Looking for a flavorful take on classic sugar cookies? These Brown Sugar Cookies without butter have chewy centers and make for the best cookies! You would never guess there's no butter in these delicious, soft cookies.
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💕 Why You’ll Love This Recipe
There are so many reasons to love this great recipe for brown sugar cookies! Here are a few:
- Traditionally, sugar cookies are made with white sugar which produces a crispier cookie. The addition of brown sugar instead of white creates a moist and chewier cookie with notes of caramel and molasses
- The dough balls get rolled in a combination of white sugar and brown sugar before baking, helping to create those beautiful crackled tops
- Interior of these cookies is chewy due to the high ratio of brown sugar and the cookies have perfectly crisp edges
- These cookies are perfect for those who are looking for cookie recipes without butter without missing out on flavor in a normal cookie with butter recipe
- No chill time required!
🧾 Ingredients & Substitutions
These soft sugar cookies require pantry staples as the main ingredients. There is a secret ingredient that makes for the perfect butter substitute without sacrificing any flavor in these great cookies. Here's what you'll need:
- Coconut oil: This is the secret ingredient that takes the place of unsalted butter in this cookie recipe. Be sure to use refined coconut oil vs unrefined coconut oil. Unrefined coconut oil has a stronger coconut flavor that will carry through to the baked cookies. Also be sure the coconut oil is solid instead of melted coconut oil. I would not recommend substituting the coconut oil for vegetable oil, olive oil or any other liquid oil, as it'll change the texture of the baked cookie
- Brown sugar: I highly recommend using dark brown sugar for this recipe. Dark brown sugar contains more molasses than light brown sugar, giving these cookies a more caramely flavor. If you only have light brown sugar, that will work just fine. Unlike other dry ingredients like flour, be sure to pack in the sugar when measuring it
- Granulated sugar
- Whole milk: may be substituted for non dairy milk in equal amounts
- Large eggs: Be sure to remove the eggs from the fridge at least 30 minutes prior to making these cookie dough to allow them to reach room temperature. This will yield the best results for these chewy sugar cookies
- Vanilla extract: Go for the highest quality pure vanilla extract you can afford. Imitation vanilla adds a bit of an artificial, watered-down vanilla flavor to these delicious cookies. For a fun flavor variation, try substituting the vanilla extract for almond extract!
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
✨How To Make Brown Sugar Cookies without butter
These cookies are super easy to make! View the recipe below for detailed steps and ingredient measurements:
Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, add the coconut oil, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Turn the electric mixer on low then pour in milk and mix until fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Stop the mixer to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed
Add the wet ingredients (eggs and vanilla) and continue mixing on medium speed until smooth and well incorporated.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together the granulated and brown sugar for rolling the cookie dough balls
Using a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop dough and roll into a ball between your palms then toss in the sugar mixture to coat all sides. Place onto the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
Bake until the edges are just golden brown and the cookie tops start to crackle, about 10-12 minutes, rotating trays front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking.
Cookies may look underdone and slightly puffed when you remove them from the oven. They will continue to bake on the trays. Allow cookies to cool on the trays
👩🍳 Pro Tips
- Baking time may vary based on how hot your oven runs. Use visual cues such as the color of the cookies (they should be lightly golden brown on the edges) and whether the tops have started to crackle. Baking too long will yield crispy cookies vs a chewy texture
- Be sure to use refined coconut oil vs unrefined coconut oil. Unrefined coconut oil has a stronger coconut flavor that will carry through to the baked cookies. Also be sure the coconut oil is solid instead of melted coconut oil
- Store the cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week. These cookies are best when served warm. Place the desired number of cookies in the microwave at 50% power for 30-45 seconds or until desired temperature is reached
- For the original recipe of Brown Sugar Cookies (with butter), click here!
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Brown sugar helps keep cookies moist and gives them a caramely flavor from the molasses. Brown sugar gives cookies a chewier texture vs a crispy texture from a higher ratio of white granulated sugar.
Yes! Brown sugar makes cookies chewy while a higher ratio of white granulated sugar makes cookies crispier.
Yes, in most recipes, unless specified, light brown sugar can be substituted for dark brown sugar in equal amounts without issue.
Your sugar cookies may be flat for several reasons: You used too much fat such as butter or oil and/or not enough flour; be sure to use solid coconut oil (or room temperature butter, if using a cookie recipe with butter) instead of melted coconut oil (or melted butter) which makes cookies spread more; Your leavening agent such as baking powder or baking soda may be expired.
FOR ALL MY FAVORITE BAKING TOOLS INCLUDING THOSE USED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE, CHECK OUT MY BAKING RESOURCES PAGE!
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- ¾ cup coconut oil refined, solid
- 1 ½ cups dark brown sugar packed
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar packed
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, add the coconut oil, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Turn on low speed. Pour in milk and mix until fluffy, 3-4 minutes.
- Add eggs and vanilla mixing on medium until smooth and well incorporated.
- With mixer off add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir on low just until combined. Do not over mix.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together the granulated and brown sugar to remove any lumps
- Using a 2-tablespoon scoop, scoop dough and roll into a ball between your palms then toss in the sugar mixture to coat all sides. Place onto a cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
- Bake until the edges are just brown and tops start to crackle, about 10-12 minutes, rotating trays front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking. Cookies may look underdone and slightly puffed when you remove them from the oven. They will continue to bake on the trays. Allow cookies to cool on the trays
- Store cooled cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 week
- Cookies are best when they are slightly warm. Place in the microwave for 30-45 seconds on 50% power
- To freeze, place in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in the freezer for at least one hour.
- Store cookies in a freezer safe bag for up to 6 months. Thaw at room temperature then warm in the microwave