Cook’s Illustrated Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have long been using Cook’s Illustrated Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe as my go-to for over four years, so when I saw that CI developed a new recipe that they considered “perfect,” I had no choice but to give it a shot. While the recipes are similar, there are a few very distinct differences. For one, the butter is not just melted, but is browned. That, along with the inclusion of dark brown sugar (instead of the typical light brown sugar), gives the cookies a clear toffee flavor. If you love that deep, sweet flavor that’s reminiscent of butterscotch, then these should be right up your alley! Of the two, I still prefer the Thick & Chewy version that I’ve loved for so long! That being said, I’m a firm believer that there’s no such thing as a bad chocolate chip cookie!

Cook's Illustrated Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: About 16 cookies

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 28 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes


1¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8¾ ounces)
½ teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons (7 ounces) unsalted butter, divided
¾ cup (5¼ ounces) dark brown sugar
½ cup (3½ ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1¼ cups semisweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 large (18x12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside.

3. Heat 10 tablespoons of the butter in a 10-inch stainless steel or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling the pan constantly until the butter is dark golden brown and has a nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and transfer the browned butter to a large heatproof bowl. Stir the remaining 4 tablespoons butter into the hot browned butter until completely melted. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.

4. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to the bowl with the butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add the egg and egg yolk and whisk until the mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let the mixture stand for 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat the process of resting and whisking 2 more times until the mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in the chocolate chips and give the dough a final stir to ensure there are no hidden flour pockets.

5. Scoop the dough into 16 even portions, each about 3 tablespoons, and arrange them 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet.

6. Bake the cookies 1 tray at a time until the cookies are golden brown but still puffy, and the edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer the baking sheet to wire rack and allow cookies to cool completely before serving. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

(Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated)


37 Responses to “Cook’s Illustrated Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies”

  1. Averie @ Averie Cooks on October 16, 2012 at 2:08 am

    Ive wanted to make the original CI recipe, but use browned butter, rather than just melting it. I do like that this new recipe makes a slightly smaller batch size it seems like (I dont always want a full batch of the classic CI but with that egg + yolk situation, it’s pretty much impossible to divide) whereas this recipe just starts out with less sugar, less flour, etc. Great comparison, Michelle. I LOVE THESE cookie comparison posts!


  2. Debra on October 16, 2012 at 2:33 am

    hhhmmm…These look too thin and also dry. 🙁


  3. Paula on October 16, 2012 at 8:00 am

    I’ve made this recipe many times and they’ve NEVER been thin or dry! Always chewy and YUMMY!!!


  4. Yvonne on October 16, 2012 at 8:55 am

    This is my
    Go to chocolate chip cookie recipe. I always use dark brown sugar, tons of milk chocolate chunks and roasted walnuts. NEVER thin or dry.


  5. Carolette on October 16, 2012 at 9:35 am

    I’ve made these ones over and over. I love the flavor but I do wish they were just a bit thicker.


  6. Joy on October 26, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    I have made this recipe almost 20 times. It is my favorite recipe. No offense, Iove your blog–but, I don’t think you made the recipe correct. They are not that thin and pale. They are golden brown (from all of the dark brown sugar and browned butter), slighty crispy and chewy on the outside and deliciously gooey on the inside. I suggest those who are interested try it, but take your time measuring the ingredients and brown the butter correctly. Thanks 🙂


    • Michelle on October 30th, 2012 at 12:58 pm

      Hi Joy, I’ve actually made this recipe at least 5 times, weighing the ingredients each time, using an oven thermometer, browning the butter correctly, and making no changes whatsoever to the recipe as written, and they have turned out the exact same way each and every time.


      • Joy on December 31st, 2013 at 1:01 pm

        Hey! You know what? Cooks IIllustrated recipes dont advise the readers to weigh the flour, but to simply use the scoop & swipe method. I really believe not enough flour was used if the turned out so thin. Also, it’s important to follow the recip exactly, like no cooling of the butter. This assists with the carmelization process. When done right, this recipe produces a thich, chewy, yet crispy edged cookie.


  7. Joy on October 26, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Also, adding chopped, toasted pecans in the dough and lightly sprinkling fleur de sel on the tops before baking makes these cookies PERFECTION!


  8. Morgan on November 7, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    I picked this recipe out of your cookie testing, because I like a more chewy crispy choc. chip cookie. I was hesitant because I am so used the old toll house recipe that my mom always made. I am so glad I gave them a try! They have slightly crispy edges with chewy centers. My kids love them too! They certainly not dry, but not cake like either. Just perfect for milk and cookies after school! Thanks!


