Kitchn Love Letters

I Just Learned the Easiest Trick for Baking the Most “Buttery Soft” Chocolate Chip Cookies of Your Life

published Mar 24, 2024
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Someone holding soft baked chocolate chip cookie broken in half.
Credit: Kelli Foster

Chocolate chip cookies may be the perfect dessert, especially when served warm from the oven with an ice-cold glass of milk. There’s a style for every person, from the classic back-of-the-bag Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies to over-the-top food stylist-approved cookies, but my favorite version has to be soft chocolate chip cookies. 

As a kid, I didn’t know chocolate chip cookies could taste like anything other than the classic Tollhouse recipe. That all changed when a high school friend carefully rationed out her mom’s famous chocolate chip cookies, and I fell in love. The cookies were plump and so soft, yet — somehow — they had the slightest amount of chew. I begged for the recipe, but my friend’s mom refused to share. 

I spent years chasing that buttery soft cookie after that first taste, baking my way through dozens of recipes, and I’ve finally found it. This soft chocolate chip cookie recipe relies on a pantry staple that you already have on hand to make soft and chewy cookies studded with melty chocolate, and they are perfect.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Kelli Foster

Why This Recipe for Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies Really Works

  • Cornstarch. These soft chocolate chip cookies contain one extra ingredient that makes all of the difference — cornstarch. Just 2 teaspoons of cornstarch make a big difference in the appearance and texture of these cookies. Cornstarch helps prevent the cookie dough from spreading too much. This means the cookies are taller and more plump than other chocolate chip cookies, like those internet-famous pan-banging cookies. Cornstarch also absorbs moisture from the dough without developing gluten, adding to the soft texture of the cookies.
  • Brown sugar. This recipe uses more brown sugar than granulated sugar (often these are added in equal parts). The extra molasses in brown sugar adds moisture to the dough for a softer, chewier texture.
  • Chilling the dough. Chilling or ripening cookie dough may seem arduous and unnecessary when all you want is a cookie, but if you’re opting for homemade cookies over store-bought, why not do it right? Chilling the cookie dough does a few things. The fat firms up in the refrigerator then melts more slowly in the oven, keeping the cookies from spreading too thin. It also gives the dough time to fully hydrate which contributes not only to the texture, but gives the cookies a better flavor.

    Get the recipe: Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies