Brown Butter Pecan Cookies

Salted brown butter pecan cookies are one of the best recipes I’ve ever made. Try out tis recipe and see why.

Ingredients in Brown Butter Pecan Cookies:

  • chopped pecans
  • unsalted butter
  • salt
  • flour
  • cornstarch
  • cinnamon
  • baking soda
  • light brown sugar
  • granulated sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • eggs
  • pecan halves for the tops
  • smoked sea salt flakes- I prefer Maldon- Buy here

What are ‘brown butter” pecan cookies:

Brown butter cookies are made by browning the unsalted butter in a pan over low heat until it turns a deep rich brown color. Let the butter cool completely and use only the solids and liquid butter. Anything that appears burnt , should be spooned out of the butter and tossed.

More on this recipe:

This recipe also has the pecans chopped and toasted in salt and even more butter.

Mix the cookie dough’s chill for ONE HOUR then portion out cookies onto a baking sheet. Top each cookie with a perfect pecan half and a sprinkle of smoked sea salt flakes. this is next level cookie baking.

These two extra steps create an incredible depth of flavor not achieved by just mixing the ingredients in the traditional creaming then adding in flour method.

Where to buy the best pecans?

Being from the South, I am partial to Georgia pecans. I always order up a large bag every fall from LANE Southern Orchards. Buy HERE. or from Pearson Farm ( over 135 years old) . Buy Pearson pecans HERE.

You can also find excellent pecans at Adcocok Pecans or Elliott .

Did you know that pecans have the highest level of antioxidants of any nut? A pecan has a ORAC rating (oxygen Radical Absorbance capacity) of 17,940* National Institute of Health.

I also recommend pecans and peaches from Genuine Georgia- a community of cooperative growers of peaches and pecans in Georgia. Learn more HERE.

How to store pecans:

  • Naturally high in oil content, store unshelled pecans in a mesh bag in a cool dark room for 6-12 months.
  • Airtight containers – like a mason jar- are best for shelled pecans kept in the fridge.
  • Zip top bags are perfect for storing shelled pecans in the freezer– my preferred method.
  • Shelled pecans can go rancid quickly if not kept chilled or frozen.
Chop pecans well. Be sure to save 18 pecan halves for decorating

Once you brown the butter, it is equally important to toast your pecans in a bit of butter and add a dash of kosher salt. Additionally, I add sea salt flakes before baking. Some recipes call for sprinkling on more sugar, but I love the briny taste of sea salt flakes. The delicate flavor melts away and almost prepares your palette for the sugars and nuts. I prefer Maldon Sea Salt flakes, purchase here for $5.49 a box which will last you forever.

On medium heat, toast pecans until fragrant.
Make your browned butter for the dough

Pair these cookies with a tall glass of ice cold milk or for adult milk and cookies, how about milk with a shot of Blanton’s Bourbon Cream. These aren’t your grandma’s cookies, so why not throw in a little adult beverage? You know, come to think of it, grandma would probably approve.

Other delicious pecan recipes to try:

Pro-tips to make the Best Brown Butter Pecan Cookies:

  1. Chill the dough at least one hour.
  2. Use a parchment paper lined baking sheet
  3. Make certain your oven temperature is pre-heated to 375. Use an oven thermometer to check the temp.
  4. Do not skip the salt flakes. Most grocery stores now carry sea salt flakes. I box is not very expensive and it lasts forever. I prefer the smoked sea salt flakes, but plain is delicious as well.
  5. Check to make certain your pecans have not gone rancid. Taste them before you toast them- if they taste bitter or spoiled- compost and buy fresh pecans.
Whisk in flour and other dry ingredients
Fold in those gorgeous toasted pecans.
This dough needs at least one hour to chill.
Leave 2 inches in between each cookie.

Brown Butter Pecan Cookies

Recipe by Meggen Wilson Course: Holiday Baking, MOST POPULAR RECIPES, Sweet Tooth


Prep time


Cooking time





This recipe makes 18 large cookies. Sometimes, it is worth going to the trouble to make a recipe really special. This is one of those times. Browning butter, toasting pecans and adding sea salt flakes are SO important to this recipe. Yes, it takes a little extra time, but hey, who wants to serve a plain old pecan cookie.


  • 1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped

  • 2 TBSP unsalted butter

  • pinch Kosher salt

  • 2 1/4 cup flour

  • 2 1/2 TBSP cornstarch

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter

  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 2 large eggs

  • 18 pecan halves for decorating

  • Sea Salt flakes


  • Melt 2 TBSP of butter in a large pan. Add pecans, a dash of salt and toast until fragrant- about 3-5 minutes. Do not burn or overcook or pecans will become bitter. Remove from pan and set aside in a bowl or on a sheet of parchment paper to cool until needed for dough.
  • For the browned butter:
  • In a medium skillet that is clean and dry, melt butter over medium low heat. Swirling the pan, watch the butter as it slowly becomes brown- it will hiss, pop and bubble- this is normal. Keep swirling the pan until you see brown bits on the bottom of the pan and the butter has turned golden brown. Remove from heat. Pour browned butter, bits and solids into a large bowl .
  • Into the brown butter, mix in both sugars until smooth and well combined. Add in vanilla and beat in eggs until well mixed.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.
  • Carefully fold flour mixture into the browned butter bowl. Fold in toasted pecans from earlier. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour. You can chill overnight, but if you do, let the cookie dough sit out for 30 minutes before forming balls.
  • Pre heat oven to 375. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop dough with a small scoop to form round balls of dough. Slightly flatten the dough and place a perfect pecan half on top. Place on prepared cookie sheet leaving 2″ between cookies. Sprinkle with Sea Salt Flakes. I prefer Maldon. Bake for 9-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on a wire rack. Cookies will be soft in the center. If a bit of butter melts out from the cookie leaving a “lacy” edge, just trim it away.
  • You can freeze this dough up to 2 months.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. margaret arthur says:

    i love seeing you use the china i gave you so many years ago.

  2. Melanie Leach says:

    This recipe is so delicious! And you are right, using the special salt it really makes a difference. So fun to see you using your gifts!

    1. Meggen Wilson says:

      Love flakey sea salt. The best. Thanks SO much Melanie! Merry Christmas to your beautiful family.

  3. Melanie Leach says:

    These cookies are delicious! And you are right, the special salt makes a difference.
    So fun to see you using your gifts!