These brown butter chocolate chip cookies are crispy on the outside and gooey in the middle! Sprinkled with sea salt on top, the chocolate chips just melt in your mouth with the richness that only brown butter can give.
So, I grew up in a ‘because I said so’ household.
“Why can’t I have an Easy Bake Oven?” I no doubt said in the whiniest voice ever. “Because we have a real oven and because we said so!” was likely the answer from my very reasonable parents.
“Why can’t I wear these filthy overalls and Nirvana-inspired grunge flannel to church!?” I’d ask my mom as we rushed out of the house, almost late for service. “For so many reasons, but mostly because I said so!” Thank goodness for mothers.
So, with that in mind, I bring you the BEST chocolate chip cookies EVER… because I said so (and also because of browned butter).
I think I’ve posted this recipe on my blog before, but I’ve found a renewed spirit for these cookies after my friends at King Arthur Flour put these Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies to the test. They asked, in step-by-step pictures of butter melting and flour whisking, if these cookies were the very best there are.
The answer is up to you, really. Are the cookies that come out of your oven after mixing up this dough the best you’ve ever had?
The answer (in my opinion): HECK YES!! Obviously, and because I said so!
What is brown butter?
Brown butter is literally regular butter that you cook on the stove at low heat until it caramelizes and turns a golden brown color. There is a lot of science-y stuff going on when this happens. For one thing, as it cooks, it releases a deeper caramelized flavor. It also brings out the flavors in the butter, making it bolder. Here’s how to make browned butter.
If you love the taste of butter and want it to stand out or be more pronounced, brown it first. It’s the secret to these rich chocolate chip cookies!
Why these are the best cookies
- Using butter two ways (browned and softened) helps create a chewy and crisp texture. Chewy on the outside and crisp around the edges.
- Adding just a touch more than 2 cups of all-purpose flour helps maintain the not-totally-flat-and-frustrating quality of the cookie.
- Brown sugar and an extra kick of molasses lend depth to the sweetness.
- Dark chocolate and a touch of sea salt pair bitterness and salty tang with the sweet cookies.
- They’re perfect because of brown butter, sea salt… and because I say so.
How to make the best brown butter chocolate chip cookies
On a scale of 1 to croissants, chocolate chip cookies are pretty simple to bake. There are not a lot of attitudes, but a handful of things need to go more right than wrong when making this cookie batter.
Here are a few of my best tips that will help you not fail when you bake a batch of them.
1. Brown half of the butter
Half of the butter is browned to a golden amber color. The milk solids in the butter will also brown and gather at the bottom of the skillet. Make sure every bit of these browned butter bits makes it into the batter.
We want all of their flavors!
2. Make sure to measure the flour
Measuring the 2 1/4 cups of flour needed for this recipe is a big deal. We’ve discussed measuring cups vs. kitchen scales and learned the best way to measure flour into measuring cups.
It takes a light but deliberate touch. Don’t just guess. The cookies will NOT turn the way they are supposed to.
3. Use a stand mixer for wet ingredients
A stand mixer or hand mixer is nice for incorporating wet ingredients such as butter, sugar, and eggs. A wooden spoon, elbow grease, and patience will also yield the same effects. It’s just way easier to let the machine do the work for you (just sayin’)!
4. Mix dry ingredients by hand
I personally like to mix the dry ingredients, chocolate chunks, and nuts by hand. We can get good bottom-of-the-bowl scrapes and are less likely to over-beat the dough. Taking it easy is best in this part of the cookie recipe.
5. Use chocolate chunks or jumbo chips
Chocolate should be dark in large chunks or milky, round disks for these brown butter chocolate chip cookies. You get to do whatever you want! That feels good.
I say use dark chocolate chunks because it makes the cookies taste richer with that browned butter.
6. Chill the dough
So, I always get this question when I share my cookie recipes: Do you really need to chill the dough before baking the cookies?
Well…. yes! Also… no.
I try my best to chill the dough for at least 30 minutes before placing it in the oven to bake. This allows the dough to relax and allows the flour to absorb and settle in with moisture added to the dough via butter and eggs.
I find that chilling the dough will create a slightly more plump cookie with an extra body. Baking the cookie straight away will create a slightly more flat cookie. Nuance.
7. Sprinkle sea salt flakes over the top
What’s up with the salt all up and over the top of these cookies? Because I said so.
And also because the salt enhances every single ingredient you use. It makes the chocolate sweeter and the butter nuttier!
How to store homemade cookies
Store homemade chocolate chip cookies in your favorite cookie jar! If you want to prevent them from sticking to each other, place a sheet of parchment paper in between each layer of cookies.
I heard someone say you can place a piece of bread on top of the cookies to prevent them from drying out. However, I don’t know if that’s true. These cookies are so yummy, I ate them up before they had a chance to get stale!
Please leave any baking questions and your rating of this recipe in the comments below! Happy Baking!
