Stay Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies
Thick, pillowy Chocolate Chip Cookies with pudding mix are stuffed full of chocolate chips and stay incredibly soft for days – if they last that long! Perfect for a quick treat, making ahead, or shipping off to a loved one. No dough chilling required!
Is any food item as universally-appreciated as a thick, chewy chocolate chip cookie? If so, I have yet to come across it. Just the smell of these wafting from the oven is enough to make you feel cozy and cared for. There’s a reason realtors often put plates of cookies out during an open house: it helps make the house feel like home.
Thousands of chocolate chip cookie recipes are percolating out there, most of them very similar to one another. This one just happens to be our family forever favorite.
Why? This recipe for super soft cookies is faster and easier to make than my runner-up favorite thick and chewy chocolate chip cookies. But even more importantly, the soft cookies have more staying power. They will remain as tender as the moment you pulled them out of the oven even after several days.
If you try not to eat all the cookies in one sitting, like me, this is a good thing, indeed.
Why You’ll Love Them
To recap, these cookies are:
- Incredibly soft and pillowy.
- Intensely flavored with the richness of butter and warmth of vanilla.
- Made in ONE bowl.
- Made with NO DOUGH CHILLING required.
The Secret Ingredient
So what makes this magic? A simple box of vanilla instant pudding mix.
If it seems odd, I promise that after you try it, you’ll be hooked!
Why does pudding mix make amazing cookies? Cornstarch! Cornstarch is a key ingredient in instant pudding mix, and not only does it help keep the cookies perfectly soft, its binding properties help prevent the cookies from spreading as they bake. The result? You do NOT need to chill this dough to get perfect results.
Just be sure to purchase instant pudding mix. You’ll need one small (3.4 ounce) box per batch of cookies.
How To Make Perfectly Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Cream together butter and sugars. A blend of white and brown sugar produces the best result. An electric mixer is helpful but not necessary–you can cream butter and sugar with a spatula and some elbow grease, too.
- Add the packet of vanilla pudding powder and mix well to incorporate.
- Add eggs and vanilla. Beat well. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl at this point, to ensure even mixing.
- Sprinkle dry ingredients–flour, baking soda, and salt–over the mixture and blend just until it forms an even dough. Don’t over mix at this point.
- Pour in chocolate chips and stir by hand.
I like to use a lot of chocolate chips – a full 12 ounce bag in each batch. Too much chocolate is not a thing. You can also use a mix of chocolate chips and chunks.
Room Temperature Butter
For best results, you want to be sure you’re using room temperature butter. It’s impossible to cream butter together with sugar if the butter is cold or at all melted, and the unique texture of creamed sugar and butter is the base of this chocolate chip cookie recipe.
Room temperature butter will have some give but is not overly soft. You should be able to press a finger or thumb into it and leave an indent, as shown below, but it shouldn’t melt or be greasy at all.
Need to get butter to room temperature quickly? This bowl of water tip from Bigger Bolder Baking works perfectly!
More Tips & Tricks
- Use a cookie scoop for ease and perfectly portioned cookies.
- Press a few chocolate chips into the top of each dough ball either before baking or right after they cookies come out of the oven. It looks pretty and adds more chocolate!
- Don’t over bake! Take care to remove the cookies from the oven just when the base looks a bit golden. The dough on the top center will still look very soft — they’ll firm up to the perfect texture as the cookies cool down.
How To Freeze Cookie Dough
These soft chocolate chip cookies also freeze beautifully as dough balls prior to baking. This means it’s incredibly easy to pull out a few at a time from your freezer and produce fresh, warm chocolate chip cookies from the oven on demand!
Simply make the chocolate chip cookie dough as directed, scoop mounds onto a parchment-lined baking sheet or plate, and place in the freezer, uncovered, for about an hour. This first step flash freezes the dough balls so they don’t stick together and are easy to separate when you want to bake them later.
After an hour, you can combine the frozen cookie dough balls in an airtight container or zip-top plastic bag and transfer to the freezer. They will keep well for at least 3 months.
When ready to bake, place cookies directly from the freezer onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake as directed, adding just 1-2 minutes to the baking time.
More Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, absolutely! While semi-sweet chocolate chips are most commonly used in chocolate chip cookies, other types work, as well. Milk chocolate chips have a relatively low cocoa content and will yield a very, very sweet cookie. Bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks, however, have a higher cocoa content (generally above 70%) and deliver a less sweet cookie with an elevated, intense chocolate profile.
Yes! Feel free to experiment. Standard vanilla pudding mix will impart a classic, unadulterated chocolate chip cookie flavor. Use French vanilla for a little extra sweetness, chocolate pudding for, well, more chocolate, etc.!
These cookies are so quick and easy to make, they’re a perfect go-to when you need a last-minute treat. At the same time, because they keep so well, they’re also ideal for making a little bit ahead of time, or for packaging up for a trip or sending in a sweet little care package.
More Chocolate Cookie Recipes
- Sea Salt Pistachio Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Salted Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies
- Peanut Butter Blossoms
- Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
- Chocolate-Dipped Almond Biscotti
- Toffee Butterscotch Brownie Cookies
- Chocolate Chip Mini M&M Cookies
If you try these Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies, 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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Stay Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1 cup (2 sticks, 227 grams) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3/4 cup (160 grams) brown sugar light or dark, tightly packed
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 and 1/4 cups (270 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon flaked sea salt
- 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Prepare baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats, if desired, and set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, or mixing by hand with a rubber spatula, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until well-blended. Beat in the instant pudding mix, followed by eggs and vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat until mixture is mostly even.
- Sprinkle the flour, baking soda, and salt over the dough, then mix just until they are incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips by hand.
- Drop spoonfuls of dough onto baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the tops are lightly golden. Allow cookies to cool for 5-10 minutes on the baking sheets, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Cookies will keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for at least 3-4 days.
- These cookies freeze extremely well as dough balls for future baking. Just shape into balls, place on a baking sheet with a little space in between them, and pop into the freezer for about 30 minutes. That will flash freeze the dough balls, after which you can pile them together in a freezer-safe bag or container without them sticking together. Bake straight from the freezer as needed. Just add 1-2 minutes to the baking time!
- Adapted from this classic on allrecipes.com.
This post was originally published August 2, 2017, and has been updated with new photos and more helpful recipe tips and tricks.
82 Comments on “Stay Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies”
Was looking for a stay soft cookie to send off with my son to college – so he could have a homemade treat to enjoy during the week. These brought RAVE reviews from the whole family! They *can* last for days, but they usually don’t! Looking forward to trying different flavors to add a variety. They also freeze very well! You can not tell a difference when frozen.
I have been on an endless search for the PERFECT chocolate chip cookie recipe for YEARS! This is THE BEST by FAR! I will use it from now on and PASS IT DOWN through the family recipes book!!!!
So happy to hear that, Nadine! Thank you for leaving this review!
I’ve made alot of chocolate chip cookies but this one is the best!
My friends and neighbors beg me to make these. Hands down the best chocolate chip recipe I’ve ever made. Do you have an amazing peanut butter cookie recipe?
Awesome cookies these will be my go to from now on…love them
Can I make these cookies 8 or 9 days in advance and store them in the fridge until I need them? I am looking to make them ahead of time for an event while giving myself time for other tasks in the week leading up to the event. Thanks!
Hi Kathy! I would personally make the dough, shape into balls, and then bake from frozen for 1 or 2 days prior to the event. That way, you could make the dough even further ahead of time — a month or more! – and still have perfectly fresh cookies for the event with minimal effort.
My understanding is that American pudding is the UK’s custard. So can I ask. Is the pudding mix you add as a powder or as the pudding?
This recipe is absolutely fabulous. I’ve never had such chewy cookies! I think the addition to chocolate chips on top was a perfect idea !
I’m so glad you enjoyed them, Josie! Thanks for leaving this helpful review and rating!
Do you chill the dough?
Nope, no need!
Made these for the family cookie swap that was virtual this year so I needed something to survive what might have been lengthy mail delays. They arrived in DELICIOUS shape and I’ve been getting all sorts of compliments. So. Bumping this cause everybody needs more cookies in their lives these days. Love you! ❤
Made this recipe tonight, my cookies came out completely flat. I followed all the directions. Not sure what I did wrong 🙁
Sorry to hear that, Jess! Was the butter melted before starting, or perhaps there wasn’t quite enough flour? Happy to help troubleshoot!
