6 Secrets to Baking Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies (2024)

Updated: Jan. 31, 2024

Looking to make your best batch yet? These sugar cookie tips ensure you get soft, chewy cookies with every bake.

Chewy sugar cookies are proof that the simplest recipes are often the most satisfying. To make these the superstars of your cookie jar, though, you’ll want to check out some sugar cookie tips.

1. Add an Egg Yolk

This is one of those sugar cookie tips you may have heard of before: Add an extra egg yolk to your cookies. While egg whites can add volume and structure to a cookie, the yolks add richness and moisture for a softer, chewier cookie.

Three egg yolks are the secret to these super tender, thick sugar cookies.

2. Use Brown Sugar

While most brown sugar recipes call for granulated sugar, consider scoping out recipes with a touch of brown sugar (or substituting up to half of the sugar in your go-to recipe with brown sugar). Brown sugar is comprised of about 10% molasses which adds moisture to the dough. This extra moisture and molasses’s sticky texture will create chewy, soft cookies.

And if you find your brown sugar has gone hard when you go to measure, follow these tips for softening brown sugar.

3. Chill the Dough

We borrowed one of our sugar cookie tips from our list of chocolate chip cookie tips: Chill the cookie dough before baking.

After stirring up the cookie dough, let it chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes. This will prevent the dough from spreading too much. Instead, you’ll have cookies that keep their shape and stay soft and chewy rather than flat and crispy. If you’re looking for crunch, though, check out our crisp sugar cookie recipe.

4. Add a Secret Ingredient

Sugar cookies often rely on a splash of vanilla extract and good butter for their flavor, but these basics are just the start. Try some secret ingredients like a hint of citrus zest, a splash of almond extract or even a bit of your favorite baking spice to the recipe. Even a pinch adds a special quality that makes your sugar cookie recipe uniquely yours.

5. Keep an Eye on the Clock

Even if a recipe promises the softest, chewiest cookies, you can’t expect those results if you overbake the cookies. Start by baking the cookies for the shortest time recommended. Cookies should be slightly soft and pliable when they come out of the oven. They will firm up a bit as they cool.

Also, check thesesugar cookie tipsfor the best-ever treats.

6. Store Cookies the Right Way

Even the most tender cookies can go rock hard if they’re not stored properly. To keep cookies fresh, stash them in an air-tight container. A specialty cookie container can extend the shelf life of your cookies by several days.

And if you find that your cookies have gone too crunchy despite your best efforts, you can soften cookies with a slice of bread! This is one of our favorite sugar cookie tips (and tips for cookies in general!).

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6 Secrets to Baking Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies (1)

Giant Molasses CookiesMy family always requests these soft molasses cookies. These chewy cookies are also perfect for shipping as holiday gifts or to troops overseas. —Kristine Chayes, Smithtown, New YorkYou'll win hearts—and maybe a ring—with this recipe for Marry Me cookies. It's loaded with two kinds of chocolate!Go to Recipe

Whoopie Pies"These soft, moist little treats have been a favorite of mine for many years," relates Ruth Ann Stelfox of Raymond, Alberta. "They're deliciously different."

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Thick Sugar CookiesThis thick and cakelike sugar cookie is similar to those sold at bakeries. My children often request these for their birthdays and are always happy to help decorate them. —Heather Biedler, Martinsburg, West Virginia

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Honey-Peanut Butter CookiesWhen my husband wants a treat, he requests these chewy peanut butter honey cookies. —Lucile Proctor, Panguitch, Utah

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Big Soft Ginger Cookies Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Big Soft Ginger CookiesThese nicely spiced, big soft ginger cookies are perfect for folks who like the flavor of ginger but don't care for crunchy gingersnaps. —Barbara Gray, Boise, Idaho

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Carrot Cookie BitesThis recipe is a longtime family favorite. The cookies are soft and delicious, and the aroma while baking is absolutely irresistible! I'm always being asked for the recipe. —Jeanie Petrik, Greensburg, Kentucky

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Check out these delicious drop cookie recipes.Also, try making Giada De Laurentiis’ lemon ricotta cookies. And don't forget to take a look at our collection ofthe best cookie recipes.

Ginger S'moresI’ve spent a few years perfecting this recipe to get the cookie soft and full of flavor and to balance the marshmallow and chocolate without overpowering the cookie. I think I finally got it where I want it! —Lynsay Benson, Minnetonka, Minnesota

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip CookiesI'm one of the cooking project leaders for my daughter's 4-H club, where these soft, delicious fall cookies were a great hit with the kids. —Marietta Slater, Augusta, Kansas

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Also check out these different types of chocolate chip cookiesyou’re not baking (yet!)