The Best Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Prep Time: 2 hours
- Cook Time: 12 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours 12 minutes
- Yield: about 2 dozen cookies 1x
- Category: cookies, dessert, holiday
- Method: baking
- 1 cup (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon molasses
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
- coarse sea salt, to sprinkle on top
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Place half the butter (1 stick, 8 tablespoons) in a medium skillet. Melt the butter over medium heat, swirling it in the pan occasionally. It’ll foam and froth as it cooks, and start to crackle and pop. Once the crackling stops, keep a close eye on the melted butter, continuing to swirl the pan often. The butter will start to smell nutty, and brown bits will form in the bottom. Once the bits are amber brown (about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes or so after the sizzling stops), remove the butter from the burner and immediately pour it into a small bowl, bits and all. This will stop the butter from cooking and burning. Allow it to cool for 20 minutes to 1 hour until mostly room temperature once again. I know this cooling step is a little annoying but if the butter is hot when mixed into the dough your cookies will bake up more flat in the oven. Not a huge deal, just up to your taste.
- Beat the remaining butter (1 stick, 8 tablespoons) with the brown sugar for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture is very smooth.
- Beat in the vanilla extract and molasses.
- Add the cooled brown butter into the bowl, along with the granulated sugar. Beat for 2 minutes, until smooth; the mixture will lighten in color and become fluffy.
- Add the egg and egg yolk, and beat for one minute more.
- Add the flour, salt, and baking soda, beating on low speed just until everything is incorporated.
- Use a spatula to fold in the chocolate chips and pecans and finish incorporating all of the dry flour bits into the dough.
- Scoop the dough onto a piece of parchment paper, waxed paper, or plastic wrap. Flatten it slightly into a thick disk, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. About 15 minutes before you’re ready to begin baking, place racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Scoop the dough in 2 tablespoon-sized balls onto the prepared baking sheets. Leave about 2? between the cookies; they’ll spread as they bake.
- Sprinkle the cookies with sea salt, to taste — as much or as little as you like.
- Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, until they’re golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and allow them to rest on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes before moving them.
- Serve warm; or cool completely, and store airtight at room temperature for several days. For longer storage, wrap well and freeze.
Keywords: chocolate chip cookies, brown butter, cookies,
Made these a second time and changed up the recipe just slightly. My cookies the first time I made them turned out quite tall and kind of just kept the shape of the ball – they were like 1” tall and 1.5” wide – really weird. I followed the recipe to an T as well (I live in Texas, no high altitude situation here.)
The second time, I got the perfect cookie, and here’s what I did differently:
1. I added the browned butter when it was still warm (not hot), but not quite room temp or cool
2. I used half the suggested baking soda
3. I chilled the dough flattened and wrapped in plastic wrap for 25 min
4. I rolled out my dough balls (about 1.5-2 tbsp each) and flattened them in my hands a little before placing them on the cookie sheet
Absolutely perfect cookies. Nice and golden and crispy on the bottom but nice soft slightly chewy texture otherwise. These turned out about 3/8” tall and 3” wide… HUGE difference. Wish I could add a comparison picture on here!
Baking soda? Are you sure? Mine don’t look anything like your picture, they’re plump and puffy. Is that a mistake? I wanted flattened crispy yummy cookies. I’m confused.
What can be a substitute for molasses? It’s not available in my
country and I really want to try these cookies
You don’t need the molasses or any substitute, they taste great without. However, I had some issues with the recipe the first time I made them – I just made them again and they turned out perfectly – I added the browned butter when it was still warm (not hot) and used half the suggested baking soda. Chilled the dough flattened and wrapped in plastic wrap for 25 min and rolled out my dough balls and flattened them in my hands a little before placing them on the cookie sheet.
Joy the Baker
Hi Shanz! It won’t be a problem if you leave the molasses out completely. You’ll still have a delicious cookie!
Before I Make, can I freeze dough to use another time? Thank you!
Hello! Yes the dough can be made into balls and frozen well wrapped. Take the dough out the freezer while your oven is pre-heating and add a couple minutes to your bake time! Happy baking – xo
This was by far the best cookie dough I have ever had! But I’m so sad and can’t figure out where I went wrong. They all baked into thin crisps! I tried to read through all the comments, any suggestions?
Did you refrigerate or freeze the dough prior to baking?
Any recommendations for high altitude?
Hi Joy! These cookies were delicious!!! Not too chewy not too crispy but nice and chunky. The only thing I will change when I make then again is to use semisweet chocolate chips.
Went to make these tonight and realized I was basically out of brown sugar and didn’t have molasses. Made do with what I had and they are delicious!! I can’t wait to make the recipe again with ALL the ingredients!
This is my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe (made this like 10x) The longer it chills the better the flavor (I’ve rushed the process by not chilling and still amazing!) I’ve followed the recipe exactly and then one time I didn’t have vanilla extract so I used almond and wow!! I definitely now do 1 tsp of vanilla and 1 tsp of almond. Amazing flavor. Thank you Joy! Big fan!
My daughter-in-law shared these cookies with us. I asked for the recipe and finally made them. Best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever!
I baked some fresh and froze the remainder of the dough in 2” balls for later. Yum!!
can these be made as bars?
My most baked recipe. My favorite cookies. Period.
Revisited this…as it is my favorite cookie recipe! Thank you for setting my chocolate chip cookie standards real high! xo
Can I substitute something for the molasses? We are in the midst of COVID and don’t want to make a run to the store just for that.
You can skip the molasses all together. It’s fine! Stay well!
This is probably THE BEST recipe for chocolate chip cookies I have ever used!!!