Brown Sugar Cookies Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 25 + chilling. Bake: 10 min./batch
These brown sugar cookies are reminiscent of a classic sugar cookie’s soft and tender bite. But with the addition of molasses, the cookies have a deeper, richer flavor and even more tenderness.

Updated: May 23, 2024

Our brown sugar cookies are more than what meets the eye. They have a deep, molasses brown sugar taste with a tender texture, but what sends them over the top is the secret ingredient: browned butter. The golden brown version of regular butter imparts a robust nuttiness that easily catapults this cookie recipe into our list of favorite cookies. With notes of caramel, soft centers and gorgeously crackled tops, brown sugar cookies are perfect for autumnal baking.

Brown Sugar Cookie Ingredients

  • Butter: We believe good baking starts with good butter. Our Test Kitchen experts put together a list of their favorite butter brands so we can all get seriously tasty baking results.
  • Dark brown sugar: Not all brown sugars are created equal. Dark brown sugar is the more perfect choice for these cookies.
  • Eggs: You’ll need one room-temperature egg and an egg yolk to make these cookies.
  • Corn syrup: Besides adding sweetness, corn syrup adds moisture to the cookies, keeping them softer for a longer period of time.
  • Vanilla extract: Do you love to bake? If so, grab one of our Test Kitchen-recommended vanilla extract brands from the store. Quality of flavor makes all the difference in any baking recipe.
  • All-purpose flour: Most cookie recipes use all-purpose flour for its perfect mix of hard and soft wheat.
  • Salt: A bit of salt is necessary to offset the deep, nutty, caramel flavors in this brown sugar cookie recipe.
  • Leavening agents: You’ll need both baking soda and baking powder to get the fluffy, tender texture.
  • Sugar: We do use a bit of white granulated sugar to coat the outsides of the cookies. Granulated sugar is best for crisping, while dark brown sugar adds moisture and tenderness.


Step 1: Brown the butter

Cook the butter until the milk solids are golden brownTMB Studio

In a small heavy saucepan, melt the cubed butter over medium heat. Cook the butter until the milk solids are golden brown, five to seven minutes, stirring constantly. Immediately pour the butter into a large mixing bowl to stop the cooking process (or the butter will burn). Cool the browned butter at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Step 2: Create the cookie dough

Beat the brown sugar and the egg in a hand mixerTMB Studio

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat 1-1/4 cups brown sugar, the egg and egg yolk, the corn syrup and the vanilla extract into the browned butter until blended.

Whisk together the all-purpose flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder in other bowlTMB Studio

In another bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder.

Beat the flour and butter mixture togetherTMB Studio

Gradually beat the flour mixture into the browned butter mixture.

Step 3: Roll in sugar

Toss the cookie dough balls in the sugar mixture until they’re fully coatedTMB Studio

In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and the remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Shape the cookie dough into 1-inch balls and roll. Toss the cookie dough balls in the sugar mixture until they’re fully coated. Place the cookie dough balls 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.

Editor’s Tip: Use a cookie scoop to portion out the cookie dough for consistency and convenience.

Step 4: Bake the cookies

Crispy Brown Sugar Cookies on green backgroundTMB Studio

Bake the cookies until the tops begin to crackle and the edges are set, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for five minutes, then transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely to room temperature.

Recipe Variations

  • Don’t roll in sugar: If adding that extra layer of sugar seems too sugary for you, feel free to skip that step. It’s not detrimental to the integrity of these cookies.
  • Add your favorite mix-ins: We love the simplicity of these cookies, but you can most certainly add a little razzle-dazzle with various mix-ins. Toasted nuts, chocolate chips and even warming baking spices like sweet cinnamon and complementary nutmeg pair perfectly with the flavors in these cookies.
  • Decorate with a glaze: There’s no finishing touch quite like a vanilla glaze. Or, stick with the deep, dark brown sugar flavors and whip up our maple glaze for doughnuts recipe. Just add in a little extra confectioners’ sugar to make the glaze thicker and better suited for drizzling on cookies.

How to Store Brown Sugar Cookies

Keep the cookies on their wire racks to cool completely to room temperature, then transfer them to an airtight container. Place a piece of parchment or waxed paper in between any stacked layers. These cookies can be kept at room temperature for up to five days. Honestly, the flavor of the cookies becomes more pronounced as they sit, and they may even taste their best the day after baking.

If you’re a frequent cookie baker, invest in a good cookie storage container. To keep these cookies nice and soft, stick a slice of bread in the container too. The bread keeps the cookies moist and prevents them from hardening over time. It’s one of our favorite cookie storage tips!

Can you freeze brown sugar cookies?

Yes, you can freeze baked or unbaked brown sugar cookies. Transfer room-temperature baked cookies into an airtight container, laying pieces of parchment or waxed paper in between any stacked cookie layers so the cookies don’t stick, and store them in the freezer for up to three months. Thaw the cookies overnight in the fridge or on the counter for a few hours.

To freeze cookie dough, line a baking sheet with parchment, then roll the cookie dough into balls (but don’t toss them in the sugar just yet) and place them right next to each other on the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer until the cookie dough balls are hard, 30 to 60 minutes. Transfer the cookie dough balls to a resealable bag or airtight container, and keep them in the freezer for up to three months.

Once you’re ready to bake them, toss the cookies in the sugar mixture and bake them from frozen for three to five minutes longer than the original instructions.

Brown Sugar Cookies Tips

Crispy Brown Sugar Cookies stacked on each other on green backgroundTMB Studio

Can you use light brown sugar instead of dark brown sugar?

You can use light brown sugar in place of dark brown sugar, but keep in mind that dark brown sugar has about twice the molasses of light brown sugar, so the flavor won’t be as deep, the cookies will be lighter in color and the texture will be just a little less soft.

Why did the brown sugar cookies stay in balls instead of flattening?

If your cookies stayed in balls instead of flattening during baking, you may have mismeasured the all-purpose flour. Liquid in cookie dough makes the cookies spread, and flour does the opposite. Here’s how to measure flour most accurately. We could all use a refresh on the technique now and again!

Easy Brown Sugar Cookies

Prep Time 10 min
Yield about 4-1/2 dozen.


  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1-1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar, divided
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon dark corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar


  1. In a small heavy saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Heat 5-7 minutes or until golden brown, stirring constantly. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Cool at room temperature 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°. Beat in 1-1/4 cups brown sugar, egg, egg yolk, corn syrup and vanilla until blended. In another bowl, whisk flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder; gradually beat into butter mixture.
  3. In a small bowl, combine sugar and remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Shape dough into 1-in. balls; roll in sugar mixture. Place 2 in. apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.
  4. Bake until tops begin to crackle and edges are set, 10-12 minutes. Cool on pans 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Nutrition Facts

1 cookie: 64 calories, 3g fat (2g saturated fat), 14mg cholesterol, 62mg sodium, 9g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein.

Brown sugar is an amazing ingredient to use in baking: its notes of molasses and caramel add complexity without being overwhelming. When paired with browned butter in this chewy (and delicious!) cookie recipe, brown sugar's butterscotch richness becomes the star of the show. —Kim Shupe, Lake City, Michigan