We all know how nostalgic a good chocolate chip cookie can be. Blissfully simple yet mind-blowingly delicious, these sweet treats are one of the most beloved and versatile desserts out there– but believe it or not, it’s actually quite tricky to get them just right. Lucky for you, by following a few simple tips and tricks, you too can make the perfect chocolate chip cookies.
Here are 8 tips for perfect chocolate chip cookies:
- Consider the texture you desire and adjust the recipe.
- Underbaking is easier to fix than overbaking.
- Use vanilla pudding powder as a secret ingredient.
- Higher quality ingredients will yield better results.
- Invest in a stand mixer for perfect timing and texture.
- Use apple cider vinegar as a secret ingredient.
- Use in mix-ins to experiment with flavor and texture.
- Avoid these common chocolate chip cookie mistakes.
In the rest of this article, I’ll take you through all my best baking tips for chocolate chip cookies, so you can master this dessert staple and take a trip back in time with the deliciously perfect dessert of your dreams.
1. Consider the Texture You Desire and Adjust the Recipe
Texture can either make or break a cookie– literally.
If your cookie is too tough, it can be unpleasant to eat. On the other hand, if your chocolate chip cookies are too soft, they can fall apart while you’re eating them. This is why it’s so important to nail the texture of your cookies.
Here are some examples of recipe adjustments you can make to achieve different textures:
- Add another egg yolk to your batter for a softer texture.
- Chill your dough overnight for potent flavor and a chewy consistency.
- For moist cookies, use molasses, honey, or maple syrup.
- Brown sugar will yield chewier cookies.
- Bake your cookies in the oven for a shorter time if you want your cookies to be soft.
2. Underbaking Is Easier To Fix Than Overbaking
One of the most common mistakes home cooks are guilty of when making chocolate chip cookies is overbaking.
It’s possible to make mistakes during any stage of the process, but for the most part, mixing is relatively simple.However, once that baking sheet goes into the oven, a lot of things can go wrong– including overbaking.
Overbaked cookies will be tough and often inedible, with a bitter, burnt flavor. For obvious reasons, this is a result you want to avoid as much as possible.
One tip I have for avoiding this is remembering that underbaking is much easier to fix than overbaking. You can always bake your cookies for longer as needed, but you can’t exactly turn back time and un-bake them. Therefore, try to err on the side of safety and check on your batch fairly frequently.
3. Use Vanilla Pudding Powder as a Secret Ingredient
Another tip I have for the perfect chocolate chip cookie is to use vanilla pudding powder as a secret ingredient.
If you like soft, moist, and chewy cookies (like I do), I highly recommend trying this tip out for yourself. My mom used to add vanilla pudding powder when she made them for me as a child, and they were the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever tasted.
You can always use regular Jell-o pudding packets, but if you’re looking for a more natural alternative, I recommend this P.S. Snacks Instant Pudding (available on Amazon.com). This mix is free of gluten, artificial and natural flavors, refined sugars, and preservatives. It’s also vegan, which is excellent for those with dietary restrictions.
To implement this tip in your own chocolate chip cookie recipe, you can add one or two packets of instant vanilla pudding mix into your dry ingredients. This will level up both flavor and texture, giving you the perfect consistency and taste. Please try this– your tastebuds will thank you for it.
4. Higher Quality Ingredients Will Yield Better Results
An additional tip I have for making the perfect chocolate chip cookies is to use better ingredients to yield better results.
Higher quality ingredients will taste notably better, and they’re better for your health, too. If you can’t purchase all organic products, at least aim for locally sourced or all-natural ingredients to level up the taste of your cookies.
Low-quality flavorings will make your cookies taste sub-par, so try to stick to organic ingredients as much as possible.
5. Invest in a Stand Mixer for Perfect Timing and Texture
If you haven’t already, one of the best things you can do for your baking (and your body) is to invest in a stand mixer.
If you’re an avid baker, you know how physically demanding the process can be, especially when you have to mix something consistently. It can also be very time-consuming when you’re doing everything by hand.
However, with a stand mixer, you can set a timer and let the machine do the mixing for you. By doing this, you can avoid overworking the dough and let the machine work while you multitask. I like cleaning up my space while my stand mixer is going, so I can have a clean surface when I need to shape the cookies (which we’ll talk about later).
Another benefit of having a stand mixer is that you won’t have to overwork yourself, either. By letting the machine mix the batter, you can give your wrists a break.
6. Use Apple Cider Vinegar as a Secret Ingredient
Another secret ingredient you should consider adding to your chocolate chip cookies is apple cider vinegar.
When you add apple cider vinegar to a recipe that has baking soda, the vinegar will react with the baking soda and help the cookies rise more, giving them a softer texture, if that’s up your alley. Some people use apple cider vinegar with baking soda to substitute eggs, but you can also add a little splash to your batter for flavor, which leads me to my next point.
What I love the most about apple cider vinegar is the flavor. It has this beautiful tang that tastes delightful when combined (in small amounts) with sweet ingredients like brown sugar, molasses, etc. Just make sure you use this ingredient in moderation and measure it out instead of eyeballing it. Otherwise, it will be far too strong.
7. Use in Mix-Ins To Experiment With Flavor and Texture
One of the best things you can do to upgrade your chocolate chip cookie recipe is to add mix-ins to your dough.
Adding mix-ins is an excellent way to improve the flavor or texture of your cookie dough. Here are some mix-ins you can add to your chocolate chip cookies:
- Chopped nuts like walnuts, pistachios, and almonds
- Toffee, marshmallows, or other sweets
- Chia seeds
- Almond or peanut butter
- White chocolate chips
- Peppermint chocolate chips or crushed peppermint candies
- Cacao nibs
- Sprinkles or colored sugar
- Dried cranberries, raisins, or apricots
- Chocolate-covered pretzels, chopped (or regular pretzels). You can also add Trader Joe’s honey pretzel sticks.
- Kettle corn, caramel corn, or buttered popcorn
- Cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg for a holiday spice flavor
- Canned pumpkin for moisture and flavor
The possibilities are truly endless. Whatever you decide to mix in with your chocolate chip cookies– if you choose to mix in anything at all– is entirely up to your personal taste. Feel free to get creative with it and find a flavor combination that works for you.
8. Avoid These Common Chocolate Chip Cookie Mistakes
I’ve talked about some fun things you can do with your chocolate chip cookies to make improvements. However, now it’s time to discuss some of the mistakes you can make while baking this particular type of cookie.
Here are some common chocolate chip cookie mistakes you should avoid while baking:
- Incorrect measurements lead to incorrect ratios.
- Over-greasing your pans can cause the bottom of your cookies to burn.
- Dark baking pans absorb more heat.
- Over-mixing will yield tough cookies.
If you’ve made these baking mistakes while making chocolate chip cookies in the past, don’t worry. As I mentioned before, these mistakes are really common, so don’t beat yourself up.
Fortunately, these issues actually have some pretty simple fixes for being so detrimental. Let’s discuss these solutions so you can know what to do and what to avoid.
Incorrect measurements can lead to incorrect ratios, which you want to avoid as much as possible while baking– especially with chocolate chip cookies.
Getting your ratios wrong can severely impact the texture, flavor, and overall quality of your cookies. You can ensure you get the proportions correct by using the right measuring equipment.
There are two different kinds of measuring cups: dry and liquid. Dry measuring cups are meant for dry ingredients, and liquid measuring cups are meant for liquid ingredients.
This Pyrex Prepware Glass Measuring Cup (available on Amazon.com) is an excellent example of a measuring tool you should use while weighing out liquids for your cookies. Because there’s space above the different measuring lines, it ensures that your baking projects are getting all the liquid they need without spilling over.
However, you shouldn’t use these for dry ingredients, either. Dry ingredients need to be exact, just as liquid ingredients do. You can achieve this exactness by running a knife or another straight edge over your measuring spoon. Unfortunately, you can’t do this with a liquid measuring cup.
In my opinion, it’s best to avoid the hassle altogether and opt for a kitchen scale instead.
Overgreasing Your Baking Pan
Over-greasing your baking pans can lead to a batch of bottom-burnt chocolate chip cookies. These don’t look very appetizing, and they don’t taste that well, either.
An easy way to solve this problem is to avoid over-greasing your baking pans. You can do this by using sprayable olive oil instead of greasing your pan by hand with spoonfuls of the stuff.
However, even when you’re mindful of how much grease you’re putting on your pan, it’s still possible to make mistakes and accidentally apply too much.
Fortunately, there’s an even simpler solution to this issue: using silicone baking mats.
I’m telling you, these are lifesavers. I use silicone baking mats in my own kitchen, and they’re especially helpful when baking cookies because you don’t need to grease the pan. This will prevent your cookies from having those blackened undersides you want to avoid.
I highly suggest investing in your own silicone baking mats to save your chocolate chip cookies from potential disasters. I personally love the Silicone Kitchen Oven Baking Mats (available on Amazon.com) because they’re BPA-free and non-toxic. They also come in a sleek, minimalist design I just adore.
Therefore, if you’ve had problems with over-greased baking sheets in the past, try silicone baking mats. You’ll thank me later.
Using a Dark-Colored Baking Pan
When you bake cookies, you probably don’t give much thought to your baking sheets other than making sure they’re greased and ready to go in the oven. But did you know that the color of your baking pans can actually determine how fast your dough will bake?
According to scientific research, items that are darker in color will absorb more light wavelengths and turn these wavelengths into heat. This rule also applies to your baking equipment.
When you use a dark baking pan, the pan will heat up more quickly than a light pan would. This means that whatever you’re baking will heat up too. Because of this, darker baking pans make it easier for you to burn your cookies.
If you’re worried about overbaking your cookies, I recommend using lighter baking pans that don’t absorb as much heat.
Overmixing the Dough
Another common mistake home cooks make when baking chocolate chip cookies is overmixing the dough.
When you overwork your cookie dough, you’re adding more air to your mixture. While this might not seem like much of a problem at first, it will cause our cookies to flatten while they’re in the oven and often get tough.
As a rule of thumb, unless otherwise stated in the recipe, make sure to only mix your dough just until the ingredients are combined, no more.
How To Shape Chocolate Chip Cookies
Another essential part of baking the perfect chocolate chip cookie is the actual shaping of the dough.
There are quite a few ways you can go about doing this. Here are some of my favorite ways to shape chocolate chip cookies:
- Invest in a cookie dough scoop. I recommend using a stainless steel cookie scoop to get the most evenly shaped cookies possible, which is essential for baking your cookies thoroughly. These metal scoops usually have a lever that cleans out the entirety of the spoon, so these are also great for cutting back on waste.
- Use a spoon if you have no scoop. If you don’t have a cookie dough scoop, you can also use a regular spoon to scoop the dough onto the baking pan. Once you do this, you can press your cookies with a flat surface.
Press your cookies with a flat surface. Slightly flattening your cookie dough balls is a good way to make sure the shapes are even. You can use the bottom of a glass or a small plate to do this.