Chocolate Sugar Cookies

These chocolate sugar cookies boast wonderful chocolate flavor, thick centers, crisp edges, and have plenty of room for decorating icing! Use your favorite cookie cutters and try my classic royal icing or easy glaze icing.

These are the best soft chocolate sugar cookies you will ever make! It's an easy recipe and they are so fun to decorate! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I’m admitting it: it’s taken me awhile to perfect the chocolate sugar cookie. And I only bring you the best when it comes to sugar cookies. I swear on sprinkles.

These chocolate sugar cookies are fantastic! Not only are they the perfect balance of chocolate and buttery goodness, they’re incredibly simple. They’re crisp on the edges, soft in the center, and the icing sets within a couple hours so you can stack them, gift them, wrap them, eat them all immediately because they will call out your name as you walk by.

Chocolate temptresses, they are.

These are the best soft chocolate sugar cookies you will ever make! It's an easy recipe and they are so fun to decorate! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Behind the Recipe

This is a completely basic recipe. There’s nothing strange or complicated and I can guarantee you have most of the ingredients in your kitchen this very second. The recipe is adapted from my original sugar cookies. Using that recipe as the base, I added cocoa powder for chocolate flavor. We’ll use more baking powder for extra lift and if you remember my article about dutch-process vs natural cocoa powder, you know that dutch-process cocoa powder is typically paired with baking powder. But you can actually use either dutch-process or natural cocoa powder in this cookie recipe because things are only tricky when baking soda is involved– that’s when you most likely need to use the acidic natural cocoa powder.

Anyway, so yes– easy ingredients in this chocolate sugar cookie recipe and you can use whatever cocoa powder you like best! I suggest a high quality, incredibly tasty cocoa powder. Two I love are Hershey’s special dark and Ghirardelli 100% unsweetened cocoa.

How to make chocolate sugar cookies! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Tip: sifting the flour and cocoa powder together is imperative. This ensures the two are perfectly blended and aerated. Rids any lumps, too.

Here’s the hand-crank sifter I own and love.

Another tip! Instead of flour, sprinkle cocoa powder on your work surface for rolling out the cookie dough. I roll the dough out on parchment paper, but if you’re using your counter– dust with cocoa powder. Flour is completely tasteless, so might as well use cocoa powder for extra chocolate flavor, right?

How to make chocolate sugar cookies! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Like my regular soft cut-out sugar cookies, roll the dough out before chilling it in the refrigerator. With all of my recipe testing, I learned that this method is a lot easier than chilling the cookie dough as a whole and then trying to roll out a cold chunk of dough. You got me? Remember, chilling the cookie dough is KEY. Your cookies will spread all over the place if the dough is not cold and firm.

After 1-2 hours in the refrigerator, the chocolate dough is ready to shape.

How to make chocolate sugar cookies! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

The chocolate sugar cookies bake up to be soft in the centers and wonderfully crisp on the edges. They’ll take only about 10 minutes in the oven. Super quick!

Chocolate Sugar Cookie Icing

I have TWO icing recipes and you can choose whichever works best for you.

  1. Favorite Royal Icing: Royal icing is my preferred sugar cookie icing because it’s easy to use, dries within 1-2 hours, and doesn’t taste like hardened cement. (It’s on the softer side!) I make it with meringue powder. Meringue powder takes the place of raw egg whites, an ingredient traditionally found in royal icing recipes. Meringue powder eliminates the need for fresh eggs, but still provides the same consistency. You can find meringue powder in some baking aisles, most craft stores with a baking section, and online. The trickiest part is landing on the perfect royal icing consistency, but I provide a video in the royal icing recipe to guide you.
  2. Easy Glaze Icing: You can find my easy glaze icing recipe paired with my Christmas sugar cookies. This icing is easier to make than royal icing because you don’t an electric mixer and the consistency won’t really make or break the outcome. However, it’s thinner than royal icing and doesn’t provide the same sharp detail that royal icing decorations do. It also takes a good 24 hours to dry.

