Soft, chewy, and filled with rich caramel-toffee flavor, these are the best Butterscotch Cookies! If you’re looking to change up your classic chocolate chip cookie recipe, this one is perfect! Bake these up for any occasion – family gatherings, an after school snack or your holiday cookie tray!
There’s nothing better than the smell of freshly-baked cookies coming out of the oven, but these soft & chewy cookies are made extra delicious with the addition of butterscotch, the best and most underrated morsel in the baking aisle! If you go crazy over sweet & salty desserts, this recipe has your name written all over it.
These irresistible butterscotch cookies are perfect for the holidays, parties, impromptu cookie cravings or a lunchbox treat. I’m bringing this recipe to you just in time for cookie baking season and it will be a crowd pleasing addition to your Christmas cookie tray! With the perfect balance of sweet and salty, these cookies are always a hit and I can’t wait for you all to try them!
What does butterscotch taste like?
The flavor of butterscotch is characterized by a mixture of dark brown sugar, butter, molasses and salt. This is different from caramel which is made using granulated sugar independent of molasses, butter or even salt.
Therefore, this cookie recipe uses primarily brown sugar, a generous amount of vanilla extract, and a little extra salt to balance out the sweetness. Together, these ingredients give the cookie dough a hint of butterscotch. Plus, there are butterscotch chips every bite.
The ingredient list is very simple and includes all of the basics that you’d expect to find in most cookie recipes. It’s the ratio of ingredients that’s important to yield cookies that are soft and chewy with the perfect sweet and salty flavor. The trick? Extra flour, more brown sugar than granulated sugar, a good amount of vanilla extract and just enough salt to balance the sweetness. Here’s the lineup:
- All-purpose flour. The most commonly used flour for baking because of its mild flavor and versatility. Flour gives the cookies structure and depending on its ratio to the other ingredients, will make the cookies chewy, fluffy, cake-y, crisp, or crumbly. Today’s ratio of ingredients makes a chewy cookie.
- Baking powder and baking soda. The combination of these two leavening agents gives the best “lift” to the cookies while maintaining a pleasant flavor. Too much baking powder and you’ll end up with bitter cookies.
- Salt. A must for any sweet treat! Salt enhances other flavors in the cookies while also balancing out the sweetness from the sugars and butterscotch chips.
- Ground cinnamon. For a hint of warm flavor.
- Unsalted butter. Use room temperature butter. Set the butter out 1-2 hours before you begin making the cookies. However, if you forget, like I often do, you can soften butter quickly with this trick.
- Brown sugar and granulated sugar. Both add sweetness. Granulated sugar promotes nice browning while the molasses content in brown sugar makes the cookies chewy and moist.
- Eggs. Two eggs give the cookies shape and structure. The eggs also provide fat and additional moisture to keep the cookies tender.
- Pure vanilla extract. Adds flavor depth and a touch of sweetness.
- Butterscotch chips. Also called “butterscotch morsels,” according to this review, Guittard brand has the best flavor and I would have to agree. Guittard uses real vanilla and, while sweet, their butterscotch chips don’t have an artificial super-sweetness to them that some other butterscotch chips do. In fact, they’re delicious eaten straight out of the bag! You can find this brand at most grocery stores in the baking aisle.
- Maldon sea salt. Sprinkle the cookies with coarse sea salt right after they come out of the oven for a great salty crunch to contrast the sweet flavors.
How to make Butterscotch cookies
This chewy butterscotch cookie recipe is simple, straightforward and will be your new go-to! Just follow these easy steps…
Please see the recipe card for the full, printable recipe with all of the details.
- Prep. About an hour before starting this recipe remove the egg and butter from the refrigerator. Preheat the oven and line your baking pans with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.
- Dry ingredients. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
- Butter + sugar. Beat the butter and both sugars for about 2 minutes and until it’s light in color and creamy.
- Egg + vanilla. Next, add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until combined. With the last egg, add the vanilla.
- Add dry ingredients. On low speed, gradually add in the flour mixture until just combined. Add the butterscotch morsels and mix on low until combined. Be careful not to overmix the dough. Overmixing any batter or dough can lead to toughness.
- Scoop dough balls. Use a large spoon or cookie scoop to make dough balls (mine were about 2 tablespoons full). The dough doesn’t have to be perfectly formed into balls. Drop the cookie dough balls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Bake. Place in the oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes. Do NOT overbake! Remove from the oven right when edges start looking set and golden. The centers may look slightly underbaked, but they will continue to cook even after they are removed from the oven.
- Cool cookies. While the cookies are still warm, press a few extra butterscotch chips into the tops and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes. Then transfer them to a wire cooling rack to continue to cool.
Chilling the cookie dough
I’ve had success with this recipe without chilling the dough. However, I definitely find that chilling the dough for at least 30 minutes (or longer if you have the time) yields the best results in most cookie recipes.
I just about always recommend chilling cookie dough before baking because it creates thicker, chewier cookies, which is exactly how I like them. Not only will there be less spreading with your cookies, but during the chill time all of the flavors in the cookie recipe will mingle with one another and intensify for tastier cookies.
You have two options, here:
- After you make the dough, you can cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes (2-3 hours is even better) and up to 3-4 days. Whenever I make cookies, I try to plan ahead and chill the cookie dough overnight. If your cookie dough has been in the fridge longer than 30 minutes, you’ll need to let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before trying to scoop and roll the dough.
- Another option is to go ahead and scoop the dough and place it on the baking sheets and then refrigerate the baking sheet for at least 30 minutes or longer, if you have the time.
Customize your butterscotch cookies
This butterscotch cookie recipe is pretty much perfect as-is, but feel free to get creative and experiment with your favorite ingredients!
- Baking chips. Try adding about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of butterscotch morsels with about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips. A mix of butterscotch with chocolate is a winning combination! Feel free to add in other favorite baking chips as well.
- Nuts. I think adding in about 1 cup of chopped pecans would be amazing in these. You can also try adding walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, and/or macadamia nuts. Just be sure to use unsalted nuts, to avoid these cookies turning out too salty.
- Dried fruit. Try adding about 1 cup dried cherries, cranberries, chopped apricots, or chopped dates for an extra pizzaz of flavor.
- Sprinkles or M&M’s. Add in a handful of colored sprinkles or about 1 cup miniature or regular M&M’s, if you’d like to make these cookies extra fun!
Pro tip: If you decide to add a cup of nuts or M&M’s, I would reduce the amount of butterscotch chips in the recipe to about 3/4 cup.
Tips for baking perfect butterscotch cookies
There are tons of tips and tricks for baking the perfect cookies, but follow the suggestions below and you’re sure to have some amazing cookies!
- Measure flour correctly. Using a food scale is the most precise method for measuring ingredients, especially flour. If you don’t have one available, lightly spoon flour (don’t pack) into a measuring cup and without shaking the cup, use the straight side of a butter knife to level the flour across the measuring cup.
- Fresh baking soda and baking powder. Be sure that your baking soda and baking powder are fresh! They lose potency over time. When I open a new can, I always write the date on the lid with a Sharpie. Discard the opened can after 6 months.
- Chill the dough. As mentioned previously, these cookies bake up fine without taking the time to chill the dough. However, we prefer the texture and heightened flavor of these cookies when the dough has been chilled.
- Bake on parchment or silicone. Parchment or better yet a silicone baking mat makes for the most perfect cookies. Greasing the baking sheet creates an overly greasy foundation, which will cause the cookies to spread too much. Silicone baking mats will grip onto the bottom of your cookies to prevent them from spreading too much. The mats also promote even browning.
- Don’t overbake. I recommend experimenting with a couple of cookies before baking the entire batch. This will help you find that sweet spot when it comes to bake time in your oven and your preferred level of doneness. Remember cookies continue to bake for a short time, even after they’ve been removed from the oven. And, as they cool, they will become more chewy than doughy.
- Flaky sea salt. Adding a generous sprinkle of flaky seas salt over your cookies while they are still warm will really take the flavor to the next level.
Storing & Freezing recommendations
- Freezing cookie dough. This butterscotch cookie dough recipe freezes beautifully. I love having cookie dough already mixed up, so I can bake a special treat whenever the craving hits or the kids have friends over. Scoop out balls of cookie dough and place them in a freezer-safe baggie. Frozen cookie dough will keep well for up to 3 months. Be sure to label your bag of cookie dough with the date.
- Bake from frozen. Baking from frozen will work just fine. The tops of your cookies may darken a bit more, but they will still be fabulous. Follow all of the cooking instructions, but add a minute or two onto the bake time.
- Freezing baked cookies. You can totally freeze already-baked butterscotch cookies with great results. Store in a freezer-safe container or baggie and freeze the cookies for up to 3 months.
- Storing baked cookies. Baked cookies will keep in an airtight container or zip-top baggie at room temperature for about 1 week, but I can’t imagine them lasting that long!
You won’t be able to eat just one of these amazing soft and chewy butterscotch cookies, I promise you that. I apologize in advance, if your pants fit a little tighter! 😉
MORE FAVORITE COOKIE RECIPES
Looking for more delicious cookie recipes? You’ll love these favorites!
- White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
- Best Peanut Butter Cookies
- Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies
- No Bake Peanut Butter Cornflake Cookies
- Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
If you try this butterscotch cookies recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves these cookies as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
- 3 ¼ cup (390g) all-purpose flour
- 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup (2 sticks, 226g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 ½ cups (288g) light or dark brown sugar
- ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cup (225g) butterscotch chips
- Optional for sprinkling on baked cookies: coarse sea salt
- Preheat oven to 365ºF or 185ºC. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside. Whisk together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- Add softened butter and sugars to a large mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to beat together on medium speed until combined and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition until just combined. With the last egg, add in vanilla extract.
- On low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture.
- On low speed, beat in the butterscotch chips.
- Drop balls of cookie dough onto the lined cookie sheet. I used 40 grams (about 2 tablespoons) of dough for each cookie. This will make medium-sized cookies, like the ones pictured.
- Bake for 10-12 mins. Remove from the oven right when edges start getting golden. If desired, while the cookies are still warm, press a few extra butterscotch chips into the tops and sprinkle sea salt on top. Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely. Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week.