Yield: (small batch) 6 cookie dough cupcakes // Total Time: 1 hr. 10 min. // Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. //

Light and fluffy brown butter vanilla cupcakes with a brown butter cookie dough frosting.

If you can’t decide if you want cupcakes or cookies, you’re in luck because with these cupcakes you don’t have to choose! These cupcakes are ridiculously light and fluffy. They start with a brown butter vanilla cupcake base, then get topped with a cookie dough buttercream.

I love making small batch bakes because they are the perfect size myself and others who don’t have a lot of people to bake for in their home. This recipe is a small batch and yields just 6 cupcakes. If you need some more then no worries at all! Simply double or triple the recipe as you need. I do highly recommend using grams if you are scaling up for the best results.

recipe tips

heat treat the flour!

This step is *super super super* important. You might think that the only problem in standard cookie dough is eating raw eggs, but the truth is that the flour is just as dangerous to be eating raw! There are two ways that you can heat treat your flour to make it safe to eat.

In the microwave. This is the method I use in this recipe because it is fast and easy. Simply spread the flour out on a microwave-safe plate and microwave it in 30 second intervals until the flour reads 165°F / 74°C. This usually takes me about 2 minutes total.

In the oven. Preheat your oven to 350°F / 175°C. Spread the flour out over a clean baking tray and bake until the flour reaches a temperature of 165°F / 74°C. This should take 5-10 min.

weigh your ingredients

Weighing your ingredients is important for getting the recipe perfect and getting consistent results. Not weighing your ingredients can lead to adding too much or too little of an ingredient. In a small batch recipe it is especially important to get those correct measurements because there is less room for error. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend purchasing a kitchen scale. This one is super cheap and worked well for me when I was starting out!

mix the batter carefully

It is super important to not overmix the cupcake batter. Overmixing the batter leads to more gluten development which will make the cupcakes super tough and chewy. Only mix just until the last bit of flour is incorporated.

room temperature ingredients

It is important for the ingredients to be at room temperature so that they properly incorporate with each other. Take out the egg, sour cream, and milk at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hr 30 min. before starting the recipe. Here’s how to get room temperature ingredients FAST if you’re in a time crunch or forgot to take the ingredients out (like I often do):

  • Egg: place the egg in a bowl and run hot water over it for 1 continuous minute, or let it sit in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes.
  • Sour cream and milk: microwave in 5-second intervals until it is no longer cold, but is not warm (room temp!)

keep an eye on those cupcakes!

Cupcakes like to go from under-baked to over-baked super quickly so it is important to keep a close eye on them. Start checking at 15 minutes with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out wet, check them again in 2 minutes and so on until only a few moist crumbs stick to the toothpick.

ingredients and substitutions

For the brown butter cupcakes:

All purpose flour: gives the cupcakes their structure.

Baking powder: for helping the cupcakes rise.

Salt: for balancing and bringing out the sweetness of the batter.

Unsalted butter: for tenderizing the cupcakes and for brown butter flavor. You can substitute salted butter, just be sure to omit the extra salt in the batter.

Granulated sugar: for sweetness and helps lock in moisture in the batter.

Egg: for binding the batter together and adding moisture.

Vanilla: for flavor.

Sour cream: for moisture and richness.

Whole milk: for moisture and richness. You can substitute in 1% or 2% here as well.

For the brown butter cookie dough buttercream:

All purpose flour: for bringing in that classic cookie dough flavor. We’ll heat treat the flour so that it’s completely safe to eat raw!

Unsalted butter: for flavor, and the base of the buttercream. You can substitute in salted butter, just be sure to omit the extra salt.

Salt: for flavor.

Light brown sugar: for flavor and sweetness. We’ll only use a little bit to avoid the buttercream being too grainy.

Powdered sugar: for sweetness, the bulk of the buttercream.

Heavy cream & vanilla: for thinning out the frosting and for flavor.

Mini chocolate chips: for decorating the cupcakes.