Soft Honey CookiesThese old-fashioned honey cookies have a subtle honey-cinnamon flavor and a tender texture. This recipe has been a favorite in my family for years and now it can be one at your house, too. —Rochelle Friedman, Brooklyn, New York

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Cinnamon Oatmeal CookiesMy family loves these big old-fashioned cinnamon oatmeal cookies. They’re crisp, yet still chewy in the center, and the cinnamon makes them a little different from typical oatmeal cookies.

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By the way, cookies don't need to be the final product of a recipe to stand out. Check out these creative ways to eat cookies.

Cherry Chocolate Chunk CookiesThese rich, fudgy cookies are chewy and studded with tangy dried cherries. It’s a good thing the recipe makes only a small batch, because we eat them all in one night! —Trisha Kruse, Eagle, Idaho

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Tiramisu CookiesThese tiramisu cookies bring out the delicious flavors of tiramisu, sandwich-style. Pack these treats in a decorative container for an easy edible hostess gift. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Whole Wheat SnickerdoodlesThese soft, chewy cookies make a super snack any time of year. Their light cinnamon-sugar flavor is the perfect complement to a cold glass of milk. —Jana Horsfall, Garden City, Kansas

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While you're at it, check out thesetips on how to use cookie cutters.

Ginger Creme Sandwich CookiesWith a lemony filling, these spiced cookies go over big because they have old-fashioned, comfort-food appeal. Your party guests will snatch them up! - Carol Walston, Granbury, Texas

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Chewy Coconut MacaroonsThese chewy cookies are my husband's favorite, so he requests them often. I like to make the macaroons on cold winter days and keep them in an airtight bowl on the kitchen counter. They never last long! —Peggy Key, Grant, Alabama

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Also, explore Ina Garten’s apple pie bar recipe for a heavenly culinary experience!

Soft Cornmeal Cookies Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Soft Cornmeal CookiesCombining humble ingredients can sometimes result in a delicious treat. Use these versatile cookie as the base for ice cream sandwiches or crumble them over strawberries and ice cream. —Gina Martin, Spooner, Wisconsin

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Soft Tried ‘n’ True Peanut Butter CookiesWhen I want to offer friend and family soft and chewy peanut butter cookies, this is the recipe I turn to. Use either creamy or crunchy peanut butter with delicious results. These are the best soft peanut butter cookies, and my family can't get enough. —Emma Lee Granger, La Pine, Oregon

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Rainbow CookiesI always bake these cookies two weeks ahead. That allows enough time for mellowing, leaving them moist and full of almond flavor. —Mary Ann Lee, Clifton Park, New York

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Carrot Spice Thumbprint Cookies Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Carrot Spice Thumbprint CookiesCarrot cake is a family favorite, and these delicious cookies with shredded carrots, dried cranberries, toasted walnuts, cinnamon and cloves taste very similar. They’re even topped with a rich cream cheese frosting. With each cookie it feels as if you’re eating a piece of carrot cake, but no fork is needed! —Susan Bickta, Kutztown, Pennsylvania

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Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Banana Chocolate Chip CookiesThese soft banana cookies have a cakelike texture and lots of flavor that everyone seem to love. It's one of the best banana cookie recipes I've found. —Vicki Raatz, Waterloo, Wisconsin

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Hazelnut Madeleine CookiesThese soft, cakelike cookies have a delicate hazelnut flavor—perfect for making great memories! They’re baked in the distinctive shell-shaped madeleine pan, available in kitchen specialty stores. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Pumpkin Spice CookiesThese big, soft spice cookies created by our staff have a sweet frosting that makes them an extra-special treat. Enjoy! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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French Toast CookiesI created these soft, sparkly cookies because my sister loves cinnamon French toast covered in maple syrup. In the case of these cookies, bigger is definitely better! I like to use white whole wheat flour, but any whole wheat flour will work.—Mary Shenk, Dekalb, Illinois

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Blackberry Peekaboo CookiesMy grandmother bakes this recipe every year for the holidays. She uses homemade blackberry jam that she makes fresh every summer. These cookies are so delicious! —Jacquie Franklin, Hot Springs, Montana

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Taste of Home

Cherry SnowballsA juicy maraschino cherry is the secret center tucked inside these special cookies. My mom was inspired to create this by a recipe she clipped out of a newspaper more than 30 years ago. —Evy Adams, West Seneca, New York

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Lemony Gingerbread Whoopie Pies Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Lemony Gingerbread Whoopie PiesThese spiced-just-right whoopie pies combine two popular flavors in one fun treat. The moist cookies are rolled in sugar before baking for a bit of crunch. —Jamie Jones, Madison, Georgia