May be my new fav choco chip recipe! Very easy to make, I used my stand mixer except to fold in the chips. I also used my cookie scoop and the cookies turned out smaller than the pics, but they’re yummy. Husband approved, too! The cooking time for my oven was 13 mins. I know I’ll make these again!
I can hardly wait to try these!! They look fabulous and I’ve been looking for a Big Soft chocolate chip cookie recipe for a long time. I’m going shopping tomorrow for the secret ingredient. Pudding! I’ll let you know how they turn out 😁👍🏻
These are the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever made, and in 40 years I have tried lots of recipes. I think its the pudding mix.
My cookies just cooled and my boyfriend already scarfed down 3. These came out absolutely delicious! I did follow tips from the other reviews and increased the measurements to 1 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup white sugar. My cookies took about 14 minutes to fully cook and they came out perfect. Thank you so much for the recipe!
Thank you for leaving this wonderful review! So happy the cookies were a big hit for you!
Love the recipe but like to know what size cookie scoop you use?. After reading receipe and comments I adjusted sugar to one cup brown 1/2 cup white and doubled receipe using chocolate chips and pea butter chips. I used a 1 and 1/2 inch scoop and made 7 dozen cookies.
Hi Sheila! I usually use a medium cookie scoop (size 40, 1.5″ diameter). Your adjustments sound absolutely delicious. I will have to try this sometime with the peanut butter chips – my son would love that!
I was soooo excited to try these especially after reading all the great comments! Unfortunately when I made them they weren’t sweet and there was hardly any flavor. Others who tried them said how good they were, but to me they were bland. I wanna reattempt these with 1/4 more sugar and 1/2 tsp of salt. I’m hoping by doing that it’ll sweeten it up and bring out some flavor.
Hi Danielle, I’m sorry these didn’t turn out to your liking! I hope those additions make them more to your taste!
Do I HAVE to add the pudding mix? Would it make a huge difference if I don’t add them?
I have never left a comment on a blog but always use them to judge if I will use the recipes. The reviews were all SO right. These were incredible. All of my friends left with a goodie bag of extra cookies. Thank you for the recipe!
That’s so wonderful, Jamie, thank you for the kind words and taking the time to leave a comment! I also use them to judge whether I’ll use a recipe so know how much it helps from a reader’s perspective. 🙂 I’m so glad you and your friends loved the cookies. Have a good day!
OMFG! Yes the cussing is necessary, these are absolutely to die for chocolate chip cookies. They stayed chewy for 2 days left out on the counter simply covered with Saran wrap. Plus the entire house smelled of vanilla and chocolate for hours after baking them.
Haha – I hear and am with you 100%! Thank you so much, Trish. Your nice comment made my day. 🙂
Awesome recipe! I doubled the recipe and still they were all gone the very next day! They were a huge hit! I used French vanilla and regular vanilla pudding mix because the store only had one pack of regular. Wasn’t disappointed with the flavor though! I also included some butterscotch chips (about 4 oz) in with the chocolate chips! I’d highly recommend this recipe to any one! The cookies stay soft and won’t disappoint!
I love this cookie
OMG – these cookies!! So I made them first as written and yet were amazing. I have since made them in different ways and they are great those ways too. I changed up the pudding and chips and they work out really well. I’ve done chocolate pudding with semisweet chips (also added cocoa powder and chocolate pieces) and butterscotch pudding and chips (used dark brown sugar). Very impressive cookies!! Thanks for sharing!
Marcy, I am loving the sound of those adaptations, especially with the butterscotch- that’s right up my alley! I’m so glad you love these cookies and am grateful you took the time to let me know- it makes my day!
Love these cookies. Can they be made into pan cookies?
Hi Avis! I haven’t tested personally, but I suspect you could make them as pan cookies, and just perhaps start testing for doneness around the 20 minute mark. Do you think you will try it? I would absolutely love to hear how they turn out, and I’m sure other readers would, as well!