Cream Cheese Pecan Cookies

How many baking days are there left before Christmas? If you are still looking for good cookies to bake for a holiday platter, I urge you to give these cream cheese pecan cookies a whirl. The cookie recipe is a slight adaptation of an excellent walnut cookie by Martha Stewart, featured in her book, Cookies, a veritable cookie bible. The pecan cookie is like a tangy shortbread cookie, studded with toasted pecans. Eat ’em up yum!

Cream Cheese Pecan Cookies Recipe

  • Yield: Makes 4 1/2 dozen cookies.

You could easily use walnuts, pistachios, or cashews in place of the pecans.



  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 ounces cream cheese (not whipped), room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups pecans


1 Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Coarsely chop 1 1/2 cups of the pecans and spread them on a cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes or until the nuts are fragrant. Set aside to cool.

2 Whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl.

3 Beat together the butter and cream cheese in an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat for another minute. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the flour and salt until just combined. Do not overmix. Fold in the toasted pecans.

4 Transfer the dough to a work surface and divide the dough in half. Roughly shape each half into a 8-inch log about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap each log in plastic wrap and place in the freezer until firm, about 4 hours, but overnight is best. The dough can sit in the freezer for up to two weeks and about a month if wrapped and then placed in an airtight container.

5 Preheat the oven to 350ºF with racks on the upper and lower thirds. Finely chop the remaining 1 1/2 cups of pecans. Unwrap one of the logs of dough and roll in the pecans. Cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Space 1-inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone mats.

6 Bake cookies for 18-20 minutes or until the edges are a lightly golden. Rotate the cookies halfway through to ensure even baking. Let cool on the sheets for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining cookie dough.

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Martha Stewart's Cream Cheese Walnut Cookies


  1. Jennie M

    These look so pretty and sound yummy!

    How sturdy to they feel to you? Do you think the would hold up in a carefully packed box?

    Thank you!

    Ours were sturdy enough. I think they would hold up. ~Elise

  2. JS

    Gosh, this brings back memories of my favorite great aunt. She made these often and called them her “refrigerator cookies”. Sometimes she would vary the thickness of the slices. Sometimes she would add some cocoa to the mixture. She always liked to “square up” her cookie rolls so that the shape of the cookie she ended up with was sort of like a rectangle with bulging sides.

  3. Lulu

    These look delicious.
    I have a question. Do these cookies spread a lot, or do they stay about 2 inches in diameter?

    Now that I’ve eaten them all I don’t remember! I don’t think they spread a lot, but you should still leave room between the cookies on the tray. ~Elise

  4. Sy

    You lost me with the pecan instructions. What do you do with the ones that are already toasted if you put the ones that are not in the cookies?

    You fold in the toasted pecans into the cookie dough in step 3. You roll the logs in the untoasted pecans in step 5. ~Elise

  5. gina

    No leavening agent? Is this correct?

    That’s right. No leavening. ~Elise

  6. Jessica

    Out of curiosity, why do you only toast half the pecans? (As opposed to all or none?) Also, why the half that goes IN the cookies, rather than around the edge?

    Because the pecans around the edge will get toasted in the oven, as they are exposed to more air. The pecan surfaces that are surrounded by dough in the cookie itself will not toast. ~Elise

  7. Alexandra

    When rolling the logs in the untoasted pecans, are you supposed to be able to have the pecans stick right out of the freezer? Or do the logs have to thaw a bit?

    Take the dough out of the freezer. Then carefully chop the remaining pecans. Then roll the dough roll in the chopped pecans. If they don’t stick, wait a couple minutes and try again. ~Elise

  8. Gina

    Made these (and the orange poppy seed, peppermint bark, and cinnamonsnap cookies) for Christmas presents. All were loved. I subbed slivered almonds for the pecans and didn’t pre-toast anything (I was afraid I would burn the thin slivers). They were delicious! Thanks!

  9. Renee

    Sorry but just ok for me. I struggled too with the rolling a frozen log of cookie dough in pecans. Nothing stuck. Waited and waited…started pressing them in with my fingers after 15 min. Liked the cinnamon snap cookies better. But thanks for giving me recipes to try – most are delicious.

  10. Devon

    Thanks Elise. These were delicious! My husband loves pecans so these were ideal. I don’t really like making cookies, cuz I love savory flavors- not sweet. Your cream cheese pecan cookies were the only cookies I made this holiday season and I’m glad I did.

  11. Hazel

    Cookies are delicious – rich with just the right amount of cheesy tang. Not easy to make though – my cookies don’t look anywhere near as pretty as the photo. Still, worth the trouble. Thanks for the lovely recipe!

  12. Angela

    I LOVE shortbread and am a sucker for any different twist on the basic cookie. These were awesome!! After reading all the comments I decided to try something a little different during the process.

    After I made the dough, I put the rolled logs in the REFRIGERATOR for about 4 hours until firm then I rolled the logs in the chopped, raw pecans. After this I rolled each log in plastic wrap and stuck them in the freezer overnight. This way I had no trouble getting the pecans to stick to the rolls.

    Also in answer to Lulu’s question about spreading, these cookies didn’t. And also they were easy to slice in neat round pieces.

    I made these cookies for my son’s New Years party at work and the they were a hit!

    I kept an extra log in the freezer so now I can just slice off a few at time to bake when I need a sweetie to go with my tea.

    Thanks Elise

  13. don

    If completely frozen, I would recommend that these be thawed a bit. I would be baking cookies now, except for the knife not being able to penetrate the roll.

  14. Andrea

    I made these for a friend and they turned out great! I put pistachios and cranberries in to add some extra color as well as some orange zest for flavor. Delicious cookies and cookie dough ;)

  15. kayg

    would that be okay to have it as cashew nuts..? :)

    Don’t know. If you try it, please let us know how it turns out for you. ~Elise

  16. CaT

    perfect and delicious! hmmmmm…. :)

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