Butterscotch Cookies

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The softest and chewiest Butterscotch Cookies with a deep, rich caramel-toffee flavor. These cookies are loaded with butterscotch baking chips to further intensify their sweetness and flavor.

Overhead image of Butterscotch Cookies

What exactly is the flavor of butterscotch?

Butterscotch flavor comes from brown sugar and butter. It’s not like caramel, which is just sugar without butter or molasses. To make butterscotch sauce, you mix brown sugar, butter, cream, and a bit of salt.

The easiest way to make butterscotch cookies is by using butterscotch chips. But I wanted a rich butterscotch taste. This required lots of testing, and the result is the best Butterscotch Cookies I’ve ever had! I started by adding the key ingredients of butterscotch – butter, dark brown sugar, and molasses – to the cookies. Then, I also added butterscotch chips to make the flavor even stronger.


Brown sugar gets its color from molasses mixed into white sugar. Dark brown sugar just has more molasses. In these cookies, we use both light and dark brown sugar and add even more molasses for flavor. This extra molasses makes the cookies very soft and chewy. 

What to expect from these Butterscotch Cookies

These cookies taste like molasses and sweet caramel-toffee. They are very soft and chewy, with edges that are just a bit crispy. They have lots of butterscotch chips in them, which makes the butterscotch flavor stronger and adds sweetness and a nice texture.

Process shots: mixing together butter and sugars then adding egg, vanilla, molasses, and baking agents and mixing it all together

Let’s talk molasses

The molasses gives a soft caramel or toffee taste. It also helps make the cookies soft and chewy. Plus, molasses adds a little sweetness to the Butterscotch Cookies.

At the store, you’ll find many types of molasses, from light to very dark (blackstrap). Blackstrap molasses is strong and a bit bitter, not very sweet, and usually doesn’t taste good in baked stuff. Instead, use dark molasses, also called “robust” or “full-flavored.” It has a rich, sweet taste.

I have tested these cookies with Brer Rabbit® and Grandma’s® and would recommend both.


Use leftover molasses in these Gingersnap Cookies, these Easter Cookies, or  Oatmeal Scotchies.

Dark Brown and Light Brown Sugar in these Butterscotch Cookies

Beyond the actual molasses in these cookies, we’ve also got dark and light brown sugar–and they also contain molasses. Dark brown sugar has more molasses, and because of the increased amount of molasses, it has a darker and deeper color with a stronger flavor.

I like using a combo of both in these Butterscotch Cookies, to ensure a well-balanced flavor as well as for texture reasons. (There is less overall moisture in light brown sugar.)

If you’d rather use just one type of sugar, you can use all light brown sugar.

Dark brown sugar is sold with the other sugars in the grocery store baking aisle. The two look similar, yet dark brown sugar is darker overall in color. 

Process shots: mixing ingredients and forming dough balls

Butterscotch Cookie Tips

  • Don’t use hot butter. Hot butter will melt the sugars and cause oily cookies. It’s melted for texture reasons but needs to slightly cool down before continuing with the cookie making.
  • Measure the molasses carefully. If the measuring spoons are over-filled with molasses, the flavor can be overwhelming and cookie dough could end up too wet. Measure just to the top of the measuring spoon.
  • Thoroughly mix the melted butter and brown sugar. While stirring, it may seem like the sugars and butter won’t ever incorporate, but keep mixing until they do. Take the time to do this; otherwise, the cookies will end up greasy. If butter and sugars are separating, the mixture hasn’t been stirred thoroughly enough. 

A stack of Butterscotch Cookies

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Butterscotch Cookies

5 from 12 votes
The softest and chewiest Butterscotch Cookies with a deep, rich caramel-toffee flavor. These cookies are loaded with butterscotch baking chips to further intensify their sweetness and flavor.
Print Recipe

Butterscotch Cookies

5 from 12 votes
The softest and chewiest Butterscotch Cookies with a deep, rich caramel-toffee flavor. These cookies are loaded with butterscotch baking chips to further intensify their sweetness and flavor.
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American, Vegetarian
Keyword Butterscotch Cookies
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Chilling Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 54 minutes
Servings 20 cookies
Chelsea Lords
Calories 129kcal
Cost $3.72


