How to Make Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is a serious life skill. How to make chocolate chip cookies is something everyone who loves baking needs to know. Knowing how to make chocolate chip cookies has prevented me from showing up to parties empty-handed, soothed my soul in times of woe, and made me the hero of the day when Santa was coming with his cookie demands.

The best part is they are fairly easy to make!

3 big triple chocolate chunk cookie arranged on a white parchment paper after baking cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are one of the basics. Find a chocolate chip cookie recipe that you can count on and you will have the makings of many family traditions. The cookie recipe I’m sharing today has never let me down. Family and customers alike rave over these cookies!

Let’s dive in and learn how to make chocolate chip cookies. Are you as excited as I am?

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Gather the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies

  1. Sugar
  2. Brown Sugar
  3. Butter (salted preferred)
  4. Vanilla
  5. Eggs
  6. Flour
  7. Baking Soda
  8. 3 cups of chocolate chips, mix and match your favorites
  9. 1 cup of nuts is optional

Equipment needed to bake chocolate chip cookies

  1. Large mixing bowl or stand mixer
  2. Hand mixer or stand mixer
  3. Sifter or sieve
  4. Dry measuring cups or kitchen scale
  5. Measuring spoons
  6. Silicone Spatula for stirring and scraping the bowl
  7. Cookie scoops optional
  8. Baking sheet
  9. Parchment paper
  10. Metal spatula for lifting baked cookies
  11. Cooling racks

These are my favorite cookie scoops AKA dishers AKA ice cream scoops

Keep in mind, the scoops work better when the cookie dough is nearing room temp, but they come in all sizes. The smaller the number the larger the scoop. I love the #20 for making big cookies (almost 4″ wide cookies) and the #30 for making what I call regular sized cookies (almost 3″).

Cooling racks are also extremely helpful for cooling cookies and getting them off of the hot baking sheets. A collapsible one, like this one from Wilton, will save a ton of counter space.

More about the chocolate chips

For this recipe, I always use 3 heaping cups of a variety of chocolate chips or chopped chocolate. Chopped chocolate is truly divine in chocolate chip cookies, but honestly, it’s easier to grab a few bags of different chocolate chips at the store.

If I got out my box of chocolate (YES… I have a BOX of chocolate in my cabinet. Pfft, perfectly normal, why DON’T you have one?) and I only had one type of chocolate chip, I would carry on.

3 white ramekins filled with a variety of chocolate chips

Have you ever tried chopping your own chocolate for cookies? If not, do it! All you do is use 6 ounces of chocolate for every 1 cup in the recipe. Open the bar of chocolate and roughly chop it into a variety of chunks. Not too small or they might melt away into the cookies as they bake! It’s really sooooo good.

My family’s favorite blend is 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks, 1 cup milk chocolate chips, and 1 cup white chocolate chips. I don’t usually add nuts in the cookies because I never know who is going to share them with us and I like to avoid allergies, BUT the nuts are a delicious addition.

Oh! And don’t forget you can use chocolate covered candies like M & M’s in place of some of the chocolate chips. The possibilities are endless!


Mise in place (Prepare to Bake)

Before you start baking, there are always a few things that you need to do beforehand. For this recipe, the butter has to be softened, so that means set the butter out to come to room temperature.

Also, make sure that you have all of your ingredients. I like to set them all out on the counter to be sure that I have enough of everything.

When I’m certain I have everything, I go ahead and measure it all out and get it ready to use. The main thing for the chocolate chip cookies is sifting the baking soda and flour together in a separate bowl, ready to be added to the other ingredients.

Make the chocolate chip cookie dough

To begin, the softened butter and sugars are beaten together until light and fluffy. Really beat it for a while, at least 3 minutes on medium high, to get the sugars all incorporated into the butter. Scrape the bowl with a spatula as needed. The butter will lighten and it will sort of look like a grainy frosting.

Butter and sugar beaten until fluffy

After that, add the eggs and vanilla. Mix on medium for about 1 minute until you can’t see any liquid egg and it all forms one uniform mixture. Don’t beat it too long, just enough to make it a nice fluffy butter mixture again. Scrape the bowl down with your spatula before adding the flour.

The last part I use the mixer for is adding in the sifted flour mixture. I add the flour about 1/3 at a time and use a spatula to hand mix it in before I turn on the mixer. I only do this to avoid the flour cloud that happens when I turn on the mixer or add flour to the mixer too fast. No matter how tricky I try to be, I end up with a giant poof of flour in the air. It’s better if I just do it by hand at first, then turn on the mixer for a few seconds to finish mixing.

Feel free to use whatever method you like before mixing it all on low. After adding the flour, don’t mix the cookie dough too long, just enough to get all of the ingredients mixed well.

Mixing too long could cause tough cookies and who wants a tough cookie?

When using the stand mixer, I remove the bowl from the stand and use a spatula to scrape the bowl and make sure there is no dry flour in the bottom of the bowl. Sometimes stand mixers are bad about leaving ingredients hiding under there.

Finally, add your chocolate chips (and nuts if you want) by hand. Pour in one cup at a time and use a spatula to mash them into the dough. Typically, I transfer my cookie dough into another bowl (usually the same one I sifted the flour into to avoid making more dirty dishes) and finish folding in the chocolate chips.

A stainless steel bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough, chocolate chips being blended in by hand

At this point, I wrap the dough in plastic and wait at least 24 hours before baking. I talk more about this and all my cookie baking tips in Baking Cookies if you want to hop over to that article and check it out.
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Form the cookies for baking

You can use a cookie scoop or a large spoon to portion your cookies for baking. The more precise you are with getting the same amount of dough for each cookie, the more uniform your cookies will look.