The pictured hearts are decorated with my royal icing using Wilton piping tip #4. If you’re not into piping tips, you can simply dunk the tops of the cookies into the icing like I do with my animal cracker cookies🙂

These are the best soft chocolate sugar cookies you will ever make! It's an easy recipe and they are so fun to decorate! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Invite some friends over, round up the kids, and have fun decorating these classic chocolate sugar cookies. And jazz them up with sprinkles!

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Chocolate Sugar Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours
  • Yield: 24 4-inch cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These are the best soft chocolate sugar cookies you will ever make. It’s an easy recipe and they are so fun to decorate! Chilling is the most important step, so don’t skip it.


Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (172g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (188g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 3/4 cup (63g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder (or dutch process)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

For Decorating


Instructions

  1. In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the granulated sugar and beat on medium high speed until fluffy and light in color. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract on high speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  2. Sift the flour and cocoa powder together in a medium bowl. Whisk in the baking powder and salt until combined. On low speed, slowly mix into the wet ingredients until combined.
  3. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Roll each portion out onto a piece of parchment to about 1/4″ thickness. Stack the pieces (with parchment paper between) onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours. Chilling is mandatory. If chilling for more than a couple hours, cover the top dough piece with a single piece of parchment paper. You can chill up to 2 days.
  4. Once chilled, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. The amount of batches will depend on how large/small you cut your cookies. Remove one of the dough pieces from the refrigerator and using a cookie cutter, cut in shapes. Transfer the cut cookie dough to the prepared baking sheet. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes– the cookies will still appear soft. Make sure you rotate the baking sheet halfway through bake time. Allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
  6. Make the icing and decorate the cooled cookies however you’d like. I did not color the icing, as you can see. Add sprinkles on top of the icing if desired. Once the icing has set, these cookies are perfect for gifts, sending, or munching on right away. I find they stay soft for about 5 days at room temperature.

Notes

  1. Freezing Instructions: Plain or decorated sugar cookies freeze well up to 3 months. Wait for the icing to set completely before layering between sheets of parchment paper in a freezer-friendly container. To thaw, thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature. You can also freeze the cookie dough for up to 3 months before rolling it out. Prepare the dough through step 2, divide in half, flatten both halves into a disk as we do with pie crust, wrap each in plastic wrap, then freeze. To thaw, thaw the disks in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature for about 1 hour. Roll out the dough as directed in step 3, then chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour before cutting into shapes and baking.
  2. Recipe can be doubled.

Keywords: chocolate sugar cookies

Here’s my vanilla version. You can’t go wrong with them!

Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies by sallysbakingaddiction.com

These are the best soft chocolate sugar cookies you will ever make! It's an easy recipe and they are so fun to decorate! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

206 Comments

  1. Just made these to use with the dinosaur fossil cookies cutters I bought a while back…wanted a dark color cookie to contrast with the “bones.” Decorated with your “easy icing” and they came out AMAZING! Everyone was raving about how great they looked, and the flavor was wonderful too.

    1. I bet they looked great! I’m so glad everyone enjoyed them!

  2. sandra calderon says:

    muchisimas gracias me ecanto la receta es deliciosa

  3. These cookies are amazing! Turned out perfect!

  4. Can I use dark cocoa powder or do you think this will change the taste too much?

  5. I love this recipe! If I wanted to change it up for Christmas and make chocolate peppermint cookies would you suggest I add peppermint extract to the dough or dip in white chocolate and bits of candy canes, or maybe a melted peppermint bark? Lol I have no idea if any of there ideas would work.

    1. So festive! You can make my peppermint bark cookies which is this exact cookie dough, but with peppermint. 🙂

      Or you can add 3/4 teaspoon or 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract to this cookie dough and dip the cookies halfway into white chocolate or melted peppermint bark.

      1. Thank you! I think I’ll try the peppermint bark cookie recipe next!

  6. Does this work for like Christmas Cookies

  7. Hi Sally, I am quite a novice when it comes to cut out cookies and decorating. The first batch I cut turned out perfect. Easy to cut and transfer to the tray, but then, the dough started to become soft and sticky, and it was harder and harder to get the shapes right and transfer from the cutter to the pachment paper as the dough would stick. Any advise on this? Also, how can I make sure to roll the dough the same thickness all the way?

    1. Hi Grace, I’m so glad your first batch turned out so well! As you work with the dough it will warm up – my best advise is to place the dough back in the refrigerator if it begins to warm up – you can even place your cookie sheet with the shapes already cut out in the fridge before they go in the oven. Also, you can only take half the dough out at a time and work with that before you take the second half out. I hope this helps!

  8. Nancy L Spielmann says:

    Help!!
    Can I double this recipe?

    1. krysta Wolfangel says:

      Yes!! It works great!

  9. krysta Wolfangel says:

    My husband and kids just made these cookies for a Christmas cookie competition. My husband hand cut little Christmas trees…a dozen of them. We made three test cookies and we love the cookies! I am unsure if we cooked them long wnough, but the flavor is dang near that of an oreo but softer, of course! So good! A little too good actually! My husband and I are competing against each other in the cookie competition, and now I am REALLY worried that my sugar cookie is not gonna be at the same level as this chocolate sugar cookie. Ahhh! I might have to rethink my entry 🙂

  10. Hi Sally,

    I made several batches and the dough is a bit dry. It break and crumbles. I followed the recipe exactly. Do you have a suggestion that can add a little more moisture? Unsure if it makes a difference but I’m using Dutch processed cocoa.

    Thank you very much.

    1. Hi Angela! Did you roll out the cookie dough right after mixing together? That is KEY to this recipe. Make sure you’re spooning and leveling the flour (and while you’re at it– do the same for the cocoa powder too) because packing those dry ingredients into the measuring cups ends up giving you more than the recipe needs. The type of cocoa doesn’t make a difference here.

  11. These were so easy to make and so delicious! I love how they’re a little crunchy but chewy in the middle. I used your recipe for royal icing too and they were a match made in heaven, just the perfect amount of sweetness.

  12. Do you think these would be strong enough to make a “gingerbread” house, I’m not a fan of gingerbread so looking for an alternative cookie that will be strong enough to build with.

    1. Hi Deme! I haven’t personally tried it, but I can see it working for a gingerbread house.

  13. Made these for Christmas…and they were a hit….will be on my list next year too…and making again……this weekend….these are fabulous……

  14. These make great sandwich cookies! I cut them out with my smallest biscuit cutter, stamped the tops with my meat mallet and piped them generously with vanilla buttercream. Sorry Mr Christie, I make wayyyy better cookies! (And I can pronounce all the ingredients!) Heavenly!

    1. What a great idea! Thank you so much for sharing, Sandradee!

  15. Very delicious, rich but not too sweet. However, I found the dough very hard to work with in that it was dry and cracked often. I stopped trying to roll it and pressed it together with my hands. I used cookie cutters and the dough did hold its shape.

    1. Hi Enid, I’m glad you enjoyed the taste of these cookies! Did you roll the dough out before you chilled it? If you need to roll it after it’s cold or it’s crumbling, let it warm up a few minutes at room temperature and it should come right back together.

      1. Thanks for the reply. I did not roll it before hand because I never have with other recipes. I will do that next time.

  16. Hello,
    I love the flavor of these cookies!
    But did not roll it out first, hopefully that is the trouble, because it was not shapable & very sticky, unpleasant to work with,
    Thank you, but wondering if it is worth trying again if the goal is to make a pretty cookie

    1. Yes, you really should roll out the dough and then chill it.

  17. I recently bought black cocoa powder. Would this be ok to use for the cocoa powder? I never used it before for baking (But it makes a fantastic Oreo like hot cocoa!) so I don’t have any experience on using it. Thanks!

    1. Provided it’s unsweetened, it’s probably fine to use in this recipe. Enjoy!

  18. Can I put flavored chips in these like white chocolate chips or peanut butter chips?

    1. Hi Tima! You would have a difficult time rolling out this dough with large chips/chunks in it. I don’t recommend it. How about my Inside Out Chocolate Chip Cookies with peanut butter or chocolate chips instead of the white chocolate chips.

  19. These were very good. I made hamentashen out of dough and stuffed them with marshmallows. Dough was Easy to work with and delicious

  20. I don’t need any particular shape, and I would like to avoid using cookie cutters. Could I roll it into a log and slice into discs after chilled? I don’t know how that will affect the texture of the cookies.

    1. Sure can! You can make them slice and bake style like these slice and bake cookies.

  21. Hi Sally,
    I’ve made these a couple times and they taste great! However, the cookies are extremely delicate and break easily. Should I try baking for a little longer than 10 minutes?

    1. Hi Damaris, Your cookies may have been too thin or the shape of the cookie cutter very delicate. Make sure your dough is rolled out to about 1/4 inch thick and they should be more sturdy.

  22. I was interested in these cookies for st Patty’s day. I was thinking with my mint royal frosting. I’m thinking it would pair well…any thought before I use chocolate?

    1. Yes, chocolate mint cookies would be delicious! You can even add a very small amount of peppermint extract to the cookie dough.

  23. Hi Sally, i have a tecnical question,
    I follow your recipes to the letter, using grams etc, including for teaspoons, and have done so for SO many years because, well, I adore your recipes!
    But I have noticed that I need, for most of the recipes, a considerable amount of more flour.. so much that by now in your pizza dough recipe ive adjusted the liquid and the flour to keep it from being a seriously sticky mess! Had the same problem with this cookie recipe, they are not done yet but Im afraid they wont hold their shape as rolling before chilling was not an option, and I didn’t want to add much more flour and have them taste like ……
    I read that protein content in flour is the one responsible for water absorbtion, so, here comes my question: how much protein is in your regular flour??
    Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Josephine, I usually use King Arthur Flour, whose all purpose flour is 11.7% protein and their bread flour protein is 12.7%.

      1. Josephine Ringers says:

        Thank you!!
        So curious, I am in Buenos Aires, and 000, or bread flour has around 9g of protein, and 0000, or all purpose has around 10g and it also varies per brand! Mind blown..

  24. This recipe is seriously THE BEST…I have trouble getting my cookies out perfectly and I have tried sooo many recipes…and I saw this and tried it yesterday it seriously came out so AMAZING..AND it makes the exact yield that it is given (24 cookies) so don’t worry…one tip I would say though is make sure you go easy on the butter because I just put A LITTLE bit extra butter at the beginning and the dough came out really soft, if it happens to you just put a little bit extra flour and you should be fine ..I also did not use frosting or glaze but it was still AWESOME..I just sprinkled some powdered sugar on top…So if you are not sure whether to use this recipe you can trust me that it will work…
    THANKS SO SO MUCH FOR THIS AMAZING RECIPE❤️

  25. Charlotte says:

    I’ve trialed a few chocolate sugar cookie recipes and this is hands down the best! They taste similar to brownies, very chocolatey and just amazing. I have found my holy grail chocolate sugar cookie recipe!

  26. These are awesome! Great for something a bit different than the traditional sugar cookie. I like making these chocolate sugar cookies for Halloween.

  27. KIM PERLMUTTER says:

    Hi Sally,
    I want to make these for a retirement party.
    Will the baking powder make these spread? If so, should I omit?
    Please let me know your thoughts!
    Thank you,
    Kim

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kim, These cookies hold their shape beautifully! The key is to chill the dough after it’s rolled out. The dough should be cold and firm when cutting out your shapes and placing them in the oven.

      1. KIM PERLMUTTER says:

        Thank you!!

  28. Hi Sally. I want to make a striped cookie with alternating chocolate and vanilla sugar cookie dough. Can you recommend a vanilla sugar cookie dough that will bake right along with this chocolate sugar cookie dough? Would I just replace the cocoa powder in this recipe with flour?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kimberly, This is our rolled sugar cookie recipe. We haven’t tried baking them together but let us know how it turns out!

      1. It was perfect. They baked together wonderfully. Thank you 🙂

  29. Marlow Lauletta says:

    The cookies turned out great, a little difficult to roll out tends to stick a little to rolling pin, but workable cooked up great, held there shape well. Used easy icing with ameria color gel food coloring took overnight to dry ,but the cookie had a little bitter taste to it that it did not have before I used the icing. What do you think caused that.

    1. Hi Marlow, so glad you made and enjoyed these. It’s likely the cocoa powder– it’s a very bitter ingredient depending on the brand. I like using Hershey’s natural cocoa powder in this cookie recipe.

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