Pecan Pie Cookies

I’ve been a bit conflicted over posting this recipe.

Generally speaking, every recipe I post is something that I’ve either developed completely from scratch, or made as a “Frankenstein” recipe, utilizing bits and pieces of ingredients and techniques of several recipes – like my Jamaican Beef Patties recipe.

This recipe? I’ve had it for years, but I now have NO idea where it came from. I’m pretty sure it came from one of the posters on a cake forum I used to frequent, but who specifically, or where SHE got it from? No idea. It looks like it’s since become a popular recipe out there on the interwebs, though!

Anyway – way back when – I asked for permission to use this recipe as a holiday offering through Celebration Generation… and the cookies always got rave reviews. I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked for the recipe! What with the weather cooling down, I figure it’s cookie making season, and time to share it!

I have not contributed any major changes to the recipe, but I like to add a couple pinches of spice to the filling, as noted. Hope I’m not losing any baker’s cred by posting this, but I know it’ll make a bunch of people happy. Plus, I think the photos are just too pretty to NOT share.

Pecan Pie Cookies
Makes about 20 cookies

3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1tsp baking powder

1 cup chopped pecans
½ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla
Pinch each of ginger, cinnamon, and/or cloves – optional*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, continue beating until egg is fully incorporated and mixture is once again smooth and fluffy.

Add baking powder and flour, continue beating until mixture is uniform, with everything incorporated. Set dough aside.

In a separate mixing bowl, mix pecans and brown sugar with spices, if using. Add in heavy cream and vanilla, mix until well combined.

Roll cookie dough into balls that are about 1.25″ in diameter, and place them on cookie sheets – leave about 2″ between the cookies.

Gently use thumb to press down in the middle of each cookie, making an indentation. Roll thumb slightly to stretch the indentation out a little. Fill each indentation with about 1 tsp of pecan filling

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned. Allow to cool on sheets for 5 minutes or so, before gently transferring to

* If you’re looking to make these exactly as we did for our cookie trays, I used a pinch each of all 3 spices in the filling


Author:Marie Porter

Marie is an award winning cake artist based in Minnesota's Twin Cities. Known as much for her delicious and diverse flavor menu as for her sugar artistry, Marie's work has graced magazines and blogs around the world. Having baked and designed for brides, celebrities, and even Klingons, Marie was proud to share her wealth of baking knowledge in her two cookbooks: "The Spirited Baker" and “Evil Cake Overlord”. Marie has also authored a book about her experiences surrounding the 2011 Minneapolis tornado: "Twisted: A Minneapolis Tornado Memoir"

53 Responses to “Pecan Pie Cookies”

  1. March 27, 2012 at 9:53 am #

    Oh. My. Gawd!! These look so darn yummy I can’t stand it! I’ll have to make them for the next business pot luck just so I can have some. Thanks for posting.

  2. Deborrah
    March 28, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    I was so excited to see this recipe on Pinterest. My husband loves pecan pie. I attempted to make the cookies but found the dough just ran when baking. I thought it looked too wet (like it needed more flour) after mixing it, but since it was my first time making it, decided to follow the recipe. Any suggestions?

    • March 28, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

      Hi Deborrah.

      Hrm.. no idea what to suggest, I’ve never had that happen before, or heard from anyone who has. After the flour is mixed in, it should definitely be dry enough to roll balls from – if it happens again, I’d add more flour.

    • Nancy Davis
      August 26, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

      Make sure the butter for the dough is room temperature, and NOT melted. I made this mistake years ago, when making chocolate chip cookes, and they turned out like pancakes, not cookies! lol

    • Mary
      October 23, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

      I made these today! I had some problems with rolling the dough into balls (it was too sticky), so I tried two methods to combat the problem:

      1. Half of the dough I used two spoons to scoop the ball into ball shapes, then refrigerated the dough so it would tighten up a bit. Then I used the back of the teaspoon, dipped in flour to make the dent in the middle. They turned out well!

      2. To the half of the dough I had left I added 1/3 cup of flour, which made the dough more manageable. I still couldn’t roll the dough, so I used the spoons again. This did make the cookies a little drier.

      In the end, they were yummy! Taste like a homemade pecan sandy mixed with pecan pie!

    • Lois
      November 30, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

      Possibly Cut the butter down from 3/4 cup to 3/4 stick. To much butter thins the dough as it cooks.

    • Kelly
      December 24, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

      I think your issue is definitely the flour. Measuring flour by volume (ie cups) isn’t ideal because it all depends how much you pack it into the cups. However since most recipes don’t give you the weight you need to feel it out on your own. My suggestion would be to make the dough, then add flour until it is ok to work with (personally I like my cookies very flour-y). I do this with chocolate chip cookies too. Here is a link that helped me a lot with my cookies about half way down the page is says “problems” and shows cookies that are messed up and their solutions. Hope that helps!

  3. Tifany
    April 13, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    I made these cookies a couple of weeks ago for the first time — my husband informed me I never needed to make pecan pie again. 😉 I am now on my third round of making these cookies, this time for a bake sale benefiting a local family whose home burned down. What a DELICIOUS recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  4. May 7, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

    I saw these on Pinterest and just made these today, and I must say that they are fabulous! The only change I made was to add 1/2 tsp. salt to the dough. I was a little skeptical and didn’t think they would taste like pecan pie, but holy smokes they do! Thanks for the recipe!

  5. Katrina
    May 31, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

    I had the same problem as Deborrah 🙁 Followed the recipe exactly as well, no problem rolling the dough into balls.

  6. RuthAnn
    June 2, 2012 at 10:43 pm #

    Can these be made a few days ahead?

  7. Linda Brown
    July 28, 2012 at 7:35 pm #

    OMG … Just pulled these out of the oven! Heavenly and you need a tall glass of milk with just one cookie. But of course, I did not stop with one!!!!!

  8. Penny Wolf
    August 2, 2012 at 6:24 am #

    After reading the posts and before I make this recipe I would like to know the egg size used.
    Perhaps that made a softer dough.

  9. Nancy Davis
    August 26, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    These sound so good, I am going to double the recipe when I make them. 20 cookies does not seem like enough. 🙂 Thank you so much for the recipe!

  10. Kris
    September 5, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

    The first time I made these following the recipe minus the spices, the cookies spread quite a bit but were super yummy. I made them again today, and chilled the dough for about 10 minutes and they came out like the picture. The only problem was that the cookies were a little more like a shortbread and a little bit dry. Conclusion, loose dough makes loose cookies that are crispy, cold dough makes firm cookies that a a little dry

  11. Peggy Saucier
    September 8, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

    Would like to try these.

  12. Kristina
    September 27, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    These turned out perfect and delicious! I did chill the dough a little but found then they cracked more when I made the thumbprint. Excellent recipe!

  13. Sara T
    October 13, 2012 at 1:25 am #

    Are you suppose to add cream to the dough too? That’s the very first thing it says to add (cream butter and sugar for the dough) … Maybe that’s why others cookies are runny?

    • Lynda H
      October 21, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

      no Sara by creaming butter they mean to mix it well do not add cream to dough just filling

  14. Lynda H
    October 21, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    made these today soooo good going to serve them to family later today if I can keep my hand out of cookie jar doubled the recipe worked perfect was thinking they would also be yummy with dab of pumpkin pie filling and cream cheese icing

  15. Melinda
    November 1, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    I think the problem with spreading is the baking powder. It produces a much softer cookie than baking soda.

  16. Michelle
    November 12, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    I made these today and they just taste like sugar cookies with plain pecans on top. I assume they are supposed to taste like more than that? Not trying to be rude, I just want to figure out what went wrong. I followed the recipe exactly, and the filling had flavor before it was baked.

  17. Chase
    November 12, 2012 at 3:52 pm #

    if short on time could a premade sugar cookie or snickerdoodle cookie dough be used instead?

  18. Cassidy
    November 15, 2012 at 2:05 pm #

    Made these for the first time today thinking I would take a batch to my son’s class at school for their Thanksgiving feast. (Easier and less messy than pecan pie!) They are delicious! Fairly easy to make, and I had all the ingredients on hand. I too had the problem with the dough being super sticky, which made the cookies spread a LOT in the oven. I did not melt the butter. Just left it out on the counter for an hour or so this morning. Followed the directions to a T as well. Next time, I will omit the baking powder and add more flour until the dough seems firmer. I will definitely make them again because they are really yummy!

  19. Lana
    November 20, 2012 at 7:47 am #

    I really want to make these, they look delicious. One question though, all purpose flour or self-rising flour??

  20. AlisonKF
    November 24, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

    In the listing of ingredients, I presume the first listing is the cookie part and the second half the topping…is there really a cup of brown sugar in the dough? Only wondering because it doesn’t mention mixing it in, in the directions section, except for the topping with the pecans….

  21. AlisonKF
    November 24, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Never mind, I must be tired, lol.

  22. Amber
    December 11, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    These cookies are a HUGE hit among my friends/family. No problems whatsoever!

