These brown sugar crackle cookies have no extra add-ins, so browned butter and brown sugar flavors really shine through in them!

I love sugar cookies. Old-fashioned sugar cookies. Drop sugar cookies (with lemon!). And any other type of sugar cookies, so why not brown sugar-sugar cookies?

Not only are the flavor of these cookies deepened by dark brown sugar but the entire cookie base gets a delicious start from browned butter.

And if you need further evidence that browned butter is the secret to all magical desserts look no further than here and here.

a stack of four sugar-coated brown sugar cookies on a piece of parchment

Quite simple in concept, the cookies are unadorned with any specific add-ins, which allows the browned butter and brown sugar flavors to really shine through.

Just a wonderfully delicious cookie and you can’t ask for much more than that, in my opinion.

four brown sugar crackel cookies lined up in a row

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Brown Sugar Crackle Cookies

4.77 stars (13 ratings)


  • 14 tablespoons (198 g) butter
  • ¼ cup (53 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 cups (424 g) packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups (284 g) unbleached all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons (15 g)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


  • Heat 10 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch stainless steel (not nonstick) skillet or small uncoated saucepan over medium heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue to cook, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Browned butter can burn easily and quickly so keep a close eye on it!
  • Remove the skillet or pot from the heat and transfer the browned butter to a large heatproof bowl. Stir the remaining 4 tablespoons butter into the hot butter to melt; set aside for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 large (18 by 12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper, silpat liners or lightly coat them with cooking spray.
  • In a shallow baking dish or pie plate, mix the granulated sugar and 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, rubbing between your fingers, until well combined; set aside. Whisk flour, baking soda, and baking powder together in a medium bowl; set aside.
  • Add remaining 1 3/4 cups brown sugar and salt to the bowl with the cooled butter and mix until no sugar lumps remain, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula; add the egg, yolk, and vanilla and mix until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the bowl.
  • Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined, about 1 minute. Give the dough a final stir with a rubber spatula to ensure that no flour pockets remain and the ingredients are evenly distributed.
  • Divide the dough into 24 portions, each about 2 tablespoons, forming balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Working in batches, toss the balls in the reserved sugar mixture to coat and set them on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart, 12 dough balls per sheet. (Smaller baking sheets can be used, but it will take 3 batches.)
  • Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are browned and still puffy and edges have begun to set but the centers are still soft (cookies will look raw between cracks and seem underdone – don’t overbake), 11-13 minutes. Cool the cookies for 1-2 minutes on the baking sheets and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.


Butter: if you plan to use unsalted butter, increase the salt in the recipe to 1/2 teaspoon.
Brown Sugar: I wouldn’t recommend substituting light brown sugar – because the brown sugar makes up the majority of flavor in the cookies, the dark brown sugar adds depth and substance.
Serving: 1 Cookie, Calories: 181kcal, Carbohydrates: 28g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 33mg, Sodium: 118mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 20g
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Recipe Source: adapted from America’s Test Kitchen