How can I Make Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

For some bakers, chewy chocolate chip cookies represent a holy grail of baking. A number of factors come into play when baked goods are cooked to determine their final texture; if you want to make your chocolate chip cookies chewy, it helps to understand these factors and to learn how to adjust them as needed.

Using a flat baking pan will help encourage the even flow of heat while baking.
Using a flat baking pan will help encourage the even flow of heat while baking.

The thing that makes cookies soft and chewy is a high moisture content. Moisture content is affected by the type of sugar used, how much flour is involved, how long the cookies bake, and the temperature at which they are baked. When you want your cookies to be chewy, use brown sugar, which has a higher moisture content, helping to trap moisture inside the cookie. It is also a good idea to measure the flour by spooning it into a measuring cup, rather than dipping the measuring cup into the flour container; spooned flour is fluffy, whereas scooped flour is tightly packed, adding extra to the measurement. If you measure by weight, of course, this isn't relevant.

Chocolate chip cookie dough.
Chocolate chip cookie dough.

When baking the cookies, keep a close eye on them, and pull them out before they look entirely done. As the cookies cool, they will continue to cook, so if you pull out cookies with slightly pale centers, the insides will cook but remain chewy and soft. It also helps to use a flat baking sheet rather than a pan with a lip, encouraging the even flow of heat around the cookies.

Baking cookies for 5-7 minutes at 400 degrees and then cooling will help keep the texture chewy.
Baking cookies for 5-7 minutes at 400 degrees and then cooling will help keep the texture chewy.

The following recipe creates a moist, stiff dough that is designed to be used in making drop cookies. You may find the dough alarmingly moist when it's finished, but resist the temptation to add flour, as the high moisture content ensures that the cookies will come out thick, soft, and chewy.

Chocolate chip cookies.
Chocolate chip cookies.

To make chewy chocolate chip cookies, start by creaming 0.5 cup (113.5 g) of butter and then adding 0.75 cup (165 g) of brown sugar. Cream the ingredients until well blended, and then add 0.5 teaspoon (2.3 g) baking soda and 0.25 teaspoon (1.5 g) salt. For an unusual and distinctive flavor, also add 0.25 teaspoon (0.55 g) of nutmeg. Blend the ingredients until well combined before stirring in one egg and 1 teaspoon (4.9 ml) of vanilla extract.

Measure flour by spooning it into a measuring cup, rather than dipping the cup into flour.
Measure flour by spooning it into a measuring cup, rather than dipping the cup into flour.

Using a large spoon to fill the measuring cup, measure out 1.25 cups (156.25 g) of flour, and blend the flour with the wet ingredients until just combined. Pour in 1 cup (168 g) of chocolate chips of choice; bittersweet chocolate chips tend to make a richer flavor. Blend the dough with a heavy spoon until the chocolate chips are evenly distributed, and then drop evenly measured scoops of the dough onto an ungreased baking pan.

Bake your cookies for five to seven minutes in a preheated 400°F (224°C) oven until the sides have started to brown and the middles are still pale. Pull the cookies out, allow them to cool briefly, and then transfer them to racks to finish cooling.

When making chewy chocolate chip cookies, keep a close eye on them and take them out before they look completely done.
When making chewy chocolate chip cookies, keep a close eye on them and take them out before they look completely done.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


Here is the secret trick to awesome chocolate chip cookies: make the dough and pop it into the fridge for at least 24-48 hours before baking them. I know, I know, why doesn't it ever say to do this in recipes and who can wait that long? Besides that, how will I know 24 hours in advance that I am going to have a cookie craving tomorrow? Trust me: I'm a professional baker.

Think about it. Why do those refrigerated cookie doughs have such an awesome texture? Letting the dough sit in the fridge allows all the flour to absorb the moisture and fully meld the dough together. So resist temptation to eat the raw dough or bake it right away and try it.


@fBoyle-- The trick to chewy chocolate chip oatmeal cookies is not just the moisture content. It's the right proportion of moisture to the other ingredients. You can put all the brown sugar in the world and it still won't come out chewy if there is too much oil or fat.

The reason is because oil and fat dries the cookies out while in the oven. It also causes the batter to spread out as it melts, making the cookies thinner and crispy.

For the best chewy cookies, the oil or fat amount has to be reduced and the sugar and flour amount has to be increased. The amount of eggs need to be increased as well since this is the binding agent for the sugar and flour. Finally, a little trick I like to use is I add milk instead of water into the batter which makes the cookies softer and more chewy.


I'm planing on making chewy oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies.

Does anyone have any tips for me?


@anon84454-- I can't imagine using chickpea flour for cookies. Won't that taste like hummus?!

My mom makes the perfect chewy chocolate chip cookies. She always tells me that the trick is the flour and butter. She says to use lots of flour and butter and to keep the batter in the fridge for about ten minutes before baking.


@seag47 – If you don't want to eat partially raw cookies, there is something you can do to make sturdy cookies soft. After they have cooled, put a slice of bread in the cookie jar with them.

The cookies will pull the moisture out of the bread, and they will stay soft. The piece of bread will be rock hard and dry by the next day, so you need to replace it now and then.

I was amazed the first time I tried it. I had baked my cookies until they were rather stiff, but the bread softened them right up.


You know, all the chewy chocolate chip cookies recipes always say to use a baking sheet, but I just grabbed whatever pan was handy. This was usually a jelly roll pan with a lip, so that explains why I've never wound up with chewy cookies!

Also, I didn't know to pull them out before they were totally done. I guess I was afraid of getting food poisoning or something!


Sifting the flour helps you make chewy, soft chocolate chip cookies. In much the same way that spooning it into the measuring cup fluffs it up, sifting it adds air and makes the cookie lighter.

I always use a sifter when I'm making cakes or cupcakes. I hate eating super dense desserts, and the difference in weight between sifted and non-sifted desserts is significant.

I've been known to stick the measuring cup into the bag of flour and pack it in when in a rush, but I'm always disappointed with the result. I now take time to sift, because the soft cookies are so worth it!


Thanks for the wealth of information! I've often wondered how to make soft, chewy chocolate chip cookies, but I had no one to tell me how. I'm going to try this recipe tonight.


Is that one 1/2 of butter or 1 and a 1/2 of butter?


If I substitute rice flour for flour (for a gluten free cookie) will this be OK? Or will they taste terrible?


@abiane - I definitely know what you mean with that whole experimentation thing. I love baking Christmas cookies and have to do the same thing whenever I have to make them at someone else's home. I really hate not making them before hand, but love to be with family. I really like that this article discusses different possibilities and thanks to the anonymous person for their input as well on the gluten free information... it was also very helpful!


@anon84454 - I have never heard of that substitute. I will definitely have to try that. I don't really have a problem with my cookies, they are always slightly crisp on the outside rim and soft in the middle - which I love. I think there is a trial and error basis which every baker must go through with every oven they use in order to find that perfect time and temperature. For me it's always somewhere between 9 and 12 minutes.


Here is the deal: shortening makes cookies sturdy and butter will make them chewy and buttery. I always use brown sugar and butter. If you want sturdy, but chewy cookies you would do half and half. I like using all brown sugar because it makes the cookie more mapley... if that makes sense.


Another idea is to use your standard recipe for chocolate chip cookies and substitute garbanzo flour (chickpea) for the wheat flour. As a side benefit, the cookies are gluten-free (if you use gluten-free for the rest of the ingredients). There is no need to leave them half-baked either. They will be soft out of the oven and stay that way for days.

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