Classic Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies are gooey on the inside with a slight crunch to the exterior! The ultimate cookie, studded with bittersweet chocolate chips and pecans, is easy to make, bake and also freeze for later. Makes 20 cookies.
These cookies were originally published on August 15, 2016. The text and images were updated and republished on August 9, 2021.
I was raised to believe I could do anything if I put my mind to it. And this is a great affirmation because it teaches you to persevere, to push through, to put your head down and keep going when the going gets tough.
However, the older I get, the more I realize that while I can do anything I put my mind to, it’s impossible for me to do it all. This comes to motherhood, working, working out, etc.
When life hands me disappointments, I bake because it’s a soothing activity for me.
These cookies, one of my favorite things to bake, take me back to childhood.
Why I love this recipe:
This recipe is adapted from a family friend’s award-winning recipe. She passed away when I was in elementary school, but every time we bake them, I think of her and my mom. For my 21st birthday, my mother gifted be a recipe box and shared 21 recipes with me. This was one of them.
Over the subsequent years, I’ve baked a lot of cookies and slowly tinkered with Mrs. Chris’s recipe to fit my tastebuds for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. (Spoiler alert: I swapped vegetable shortening with butter…)
If you’re a fan of soft, gooey sweets, you’re going to love these Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies. They’re best straight from the oven (or warmed for a few seconds in the microwave!) and paired with a cold glass of milk.
They also freeze really well, so you can freeze ’em for later. (Don’t know how to do this? Check out How to Freeze Cookie Dough to learn more.)
More chocolate chip-studded recipes: Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars | Chocolate Chip Irish Cream Pound Cake | Whole Wheat Apple Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake | Toasted Almond Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies | Halloween Peanut Butter Chocolate White Chocolate Chip Cookies | Vegan Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Does your sweet tooth need a treat? Head on over to my Dessert Recipe Index for more ideas.
What you need to make these Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies
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- Sheet pan
- Silpat nonstick baking mat or parchment paper
- Glass bowls
- Hand mixer or stand mixer
- 2 tablespoon cookie scoop
In addition to these tools, you’re going to need some ingredients to bake these homemade cookies, too.
- Unsalted butter—this needs to be softened, meaning you should plan ahead and set out the butter 30-45 minutes before you plan to make the batter so it blends easier. It needs to be close to room temperature.
- Granulated sugar—also known as white sugar
- Brown sugar—you may use light brown sugar or dark brown sugar in this recipe. I use them interchangeably, and they add a delicious flavor.
- Vanilla extract—the real deal kind, please and thank you
- All-purpose flour—we keep unbleached AP flour at our house, but you can use the regular kind, too
- Kosher salt—I use a medium-grain kosher salt in this recipe.
- Baking soda
- Chopped pecans—you can purchase chopped pecans or chop your own if you’ve got whole ones. Just be sure they’re on the smaller side so no one is chewing giant chunks of pecans.
- Bittersweet chocolate chips—these are my go-to because I find these cookies get too sweet if you use a semisweet or milk chocolate chip.
A note on substitutions in these cookies:
- Replace the butter with your favorite vegan butter or vegetable shortening to make them dairy free. Just be sure that your chocolate chips are also dairy free. Ms. Chris’s original recipe calls for shortening, and my mom still makes these beauties with it.
- Swap out the chocolate chips. I like bittersweet or dark chocolate chips the best, but you can use whatever you’ve got on hand. If you’re going to use semisweet or milk chocolate chips, add 2-3 tablespoons less than what the recipe calls for so that the cookies don’t become too sweet.
- Leave out the nuts, or use another one. If you’re not a nut person or are allergic, leave out the nuts. If you don’t like pecans, swap them out for walnuts, cashews, peanuts, etc.
How to make Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies
First and foremost, add the flour, baking soda and salt to a small bowl. Whisk to combine, ensuring all the ingredients are incorporated. This will ensure the dry ingredients are evenly dispersed in the final cookies.
Next, measure out the softened butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar into a large bowl. Use a hand mixer or a stand mixer to cream the butter and sugars together, beating for 3-4 minutes until it turns a fluffy, light yellow.
Add the egg and vanilla extract to the bowl. Whip them into the butter/sugar mixture, beating until the batter is airy and smells amazing. These are our wet ingredients, FYI.
Pour half of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, and stir with the mixer. Add in the rest, and blend until the dough has just come together.
Next, measure in the chopped pecans and bittersweet chocolate chips. Use a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon to gently fold them into the cookie dough.
Now, we need to cover the bowl with plastic wrap (or your favorite eco-friendly wrap), and pop it into the fridge. The dough needs to chill for at least 2 hours.
We chill cookie dough to give the ingredients a chance to rest, as well as the flour to hydrate. Chilled cookie dough is less likely to spread as it bakes, leading to fluffier, fuller cookies.
How to bake perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
When the cookie dough is done chilling, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat, too.
Use a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop to scoop out rounds of the chilled cookie dough. You can roll the dough in your hands to make them a bit more rounded, but it’s not a necessity, nor will it affect the flavor of the cookies.
