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!
The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie
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.
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.
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.
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 Homemade Soygurt. 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.
|1||Room temperature dough, baked at 375 °F for 8 minutes||This 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.|
|2||Dough chilled for 2 hours, baked at 375 °F for 10 minutes||These 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.|
|3||Dough chilled for 6 hours, baked at 350 °F for 10 minutes||Now 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.|
|4||Dough chilled for 6 hours, baked at 350 °F for 12 minutes||My 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.|
|5||Room temperature dough, baked at 350 °F for 12 minutes||Looks 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.|
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.
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.
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 helps bind the dough together and give them that perfect bakery texture: tender cookies with the right amount of chewiness. You can also use applesauce in its place.
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 1: 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.
Step 2: Add yogurt or applesauce and 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.
Step 3: Gently fold in the chocolate chips. (If you’re not sure the difference between folding and stirring, here’s a quick demonstration.) Cover and chill for at least two hours. This helps the dough firm up and makes rolling easier, and also improves the texture of the cookies.
Step 4: Once thoroughly chilled, shape your cookie dough into balls, each weighing around 40g (about 2½ tbsp). Place each ball on a lined cookie sheet. Vegan chocolate chip cookies don’t spread as much as the ones with eggs, so give them a head start by flattening them into 1-inch thick patties.
Instead of chilling for two hours, you can also freeze the dough for baking later. Check out the Make Ahead & Storage Tips section for details.
Step 5: Bake at 350 °F for 12–14 minutes, but as I noted above, 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.
Step 6: Let cookies cool fully. You’ll notice they 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, 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.
Skillet Cookie Variation
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.
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.
What to Serve with Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Dunk these chocochip cookies into Homemade Soy Milk for the ultimate artisanal~ cookie experience.
Here are a few of my secrets for these chocolate chip cookies.
1. Using a combination of brown sugar and granulated sugar: The brown sugar mixed with white adds a wonderful caramelized flavour without being overpowering.
2. Chilling the dough in the fridge: As I mention below, chilling the dough plays a role in giving the baked cookies a chewier texture.
3. Using yogurt or applesauce to add moisture: Not every vegan egg substitute is equal, and in this recipe, the only ones that work are either vegan yogurt (my #1 choice), or fruit puree like applesauce (makes a slightly less chewy and more soft cookie, but still very good).
Here are some of the major factors:
1. Ratio of ingredients: The amount of flour, sugar, and fat in a cookie recipe can affect the texture of the cookies. Generally, cookies with a higher ratio of sugar and fat will be softer and chewier, while cookies with a higher ratio of flour will be crisper. The moisture content of the dough can also affect the texture of the cookies. Cookies made with moist ingredients, such as brown sugar or syrup, will be softer and chewier, while cookies made with drier ingredients, such as granulated sugar, will be crisp. That’s why I use a combination of brown sugar, white sugar, and yogurt or applesauce to give these cookies the perfect soft and chewy texture.
2. Baking temperature and time: Baking cookies at a lower temperature for a longer time can result in softer, chewier cookies, while baking at a higher temperature for a shorter time can result in crisper cookies. The exact baking time and temperature will depend on the recipe and the desired texture.
4. Resting time: Resting time can also affect the texture of cookies. Allowing the cookie dough to rest in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight can help the flavors develop and create a chewier texture, which is why it’s important to chill the dough in the fridge at least two hours for this recipe.
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Soft Chewy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Use Imperial/Metric buttons below to toggle between volume vs weight measurements. I recommend weighing out your ingredients for best results.
- 2 half sheet pans (or 1 full sheet pan, or 4 quarter sheet pans)
- Electric hand mixer or stand mixer
- 1 cup vegetable shortening eg. Crisco
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup white sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup Homemade Vegan Yogurt
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ½ tsp table salt or 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- Cream shortening, sugars, and vanilla together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, around 1 minute.
- Beat in the yogurt or applesauce 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 (see Note 1).
- Shape cookie dough into balls, each weighing around 40g (about 2½ tablespoons) and place on a sheet of parchment paper 2 inches apart.
- Flatten each ball to 1-inch thickness.
- Bake at 350 °F for 12–14 minutes, or until tops are just beginning to brown. Cool fully before serving (see Note 2).
- Important not to skip the chilling step. Chilling the cookie dough fully firms up the dough and makes it either to roll into balls without sticking to your hands. It also ensures that the cookies spread just the right amount when baking, and develop a nice chewy texture.
- Just like it’s important to chill the dough before baking, it’s just as important to cool the cookies fully after baking. Fresh out of the oven, the cookies are very soft and have no structure, and the baking soda taste is quite prominent. They will taste much better once they have fully cooled.