Picture your perfect cookie.
What does it feel like?
What does it taste like?
If you’re picturing a chewy, wonderfully dense, melt-in-your-mouth cookie with a bit of crispness on the outside and fantastic chewiness on the inside, then this guide is for you.
We’re going to teach you how to make the perfect chewy cookies every time so that you’ll always know how to adjust your cookie recipe to turn out decadent, rich, and chewy!
There are other types of cookies, too.
Some people just adore cakey cookies that have a moist and light texture, while others are obsessed with soft cookies that don’t have much crispness to them.
But chewy cookies, the kind that you really get to sink your teeth into and sort of melt-in-your-mouth, are some of our favorites.
You can make most “drop” cookies chewy (drop cookies are things like chocolate chip cookies and regular sugar cookies), but you can also add a bit of chewiness to things like cut-out cookies by using some of the tricks below.
Keep reading to learn how to make chewy cookies every single time.
Some of the tips require a little extra effort and different ingredients, but some require absolute no change to the recipe and simple changes to how you bake and handle the cookies.
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1. Replace Some Sugar with Molasses
There are a few ingredients that you can substitute for some of the regular sugar to help you get that wonderfully chewy texture.
One of the first options is molasses!
Molasses is a thick syrup often used in baking, and is a byproduct of the sugar making process.
It has a really dense sweetness to it that creates for great flavor, and it helps keep some of the moisture in your cookie.
Swap out one tablespoon of sugar for one tablespoon of molasses and enjoy the slight extra chewiness to your cookies.
Must-Have Baking Tools (seriously)
- Silicone baking mats – I use this brand and my cookies slide right off without burning!
- a cookie scoop – get this one. It makes the perfect rounded cookies every time!
- silicone spatula – try this set. It’s the best way to get the most out of your dough and batters
- rolling pin guides – I use this one. Genius way to roll your dough out evenly!
2. Replace Some Sugar with Maple Syrup or Golden Syrup
If you don’t have molasses on hand, but do have maple syrup (or another kind of syrup used in baking, golden syrup), these also work are a great way to get a chewier cookie.
They have less intense flavors than molasses, but are a type of sugar syrup that can keep the sweetness of the cookie while adding that extra chewiness.
If you think about how sticky syrup is when not in baked form, you may start to understand how this could help you create a chewier texture than simple using white sugar alone.
It holds in moisture and introduces a dense moisture to your cookie that helps make it chewy.
3. Replace Some Sugar with Honey
Another ingredient that you probably already have around the house is honey!
Use this as a substitute for about a tablespoon of white sugar and you’ll end up with really chewy and freshly sweet cookies.
This is an easier swap, sometimes, than molasses or golden syrup because it is a more common ingredient to have around the house.
It’s not quite as strong in flavor or chewy-potential as the others, but is definitely one to try.
4. Use Brown Sugar instead of Regular Sugar
Tons of people don’t know about a basic swap you can make in any recipe to make your cookie chewier without changing anything else.
Swap all of the regular, white sugar for brown sugar and boom – a denser, chewier, more delicious cookie.
It will also be darker in color, in case that matters to you, but there are so many recipes that this really adds another level of decadence too.
I even swap out brown sugar for white sugar in muffin recipes to get a richer taste, and in cookies its no difference.
In fact, everyone’s favorite cookie, the chocolate chip cookie, is usually made with brown sugar, which is why it’s no surprise that many people often think of chocolate chip cookies first when they think of chewy cookies!
If you want to take baby steps, swap out half of the white sugar for brown sugar instead of swapping the entire white sugar out.
5. Use Half Bread Flour instead of All-Purpose Flour
If you’re interested in learning more about bread flour in cookies, check out our guide on how to use bread flour in cookies here.
The gist of it is that bread flour will help more gluten develop in your cookies, and this means that they turn out much chewier than a normal cookie with all-purpose flour.
Using only bread flour can be quite a lot though, and you may introduce too much gluten that leads to a tough cookie, so the best thing to do is to swap out half of the all-purpose flour for bread flour and not all of it.
You’ll pretty much get the chewiness you want while still making sure that your cookie has that classic cookie texture and isn’t too hard.
6. Add an Extra Egg Yolk
No matter how many eggs your recipe contains, always add an extra egg yolk to the recipe for chewier cookies?
The fat in an egg yolk is going to help your dough become more tender, which ultimately makes for a chewier cookie.
It also adds in another layer of rich flavor, which is always a win, and you’ll get that extra bit of moisture in as well which can help you have a chewier, rather than completely soft cookie.
Make sure you only add the egg yolk, though, not an entire extra egg (this will make your cookies cakier, not chewier!)
7. Use Browned Butter
Browned butter famously gives you flatter, denser, and chewier cookies, and choosing browned butter over just plain melted butter will take that chewiness up another notch.
Browned butter is butter that has been cooked gently in a pan on the stove, which brings out a nutty and rich flavor.
There are no other ingredients to make browned butter, just the heating process!
When you add browned butter to a recipe instead of plain butter, you’ll get cookies that have more of a toffee texture, which ends up being super chewy and delicious.
Just use the same amount of browned butter as you would the regular butter that the recipe asks for and enjoy the taste bud adventure!
8. Press Your Cookies Down as Soon as They Come Out of the Oven
Once you’ve taken the cookies out of the oven, immediately take a fork and press down the tops to form them into flatter, disc shaped cookies.
This is going to compact that dough together and take out a bit of the puff, which is going to lead to a denser and chewier cookie.
This is one of the easiest ways to make your cookies chewier without changing the recipe.
9. Bang the Tray on the Kitchen Counter Right after Baking
Right after you take the tray out of the oven, make sure you have a heat proof area on your kitchen counter and then bang the tray (or drop it) down a few times.
This is a tried-and-tested baking hack that many people finds leads to chewier cookies.
Banging the freshly baked cookies down jars the dough into flattening out a bit, naturally, based on the force, and you’re left with chewier cookies to enjoy.
10. Melt Your Butter
Most recipes do not call for melted butter when it comes to baking, because many recipes are trying to create a puffed up, soft cookie and room temperature butter helps achieve that type of cookie structure as it’s slower to melt in the oven.
In order to go for a chewier texture, though, you may want to premelt your butter before adding it to the dough.
Ultimately, this is going to lead to a flatter cookie, but what you should like about that as a chewy-cookie connoisseur is that flat cookies are naturally more dense.
A denser cookie leads to a chewier cookie, which is what you’re aiming for.
You can also add in half melted butter and half room temperature. Test it out!
11. Add in Oats
A secret extra-ingredient hack for chewier cookies is to add in oats!
No, I’m not talking about making oat cookies, exactly, but using oats as a thickening agent and as a way to deliver that chewiness.
For example, in this chocolate chunk cookie recipe, there is about a cup of oats added to the dough.
When it’s mixed together and baked up, you don’t taste the oats at all, but are benefiting from their chewy texture.
Try adding 1/4 cup of dry oats (steel cut or rolled, not instant) to your next cookie recipe and enjoy!