See how to make chocolate chip cookies without brown sugar! The easy homemade cookies are studded with chocolate chips and have a rich, buttery aroma. Plus, you only need 6 ingredients and 15 minutes prep for this simple white sugar chocolate chip cookies recipe.
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Are you craving moist and soft chocolate chip cookies, but are out of brown sugar and don’t want to run to the store? Then this chocolate chip cookie recipe without brown sugar is for you!
Cookies made from scratch are the best thing ever! My family loves these cookies and didn’t even notice that they are made with white sugar only. I’m sure you’ll love the recipe too. It’s so easy and quick to make!
I’ve put together many useful tips and tricks for making chocolate chip cookies without brown sugar below. But if you just see want to see the recipe instructions, click here.
Can I use white sugar instead of brown sugar in cookies? Yes! I chose white, granulated sugar for these soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies because it’s the most accessible type of sugar.
White sugar chocolate chip cookies are a bit crisper and thinner than their brown sugar counterparts but still absolutely delicious!
Can you make chocolate chip cookies without brown sugar? Yes! My easy cookie recipe is made with basic ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.
- Salted butter: I usually use salted butter for the chocolate chip cookie recipe, but unsalted butter + 1/4 tsp fine sea salt will work just as fine. You can also omit the salt if preferred.
- Granulated sugar (white sugar) or caster sugar
- Egg: Use a large egg, not medium or jumbo (US, CA, AUS & NZ). If you live in the UK or Europe, use medium eggs.
- All-purpose flour: Unbleached all-purpose flour is best for chocolate chip cookies without brown sugar. You can also opt for bread flour if you like extra chewy cookies. I don’t recommend cake flour as the cookies will spread too much.
- Baking soda gives the cookies a nice rise and soft texture. Baking powder works as well, but makes the cookies more cakey.
- Vanilla extract balances out the other flavors and creates a rich, bakery-style aroma.
- Chocolate chips: I used semi sweet chocolate chips, which you can swap for chopped chocolate or chocolate chunks. Using top-quality chocolate makes all the difference and creates the best chocolate flavor.
Mix-ins and ingredient swaps
This recipe for chocolate chip cookies without brown sugar is easy to customize with different mix-ins, and I’ve listed a few ideas below. While you can switch up the add-ins, be sure to make the rest of the recipe exactly as written.
- Chocolate chips: Semisweet chocolate chips can be subbed with milk, dark, or white chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, peanut butter chips, or butterscotch chips. You can also mix and match different types of chocolate chips.
- Chopped nuts: Feel free to replace 1/2 cup chocolate chips with 1/2 cup chopped nuts of your choice, for example, pecans, walnuts, or almonds. Nuts tend to make the dough oilier, so I always add 2 extra tablespoons of flour to the dough.
- Dried fruit, such as cranberries, cherries, raisins, or chopped apricots, is delicious add-ins for chocolate chip cookies. Replace 1/2 cup chocolate chips with 1/3 cups dried fruits. Since dried fruit often contains extra sugar, your cookies might turn out a little sweeter.
- Flavor extracts: Tired of vanilla? Then swap it for peppermint or bitter almond extract!
Soft chocolate chip cookies without brown sugar take just 15 minutes to prep. Let me show you how to make cookies step by step:
Step 1: Preheat oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C / gas mark 4. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment (baking) paper. Set aside.
Step 2: Cream butter and sugar. Add the butter and granulated sugar into a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until the mixture becomes creamy, for about 1 to 2 minutes. Scrap down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Tip: Don’t mix the butter and sugar longer than 2 minutes as this leads to flat cookies.
Step 3: Add egg and vanilla extract. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until combined.
Step 4: Incorporate dry ingredients. Add the flour and baking soda. Stir with a rubber spatula or cooking spoon until the ingredients are just combined, and you see no lumps of flour.
Step 5: Add chocolate chips. Fold in the chocolate chips or other mix-ins until evenly distributed throughout the dough.
Step 6: Portion the cookie dough. Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon, scoop out cookie dough and arrange the cookie dough balls 3 in / 7 cm apart on the lined baking sheets (trays). Optionally, press a few extra chocolate chips on top of each dough ball.
