What Makes Cookies Chewy?

For some people, nothing beats a chewy cookie. But as you bite into your tremendously soft and indulgent cookie, you might wonder – what makes this cookie chewy, and how can I make my next batch of homemade cookies have the same texture?

Cookie chewiness mostly comes down to moisture. You can make your cookie chewier by upping the moisture content by using dark brown sugar, adding molasses, using vegetable shortening and butter, and using two egg yolks. There are a few other changes that can be helpful, too, like cooking at a lower temp and chilling the dough.

Hi! My name’s Michelle, and I am a self-taught baker with a love for cookies. I make cookies regularly and have played with different types of textures. Throughout my cookie-baking adventures, I’ve found the best ways to make cookies ridiculously chewy and enjoyable.

Want some chewy cookies? Let’s discuss what makes cookies chewy and how to make your homemade cookies chewy!

What Makes Cookies Chewy?

Chewy cookies are undeniably delicious, but what gives them their iconic chew?

It mostly comes down to the moisture content.

The more moisture in the cookie dough, the more chewiness your cookies will have.

How to Make Chewy Cookies

If you plan to bake some homemade cookies this weekend and want a chewy outcome, you need to know how to make your cookies chewy. Here are some of the top ways to achieve a chewy cookie.

1. Use Dark Brown Sugar Instead of Granulated Sugar

The first thing you need to do is swap your granulated sugar for dark brown sugar. Brown sugar contains more moisture and, therefore, will make your cookies chewy. It will also provide a pleasant richness you simply can’t get from white sugar.

Now, most recipes use a blend of half white and half brown sugar. And that’s OK. You can leave it as-is or replace all white sugar with brown sugar.

On the other hand, if your recipe calls for zero brown sugar whatsoever, you have options. Replace all of the white sugar in a 1:1 or keep some of the white sugar. It’s entirely up to you and the flavor you’re seeking.

2. Add a Tablespoon of Molasses

I love molasses. The sweet and slightly smoky flavor is unmatched.

But did you know it can enhance your cookie flavor and make them chewier, too?

Remember – chewy cookies are all about moisture

Toss a tablespoon of molasses into your next cookie recipe, and you won’t regret it.

Tip: You can use honey, too!

3. Use Vegetable Shortening With Butter

Now, I am never going to tell you to replace the entire amount of butter with vegetable shortening. You’re going to miss the flavor it provides.

However, butter melts at a lower temperature than vegetable shortening, so your cookies won’t turn out as chewy.

That said, try replacing half of the amount of butter with vegetable shortening.

For instance, if your cookie recipe calls for a cup of butter, you’ll use ½ cup butter and ½ cup vegetable shortening. (OK, I will even let you step it up to ¾ cup vegetable shortening and ¼ cup butter – just don’t nix the butter entirely.)

4. Use Two Egg Yolks

Many “basic” ingredients are involved in baking cookies – flour, sugar, and eggs, for example. Unsurprisingly, your cookie recipe likely has all these ingredients and may require one or two eggs.

But don’t settle for breaking open your egg(s) and calling it a day.

Instead of opting for one egg, use two egg yolks (no egg whites) instead. This will provide some additional moisture necessary for creating delightfully chewy cookies.

5. Use Half Cake Flour, Half All-Purpose Flour

Wait, I thought we were making cookies, not cake?

Yes, you’re making cookies. But you’ll need to reach for your cake flour to rest assured of a chewy texture.

Cake flour has a much lower gluten content than all-purpose flour, rendering a chewier texture. 

Go with half cake flour and half AP flour mix. For instance, if your recipe calls for three cups of AP flour, you’ll use half cake (1 ½ cups) and half AP (1 ½ cups). 

6. Cook at a Lower Temperature

Most cookie recipes call for 350F. And, if you want the “perfect” cookie, it’s best to stick to this temperature.

However, if you want chewy cookies, you’ll need to take the temperature down to 325F. You’ll need to add a few extra minutes, but the lower temp will ensure your cookies don’t dry out or overbake, leaving them nice and chewy.

7. Shorten the Cooking Time

If you don’t adjust your oven’s temperature, you can shorten the baking time instead.

Don’t overdo it, though. Tacking off a few minutes (about five) will do the trick. You want the edges to be a beautiful golden brown, but the middle is still a little wet.

8. Chill for Several Hours

One of the most annoying directions in a cookie recipe is chilling the dough. After all, who wants to sit around waiting for their cookie dough to chill in the fridge? We’d much rather shove them into the oven so we can eat them ASAP!

Well, folks, I hate to say it, but chilling is an essential piece of the puzzle for chewy cookies. Chilling cookie dough will allow some moisture to evaporate while increasing the sugar content, allowing for a chewy texture.

So, go ahead and toss your cookie dough (covered) into the refrigerator. Allow your cookie dough to chill for as long as you can stand it, up to 48 hours. The longer it chills, the chewier the outcome!

9. Use a Light-Colored Baking Sheet

It’s true that most of the chewiness comes from the moisture content of your cookie dough.

But that’s not the only gateway to perfectly chewy treats – the color of your baking sheet plays a role, too.

Dark-colored baking sheets will bake faster, leaving you with crispier cookies. That said, replace your dark-colored baking sheets with light-colored baking sheets. You’ll undoubtedly enjoy the outcome!

10. Don’t Use Warm Baking Sheets

Reusing the same baking sheets can be tempting when whipping up a few batches of cookies. Who wants to wait for the baking sheet to cool between sets? Not me.

Yet, it’s imperative not to drop your cookie dough onto a warm baking sheet. This will cause spreading, which will lead to crispy cookies – not the chewy cookie you’re looking for.

That said, ensure your baking sheet is cooled off before going in for round two (and three and four..). Purchase a second baking sheet or rinse and dry it thoroughly before moving on to the next batch of cookies.


Chewy cookies, here we come! But before you bake some ultra-chewy treats, check out these frequently asked questions to learn more.

Does sugar make cookies chewy?

Brown sugar makes cookies chewy because of the higher moisture content.

What makes cookies chewy baking soda or baking powder?

Baking soda is responsible for making chewy cookies. So, if your recipe calls for baking powder, consider swapping it for baking soda if you prefer a chewier and less crispy texture.

What is the best flour for chewy cookies?

The best flour for chewy cookies is a blend of half all-purpose flour and half cake flour.

Chewy Cookies Are Delicious – Who’s Ready to Start Baking?

Making your cookies turn out chewy instead of crispy is actually pretty simple. Your goal is to add moisture to the dough, from using brown sugar and egg yolks to adding cake flour and molasses. You should also chill the dough, cook at a lower temp/shorter time, and use a light-colored and cool baking sheet.

How do you make sure your cookies come out chewy? Do you have any tricks to add?

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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