Soft M&M Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is some of the best cookie dough I’ve ever made.

The cookies are great, but the dough base itself, wow. Allow me to explain.

If you don’t care about cookie science, scroll down to the recipe. But if you do, pour a cup of coffee and enjoy.

For nearly the past two years, when I make chocolate chip cookies, I use this recipe. I use it for Twix Bar CookiesSnickers Cookies, another version of M&Ms CookiesSmores Cookies, and so many others when I want a hearty, but buttery dough base. Any cookie I’m going to be stuffing with add-ins or candy, and that’s not going to be a peanut butter cookie, I use that base.

It produces amazingly consistent chocolate chip cookies, and one reason the cookies always turn out beautifully is from the cornstarch in the dough. I’ve used cornstarch in about 20+ cookie recipes, including Chocolate Chip and Chunk CookiesPeanut Butter Coconut Oil CookiesM&Ms CookiesSnickers CookiesTwix Bar CookiesCaramel Corn Chocolate Chip CookiesSmores CookiesLofthouse CookiesCandy Corn and White Chocolate Chip CookiesVanilla Melting Moments Sandwich CookiesOrange Creamsicle Cookies and more.

It helps create softbatch-style cookies that are so soft, moist, and supple, without turning cakey.

However, for these cookies, rather than using cornstarch, I used 1/4 cup instant vanilla pudding mix. Pudding mix is mostly modified food starch (aka cornstarch) and some sugary flavorings. So it turns out pudding cookies and cornstarch cookies really aren’t that far apart.

The pudding cookie craze is nothing new, but not every likes or has access to pudding mix. If that’s you, rather than using pudding mix, use 2 teaspoons cornstarch, which means you’re back at my gold standard dough base and you’ll wind up with these M&Ms Cookies, which are great.

But if I was forced to pick between the new dough base and the old, I choose the new, and so did my family. They went nuts for these cookies and they’re not even ‘cookie people’. I have no idea how that happened. But they devoured these.

The only other significant recipe change is that the cookies are slightly larger. A typical batch size for me is about 22 cookies, about 2 1/2 tablespoons per dough for each. However, here I made just 15 cookies, at nearly 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) each. That sounds big, but 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.

And as a selfish bonus, only having to roll, shape, and insert M&Ms into the top of 15 cookies is nice.

I didn’t use many chocolate chips, only 3/4 cup for the whole batch, but it’s just enough to boost up the chocolate profile. Since the M&Ms are milk chocolate, a little semi-sweet is nice.

I added 3/4 cup M&Ms into the dough, formed the mounds, and then inserted another tablespoon of M&Ms onto the tops for a nice visual pop. I want to really knowing I’m eating M&M cookies. 

As with all my cookies, I chilled 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.

They’re thick enough to sink your teeth into and they’re so very soft and moist. There’s a hint of chewiness at the base and edges, and it’s just enough to balance the softness and give me the mouthfeel I’m looking for in a perfectly baked chocolate chip cookie.

The texture is dense yet light, and they remind me a bit of the texture in the Softbatch Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies, minus the cream cheese.

The crunchy candy coating shells of the M&Ms also breaks up the soft, buttery dough and is a perfect texture contrast to the smooth, melted semi-sweet chocolate chips.

 The cookies get my vote as my new chocolate chip cookie dough base to beat, and that’s a big statement.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Soft M&M Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is my new favorite recipe for chocolate chip cookies. They’re soft, buttery, and this version is loaded with milk chocolate M&Ms and semi-sweet chocolate chips. The cookies are thick enough to sink your teeth into, and are so very soft and moist. There’s a hint of chewiness at the base and edges, and it’s just enough to balance the softness and give me what I’m looking for in a perfect chocolate chip cookie. The secret to these cookies is instant vanilla pudding mix. Although they won’t have quite the same texture or taste, substitute with cornstarch if you don’t have pudding mix. The cookies are larger than some and the batch makes 15 cookies. The baking time of 11 minutes works perfectly with this size cookie, and if you alter the size of the cookie, you will need to alter the baking time. The dough must be chilled before baking so the cookies don’t spread and bake thin and flat. For a classic chocolate chip cookie, use 1 1/2 to 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, and omit the M&Ms.

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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
1/4 cup instant vanilla pudding mix (not sugar-free and not ‘cook & serve’), OR use 2 teaspoons cornstarch in place of pudding mix
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup milk chocolate M&M’s mixed into the dough + about 1/2 cup for placing on top of dough mounds


  1. 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.
  2. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, pudding mix (or cornstarch), baking soda, optional salt, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute.
  3. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the chocolate chips, 3/4 cup M&Ms, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds.
  4. Using a large cookie scoop, 1/4-cup measure, or your hands, form 15 equal-sized mounds of dough, roll into balls, and flatten slightly.
  5. Add about 1 tablespoon M&Ms to the top of each dough mound.
  6. Place mounds on a large plate or tray, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 5 days. Do not bake with unchilled dough because cookies will bake thinner, flatter, and be more prone to spreading.
  7. 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 11 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just set, even if slightly undercooked, pale, and glossy in the center. 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.
  8. 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, 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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