These Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies need no introduction. They are sweet and salty, nutty and chocolaty, crispy and chewy. They have the most wonderful flavor and texture that would make all the other cookies jealous.
If you love chocolate chip cookies and pecans, you will go nuts (pun intended) for these pecan chocolate chip cookies. Level up with the toffee like flavor of brown butter, which goes extremely well with the sweet buttery taste of toasted pecans.
You really can’t go wrong with these delicious cookies, unless you are not a big fan of pecans, in which case you can always just omit the pecans and make brown butter chocolate chip cookies instead, or substitute your favorite nuts.
How to make Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies
Brown the butter
Browning butter might sound intimidating at first but it is a simple process that takes just under 10 minutes. A few tips for success when browning butter:
- Use a light color saucepan so you can see the color change.
- Watch the butter closely and use your sense of smell to catch that nuttiness when the butter browns.
- Err on slightly lower heat if your burner is very powerful so you don’t cook the butter too quickly and to avoid burning it. But don’t cook it on too low heat, it will take forever!
➤ For more tips and details on making brown butter, be sure to refer to my post on how to brown butter.
Allow the brown butter to cool back down to room temperature before making the cookie dough. This could take up to 1 – 2 hours, so make sure you allow enough time for this step.
Can I use regular butter instead of brown butter?
You can use regular melted butter if you want, but in this case, you will want to omit the sour cream called for in the recipe since regular butter will contain additional water, and you’ll need to take that into account.
Make sure to use melted & cooled butter for this recipe to get chewy cookies. If you use softened butter, your cookies will be more cakey and may not spread as much.
Can I use salted butter?
I usually use unsalted butter in all my baked goods but you can use salted butter if that’s all you have. Make sure to reduce the amount of salt called for in this recipe to ¼ teaspoon if you substitute for salted butter.
Prepare the pecans
Toast the pecans up for a few minutes in a skillet before making the recipe until they are fragrant. This will bring out their nutty buttery flavor even more. You can skip the toasting step if you want but I highly recommend it for any nuts in any recipe.
Allow the pecans to cool and then roughly chop the nuts to the size you desire, leave some bigger pieces for a really good crunch. If you’re using whole pecans as decorations, toast them as well and set them aside.
Making the chocolate chip pecan cookie dough
- Beat together cooled brown butter and sugar for 2 minutes until combined and light in color.
- Add the eggs, sour cream and vanilla extract to the mixture.
- Beat for another 2 minutes until fluffy.
- Add the dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula if necessary.
- Add chocolate chips and chopped pecans.
- Stir to incorporate.
At this point, you’ll want to portion the dough with a large cookie scoop, place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate while you preheat the oven.
You don’t really need to chill this cookie dough, unless the dough seems too soft. But I always like to portion them all at once for convenience and keep them refrigerated especially when the kitchen is warm.
How to keep the cookies round when baked?
Roll the portioned dough into round balls if you want them to stay rounder and neater after baking. Chilling the dough a little bit can make this process easier, if the dough is a bit softer and sticky.
Baking the cookies
When you’re ready to bake, place cookie dough about 2” apart on a baking sheet, press a whole pecan on top and bake one tray at a time.
Can I use other add-ins?
- Replace pecans with some other type of nuts if you prefer.
- If you want to use all chocolate chips, omit the pecans and add an extra cup of chips.
- If you want to use all pecans, omit the chocolate chips and add an extra cup of nuts.
- You can replace semi-sweet chocolate chips with milk chocolate chips or other baking chips if you prefer. Try butterscotch chips like in these Chocolate Butterscotch Chip Cookies, I’d imagine they would go wonderfully with the brown butter.
Can I make these cookies smaller?
These cookies spread to about 4″ in size. For smaller cookies, use a medium cookie scoop to portion the dough, this should double the number of cookies. Smaller cookies will bake faster, so reduce the baking time by 3 – 4 minutes.
Can you make these cookies gluten free?
I haven’t done a lot of gluten free baking myself, but some readers have substituted gluten free flour successfully in other recipes. I’ve used Bob’s Redmill all-purpose gluten free baking flour once before and it worked great in a blondies recipe, the substitution is 1:1.
My cookie dough is crumbly, what’s wrong?
If you have seen my Brown Butter Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, I did some extensive testing on them because a lot of readers ran into this issue with crumbly cookie dough. I couldn’t really replicate it 100% but I could see where those questions were coming from.
