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Brown Sugar Cookies

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You’ll want to sink your teeth right into these soft and chewy Brown Sugar Cookies! This is an easy sugar cookie recipe filled with the rich, caramelized flavor of brown sugar inside and out, plus a touch of maple syrup.

If you love these soft sugar cookies, try my Easy Sugar Cookies and these classic Snickerdoodles!

Soft Maple Brown Sugar Cookies

These soft, chewy brown sugar cookies are adapted from my equally flavorful and soft Molasses Cookies. This recipe trades the molasses for maple syrup, plus a few other tweaks here and there. The result? Irresistibly moist, soft sugar cookies with a rich caramelized flavor and addictively crispy edges. 

Maple syrup and cinnamon round out the brown sugar perfectly, and your teeth sink right into these cookies. I couldn’t resist giving each cookie a light sprinkle with flaked sea salt and holy moly. These are incredible!

Why You’ll Love These Cookies

Brown sugar cookies really are the ultimate comforting cookie. So soft and moist, with a depth of flavor that’s to die for. Here are more reasons to love this easy cookie recipe:

  • Warm and cozy flavors. These cookies strike the best balance of brown sugar, maple, and cinnamon flavors. They’re like classic sugar cookies, made even cozier.
  • Easy recipe. Yes, there’s some dough-chilling involved, but these cookies are crazy simple to make. The dough comes together quickly, and the short chilling time is more than worth it.
  • Perfect for any occasion. Summer, fall, the holidays… I can’t think of a single occasion that isn’t made better by these soft and chewy brown sugar cookies.
Overhead view of assorted brown sugar cookies on a marble countertop.

Key Ingredients

The brown sugar cookie dough comes together in a snap. It starts with a few basic cookie-baking ingredients, plus a handful of key ingredients, which I go over below. Don’t forget to refer to the full details in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  • Brown Sugar – Our star ingredient. I like to make these cookies with light brown sugar. It adds just the right amount of sweetness and moisture. That being said, dark or regular brown sugar will also work.
  • Maple Syrup – Trust me, you want the real stuff. Make sure you’re using pure maple syrup and not the imitation kind.
  • Maple Extract– This enhances the maple flavor in the cookie. If you don’t any, add additional vanilla extract instead.
  • Cream of Tartar – The key to soft, chewy, flavorful sugar cookies (see below for details). 
  • Cinnamon – I love adding ground cinnamon to this recipe to really amp up the cozy factor. You can use mixed spice or nutmeg if you prefer, or leave it out altogether.

Why Does Cream of Tartar Do in Cookies?

Cream of tartar is a classic ingredient in cookie recipes like Snickerdoodles, as it gives the final cookies irresistible chew along with a hint of tanginess. There really aren’t any substitutes for the cream of tartar in sugar cookie recipes. If you don’t have it, you can leave it out, although it would change the texture and taste, or you can use one of these substitutes. The cookies will still bake up fine with a slightly different texture.

How to Make Brown Sugar Cookies

Who’s ready to cozy up with some freshly baked cookies? Brown sugar cookies are very simple to make: 

  1. Cream the butter and sugar. First, cream together the butter and brown sugar until it reaches a soft and sandy texture.
  2. Add the wet ingredients. This includes maple syrup, the extracts and eggs.
  3. Add the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, then add these to the batter and mix to form the dough.
  4. Portion and chill. I like to use a cookie scoop to portion my cookie dough. After, roll each dough ball in brown sugar and place the dough onto a lined baking sheet. Chill the dough for at least 45 minutes, while you preheat the oven to 350ºF. 
  5. Bake. Pop your sugar cookies into the oven and bake for 11-13 minutes, until they’re set at the edges and still a little underdone in the center. You’ll find these cookies will puff up a bit in the oven, but they’ll settle as they cool. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for a bit before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.
A brown sugar cookie with a bite missing leaning against a tall stack of sugar cookies.

Recipe Tips

Here are some final tips for making the very best sugar cookies:

    • Use a cookie scoop. This allows the cookies to be the same size, and bake evenly. I love my large cookie scoop.

    • Use a silicone baking mat. Lining the baking sheet helps to prevent spreading and keeps the bottoms of the cookies from burning. Parchment paper also works, the bottoms will just be a bit darker.

    • One tray at a time. Overloading your oven can result in uneven baking or overbaked cookies.

