown sugar (hello, richness). Then slowly mix in the dry ingredients. The dough is going to be thicker and greasier than your typical sugar cookie dough. Don’t be alarmed. This is exactly how the dough is supposed to be. Because the dough is rolled into balls and not for cutouts, the texture works just fine.

Cookie dough balls with sprinkles on a baking sheet

Buttery, slightly nutty, melt in your mouth. The brown butter really amplifies these sugar cookies. Not to mention the extra richness from the brown sugar and the added sweetness from the vanilla extract. The flavor of these cookies is out of this world.

Brown butter sugar cookies on a cooling rack

 

This recipe was originally published on December 17th, 2018. It is unchanged with slightly updated instructions and tips. 

Print Recipe
Brown Butter Sugar Cookies
Brown Butter makes these sugar cookies extra rich and slightly nutty. These are so good and flavorful, they don't even need frosting. Meet your new favorite holiday cookie. Recipe at KathleensCravings.com
Brown Butter makes these sugar cookies extra rich and slightly nutty. These are so good and flavorful, they don't even need frosting. Meet your new favorite holiday cookie. Recipe at KathleensCravings.com #kathleenscravings #sugarcookies #christmasscookies #holidaycookies #brownbutter
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes
Servings
36 cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt omit if using salted butter
  • 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • sprinkles optional, for topping
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes
Servings
36 cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt omit if using salted butter
  • 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • sprinkles optional, for topping
Brown Butter makes these sugar cookies extra rich and slightly nutty. These are so good and flavorful, they don't even need frosting. Meet your new favorite holiday cookie. Recipe at KathleensCravings.com #kathleenscravings #sugarcookies #christmasscookies #holidaycookies #brownbutter
Instructions
  1. Start by browning the butter. First, set out a large heat proof bowl to have at the ready. Cut the butter into chunks and place in a light colored skillet (a light colored skillet helps you see the color of the brown butter as it changes). Melt the butter over medium heat, whisking occasionally. After 5-8 minutes, the butter will start to brown. You'll start to see brown specks on the bottom and it will have a nutty aroma. When finished the butter will be an amber, golden brown and the specks will be brown. Be careful not to burn! The specks can go from brown to black very quickly which means the butter is burnt. If this happens, start over :). Once browned, pour into the bowl immediately and let cool for 5 minutes
  2. While cooling, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.
  3. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar to the slightly cooled brown butter. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until mostly combined - about 1 minute. Then beat in the egg and vanilla extract until combined.
  4. Add the dry ingredients and mix together on low speed, slowly working up to high speed until combined. The dough will be greasy and thick.
  5. Roll the dough into balls - about 1 tablespoon of dough each. Due to the dough's texture, you may need to kind of press them into balls versus rolling. Do the best you can 🙂 Press the tops of the balls into the sprinkles, if using. Place the balls on a lined baking sheet or a few plates, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about 30-45 minutes to chill
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
  7. Line the baking sheets with the chilled balls - a few inches apart. Sprinkles up! Bake for 12-13 minutes until lightly browned around the edges and just set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe Notes

Cookies stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

You can make the cookie dough, roll into balls as directed and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Baked cookies can be frozen for up to 3 months. Unbaked cookie dough balls can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw.

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