Cream Cheese Pecan Cookies


Buttery cookies with the tang of cream cheese and studded with chopped pecans.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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

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Cream Cheese Pecan Cookies Recipe

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Dough freezing time: 4 hours
  • Yield: Makes 4 1/2 dozen cookies

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


  • 3 cups 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


1 Bake the pecans to brown: 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 Make the cookie dough: 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 over-mix. Fold in the toasted pecans.

4 Shape into logs and freeze: 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 Roll logs of dough in pecans, cut into rounds: 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: Bake the cookies at 350°F 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

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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37 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Becca

    My cookies spread out too much. Also you haven’t mentioned in your recipe after you take the dough out of the freezer how long should we wait to cut and bake? So we thaw the dough on the counter or in the fridge?
    And if the dough is still cold and frozen to cut would the baking temp change along with the time?
    I am not a baker, don’t know.

    Show Replies (1)
  2. Stephanie

    This is a great recipe. I take care of a lady who loves pecan sandies. So we decided to find a recipe and make our own. This is pretty close. Only thing I changed was instead of rolling the frozen cookie dough In pecans. I added all the pecans to the dough before freezing!! Love these cookies. Thank you


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  3. Janice

    I liked these cookies but I sliced them too thick and they weren’t crisp like I had hoped. Definitely want to try again.

  4. Maria Mackey

    These are my go to cookies. I make the recipe above with two exceptions.

    I do not roll the cookie dough in the chopped pecans prior to baking. They didn’t still well enough when the dough was frozen.

    So I had all these extra nuts the first time I baked these cookies. So I heated up Ghirardelli Dark Melting (chocolate) wafers. I drizzled a little bit of chocolate over the cookies and then sprinkled the chopped pecans on (before the chocolate set).

    These are my families favorite cookies. And they look so pretty with chocolate drizzle.


  5. Taurra

    No fail recipe. Excellent cookie soft sandy buttery goodness. My family loved loved loved them. Getting ready to make a batch now. Can’t wait to share with my coworkers. Happy holiday


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