These easy chocolate chip cookies without brown sugar are deliciously chewy, and flavorful. Don't let a missing pantry ingredient keep you from satisfying your craving for chocolate chip cookies! This recipe uses granulated sugar in place of the brown sugar and is carefully formulated to ensure soft and chewy cookies with all the rich and buttery taste of a classic chocolate chip cookie. No dough chilling required!
I recently made a LOT of eggless chocolate chip cookies testing five different egg substitutes. This chocolate chip cookie recipe with no brown sugar is based off that recipe, but with the eggs added back in.
Why make a chocolate chip cookie without brown sugar? I can't be the only one that's been hit with a craving for quick homemade chocolate chip cookies only to realize there's no brown sugar in the pantry. Maybe it's late at night. Maybe the store is too far away, or you can't leave the house right now. The reasons are endless, but don't let that stop you from making these indulgent and comforting treats!
Chocolate chip cookies can definitely be made without brown sugar. Though the texture and flavor may be slightly different from traditional chocolate chip cookies, I've carefully tested these cookies to ensure they're just as good.
Instead of brown sugar, you'll use granulated white sugar in the recipe. We're replacing sugars at a ratio of 1:1. Since the recipe usually calls for ½ cup brown sugar, you'll substitute it with ½ cup of granulated sugar. Added to the already present ½ cup granulated sugar, you'll use a total of 1 cup.
If you want to achieve a similar depth of flavor that you'd get from brown sugar, you can add a tablespoon of molasses to the granulated sugar for every cup used. This will give the cookies a subtle caramel flavor and a bit of additional moisture.
Overall, chocolate chip cookies with white sugar will be a bit paler than their brown sugar equivalent, but they'll still be chewy, rich and packed with delicious chocolate flavor. With a slight crunch on the outside and a soft, tender interior bursting with sweet chocolate chips, this classic, comforting cookie will satisfy, even without the brown sugar.
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- Unsalted butter - Butter should be softened, but not melted.
- Granulated sugar - You'll use only granulated sugar instead of a mix of brown sugar and granulated sugar in these cookies. I've formulated the recipe so that they still have the chewy, tender middles you expect in a chocolate chip cookie!
- Chocolate chips - I chose to use chocolate chips rather than chunks of bar chocolate as I wanted to keep the cookie spread to a minimum. Chocolate chips, or chips in chunk shape, contain additives that help maintain their shape and spread less than chopped bar chocolate. I used mini chips as they were what I had in my pantry at the time. Feel free to use mini or standard size chocolate chips.
* See recipe card for full list of ingredients and quantities.
Learn how to make chocolate chip cookies without brown sugar! These photos provide visual cues. Find the detailed instructions in the recipe card.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until well combined, 2-3 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl.
Add vanilla, egg, and salt and mix on medium speed until well incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl.
Add flour, baking soda and baking powder. Mix on low speed until just a few flour streaks remain. Use a spatula to scrape down the bowl and incorporate the last of the flour.
Use a spatula to stir in the chocolate chips.
Using a cookie scoop, portion into 1½ Tablespoon scoops. Bake 8 cookies at a time on a parchment lined cookie sheet for 10 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Immediately after removing these cookies from oven, place a round cookie cutter (affiliate link) or the rim of a wide drinking glass around each baked cookie and gently swirl in circles. This will push the cookie into a uniformly round shape.
Cool for 10 minutes on the sheet, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Hint: Since these chocolate chip cookies contain no brown sugar, the dough is paler than standard chocolate chip cookies. They will still appear light colored and under baked when finished in the oven. They will continue to bake and firm up out of the oven as they cool on the cookie sheet.
If you'd like to try a different twist on this chocolate chip cookie recipe without brown sugar, try these variations:
- Molasses - If you have molasses in your pantry, make your own brown sugar. Add 1 Tablespoon to the granulated sugar and mix well. This will add the additional moisture, golden color and caramel flavor that brown sugar usually provides.
- Other sugars - Replace half of the granulated sugar (100 grams; ½ cup) with coconut sugar, turbinado sugar, or muscovado sugar if you have these darker sugars in your pantry. To more closely resemble brown sugar, consider processing larger grained sugars in a food processor for a finer texture.
- Nuts - Add 30 grams (1 ounce; ¼ cup) chopped nuts such as pecans, walnuts, peanuts or hazelnuts. For best flavor, toast them beforehand on a baking sheet for 5-10 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and fully cool before adding to dough along with chocolate chips.
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Cookie scoop - To bake these cookies, I use this medium cookie scoop which measures out 1½ Tablespoons of dough. It's a size 40. I love using a cookie scoop for drop cookies. It keeps them uniform in size, which also helps them to bake evenly.
Baking pans - I bake my cookies on rimmed half sheet baking pans (18 x 13 inches).
