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.

heart and star chocolate sugar cookies decorated with royal icing and sprinkles

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.

star chocolate sugar cookies decorated with royal icing and sprinkles

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.

ingredients for chocolate sugar cookies

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?

2 discs of chocolate sugar cookie dough

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.

chocolate sugar cookie dough rolled out with a star cookie cutter

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🙂

heart chocolate sugar cookies decorated with royal icing and sprinkles

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

Print
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heart and star chocolate sugar cookies decorated with royal icing and sprinkles

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 (62g) 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!

stack of decorated heart sugar cookies

119 Comments

  1. Again, thank you, this recipe is absolutely perfect and what a fun option to the traditional flavor of cut outs! The only thing I do different is after mixing the dough I cut my cookies out (it’s easier for me when the dough is soft) then I chill them. LOVE and so does everyone else! 8500ft no recipe changes 10-11 minutes depending on thickness

  2. Would this recipe be ok for making sandwich cookies?
    Like some sort of homemade Oreo?

    Thank you

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Trish, You could certainly try it. Or use our recipe for Homemade Oreos!

  3. These cookies are delicious! We like the way the dark chocolate balances the royal icing (which was also your recipe and worked out great). I have not ever chilled the rolled dough before cutting out cookies but will always do this method- no spreading, my bears looked like bears. Have never used royal icing to make “artsy” cookies and I am so pleased how they turned out. Thanks for all the tips!

  4. Wow. Only just rolled out the dough but dang that dough is delicious! Can’t wait to include these cookies in my galentine’s day drop offs!

  5. Baked these cookies for Valentine’s Day
    Beautiful recipe. I have two sizes of heart shaped cookie cutters.
    They cut easily and their shape was maintained after baking
    Followed the directions.
    A definite keeper. Everyone really enjoyed it.
    I did not use icing. Just topped the cookie with a few grains of course sugar prior to baking.
    Thank you very much

  6. These cookies taste delicious, but we baked them at the recommended 10 minutes and they are quite hard.

  7. Well, the texture and flavor were so absolutely off putting, that I decided that I will never make these again. I actually threw them away. I would not recommend this recipe.

  8. Sally strikes again! Chocolate roll-out cookies will be my new go-to when decorating cookies for birthdays and holidays. Plain sugar cookies are just too plain! I mixed the royal icing with mint extract, sine chocolate mint is one of my favorite flavor pairings.

    A couple of tips:
    Definitely chill the dough– not once, but twice. Chill the dough on the baking sheet after you roll it out, and then put the baking sheet back in the fridge for ~10 minutes after you’ve cut the cookies out, just before you pop it in the oven. Chilling the cut-outs is crucial, I have found, to perfectly flat cookie shapes so you can decorate them easier!

    I also suggest using Sally’s “easy royal icing” recipe with the merengue powder (yum) but I highly prefer to put the royal icing in squeeze bottles instead of piping bags. I have 6 bottles with the squeeze tips cut to various sizes so I have many options for flooding and borders/writing.

    Also, that royal icing recipe that she links to was enough for me to decorate about standard size cookies and then some.

  9. I live for chocolate so I was very excited to try these but mine lost their shape…what did I do wrong? I really did follow the recipe to the letter and I’m no novice at biscuit making. My bunnies grew in size to monsters! I have tried lots of bakes from this site and they have been reliably delicious!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sarah, thank you so much for giving these cookies a try! How long did you let the dough chill for? Chilling longer is almost always the answer to prevent spreading. These cookie baking tips may help as well.

  10. I don’t have the room to chill them rolled out in a baking sheet. Is there another way to chill them?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Awar, you can chill the dough, roll it out, cut the cookie shapes, then chill the cookies again before baking. Rolling out the chilled dough may be a little difficult. Let us know how it goes!

  11. If I roll them out to 3/8 inch thickness (green disk on rolling pin), how long do you think they will need to bake? I have to make them thicker to survive intact while being shipped to the grandkids in Alaska. Thanks in advance

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Robyn! We’re not exactly sure how long they’ll take, so keep an eye on them in the oven. They’ll be done when lightly brown on the edges. Happy baking!

      1. They’re chocolate…… they’re already brown

      2. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        It’s definitely harder to tell when chocolate sugar cookies are done baking. They’ll likely only need an extra minute or so. Let us know how they go!

  12. These cookies were a big hit! The recipe is definitely a keeper! No spreading, and they taste delicious 🙂 I baked mine for 12 minutes and they were perfect! (They were a bit under-baked for my taste after 10 minutes…but I make my cookies thicker)

  13. I had a really difficult time with this dough. I’ve never done chocolate ones before, just regular sugar cookies. The dough tasted great, it was just hard to work with. Very sticky, I followed the instructions and weighed all my ingredients. I had to add flour in and douse my cutter in flour and even then I had trouble.

  14. I have made these three times now and they are really good. In SA we don’t get all purpose flour- used 1 1/2 cups cake flour which is 210 g.
    Loved the tip of rolling out before refrigerating. Works really well.
    Only problem is you cant stop eating them.

  15. These are awesome. I like using this recipe for Halloween cut out cookies every year.

  16. Any recipes I’ve tried from your site have been very good so I’m using this one today – except I’m pairing it with your white sugar cookie and putting them together to make pinwheels. Fingers crossed that they pair well and raise evenly in baking. I’m hoping to get the grand-kiddies munch of approval!

  17. Can I use self raising flour with this recipe – I do not like the taste of baking powder….. ‍♀️

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