  23. Audrey
    December 11, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

    My first batch is out of the oven and they look and smell amazing. Recipe was for 20 cookies, but I got 42 good sized cookies from this recipe. If you substitute dark brown sugar in the dough as I did, you will have a darker cookie than the photo. But, oh yum!

  24. Ally
    December 11, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

    I am very disappointed in these cookies. While the flavor is nice, the dough simply does not hold up – as many other bakers experienced.

    Even after thoroughly chilling the dough, it runs and becomes very thin while baking. The topping is quite heavy, so it settles through the runny dough and sticks to the cookie sheet. Utter disaster!

    • December 12, 2012 at 6:59 am #

      Not sure what to say. I’ve made this recipe many, many times, and have never once had the dough turn out “runny”.

  25. Bev
    December 16, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

    Found from pinterest! These turned out great for me! Taking them to a work Christmas party tomorrow! They are really good should be a crowd pleaser!!

    • Karla
      December 28, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

      I got quite a few more than 20 out of my batch. More than than double that and I stuck right to the recipe.. I found this incredibly easy. 5 *****!!

  26. February 26, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    Just a thought for those that are having trouble with a ‘runny’ dough, sometimes it can make a huge difference where abouts in the oven you place the baking tray. I always cook one tray at a time in the middle of the oven, allowing the air to circulate the tray on both sides.

  27. Heather Arner
    March 24, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

    Made them, no problems, turned out great. Everyone raved !

  28. Lauren
    April 4, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

    Made these this evening and got 26 mid-sized cookies. Did not have any problems with the dough. I made sure when creaming the butter and sugar, that it was fluffy, and then used my hand mixer again to combine the final ingredients until light and fluffy. The egg acts as a binding agent (I think) so it really needs to be beaten in good! Good flavor, though I wish the filling was a bit richer. Will play around with this recipe!

  29. KG
    July 6, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

    I bake all the time but my cookies did not come out like the picture….I will try to refrigerate the dough if I try them again.

  30. Al
    August 5, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

    Recipe needs salt. Also, they spread less if chilled after forming the little cups. Other than that, these are great. Thanks for sharing.
    Al recently posted..And……we’re off!

  31. September 17, 2013 at 8:24 am #

    I have to show thanks to the writer just for rescuing me from this instance. After checking through the the web and getting basics which are not pleasant, I assumed my life was over. Existing devoid of the solutions to the problems you’ve sorted out all through your main article content is a critical case, and those that could have in a wrong way damaged my entire career if I had not come across your site. The skills and kindness in touching everything was crucial. I’m not sure what I would’ve done if I had not discovered such a subject like this. I can also at this time look ahead to my future. Thanks for your time so much for your expert and result oriented help. I won’t hesitate to endorse your web sites to anybody who ought to have guidelines about this subject.

  32. September 29, 2013 at 11:41 am #

    I just made these and they were amazing!!!!! I didnt have any problems with my dough and they formed perfectly! Loved them!

  33. Carol Meyer
    October 20, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

    Thank you so much for this recipe, will add this to my Christmas cookies.

  34. Andi May
    December 3, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    I placed a whole pecan on top of the cookies after I added the chopped pecan/spice mix (my family LOVES pecans). It made for a beautiful presentation!

  35. Sandy
    December 7, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

    I just made these today and….OMG! They are wonderful!!!!! Thank you!

  36. December 13, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

    How long will these cookies last for? Since there’s cream in the filling do they need to be refrigerated?

    • December 16, 2013 at 11:06 am #

      They don’t last long, but it’s not because of the cream! (No need to refrigerate).

      Honestly, I’m not sure, We’ve never had a batch hang around for more than a couple of days, so it’s been hard to test that.

  37. Brandie
    November 27, 2014 at 7:37 am #

    Made these for thanksgiving instead of my usual pecan pie and they are amazing. Only thing
    I did differently was mix about 1/4 cup chopped pecans into the dough (saw this in another recipe) and they turned out great. I chilled the dough while making the filling and used a cookie scoop to form the balls. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  38. Kristyn
    November 29, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

    My 4 year old and I just finished baking a double batch of these. They are pretty darn good! I will definitely make these again, and will add a pinch of salt to the dough, as suggested by someone else. My son was VERY generous with the cinnamon (which he put in both the dough and the filling) and we did not add the other spices. We love cinnamon, so they are to our liking. Easy, fun for a 4 year old, and delicious. Thanks for posting!


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