  9. Lesley on December 8, 2012 at 6:54 am

    I just made these and I’m so disappointed! They’re not chewy at all. Not even a little bit. I can hardly taste the browned butter, and they’re so flat. They’re not bad, but the Jacques Torres recipe is infinitely better. The CI ones taste like any standard mediocre chocolate chip cookie a home baker would make. What a bummer.


  10. Davina on December 12, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    yum! Just tried these and they were perfect. Great crispy-chewy balance and caramelly flavor from the browned butter. I halved the recipe by omitting half the white from one egg (ok, I eyeballed it, but if you want you can separate the egg, measure the white, and split it in half.). I also made 12 cookies rather than 8 from my half-batch but they were still quite generously sized.


  11. Lindsey on December 27, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    Just made these today and they are really good! The only change I made was to add some heath chocolate covered toffee bits in addition to the chocolate chips, simply because I had a few left over. YUM! I would make these again for sure.


  12. Elizabeth on January 12, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    I’ve never really made chocolate chip cookies due to being disappointed at almost every recipe I’ve tried in the past. This was a great choice to start making them again! The cookies I made came out exactly like the recipe had mentioned…golden brown in color, slightly puffy center, crispy on the edges and outside of the cookies, and soft on the inside. Perfect! I really do love this simple recipe. Thanks for sharing! 🙂


  13. Ashley on January 21, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    I made these tonight and they turned out very flat. I haven’t eaten them yet but thy spead out immediately and are flat as pancakes. I didn’t use parchment paper but used bakers joy instead. Our oven also makes parchment paper burn and smoke th house up…. Anyway..any tips? I’m in on a mission to my a gret cookie but thy always go flat! Help!!


    • Ashley on January 21st, 2013 at 11:48 pm

      Sorry for typos- using my phone and didn’t proofread


    • Michelle on January 22nd, 2013 at 10:11 am

      Hi Ashley, Mine have turned out pretty thin, as well. I would recommend making sure that the melted butter has been cooled to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe; I think that would help a bit.


      • The Kitchen Kook on January 27th, 2013 at 10:50 pm

        I just made this recipe (and LOVE the toffee notes). I didn’t have any spread, but I think that it may help you if you chill the dough before baking? I don’t think it could hurt to try! I’ve heard that chilling the dough gives you better consistency and lets the flavors meld and caramelize together even more. You should try it!

        And Michelle, I loved these cookies so I definitely want to try the Thick and Chewy and compare!


  14. Elizabeth on February 9, 2013 at 2:07 am

    I’ve made these cookies about 3-4 times already. The first 3 times I actually missed the step of cooling the butter to room temperature, shaped the cookie balls by hand, baked the cookies on parchment paper and they turned out more puffy. Recently, I cooled the butter to room temperature, used a large cookie scooper, baked them on silicone baking mats and they came out more flat. I wonder why that is? Still delicious though 🙂


  15. Megan on March 6, 2013 at 2:38 am

    Hi there!

    Making these cookies as we speak.
    🙂 Love to try a new recipe ever time I bake cookies just to change things up. My only problem at the moment is that I made a batch of dough and tried it. (Who can resist cookie dough right?) And it was far to salty! I had to use a half teaspoon for it cause I couldn’t find a normal one. Did anyone else have this problem? I am making a second batch but without salt at the moment in order to counter it. (Cant have to many cookies :P)

    Also If you find that the cookies come out to flat make sure you rest the dough before you bake. Sometimes they need time or they will just bake flat and crispy. Learned that the hard way many times from being impatient and wanting cookies as soon as possible lol. Thanks for the recipe though!


  16. Megan on March 6, 2013 at 3:14 am

    Wow Made the second batch mixed together and let rest. Baked them and still so salty they are inedible! So disappointed. Any tips from anyone that can help if I want to try again?


  17. Elizabeth on April 15, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Did you use unsalted butter?


    • Michelle on April 15th, 2013 at 11:18 pm

      Yes, the recipe states unsalted butter.


  18. Carla on May 20, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    I have been making these cookies for over 3 years. I will not make any other chocolate chip cookie than these. When I make these, I double the recipe to use one bag of chips. I only use Ghiradelli chocolate (the better the chocolate, the better the taste, IMO). I brown my butter (I don’t use unsalted) until it is almost burnt. I whip my butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla, then use my beater bar for the rest. I doctored up my recipe; up the flour to 2 cups and up the baking soda to 1tsp. I have wonderfully fluffy, raised, perfectly browned, perfectly crisp, perfectly chewy cookies. I use whatever nuts I have in my cupboard. I hope this helps for all of you that are having problems with flat cookies. Eating some as we “speak” and they are delicious!!!


