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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Easy chocolate chip cookie recipe no brown sugar
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 want to see the recipe instructions, click here.
Chocolate chip cookies with white sugar
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. 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.
Measure flour correctly
Adding too much flour will make the cookies dry and dense. I highly recommend using a digital food scale for perfectly measured dry ingredients. Otherwise, use the spoon and sweep method, which I explain below.
To properly measure flour with measuring cups, you want to employ the spoon and sweep method. Here’s how you do it:
- First, use a spoon to fluff the flour in the bag or canister.
- Then lightly spoon it into your measuring cup until overflowing.
- Without packing, use a straight-edged butter knife or spatula to level the excess flour until it’s even with the top of your measuring cup.
Consistency of the butter
We need to cream the butter and sugar, so make sure it’s at room temperature for the best mixability. However, the butter shouldn’t be too soft or verging on the edge of melted. Otherwise, it won’t cream properly, leaving you with greasy, dense cookies.
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:
#1: Preheat oven
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C / gas mark 4. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment (baking) paper. Set aside.
#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.
#3: Add egg and vanilla extract
- Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until combined.
#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.
#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.
- 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.
TIP: The best baking pan for cookies
The baking pan is just as important as the ingredients you use and can greatly impact how your cookies turn out.
For the best results, use a light aluminum pan. I love these aluminum sheet pans from Nordic Ware and this OXO half sheet pan. They distribute the heat evenly and result in beautiful, golden-brown cookies.
You want to avoid dark-colored pans. They bake hotter than light cookie sheets and can burn/dry out the cookies. Still, if that is what you have, keep a close eye on the cookies while baking.
- 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.
Tips for success
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.
How many cookies does the recipe make?
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.
Do I need to chill the cookie dough?
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.
Brown sugar in cookies
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.
What does brown sugar do in cookies?
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.
Is brown sugar necessary for cookies?
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.
Substitutes for brown sugar in chocolate chip 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 & make-ahead instructions
How do you store chocolate chip cookies without brown sugar?
You can store the cookies in an airtight food container at room temperature or freeze the cookies to make them last longer.
TIP: How to keep cookies soft
To keep your cookies soft and tender, place a piece of white sandwich bread, an apple wedge, or a tortilla in your storage container a day or two after baking. The moisture from the bread/apple will migrate to the cookies, making them soft again.
TIP: Reheat cookies
For that fresh-out-of-the-oven taste, pop a cookie into the microwave and heat for 15 to 20 seconds. It’ll make the cookies soft and gooey again.
How long do homemade chocolate chip cookies last?
- 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.
How long does chocolate chip cookie dough last?
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.
Can you make chocolate chip cookie dough in advance?
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.
Can you freeze chocolate chip cookie dough?
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) paper to 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.
Reasons to love sugar cookies without brown sugar
- Taste: These no-brown sugar cookies are full of sweet chocolate, and vanilla flavors in buttery cookie dough – exactly like a good chocolate chip cookie should taste like!
- Texture: The cookies have a soft, chewy texture with slightly crispy edges and are chock full of chocolate chips in every bite.
- Ease: This no-chill recipe is easy to whip up with simple ingredients and can be made with equipment you probably already have in your kitchen.
- Time: You will sink your teeth in delicious, homemade chocolate chip cookies in less than an hour.
- Store well: This cookie recipe without brown sugar keeps well for several days and can be frozen for longer storage.
- Versatile: You can customize the recipe with lots of mix-ins (think dried fruit or nuts), switch up the chocolate chip flavor, or add your favorite candy bar.
More easy cookie recipes
Want more scrumptious cookie recipes? Of course you do! Click on the links below for sweet and crumbly goodness:
- Matcha Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Meringue Kiss
- Oreo Nutella Bites
- Bad Bat Biscuits
- Lemon Shortbread Stars
- Homemade Cookie Butter
- Raspberry Chocolate Whoopie Pies
- Lavender Cookies
- Lemon White Chocolate Cookies
- Chocolate Chip Mint Cookies
- Pumpkin White Chocolate Cookies
- Strawberry Rose Meltaways
- Brookies with Candy
- Classic Sugar Cookies
- 3 Christmas sugar cookies
This post was first published in April 2021 and has been updated with more tips and new content in November 2022.