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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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!

Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies by

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


  1. Quite literally went “WHAAAAT” when I saw this. Never knew there was such a thing as chocolate sugar cookies!

  2. I’ve tried some chocolate roll out cookies but they weren’t chocolatey enough. I love the dark rich color of these, so I’m excited to try them. Thanks!

  3. Hi Sally, I made these last week and they turned out perfect so I decided to make them again to make some Easter cookies and this time they spread a fair bit more than last week. The only thing different was the cocoa, would that make them spread more? Thanks

    1. I just checked and the ingredients of both brands is just cocoa and both Dutch processed. I feel like they spent the same amount of time between coming out of the fridge and going into the oven but I have a bit of the batch left over so I will test it more throughly tomorrow. I guess I am just wondering if there would have been anything else that might effect it keeping its shape?

      1. That’s so strange. Which brand did you use the first time? Might have to stick with that one! And chilling longer is almost always the answer to prevent the spreading.

  4. a baking dad says:

    Wow! These will make awesome holiday cookies too! I’m going to try this recipe with my daughter who loves to cook and bake with me (probably because we’re learning together and somehow we’ve managed to create some pretty tasty disasters anyway … and Mom is a gourmet and is way beyond our league….and cooks healthy stuff…boring….) but I wanted to share a tip. First time I tried making sugar cookies with my daughter, they spread out, joined forces and became a single mass of sugary evil that completely filled the cookie pan. After some rather prolonged laughs, my wife advised me to chill the dough next time. So that’s what we did, but took it further and it’s worked like a charm every time since. Here’s what we do: we chill the dough, roll it out, cut the shapes, arrange them on the cookie sheets and throw the sheets in the refrigerator to chill about 15 minutes. Then we pop them in the oven and they bake up well. We haven’t had a single mutation since. 

    1. Great tip, thank you for sharing! Glad baking is a fun (and delicious!) journey for you both!

  5. Hi Sally! I absolutely love your website and every recipe I’ve tried has always left me very pleased 🙂 
    I tried this recipe this week and I loved the intense chocolate flavor of be cookies, but I found it a bit difficult to work with the dough, it was too soft. I chilled it before and after rolling and it was still soft so I think I ended up adding way too much cocoa to work with it. I have a similar experience with the vanilla recipe, but I think it was a bit better… I noticed when weighing the flour, that the volume was much less than the one you suggest… So maybe the flour I’m using is too dense and I’m not getting enough of it to start with? (I live in Germany and there are so many types, so maybe I’m using the wrong one!)… Anyway, let me know if you have any tips and thanks!!! 

    1. Perhaps it’s the flour. What brand are you using? Is it all-purpose?

      1. I was just reading about the flour I use, which is type “405”, and I guess it’s equivalent to pastry flour. When I first moved to Germany I read that this was the most commonly used for baking, so I’ve always used it and never gave it a second thought! I will try with a different one next time 🙂  they still came out great and everyone loved them, I just had to work a bit longer to get the right consistency! I used your hashtag on my Instagram account on the final result, I hope you can see them! 

  6. Hi Sally,
    I absolutely love your website and your recipes. I made the Chocolate Sugar Cookies over the Easter Holiday and they are AMAZING!!!! They stay soft for days like they were just fresh from the oven. I doubled the recipe so I could bring some to work. My co-workers loved them. Keep up the great work!!!!

    1. Good good! So happy to hear it Lisa! Lucky coworkers.

  7. Nancy Mueller says:

    Sally have you ever used black cocoa powder for baking? I get it from the Amish market from Lancaster PA. It is very fine and makes my recipes super chocolately.

    1. I actually haven’t. Though I’ve been dying to try it!

  8. I tried this recipe and when I took the dough out after chilling 24 hours it was so dry and crumbly!  I worked the recipe exactly, I’m so bummed!

  9. I am making these into little Yodas and Chewbaccas for a Star Wars theme party (May the Fourth be with you :o). I need the cookies to not spread at all so I am guessing I should omit the baking powder? And look for a natural chocolate powder since I think you say the Dutch process contains baking powder? I need to double the recipe so should I make each batch separately or do you think it’s ok to just double up on the ingredients? Thanks so much! These look super delicious!

    1. These hardly spread, actually. They just puff up very slightly. I would make two batches of cookie dough instead of doubling. It’s just much easier to work with less dough at a time. Your idea sounds so fun!

  10. Hi, Sally, Do these taste yummy without icing? I am making Darth Vader cookies with imprint cookie cutters. No need for icing. Just need a cutout cookie that’s dark chocolate and sweet.

    1. I think they do!

  11. Could margarine be used instead of butter?

    1. I don’t recommend it for these sugar cookies.

    2. I just made these with Earth Balance spread instead of butter (due to dairy allergy) and they turned out great, even for cut outs! Super chocolatey! Tasted like brownies.

  12. emilywednesday says:

    These turned out perfectly! I used moustache shaped cookie cutters and didn’t even frost them.

    1. So cute!

  13. Will these rise/change shape much?
    I’m thinking of using this recipe to make cookies with centre designs (heart, star, etc.). Do you think this recipe will be suitable? Also, do you think it will cook together with your vanilla recipe if the dough is layered together? Looking forward to your response, thanks!

