These easy, chewy cinnamon brown sugar cookies are perfect for the holidays! Made with melted butter (no waiting for butter to soften!) and easy to mix by hand - no stand mixer required. Ready in half an hour!
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These soft brown sugar cookies are almost shockingly simple: They need just a few ingredients, are ready from scratch in under an hour without any extra time-consuming steps (like softening butter or chilling the dough, NO THANK YOU), and require no stand mixer or hand beater.
Taste- and texture-wise, these cinnamon brown sugar cookies fall somewhere between a traditional chocolate chip cookie, a snickerdoodle cookie, and a gingersnap: they have a puffy, chewy texture and a hint of spice from some cinnamon and ground cloves. This brown sugar cookie recipe has very quickly become one of my favorite holiday cookie recipes: They're just so cozy.
Our basic order of operations
- Stir or whisk eggs, brown sugar, and melted butter together in a medium bowl. (You can do this with a hand mixer on medium speed, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment if you prefer.) Pro tip: If you have the time, let the eggs come to room temperature for half an hour or so on the counter before you bake. They'll incorporate more smoothly into the dough if they aren't cold!
- Use a spatula to fold in the dry ingredients (all purpose flour, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and baking soda), and stir until everything is just combined. The cookie dough should be relatively thick and soft. It's ready to bake right away - you don't need to chill it!
- Use a cookie scoop to portion out the dough, and place each cookie dough ball on a baking sheet (or cookie sheet) lined with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Leave at least an inch of space between each cookie so they can spread out!
- Bake, then let cool for 10-15 minutes right on the baking sheet before transferring to wire racks to cool the rest of the way.
How to tell when these cookies are done
It can take a bit of practice to know exactly when to pull a batch of cookies out of the oven. And when we're working with a dough that's already kind of brown (like this one!) it's even more difficult to tell when the cookies have reached that elusive "lightly browned" state. Here are a few tricks and visual cues to help you along:
- Look for browning along the outer edges. These cookies will start to brown on the very perimeter, where the cookie touches the baking sheet, and on any scraggly/shaggy pieces of cookie dough (so you might see a cookie with an especially rough top start to brown on some of the cracks and peaks of its surface).
- Look for light, thin cracks along the surface. When the cookies are lightly browned and ready to come out of the oven, the tops will start to display some long, fine cracks. These cracks often form in the last few minutes of baking, and they're a good sign the cookies are ready to take out of the oven! (It can be hard to distinguish these fine cracks through the oven window since the tops of these cookies are already a little rough; crack the oven door and take a peek towards the end of the baking time if you need a better view).
- Pull the cookies out before they look all the way done. It's ok if the centers are a little domed and don't look completely set yet - the cookies will sink a bit and the centers will solidify as they cool! Taking the cookies out of the oven before the centers have completely set is the key to a perfectly chewy interior.
Pro tip: Use a kitchen scale
Measuring dry ingredients by volume (with cups) is notoriously unreliable: each person measures a cup of flour a little bit differently, which makes it very easy to accidentally use too much and alter the texture of your cookies. For best results - and perfect-every-time measurements! - use a kitchen scale to follow the gram measurements in the recipe below. (No kitchen scale? Measure your flour with the scoop and level method for best results!)
If you accidentally add too much flour, don't worry - your cookies will be a little taller and thicker, but they'll still taste great:
Riffs and Substitutions
These brown sugar cinnamon cookies are fairly forgiving, and easy to customize! A few of our favorite swaps:
- Add mix-ins! Stir in a few handfuls of white chocolate chips, chopped nuts (we love walnuts, almonds, or pistachios here), dried cranberries, or butterscotch chips before scooping the dough. You can also add a few handfuls of diced apple for cozy apple cinnamon cookies (these don't save well though, so eat them right away). We actually don't love chocolate in this recipe - it competes with the cinnamon a little too much - but if you want a chewy chocolate chip cookie, read our mix up the flavor profile section below or check out our small batch chocolate chip cookies (made with butter) or butterless chocolate chip cookies (made with coconut oil).
- For extra texture, roll cookie dough balls in turbinado sugar, raw sugar, or a cinnamon sugar mixture before baking!
- Mix up the flavor profile. We used ground cinnamon and cloves here for a cozy, Christmas-y flavor, but you can take these cookies a few different directions! For plain brown sugar cookies (like a chip-less chocolate chip cookie), omit the spices and add a teaspoon of vanilla extract instead (or use another extract like maple, almond, or lemon). For more spice-forward cookies, add extra cinnamon or clove, or add a bit of ground ginger or nutmeg (or check out our favorite chewy gingersnap recipe!)
- Brown your butter before adding it to the cookie dough for an extra layer of deep, nutty flavor. Read more: How to brown butter.
- No butter? Use melted coconut oil in its place for a dairy free version.
