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!

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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


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.


  • 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


  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.


  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


  1. Heather (Delicious Not Gorgeous) says:

    i love how dark and chocolatey these look! and hey- better late than never! i’m betting a lot of people will be getting their chocolate cookie fix this week :3

    1. Chocolate cookie fix. Yup. And watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory while munching. (The Gene Wilder one of course). As always… dazzle us Sally! 

  2. These look amazingly yummy, Sally! I can see why they’re a go-to!

  3. These look so yummy! Thanks for another great post and recipe!

  4. Sally I am so so happyyy that you have a cookie recipe on these, and how to decorate them ! thankyou so much for the share I cant wait to try them !

  5. You’re one up on me because I never knew chocolate sugar cookies were a thing! And now my life is missing just one more experience that I have to rectify immediately!
    BTW, love your easy icing. So much more practical for my purposes!

  6. Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness says:

    I’m ready for a chocolate fix right now! Never too late for something this tasty 😉 Especially when they look like that! I’ll take the whole pan, please! 🙂

  7. I love the vanilla version, it’s the only cut out recipe I make! Been searching for a chocolate version that isn’t dry! Can’t wait to give these a go

  8. Marina @ A Dancer's Live-It says:

    A chocolate version of anything makes me happy!! I’ll have to make these and decorate them appropriately for St. Patty’s Day!! 

  9. YESS!!! I remember I asked you via Instagram for this recipe back in Christmas time, and now here it is!! Thank you, Sally! I’ll try it out this week. 

  10. My reaction to this post: “What? What?! WHAT!?! These exist? How come I have never heard of chocolate sugar cookies!!!?” I am so excited to try these out! They look soooooo good. 

  11. CHOCOLATE cut-out sugar cookies? For the chocoholic fiend that I am, I consider it a travesty I’ve never made these. I got some animal shaped cookie cutters for my birthday this year, I’d love to make a regular and a chocolate cookie dough and use the cookie cutters to make chocolate/vanilla elephant cookies 😉 

    1. I love it!

  12. Sally, I love that you figured these out. I’ve always been a little underwhelmed by chocolate sugar cookies, and I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am to try your take on them. Thank yooou! 

  13. Which icing recipe would you recommend for kids to use?  My daughter is having a baking birthday party (she’s 7) and I want to have them decorate cookies.  

    1. I’d say this easy one, it’s just a little easier to work with.

  14. demeter | beaming baker says:

    1547 days later… and these chocolate sugar cookie temptresses make their appearance. It’s like they just knew they were worth the wait. Ya know? 😉 Sally, did I tell you that EVERY TIME I make cookies, cakes or anything requiring flour, I hear you in my mind going, “Sift the flour, girl, sift it!” Haha. These choc sugar cookies look like they’re so much fun to shape and frost. Wouldn’t it be great to cut them like donuts, then put pink frosting and sprinkles on them? 🙂 Happy Monday, Sally!

    1. Little chocolate donut cookies! I absolutely love it.

  15. So glad you posted this, Sally, I’ve been looking for a really good chocolate sugar cookie recipe! Do you think this recipe would work well as a slice and bake? I’m hoping to make homemade thin mints.

    1. Absolutely! And Nicole, I have great news because I’m posting homemade thin mints on Wednesday using this very recipe!

      1. OMG that’s amazing! I’m so excited for your recipe!!

  16. OMG Sally these cookies look to die for!! Pinned!

  17. This gave me a great Easter/Spring idea! What about bunny & egg shaped chocolates cookies with the pretty spring colored sprinkles?! Like little chocolate eggs & bunnies! I’m so excited that I may have to makes these today- chocolate=happy

    1. I can’t get over the cuteness 🙂

  18. OMG!!!!! Where have these been all my life definitely have to make these with my Grandchildren.   Thank you.

  19. These will make a great addition to my holiday gift baking. Now I’m a bit confused if I am excited or mad that now that means 3 different batches to make, lol. Well done

  20. These look amazing!!!!!!! I will have to try these. Thank you for always posting delicious recipes that work every time. Not a single recipe on here that doesn’t taste fabulous!!! Keep up the good work

  21. I can see these as chocolate “footballs” with the right cutter and icing, and at Christmas, as little chocolate trees with a squiggle of green mint icing. I am looking forward to trying this, and also, I’m saving up to buy both of your books.

  22. Lori @ RecipeGirl says:

    My family would love these! Perfect for Easter too!

  23. My kids and I love your Vanilla Sugar Cookie recipe. It is hands down, THE best cookie recipe. Quick question for you regarding the Chocolate Sugar Cookie recipe. I noticed that it does not require the almond extract which you recommend in the Vanilla version to enhance the flavour. Is there a reason why? I am just curious!
    Thank you and I love your blog and recipes!

    1. I don’t favor the taste of almond extract with chocolate cookie dough. Though you can add it if you’d like. Thanks Pea!

  24. I’m going to have to keep my hands off this dough! Or anything chocolate……..I’m an absolute addict. Your chocolate scones had me salivating. <3 <3 <3

  25. Patricia @Sweet and Strong says:

    These look delicious!  I love baking and I have never made chocolate sugar cookies.  I am a fan of ANYTHING chocolate and am missing it if it’s not present in a dessert, so this is a perfect recipe!

  26. I always appreciate your baking science lessons and product recommendations, so may I offer one for you? Wilton meringue powder taste-wise is actually really not great when it comes to royal icing.  Other brands that have vanilla flavor added to them make a world of difference!  Just smell the Wilton powder and you’ll see what I mean

    1. Thanks for sharing, Laura! Hearing others’ opinions about ingredients helps. I appreciate it!

  27. Joshua Hampton says:

    I positively drooled over the pictures of these cookies. I can’t wait to make them at home. And yes, I love the idea of dusting my work space with cocoa powder while rolling the dough for extra flavor. Yum.

  28. Oooh, these look amazing. And now I have an excuse to buy ALL THE COOKIE CUTTERS. (I own three. While they are cookie cutters with which to build 3-D dinosaur cookie sculptures, the fact remains that I own ONLY THREE).

    1. Well, I used to only own 3. Now I have 5 billion and seem to only use the SAME 3.

  29. I recently found out I was gluten intolerant. Any idea how I can convert this using Cup4Cup flour or some other blend?

    1. I’m not the best to answer this! I have little experience with GF flours. So sorry.

  30. I LOVE anything chocolate, but DO NOT like rolling dough out at all!!!  Could these cookies be chilled in a log-type batter and then cut before baking?

    1. Absolutely! 2-3 inch diameter.

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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