Butter Pecan Cookies

I love butter pecan cookies; I love the way they melt in your mouth; I love the taste of pecans, and of course the taste of butter. This recipe is adapted from a recipe in Everyday Food magazine. Note to self: follow directions! I forgot to flatten the cookies until they were about half-way done baking, so they didn’t turn out quite as pretty as they could have. Still, they lasted about an hour here.

By the way, here’s a tip I learned over lunch with Bay Area pastry chef Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater. Cream the butter first. Then add sugar and cream them together. This is the way it is supposed to be done. (Thanks Shuna!)

Butter Pecan Cookies Recipe

Ingredients

3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar, plus more for coating
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

Method

1 Preheat oven to 350°. On a baking sheet, toast pecans until fragrant, about 6 minutes. Let cool completely; finely chop.

2 With an electric mixer, cream butter for about a minute. Add 1/3 cup sugar and cream until light, about 1 minute more. Beat in vanilla, salt, and flour, scraping down sides of bowl, just until dough comes together. Fold in pecans.

3 Separate dough into 12 pieces; squeeze dough to shape into balls. Roll in sugar. Place, 3 inches apart, on a baking sheet.

4 Gently flatten with the bottom of a glass (reshape sides if necessary). Sprinkle with sugar.

5 Bake until golden brown, rotating sheet halfway through, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with more sugar. Cool cookies on a wire rack.

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Adapted from Everyday Food magazine.

50 Comments

  1. Nic

    Classic holiday cookie. Everyday Food’s recipes are so simple – I just love them! Great choice, Elise.

  2. Nupur

    They seem perfect for this time of year! What a delicious cookie.

  3. Linda

    1/2c butter only makes 12 cookies?? That seems hardly worth the trouble at least for my family.
    Did I not read the recipe correctly? They sound great.

  4. Elise

    Hi Linda,
    Yep, I think that’s why they are called butter cookies. To make more, I would just double the recipe.

  5. Shuna

    Elise— You’re welcome!

    And thank you— those beautiful granny Smith apples were make into a big thanksgiving apple pie. The were dense and flavourful so thank you for your generous spirit.

    Pecans make the most buttery cookies, yes. That’s why butter-walnut ice cream never made it big…!

  6. babe_kl

    Hey elise, thanks for sharing this recipe, it’s so simple and I love pecan.

  7. Rorie

    I think you may have baked the ultimate cookie! Yum!

  8. chris

    Pecan…humm, was neaver a big fan but took this very same recipe and added chop rosted almonds and WOW what a nice treat we had ;-)

  9. Tim

    When I made these the dough came out more like fine-crumbly pie crust dough. Is this expected? Maybe I’m just not used to making these kinds of cookies…

  10. Elise

    Hi Tim,
    Yes, that is what the dough is like, very crumbly, very delicate. They bake up beautifully though.

  11. Joi

    Cookies without pecans are just pretending to be cookies! I can’t wait to try this one out…it sort of reminds me of Pecan Sandies without the powdered sugar. I think maybe the pecans will be more noticable this way – a GREAT thing in my opinion!
    -Joi

  12. Liz

    My husband doesn’t like pecans at all (even in things) so that means that I will get to eat all of the cookies! Not so good for the “after holiday waist line”, but great for the tastebuds! Thanks Elise!

  13. kalyn (not from kalyn's kitchen blog)

    I made these cookies on the weekend and they were delicious, but I couldn’t keep them from burning around the edges (melted butter and sugar). Does anyone have any tips?

  14. Isabella

    Do you bake the cookies also at 350° or is this only the temperature to roast the pecans? I know, stupid question…but I never baked pecan cookies before.

    Note from Elise: Yes, bake the cookies at 350°F as well.

  15. Michael T

    I found the dough just a teeny bit too sticky to flatten. I wound up using my fingers. Also, when you scale it up, should you continue to use proportional amounts of flour, slightly more or slightly less? I wound up needing to scale up 4x to get 4 dozen cookies.

    If the dough is sticky, you should add a little flour to it. The proportions should be the same though. ~Elise

  16. Susan

    I thought where is the egg? The dough was super dry and hard to work with. I made eight big cookies, but very dry ones….

    Maybe I’ll add egg next time.

