Brown Butter & Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

Browned butter combined with vanilla bean brings out a delicious, nutty and flavorful cookie. This roll out recipe has minimal spread plus has a soft bite.

New season, more new cookies! I thought I would keep things a bit simpler with this new roll out sugar cookie recipe, so this time around we are sticking with brown butter and vanilla bean. If you’ve made any of my other recipes then you will see brown butter is pretty common in them. I love the nutty flavor it gives to the cookie.

Notes Prior To Baking

Brown Butter: you will only brown (“cook”) 1 stick of butter in this recipe, not both. I found that utilizing only browned butter would develop a rather crumbly cookie which isn’t necessarily ideal for a roll out recipe. So I balanced this with only browning one stick vs. two.

Vanilla Bean: I have not found a flavor difference between vanilla bean vs. vanilla extract, so if you do not have vanilla bean available you can use vanilla extract in its place. However, vanilla bean does give the ‘speck’ look to your cookie which can be visually appealing. But you can use either one!

Light Brown Sugar: I have only tested this recipe with light brown sugar, not dark brown. Dark brown sugar does contain more moisture (from the molasses), so while you may not find a difference in the flavor of the cookie, it can lead to more spread because of the extra moisture.

Brown Butter & Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

5 from 1 vote
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Course: Appetizer, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: brown butter, sugar cookies, vanilla bean
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Servings: 15 cookies
Author: Sharon Alvarenga


  • 1 stand mixer Fitted with paddle attachment
  • 1 silicone baking mat or parchment paper
  • 1 cooking rack optional


  • 3 cup all purpose flour (390 g)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter for browning ~ 7 tbsp after browning
  • 1 stick unsalted butter room temperature
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar approx 1 cup lightly packed
  • 1 ea egg room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt


Browning Butter

  • We begin with browning the butter. In a light colored medium sized pot, place butter inside and cook on low medium heat. No need to stir consistently, just allow the butter to melt and begin cooking. 
    1 stick unsalted butter for browning
  • About half way through the butter will begin to foam up a bit, but you only need to take your rubber spatula and give it a stir to bring it back down a bit. Continue to cook on the same heat, and about 6 to 7 minutes in you will begin to see light foaming on the top. 
  • You will notice the along the edges browning, and if you stir the butter there will be small browned pieces at the bottom. Begin stirring at this point until the color is a light to medium color and you smell the nutty flavor of the butter. 
  • Remove from heat and pour into heat safe bowl. Ideally you'd have a kitchen scale here to measure the amount in grams, but you should be left with approximately 6 to 7 tbsp (or 90 g).
  • Allow butter to cool for about 1 hour before placing in refrigerator to continue cooling. Allow to sit in fridge between 15 to 30 minutes. You are looking to slightly solidify the butter where it is still palpable and easy to smooth.
  • The brown butter bits will naturally fall to the bottom of the bowl. Take your rubber spatula and mix the butter together so that the browned bits are distributed evenly throughout. The butter should be soft but not melted. Set aside.

Brown Butter & Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookie Prep

  • In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar and vanilla on high until light and fluffy – about 2 to 3 minutes.
    1 stick unsalted butter for browning, 1 stick unsalted butter, 3/4 cup light brown sugar, 2 tsp vanilla bean
  • Add egg and mix on medium until well incorporated.
    1 ea egg
  • In a separate bowl, add flour, baking powder and salt and mix until well combined.
    3 cup all purpose flour (390 g), 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt
  • Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix on low until flour is mostly incorporated. Increase speed up 1 or 2 and mix until dough begins to pull away from sides and sticks to paddle attachment.
  • Roll out dough between two pieces of parchment paper to desired thickness. Place in refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours, but no more than 24 hours. You can cut shapes prior to refrigerating, or do so after.
  • Remove from fridge and allow to stand at room temperature for about 5 to 8 minutes before cutting shapes. Place on baking sheet fitted with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper at least 2" apart.
  • Bake at 375 F for approximately 11 to 12 minutes, or until you see browning along edges.
  • Remove from oven and place on cooling rack until completely cool. Enjoy!


  • I HIGHLY recommend using a kitchen scale to ensure the recipe comes out as intended. Measuring in weight vs. volume provides much more precise measurements and leaves less room for error.
  • Quantity of cookies will be dependent upon how thick or thin you roll out the cookies. I typically roll out to ?” which will yield between 15 to 16 cookies at 3″.
  • Take your cookie flavor up a notch by coating in brown sugar and cinnamon (top or bottom of cookie) prior to baking. It will create a crystalized sugar coating that will help enhance the cookie flavor.