Here’s a basic rundown on how to make these cookie dough cupcakes. You can find the complete recipe (which is printable!) at the end of this blog post.

  • Beat together the dry ingredients and brown butter.
  • Then beat in the remaining wet ingredients.
  • Bake the cupcakes, then make the buttercream. Once the cupcakes are fully at room temperature, frost them and enjoy!

cookie dough cupcakes q&a

can I double this recipe?

Of course! Obviously they will not be small batch anymore but small batch isn’t always what we need! Simply double all of the ingredients in the recipe to make 12 delicious cupcakes. I even more strongly recommend measuring by weight if you are going to double the recipe for the best results.

how to store the cupcakes

The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature, and will keep well for 3 days.

why do you measure in grams?

My recipes are all written in grams because it is the most accurate way to bake. When you use a kitchen scale, you ensure that your baked goods turn out as close to the written recipe as possible. Plus, the cleanup is way easier when using a scale! I will provide standard cup measurements but please note that I have not tested the recipe using cup measurements and therefore can not guarantee your recipe will come out how mine did. Here is my favorite kitchen scale

a note on oven temperature

Ovens vary and fluctuate in temperature and aren’t always at the temperature they claim to be. If you love to bake like I do, I highly recommend getting an oven thermometer. They are super helpful for letting you know when your oven might be lying to you! I use this one.

tools and ingredients

You can find all my favorite tools and ingredients that I use on my Amazon Storefront page, here!

If you made these small batch brown butter cookie dough cupcakes I would love to see them and know your thoughts! Please leave a comment and review down below, and tag me on Instagram @freshbeanbakery. If you have any questions about the recipe I will gladly do my best to answer them in the comments below!

Cookie Dough Cupcakes

5 from 1 vote
Brown butter vanilla cupcakes topped with a brown butter cookie dough buttercream.
Prep Time50 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time1 hour 10 minutes
Servings6 cupcakes


Brown Butter

  • 226 g unsalted butter (1 c.)

Brown Butter Cupcakes

  • 90 g all purpose flour (¾ c.)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 100 g granulated sugar (½ c.)
  • 65 g brown butter (4 ½ tbsp.)
  • 1 egg white room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 60 g sour cream room temperature (¼ c.)
  • 30 g whole milk room temperature (2 tbsp.)

Cookie Dough Buttercream

  • 40 g all purpose flour (⅓ c.)
  • 115 g brown butter (½ c.)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 55 g light brown sugar (¼ c.)
  • 180 g powdered sugar (1 ½ c.)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tbsp. heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp. mini chocolate chips


Brown Butter

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Line a muffin tin with 6 parchment liners.
  • Make the brown butter. Add the butter to a small saucepan set over medium heat. Stir the butter occasionally until it turns amber in color and develops little brown specks.
  • Transfer the brown butter to a medium sized mixing bowl and set it in the freezer in 5 minute intervals, stirring between each, until the brown butter thickens.

Brown Butter Cupcakes

  • Add the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and 65g of the room temperature brown butter to a medium sized mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment to beat the mixture together until the butter has combined with the dry ingredients.
  • Add in the egg white, vanilla, sour cream and milk and whisk just until a cohesive batter has formed.
  • Distribute the batter evenly between the six liners. Bake for 15-18 min., or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.

Cookie Dough Buttercream

  • Place the flour in a microwave safe bowl and heat it in 30-second intervals until it reaches 165°F / 74°C.
  • Add the brown sugar, salt. and remaining room temperature brown butter to a medium sized mixing bowl. Beat the mixture on medium-high speed for 4 minutes.
  • Add in the powdered sugar and heat treated flour, and beat until combined. Then, beat in the vanilla and 1 tbsp. heavy cream. If desired, add in another tbsp. of heavy cream to reached your desired consistency.
  • Once the cupcakes have cooled to room temperature, pipe the cookie dough buttercream onto them and garnish with chocolate chips and mini cookies. Serve and enjoy!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    these were incredible! the brown butter cupcake just melts in your mouth & the cookie dough buttercream is delicious! YUM!