This melt-in-your-mouth butter pecan cookies recipe is the perfect cookie anytime and, of course, delicious addition to your holiday dessert platter. Nutty and buttery, crunchy and chewy, they are so delicious!
If you need just one more incredible dessert to complete your Christmas cookies spread, butter pecan cookies are for you! They are as quick and simple as our favorite spritz cookies; as refined as pfeffernusse cookies; and as beloved as Biscoff cookies. Plus, you can finish them however you want. I love the classic half pecan topping!
Let’s bake some cookies!
Christmas cookies just taste BETTER! More nostalgic, more delicious, more WOW! And this butter pecan cookies recipe takes all that to the next level.
- Whips together in 30 minutes!
- Holiday classic
- Nine simple ingredients
- Delicate and decadent!
Believe it or not, this butter pecan cookies recipe uses only NINE ingredients! And I guarantee you have most of them in your cupboard already. Here are some tips!
- Toasting the Pecans: This step is so important for the final flavor! Don’t forget to monitor the nuts closely to avoid scorching them or the butter. Frequent stirring helps with this, and also with even baking and distribution of butter. If you are oven-averse, the nuts can be browned on the stovetop as well.
- Eggs: If you are an old hat at baking, this step is something you have done hundreds if not thousands of times! But for my new bakers out there, there are a few easy ways to separate egg yolks from egg whites:
- Use your hand! Crack the egg over a bowl, catch the yolk, and let the white slip into the bowl. Just be sure to wash thoroughly afterward to avoid cross-contamination!
- Use a pasta spoon with holes. Let the white slide through the holes into a receptacle.
- My favorite method of all is using the egg shell itself – no extra dishes! Crack the egg, catch the yolk in one half, and tip it back and forth between halves until all the whites have drained. This is how I separate my eggs.
- Last but not least, check out Handmania’s clever recycled bottle method for separating yolks. This one is a great trick to share if you have kids helping.
- Crunchy vs. chewy: There are two sorts of cookie lovers: those who swear by the old crunchy standard, and those that go bananas over melty, doughy circles! The classic butter pecan is a little chewy in the center and crisp around the rim, which can keep both camps happy. If you want to push the needle further to one end of the scale, however, here’s how.
- For crunchy, cut back a tiny bit on the flour and brown sugar, and keep them in the oven for one to two extra minutes.
- For chewy butter pecan cookies, add a little more brown sugar and remove the cookies from the oven a minute or two early. Remember that cookies harden as they cool, so gauge your bake time accordingly!
- Design variations: If you want to test out a few different designs to add that extra pizazz to your cookie plate, try drizzling white icing across half of the batch, dusting some with powdered sugar, omitting the pecan on a few, or sugaring some of the pecans before baking. You can sugar the pecans on the stovetop using butter, brown sugar, and a little cinnamon.
- Butter pecan cookies with maple frosting are also on point. Maple frosting is made with butter, maple syrup, vanilla, cream, and powdered sugar. For salty sweet butter pecan cookies, try decorating with sea salt flakes and a little orange zest.
Best Way To Store
The best way to store the cookies is the same as all cookies: cooled! You MUST cool cookies before storing them. Warm cookies bring moisture, which will breakdown the structure of your cookies over time. No one wants that!
Once your cookies are cooled, store them in airtight containers at room temp for up to five days.
Can You Freeze This?
Yes! This butter pecan cookies recipe freezes beautifully. In that same airtight container, freeze your cookies for up to eight months.
Make Ahead Tips
This recipe comes with the tried and true cookie step: chilling! You gotta chill that dough so the butter solidifies. So, if you’d like to make the dough ahead of time, you can extend the chilling time for up to two days.
Go full-on Santa with a cold glass of milk or warm up with some hot tea or coffee.
The more, the merrier when it comes to Christmas cookies! Here are some of my absolute favorite holiday treats:
- Cream Cheese Spritz Cookies
- Chocolate Christmas Cookies
- Christmas Sugar Cookies
- Christmas Crack
- Christmas Butter Cookies
- Candy Cane Cookies
Butter Pecan Cookies
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter~divided
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- 1 egg separated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 cups pecans chopped
- 1 cup pecan halves
- In a large bowl, add 1 cup butter and brown sugar and mix until light and fluffy. Stir in egg yolk and vanilla. Gradually add flour, baking powder, and salt and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, place chopped pecans and remaining 1 tablespoon butter on a rimmed cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees, stirring frequently, for 5-7 minutes or until toasted and browned. Set aside and cool.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Roll dough into 1-in. balls, then roll in toasted pecans, pressing nuts into dough. Place on ungreased baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.
- In a small bowl, whisk egg white until foamy. Dip the bottom of pecan halves in egg white, shaking off excess, then gently press one into each ball. (Be neat with egg white as excess foam will remain after baking and not be attractive)
- Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks.