Seriously, the easiest chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made. Melted butter, one bowl, no mixer, no chilling. Soft and chewy homemade cookies, every time.
I’ve had a go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe for a long time. Like, since I was 12. This is not that.
This is better.
The thing about homemade chocolate chip cookies is that everyone loves them, but no one can agree on the correct recipe.
For some people, that may not even be a question that’s relevant — i.e., why would you bother arguing about it when we could have scooped pre-made dough out of a Toll House tub and baked it by now — but since you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’re not one of those people.
So let’s talk about it.
What makes a great chocolate chip cookie recipe
I’ve done a fair amount of reading about chocolate chip cookies. They’re deceptively simple, yet they require the building of complex flavor and can be extremely finicky.
Recipe authors have suggested using bread flour because of its higher protein content (and thus better chewiness), adding an extra egg yolk for richer flavor, browning the butter (because ok, brown butter is delicious), chilling the dough for 2 days to build more flavor, using a mixture of super expensive chopped dark chocolate instead of chocolate chips so it melts throughout, adding cornstarch to keep cookies thick, various ratios of brown sugar to white sugar for optimal flavor and softness…I could go on, but doesn’t it seem like a cookie this simple, this classic, should not be so complicated???
The problems don’t stop there, though.
Once you’ve decided on a certain recipe, there is the method, and it must be done correctly or else your cookies may suck.
Creaming soft (but not too soft) butter and sugar. At a certain speed, for a certain time. Adding 1 (or 2??) eggs, which are at room temperature of course (because everyone thinks that far ahead).
Adding just enough flour and not mixing it too much, otherwise you’ll overdevelop the gluten and your cookies will be too dense. Chilling the dough for an hour, or two hours, or two days, depending on your recipe. Scooping and rolling precise little mounds.
My other major gripe about most chocolate chip cookie recipes is how MANY cookies they make. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need 3-4 dozen cookies from one recipe, and I resent the fact that I have to keep pulling sheets in and out of the oven for 45 minutes.
When you live in a small apartment, there’s only so many places to put cooling cookies. I admit that it’s not a terrible problem to have, but still.
All of this is to say, that one night I was really, really craving cookies (as one does) and really didn’t want to go through the aforementioned rigamarole. I just wanted soft, melty, chewy cookies, NOW.
So I cut my normal recipe in half, threw caution to the wind and melted the butter, stirred everything together with a fork in one bowl, and hoped for the best. And honestly….they weren’t the best I’d ever had, but they weren’t bad. They spread more than I’d have liked, but certainly didn’t suffer in the way I’d assumed they would.
So I started tinkering.
Like the annoying recipe authors I mentioned before, I tinkered with the brown/white sugar ratio, and added flour to make up for the moisture of the melted butter. I increased the salt because it sets off the chocolate sweetness so well.
And after a couple rounds of testing (poor us), I came up with what I consider to be the easiest homemade chocolate chip cookie recipe there is.
Here’s why these are the easiest chocolate chip cookies:
- You use melted butter – no waiting around for butter to soften.
- You stir everything together in one bowl – no mixer necessary.
- Because you’re stirring by hand, you’re very unlikely to over-mix the dough (a common cookie problem).
- NO CHILLING REQUIRED! Hallelujah.
- The recipe makes only 20 cookies! No waiting around for an hour for all your cookies to be done.
I’ve now made it at least 5 times, in a number of temperature and time circumstances, and it hasn’t failed me yet. That’s more than I can say for most cookie recipes I’ve tried, to be honest.
I gave my friend Colleen a plate of them for her birthday, and her text the next day says it all: “These are the BEST DAMN COOKIES I’VE EVER HAD!!!”
I couldn’t agree more.
This has everything to do with how you measure your flour, and how little or how much of it there is. I strongly recommend weighing your flour using a kitchen scale, as that will yield the most consistent results. If you don’t want to, however, you can also use the “spoon and level” method to accurately measure flour. Use a spoon to gently place flour into your cup until you reach the top, then level it off with a knife. Don’t pack it in, don’t shake the cup to settle it, don’t scoop the flour directly from the bag with your cup – this will be too much flour and your cookies will not spread correctly!
First, make sure you added the full 1 and 1/2 cups of flour! The dough should be just a touch softer than standard cookie dough. If you think your dough is much more liquid than that, stir in another 2 or 3 tablespoons of flour, then refrigerate the dough for half an hour before scooping and baking. This should fix the problem! Try not to add too much flour, as you don’t want the cookies to be dry.
I mostly use Bob’s Red Mill’s all-purpose flour, but I also like King Arthur Flour. Note that if you use White Lily or a similar soft, lower protein wheat flour, you will need to add more flour a tablespoon at a time (up to 1/4 cup or 30 grams more) until your dough gets to a cookie dough consistency. This is because lower protein wheat flours (designed for light and fluffy biscuits and cakes) absorb less moisture than higher protein, hard wheat flours. Your cookies will still be delicious but just require a little adjustment!
Yes, but I recommend making two separate batches, rather than doubling the ingredients in one bowl. The reason for this is that if you double the ingredients in one bowl, you’re doubling the volume but not the surface area, which means more heat will be retained by the batter and you’ll have flat, spread-out cookies. For this reason, I recommend making two separate batches, but if you must double everything in one bowl, I would recommend chilling the dough for at least an hour before scooping.
The Easiest Chocolate Chip Cookies
- ½ cup unsalted butter (113g; 1 stick)
- ½ cup brown sugar, packed (100g)
- ¼ cup granulated (white) sugar (50g)
- 1 large egg (cold or room temperature, both are fine)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (188g – see notes below on how to measure flour correctly without a scale)
- ½ cup chocolate chips (85g; more if desired)
- Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large microwave-safe bowl (or a small saucepan on the stove), heat the butter until just melted. Whisk in the two sugars until thoroughly combined (I like to use a fork as my whisk). Let the mixture cool for a minute, then whisk in the egg and vanilla extract until smooth.
- Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over top of the mixture and stir in, then add the flour and stir it in until fully combined and a smooth dough is formed. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons (if you have it, a #40 tablespoon cookie scoop is perfect for this) onto cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart. The dough should make approximately 20 cookies worth.
- If desired, sprinkle additional coarse sea salt over top of the cookies (you can also do this after they’re baked). Bake for 9-10 minutes. NOTE: the cookies will look underdone, but they’ll firm up as they sit.
- Let cookies cool on sheet for at least 5 minutes, then cool completely on a rack. Store, tightly covered, at room temperature for up to 5 days.