Evenly space the dough on the baking sheet. I leave about 2″ between each cookie dough ball so that the cookies can expand as they bake.
Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown. Keep an eye on the cookies, as these will brown quickly if you’re not paying attention. We like ours gooey in the middle, so we take them out between 13-15 minutes.
Enjoy warm with a glass of your favorite kind of milk!
Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips
These Chocolate Chip Cookies make for a wonderful dessert when entertaining, whether you’re hosting a birthday party, an at-home tailgate, a holiday gathering or anything else. (Fun fact: These are the cookies that transform into our epic Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars, which disappear fast whenever we host a gathering, large or small.)
Here are a few ideas of how to make these beauties for any special occasion:
- Double the recipe. Having made this for a few gatherings myself, let me give you this tip: Double everything. This cookie recipe is one of the ones that translates to that easily.
- Use a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop* (affiliate link). This will make for smaller, bite-sized cookies for guests to enjoy. These cookies can be left gooey in the center, which is my favorite, but they can get messy.
- Make the dough a day in advance. This cookie dough can sit in the fridge for a day or two easily. Make it easier on yourself and prepare that early so that you don’t have to fret about it before guests arrive.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are a few potential problems here. Your butter might have been too warm when you made the dough. Also, you might not have chilled the cookies long enough.
Eggs serve as a leavener and a binder in cookies, so if you leave them out, the texture of the cookies will surely change and they will be more dense. If you’re looking for an eggless chocolate chip cookie recipe, try my Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies.
If you don’t have eggs and want to make this cookie recipe, I suggest adding an extra teaspoon of baking soda to this cookie recipe. When mixing the wet ingredients, add a tablespoon of white vinegar. You can also replace the egg with a quarter cup (1/4 cup) of unsweetened applesauce.
The sugar content does this. More granulated/white sugar leads to a crispier cookie. However, this recipe involves some brown sugar, too, and that balances out the possible crispness.
Quick Tips and Tricks to the best cookies
- Make substitutions for your tastebuds. This cookie dough is super versatile. Substitute the pecans for other chopped nuts. Use milk or semisweet chocolate chips, but use about 2-3 tablespoons less to prevent the cookies from getting too sweet.
- Let them chill. Seriously. It makes a difference in the texture and shape of the final cookies.
- How to store: Once completely cool, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
- How to freeze: I wrote a tutorial for you here! Freezing cookie dough is one of my all-time favorite things to do for my future self. When you’re ready to enjoy them, preheat the oven, line a baking sheet, pop the frozen cookie dough on it and bake for 1-2 minutes longer than specified in the recipe below.
- How to reheat: These cookies are best warm, in my opinion, Place on a microwave-safe plate and heat for 10-15 seconds. Do this in increments until the cookie is warmed to your liking.
Here’s how I make them:
Classic Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies are gooey on the inside with a slight crunch to the exterior! The ultimate cookie, studded with bittersweet chocolate chips and pecans, is easy to make, bake and also freeze for later.
- ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup (124g) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (59g) lightly packed brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cup (186g) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon (3g) kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon (4g) baking soda
- ½ cup (64g) chopped pecans
- ¾ cup (143g) bittersweet chocolate chips
- In a smaller bowl, combine and whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda.
- Cream the softened butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar with a hand (or stand) mixer in a large bowl. Mix until the butter is light yellow and the sugars are well incorporated.
- Crack in the egg and vanilla extract, beating until well incorporated. The batter should be airy and smell luscious.
- Pour in half of the dry ingredients, beating until combined. Add the other half, blending until the batter has come together.
- Measure in the chopped pecans and bittersweet chocolate chips. Stir them into the batter with a spoon or a rubber spatula.
- Wrap the bowl in plastic wrap, and chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (or overnight.)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
- Use a 2 tablespoon cookie scooper to scoop out rounds of the chilled cookie dough.
- Evenly space the dough on the baking sheet, about 2" apart so the dough can spread as it bakes.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Enjoy warm with a glass of your favorite kind of milk!
This cookie recipe is easily doubled. Do the basic math to have a double batch of these goodies. Be sure to freeze some cookie dough balls for later, too.
You can make smaller cookies using a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop, too. The bake time will be closer to 10-11 minutes, so keep an eye on them. These beauties cook up quickly.
A few more tips for the best cookies around:
- Acceptable substitutions: Substitute other chopped nuts for the pecans or simply leave them out. Use milk or semisweet chocolate chips, but use about 2-3 tablespoons less to prevent the cookies from getting too sweet.
- Let them chill. I mean it. It makes a difference in the texture and shape of the final cookies.
- How to store: Once completely cool, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
- How to reheat: If the cookies are cooled and you'd like them warm to eat, heat up in the toaster oven OR microwave on a microwave-safe plate for 10-15 seconds, or until the chocolate is just slightly gooey.
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Serving Size:1 cookie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 160Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 77mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gProtein: 2g
Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.