- If you're low on brown sugar, swap plain white granulated sugar for up to 50% of the brown sugar here (or make your own brown sugar by stirring a Tablespoon of molasses into a cup of plain white sugar!)
- Dress these cookies up by adding a pinch of flakey sea salt to the top of each cookie before baking. If you want to enjoy your brown sugar cookies with icing or decorations, top them with a drizzle of melted white chocolate, homemade caramel, or maple fudge frosting.
After a few days, cookies can start to dry out. To keep them fresh and help them retain moisture, throw a slice of fresh bread into the airtight container with the cookies: The sugar will draw the moisture out of the bread and into the cookies, keeping them nice and fresh (you'll know it's working when the bread goes stale!)
We tested this recipe with both light brown sugar and dark brown sugars: both work fine! The cookies in these photos were made with light brown sugar; if you use dark brown sugar, the cookies will be slightly darker, will spread a tiny bit less, and be a touch more bitter.
Yes! Just use the handy 2x or 3x buttons in the recipe card below to scale this recipe for a bigger batch.
This recipe makes 15-17 large cookies, about 3" in diameter (formed with a 3-Tablespoon cookie scoop) or 40ish small/bite-sized cookies (formed with a 1-Tablespoon cookie scoop). Depending on the size of your cookies, you may need to adjust the baking time.
Yes! These cookies freeze quite well. Let them cool completely, then store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 4 months. Let frozen cookies defrost for a few hours on the counter when you're ready to eat them.
These easy, chewy cinnamon brown sugar cookies are perfect for holiday baking!
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 eggs
- 240 grams brown sugar (1 packed cup + 2 Tablespoons)
- 300 grams all purpose flour (about 2 ½ cups when measured by scooping and leveling)
- 7 grams ground cinnamon (1 Tablespoon)
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves (measure this by volume - it’s such a small quantity that most scales won’t register it)
- 3 grams kosher salt (½ teaspoon)
- 6 grams baking soda (1 teaspoon)
- Heat oven to 375° Fahrenheit.
- Whisk melted butter, eggs, and brown sugar together in a large mixing bowl until smooth.
- Add flour, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and baking soda. Stir until just combined.
- Use a large cookie scoop to portion out cookie dough. Put each cookie dough scoop on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat, leaving an inch of space between each cookie (you may need to use two baking sheets or work in batches).
- Bake at 375° F for 9-12 minutes, until cookies have just started to brown on the outer edges. How to know when your cookies are done: Keep an eye on the cookies through your oven window - as they bake, the edges will spread out while the centers puff up, and after 8 minutes or so they'll start developing small, fine cracks across the surface. When these small cracks begin to form, the cookies are just about done! It can be tough to see these cracks through the oven window since the tops of these cookies are a little shaggy; crack the oven door and take a peek towards the end of the bake time if you need to. The cookies may still have slight domes on top when you remove them from the oven; they will settle and flatten a bit as they cool.
- Remove cookies from oven and let cool right on the baking sheet for 10-15 minutes, then move to a wire rack to finish cooling. Cookies may look a bit puffy right out of the oven, but the centers will sink down as they cool to form a beautiful, chewy texture. Serve immediately or store cooled cookies in an airtight container on the counter for up to 4 days.
Let the eggs come to room temperature for half an hour on the counter if you have the time - they’ll incorporate more smoothly into the batter if they aren’t right-out-of-the-fridge cold. (If you don’t have time to add this step, no worries!)
Use a kitchen scale! Measuring dry ingredients by volume (with cups) is notoriously unreliable; for perfect-every-time measurements, use a kitchen scale to measure by weight and follow the gram measurements in the recipe above. If you don't have a scale, be sure to measure your flour with the scoop and level method for best results.
Substitutions and Additions. Add a few handfuls of mix-ins if you like (chopped walnuts, pecans, or pistachios; dried cranberries; butterscotch chips). Add extra cinnamon or cloves if you like, or add a bit of ground ginger and/or nutmeg for a more spice-forward flavor. Swap melted coconut oil for the melted butter if you like. For extra texture, roll each cookie dough ball in a bit of sugar or turbinado sugar before baking.
What size cookie scoop should I use? We used a 3-Tablespoon cookie scoop to portion the dough in these photos, which gives us 15-17 cookies, each about 3" in diameter. We also tested this recipe with a 1-Tablespoon cookie scoop, which yields 40ish cookies each about 1.5" in diameter (for a 1T scoop, we reduced the bake time to 8 minutes). If you use a different sized cookie scoop, you'll likely need to adjust the bake time: Keep an eye on the cookies as they bake and watch for those telltale surface cracks and brown edges to form!
- Serving Size: 1 cookie
- Calories: 208
- Sugar: 16.3 g
- Sodium: 202.5 mg
- Fat: 7 g
- Carbohydrates: 33.6 g
- Protein: 3.2 g
- Cholesterol: 41.1 mg
Keywords: cookies, dessert, christmas, holiday