How to make the best chocolate chip cookies

I have a bit of an obsession with chocolate chip cookies and through arduous trial and error, I’ve discovered the secrets to making the best chocolate chip cookies. But spoiler alert, it has absolutely NOTHING to do what what recipe you use.

Chocolate chip cookies are my go-to easy to bring dessert for get togethers. I get asked all the time for my recipe and no one believes me when I tell them what I use. “It’s my Grandma’s recipe” is my usual response. Which is 100% accurate. But all honesty, I use the recipe on the back of the Nestle Toll House bag of chocolate chips.

Any recipe will do – but follow these tips and you’ll get the best tasting chocolate chip cookies, every time.

7 secrets to the best chocolate chip cookies

  1. Always, always always use good unsalted butter
  2. Make sure ALL of your ingredients are at room temperature
  3. Cream your butter and sugar together for a LONG time.
  4. Refrigerate your dough after it’s assembled
  5. Use a scooper for even cookies
  6. Use a silicone mat
  7. Finish with salt.

While this list is fairly simple, let’s break them down a little bit further.

Always use good unsalted butter. While this seems obvious, it might be easy to just grab what you have and pull together a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Using unsalted butter allows you to control the saltiness of the cookie and if you follow the 7th secret, this is even more and more important. Sweet and salty is great but sweet and TOO salty makes for a bad cookie. The other hidden clue here is to use “good” butter. American butter’s have less fat and more water which can be your enemy when you’re baking. I like to use European style butter that has a higher fat concentration, usually 85%.

Use room temperature ingredients. There is a lot of science behind why you should use room temperature ingredients when baking. Simply put, cold ingredients are constricted and don’t mix well resulting in clumpy batter. When things are warmer, they are looser which makes it easier to combine and makes a smoother batter. Smoother batter = less dense cookies. But there is a fine line with your butter, don’t let it get too warm (above 70 degrees) or else your cookies will be flat.

Cream butter and sugar together for a long time. Don’t rush this step! Cream your butter and sugar together until the mixture is white, you have a better base to your batter. Set it to mix for 4 minutes at least. This process adds air into the batter and that results in better chocolate chip cookies. It’s science!

Refrigerate the dough. When you chill your dough before baking is called ripening. It’s essentially letting your dough rest for at least 30 minutes (or up to 72 hours) before you bake. This lets the fat in your cookie dough firm up and it also allows the flour to hydrate and soak up all the yummy goodness before baking.

Secrets to baking the best cookies

Use a scooper. Using a cookie scoop not only makes getting the dough out on the pan easy, it creates uniform sized cookies. That uniformity allows your chocolate chip cookies to bake evenly. This is my favorite cookie scoop.

Use a silicone mat. When i finally spent the money on a Silpat mat, it was life changing. Compared to just using parchment paper, the Silpat mat distributes the heat evenly so your cookies come out perfect.

Finish with salt. I saved the best tip for last, finishing your chocolate chip cookies with a small pinch of good salt sprinkled on top is a game changer. You don’t need a lot and it needs to be done it as soon as they come out of the oven so that the heat of the cookie makes the salt adhere. Most of the time I use standard pink Himalayan salt or this finishing salt. I’m telling you, this is the step that makes people ask for your recipe.

Everyone has their go-to recipe for chocolate chip cookies but these are the ones that I usually use, depending on what I’m going for.

How to make the best chocolate chip cookies every time.

These secrets aren’t exclusively for the best chocolate chip cookies either, this can work with any cookie recipe you are making, even your Christmas sugar cookie. If you are making a shortbread or sugar cookie, I would skip the salt if you are going to frost them. For cut cookies, freeze or refrigerate after you cut them and before you bake to prevent spreading.

Looking for more dessert ideas? Check out my pistachio delight recipe or my easy red, white and blue no bake dessert.