Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies
Soft chocolate chip cookies: Chewy edges, pillowy middles & the best classic, comforting flavor. Simple ingredients, no chilling required.
*This post was originally published on September 1, 2016. I thought it was due for an update, so I’ve improved the recipe, added step-by-step pictures & a video, and answers to some frequently asked questions. Hopefully you’ll enjoy this chocolate chip cookie recipe as much as my boys and I do!*
It’s the holiday season!
And you know that means making our favorite cookie recipes on repeat. Over the next couple of weeks, dozens and dozens of pizzelles, Mexican wedding cookies, and peanut butter blossoms will make their way out of my kitchen.
But I can’t ignore what is indisputably the king of all cookiedom: chocolate chip cookies!
I’ve tweaked, tested, and re-tested this recipe a hundred times, and it truly yields the best chocolate chip cookies you are ever going to find. Pinky promise!
WHAT MAKES THESE THE BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
If you’re in search of thick, chubby, generously sized ccc’s that are slightly crisp and chewy around the edges, with pillowy soft middles, a rich, buttery brown sugar flavor, and plenty of gooey chocolate chips in every bite, then look no further.
- Made with basic pantry staples, nothing wierd or exotic.
- Easy to make, in just one bowl.
- Quick to make, with no chilling required.
- Not only soft when they’re fresh from the oven. They keep that ooey-gooey, soft & chewy texture for days!
HOW TO MAKE THESE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
This recipe utilizes the classic “creaming” method, so you want to start by whipping room-temperature butter together with sugar.
A combination of light brown and white granulated sugars will give you the best texture. Brown sugar makes them softer (higher moisture content); white sugar allows for that slightly crisp texture around the edges.
Cream these ingredients together on medium-high speed for a MINIMUM of 3 to 5 whole minutes. Set a timer to make sure you don’t skimp! This step is critical for adding an airy, light texture to your cookies. They will positively melt in your mouth if you get this part right!
You’ll probably have to stop every now & then to scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl with a silicone spatula.
Once the mixture looks very pale (almost white), fluffy, and has doubled in volume, mix in the first egg until combined.
Continue mixing in the remaining eggs & yolks, one at a time, along with the vanilla, until well-incorporated, then scrape the bottom and sides of your bowl down with a silicone spatula.
The additional egg yolks provide richness and help to keep the cookies softer for longer. They’re mostly fat so they really help to enrich the cookies, but they offer a little more “binding power” than just butter, so the cookies won’t spread too thin.
Next come the dry ingredients: flour (regular all-purpose is fine!), cornstarch, baking soda, and salt.
Cornstarch provides structure to the cookies without added gluten, which keeps them soft and tender. Make sure you use cornstarch, which is white, powdery, flavorless, and odorless, as opposed to cornmeal, which is yellow, gritty, and tastes like tortilla chips.
Pro Tip: Cornstarch can be found in the baking aisle, near the instant pudding mixes.
Mix these dry ingredients in until *just barely* combined. It’s actually best if a few streaks of flour still remain. Overmixing at this stage will develop glutens that could make the cookies tough, and may even prevent them from spreading properly (more on that below).
The final step is to stir in the chocolate chips. Again: be careful not to overmix at this stage!
Use a 1/4-cup scoop to portion the dough out onto parchment-lined baking sheets, allowing a few inches in between for spreading.
I recommend baking these at a slightly higher temperature of 375 degrees F. This way, the cookies puff, spread, and quickly set around the edges and on the bottom, while maintaining a soft and gooey interior.
Keep a close eye on them as they bake, as different ovens will often require different bake times.
You’ll want to pull them from the oven when they’re just barely beginning to turn golden around the edges, or even a little bit before. Remember, the cookies will continue to set up as they cool. This process is called carry-over cooking, and here is a very good explanation of what that means:
“Carry-Over Cooking: The process that occurs as food continues to cook despite being removed from the [heat source]. Often a recipe will suggest an amount of time to allow foods to rest […] after foods have been cooked. Referred to as the resting time or the resting period, Carry-Over Cooking is a length of time during which the temperature in the food continues to rise 10ºF to 20ºF once the food is removed from the oven or cooking area. […] Therefore, it is important to remove [foods] from the oven prior to reaching the desired temperature so they do not overcook but instead continue cooking to the desired temperature outside the oven and then begin to cool.”
While I have not tested this recipe with any alternative ingredients, I do think it could work well as an allergen-free recipe.
For gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, look for a gluten-free flour blend that subs 1:1 for regular flour.
If you’d like to make this dairy-free, use a dairy-free butter substitute that can sub 1:1 for regular dairy.
For an eggless, vegan version, try using subbing with flax eggs or chia eggs. To make 1 flax/chia egg, mix one tablespoon of ground flax or chia seed with 2 tablespoons of water, and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes until gelled. Since this recipe calls for additional yolks as well, you might want to x1.5 that ratio.
You can also feel free to use any kind of chocolate chips or chunks you like. Milk chocolate, white chocolate, or bittersweet chocolate will work equally well in this recipe.
- Nuts such as pecans, walnuts, or pistachios
- Dried fruit such as cranberries, cherries, or banana chips
- Crunchy snacks like pretzels or potato chips
- Chopped sweets such as peanut butter cups, candy canes, or Oreo cookies
- Measuring: The number one reason why cookies come out either too flat or not flat enough comes down to improper measuring. Baking is an exact science, so you want to be as precise as possible when you measure things out. Here is a universal guide on how to really nail it: How to Measure Ingredients for Baking.
- OVERMIXING: As I mentioned above, if you overmix the dough after the dry ingredients go in, the glutens can almost “seize up” and prevent the cookies from spreading properly.
- BUTTER TEMPERATURE: Cookies may not spread right if your butter isn’t the right temp. Make sure the butter is softened but not warm. It should feel pliable but cool. If it is too warm, the cookies could spread out like pancakes. Too cold, and they’ll come out like tight little balls.
- DRIED-OUT DOUGH: Scoop and bake this dough as soon as it’s done mixing. There is no need for an extended chill time. If it sits too long it will dry out and the cookies won’t spread.
- LEAVENING: If all else fails, try adding slightly more or less baking soda. I’m talking just a pinch- less than 1/8-teaspoon can make a huge difference. For fatter, thicker cookies, use a little less, for thinner, more spread out cookies, a little more.
- Already Baked: wrap them tightly and freeze in an airtight container between layers of parchment. Thaw at room temp, in a warm oven, or for a quick burst in the microwave, and enjoy!
- Unbaked: scoop the dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets and freeze in one even layer until hard. Then transfer to zip-top bags and bake off as many as you like, whenever the craving strikes. You may need to increase the bake time slightly if they go into the oven frozen.
- Plenty of brown sugar: You need some granulated too, to help the cookies to set properly, but brown sugar has a higher moisture content so it will help keep your cookies softer.
- An extra egg yolk: Egg yolks are mostly fat so they really help to enrich the cookies, but they offer a little more “binding power” than just butter, so the cookies won’t spread too thin. We want cookies, not pancakes!
- Cornstarch: It’s a magic ingredient; I put it in all my cookie recipes. I’ve been doing it for years, ever since I came up with my cutout cookie recipe. Up until that point, I had been using just flour and my cookies always came out a little tough. Then, I stumbled upon a recipe for Meltaway Cookies. It used cornstarch for a melt-in-your-mouth texture, and I thought, that’s just what I need! I’ve been adding cornstarch ever since. Besides yielding a softer, more tender cookie, it also makes the dough a dream to work with.
- A higher baking temperature: This way, the cookies puff, spread, and quickly set around the edges and on the bottom, while maintaining a soft and gooey interior. Be careful not to overbake them! You’ll want to pull them from the oven when they’re just barely beginning to turn golden around the edges, or even a little bit before. Carry-over cooking is a real thing, and it applies to baking too!
- Make sure the butter is softened. It should be room temperature, not cold.
- Really whip the butter and sugar together until very pale and fluffy. It should look almost white. This takes between 3 and 5 minutes.
- Don’t overwork the dough. Just mix in the dry ingredients until combined, and then turn the mixer off. Overmixing will develop glutens that may prevent the cookies from spreading properly.
