Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

published Feb 14, 2024
Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

These classic cookies are soft and chewy in the center with a hint of crispness around the edges.

MakesMakes 36 (2.5-inch) cookies

Prep25 minutes to 30 minutes

Cook20 minutes to 24 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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head on shot of a stack of four chocolate chip cookies.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Kelli Foster

There is truly nothing better than a really good soft chocolate chip cookie. The best ones have a soft, chewy texture that extends out from the center, with just a tiny bit of crispness around the outer edges, and a just-sweet-enough flavor with hints of rich caramel and vanilla. Plus, lots of chocolate chips, of course. (We also have a recipe for denser, chewier chocolate chip cookies if those are more up your alley.)

This soft chocolate chip cookie recipe checks all those boxes and more. It’s the tried-and-true version I’ve been making for years and the only one you should be baking from now on — trust me. 

Key Ingredients in Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Unsalted butter. Using plenty of fat is key in making soft, flavorful cookies. Plan to let the butter sit at room temperature just until it gives when gently pressed (and if you’re game for trying other ways to soften butter, we’ve got you covered).
  • Cornstarch. I learned that swapping some of the all-purpose flour for cake flour yields a very soft cookie. The problem is that most of us don’t regularly use or keep cake flour on hand. There’s a super-simple solution: adding a couple teaspoons of cornstarch. If you’re thinking that this sounds a little like making a DIY cake flour substitute, you’re right.
  • Baking soda. This is instrumental in creating a chocolate chip cookie that’s soft and chewy with a crisp, delicate bite just around the edges, and nicely browned on the bottom. 
  • Brown sugar. I personally love light brown sugar for chocolate chip cookies, although both light and dark brown work well here. 
  • Chocolate chips. Semi-sweet is a classic choice for chocolate chip cookies. However, if you happen to have a bag of bittersweet or milk chocolate chips hanging out in the pantry, go ahead and use them. You use the whole bag of chips in this recipe. Most of the chocolate chips are mixed into the dough, while about 1/2 cup are reserved and pressed into the tops of the dough balls before baking.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Kelli Foster

What Is the Trick to Making Soft Cookies?

These are the key factors that deliver the softest, most delicious cookies.

  • Using a higher percentage of brown sugar. Nearly all chocolate chip cookies use a combination of granulated and brown sugars. The ratio of sugars plays a huge role in the texture of the cookies. For soft chocolate chip cookies, you want to use more brown than granulated sugar (ideally twice as much brown sugar, which is what this recipe calls for). Brown sugar has more moisture, and when added to the dough makes a softer, chewier cookie.
  • Cornstarch. While typically used as a thickening agent, mixing a couple teaspoons of cornstarch into the dough makes for super-soft cookies.
  • Refrigerate the cookie dough. Do not skimp on this part. It really does make a difference. If you can, rest the dough for a full 24 hours before baking, and at a minimum give it 12 hours. When developing this recipe, I tested resting the dough for a variety of time increments — as little as one hour, all the way up to 48 hours — and 24 hours is the sweet spot.
  • Don’t over-bake the cookies. To ensure they have the softest, chewiest texture, you want to pull the cookies from the oven as soon as they’re set and just barely golden around the edges. If the cookies bake too long, they gradually lose their soft bite and become crispy. 
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Kelli Foster

How to Make Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

  1. Make the cookie dough. Cream the softened butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Then, add the eggs and vanilla followed by the dry ingredients, finishing with the chocolate chips.
  2. Portion the dough. I find it much easier to portion the dough at this point rather than after it’s refrigerated and more firm. Scoop the dough into 2-tablespoon portions (I love using a cookie scoop for this), roll into a ball, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. The dough balls can be close together but not touching. Press the remaining chocolate chips into the tops of the dough balls.
  3. Wrap and refrigerate the cookie dough. Wrap the baking sheet in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, preferably 24 hours.
  4. Bake and cool the cookies. While the oven heats, transfer the dough to baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and bake until golden. Allow the cookies to cool slightly on the baking sheets and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

These classic cookies are soft and chewy in the center with a hint of crispness around the edges.

Prep time 25 minutes to 30 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes to 24 minutes

Makes Makes 36 (2.5-inch) cookies

Nutritional Info


  • 2

    sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter

  • 2 1/2 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons


  • 1 teaspoon

    baking soda

  • 1 cup

    packed light or dark brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 2 teaspoons

    vanilla extract

  • 1

    (12-ounce) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 2 cups), divided


  1. Place 2 sticks unsalted butter in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer). Let sit at room temperature until softened. Meanwhile, place 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, and 1 teaspoon baking soda in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine.

  2. Add 1 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt to the bowl of butter. Beat with the paddle attachment, starting on low speed and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a flexible spatula.

  3. Add 2 large eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and beat on medium speed until combined, about 90 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture and beat until just combined and no streaks of flour remain.

  4. Add 1 1/2 cups of the semi-sweet chocolate chips and fold into the dough with a flexible spatula.

  5. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Scoop the dough out into level 2-tablespoon portions (about 40). Roll into balls. The dough balls can be close together on the baking sheet, just not touching. Gently press the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips into the top of dough balls (3 to 4 per cookie).

  6. Completely wrap the baking sheet in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.

  7. Arrange 2 oven racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 350℉. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Place the dough balls at least 2 inches apart on the baking sheets, 12 per sheet.

  8. Bake for 6 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets between racks and from front to back. Bake until the tops of the cookies are set and edges are golden-brown, 5 to 7 minutes more. Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely. Repeat baking the remaining dough balls on cooled baking sheets; you can reuse the parchment or baking mats.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The dough balls can be frozen until solid, then stored in a zip-top bag in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let the dough balls sit on the baking sheet at room temperature while the oven is heating. Add 1 to 2 minutes to the bake time as needed. You can also freeze the fully baked cookies for up to 3 months.

Storage: Baked cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up 3 months.