Brown Butter Macadamia Nut Cookies

published Oct 14, 2022
Macadamia Nut Cookie Recipe

A soft-baked, crispy-edged cookie loaded with pieces of macadamia nuts, white chocolate chips, and brown butter for good measure.

Makes20 cookies

Prep10 minutes

Cook12 minutes to 15 minutes

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A photo of a round plate of macadamia nut cookies.
Credit: Laura Manzano

It’s hard to find a more iconic recipe featuring white chocolate chips than macadamia nut cookies. The perfect balance between sweet, salty, nutty, and buttery have made them classic for a reason. This recipe takes them to the next level with brown butter, which brings an amazing flavor. But the best part is that the dough come together in just 15 minutes and you don’t even need a mixer to make them! 

What Makes Macadamia Nut Cookies Soft and Chewy?

There’s a secret baking ingredient in your pantry and its name is cornstarch. Cornstarch is a lesser-known but magical trick to making cookies more tender and prevent them from spreading too much while baking. Just a little goes a long way, so a teaspoon makes a big difference in making your cookies extra soft and chewy.

What Is Brown Butter?

Browning butter is a process that toasts the milk solids and gives the butter a rich and nutty flavor. Its transformation is stunning when you consider how little effort it takes. But be careful: The solids in butter can go from beautiful amber to burnt and bitter in a matter of seconds, so be sure to transfer the butter to a bowl the second it’s ready.

When browning butter, some of the moisture evaporates from the butter during the cooking process. In this recipe, I add a teaspoon of water so the structural integrity of the butter is maintained. 

Credit: Laura Manzano

Do I Have to Roast Macadamia Nuts for Cookies?

If you buy nuts that are already roasted and salted, you don’t have to roast again, unless you want to! Roasting further brings out tons of flavor; just make sure to keep a close eye so they don’t burn, and be sure to let them completely cool before adding them to the dough. 

Do I Have to Chill My Cookie Dough? 

Patience is a virtue, and your cookies will thank you for waiting. Melted butter and sugar will spread too quickly in the oven if not cooled, otherwise resulting in flat cookies with burnt edges. You’d be amazed what resting cookie dough will do for your finished product. Keep in mind that good things take time — but in this case, luckily only 30 minutes!

Macadamia Nut Cookie Recipe

A soft-baked, crispy-edged cookie loaded with pieces of macadamia nuts, white chocolate chips, and brown butter for good measure.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 12 minutes to 15 minutes

Makes 20 cookies

Nutritional Info


  • 8 tablespoons

    (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • 1 teaspoon


  • 1 1/4 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon


  • 1 teaspoon

    baking powder

  • 1/2 cup

    plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons

    packed light or dark brown sugar

  • 1

    large egg

  • 2 teaspoons

    vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup

    white chocolate chips

  • 1/2 cup

    roasted, salted macadamia nuts


  1. Melt 1 stick unsalted butter in a small saucepan or skillet over medium heat until it begins to foam and bubble. Continue cooking, swirling the pan occasionally, until the cracking sounds stop, about 2 minutes. Continue to swirl the pan or stir with a heatproof spatula until brown bits start to form at the bottom and the butter starts to smell nutty. When the bits are amber in color and the butter is light brown, immediately remove from the heat. Scrape into a medium heatproof bowl, making sure to scrape all the browned solids into the bowl. Add 1 teaspoon water and set aside to cool slightly.

  2. Meanwhile, place 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, and 1 teaspoon baking powder in a second medium bowl and whisk to combine.

  3. Add 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar, 1 large egg, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt to the browned butter. Whisk well to combine. Add 1/2 cup white chocolate chips and 1/2 cup roasted, salted macadamia nuts, and fold with a flexible spatula until combined.

  4. Add 1/2 of the flour mixture and fold until the flour is mostly incorporated. Add the remaining flour mixture and fold until just combined. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 350ºF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

  5. Scoop out the cookie dough into 20 (2 rounded tablespoon) portions and place on the baking sheets, spacing them evenly apart. No need to roll into smooth balls — irregular cookie shapes make for dynamic cookies!

  6. Bake until the cookies are lightly golden and puffed, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The cookie dough balls can be frozen solid and stored in a ziptop bag for up to 4 months. Bake from frozen, they will need about 3 minute more baking time.

Storage: The cookies can be stored in an airtight container or a zip-top bag at room temperature for up to 5 days.