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Taste of Home

Cashew Butter CookiesThese cashew butter cookies are on a more sophisticated level than peanut butter. They are vegan and gluten-free, so you'll be able to share with all your friends. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Taste of Home

Good Luck Irish CookiesTo top off the meal, Connie bakes these appropriately Irish cookies. "But they taste good anytime," she says. "You can even change the food coloring to fit other holidays." —Connie Lou Blommers, Pella, Iowa

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Taste of Home

Contest-Winning Chocolate Truffle CookiesHere's a snack for serious chocolate lovers. These enticing cookies are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, somewhat bittersweet and very chocolaty. I usually make them to share at get-togethers. Otherwise, I'd eat them all myself! I'm always asked for the recipe. —Delaine Fortenberry, McComb, Mississippi

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Chewy Maple CookiesMy husband, Bob, and I have a small sugaring operation with Bob's father. I love to put some of our syrup to use in these golden cookies. —Reba Legrand, Jericho, Vermont

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Mexican Crinkle CookiesWhen it’s baking time, my family lobbies for these Mexican crinkle cookies. You can replace 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate with 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder plus 1 Tbsp. shortening, butter or oil.—Kim Kenyon, Greenwood, Missouri

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Giant Lemon Sugar CookiesThese wonderfully chewy cookies have a light lemon flavor from both the juice and zest. The sanding sugar on top adds sparkle and a bit of crunch. —Michael Vyskocil, Glen Rock, Pennsylvania

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Cinnamon Sugar Crackle CookiesI get lots of compliments on these crunchy cookies. They're always part of my Christmas cookie platter. —Sarah Miller, Wauconda, Washington

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Gooey Butter CookiesAs a native of St. Louis, I wanted to make a cookie version of the famous gooey butter cake. And although many gooey butter cake recipes use a cake mix, these cookies are made from scratch. —Julia TenHoeve, Richmond, Virginia

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Chewy Oatmeal Cookies Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Chewy Oatmeal CookiesI packed chocolate chips, raisins, nuts and cinnamon into my oatmeal cookie recipe. These soft cookies are easy to make. Best of all, our kids love them! —Janis Plageman, Lynden, Washington

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Peppermint MeltawaysThis recipe for peppermint meltaways is very pretty and festive-looking on a cookie platter. I often cover a plate of these peppermint cookies with red or green plastic wrap and a bright holiday bow in one corner. And yes, they really do melt in your mouth! —Denise Wheeler, Newaygo, Michigan

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Coconut CloudsCoconut lovers will have extra reason to celebrate when they taste these cakelike drop cookies. The generous frosting and coconut topping make them a hit at holiday cookie swaps. —Donna Scofield, Yakima, Washington

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Jumbo Brownie Cookies Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Jumbo Brownie CookiesTake these deeply fudgy cookies to a party, and you're sure to make a friend. A little espresso powder in the dough makes them over-the-top good. —Rebecca Cababa, Las Vegas, Nevada

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Mom's Buttermilk CookiesI treasure my mother’s recipe for these comforting cookie pillows. The tender treats are topped with thick frosting and a sprinkling of chopped walnuts. —Jane Darling, Simi Valley, California

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Jammy DodgersOn my first trip to Great Britain, I stumbled upon these cookies (or biscuits, as they're known in the U.K.). These iconic treats, sold as Jammie Dodgers, can be found everywhere over there. Since I couldn't find them in the States, I had to make my own version. —James Schend, Dairy Freed

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Mint-Filled CookiesI tuck a peppermint patty inside these treats for a fun surprise. The bites will melt in your mouth. —Karen Nielson, St. George, Utah

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Orange TwistsThese soft and sweet twists have a long shelf life. You can make a number of flavor variations with this recipe, including lemon, cherry and almond. I sometimes add a confectioners' sugar glaze. —Raine Gottess, Lantana, Florida

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Chewy Good Oatmeal CookiesThese are the best oatmeal cookies with all my favorite extras: dried cherries, white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts. —Sandy Harz, Spring Lake, Michigan

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Amish Sugar Cookies Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Amish Sugar CookiesThese easy-to-make, old-fashioned Amish sugar cookies simply melt in your mouth! I've passed this recipe around to many friends. After I gave it to my sister, she entered the cookies in a local fair and won best of show. —Sylvia Ford, Kennett, Missouri

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Giant Monster Cookies Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Giant Monster CookiesWho can resist gigantic monster cookies chock-full of goodies like chocolate chips, M&M's and peanut butter? If your appetite isn't quite monster-size, make them by heaping tablespoonfuls. This is the world's best monster cookies recipe. —Judy Fredenberg, Missoula, Montana

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6 Secrets to Baking Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies (2024)
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