Chocolate crinkle cookies are a Christmas tradition and favorite for chocolate lovers everywhere, with fudgy centers, crackly tops, and a beautiful coating of powdered sugar. My tip? Add a simple secret ingredient to make your chocolate crinkles stand out from the rest!

Small white plate filled with chocolate crinkle cookies.

These rich, brownie-like chocolate crinkles have been one of my favorite holiday cookies for years now. Today they’re getting the star treatment here on the blog–dolled up with some pretty new photos and helpful tips!

Why you’ll love chocolate crinkle cookies

  • All the chocolate! Two forms of it add to the richness and depth of flavor.
  • Fabulous texture. Soft, brownie-like centers, ensconced in crackly edges. These cookies melt in your mouth!
  • So beautiful! The dusting of powdered sugar looks like pretty snow fallen over the cookies, and the contrast between the dark cookie and the delicate white powdered sugar is just so lovely.
Close-up of a chocolate crinkle cookie.

The “secret” ingredient

Chocolate crinkle cookies are a holiday classic, and there are countless recipes for them floating around. What makes this one special is a smidge of espresso powder.

Coffee and/or espresso powder is a go-to trick for enhancing the natural flavor chocolate in baked goods, so it’s no surprise how well it works here. I typically add 4 teaspoons (which is equivalent to 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon, if you prefer to measure it that way).

At this rate, you can definitely taste the extra flavor in the cookies, but it’s not at all overpowering. Of course, you can add more, add less, or drop the coffee/espresso powder entirely.

More Christmas treats

Close-up of chocolate crinkles on a plate.

If you try these Chocolate Crinkles, don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. I love hearing how recipes turn out in your kitchen, and it helps other readers, too.

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5 from 1 vote

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

A beloved Christmas tradition. A smidge of espresso powder is the simple secret ingredient that will make yours stand out from the rest!


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups light brown sugar packed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 teaspoons instant espresso or coffee powder optional
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate such as Baker's
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar for rolling
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar for rolling


  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. 
  • Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the brown sugar, eggs, espresso powder, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium-high speed until well-combined, 2-3 minutes.
  • Break the unsweetened chocolate up into pieces and combine with the butter in either a microwave-safe bowl, or a heatproof bowl set over simmering water. If using the microwave, warm chocolate and butter at 50% power in 30 second intervals, stirring in between each; if using the stovetop, stir chocolate and butter frequently while it melts over the simmering water. The chocolate and butter should fully melt into a smooth mixture.
  • Pour the melted chocolate into the mixer bowl and whisk it into the sugar-egg mixture until fully incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the dry ingredients until no streaks of flour remain. Let the dough sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and set a rack in the center of the oven. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
  • Place the granulated and powdered sugars in separate shallow dishes. After the dough has rested, scoop out dough balls of approximately 1 and 1/2 tablespoons each. Dampen your hands slightly to help roll them into smooth balls. (I found it works well to run my hands under the faucet, shake them out quickly, roll about six balls, and repeat.) Roll each ball first in the granulated sugar, then the powdered sugar, and space them evenly on the prepared baking sheets.
  • Bake one sheet at a time for about 12 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through the baking time, until the cookies are puffed up and crackled. Transfer the pans to wire racks and allow the cookies to cool completely on the pans before serving or storing.


  • Storage: Cookies keep well at room temperature for 4-5 days.
  • Recipe: Adapted from Smells Like Home, originally from Cook’s Illustrated, November/December 2014.

Nutrition Estimate

Calories: 154 kcal, Carbohydrates: 27 g, Protein: 2 g, Fat: 5 g, Saturated Fat: 3 g, Cholesterol: 26 mg, Sodium: 68 mg, Potassium: 148 mg, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 20 g, Vitamin A: 91 IU, Calcium: 33 mg, Iron: 2 mg
Did you make this recipe?Leave a review below, then snap a quick picture and tag @nourishandfete on Instagram so I can see it!

I originally published this post on December 22, 2016, and have updated it since then with new photos and more helpful information.