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Thick and chewy, with a soft interior and a crisp edge, these classic chocolate chip cookies are a must for your recipe box. This always-requested recipe makes a perfect treat anytime!
In my opinion, the perfect chocolate chip cookie is on the thicker side, with a soft inside and just the right amount of crisp around the edge. The dough is fragrant, rich with vanilla, and delicious on its own. Finally, the cookie has lots of chocolate chips. This cookie? Checks every single one of the boxes!
This recipe has a bit of a funny story because it wasn’t planned. I made it needing a last-minute easy gift to take to some friends who invited us over for dinner.
We’d just moved, so my kitchen was only half unpacked and counter space was at a premium. I thought I had all the ingredients for another cookie recipe, and realized halfway through mixing that I didn’t!
Pro tip: This is why you gather ingredients before starting to bake!
Anyway, I started winging it a bit, creating a sort of franken-recipe between the intended cookie recipe and a tried-and-true.
Not only did the cookies turn out beautifully, our hostess asked me for the recipe!
You can imagine I was pretty embarrassed to tell her that I wasn’t totally sure. I asked for a few days to bake again and make sure I remembered all the changes.
Three batches of cookies in the next week and I had it! A friend in another state baked a batch from the recipe in her kitchen just to confirm. They are every bit as good as I claimed on the numerous baking videos I sent her!
Food friends who patiently listen to you obsess over recipe tests are fabulous.
What makes these the best classic chocolate chip cookies…
One of my secrets to a really nice depth in cookie dough flavor is browned butter. In fact, I have a whole post devoted to browned butter chocolate chip cookies.
In the recipe, I do have you brown the butter. But if you don’t feel like it, I’ve melted cold butter and used it in the batter. I’ve also used softened butter. Does the flavor match exactly? No. Do the cookies still disappear quickly? Absolutely.
Second, we use brown sugar. Brown sugar has some lovely hints of molasses flavor, which also add depth to the cookie. Dark brown or light brown, whatever you have on hand. The light brown seemed to be slightly more popular with the kids.
To keep the cookies from spreading too much, and keep them soft, we add powdered sugar and cornstarch.
Now, powdered sugar usually contains cornstarch. So just a quick note if you need to avoid it to read your labels. You can find cornstarch-free brands at health food stores. Arrowroot powder is a 1:1 substitute for cornstarch in this recipe.
Now let’s talk about chocolate chips…
It’s just not a chocolate chip cookie without a bit of chocolate in every bite! Your dough, and its flavor are absolutely important. But when you add chocolate, it’s a party.
Personally, I like to mix chocolate chips. If I have them on hand, I’ll use half semi-sweet and half dark chocolate chips. I’ve even done chips with a bit of milk, semi-sweet, and dark chocolate. That batch had something for everyone!
For a truly melty experience, skip the chips and bake with chunks or chop chocolate bars into the cookies! The cookies will take a little longer to set up after baking, but since the chopped chocolate has no coating, you bite into soft pools of chocolate even when the cookies are just barely warm.
So keep it old school with semi-sweet chips, mix it up, chop chocolate… choose your adventure!
A few final notes…
As with most drop cookies, you can prepare the dough in advance. For less spread and the best flavor, chill the scooped cookies for a few hours. You can leave them in the refrigerator up to 2 days (covered) before baking.
To prepare the dough further in advance, freeze the scooped cookie dough on your baking sheet. After 2 hours, the cookies should be frozen solid and you can transfer them to an airtight container or freezer plastic bag.
They’ll keep for a few months and you bake what you need straight from frozen! I’ve kept the dough as long as 4 months, and it’s baked beautifully and tasted fresh. This is a great way to prepare “bake on-demand” dessert in advance for the family or unexpected guests.
I hope you love this classic chocolate chip cookie recipe, darlings! Happy baking!
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided (see notes)
- 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar (packed)
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups chocolate chips (see notes)
- Place 8 tablespoons of the butter in a light-colored skillet over medium heat. Melt, then continue cooking, stirring frequently, until it smells nutty and brown flecks appear. Remove from the heat immediately and transfer to your mixing bowl. Set aside to cool a bit.
- Preheat your oven to 375 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In another mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cornstarch.
- At this point, your browned butter is probably still pretty warm, but go ahead and add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter, the brown sugar, and powdered sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.
- At this point, your butter and sugar should be cool enough to add the eggs, one at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Stir in the vanilla extract.
- Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition.
- Finish by folding in your chocolate chips.
- Use a medium cookie scoop to portion out the cookies on your baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches per cookie to allow for expansion. You may also cover and refrigerate the scooped dough up to 2 days before baking, or freeze for later.
- Bake the cookies in a 375 F degree oven for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. When you see a light golden color along the edges of the cookies, they are ready.
- Allow the cookies to rest on the sheets 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!
- I usually brown my butter when I mix up the cookies. If you happen to have browned butter on hand, soften both the browned butter and the additional butter. If you are like me, mixing everything at once, leave the additional 4 tablespoons of butter in the refrigerator. The cold butter will melt right into the warm browned butter, helping to cool it quickly as you beat in the sugar. Then the mixture will be cool enough to add the eggs.
- Chocolate chips are a personal preference. A semi-sweet or bittersweet is classic, or mix up half semisweet and half dark or milk. 2 cups is a pretty good amount of chips, but I believe you should measure based on what you feel looks right to you.
- To help reduce spread, refrigerate the cookie dough at least an hour before baking. It's not required, but it helps a little if you're looking for thick cookies!
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