The Best Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
These are my new favorite chocolate chip cookies.
That’s a big statement because I haven’t cheated on this recipe in two and a half years.
I use it for Twix Bar Cookies, Snickers Cookies, M&Ms Cookies, Smores Cookies, and many others when I want a hearty, but buttery dough base. Any cookie I’m going to stuff with add-ins or candy, and that’s not a peanut butter cookie, I use that base.
But all good things eventually get knocked off their pedestal and something better, shinier, and newer comes along: cookies made with pudding mix.
The pudding cookie craze certainly isn’t new. I’ve used it in Soft M&M Chocolate Chip Cookies, Dark Chocolate Chunk and Peanut Butter Chip Chocolate Cookies, and Quadruple Chocolate Soft Fudgy Pudding Cookies and I wanted to create a classic soft and chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe with it.
This recipe is nearly a carbon copy of my old standby. The signifiant changes include omitting 2 teaspoons of cornstarch and replacing with one packet instant vanilla pudding mix. If you don’t like pudding mix or can’t find it in your area I recommend you use my old standby recipe because there’s really no substitutions here.
The cookies are slightly larger than you may be used to baking. There’s about 4 tablespoons of dough (1/4 cup) per cookie, and the batch makes just 14 large-ish cookies.The cookies are still so much smaller than cookies I see for sale at bakeries and coffee shops, and 8 comfortably fit on a baking tray.
I’d rather bake fewer bigger cookies because frankly it’s less work. But also because size and the related surface area does matter in terms of the final taste and texture.
Smaller cookies tend to dry out faster and relatively speaking, and there’s more chewy edge than soft center.
Conversely, bigger cookies have a great interior surface area which means more soft, tender, juicy bites loaded with chocolate. Christina Tosi speaks very eloquently about this in her book.
As with all my cookies, you must chill the dough before baking. It’s absolutely crucial for thick, puffy, full cookies. If you bake with warm, limp dough, your cookies will spread and bake thinner and flatter. Why bother. Plan ahead and chill your dough.
I baked my cookies for 11 minutes, but if you choose to make smaller cookies, you’ll need to bake for less time. How much less? I don’t know. The secret to these cookies is keeping them a touch underbaked. I think that’s the secret to most good cookies.
My Tricks and Secrets for Perfect Cookies
Make sure the butter is truly soft. If it’s not, cheat and zap it in the micro for 5 to 10 seconds. It’s best to plan ahead and set your butter out 2 to 4 hours ahead of time, but it’s better to cheat with the micro than try to cream cold butter. Your dough will seem overly dry and crumbly after adding the dry ingredients if your butter wasn’t sufficiently softened. I used Trader Joe’s unsalted butter.
Using a high quality flour like King Arthur. It has just a bit more protein (gluten) than other brands so your baked goods have more structure and will rise higher.
Chilling the dough so the cookies bake up thick and don’t spread as much.
Underbaking so the cookies are (almost) as good on the third day as they are right out of the oven.
Bake on a Silpat because it provides traction so the cookies don’t slip-and-slide around a slippery greased baking sheet.
Use a cookie scoop. I first portion out the dough with the scoop so all the mounds are the same size, and then I smooth them out with my hands so they’re perfectly smooth.
While smoothing the mounds, strategically re-positioning the chocolate chips. Obsessive? Yes, but I am asked all the time what my tricks and secrets are, and now you know.
The cookies are thick enough to sink your teeth into with slight chewiness at the base and edges. It’s just enough to balance the very pillowy soft centers and give me the mouthfeel I want in a perfectly baked chocolate chip cookie.
The dough is buttery and moist with hints of vanilla, and it’s the perfect canvas for the melted chocolate chips.
So it’s ‘the best’ according to me and my family, and of course, this can change. Food bloggers, we change our minds if you haven’t noticed. But for now, they’re the top dog.
I can’t wait for you to try them and let me know if you agree.
The Best Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
This is my new favorite recipe for chocolate chip cookies. They’re soft, moist, buttery, and thick enough to sink your teeth into. There’s a hint of chewiness at the base and edges, and it’s just enough to balance the soft pillowy centers and give me what I want for my idea of the perfect chocolate chip cookie. The secret to these cookies is instant vanilla pudding mix and there’s no substitutions. The cookies are larger than some and the batch makes 14 cookies. About 11 minutes works perfectly for this size cookie, and if you alter the size of the cookie, you’ll need to alter the baking time. The dough must be chilled before baking so the cookies don’t spread and bake thin and flat.
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 1/2 sticks)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
one 3.5-ounce packet instant vanilla pudding mix (not sugar-free and not ‘cook & serve’)
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
one-12 ounce bag (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use Trader Joe’s)
- To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large mixing bowl and electric mixer) combine the butter, sugars, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until creamed and well combined, about 4 minutes.
- Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, pudding mix, baking soda, optional salt, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute.
- Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the chocolate chips, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds.
- Using a large cookie scoop, 1/4-cup measure, or your hands, form approximately 14 equal-sized mounds of dough, roll into balls, and flatten slightly. Tip – Strategically place a few chocolate chips right on top of each mound of dough by taking chips from the underside and adding them on top.
- Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat or spray with cooking spray. Place dough mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart (I bake 8 cookies per sheet) and bake for about 11 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just set, even if slightly undercooked, pale, and glossy in the center; don’t overbake. Cookies firm up as they cool. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes before serving. I let them cool on the baking sheet and don’t use a rack.
- Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 months, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.
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