    • Carla on May 20th, 2013 at 5:21 pm

      I also don’t make my cookies as large as suggested. Mine are smaller and I cook them at 375* for 12 minutes.


    • Isa on August 11th, 2016 at 12:40 am

      Hi Carla, just double checking, did you say you don’t use unsalted butter? If so, is this giving your cookies a better flavor? Please advice.



  19. Cam on November 8, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Seriously, I’ve just tried to make these cookies. They are incredible, the recipe is absolutely perfect!!! Well, I had to do some “adaptations” for making them -since I’m Italian and the American units are not so easy to understand for me-, but -particulary for your directions- really, thank you! I love them.


  20. Detroit Baker on December 13, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Just recently discovered your blog – and love it! I’ve made this recipe over a dozen times and the original recipe doesn’t say to cool. This is to allow the sugars to actually melt with the butter, giving it the rich caramel taste. Maybe that’s why some are coming out flat?


  21. Lisette on March 22, 2014 at 2:55 am

    I make these browned butter cookies all the time. The secret to keeping them from going flat is to refrigerate them. I do overnight and up to 24 hours. In fact I chill all of my cc cookie recipes. There is something about that step that gives cookies body. I am going to try your pudding mix cc cookies though too! They look beautiful!


  22. santiago on April 5, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    Shame on you all! I have made these cookies often. 1) If you follow the Cook’s Illustrated recipe exactly you will have perfect chocolate chip cookies every time. But you have to follow their recipe. 2) This is not the exactly the Cook’s Illustrated recipe. Go to their website and watch the video before you make these cookies. A subtle change such as not using Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips but using another chip or chucks can significantly alter taste and texture. They discuss this in the video. If you want to make twice as much, don’t double the recipe just make two batches. There are reasons they are so explicit in what they do as they explain in the video. So any problem with this “close enough” recipe is because it is just close enough. BTW I am not trying to sell a brand of chocolate, just passing along my experience.


    • Joy on August 21st, 2014 at 1:17 am

      Thank you!! I’ve used this recipe for years and have perfect cookies EVERY time. I’ve used Nestle chips/chunks to premium Belgian chocolate discs, and the overall flavor & texture of the dough still shines. My favorite CC recipe.


  23. Katie on April 7, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    Does anyone have the original CI recipe they would be willing to share, I have heard of it but never tried it.



  24. Kimberley O. on May 23, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Wow…. Best cookies ever!


  25. Elizabeth on August 11, 2014 at 10:46 am

    I’ve never had a problem with Michele’s version and my cookies do not come out flat like in the Toll House original, however I do double the vanilla and scoop/scrape my flour instead of weighing it. I ALWAYS double this this recipe when I make it and use two bags of chips (with 11oz bags, I’m not dithering over 2oz of chocolate chips). No problems with any of these changes. I’d perhaps check freshness of your baking soda, if the cookies are “too flat.” You may also want to check the temp of your oven with a gauge to see if it is actually reading 375. These cookies need the higher temp (many cookie recipes call for 350) to get that kick off. If your oven temp is off, that might be why.
    By the way, access to the original CI Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe is available to subscribers. You may find it online, but any posting of it probably violates their copyright. I always appreciate how Michele states clearly where her recipes come from and that they’re adapted.


  26. Kerry on June 28, 2015 at 10:24 pm


    Note that 1 3/4 c flour is not equivalent to 8 3/4 oz flour. I weighed the flour at 8 3/4 oz and cookies were not good. Went back to the drawing board and confirmed that 1 3/4 c weighs about 7.4 oz.


  27. Leslie Engle on January 28, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    I’ve used this recipe over 400 times. Yes, I bake A LOT
    I learned by trial and error.
    It’s still the best recipe but I do tweak it.


  28. Paula B. on April 20, 2016 at 7:26 am

    I was searching for a chocolate cookie recipe that I hadn’t tried yet, but one that came highly recommended. I came here and was intrigued by all the varying results. So. off to baking I went. I didn’t think I would really do the process of mixing and resting several times although once I had taken all the time to follow the butter browning steps I forged on. The only thing I really did not do was cool the melted butter to room temp, there did seem to be some debate about that. And, I was getting anxious for a cookie. Mine look like the ones that BEB has pictured, definitely not puffy. However, the texture was very chewy and the depth of flavor, very noticeable. I really liked these. I will say the parchment paper was so greasy that I could not use it for another batch. I am going to refrigerate the rets of the dough and see what the difference might be in the look of the cookie. Certainly going to keep this recipe on hand, it is a new winner for me. (I did like that I could do this all by hand and didn’t have to use the Kitchen Aid at six in the a.m. when the cookie craving hit me!)


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