  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar (or use more light brown sugar)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons molasses Note 1
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1-3/4 cups white all-purpose flour Note 2
  • 3/4 cup butterscotch chips


  • WET INGREDIENTS: Melt the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl. Let butter stand at room temperature for 5 minutes to cool down. (If the butter is hot, it will melt the sugars and cause greasy cookies.) Once the butter has cooled, add in the dark brown and light brown sugar. Whisk (or stir with a wooden spoon) until butter and sugars are well incorporated, about 1-2 minutes. Take your time to be sure the butter and sugar integrate; it will seem like they won't, but keep whisking until completely integrated. Add in the egg, vanilla, and molasses. Mix until combined.
  • DRY INGREDIENTS: Add in the baking soda, baking powder, and salt and mix to combine. Add the flour (See Note 2) on top. Mix until just combined, taking care not to overmix the dough. Add in the butterscotch chips and mix to incorporate. Cover the dough tightly and chill for 1 hour.
  • ROLL COOKIE DOUGH BALLS: Roll tall cylinders of dough. Each ball should be a full 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of dough (30 grams if you have a food scale). Cover and refrigerate the balls of dough for 5-10 more minutes (the dough gets warm when handled).
  • BAKE: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place dough balls on a parchment or Silpat-lined sheet pan (we like the Silpat sheet best for these cookies), spread far apart (I only bake 6-8 cookies at a time since they spread a lot), and bake for 9-14 minutes. Watch carefully, being sure not to overbake. (We remove ours at 10 minutes.) Slightly underbaked Butterscotch Cookies are the best! Remove from the oven and immediately, if needed, press any wayward edges of the cookie inwards with the back of a metal spatula. Let cookies stand on the cookie sheet for 4-5 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack.
  • STORAGE: Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. They're best enjoyed within 3-4 days. Freeze cookie dough as opposed to baked cookies (see next step).
  • FREEZING DOUGH: Instead of freezing the baked cookies, freeze the dough! Drop the cookie dough balls on a large sheet pan and freeze until solid. Once solid, transfer the frozen cookie dough balls to an airtight container or bag and freeze for up to 3 months. You can bake these cookies straight from the freezer. There is no need to thaw, but you may need to add a few extra minutes to the baking time. Bake until the edges are lightly browned, and the center is still soft.


Recipe Notes

Note 1: Use dark molasses (also sometimes labeled as "robust" or "full-flavored"). I have tested these cookies with Brer Rabbit® and Grandma's® and would recommend both. Don't leave the molasses out-- the cookies aren't the same without it. And on the flip side, don't add too much -- measure barely to the top (don't over-fill the measuring cup)
Note 2: If you press a measuring cup into a bag of flour and scoop, you will pack in way too much flour, resulting in the wrong texture of cookie. To accurately measure the flour, spoon the flour into the measuring cup until its overfilled. Then use the back of a table knife to level the measuring cup at the top.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 129kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 167mg | Potassium: 42mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 169IU | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.


I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.


The BEST, softest, and chewiest butterscotch cookies
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5 from 12 votes

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    These look amazing. Butterscotch chips are one of my favorite baking ingredients. Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  2. These do look incredibly soft … soft cookies leave me helpless and utterly without self control. Dramatic? Yes, but completely true! 🙂 The butterscotch twist sounds amazing!

  3. 5 stars
    Chelsea…oh the puffy, chewiness!!! You have definitely won me over with butterscotch…it’s one of my weakness!

  4. 5 stars
    I love soft cookies! I also love butterscotch, so these would be perfect for me! Thanks for sharing this at the In and Out of the Kitchen Link Party!

  5. I love butterscotch and now you got me craving it ! One of those flavors that just doesn’t get a lot of attention. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  6. 5 stars
    These cookies came out sooooo good! I love them and so did my family! We found a new favorite cookie. Thank you

  7. 5 stars
    These are wonderful! Have you ever tried to refrigerate the dough for longer? I hoped to make the dough ahead and bake them fresh for my daughter’s birthday.

  8. 5 stars
    Thanks for sharing your recipe, I made these for my bf and he thought they were awesome. He said they we’re the best he has ever had????. He commented that they didn’t have an artificial flavor (he usually gets with butterscotch cookies). I will definitely be making these again.

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