The reason you may end up with crumbly cookie dough is due to the lack of water from browning the butter. Regular butter contains about 20% water, when you brown it, all the water evaporates.
So in this recipe I added sour cream to soften the cookie dough and it really makes a difference. This tip came from one of the readers who made the peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. You could also add milk instead of sour cream. See the recipe card for substitution ratio.
My cookies didn’t spread at all, what’s wrong?
- Did you measure the flour correctly? Too much flour will cause the cookies to spread less.
- Did you reduce the amount of sugar? Sugar is considered a wet ingredient, reducing it, will affect the texture of the cookies and cause them to spread less.
- Did you forget to add sour cream or milk? This will yield a dry cookie dough and the cookies won’t spread as much.
How to store fully baked chocolate chip pecan cookies
Fully baked cookies will last for up to 3 days stored in an airtight container at room temperature. Beyond that, the cookies will still taste good but they will start to become harder.
How to store unbaked cookie dough
You can refrigerate this cookie dough for 2 – 3 days. To refrigerate the cookie dough, make sure to portion them first, and place them in a parchment-lined airtight container in one layer. Bake as instructed.
You can also freeze this cookie dough for 3 – 6 months. If you don’t have space in the freezer for a tray of cookie dough, you can refrigerate the dough balls first until they harden completely, then transfer them into a freezer bag and keep frozen.
These pecan chocolate chip cookies are perfect for making ahead when you need several dozens of cookies for a bake sale, or just to refill your freezer stash so you can have freshly baked cookies whenever you want. Also, they’re perfect for your holiday baking list.
How to bake frozen cookies?
You can bake these cookies straight from frozen or thaw them in the refrigerator overnight. You can also partially thaw them on a baking sheet on the counter top while you preheat the oven. Increase baking time by 1 – 2 minutes for partially frozen and frozen cookie dough.
More recipes with brown butter
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, send me a photo, rate it and don’t forget to tag me @wildwildwhisk on Instagram. I’d love to see what’s cooking up in your kitchen. Cheers!
Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies
- 8 oz unsalted butter (227 g, yields ~6 ½ oz brown butter)
- 1 ½ cup brown sugar (light or dark, 273 g)
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tablespoon sour cream (26 g, see note for substitution)
- 1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour (299 g)
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chip (~6 oz, 170 g)
- 1 ½ cup pecans (toasted & chopped, 168 g)
- 18 whole pecans for decoration (optional)
- To brown butter, heat unsalted butter in a light colored saucepan over medium heat, whisking occasionally. The butter will melt, become foamy, and then form clear bubbles, keep whisking continuously at this point to keep the milk solids from burning. When the butter is caramel in color and smells nutty, turn off the heat.
- Allow the butter to cool completely before making the cookie dough. It’s okay if the butter resolidifies, but is still soft.
- Roast the pecans in a skillet over medium heat for 3 - 5 minutes until toasty and fragrant. Let cool and roughly chop into smaller pieces. If using additional pecans for decorations, keep those whole.
- Add brown sugar to the cooled brown butter and beat with the paddle attachment for 2 minutes until lighter in color.
- Add the egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract, sour cream and continue beating for another 2 minutes until fluffy.
- In another mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir in the kosher salt and give it a good mix to distribute. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredient mixture in the stand mixer bowl, stir until incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary.
- Add the chocolate chips and pecans, and stir to incorporate. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl with a spatula and give it another good mix as needed.
- Portion the cookie dough with a large cookie scoop and place it on a parchment lined baking sheet. Refrigerate while the oven is preheating. (Optional: If you want the cookie to be rounder, roll the portioned dough into balls.)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Place 6 dough balls on a baking sheet, about 2 inches apart, press a whole pecan on top if using and bake 1 batch at a time for 14 - 15 minutes, until the outer edges of the cookies are golden brown.
- Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- You can substitute 4 teaspoons of milk instead of 2 tablespoons of sour cream. 4 teaspoons is not a typo, use less milk if substituting because milk has higher water content.
- Other types of chocolate can be substituted if you prefer.
- You can use a smaller cookie scoop to make smaller cookies, and double the number of cookies. Smaller cookies will bake faster, reduce the baking time by 3 - 4 minutes in this case
- The cookie dough can be kept frozen once portioned. You can bake from frozen and increase baking time by 1 - 2 minutes.
- Refer to the post for more troubleshooting tips and FAQs.