    1. I’m unsure of baking them together, it’s worth a shot! And they keep their shape wonderfully.

  14. Michelle Corson says:

    I just made these today. I cannot recommend this recipe enough. I followed the recipe exactly, and think I will use the roll/chill/cut method with all my cookies in the future. It’s a great technique that makes cutting work really well and easily. The dough also stays colder longer than with other methods, which means the cookies retain their shape while baking. The texture is great and the taste is incredibly chocolately without being too much or too sweet. They taste similar to a brownie. Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipe.

  15. I have a question, how would these cookies hold up if I turned them into homemade Oreos? I know you have a recipe for homemade Oreos already and was wondering if I used this cookie base, with that filling? I always have great success with all of your recipes and wanted your opinion before I tried it out.

    1. This dough would be fantastic as Oreos.

  16. Hi Sally,
    I made these cookies today without the eggs and they came out pretty well. They did harden a bit after complete cooling and I found the dough to be crumbly without the egg mixture. Would adding milk/condensed milk solve this problem?

    1. A little milk could definitely help. I’d say try 2 Tablespoons.

      1. Kevin Gallagher says:

        I don’t know about leaving out the egg. I think it would be needed as a binder. Since it’s essentially the protein in the egg that is the binder, one option may be to use a higher protein flour like bread flour. BTW, my wife, who doesn’t cook and especially doesn’t bake had difficulty at first understanding why need 4 different kinds of flour: all purpose, self-rising, cake flour (low protein), and bread flour (high protein).

  17. Hi Sally
    just wanted to know should the dough be sticky? if so should i cut some egg out?


    1. I wouldn’t cut out any egg, add a little more flour.

  18. What do you mean by rotating the baking sheet? I’ve recently gotten into baking to help with my PTSD and BPD, so I don’t really know much yet. 

    1. Turning it around during bake time, so the cookies aren’t always in the same spot in the oven 🙂

  19. Thank you for posting a chocolate sugar cookie recipe! I need to bake unfrosted cookies for my daughter’s preschool so of course they have to be nut free. Rather than leave out the almond extract from plain sugar cookies (am I right in thinking that??) I wanted to make chocolate ones. I can always count on your recipes to be delicious and to work! I recommend your recipes to everyone. Thanks!  

    1. Jen, I hope the recipe works for her school! Enjoy! 🙂

  20. Made these this week for Halloween and let my kids have fun frosting and decorating. These rolled out like a dream, baked beautifully, and tasted amazing. The ones that were rolled a bit thinner had a pleasant crispness and the thicker ones were chewy but not dense. Both (thick and thin) frosted great and held their shape.

    1. So glad you loved them and what a fun treat to bake together for Halloween!

  21. Could I make these red velvet by adding food colouring? If so, would you recommend liquid or gel? And would you add anything to the batter to compensate for this?

  22. Huge Fan! Just so you know! Your blog is a staple in my home. Do you think these would be good with a tinge of ginger? If yes, how much would you suggest?

    1. Thanks Jenny! I’d say 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger.

  23. I don’t have Egglands Best Eggs. Would I get the same results with any other brand?

    1. It’s just one egg, so yes– another brand works!

  24. Hi Sally! I’ve recently gotten into baking, and have made many of your recipes (your directions are all very easy to follow, and the end results are always amazing!) I’ve been wanting to make a chocolate-espresso cookie, do you think these would work if I added 1 tbsp of instant coffee to the dough?

    1. Yes, absolutely! I’ve done something similar and they’re fantastic with the added coffee flavor.

  25. My family loves chocolate cookies.  I was excited to read about your website.  I followed every ingredients and instructions (“even if i was tempted to add more coco since my family is chocolate crazy

  26. About how many cookies would this make? Im a teacher making them with my class so i need approx 30!

    1. Hi Tina– the recipe makes 18 decent sized cookies. You can easily double the recipe 🙂

  27. Maritza de la Fuente says:

    HI sally I’m a huge fan of your recipes and this one isn’t any different! (Made the thin mints) however I just stumbled across sugar cookie cheesecakes and I really want to use this sugar cookie recipe with my cheesecake recipe. My question would be, Should I let the cookie crust bake along with the cheesecake (no prebaking) or should I pre bake this and bake the cheesecake separately then stack them? And would the baking time be the same if I were using a 7″ spring pan? I hope I make sense! 

    1. I would pre-bake the crust slightly and then add the cheesecake batter on top. I’m unsure of the bake time; I haven’t attempted a recipe like that! 🙂

  28. Hi there! Can I ask what are the differences between the two icings (other than the ingredients)? Is one easier to work with, easier to make, faster to set, easier to make more complex designs, or do they just taste different?

    Thank you! So sorry for my ignorance.

    1. The easy glaze icing is easier to work with and prepare though it is not as stable as royal icing– royal icing dries quickly and pipes beautifully.

  29. PEGGY TAYLOR says:

    I am going to try this recipe, I am assuming it is a moist cookie. But I am having troubel with my royal icing looking glossy, I have used meringue powder as well as liquid egg whites, both with syrup.

  30. Nikki Barton says:

    I’m currently in the process of making 40 “poop emoji” cookies using this recipe (its my daughters birthday and this is what she wanted to bring to school), and am having the same problem. I’ve already doubled the ingredients as I’m making 40 and they’re fairly large cookie shapes. I cannot for the life of me, get the dough to roll on the parchment paper without sticking to everything. I’ve added cocoa and flour… no luck. So frustrated right now. I’ve stuck the dough back in the fridge hoping they’ll cool a bit more. It’s fairky hot in so Cal today even with the AC on. 
    Hope yours ended up working!! 

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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