  17. Tabitha

    Just made these to give as a gift- they turned out to be sooooo delicious! Light and crispy with tons of flavor. I’ll need to make more to keep at home. Thank you for the fantastic recipe. I also made Suzanne’s Best Brownies(to DIE for) and Pumpkin Biscotti(super yummy). I just happened to stumble across your website/blog for the first time today- Absolutley thrilled to have found it- thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

  18. Russell

    I’v made these 4 times now, and every time they were perfect! I don’t roll the cookie ball in suger, I only put it on top. They are soooooooooo good! Thanks

  19. Cindy

    There’s just something about the combination of toasted pecans and butter that is soooo aromatic. These were delicious. They made exactly 1 dozen cookies. My dough was rather dry as well, though I’m sure they would’ve baked up fine anyway, but I added one egg yolk just to add some moisture. The texture was perfect – crumbly, buttery and sandy. The salt and light dusting of sugar added dimension. I did get some burning around the edges, but cut them off with a cookie cutter.

  20. ishboo

    I just tried this recipe, very good indeed and a very adaptable recipe. Next time I am gonna try a little rum, either extract or the real thing.

  21. Diana

    I made this recipe today. I usually have toasted pecans in the freezer so it was simple to pull them out and chop them. I didn’t chop finely and they were delicious. What a keeper! I’m not surprised that they were adapted from Everyday Food. My favorite magazine.

  22. Angie F

    I made these for out-of-town wedding guest gift bags, and they have replaced another recipe I had for pecan shortbread cookies. They are simply wonderful, and so easy to make. Thanks!

  23. Diana Jeffrey

    I have made this recipe twice and both times they are outstanding. Crunchy, buttery tasting and they’re hard to eat just one. Very good.

  24. Cathy

    These are absolutely delicious and super easy to make with my toddler. I saved half of the dough (already rolled into sugary balls) in the freezer. Do you think they will come out ok? GREAT recipe! Thank you, Elise!

    I don’t see why they wouldn’t turn out fine. ~Elise

  25. Charles sroka

    I would guess, remember only a guess that if you split the sugar, i/2 light brown sugar and 1/2 of the sugar, cane sugar not off brand sugar which is beet sugar,,hat totals the 1/3 cup required in the recipe…brown sugar makes a cookie a bit more moist…Now remember,, it is only a good guess on my part… OR, you can split the sugar, 1/2 of it sugar and 1/2 of it HONEY….total 1/3 cup sugar….

  26. Erika

    VERY USEFUL TIP:
    I added 1/2 Cup more Flour & 1 Egg

    I got 23 Cookies out of it…I highly suggest doing this…the cookies were perfection.

    I also got frustrated using a glass because it made the cookie completely fall apart so I used the palm of my hand to flatten them, it worked like a charm!! Then I just sprinkled sugar on the top before baking.

  27. LUCINDA

    These cookies were very tastey, however I need to know what I may have done wrong. I followed the directions to the letter. When they were baking they flattened out, and were more like a cookie chip. They did not look like the nice picture you have displayed. We really liked the taste and so I need any suggestions as to what I did wrong.

    Hello Lucinda, gosh I don’t know what to tell you. Sounds like you might have needed a bit more flour to keep the cookies together. ~Elise

  28. jill

    Hi, thanks for the great recipe! It is easy, and they came out beautifully. I have to stop eating them, and need to make more for a cookie exchange.

  29. Suzanne

    Every year I’m always looking for the best cookie recipe to bake for Christmas. This is definitely a winner. I just baked them for Christmas and they were fantastic! I have a batch in the oven right now but I doubled the recipe this time. I also split them in half and added 1/4 cup of white chocolate chips. Not sure how it will taste but just sounded good to me. Thanks Elise for a great cookie recipe.
    Note: Didn’t have any trouble with the dough at all and it wasn’t crumbly or sticky. Came together perfectly.

  30. Kayleen

    I had some pecans and my family loves butter pecan icecream so thought that these would satisfy that craving in a different way and this recipe sounded the best. I doubled the recipe and only baked them for about 14 minutes and they turned out perfect and yummy!One hint:Dip the bottom of the glass in the sugar to flatten the cookies and it won’t stick to the cookie.I got 28 cookies out of the batch.It really depends on how big you make the balls for how many cookies you get. Thanks for the delicious recipe!

  31. Nailya

    Tried your recipe, my husband loves it. But I personally think that sugar and butter content needs to be decreased for this cookies to taste better.

  32. Christina

    The cookies tasted deeeeelicious! Of course, mine did not look like the ones in the picture, they totally flattened out, I think it may have been in part because my dough was sticky and not crumbly (I didn’t read some of the reviews before trying it), maybe next time I will add even more flour. They were really easy to make and extra tasty!

  33. Jeanine

    Made them (doubled) today–the dough was very crumbly, but the cookies came out with a nice shortbread-like texture. Everyone enjoyed them, while I tried not to think about how we were eating half a pound of butter. ;)

  34. jean

    Nice shortbread cookies, very good.

  35. Bibi

    I’ve made these twice now. The second time I doubled the batch…but they didn’t turn out as well. Tonight I’m going to make just one batch, because they were perfect the first time.

    Do you think using confectioner’s sugar would affect the cookie negatively? I’m trying to use it up (and am a novice at baking). Thanks! :)

    You used confectioner’s sugar instead of regular granulated sugar? Yes, that would make a big difference. Those sugars are not interchangeable in baking. ~Elise

  36. Erin

    Made these today to rave reviews from my family. I doubled the recipe and got exactly 2 dozen cookies. I am wondering why so many other readers had trouble with the dough consistency because mine was perfect. Thanks for an easy and tasty cookie recipe with minimal clean up!

  37. Tiffany

    I made these last night and the batch was gone within 30 minutes. lol. I didn’t have any vanilla on hand but they were still delicious. Toasting the pecans made all the difference. Next time I’ll have to triple the recipe!

  38. Denise

    I made these this evening and doubled the recipe and it came out fabulous. The only thing I changed was I increased the oven temperature to 375F which browned the bottoms a little more but overall this is a great recipe and it’s going in my must save recipe box.

  39. Jessica

    its really dry and i think it should have eggs in it. it doesnt taste really good.

  40. John

    I just made these the other day, they tasted great, with the exception of rotating the cookies I followed the directions to the letter. My only problem is I let them bake for exactly 15 minutes because the directiobns said wait until they turned brown…they never did. Everyone in my family loves these. It’s just I’m hearing a lot of people say they were too hard (I admit they were very hard.) Anyone have any suggestions?

  41. Lulu

    I baked these to take to the boyfriend’s parents’ house for Christmas and they were a hit. I pressed a whole pecan into the top of each cookie, just to make them look a little more special.
    To the reviewer above, every oven is different, so you should probably bake a test batch first to be sure. 12 minutes in my oven and they came out perfect. (The first batch I baked a full 15 minutes and they browned too much along the edges and tasted a little burnt.)

    My boyfriend looked at me and said, “keep this recipe!”. LOL, I call that a success.

    Thanks, Elise!

  42. Alison

    Am I the only one who was confused by the fact that cream was mentioned in the directions but not in the ingredient list?

    In this case, “cream” is a traditional baking term. It means to beat until smooth. ~Elise

  43. Helen

    These are excellent! I doubled the ingredients to make 24. Top of my favourites for cookie recipes. Thanks Elise.

  44. Erika

    I love Butter Pecan Ice Cream so I thought I would try this cookie. Let me say that they are amazing. I followed the recipe exactly but instead of rolling the whole cookie in sugar I sprinkled some sugar on the tops of the cookies after flattening them. I will definitely make this recipe again. :) Yum!

  45. Limor

    I have made these cookies so many times now, they are just perfect! I gave them as present, and I have a friend that I can bribe him into doing just about anything if I promise him these cookies :-)

    I tried them with Almonds as well but I must admit that with pecans it’s much better. however, I tried doing half a cup flour, and half a cup grounded almonds. it was also delicious, more heavy with a bit of an almondi flavor. yummy!

  46. athina

    These cookies are RIDICULOUS!!! One must double the recipe- as the recipe makes a mere 12 cookies, and that is just a tease, if you ask me…:) These are probably one of the best cookies I’ve ever tried, the toasted pecans impart a wonderfully complex, intense, nutty flavor, harmonizing ever so perfectly with the butteriness. LOVE the “chompy” texture!I will definitely keep this recipe, and plan on making plenty of these for the holidays-I may make them bite size next time, so that there are more to eat!!!

  47. Katie

    Hi, I was wondering if this dough would be to delicate to freeze for baking later at Christmas? Thanks

    Good question. I haven’t tried freezing the dough, so don’t know. I’m guessing they would be fine. ~Elise

  48. janice

    Do you need to grease the baking sheet?

    No, there’s enough butter in the cookies. ~Elise

  49. Cathleen

    I’m on my 4th batch now and every time they came out beautiful. I reduced the size for gift giving and the cooking time by a minute or two. Terrific little morsels. Are there any variations I can try like sprinkling with cinnamon sugar or something that will also go nicely with the butter pecan taste? How about peanut butter chips?

  50. Lori

    Totally fantastic! A new favorite! Thanks for sharing!!

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