    • Reshape your cookies. To get your cookies in a perfectly round shape, gently push the edges in with a spatula while they’re still hot and fresh from the oven. You can also use a spoon, knife or spatula

    • Top with sea salt. I’m a major fan of a sweet-salty combo. If you are, too, do yourself a favor and add a sprinkle of flaky sea salt (like Maldon salt) over your baked cookies.

Common Questions

Do I Need to Chill the Cookie Dough?

In short, yes. The main reason we chill cookie dough is to prevent the cookies from spreading too much as they bake. Refrigerating allows the fats in the butter to re-solidify, slowing down the melting speed in the oven. Chilling also gives the flavors more time to develop. 

My Easy Sugar Cookies recipe is a great time-sensitive option that doesn’t require chilling the dough.

Can I Make the Dough Ahead?

Yes! Once the dough is chilled in the fridge, it can stay in there until the following day. You can also freeze the unbaked cookie dough. Portion the dough into balls, roll them in sugar, and chill as directed. After 30 minutes, transfer the cookie dough to a freezer-safe container and freeze it for up to 1 month. Thaw the cookie dough in the fridge before baking as usual.

A brown sugar cookie leaning against a glass of milk.

Decorating and Variation Ideas

Sugar cookies are a longstanding tradition come the holidays in our house, but really, we love them any time of the year. These brown sugar cookies are filled with warm spice and perfect for fall, and they’re also light enough to frost with Vanilla Buttercream! Here are more easy variation ideas:

How to Store Homemade Cookies

For best freshness, keep your brown sugar cookies stored airtight on the counter for up to 7 days.

Can I Freeze Brown Sugar Cookies?

Your baked sugar cookies can be stored in an airtight container and frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw the cookies outside of their container at room temperature before serving.

Print
Brown sugar cookies inside a metal bowl lined with a white dishcloth.

Brown Sugar Cookies

  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 60 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 12 minutes
  • Yield: 11 cookies

Description

Soft and chewy Brown Sugar Cookies are an easy sugar cookie recipe filled with the rich, caramelized flavor of brown sugar inside and out (plus a touch of maple syrup!). Roll your cookies in extra sugar for an irresistible crunch.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 1 cup (220g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup (78ml) pure maple syrup
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon maple extract (optional)
  • 1 3/4 cups (245g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup granulated or brown sugar (for rolling the dough)

Instructions

  1. Soften cold butter in the microwave for 10-12 seconds. Combine the butter with the brown sugar and beat on medium speed until well creamed together.
  2. Add the maple syrup, eggs, and extracts and mix until well combined, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Slowly add into the batter and beat on medium-low speed until well combined and dough forms.
  4. Use a large cookie scoop and scoop cookie dough onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Roll in granulated sugar. Refrigerate the dough for a minimum of 45 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Place the dough about 2 inches apart, and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes prior to baking.
  6. Bake at 350° F for 11-13 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for several minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

  • Maple extract: You can omit this or substitute with additional vanilla extract
  • How to store these cookies: Keep them in an airtight container
  • How to freeze these cookies: To freeze the cookie dough, pre-scoop the dough, roll it in sugar, and then refrigerate for 30 minutes. Transfer the dough to an airtight container and freeze. The dough should be thawed but cold prior to baking. To freeze baked cookies, cool them completely then transfer them to an airtight container to freeze.
  • Need a substitute for cream of tartar? Here are some options
Nutrition Information:
1 cookie
255
25g
177mg
9g
41g
.5g
2.7g
39mg
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Baked

More Easy Sugar Cookie Recipes

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13 Responses
  1. Robyn

    If I were to add dried blueberries, cranberries and instant oats, do you think I’d have to adjust the recipe at all?

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      You would be fine to add in the dried blueberries or cranberries but if you’re adding instant oats, I would consider making one of my oatmeal cookie recipes instead. This Oatmeal raisin cookie is super popular and you can easily swap out the raisins for blueberries and cranberries.

      1. Diane

        It is not clear to me when the cinnamon comes in. Do you combine the cinnamon with the granulated sugar for rolling?
        It’s confusing because you say to add all dry ingredients but I sense that the extra white sugar and cinnamon at the end of the recipe are strictly for rolling.

      2. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
        Beyond Frosting

        Hi Diane. The cinnamon is added into the cookie dough. The granulated sugar is to roll the finished cookie dough in (see step 4). I hope this helps.

  2. Tex Hooper

    I’m glad you mentioned the scoop sizes. I want to get a bunch of cookies set for my grandkids. I’ll have to consider getting a sugar cookie and chocolate mix going.

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