Everyone’s got their go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe, but why settle for a good recipe when you can have a reputation as that girl who makes the best chocolate chip cookies ever? (And eventually be a little old grandma who makes the best chocolate chip cookies ever. Thinking ahead, people.)
Nine fellow taste testers and I set out to try eight chocolate chip cookie recipes out there, each one claiming to be “the best” or pretty dang close. It was a tough job being constantly surrounded by buttery, gooey, chocolate-y treats, but we tried these recipes so you don’t have to.
Three billion pounds of brown sugar and quite a few sleepless nights later, we found a winner.
#SpoonTip: Always try to let your dough rest and refrigerate overnight. The flavors will intensify and become more complex than if you bake your cookies straight away.
1. New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies – Jacques Torres
Ahh, this cookie is what dreams are made of. It was truly perfect. I have nothing bad to say about it. I do think that it could have used slightly more of the dark brown sugar because it was so light in color, and some brown butter because I believe that all chocolate chip cookies are better with brown butter, but other than that, this is the ideal cookie.
These were beautiful in appearance and had impeccable flavor, but the best part of the cookie was the texture. The edges were crisp, but it was extra soft in the center, and the outer layer of the cookie was slightly crackly.
These weren’t too thin and weren’t too thick, either — they struck the perfect balance. Really, these cookies were all-around incredible. Five out of nine taste testers said this one was their favorite.
2. “The Chewy” – Alton Brown
Wow, these were fantastic. Alton’s cookies struck the perfect balance of not too thin and not too thick, and therefore they can please everyone. The texture, again, is what made these cookies. They were chewy on the outside and super soft on the inside.
These cookies weren’t too greasy and they were pretty to look at. And they had these little ruffle-y layers on the outside that I just fell in love with. They did brown very quickly in the oven, though. I found that the tops browned before the inside was fully cooked (which is just fine with me because I love an underdone cookie). Four out of nine taste testers said this one was their favorite.
#SpoonTip: This recipe is even better with browned butter. Just swap out the melted butter for beurre noisette. You won’t regret it.
3. The Best Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies – Joy the Baker
Alright, so these were good. Like really really really good. I’d say they’re very comparable to Alton’s, with their thickness and overall look. The main differences, though were the texture of the exterior, salt factor, butter, and chip darkness.
Firstly, these cookies were crackly on the outside while Alton’s were chewy. This recipe also yielded a slightly saltier cookie. The brown butter was barely noticeable, since the recipe used half regular softened butter, but you could still taste a hint of it. Not sure a hint is enough though. I’m thinkin’ we need to take the brown butter flavor up a notch.
Finally, the chips used in this cookie were darker than the traditional semisweet. It was a very subtle difference in taste and look, and I do like the fact that the darker chips made it a little bit different. However, if I had to pick, I’d probably stick to the classic semisweet. The unanimous decision was third place for this cookie.
4. THE Chocolate Chip Cookie – Sally’s Baking Addiction
My fellow taste testers and I loved how these cookies stood thick and tall but were soft and slightly cakey in the center. The combination of dark brown sugar and cornstarch offered a chewy yet puffy texture.
They tasted very similar to cookies made from store bought Nestlé Tollhouse cookie dough (which, let’s be honest, isn’t a bad thing). They weren’t overly sweet, but were instead pretty rich. Overall, very good, but I doubt they’d wow people.
The taste didn’t stand out to me, but I definitely preferred this cookie’s shape and texture. While I would feel confident in this recipe as a go-to, it definitely wasn’t the favorite.
5. The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies – Serious Eats + The Food Lab
The browned butter in this recipe makes a world of difference. That deep and nutty flavor that you just can’t get from regular butter was highly addictive. The cookies had a slightly more sophisticated flavor than other cookies, which came from the beurre noisette and a higher quality chocolate used.
However, I had very high hopes for this cookie, considering the recipe creator made a hundred batches, changing every possible element that one can change in a cookie to build the “perfect” cookie.
Additionally, the actual shape of the cookies was inconsistent. Some were perfect circles, some were triangular, some were squares, and some were just plain uneven. This is something I have never experienced with a cookie before, so I consider this unreliability a major downfall.
Many taste testers also decided we didn’t like the chocolate chunks. Because regular chopped-up chocolate lacks the stabilizers that chips contain, the chunks in the cookies did not hold their shape, and instead sort of melted and swirled into the cookie. We said thumbs down for da chunks.
6. “Your Chocolate Chip Cookies Can Be Even Better” – Epicurious
Taste? Good. Texture and appearance? Not as good. While the taste was very good in these (although it could have used some more salt), these cookies turned out flat, did not appear to have enough chocolate chips on top (even though I piled them on), and they were a pain to cook.
When the edges of the cookies were brown enough, the middle was still extremely doughy. I did one batch like this. For the second, I cooked them longer so that the inside would be cooked through. Consequently, the edges were slightly burnt, and the inside was still not completely done.
For the third batch, I decreased the temperature, hoping that cooking them low and slow would do the trick. While this method did help a little, they still weren’t good enough. For these reasons, the recipe ultimately fails in my eyes.
Even though I do love an undercooked cookie in the center, many people don’t, and the very point of this experiment is to find a reliable, all-around ideal cookie. This is not it.
This cookie was much thinner and crispier than the others. It spread very quickly in the oven and any signs of puffiness sank during cooling. As for the taste, it was more buttery and sweeter than most. It tasted like the same chocolate chip cookie I’ve had countless times in my life, at gatherings, parties, and potlucks.
Despite the sense of nostalgia, many of us decided that this recipe would not be the winner. For one, we mostly prefer thicker and softer cookies, and plus, after eating these cookies, many of us felt all greasy.
Since this is the original recipe from the creator of the chocolate chip cookie (Ruth Graves Wakefield, you the OG), this is technically what a chocolate chip cookie “should” be. I, however, am grateful for the alterations that have been made to it in recipes over the years. Sorry, America.
8. “Bakery-Style Chocolate Chip Cookies” – Crazy for Crust
For starters, I found major fault in the amount of flour the recipe called for. I first had my doubts about this recipe when I realized it involved at least a full cup more than the other recipes. And no, the amounts of the other ingredients did not increase as well.
With that in mind, I feared that these cookies would turn out dry or dense or crumbly. Not only did the dough end up being almost too crumbly to even roll into balls, but I also found that these cookies were indeed too dry, even when undercooked. They weren’t rich and buttery enough.
As for the chocolate, this recipe called for mini chips. The author of the recipe swears by the minis’ ability to increase the chip-to-cookie ratio. And while I agree that you got more chocolate in every bite, I realized while I was eating this cookie that the mini chips took away from that exciting moment when you bite into a giant, melty chocolate chip.
Additionally, these little guys barely spread at all in the oven. I was shocked to see how they had almost entirely maintained the height of their dough ball when I pulled them out. And even after flattening the dough of the second batch with my hand and making sure the dough was a bit warmer, they were better, but still turned out super thick. A solid last place for this recipe (still yummy though, so no regrets).