- Scoop the balls of dough to 1 1/2 tablespoons. If they are larger than that, they may spread too much. If they are smaller, they may not spread at all.
- 1 1/2 cups (340.5 g) unsalted butter, (3 sticks), softened
- 2 cup (440 g) light brown sugar,, lightly packed
- 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- 2 (100 g) large eggs
- 2 (34 g) large egg yolks
- 3 teaspoons (12 g) vanilla extract
- 4 cups (500 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (64 g) cornstarch
- 2 teaspoon (8 g) baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoon (9 g) kosher salt
- 24 ounces (680.39 g) semi-sweet chocolate chips, (2 bags)
- Place the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat on medium-high speed until very pale and fluffy (3 to 5 minutes minimum).
- Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla, beating until completely incorporated.
- Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula, then add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt, stirring on medium-low speed just until all the ingredients are combined (do not over-mix).
- Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Use a 1/4-cup scoop to drop balls of cookie dough onto the prepared sheets, allowing about two inches in between (for spreading).
- Bake (one sheet at a time) on the center rack of the oven until set around the edges and just barely beginning to turn golden (approx. 8 to 12 minutes).
- Cool completely on the baking sheet, then transfer to an air-tight container for storage.
TROUBLESHOOTING: COOKIES THAT ARE TOO FLAT OR DON’T SPREAD
CAN THEY BE FROZEN?
This recipe freezes beautifully and can be done in either of two ways:
HOW TO STORE/SHELF LIFE
These cookies will stay soft and chewy for days on end!
Place them in an airtight container and they will keep at room temperature for a week to 10 days.
If you want to make the dough ahead, follow my steps for freezing above, or add a tiny pinch more baking soda and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. It will keep in the fridge for a few days.
A FEW MORE OF MY FAVORITE SOFT COOKIE RECIPES
Nothing’s more comforting than a plate of warm, soft chocolate chip cookies and a tall glass of milk. This easy recipe (with no chilling required!) is sure to become a family favorite!
The first week of school is drawing to a close! I have to say I think it was a roaring success. I managed to get all the backpacks, school supplies, and new sneakers in plenty of time. And on day one, the kiddos were welcomed home with a big plate of warm, soft chocolate chip cookies.
They’re now in the fourth and second grades, so I’ve had a good amount of time to get the hang of this. Believe me, it wasn’t always this way. Just like anything else, being a mom (and mastering back-to-school prep) has got a steep learning curve. And the hardest thing is, just when you feel like you’re finally getting good at it, something changes in a major way, and there you are at square one again.
So I guess I’m probably in for something real soon. I’m bracing myself!
But for now, let’s talk chocolate chip cookies!
For the longest time, I have felt like I didn’t have enough cookie recipes on this site. So this year, I’m trying my best to rectify that. I’ve been busy developing recipes for the kinds of cookies we find ourselves wanting to make again and again. Now you can find sugar cookies, peanut butter cookies, linzer cookies, gingerbread cutouts, vanilla cutouts, chocolate cutouts, soft ginger cookies… whew! And lots of others too! But the number one, the most iconic and beloved, has to be soft chocolate chip cookies.
It’s definitely the one we crave the most at my house! My kids ask for them all the time. That’s why I figured this would be the perfect time to share my best recipe. I can’t imagine a more perfect way to celebrate the new school year!
I think you will love this recipe- the cookies are so soft they practically melt in your mouth. The brown sugar brings the most home-y flavor, and they’re so butter-y, with just a hint of salt for balance. Plus they’re loaded with chocolate! Just the way a chocolate chip cookie should be.
And, they come together in a snap.
I’ve been perfecting it for many years and here are some key things I have found that guarantee soft cookie success:
So now you know all my soft chocolate chip cookie secrets! I hope you’ll give this recipe a try, and when you do, I bet you’ll love them as much as we do! Once they’ve cooled completely, just transfer them to an airtight container and they’ll stay soft and luscious for days- if they can last that long!
Tips for a nicely shaped cookie:
PS- If you prefer a thin, crispy chocolate chip cookie (like Tate’s), check out this recipe! And be sure to follow my *Cookie Recipes Galore* Pinterest Board for all the best cookie recipes from around the web!