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Easy Tips to Make the PERFECT Chocolate Chip Cookies

Being able to make the perfect chocolate chip cookies has always been weirdly important to me.

I blame it on Monica from Friends (see Season 7, Episode 3, “The One with Phoebe’s Cookies” or my recipe for Phoebe’s Grandma’s Chocolate Chip Cookies for more details on that), but that’s beside the point.

I feel like chocolate chip cookies really are the ultimate staple in any mom’s arsenal.

Toddler won’t eat his dinner? Bribe him with the promise of chocolate chip cookies.

Teething baby can’t be consoled? Shove a cookie in her mouth.

Playdate turned into afternoon rampage? Cookies all around.

Whether you’re a break-and-bake or an exclusively-from-scratch kinda gal, it doesn’t really matter – chocolate chip cookies are the answer, every time.

How to Ruin Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Homemade chocolate chip cookies are relatively simple to make, as far as most baking goes, but they’re also surprisingly easy to mess up.

I mean, let’s be clear: “ruined” chocolate chip cookies are still cookies, and therefore still delicious.

But why settle for mediocre cookies, when you could have epic, perfect cookies with just a few simple tweaks to your baking process!

The most common ways to mess up chocolate chip cookies are:

  • Baking the dough too quickly after mixing
  • Underbaking or overbaking
  • Using the wrong granulated-to-brown sugar ratio
  • Skipping the salt

While these chocolate chip cookie mistakes are really easy to make on accident, they’re also really easy to fix.

The Basics of Every Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Nearly all chocolate chip cookie recipes will have these nine core ingredients:

  • Butter
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla
  • Flour
  • Baking Soda
  • Salt
  • Chocolate Chips
It's easy to make the perfect chocolate chip cookies, using less than 10 basic ingredients with these 5 tips.

Each recipe treats these ingredients a little differently, depending on how you like your cookies.

For example, some use softened butter, some use melted. Some use whole eggs, some use just a yolk. Some use chocolate chips, some use chunks or chopped chocolate.

For the most part, these variations can all lead to equally delicious results, just depending on your preference.

Melted butter typically gives you denser cookies, vs. cakier cookies using softened, creamed butter.

Using just an egg yolk gives your cookies a more moist, fudgy texture than if you were to use the whole egg.

Some recipes also add ingredients like corn starch, to give your cookies a soft, chewy texture.

So, how do you get the perfect chocolate chip cookies with all these options?

I know, I know. I keep saying how easy and simple this all is, and then I keep dropping all these “this or thats” on you.

Which recipe you use and which variations on each ingredient you take all comes down to your personal preference. We all have our own idea of what the “perfect” chocolate chip cookie really is, after all.

So start by finding a recipe for the type of cookie you want – thin & crispy, soft & chewy, thick & dense… whatever floats your boat.

{If your family loves soft, chewy chocolate cookies like mine does, then I highly recommend my Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.}

It's actually easy to turn any recipe into the perfect chocolate chip cookies with these 5 simple tips!

Once you’ve got your recipe ready, these easy adjustments can help ensure nearly every recipe turns out just how you want it.

5 Easy Tips to Make Sure Your Chocolate Chip Cookies are Perfect

If you apply these five simple tips to any cookie recipe you make, I promise it will improve them – with NO additional effort.

(Maybe a little extra time, but it’s all passive time, so you can handle that!)

  1. Use room temperature ingredients.
  2. Always add a dash of salt to the dough.
  3. Let your cookie dough chill before baking.
  4. Roll your cookie dough balls tall.
  5. Check your cookies obsessively when they’re in the oven.

1. Use room temperature ingredients.

Don’t toss your ingredients straight from the fridge to the mixer.

Giving the eggs and butter, in particular, time to come to room temperature naturally, allows them to mix into the dough more evenly and better blend with the rest of the ingredients.

If the recipe calls for softened butter, take it out of the fridge at least 45 minutes before you start cooking. If it calls for melted butter, let the butter cool off for 5-10 minutes after you’ve melted it.

2. Always add a dash of salt to your dough.

Even if the recipe leaves it out (although, I may not trust that recipe). It sounds crazy if you’ve never done it, but it really does make a huge difference in the flavor.

Just trust me – try it!

3. Let your cookie dough chill before baking.

Always, always build in at least 30 minutes of chill time before scooping out your dough and baking it.

I try to let my cookie dough rest in the fridge for at least an hour, if not overnight. But honestly, any amount of time helps the ingredients really blend, and keeps your cookies from spreading too thin.

Without getting too scientific on you (because I know you don’t really care – just give me the cookies, amiright?!), chilling the dough helps keep the fats nice and solid, so they won’t melt and spread as quickly when you bake them.

One easy tip for making PERFECT chocolate chip cookies is to let your dough rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before baking. Just look at the difference in these two cookies!

Just look at these two sets of cookies. The cookies on the left went straight into the oven after mixing, while the ones on the right (though overbaked – see the next tip) rested in the fridge for 30 minutes.

4. Roll your cookie dough balls tall.

Think of them as little dough “eggs,” rather than “balls.” This helps prevents excess spreading, and will help your cookies stay nice and plump in the center.

tips to make the PERFECT chocolate chip cookies: roll your dough balls taller than wide.

5. Check your cookies frequently once they’re in the oven.

I usually start checking at the 8 or 9-minute mark, but depending on your recipe, start checking them one minute before the low-end of the cook time range.

It’s a fine line between underbaked and overbaked, so you want to pull them out just when you start to see them browning on top.

Take these cookies for example. The recipe instructed to bake them for 9 – 11 minutes. The top half is 9 minutes, and the bottom is 11. HUGE difference!

Just a couple short minutes in the oven can make a HUGE difference in making the perfect chocolate chip cookies.

When you start to see a little browning on top, take them out – even if the bottoms don’t look quite there.

If you allow them to cool on the baking sheet for 5 – 10 minutes, the bottoms of the cookies will continue to cook slightly.

The Mystery of Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies: Solved

Chocolate chip cookies don’t have to be an enigma or a bucket-list recipe to perfect. It really is so simple to make top notch cookies, from scratch, with minimal effort.

You don’t have to buy artisan chocolate, or sift specialty flour, or mix the ingredients using an elephant tusk mixer paddle.

All it takes is these 5 easy tweaks to your recipe, and you’ll have everyone begging you for the secret to your perfect cookies.

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes:

If you’re looking for a starting point to test out all your new chocolate chip cookie tricks, I’ve got two GREAT ones for you to choose from.

First, my Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies. These were tested and crafted based on real-life taste-testing and voting amongst my closest family and friends – you cannot go wrong here!

If those are a little ~too much~ for you, though, I have Phoebe Buffay’s Grandma’s Chocolate Chip Cookies for you (also known as the classic Nestle Tollhouse recipe)! They’re simple, foolproof, and delicious.

Phoebe's Grandma's Chocolate Chip Cookies from Friends

Happy cookie-ing! Be sure to share any other cookie-perfecting tips you have in the comments.

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Ashley R

Wednesday 8th of January 2020

I swear Brown sugar is the secret to making the best chocolate chip cookies. My mother in law always over cooks them and it makes them taste awful. They should never be crunchy!

Lisa Favre

Wednesday 8th of January 2020

Oh my goodness, it's so funny that you posted this because I'm actually on the hunt to create the best chocolate chip cookie! Your tips are so great! We like them thin and a little on the crispier side.

Aakriti Rohilla

Wednesday 8th of January 2020

Thanks, Onehangrymama for sharing the information. Great job.

Marina

Wednesday 8th of January 2020

Can't wait to eat my favourite chocolate cookies again...will give your tips a try!

Stella Harper

Tuesday 7th of January 2020

I haven't tried making my own chocolate chips but sounds so fun. Thanks for sharing these tips..!