Learn how to make perfectly soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies. This post reviews the science of making a soft and chewy cookie and a recipe for cookies that stay perfectly soft and gooey even after cooled!

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies on a sheet pan

OVERVIEW

After experimenting with thin, crispy cookies and thick, cakey cookies, I’ve now turned my attention to creating a soft and chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe!

This method creates the classic texture for a chocolate chip cookie. The edges are chewy and soft while the middle is just a little bit gooey. This is the cookie that everyone can agree on!

WHAT MAKES A COOKIE SOFT AND CHEWY?

Most chocolate chip cookie recipes include the same ingredient list but it’s the method that is most important to get the desired texture.

So what makes a cookie chewy instead of cakey or crispy? There are a few distinctions in this recipe that make it what it is: soft and chewy.

  • Brown Sugar: To make a chewy cookie we need to add moisture. Brown sugar contains molasses which adds more moisture and chewiness to these cookies than white sugar would which is why we are only using brown sugar in this recipe.
  • Melted Butter: For most cookie recipes, the butter should be softened so it can be creamed with the sugar. But for this recipe, it calls for melting the butter and whisking it with the sugar. This will ensure that air is not added to the mixture and that it will stay chewy and not puffy and delicate like a cakey cookie.
  • Gluten Development: In other cookies recipes, I talk about mixing in the flour just until combined and no more. For the purposes of creating a bit more chewiness, the flour can be mixed for a bit longer. However, there is a fine line between developing a little gluten and over-developing the gluten. We want a chewy cookie, not a tough cookie!
  • Baking Time: It’s important for this recipe to not be overbaked. It’s very easy to go from chewy and gooey to crispy. Bake just until the edges look set and the middle looks slightly underdone.

HOW TO MAKE SOFT AND CHEWY COOKIES

The key to making soft and chewy cookies is to not over-bake them. We want to keep them soft by taking them out of the oven when the middle is slightly underbaked.

STEP 1: COMBINE WET INGREDIENTS

Brown sugar about to be mixed with melted butter

Whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar. Add vanilla extract and eggs and whisk until combined.

STEP 2: ADD THE DRY INGREDIENTS

Using a spatula, stir in the baking soda, salt and flour until combined. Stir together for another 30 seconds to develop the gluten creating chewiness but do not overmix.

STEP 3: ADD THE CHOCOLATE CHIPS

Chocolate Chip cookie dough in a mixer

Add the chocolate chips to the bowl and fold them in until evenly distributed.

STEP 4: CHILL

Chill the dough in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. This will ensure that the cookies do not spread too much.

STEP 5: SCOOP THE DOUGH

Scooped mounds of cookie dough onto a baking sheet

Using a cookie scoop or spoon, scoop dough balls onto a cookie sheet. Scoop about 3 tablespoons per cookie. If desired, top each cookie with a few extra chocolate chips.

STEP 6: BAKE

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies stacked up

Bake cookies until the edges are set but the middle looks slightly underdone. They will continue to set as they cool. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

FAQ

What happens if I over-mix cookie dough?

Over-mixing cookie dough can result in a tough, hard cookie. After the dry ingredients are added to the bowl, only mix it until you no longer see any white streaks from the flour. At this stage, you will have a soft, delicate cookie. To get a chewier cookie, continue to mix for another 30 seconds and then stop.

Why did my cookies spread out so much in the oven?

If your cookies spread too much in the oven then either your dough was too warm going into the oven or your oven is too hot. Chill your cookie dough for longer in the refrigerator before baking. Also use an oven thermometer to verify that the temperature is accurate.

A piece of a Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip cookie being removed

PREP & STORAGE

Cookie dough is perfect for chilling and freezing for when you want to plan ahead!

HOW TO STORE DOUGH IN THE REFRIGERATOR

Chill the dough in an airtight container or wrap the dough in plastic wrap. Alternately, you can pre-scoop the dough balls onto a cookie sheet and then wrap the entire cookie sheet in plastic wrap.

The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

WHEN READY TO BAKE:

  • Let the cookie dough sit out at room temperature for about 15 minutes to soften enough to be able to scoop. Then scoop the dough balls and bake as directed. The dough should still be chilled before putting in the oven. 
  • Pre-scooped dough balls can go straight into the oven from the refrigerator.

HOW TO STORE DOUGH IN THE FREEZER

Pour all of the cookie dough onto a large sheet of plastic wrap and flatten into a disc. Wrap tightly and then place the disc into a plastic zipper bag.

Alternately, you can pre-scoop the dough balls onto a cookie sheet (dough balls can touch, don’t worry about spreading) and freeze. Once frozen, you can move the dough balls into a zipper bag. Because they were pre-frozen they will not stick together.

The dough can be frozen up to 3 months.

WHEN READY TO BAKE:

  • Remove the disc of cookie dough from the freezer and let thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Let the cookie dough sit out at room temperature for about 15 minutes to soften. Then scoop the dough balls and bake as directed. 
  • Frozen pre-scooped dough balls can be baked directly from the freezer. Add 2-3 minutes of baking time.

HOW TO STORE BAKED COOKIES

Baked cookies can be stored in a covered container at room temperature for up to 1 week. Baked cookies can be stored in the freezer in an airtight container for up to 2 months.

3 different cookies: Thin & Crispy, Soft & Chewy, Thick & Cakey

More Recipes from Baker Bettie!

If you loved this recipe, you might like to try these other Chocolate Chip Cookie recipes!

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies on a sheet pan
Yield: 24 Cookies

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep Time 15 minutes
Chilling time 30 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 57 minutes

This recipe creates cookies that stay perfectly soft and gooey even after cooled!

Ingredients

  • 226 grams (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 300 grams (1 ½ cups) brown sugar, light or dark
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 300 grams (2 ½ cups) all-purpose flour
  • 300 grams (2 cups) chocolate chips, dark, semi-sweet, or milk

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the melted butter (226 grams, 2 sticks) and brown sugar (300 grams, 1 ½ cups) until well combined. Whisk in the eggs (2 large) and vanilla extract (1 tablespoon).
  2. Whisk in the baking soda (1 teaspoon) and salt (1 teaspoon). Fold in the flour (300 grams, 2 ½ cups) using a spatula. Stir the mixture for another 30 seconds.
  3. Fold in the chocolate chips (300 grams, (2 cups).
  4. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350ºF (175ºC).
  5. Scoop mounds of dough (about 3 tablespoons) onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. It is best to only scoop about 8-9 cookies per sheet to allow enough room for spreading. Keep the remainder of the dough in the fridge while the first batch is baking.
  6. Bake 1 sheet at a time for 10-12 minutes.
  7. Allow the cookies to cool for 3-5 minutes then remove cookies from baking sheet onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
  8. Store cooled cookies in an airtight container.

Notes

Dough can stay in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze up to 2 months.

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