Step 7: Bake. Bake the cookies for 11 to 14 minutes, until the sides are lightly browned. The centers will still look soft and pale, which is fine.
Step 8: Cool. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool on the baking sheet (tray) for 5 minutes. Once the cookies are cool enough to handle, transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Step 9: Store. Keep the cookies in an airtight container or zip-lock bag.
Before you whip up a batch of these simple chocolate chip cookies without brown sugar, go over my tips and tricks so you can make the best cookies every time!
- Measuring flour: Measuring flour correctly is essential for the best chocolate chip cookies. Using the flour with a kitchen scale will produce the most accurate result. The best way to measure flour by volume (with cups) is to spoon the flour into the measuring cup and then use a straight edge to level off the excess. This is called the spoon and level method. Packing the flour will result in dense and crumble cookies, so we want to avoid that.
- Don’t overmix the cookie dough. If you watch the recipe video, you’ll notice that I only use my electric mixer to cream the butter and incorporate the egg but switch to a spatula to add the flour. Preparing the cookie dough this way ensure that we aren’t overmixing the dough. Overmixing promotes gluten development, which will make the cookies tough.
- Space the cookie dough scoops apart. Be sure to arrange the cookie dough scoops 3 in / 7 cm apart. They will expand while baking as you don’t want them sticking together.
- Oven temperature: Always preheat the oven for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Some ovens don’t heat correctly and can be off by a few degrees. If your cookies seem underbaked or brown too quickly, use an oven thermometer to check the temperature.
- Soft cookies: Bake only for the minimum cooking time and reduce the oven temperature to 325°F / 165°C / gas mark 3 if you prefer soft chocolate chip cookies without brown sugar.
- Chewy cookies: In case you like chewy cookies with crisp edges, bake a little longer, around 13 to 15 minutes.
This easy chocolate chip cookie recipe makes 20 to 22 cookies. I used the smallest scoop from this set of 3. If you choose a larger scoop, you’ll end up with fewer cookies.
Can I double the recipe?
Yes, you can absolutely double or triple the recipe if you need to make more cookies. I find that a stand mixer comes in handy when preparing a large batch of chocolate chip cookie dough. A stand mixer with the paddle attachment is perfect to cream the sugar + butter and incorporating the egg + vanilla extract.
Chilling the cookie dough is optional for this recipe.
Chilling cookie dough is a hot topic among bakers. Some say that chilling ensures that cookie dough doesn’t spread so much during baking and helps the flavor develop better. So, if thick and soft chocolate chip cookies are your thing, then definitely chill the cookie dough for a few hours or overnight.
Usually, I don’t bother and bake the cookies right away. If I were to put a bowl with chocolate chip cookie dough in the fridge to chill, there’d soon be no dough left because little – and big hubby – hands would surely find their way into said bowl and empty it clean. Yes, my family LOVES cookie dough.
What is brown sugar?
Brown sugar is made from sugarcane or sugar beets. Brown sugar still contains molasses, a byproduct of sugar production, whereas white sugar is refined until all molasses is removed.
Molasses gives brown sugar its color and the typical caramel-like flavor. Light brown sugar contains 3 to 4% molasses, and dark brown sugar 6 to 7%. You can use them interchangeably in most recipes.
Brown sugar affects the flavor, texture, and thickness of cookies.
- Flavor: Brown sugar lends chocolate chip cookies a warm, slightly caramel-y note.
- Texture: Brown sugar also gives the cakes a soft and chewy texture.
- Thickness: Brown sugar keeps the cookies thick. Expect chocolate chip cookies with white sugar to spread more than those with brown sugar.
No. You can use white and brown sugar interchangeably in chocolate chip cookie recipes.
While there a many good reasons to make chocolate chip cookies with brown sugar (think flavor and texture), it’s totally possible – and equally delicious – to omit brown sugar from the recipe and opt for another sugar.
I’ll talk more about what happens if you leave brown sugar out of cookies in the section below.
How to make brown sugar
If you’ve run out of brown sugar but have molasses, you can easily make your own brown sugar.
Simply mix 1 cup / 240 g / 8 oz white sugar with 1 tablespoon molasses for light brown sugar. For dark brown sugar, combine 1 cup / 240 g / 8 oz white sugar with 2 tablespoons molasses.