Parchment paper is great for lining the baking pan. The cookies won't stick at all if you use parchment paper underneath. Bonus: you don't have to use any grease, and can often simply wipe down the pan rather than needing to wash it after baking.
One roll of this 15 inch x 164 foot (38 centimeter x 50 meter) non-stick paper lasts a LONG time! If you have access to a nearby Costco, the price is often a bit better in store.
Round cookie cutters - Use a round cookie cutter or the rim of an upside down glass to swirl the cookies back into a round shape after baking. Do this as soon as you remove them from the oven while they are still hot and pliable. I've had this set for years, and I use it all the time.
Store: Store these chocolate chip cookies with no brown sugar in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
If you don't add the optional molasses, these cookies will dry out a bit more quickly than chocolate chip cookies with brown sugar, as they include more moisture. If you don't plan to eat them quickly, store in the freezer per the below instructions.
Freeze: Store baked cookies in a large zippered freezer bag or airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months
Make ahead: Although these are quick cookies to make spur of the moment, it's always great to have extra cookie dough on hand.
To freeze unbaked cookie dough, place scooped dough on a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze for an hour or two. Once frozen, transfer dough balls to a zippered freezer bag. Label the bag as follows: dough for chocolate chip cookies without brown sugar. Bake from frozen at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Store frozen cookie dough for up to 3 months.
The cookies will likely need an additional few minutes in the oven since the dough is frozen. I always recommend baking one or two cookies first as a test to confirm the correct bake time for the rest of the batch.
Yes! It's easy to substitute the brown sugar with an equal amount of granulated sugar. These cookies are slightly lighter in color but are still chewy, soft and full of rich chocolate chip cookie flavor!
Yes! This will add additional moisture and caramel flavor that light brown sugar usually provides. If you have molasses in your pantry, add 1 Tablespoon to 1 cup of granulated sugar to make light brown sugar. For dark brown sugar, add 2 Tablespoons of molasses to 1 cup of granulated sugar.
These cookies should have some lift to them. There are several reasons your cookies might have come out too flat:
You didn't cream the butter and sugar long enough. Creaming the butter and granulated sugar well (at least 2 to 3 minutes, until light and fluffy) aerates the dough. These tiny pockets of air expand when baked, providing lift and creating a thicker cookie.
The cookie dough was too warm. This is often due to using butter that is too soft. Warm dough will cause the cookies to spread too much when baked! I like to bake two or three cookies as a test batch before I bake the remainder. If the dough spreads too much and is too warm, chill it in the fridge for up to 30 minutes before baking.
Your leavening agent is too old and has expired.
For baking soda, an opened package is good for about 6 months to 1 year. Test freshness by mixing a small spoonful of baking soda with an acidic liquid such as lemon juice or vinegar. If it fizzes vigorously, it's still good. If it doesn't bubble much, it has expired.
To test baking powder, add a few tablespoons of very hot water to a small spoonful of baking powder and look for the bubbles and fizz.
You didn't add enough flour. It's more likely you're adding too much flour if you're not using a digital scale when baking, but it is possible to add too little flour. This means the cookie dough doesn't have enough structure and will be too thin.
If you liked this no brown sugar chocolate chip cookie recipe, you'll want to try these other drop cookie too! Apart from the eggless chocolate chip cookies, they're all cookie recipes without brown sugar.
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Chocolate Chip Cookies Without Brown SugarPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 113 grams (8 Tablespoons; 4 ounces) unsalted butter (softened)
- 200 grams (1 cup) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 large egg (room temperature)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt (I use Diamond Crystal)
- 210 grams (1¾ cups) all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 170 grams (6 ounces) chocolate chips (About 1 cup standard chocolate chips, or ¾ cup mini chocolate chips)
- Place rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit (177° Celsius, Gas mark 4).
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.113 grams (8 Tablespoons; 4 ounces) unsalted butter, 200 grams (1 cup) granulated sugar
- Add vanilla, egg, and salt and mix until fully incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl.2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1 large egg, ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Add flour, baking soda and baking powder. Mix on low speed until just a few flour streaks remain. Use a spatula to scrape down the bowl and incorporate the last of the flour.210 grams (1¾ cups) all purpose flour, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon baking powder
- Use a spatula to stir in the chocolate chips.170 grams (6 ounces) chocolate chips
- Using a 1½ Tablespoon cookie scoop (medium, size 40), portion 8 scoops of dough out onto a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet. For a slightly smoother finish, use your hands to roll the cookie dough into round balls.
- Bake one sheet of cookies at a time for 10 minutes.
- Immediately after removing cookies from oven, place a round cookie cutter or the rim of a wide drinking glass around each baked cookie and gently swirl the edges of the cookie. This will push the cookie into a uniformly round shape.
- Cool cookies on sheet for 10 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to fully cool. Repeat with remaining dough.
The Floured Table
Recipe Author: Kathleen Culver