Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies Recipe + VIDEO

Prep Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 36 cookies

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These Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies are soft, buttery, brown sugar cookies topped with brown sugar frosting and more pecans — perfect for Christmas baking or any day of the year! Includes step by step recipe video


brown sugar pecan cookies overhead in basket topped with crushed and halved pecans
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Post and photos updated and video added October 11, 2017.

I know what you’re thinking.

I’m all about a dense, chewy, fudgy cookie. And these cookies are soft and fluffy.

I’m all about chocolate. And these are, well, not.

And I totally wish I could deliver a batch of these to all of you personally so that you could understand just how good they are. But I can’t. You’re just going to have to make a batch for yourselves and thank me later.

brown sugar pecan cookies on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper

Yes, they’re soft and fluffy instead of dense and chewy like most of the cookies I make. But they’re filled with brown sugar. And they’re topped with brown sugar frosting. And pecans. Pee-cans.

Sorry, I’m Canadian.

But I tried to channel my secret inner Southern girl when I made you these praline-inspired cookies.

Now, when you make these, there is just the perfect amount of frosting for the cookies plus about 3 tablespoons. Feel free to spoon those right into your mouth. You don’t even have to tell anyone.

brown sugar pecan cookies on white plate with more on sheet pan in the background

This Brown Sugar Frosting is my new favorite thing. It’s so easy because the sugar and milk are melted together, and everything else can just be stirred in. But then, with 5-10 minutes it’s firmed right up so you can stack them right away. And if your frosting gets a little cool and difficult to spread, just pop it in the microwave for 10 seconds or back on the stove on low for a few minutes, and you’re good to go (I actually had to do this twice while making these).

Christmas or not, you need these in your life.

Tips and Tricks for Making these Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies:

  • I don’t chill my dough before rolling and baking these, but if your butter was quite warm you might find your cookies are a little flat. If you want them to hold up better and be thicker after baking, just pop the dough in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
  • Since I’ve started baking my cookies on parchment paper I just can’t stop — they come off without a fuss and the clean up is nill. Plus, you can reuse and reuse and reuse parchment paper for baking! I highly recommend these parchment baking sheets.
  • These cookies hold up well and are perfect for gift giving! I love these Christmas cookie boxes for gifting baking — and they can also be reused!

Watch the recipe video and see how easy they are to make!

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Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies

4 from 37 votes
Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies: soft, moist pecan cookies topped with an easy brown sugar frosting. Perfect for Christmas or holiday baking!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Cuisine American
Course Dessert
Servings 36 cookies
Calories 166cal



  • 1 cup butter room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour I did 50% whole wheat, 50% all-purpose, but you could use all-purpose
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 36 pecan halves or chopped pecans toasted, optional


  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk or cream I use 1% milk
  • 1 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 2 cups powdered sugar sifted


  • Cookies:In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla and beat until combined.
  • Add in flour, baking soda, and salt beat until combined. Stir in chopped pecans.
  • Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes (or more).
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Shape into 1″ balls (I used a 1 tbsp cookie scoop) and place a couple inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheets or parchment paper. Bake 10 minutes or until set (not glossy at all in the middle) and lightly browned at the edges. Cool before frosting.
  • FrostingCombine brown sugar and milk in a small pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil and boil 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in butter.
  • Stir in 1½ cups powdered sugar and whisk or beat with a mixer until smooth. If frosting is too thin, add more sugar, but keep in mind it will firm up dramatically within a few minutes.
  • Spread each cookie with about 1 tbsp frosting and top with a pecan or chopped pecans. Let frosting set before storing.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 166cal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 87mg | Potassium: 37mg | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 180IU | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 0.5mg

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Reader Interactions


  1. Misty says

    I only used brown sugar because that’s what I happened to have. Even with the change they were delicious and baked up just as pictured. The frosting is sweet but definitely makes for a good bite!

  2. Keli says

    Should I store them in the fridge or will that harden them up? I have them there now as I baked them yesterday for Christmas. Super delicious by the way!

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Keli! They are fine to stay at room temperature for a few days, maybe 3. After that I would freeze them. So glad you enjoyed them!


    Turned out great. Made sure I chilled the dough for 2 hours. Added a little more butter over heat when icing set too quickly and all good.

  4. Angie says

    I bake alot but these are my favorite cookies by far. Sweet but not overly if you don’t put the icing. Soft bite. Amazing!

  5. Leah says

    Make these every year for my cookie exchange! Everyone loves them (including my boyfriend, always need to make an extra batch just for him lol)

  6. Daren says

    Mine didn’t turn out thick, quite thin actually. Dough had been chilled for 24 hours, baking soda was brand new. Icing was too sweet for me. I’ll pass on these.

  7. Teresa says

    Just made these and subbed in a 1-1 gluten free flour blend for the 2 cups flour and they were amazing. The icing on its own is sweet (did not want leftovers to go to waste!!) so it is perfect with the cookie to take some of the sweetness away. Not sure how many will make it to the freezer!!

  8. Sherri says

    I’ve made these in past years and they were a huge hit. My daughter in law specifically asked for them this year. My schedule is not working out as I’d planned. Can I make the dough on Tuesday, refrigerate it, and bake the cookies on Wednesday?

  9. Lorri says

    I just made these and they came out good. My frosting came out darker looking and not quite so creamy but still yummy. I doubled the whole recipe and poured the left over frosting into a pan to harden up – kind of like fudge.

  10. Diane Day says

    Hae made these cookies at least a dozen times. People love them. Some say its the best cook they have ever had. I’m going to try the butter pecan and chocolate chip ones next. Will make more of the Brown Sugar Pecan ones soon. People are asking forthem.

  11. Stephanie says

    Hi, can they store in a freezer and for approximately for how long? I’d like to bake for a boutique but it’s in 3 weeks, will they hold up frosted and all? Thanks!

  12. Debi says

    I was just curious if you could substitute almond flour for AP flour. I’m trying to cut back on my carbs, but every now and then I crave something sweet. Thank you.

  13. Morgan says

    I made these tonight and they didn’t turn out like I had hoped. after baking for only 5 minutes, they were totally burnt around the edges. Super sad cause I spent all afternoon making/looking forward to them.

    • Ashley Fehr says

      Hi Morgan! I’m sorry to hear that. Did you use a very dark baking pan or bake them too close to the bottom of the oven maybe? I’ve never had them burn before they were cooked through

    • Jamee Soeder says

      While these are delicious mine turned out very flat and thin. I followed directions to a T and my baking soda wasn’t expired, any reason why this would happen or are they supposed to be thin?

      • Ashley Fehr says

        Hi Jamee! They should be quite thick but still soft. I would make sure your butter is not too warm (chilling for an hour before baking can also help this). If you start baking them and they turn out thin, you can always chill or stir in a bit more flour.

  14. Lisa says

    These are truly incredible cookies. And may I say, you were definitely channeling something southern because you nailed the taste of pralines! My family and friends thank you for posting this recipe.

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