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Swapping in brown sugar adds wonderful richness to these delicious Brown Sugar Cookies!

Brown Sugar Cookies

Brown Sugar Cookies are a clever twist on the traditional sugar cookie recipe – and they are absolutely delicious! Thanks to some simple swaps – these Brown Sugar Cookies are so much more rich and flavorful than any other sugar cookie I’ve eaten.

How do you make Brown Sugar Cookies?

First, unsalted butter is melted and browned in a skillet before being mixed into the cookie batter. Also, brown sugar is used in this recipe instead of all granulated sugar. These Brown Sugar Cookies bake up perfectly chewy with that crisp, sugar cookie crackle on top. After one bite – I think you’ll agree that this is one very special cookie recipe!

Brown Sugar Cookies

Santa would be very happy to see these Brown Sugar Cookies on his Christmas Eve cookie tray this year. (You’ll be very happy too!)

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook.

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Brown Sugar Cookies - A Family Feast

Brown Sugar Cookies

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 2 dozen


Note on brown sugar: The America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook clearly states to use fresh brown sugar as older dried out brown sugar will yield a dry cookie. Another note on ovens: This recipe works best at exactly 350 degrees F. In 12 minutes or so, the cookies are perfectly baked. Most ovens have small temperature drops and increases as the oven works to maintain that temperature. Some ovens do this very well and others not so well. So I experimented and baked each pan slightly differently. The first batch was spot on 350 for the whole 12 minutes and the cookies were perfect. The second batch was baked in an oven that fluctuates a bit and that batch did not puff up or brown as nicely as the first batch. Just suggesting that for this recipe, oven temperature is critical.


  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter ( sticks), divided
  • 2 cups brown sugar, divided (The original recipe called for dark brown sugar, however we used light brown sugar. Also see note above.)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • 1 large whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


  1. In a medium sauce pan place 10 tablespoons of butter. Try not to use non-stick or a dark pan so that you can see the color of the butter as it browns. Bring heat to medium high and melt the butter. Once it melts, keep swirling the pan and cook about one to three minutes longer until the color is caramel brown and the smell is toasty. Pour into a large metal bowl and add the remaining cold butter to the browned butter. This butter mixture needs to cool for 15 minutes or so before it can be used. I placed mine in the refrigerator to cool while I measured out the other ingredients.
  2. Place oven rack in center of oven, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In a small bowl, mix ¼ cup of brown sugar with the ¼ cup of granulated sugar. Mix thoroughly making sure there are no lumps and set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.
  5. Once the melted butter has cooled, stir in the remaining brown sugar and salt. Make sure it is fully incorporated.
  6. Use a rubber spatula and scrape down the bowl then add the whole egg, egg yolk and vanilla extract. Mix with the spatula or a wooden spoon to combine.
  7. Scrape the bowl again and add in the flour mixture. Mix until fully combined.
  8. Pour the dough out onto your counter and roll into a log. Cut the log in half. Cut each half into quarters then each piece into thirds, yielding 24 pieces.
  9. Roll each into a ball, roll in the reserved sugar mixture then place on the prepared pans, 12 per pan.
  10. Bake one pan at a time for 12-14 minutes, see note on oven temperature.
  11. Let sit on the pan for five more minutes then transfer to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature (but they are very delicious eaten while still warm).

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

You may like these other Cookie recipes:

Saigon Cinnamon Ginger Cookie

Crispy Zaletti Cookies

Rum Raisin Sugar Cookies

Brown Sugar Cookies

Brown Sugar Cookies

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  • Desiree Ball wrote:

    I saw that you this recipe can not be used as a cookie cutter recipe. I still want to try this recipe though. What can you recommend that I add to help make it more of a cookie cutter recipe?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Desiree – Without some testing of the recipe, I’d only be guessing at the changes you’d need to make. As written, the cookies do spread as they bake so it could be a combination of less butter or more flour as a starting point, but I’m sure there is more you’d need to tweak. Please let us know how it comes out!

  • Jude wrote:

    Would it be possible to just…scoop the dough out with cookie scoops, or does it really need to be rolled into a log and cut?

    • Martha wrote:

      Sure Jude – you can do that if you prefer.

  • Claudine Landry wrote:

    Cookies did not spread !

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Claudine – When cookies don’t spread or spread too much, it’s usually an issue with oven temperatures being cooler (in your case) or hotter (in the case of spreading too much). You could try bumping up the temperature a little to see if your batter spreads more as bakes. Hope that helps!

  • Linda wrote:

    Can’t wait to make these. ALSO, thank you for making printing the recipe so logically easy.

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re welcome Linda! Hope you enjoy the cookies!

  • Sabrina kirby wrote:

    Family loved them! With the butter & the sugar these were very rich. Four out of four family members voted that we definitely need to make these again. I have three picky boys and this pleased them all. Thanks!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks so much Sabrina! As the mom of a very picky eater myself, I love hearing stories like yours. So glad the cookies were a hit!

  • Dg wrote:

    Very buttery but too fussy to make. They we ok not very sweet. I think they would be good with white chocolate chips

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for your feedback – adding white chocolate chips will certainly make the cookies sweeter.

  • Jill Starman wrote:

    This all look amazing, I’m excited to make them. Can these be rolled out to use cookie cutters?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Jill – No – this a drop cookie not a rolled-dough cookie. Sorry!

  • Fran wrote:

    WHY light brown sugar and not the dark as originally specified?

    • Martha wrote:

      It’s what we had on hand Fran. As mentioned, you can use either light or dark.

  • Kent wrote:

    My Mom’s trick with brown sugar is to keep it in the freezer. It isn’t really any harder to use and it extends the moistness period. She will often put a damp (squeeze as much moisture as you can out of it) paper towel in with the brown sugar to help it stay moist.
    As for fluctuating ovens, a couple of bricks on the bottom, not on the elements but the bottom itself, will help stabilize the temperature. My sister leaves a pizza stone in the oven on the bottom shelf to do the same thing.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks so much for the suggestions Kent! We use the ‘slice of bread in the brown sugar’ trick – but I never heard of the paper towel trick! Have a great weekend!

  • 2pots2cook wrote:

    Thank you ! I am very happy to see brown sugar cookies, too ! Have a pleasant weekend !

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