Butternut Cookies

5 from 3 votes
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Close up of butternut cookies.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Cookies are my one soft spot when it comes to sweets.

I love a good cookie, and since most are easy to pull off I feel pretty confident making them even with my limited baking skills. This butternut cookie recipe is one of the easiest I know of, and is so damn good I ended up making them about a dozen times before I posted this recipe. Research, ya know…

I used butternuts, Juglans cinerea, the first couple times I made them. I got mine from my friend Sam Thayer, a fellow author and forager who lives in Wisconsin. We don’t have butternuts here in the West, so it was a treat.

butternuts on a plate
Photo by Hank Shaw

Butternuts are cousins of our local black walnuts, only they are a lot easier to crack and they taste a lot milder. They also tend to crack in a cool “wing” pattern, which looks neat. I don’t know of anyone who sells butternuts, but the good news is that these cookies are just as good with black walnuts and even regular, store-bought walnuts. Pecans are a great choice, too.

I like to use 50-50 regular flour and homemade acorn flour for these cookies, mostly because I have acorn flour around and I like the flavor and color boost it gives. Obviously that’s an esoteric ingredient, so feel free to use 100 percent all-purpose flour or split it with a brown flour like whole wheat, rye, barley or spelt.

I also like the crunch of using turbinado sugar, sold in my supermarket as “sugar in the raw.” It definitely adds something to the cookie, but feel free to use brown sugar if you want to. You’ll notice I don’t use a lot of sugar because this is really a honey-nut cookie.

A stack of butternut cookies
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

I have access to really good honey made by a Greek lady who lives down the road, and I love using her honey in anything I can. I tend to use her wildflower honey, which is almost black, but in these photos I used a lighter-colored orange flower honey. Doesn’t matter, just use good honey.

These are awesome butternut cookies, easy to make and they keep for a long while. Definitely worth your time.

Close up of butternut cookies.
5 from 3 votes

Butternut or Black Walnut Cookies

This is about as quick and easy a cookie recipe as I know of. You can be eating these cookies 30 minutes after starting to make them. And it's worth it to memorize the recipe because you'll want to make these all the time. Great road food, great to toss into your back while hunting or hiking, and great to just snack on. Once made, they will technically keep a week, but won't last that long.
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 cookies
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes


  • 1 cup flour, or 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup acorn flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar ("Sugar in the Raw") or brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/3 cup honey, preferably dark honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup chopped butternuts or walnuts


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F and grease a baking sheet.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and soda, salt and sugar. In another bowl, whisk together the melted butter, honey and vanilla extract. NOTE: If your honey is stiff, do this step in a small pot set over low heat. Warm the honey so it flows, then add the butter and extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry and mix until about 3/4 combined. Add the butternuts and mix until everything's combined.
  • Shape the dough into a log with wet hands (so they don't stick to the dough, which will be tacky), then cut it into a dozen equal pieces. Roll the pieces into a ball with your hands, flatten a bit and place them on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until they just start to brown on the edges. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes, then move to a rack to cool.


Calories: 140kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 129mg | Potassium: 68mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 118IU | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

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  1. Awesome recipe. Took about 2 hours to break enough butternuts. I harvested them from a butternut tree on my house. Stained my hands for a week removing the sticky outer layer. All worth it.

  2. How the hell I missed this post is beyond me.
    Those cookies are gorgeous. I love the cracks cookies get much like that funny groove on an ice cream scoop.
    This w/end, I will try your recipe with pecans.
    Research, you know.

  3. Thanks for the recipe (s) Hank. I had a bunch of cracked pecans in the kitchen so I made this recipe substituting pecans for butternuts. I also skipped the acorn flour and added a little almond flour to one cup of all purpose flour. Good stuff. I’ll try these again this weekend with acorn flour I processed using the cold water steep method described on this site.

  4. Thanks for all this info on Butternuts! I’m trying to back-engineer a recipe for a local bakery’s “Harvest cookie”, and it lists “Butter Walnuts” (one word right after the other with no comma between) in its label. Have been going for a couple of hours looking for info and possible commercial sources. Guess I’ll have to make do with regular walnuts. I was thinking of starting from chocolate-chip dough, but I may also try your recipe and see how close it comes.

  5. Hank!

    I made 2 batches of your cookies for a family Christmas party and they were a huge success! I used walnuts in mine and one batch was made with maple syrup instead of honey, they turned out really nice! Thanks for the recipe!

  6. Dear Hank,

    This recipe and background information on butternuts comes at a good time for me. I have about 60 pounds in the shell from friends upstate New York. Several students from City College in New York City will be assisting me in shelling them for a food pantry in Harlem. We’ll use your cookie recipe with at least part of the kernels. Thank you.

    Jerry Henkin

  7. I grew up in Illinois where we had an ample supply of black walnuts, often as many as 8 or 9 bushels of hulled nuts each year and a piece of railroad rail to crack them on. We only had 1 white walnut tree near us and those were so oily that we just left them on the ground for the squirrels to ear.

  8. We have a cupboard of honeys from all over the world, we always like to try & buy when we travel. We have a Macadamia honey from Hawaii. Very dark, very thick, tastes bitter when you taste it alone — the flavor is just too concentrated. I wish I had enough or these, it adds great flavor, be we’re down to just s few tablespoons of it. I’m sure I can find a good honey, though.