Soft and chewy, these Butter Pecan Cookies are infused with a hint of ginger and the crunch of toasted pecans in every bite. Add a drizzle of white chocolate for an extra decadent treat and enjoy with a glass of milk.
Soft & Chewy Butter Pecan Cookies
I’ll admit, this cookie recipe is one I had to make a handful of times, adjusting various ingredients and baking times, before getting it just right. A few times I ended up with overbaked, crispy cookies and other times the flavor just wasn’t exactly where I wanted it.
But now? Now I can definitively say these butter pecan cookies are as delicious as they are beautiful. They’re chewy on the inside and crispy on the edges, with a soft, buttery texture and a hint of warming ginger flavor. Add the white chocolate drizzle and they become decadent cookies that are perfect for any Christmas cookie box or cookie platter. I’d wager a bet that these are one cookie Santa would even appreciate on Christmas Eve!
One thing to keep in mind with these cookies is that the dough does require time to chill and you’ll get the best results when you chill the cookie dough in cookie dough balls. 2 hours is the minimum but I highly recommend preparing the dough the night before you want to make these cookies. The longer the dough chills, the more flavorful the cookies will be!
What You’ll Need
Pecans, ginger, and a few pantry staples are all that’s needed to make these cookies!
- All-purpose flour – I like Bob’s Red Mill unbleached version.
- Baking soda – Helps the cookies rise and gives them a lighter texture
- Salt – Enhances all the flavors in the dough, making for richer cookies
- Ground ginger – Infuses the dough with delightful, warm ginger flavor.
- Sugar – Equal amounts of both white granulated sugar and light brown sugar are used in this recipe.
- Unsalted Butter – Room temperature, unsalted is the standard for baking, but you can use salted butter for a richer flavor without adapting the recipe.
- Eggs – Like the butter, the eggs need to be at room temperature.
- Vanilla extract – My favorite secret ingredient for all my baking adventures.
- Pecans – An entire cup of finely chopped pecans add texture to every bite of these cookies.
- White chocolate – An optional drizzle over the cookies makes them look picture perfect.
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- mixing bowls
- spoon and whisk -or- hand mixer -or- stand mixer
- measuring cups -or- kitchen scale
- measuring spoons
- silicone spatula
- cookie scoop
- parchment paper
- baking sheets
- cooling rack
- metal spatula
How to Make Butter Pecan Cookies
Like many of the best cookies, these butter pecan cookies are easy to make. The most important part is to not rush through it. Read the recipe first, go step by step and don’t forget to stop and scrape down the bowl as you go so that all ingredients get fully incorporated.
- Toast the pecans. Toasting the pecans brings out their nutty flavor and gives them a crispier texture. Just 2 – 3 minutes in a 400ºF oven is all they need. (I use my air fryer oven to toast them.) Watch closely so they don’t burn.
- Cream the butter and sugars. Cream the butter with an electric mixer until it has a light, fluffy texture, and has lightened in color before adding in both granulated sugar and brown sugar, one at a time. Mix until smooth and creamy. Achieving a soft cream is essential.
- Add the remaining ingredients. Add both eggs, one at a time, and mix after each one. Mix in the vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add to the wet ingredients and combine with a spatula. Finely chop, then fold in the toasted pecans.
- Shape and chill. Using a 1 ounce cookie scoop, scoop cookies, shape into a ball, then place onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. The chilling process is key to the flavor and chewiness of the cookies. If possible, refrigerate it overnight.
- Bake. Transfer chilled, unbaked cookie dough balls onto prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between them. Gently flatten the tops using a flat bottomed glass. Bake at 350ºF for 13 to 16 minutes, until edges are set and golden brown. Immediately move baked cookies to a cooling rack to stop the cooking and let the cookies cool.
- Add the chocolate drizzle (optional). Melt white chocolate using a double boiler or in the microwave then drizzle on the top of the cookies.
Baking Tips for Success
While this butter pecan cookie recipe is simple, there are a few key points to remember for the best chewy butter pecan cookies.
- Eggs must be at room temperature. One essential part of having soft, buttery cookies is using room temperature eggs. Cold eggs will break the butter emulsion, resulting in crispy and hard cookies. (If you want crispy cookies, this is a great way to do it without having to over bake the cookies.)
- Chill as long as possible. The chilling process is key to the flavor and chewiness of the cookies. While 2 hours will work, try to refrigerate overnight if possible.
- To prevent sticking, dip the glass in sugar between cookies. To give these cookies the classic shape of a butter pecan cookie you shape them into a ball and then press them flat. A flat bottomed glass works best, but after a few presses it may start sticking. If you dip the glass in a rough sugar, like turbinado sugar or raw sugar, between presses it makes the cookies release easier.
- Don’t over bake. Bake the cookies for 13 to 16 minutes, or until edges are set and lightly golden. More cooking time will result in crispy cookies, less cooking time more chewy cookies. For example, I bake them for 16 minutes, rotating the trays to promote even baking, and the result was cookies with chewy centers and crispy edges.
Variations for a cookie recipe? Yep! Even though baking is more of a science and exact measurements are supposed to be, well, exact, there is still some room for variations with most cookie recipes and this one is no exception. Afterall, what good is a recipe if you can’t make it uniquely your own?
- Swap out the warming spice. The addition of the warming spice is one of the things that makes these unique to me, but that doesn’t mean it’s vital to the results. You can try making these cookies with an equal substitution of cardamom, cinnamon, or a seasonal spice blend like pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice.
- Decorate differently. Trade that white chocolate drizzle for a dark chocolate drizzle, or get crazy and swap in some white royal icing. You could also skip the drizzle all together and instead top these cookies with a Brown Butter Roasted Pecan. Gently press one or more pecan halves into the top of the hot cookies as soon as they come out of the oven. The savory brown butter adds a whole new element to these butter pecan cookies.
- Add a mix-in! Cookie mix-ins are always a fun way to change things up. Adding chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, or toffee bits are a great way to change these cookies up. Try adding a half cup and adjust as needed.
My favorite way to enjoy these butter pecan cookies – or any cookie for that matter – is freshly baked. There’s just nothing quite like biting into a cookie that came out of the oven just an hour ago. These taste even better with a scoop of butter pecan ice cream!
The white chocolate drizzle is optional but I highly recommend it. It adds a touch of smooth sweetness to the cookie that you won’t find in a basic butter pecan. If you like the combo of chocolate and nuts, you’ll love it too!
Since these cookies stay fresh for several days, they’re ideal for cookie trays and cookie exchanges. Or just enjoy yourself with a big glass of milk!
How to Store Cookies
These butter pecan cookies will still taste fresh if stored in an airtight container at room temperature for about 5 – 7 days. If you opt for the white chocolate glaze, keep them in a cool place out of sunlight or the chocolate might melt.
For fresh cookies that last the entire holiday season, I recommend making and freezing the dough, so that you can bake them as needed. After you chill the dough, scoop individual cookies onto a cookie sheet. Press the cookies flat with a glass, then freeze the entire sheet pan. Once frozen transfer to an airtight container and freeze until needed.
When you are ready for fresh baked butter pecan cookies pull out what you need and let them thaw on the countertop for about 20 minutes before baking as directed.
If you prefer to do all the work at once, these cookies can also be baked and then frozen. Allow to cool completely then add the chocolate drizzle, if using. I recommend freezing them flat on a baking sheet to prevent them from sticking together then transfer to a freezer safe container.
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Butter Pecan Cookies
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour | 11 ounces
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¾ cup white sugar | 5 ounces
- ¾ cup brown sugar | 5 ounces
- 1 cup butter (at room temperature | 8 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- 1 cup chopped pecan nuts | 4 ounces
- ⅓-½ cup white chocolate for drizzle (optional | about 3 ounces)
- *Toast the pecans for 2 – 3 minutes in 400ºF oven to bring out their nutty flavor and give them a crispy texture. (I use my air fryer oven.) Watch closely and shake the pan after each minute to prevent burning. Once cooled, finely chop.
- Cream the butter with an electric mixer until it has a light, fluffy texture, and has lightened in color before adding in both sugars, one at a time. Mix until smooth and creamy. Achieving a soft cream is essential.
- Add both eggs, one at a time, mixing very well after each addition. Then add then vanilla extract and mix to combine.
- Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda, and ground ginger) in a separate bowl. Then add them into the wet ingredients in 2 – 3 batches, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl between additions. Once mixed, fold in chopped toasted pecans.
- Using a 1 ounce cookie scoop, scoop cookies, shape into a ball, then place onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment. The cookies can be crowded onto the pan, but make sure they aren't touching. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. The chilling process is key to the flavor and chewiness of the cookies. If possible, refrigerate it overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and prepare two baking trays by lightly greasing with butter or lining with parchment paper. Transfer the chilled cookie dough balls onto the prepared baking tray, leaving 2 inches in between them. Use a flat bottom glass to gently flatten the cookies.
- Bake the cookies for 13 to 16 minutes, or until edges are set and lightly golden.* Once baked, transfer cookies to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely to set up.
- Optional: melt ⅓-½ cup of white chocolate in the microwave for 60-90 seconds and drizzle the top of the cookies. Yum!
Nutrition information is automatically calculated and is for general information purposes only. For the most accurate information, calculate using your select brands and exact measurements.