Use your hands to roll the cookie dough into a ball, or you can allow the scoop to do all the work. Over the years, I’ve developed my own quirky cookie baking rituals. I’ll share my process with you in case you want to try it.

First, I use a cookie scoop, then I roll the ball of cookie dough in granulated sugar before placing it on the baking sheet. I use the bottom of a glass to gently flatten the top of the ball of dough.  Finally, I reshape any distorted edges of the dough to as close to a perfect circle as I can.

By doing this I get fairly uniform cookies that all bake evenly in the oven. I started doing this when I was selling my cookies by the dozen and wanted them to look very professional. I wasn’t ready to invest in a Kook-E-King, so was is my “make do” way.

It doesn’t take me too long to do and I love the results. By the way, rolling the cookies in sugar doesn’t have anything to do with shape, I just like the little extra texture and crackly crunch it gives to the exterior of the cookie.

two photos side by side of cookie dough ball being rolled in sugar then slightly flattened with bottom of a vintage McDonald's glass

If you want to get right to the baking, you can just drop mounds of dough onto your baking sheet, leaving enough space for the cookies to spread.

My cookies in the photos are made with a #20 scoop. That’s a little shy of 1/4 cup of dough! Only 6 fit comfortably on an 11 x 13″ baking sheet, the recipe yields 24 cookies made like this.

Whatever method you use to form the cookie dough, place the unbaked cookies back refrigerator for about 10 minutes before you bake them. This will prevent them from spreading too thin during baking. Cookie dough made with all butter can spread too thin if it’s not well chilled before baking.

Freezing unbaked cookies

Most cookie dough freezes extremely well. You can freeze the portioned cookies by placing them on a baking sheet in the freezer for about 30 minutes and then moving them into an airtight, freezer-safe container until ready to use.

When baking the cookies, you can pop them straight in the oven from frozen or place them on a baking sheet and allow them to thaw in the refrigerator.

Bake the chocolate chip cookies

When baking the cookies, preheat your oven at 350°F for at least 20 minutes to make sure that your oven is the proper temperature throughout. The rack should be set in the center position.

Place the cookies in the oven and set the timer for 10 minutes. When the time is up, peek at the cookies to see how brown they are. You are looking for browning edges and barely browned tops. However, the cookies shouldn’t look wet or doughy in the centers.

At 10 minutes, my big cookies were just starting to spread. I ended up cooking them for 18 minutes before they were to my liking, but I checked the first tray every 2 minutes just to make sure I didn’t over bake them.

After the first tray, I set the oven to 16 minutes and checked on them every minute until they looked like I wanted them to. Yes, that’s a little fussy. That’s me. I’ve been baking this recipe for over 10 years and I still act like that every time.

The more browned you let the cookies get, the crunchier they will be. I like my edges crunchy and the centers chewy.  Overall, you can expect smaller cookies to be done in 10- 12 minutes and larger cookies in 16- 18 minutes.

Close up view of baked chocolate chip cookies on a baking sheet sitting on a cutting board with a white towel near the bottom left edge

Storing the baked cookies or freezing them for later

These chocolate chip cookies will stay fresh at room temperature for about a week. Store them in an airtight container or a Ziploc bag. You can also freeze them for up to 6 months. It’s always nice to have some delicious cookies hidden away!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

These amazing chocolate chip cookies have been our favorite for years. Make them extra special by adding different sizes and types of chocolate chips. Our favorite variety is milk chocolate, white chocolate, and semi-sweet chunks! 

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Servings 2 Dozen
Calories 175 kcal
Author Mikel @ Sweet Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup salted butter, softened 225 grams
  • 1 cup brown sugar 180 grams
  • 3/4 cup sugar 150 grams
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 5mL
  • 3 cups flour 360 grams
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda 4.5 grams
  • 3 cups chocolate chips 525 grams
  • 1 cup nuts (optional) 150 grams

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F 

Make Cookie Dough

  1. Line baking sheets with parchment paper 

  2. Cream sugars and butter on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

  3. Add eggs and vanilla, beat until well incorporated

  4. Sift dry ingredients together and add to butter mixture, mixing well, but only until all dry ingredients are incorporated.

  5. Mix in chips by hand, add nuts, if using

  6. Portion cookies with a cookie scoop or drop spoonfuls of batter onto cookie sheets, leaving space for cookies to spread between cookies

Bake Cookies

  1. Bake 10 - ­12 minutes for small cookies, 16- 18 minutes for large cookies 

  2. Remove from oven when edges are browned and tops are just starting to brown. Allow cooling on baking sheets for 10 minutes before removing to wire cooling racks. 

  3. When cookies are completely cool, store in airtight container up to a week. 

Recipe Notes

They freeze very well, store in the freezer in an airtight container up to 6 months. 

Troubleshooting cookies

Most of the problems when learning how to make chocolate chip cookies come from one of the following

  • Not measuring ingredients correctly
  • Baking too long or not long enough
  • Not storing the cookies properly.

Betty Crocker has a really great article on figuring out what went wrong with your cookies here. They go through step by step and cover almost any problem that could arise while baking cookies.

I’ve also had bad experience storing my cookies in older Tupperware type containers, AKA hand-me-down kitchen stuff from my who knows which relative. I don’t know why, but the cookies take on a stale plastic taste that can’t be good, so avoid those.

If you are having trouble with your cookie baking, I’ll be glad to help you troubleshoot.

Your questions and comments are welcome!

Please leave a comment or send me an email. I’d love to hear from you!

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A close up view of 3 chocolate chip cookies on a white paper with the words, "how to make amazing chocolate chip cookies" above the image

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