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Soft and Chewy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you love a soft, chewy chocolate chip cookie, you’ve found the right recipe. These addictive vegan chocolate chip cookies can be whipped up in one bowl, and prepped ahead for convenient baking. Dozens of friends and family members have tried these cookies, and nobody has been able to tell that they’re vegan!

chewy vegan chocolate chip cookies

The base for this recipe came from my pre-vegan days. I had tried this vintage chocolate chip cookie recipe posted on Reddit by /u/sewamyruth and fallen in love. I tinkered with it over the years and it was my perfect chocolate chip cookie. Soft, chewy, and just the right amount of sweet.

Grandma's Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe by /u/sewamyruth
The original recipe, courtesy of /u/sewamyruth

When this blog switched to an all-vegan focus, I wanted to make a vegan version of these cookies that didn’t compromise on flavour or texture (or calories LOL). I embarked on a new round of tweaking and testing.

vegan chocolate chip cookies stack

Experiment Results

Luckily, there was only one thing that needed replacing: eggs. All the other ingredients in the original recipe were already vegan!

Finding the Perfect Egg Replacement

There are three eggs in the original chocolate chip cookie recipe, which is pretty significant. I tried all the typical vegan egg substitutes: aquafaba, flax egg, chia egg, applesauce… I even tried leaving out the eggs altogether with no replacement.

The ones made with aquafaba or no substitute at all turned out crumbly and fragile, some falling apart when I tried to pick them up.

The ones made with flax eggs or chia eggs were also crumbly, but more importantly they were rather dry.

The applesauce turned out to be the best performer. The cookies held up together without crumbling, they were soft and a little chewy without being dry, and I couldn’t taste the applesauce at all.

vegan chocolate chip cookies

Finally, I thought back to the strawberry yogurt cake I baked last summer and the lovely moist texture imparted by the vegan yogurt. So I tried baking several batches with Silk and Yoso brand soy and oat based yogurts. I was amazed! Yogurt had performed a miracle, once again! These cookies were so good, they could pass for store-bought. My three roommates were shocked that they were vegan.

Finding the Perfect Baking Temperature

Once I had the ingredients down, it was time to test the baking temperature. And to find out whether or not chilling the cookie dough actually makes a difference.

TrialMethodFindings
1Room temperature dough, baked at 375 °F for 8 minutesThis batch was pretty good for a first go, but it had baked a little unevenly—the edges were getting crispy, but the middle was barely browned.
2Dough chilled for 2 hours, baked at 375 °F for 10 minutesThese were verging on the over-baked side, for me. I like my cookies gooey and chewy. These were crunchy around the outside, with only the core remaining soft and chewy.
3Dough chilled for 6 hours, baked at 350 °F for 10 minutesNow we’re getting somewhere… Perfectly chewy. These, however, were very soft and started to droop between your fingers even after they had fully cooled down. They would probably do ok once they’ve been chilled in the fridge, but none of the cookies survived long enough to be refrigerated.
4Dough chilled for 6 hours, baked at 350 °F for 12 minutesMy favourite! There wasn’t a whole lot of difference between this batch and the previous batch, with similar texture and chew, the only difference being they were a little firmer. They’re not quite as delicate as Round 3, and thus would fare better in transport or storage.
5Room temperature dough, baked at 350 °F for 12 minutesLooks like temperature of the dough before baking does make a big difference, because these are visibly browner than the previous batch, which were baked for the same time and at the same temperature. This batch more closely resembled the cookies from Round 2.
chocolate chip cookies recipe test!

Compare the cookies from my favourite batch, Round 4 (left) which used chilled dough, with the cookies from Round 5 (right) using dough at room temperature.

You can see that the cookies made from chilled dough spread out more evenly, with both the centre and outer edges retaining an even thickness, colour and texture. The cookies made from room temperature dough didn’t expand quite as much, with a thicker, chewier middle and crispy, browned outer layer.

But even after sorting out the ingredients and oven temperature, and chilling our dough, there is still some variability in baking time. One of the biggest factors: the size of your oven.

It Depends on Your Oven

I tested these chocolate chip cookies in a toaster oven (Breville Smart Oven) on the middle rack, using the Cookies setting, as well as a standard convection oven. Breville claims that their oven cooks food up to 30% faster than a traditional oven, but in my experience, this isn’t always the case: some baked goods take as long, or longer, to bake.

For this recipe, the toaster oven was definitely faster. In the same time it took for the regular oven to bake cookies to perfection, the Breville cookies were crispy brown on top and had gone totally crunchy.

vegan chocolate chip cookie test

Why is this?

The smaller your oven, the faster the cookies will brown because the hot air has less space to circulate. The “middle rack” of a toaster oven is closer to the heating element than in a larger oven, and the sides of the oven, which reflect heat, are also closer together. The tradeoff is smaller ovens heat unevenly compared to larger ones. In my toaster oven, I notice there are certain hot spots where food in those areas brown much quicker than in the rest of the oven.

If you’re using a toaster oven, it’s recommended to set it 25 °F lower than what the recipe calls for. So in this case, I baked mine at 325 °F instead of 350 °F, and the cookies turned out perfect.

But we all know ovens are finnicky, and every oven seems to be a little different in terms of heat distribution. So take the baking time as a guideline, and keep an eye on the cookies towards the end. Once you bake these a couple of times, you’ll get a handle on the ideal time for your specific oven.

soft vegan chocolate chip cookies

What You’ll Need

Different people swear by margarine, butter, or even lard for their cookies, but I’ve always gotten the best results with Crisco, which is a brand of vegetable shortening. It has a completely neutral taste (it’s straight fat after all), so you don’t have to play Russian Roulette with “will this vegan butter give my cookies a weird taste?” And lucky for us, Crisco has always been vegan-friendly. You can probably use any other plant-based shortening, but Crisco is the only brand I’ve seen around me.

For sugar, I’ve experimented with using either all white sugar or all brown sugar, but a blend of both works best. The brown sugar adds a lovely caramelized flavour, but 100% brown sugar causes the cookies to brown too quickly.

Salt and vanilla extract give these chocolate chip cookies a bit more complexity in taste. Salt in a dessert sounds counterintuitive, but I’ve found that many baked goods come out bland if you don’t throw in a pinch of salt to balance the sweetness.

Yogurt or applesauce helps bind the dough together and give them that perfect bakery texture: tender cookies with the right amount of chewiness.

Although you don’t need much of it, baking soda plays an important role in making the cookies rise and expand. If you forget to add it, your cookies might become rather brick-like!

After testing this recipe with pastry flour, bread flour, and all purpose flour, I recommend using all purpose flour. The pastry flour resulted in cookies that broke apart easily. The bread flour sometimes turned out cookies that became tough, especially since I’m lazy and prefer to beat in my flour with the mixer instead of folding it gently into the dough. The all purpose flour is a happy medium.

And last but not least… chocolate chips! The most ingredient of a chocolate chip cookies! Of course, you can be blasphemous and substitute vegan chips of your choice, like butterscotch or white chocolate. Or use a mix of chocolate chips and nuts. I won’t tell on you lol.

Step-by-Step Process

Start by creaming together the Crisco shortening, the brown and white sugars, and vanilla extract together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. You can use a stand mixer or a handheld electric mixer.

cream together butter, sugar, vanilla

Next, add the yogurt/applesauce and the dry ingredients (flour, salt, and baking soda). No need to sift, just throw them in and start mixing on low speed. Stop the mixer as soon as it looks combined; don’t overmix or your cookies will come out tough.

Fold in the chocolate chips. If you’re not sure the difference between folding and stirring, here’s a quick demonstration.

fold in chocolate chips

Cover and chill for at least two hours. At this point, you can also freeze the dough for baking later. Check out the Make Ahead & Storage Tips section(link) for details.

Once thoroughly chilled, shape your cookie dough into balls, each weighing around 40g (about the size of 2 tightly-packed tablespoons).

Place each ball on a lined cookie sheet. Vegan chocolate chip cookies don’t spread as much as the ones with eggs in ‘em, so give them a bit of a head start by flattening them into 1-inch thick patties.

unbaked chocolate chip cookie dough

Bake at 350 °F for 12–14 minutes, but as I noted above(link), this will depend on your oven, so it’s just a guideline. Watch the cookies toward the end, and as soon as the tops start to take on colour, take them out. If you like crispy cookies, you can let them go for a few minutes longer to become fully golden-brown. But I like my cookies soft, so I stop baking just as soon as they begin to brown just a little.

freshly baked chocolate chip cookies out of the oven

You’ll notice the cookies look puffy right out of the oven, but as they cool they’ll sink and take on that classic chocolate chip cookie look. Very important: these cookies develop their chewy texture only after they’ve fully cooled. Even though it smells amazing right out of the oven, try to resist the urge to try one right away, because when they are hot, they are very soft and fragile and don’t have much structure.

baked chocolate chip cookies

Alternatively, if you’ve got a small-ish cast iron pan, turn this recipe into a skillet cookie! My 6-inch pancake griddle will take 150–160g of cookie dough. Bake for 18 minutes instead of 12 to ensure the center gets fully cooked.

skillet chocolate chip cookie

Make Ahead & Storage Tips

Vegan chocolate chip cookie dough can be made ahead and stored in the fridge in a covered bowl for up to a week.

Or, you can shape them into balls first and pop them into the freezer so you can bake cookies on demand. Let them soften at room temperature for half an hour, press them down to flatten, then bake. You may need to increase the baking time for a few minutes since they are partially frozen.

Once baked and cooled, store the cookies in an airtight container at room temp for up to a week. Well, it doesn’t have to be totally airtight—my Dutch oven with the lid on turns out to be a perfect cookie jar.

soft chewy vegan chocolate chip cookies

What to Serve with Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Dunk these chocochip cookies into homemade soy milk for the ultimate artisanal~ cookie experience.

homemade soy milk being poured from bottle


Recipe Card

Soft Chewy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

These addictive vegan chocolate chip cookies are soft and chewy. The dough can be mixed in one bowl. Bake them as single cookies, or a giant cookie skillet.
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 12 mins
Chilling Time2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 27 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 24 cookies
Calories: 175kcal
Cost: $0.20 per cookie

Ingredients

  • 1 cup vegetable shortening eg. Crisco 180g
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar 100g
  • 1/2 cup white sugar 100g
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 5g
  • 1/2 cup vegan yogurt or applesauce 120g
  • 2 cups all purpose flour 260g
  • 1/2 tsp table salt or 3/4 tsp kosher salt 3g
  • 1 tsp baking soda 6g
  • 1 cup chocolate chips 170g

Instructions

  • Cream shortening, sugars, and vanilla together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, around 1 minute.
  • Beat in the yogurt until well-combined.
  • Add flour, salt, and baking soda (no sifting required). Mix on low speed until just combined.
  • Fold in chocolate chips.
  • Cover and chill for at least two hours.
  • Shape cookie dough into balls, each weighing around 40g (about 2 packed tablespoons). Flatten each ball to 1-inch thickness and place on a lined cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 350 °F for 12–14 minutes, or until tops are just beginning to brown.

Did you make this recipe? Please consider leaving a rating and comment below to let me know how it went.

You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @earthtoveg #earthtoveg, I will shout you out in my Stories!

Nutrition, Cost, and Emissions Information

One vegan chocolate chip cookie costs 20¢, contains 175 cal, and releases 88 gCO2e of carbon emissions into the atmosphere.

To reach the global Paris Agreement emissions target, it’s recommended to limit daily carbon emissions from food to 3,050 kgCO2e/day per person.

Nutrition data is provided by Cronometer (click the link at the bottom of the nutrition label to learn more). Feel free to contact me for sources on the cost and carbon emissions information presented here. I am not a nutritionist and guidelines on this page are provided for informational purposes only.

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