How to Bake Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Here are all of my best tips and tricks for baking your best batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies!

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What takes ordinary chocolate chip cookies from good to WOW?

Just a few extra minutes and a couple of secret tricks can make all the difference! I’ve had years of practice (and I’ve baked thousands of cookies) and I’m so excited to share my favorite cookie tips with you.

Keep reading to see how I make the best, no-fail, most perfect homemade chocolate chip cookies.

How to Bake Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Step 1: Pick a good recipe and follow it

For best results— and fewer surprises— stick to the recipe as written. Most of my cookie blunders happen when I try to play around with ingredients and ratios. I’ll admit that a few of my favorite cookie creations were the result of experimenting, so I’m definitely not discouraging that altogether. But if you’re in charge of cookies for a potluck, or are hoping to impress others with your baking prowess, it’s probably best to save the experimenting for another day.

I highly recommend my tried-and-true brown butter chocolate chip cookies, shown in this post. They’re my favorite go-to for all occasions.

start with room temperature butter

Step 2: Start with Butter at the Right Temperature

The softness of your butter when you start mixing will make or break your cookies. If the butter is too soft or at all shiny and greasy looking, the dough will be too soft and you’ll end up with cookies that spread too much. 

Butter should be soft enough that it will leave an indent when gently pressed, but not so soft that your finger is able to press all the way through the butter.

I let my butter sit on my kitchen counter 30-60 minutes before I’m ready to bake, but here are 4 ways to quickly bring butter to room temperature if you’re short on time.

Ranch house cookie dough

Step 3. Measure Flour Correctly

When a friend or reader asks for help troubleshooting a cookie recipe I always ask 2 things– how soft was the butter when they started, and how they measure flour. Too much flour can result in a thick, crumbly, and dry cookie.

How you measure flour can make a huge difference on how much flour actually ends up in your dough. Flour compacts over time and if you just dip your measuring cup in the flour and level it off, you’re likely getting a tablespoon or 2 extra with each cup, which adds up in a recipe.

To measure flour correctly:

  1. Fluff flour in bag or container slightly so it’s not so compact.
  2. Use a spoon to scoop flour into your measuring cup, scooping flour into the cup until it’s overflowing.
  3. Use a knife or flat surface to scrape off the excess flour.

For even more help and information, see my full post on how to measure flour correctly.

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Step 3: Chill Dough if Needed

Some cookie recipes require chilling, so follow your recipe’s instructions. Most of my cookie recipes don’t recommend chilling because I’m just too impatient.

However, you can always chill dough or portioned rounds in the fridge for 30-60 minutes for cookies that are a little taller and thicker. Chilling is also a great option if you don’t want to bake all the cookies right away! Cookie dough can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.

Rolling the balls of dough before baking will encourage the cookies to keep a round shape. I never miss this step!

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Step 4: Take a Few Minutes to Make the Cookies Pretty

They say we eat with our eyes first, and we all want cookies that look as great as they taste. Follow these quick tips to make cookies look their best:

  1. Portion with a cookie scoop so they’re uniform in size and will bake evenly.
  2. Roll portions into rounds.
  3. Save some chocolate chips (and/or other mixins) to add to the top of the rounds before baking.
  4. Right when cookies come out of the oven, use a spatula to reshape them back into rounds. You can only do this while they’re hot and malleable. 

Watch How to Bake Beautiful Cookies

How to bake perfectly pretty cookies on completelydelicious.com

And that’s it! Picture-perfect, delicious cookies every time. I hope this tutorial has been helpful. Happy baking!

My favorite cookie baking tools