Light, medium, or dark molasses and treacle will all work fine for making homemade brown sugar. Blackstrap molasses imparts a bitter-sweet flavor, that I find too strong for cookies.
What can I use if I don’t have brown sugar for chocolate chip cookies? You have a few alternatives for brown sugar to choose from:
- Granulated sugar (white sugar) is an excellent cup-for-cup replacement for brown sugar. White sugar doesn’t contain any molasses, but the nutritional values are very similar to brown sugar.
- Golden sugar is essential granulated sugar but with a hint of molasses.
- Demerara sugar is a type of cane sugar with large grains. You can use it as a brown sugar substitute in cookies, but it doesn’t melt during baking and changes the texture of the cookies.
- Muscovado sugar is unrefined cane sugar that still contains molasses. Muscovado sugar has a toffee aroma and very moist texture.
- Coconut sugar has a unique flavor (nutty with hints of caramel) and is a healthy substitute for brown sugar. Just keep in mind that coconut is less sweet, and your cookies will be less sweet as well.
- Powdered sugar is also an option. Cookies made with powdered sugar don’t bake up as crisp and stay very tender.
Storage instructions + shelf life
You can store the cookies in an airtight food container at room temperature or freeze the cookies to make them last longer.
- At room temperature: Keep the easy chocolate chip cookie recipe for 7 days in an airtight container at room temperature.
- Freezing baked cookies: You can freeze these cookies in a freezer bag for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy your white sugar chocolate chip cookies, simply allow them to defrost for a few hours.
The unbaked chocolate chip cookie dough will last for up to 4 days in the fridge. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap/clingfilm or transfer the dough into a food container. I also recommend pressing a piece of plastic wrap/clingfilm directly on the dough, so it doesn’t dry out.
Yes, you can definitely make the cookie dough ahead. You can prepare the dough 4 days in advance and make the cookies when it’s time to bake. As mentioned above, store the dough in the fridge.
Let the cookie dough sit on the counter for 10 to 20 minutes to become soft enough for scooping.
Yes, you can freeze chocolate chip cookie dough. I love having a batch of cookie dough in my freezer so I can whip up homemade chocolate chip cookies in a pinch. Here’s how to freeze cookie dough:
- Roll the cookie dough into balls.
- Chill the dough balls for 30 minutes to an hour. The dough should be solid before continuing with the next step.
- Put the chilled cookie dough balls into a zip lock bag or food container.
- Freeze for up to 3 months.
- When you’re ready to bake, take the frozen cookie dough out of the freezer and preheat the oven. Bake for 1 to 2 minutes longer than indicated in the recipe.
Tools + equipment
Here’s a quick rundown of the tools you need to make these chocolate chip cookies without brown sugar. You’ll probably already have most of this equipment in your baking arsenal.
- A digital kitchen scale is helpful to get exact measurements, especially to weigh flour. Of course, you can also use measuring cups + spoons if that is your preferred way of measuring ingredients.
- Large mixing bowl: I use this set of glass mixing bowls all the time. The large bowl is perfect for baking projects.
- Electric mixer: Since this chocolate chip cookie recipe without brown sugar is medium-batched, a hand-held mixer is perfectly fine for mixing the dough. However, a stand mixer is best if you plan to double or triple the recipe.
- My silicone spatula is handy to scrape down dough from the sides of the bowl. I also prefer to incorporate the flour with a spatula to avoid overworking the dough.
- A cookie scoop is perfect for forming uniformly sized cookies. I used the smallest scoop from this set of 3. You can also utilize a tablespoon to portion the cookie dough. 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough create average sized cookies.
- Cookie sheet (baking tray): I love these baking sheets because they bake evenly.
- Parchment (baking) paper: I always line my baking sheet (tray) with parchment (baking) paperto ensure the cookies come off easily, even if the baking sheet (tray) is non-stick. Another option Silpat baking mats, which are reusable and easy to clean.
- Oven mitts are a must for handling hot cookie sheets/trays. Alternatively, use a folded kitchen towel.
- This cooling rack is perfect for cooling the cookies once they’re out of the oven.
Want more scrumptious cookie recipes? Of course you do! Click on the links below for sweet and crumbly goodness: