4 Basic Cookie Doughs to Master

Here are 4 basic cookie doughs to master! Chocolate chip cookies, fudgy chocolate cookies, sugar cookies, and the best oatmeal cookies! sallysbakingaddiction.com

We’re heading back to the basics today, as in baking basics. I began this series a year ago with two goals in mind: (1) to share what I’ve learned in the kitchen and (2) to have these posts be a place where we can all chat about BAKING! Whether that is super science-y chemical reactions or simply my favorite baking pans, this series has been a space for me to deliver something a little more substantial than recipes: knowledge. I’ve really enjoyed writing these tutorials and rambles (um, thanks for reading all 2000 words in MY PIE NOVEL) this past year and I have even more up my sleeve for year #2. Grab a seat and stay awhile!

Today I want to dive into the world of cookie dough. Because before our beloved soft and buttery cookies become chocolate chip wonders, they start in a bowl with ordinary ingredients like butter, sugar, and eggs. If you have a few basic, super dependable cookie dough recipes under your belt– you’re set for life. Who doesn’t yearn for that kind of simplicity?!

I have 4 basic cookie dough recipes that I make more than any others. These are timeless favorites that have only been in my kitchen for 3 or so years, but I constantly go back to ’em. From these 4 favorite cookie doughs, I have created dozens of other cookies and desserts. Consider them your cookie smorgasbord starting point! They’re all versatile, simple, and straightforward. Not to mention, taste PHENOMENAL when baked. Since I’ve got big love for more than 4 cookies, I’ve got a couple runners-up at the bottom of this post. Cookies taking over the world!!

We’ll start with the head honcho of all cookie doughs.

Basic Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

These are the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made. It’s the only recipe in this list using melted butter. Why? I love me some chewy chocolate chip cookies and melted butter helps achieve that chew. We also use an extra egg yolk (fat) for even more chewiness, a higher ratio of brown sugar to white for flavor and tenderness, and cornstarch for super soft centers. Chilling the cookie dough is imperative– in fact, the longer the better. I’ve chilled this dough for 3-4 days and the cookies have SO much flavor and bake up supremely thick. Try them with butterscotch or stuffed with Rolos. If you haven’t yet, you must! [click here for the recipe]

My favorite chocolate chip cookie dough on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Chocolate Cookie Dough

So damn fudgy! That’s what I love about this cookie dough. It’s been everywhere from salted caramel and peanut butter swirled to peppermint mocha and double trouble. This is a very sticky cookie dough, so chilling it is crucial in order for the cookies to hold their shape. By the way, the cookies legit taste like brownies inside. [click here for the recipe]

My favorite chocolate cookie dough on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Oatmeal Cookie Dough

Soft and chewy, hearty and healthy. That last one’s a lie, but who the heck cares when you’re eating old-fashioned style oatmeal cookies that taste nearly as good as grandma’s? This recipe is a mix of three other oatmeal cookie recipes I love (these, these, and these). I took what I enjoy about each one (including molasses!). And know what makes it all even better? RAISINS. [click here for the recipe]

My favorite oatmeal cookie dough on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Sugar Cookie Dough

Be still our rainbow hearts. This cookie dough produces buttery and super soft cookies without the need of a rolling pin, cookie cutter, or decorating icing. It’s a blend of a few sugar cookie recipes that are on my blog and a recipe that is in my 1st cookbook. They’re extra soft in the centers, extra buttery, and mega chewy on the edges. Try them with extra sprinkles. And try not to smile when you eat one. [click here for the recipe]

My favorite sugar cookie dough on sallysbakingaddiction.com

All of these cookie doughs are for drop cookies, which are the kind I bake most often. Here are a few others I love, including cut-out cookies and slice ‘n’ bakes.

Runners-Up ★

Soft chocolate chip cookies – not quite as chewy as the ones above, but still ridiculously soft.

Snickerdoodles – my favorite! The dough is so sturdy and thick that we don’t have to chill it before baking. So this is a quick recipe.

Peanut butter cookies – nothing fancy, just in-your-face PB classics. Try adding 1 – 1.5 cups of chocolate chips or even chopped peanuts! You could drizzle the finished cookies with melted chocolate too. Or even sandwich some chocolate ice cream between two of them?! Someone stop me.

Cookie cutter cookies – a staple. So many shapes we can make! By the way, have you seen my chocolate sugar cookie version?

Slice ‘n’ bake cookies – a recent love. At the bottom of that recipe post, I share lots of ideas for variations! Also: funfetti. As if you were surprised.

Here are 4 basic cookie doughs to master! Chocolate chip cookies, fudgy chocolate cookies, sugar cookies, and the best oatmeal cookies! sallysbakingaddiction.com

So tell me! What are your cookie staples? Are you more of a chocolate chip cookie family or is oatmeal/sugar cookie/anything-with-chocolate your standard cookie jar fave? I want to hear it all!

Further reading:

Here are 4 basic cookie doughs to master! Chocolate chip cookies, fudgy chocolate cookies, sugar cookies, and the best oatmeal cookies! sallysbakingaddiction.com


  1. snickerdoodles are one of my main staples! i love that they’re fairly easy alone, but the tasks can also be divided if i’m baking with friends and family.

  2. Love this. Following you from sweden and omg you have no idea how many times I scroll through my (secret) pinterest boards to find your perfect CCC or go here, doing the same thing, ending up having spent 5 hours reading every word of your lime infused white chocolate truffle-post instead. twice. apart from the amazingness of having YOUR favorites/basics collected, this is so good for timesaving issues. 

  3. O.M.G Sally!!!!!!!!! This is the ultimate treasure trove for cookie dough-lovers (i.e. every sane person on the planet). Someone better hide all the spoons….no, scratch that, I’m GOIN’ IN!!!! Haha, thanks for sharing your amazingness, Girl!

  4. I love cookie baking, but when I’m in a hurry (no time to chill dough) I bake oatmeal with oat flour. They don’t spread much at all, so they’re great for those days when somebody (ahem, me) needs a cookie quickly. Plus, they’re GF!
    Honestly, these doughs are incredible. I love the melted butter chocolate chip one best, because there’s something about creaming sugar and butter that makes me groan. I don’t know why, because it’s easy. But there you go. Great post!

  5. I asked my Mom what she wanted me to bake her for Mother’s Day and she said some more of your chewy chocolate chip cookies! I found that the cookies were the best after they had been in the freezer for a little over a month!! So chewy and flavorful! I told her I would make some more, but first I am trying your galette with your chai spiced apple pie filling!

  6. Great post idea! I love taking basic cookie doughs and coming up with crazy combos. Your chocolate dough is one of my favourites – I’ve done peppermint, quadruple chocolate and cranberry versions.

    Plain old chocolate chip and oatmeal chocolate chunk happen pretty often too though! I like sugar cookies (and love decorating them) but no one else in my family really does.

  7. These are definitely the best 4 cookie doughs to master. My family LOVES oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and my aunt touts that hers are the best. I beg to differ 😉

  8. I ALWAYS have good luck with your cookies!! They stay nice and big and poofy and PRETTY! 🙂 Not to mention – delicious!!

  9. Chocolate Chip cookies all the way! Except I have to admit…I am one of those weirdos that would prefer if my chocolate chip cookie only had around 4 chocolate chips in it instead of it being packed full of chocolate chips. I just love the buttery, brown sugar taste of the cookie part!

  10. Please consider adding red velvet cookies to your repertoire.  I love the consistency of your cookies.  I just made some red velvet ones but wasn’t happy with the shortening and butter it required.  The batter was sticky even after being in the refrigerator overnight!  As a result, they came out flat, good, but flat. 
    Happy baking!

      1. Oops! Don’t know how I missed those.  They will be next on my list with white chips.  Thanks!

  11. Your cookies are the best! The Dark Chocolate salted caramel cookies not only won you a prize, but i got a prize at the State Fair of Texas! All of your recipes I’ve used are perfect and delicious! And your peppermint mocha cookies are the best!! My husband, who hates anything mint, even loved them! I’m going to try macarons this weekend with that macaron mat! The template on there even lets you made teddy bear ears on the cookie! I bet they’re so photogenic!

    1. Let me know how the macarons go! Excited for you to test out that mat.

      And I’m not sure I knew about the state fair win! Amazing, congrats!

  12. Baking cookies is my therapy.  I love to bake chocolate chip cookies. I mix it up with white chocolate, dark chocolate or a combination of the two.  I do not like nuts of any kind in my chocolate chip cookies.  I use a small scoop and make them smaller than the average size.  I almost under-bake them to keep them soft and chewy.  In this dry climate I live in they dry out very quickly.  Stored in an airtight container they last about half the day at work.  I’ve never had them left over to find out how long they are good.  🙂

    Love your recipes and baking tips.  Pinned for future reference/

    Wishes for tasty dishes,

  13. What an awesome post! And who doesn’t LOVE cookies? I think I would have to try each and every one of these and eat cookies from each batch just to taste test and see what I like best, you know for research purposes, lol 😉 Twist my arm to eat cookies :D. Pinning this one. Thanks for sharing, girl!

  14. Hey Sally, 

    I love your blog, makes my heart happy! I can’t always find everything up here in Canada that you get down there, namely natural cocoa powder…I wonder why our stores don’t carry it? My favorite cookie will always be my great grandma’s recipe, sorta like a loft house cookie crossed with a sugar cookie. They make the best cutter cookies ever. Anyways thought I would say thanks for the inspiration!

  15. I think one of my all-time favorite recipes is the oatmeal cookie recipe you have in your cookbook. I’ve also recently tried the NYT choco chip recipe, and while it was a lot of work, they were amazing!

    1. The giant oatmeal raisin or the oatmeal scotchies from the book? Love them both too. I’ve been meaning to try the NYT cookie. Haven’t gotten there yet!

  16. COOKIES!!!!! Very few things in life are better than a fresh baked cookie… except maybe the bowl of cookie dough from which the cookie came…Cookie dough on top of a fresh cookie, yup I did go there one day… I am in love with oatmeal scotchies! Peanut butter cookies are also up there. I recently put the two together and created a monster “oatmeal, peanut butter, butterscotch chip, and mini chocolate chip with cinnamon and a small pinch of nutmeg” cookie. I had half bags of ingredients in my pantry so they all came together and man they are amazing! They did not last long in my house… I also love the classic chocolate chip cookie but I like it with M&M’s… Especially Peanut M&M’s!!! I have not tried to make sugar cookies of all things, they are on my list, your recipes are always tried and true for me! Thank you!

  17. Hi Sally,
    Fantastic post! I adore your cookie recipes!! Those chewy chocolate chip ones, all I have to say is someone commented on my Instagram post when I made them ‘that’s what love looks like’ & I must agree!

  18. Sally, can you please do a post about how you develop frostings and fillings? I want to start developing my own recipes for these kinds of things and I want to know the science behind it! Thanks!

  19. Hi Sally,

    I’m so glad you posted on cookies! I must admit its probably one of my areas of improvement in baking (especially soft chocolate chip) but my family does have a favorite. Every Christmas I have to make about 3 batches of white chocolate chip cranberry cookies. I add some oatmeal to the batch as well and my family loves them. I think I’ll try your chocolate chip this weekend for an afternoon treat for my kids!

  20. Would the sugar cookie dough without sprinkles work for rolled and cut out cookies? I’ve been using your other sugar cookie recipe

  21. My most made cookie recipe of yours is definitely the peanut butter cookies (such an underrated cookie) and your brown sugar cookies. Those are two family favourites! I make them all the time just because, for parties, as presents, etc. I’ll give the other ones a shot too but those two are definitely keepers for me 🙂 my other favourite cookie to make are double chocolate chip (my specialty) 

  22. Yay! Thanks so much for these. I’ll be filing these away for frequent future use. Can’t wait to share with my mom, too – she adores your cookie recipes! 

  23. Rolos in cookies sounds so delicious, I have to try that out! I’m going to save this post and try out these recipes!
    Aleeha xXx

  24. Cookies are my favorite dessert, snack, gift, whatever! And I love to bake! Thank you, Sally, for your wonderful cookie recipes. I love these basic dough recipes because they open up all kinds of possibilities. I do love crispy/crunchy cookies, especially sugar cookies. Is there I way I should tweak the cookie dough so they bake up crispier? Thinner is okay, too. Thanks so much!

    1. I wouldn’t make tweaks to the cookie dough. Rather, just increase the bake time. Leave the cookies in for an extra 2-3 minutes. 🙂

  25. Cookies are one of my favorite things to bake (right before cakes/cheesecakes). When it comes to cookies, snickerdoodle is #1 in my heart. Some may say it is a Christmas classic, but I’d take these delicious, cinnamon-sugar rolled cookies any day of the year. I am eager to try your snickerdoodle recipe as I see you put cinnamon in the dough (WOW oh WOW!) and leave out shortening! Their puffiness in your pictures is hard to resist. I’m sure these cookies will knock my socks off! 
    Thanks for sharing!

  26. Hi Sally- my favorite cookie of all time is a molasses crinkle. It was the first cookie I learned to bake when I was 12.  In the fall, crisp weather and colorful leaves make me want to bake these.
    I roll the dough balls in coarse sanding sugar, and when they are done, the sugar is sparkling like snow on the crackly tops.A molasses crinkle and a cup of coffee– pure bliss.

    1. They’re towards the top of my list too! Molasses… so irresistible especially in colder months! And yes with coffee!

  27. LOVE your cookies!! My husband was just diagnosed with celiac disease so unfortunately I’m doing a lot less baking :/ 

  28. I love the fact that you have so many core recipes! I’ve made cookies and cake and dozens of cupcakes just swapping out flavorings, fillings, frostings and frills to customize them for the taste of the recipients. Next on the list for me personally? Those oatmeal cookies with dried cranberries and dark chocolate!

    1. That’s exactly what I do! And I’ve made the oatmeal cookies with dried cherries and dark chocolate– so good. Cranberries would be just as fabulous.

  29. “Be still our rainbow hearts.” Best line. EVER. 🙂
    Sally, you are the Queen of Cookies!! Whenever I prep a cookie recipe to shoot, I always remind myself to think about how perfect yours look–it motivates me to step up my cookie game. (Doesn’t that sound like a fun game though?) 
    My favorite cookie dough is probably chocolate. I’m all about that brownie-like center. I mean, a cookie that tastes like a brownie? What could be better?
    Since I start doing vegan baking though, everything has completely changed–the rules, the science… just about everything. Goodness. But I love figuring out how the traditional rules for butter & eggs-style baking can be applied to vegan recipes. It’s challenging and fun at the same time. 🙂

      1. Your comment just made my year. Sally, you’re the best.

        The next time I’m testing yet another muffin/cake/cookie recipe and wondering if I’m just kidding myself, I’m gonna remember this. Thank you so much. <3

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally