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Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies

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Experience the intertwined rich flavors of brown sugar and pecans in these melt-in-your-mouth Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies.

Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies on a white and grey cloth with a glass of milk at the back.

These cookie classics are perfect for the holiday season. But, of course, you can also indulge in their goodness any day of the year while having your casual afternoon tea.

If you want to get extra fancy, pair each serving with a scoop of lemon blueberry ice cream when it’s hot outside or a mug of butterbeer latte when it’s colder. 

Cookie recipes always make everyone want a piece. So, let’s get to baking!

Jump to:

Does the type of sugar you use for cookies matter?

Yes, the sugar you use when baking cookies matter. Although any type of sugar can work as long as you use the right amount of ingredient ratios.

Brown sugar will add moisture and a deeper, caramel-like flavor to your dessert, while white sugar will result in your cookies being thinner and crispier.


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❤️ Why You’ll Love This Recipe

There’s more to love about this pecan cookie recipe besides its sweetness, nutty flavor, and chewy goodness.

  • It is such a fun treat to bake. The enjoyable and simple process of making this cookie recipe will give you a wonderful and rewarding experience, even as a new baker. 
  • These cookies have a sensational texture. The contrast between the crunchy pecans and the soft, buttery cookie dough creates a delightful texture that makes you ask for more.
  • It has a heartwarming aroma. Baking these delicacies will fill your house with the comforting and nostalgic aroma of freshly baked cookies. 

Another pecan treat that’s fun to make and will surely bring back the kid in you with its sweetness is this Keto Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies recipe.

🥘 Ingredients

The ingredients for Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies.

You will only need simple ingredients for this butter pecan cookies recipe, so add these to your grocery list and treat yourself to a plate of these delicious baked cookies.

  • All-purpose flour: The flour will be the base of the cookie dough; it will provide a soft structure and tender texture to the cookies. Use fresh flour to ensure the quality of the cookies, and consider sifting it to have a smoother batter.
  • Baking soda and baking powder: These two leavening agents will ensure the cookies rise and achieve their preferred lightness. 
  • Unsalted butter: It will encapsulate the cookies with rich butter flavor. It’s best to soften the butter to room temperature to ensure it is well incorporated into the dough. 
  • Brown sugar: This will enhance the softness of the cookies and add a caramel-like flavor to each bite.
  • Large egg: The egg acts as a binding ingredient while providing moisture and adding structure to the dough.
  • Pecans: These are responsible for the cookies’ nutty flavor and crunchy texture. 
  • Milk: The milk will help dissolve the brown sugar and reach the desired consistency of the icing. Using fresh milk for this recipe guarantees that the frosting will be smooth and creamy.
  • Powdered sugar: This will serve as the primary sweetener of the icing.

See recipe card for complete list of ingredients and quantities.

🔀 Substitutions

All-purpose flour: You can use whole wheat flour if you want a nuttier flavor or gluten-free flour to prepare gluten-free cookies. Just keep in mind that the texture of the cookies might vary due to these substitutions.

Brown sugar: You can use muscovado sugar as an alternative. But since it has a stickier consistency, your batter may be harder to work with.

Large egg: If you do not want to use eggs to bake the cookies, you can use unsweetened applesauce or flaxseed gel instead. Applesauce is ideal for softer cookies, while flaxseed gel is an excellent gluten-free alternative.

Pecans: Almonds and walnuts can be alternatives for toasted pecans. Both will give you that crunch and still add a rich, nutty flavor to the cookies.

🌈 Variations / Options / Add-Ins

Here are variations you can try to make these cookies even more delightful!

  • Spiced Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies: Add a fun twist to this whimsical treat by incorporating nutmeg and ground cinnamon for a touch of warmth that contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the brown sugar.
  • Kidfriendly Treat: Make this recipe a bit more appealing to kids by creating a pecan cookie sandwich. Add a layer of peanut butter or chocolate hazelnut spread between two cookies for extra nuttiness or sweetness!
  • Citrus Zest Twist: Give these cookies a zesty burst of flavor by adding grated orange or zest of lemon to the dough. It will provide a refreshing contrast between the citrus notes and the richness of brown sugar and pecans. 

If you’re looking for another dessert for your next family gathering, you should try making these peanut butter stuffed cookies!

🥄 Equipment Needed / Helpful Tools

Prepare these tools to make the cooking process much easier later.

  • Mixing bowls: You will need two mixing bowls, one for the dry ingredients and the other mixing bowl will be for the sugar and butter. 
  • Electric mixer: An electric mixer will make it easy to mix the dry and wet. 
  • Measuring cups and spoons: You must accurately measure the ingredients to achieve optimal results.
  • Sifter or fine mesh sieve: You’ll want to sift the dry ingredients to avoid lumps and have a smoother batter.
  • Plastic wrap: It’s best to cover the dough with plastic wrap when you refrigerate it to prevent the cookies from drying.
  • Parchment paper: This will guarantee that the cookies won’t stick to the baking sheet, and it helps to bake them evenly.
  • Baking sheet or cookie sheet: This flat sheet will ensure that the cookies are baked properly and that there’s an even heat distribution while baking.
  • Saucepan: You will use a small saucepan to melt the ingredients for the icing.
  • Whisk: A whisk will help to combine the ingredients for the icing and create a smooth frosting.

🔪 How to Make Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies

This recipe might take some effort, but everything is worth it once you taste these pecan cookies!

Step 1: Sift the dry ingredients

Sift the flour, baking soda, and baking powder in a mixing bowl to ensure you’ll work with a smooth batter later.

Step 2: Cream the butter and sugar

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together in a separate bowl.

Butter and brown sugar in a glass mixing bowl.

Step 3: Add egg to the butter mixture

Add the egg to the butter and sugar mixture, then mix well until everything’s fully incorporated.

A bowl of butter and sugar mixture with egg.

Step 4: Combine dry and wet ingredients

Pour the sifted dry ingredients into the butter and sugar mixture and continue mixing until the mixture has a uniform color and texture.

Wet and dry ingredients in mixing bowl with wooden spoon in it.

Step 5: Add the pecans

Fold the chopped pecans into the cookie batter.

Cookie batter and pecans in a mixing bowl with wooden spoon in it.

Step 6: Refrigerate the cookie dough

Wrap the bowl containing the dough with plastic wrap. Then, let it sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Step 7: Prepare to bake

Preheat the oven to 350°F, and put parchment paper on the baking sheet.

Step 8: Create the cookie dough balls

Roll one-inch balls from the chilled dough and place each onto the prepared baking sheets.

A standard baking sheet should fit up to 12 cookie dough balls. Avoid overcrowding the sheet, as that can cause the cookies to melt onto each other while baking.

Cookie dough balls on a baking sheet.

Step 9: Bake the cookies

Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

Step 10: Let the cookies cool

Remove the cookies from the oven and let them completely cool down before topping them off with icing. 

Step 11: Make the brown sugar frosting 

In a small saucepan over medium heat, add brown sugar and milk. Let the mixture boil for about 4 minutes while stirring it occasionally. Then, remove it from the heat.

Brown sugar and milk in a small sauce pan.

Step 12: Add butter and sugar

While the frosting is still hot, add butter and mix. Add the ½ cup of powdered sugar as well, and then slowly incorporate the remaining sugar while you’re stirring the mixture.

Make sure to work quickly as the frosting can harden if you take too long to mix it. 

Frosting for Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies in a small saucepan with spoon in it.

Step 13: Arrange and serve

Add the icing on the cookies and top each one with extra pecans, if you prefer. Serve these cookies on their own, or pair them with your favorite drinks or snacks for everyone to enjoy.

Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies on a white and grey cloth with a glass of milk on the side.

👩‍🍳 Pro Tips

  • You can make smaller versions of these cookies that kids can enjoy more. Just roll smaller dough balls and decrease your baking time by a minute or two.
  • You may create the dough ahead of time. Just wrap it tightly and keep it in the fridge for up to 48 hours. When you’re ready to bake, just proceed with creating dough balls and baking.

❓ Recipe FAQs

Does this recipe work without pecans?

Absolutely! You can leave the pecans out for this recipe if you prefer not to include them. The base will still remain soft and chewy without any nuts. But, of course, you may also add toppings of your choice.

Do I need piping tips to add the frosting to this recipe?

No, you don’t need a piping tip to add the frosting to this recipe. The icing will likely clog the piping tips as the mixture thickens. So, using a knife or spatula to spread the frosting will be a much more efficient option.

How can I store leftover cookies?

You can store your leftover Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies inside an airtight container at room temperature for a week. Storing them in the fridge will also work. But, as colder temperatures often dry out cookies, I personally don’t recommend storing this dessert in the refrigerator.

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📋 Recipe

Brown sugar cookies with pecans.

Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies

Corinne Schmitt
Satisfy your sweet tooth with the nutty goodness of Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies. Each bite is a symphony of brown sugar and pecan perfection!
5 from 48 votes
Prep Time 18 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 33 minutes
Course Cookies
Cuisine American
Servings 18 cookies
Calories 127 kcal


  • Mixing bowls
  • Electric mixer
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • baking sheet or cookie sheet
  • Saucepan
  • Whisk


For the cookies:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 stick unsalted butter softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar packed
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • ½ cup pecans chopped into bits + extra for topping

For the icing:

  • ½ cup brown sugar packed
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar


To prepare the cookies:

  • Sift the following dry ingredients into a bowl: flour, baking powder, and baking soda,.
  • In another bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar using an electric mixer.
  • Add the egg to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix well.
  • Incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix well.
  • Fold in pecans into the cookie batter. Wrap the batter in plastic and refrigerate it for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Roll the cookie dough into one-inch balls. Then, place each one carefully on the lined cookie sheet (12 balls should fit on a standard cookie sheet).
  • Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool completely before adding the icing.

To make the icing:

  • Add milk and brown sugar to a small saucepan that’s heated over medium.
  • Bring the mixture a boil and continue letting it boil for about 4 minutes. Remove it from the heat after 4 minutes.
  • Add butter into the saucepan and mix. Then, pour 1/2 cup of powdered sugar into the mixture. While stirring, add the remaining sugar as well. Ensure that you work on the frosting quickly as it can harden quickly. To prevent the frosting from hardening, you can place the pot back on the lowest heat.
  • Frost each cookie, top with remaining pecans, and serve them!


  • You can make smaller versions of these cookies that kids can enjoy more. Just roll smaller dough balls and decrease your baking time by a minute or two.
  • You may create the dough ahead of time. Just wrap it tightly and keep it in the fridge for up to 48 hours. When you’re ready to bake, just proceed with creating dough balls and baking.


Calories: 127kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 1gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 27mgPotassium: 49mgFiber: 0.5gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 36IUVitamin C: 0.03mgCalcium: 21mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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