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. Made these today with my three year-old and they are AMAZING!! Thank you for the recipe!

  2. I am excited to try this recipe, and love the roll the dough first and then chill method. Would it be OK to chill the dough overnight, so I could prep ahead of time? Or would that effect the cookies. Thanks!

    1. Hi Deb! You can roll out the dough, then chill the dough overnight and up to 2 days. Just lightly cover with parchment paper.

  3. Paul Gallick says:

    WOW! I made your chocolate sugar cookies today. I used two thirds black cocoa since I cut them out with a music note cutter, and they are the most delicious chocolate cookie I have ever tasted!

    1. That sounds so fun! Glad you enjoyed them!!

  4. Austria Azaceta says:

    Hi Sally!
    I have a question for you (or anyone who might know). Would these cookies be good to use to make ice cream sandwiches? I’m trying to mimic the flying saucers from carvel. I’ve never had one so I’m not sure what they’re supposed to taste like but my husband used to love those treats & his birthday is coming up. Since he’s not much of a cake person I thought the ice cream sandwiches would be fun. Thanks so much!

    1. I’ve never had one from Carvel but I can’t see why these wouldn’t work!

  5. How long could I store these for in the pantry for?

    1. Hi Pauline, I find they stay soft for about 5 days at room temperature.

  6. Hi Sally. If I were to double this, would you recommend making two batches or can I do it all in one?

    1. Hi Lydia, You can double the recipe. Enjoy!

  7. Hi!
    Do you think these will be suitable for making cookie pops? I’ve promised to «bake flowers» for a big birthday (in the spirit of the foodie turning 50), and I’m looking for something more than sugar cookies and gingerbread. I’m a bit concerned that the soft center won’t make them sturdy enough for this purpose. What do you think?

    1. Hi Asta! That sounds like a fun treat. These cookies will be just perfect for the cookie pops. Bake for an extra minute to ensure they’re sturdy enough.

  8. Hi!! I have made this recipe over and over again and it’s fabulous!! Just one thing though I’d like to ask: I’ve just made the dough mixture and rolled it out ready to cut and stored in the refrigerator, I did double this recipe (as I usually do) but this time I’d forgotten to double the baking powder and salt!! Will this effect the cookie massively…?

    Would be grateful for an answer soon so I know what to do….thanks!!

    1. I’m so happy you love this recipe so much! Without the salt your cookies will just taste sweeter and they might not rise as well without the baking powder. I would recommend cutting out one cookie and baking it to test your dough before you spend time cutting out all of them!

      1. Sally!! I’ve just taken your advice….after all that it’s still perfect!! Maybe I heaped my spoon a bit more than usual with the salt and baking powder, I’m so happy, thank you so much for your encouragement I really appreciate it!!

  9. I just made these today. They turned out perfect!! I did only bake them for 8 minutes though, rotating after 4 minutes. Love this recipe, thanks!

    1. YAY! So happy you liked them, Anna!

  10. I will be decorating these with frosting (to look like little ghosts). You mentioned that they are soft, but are the tops hard enough for me to be able to run a light spatula on them to spread the frosting?

    1. Yep, absolutely. The centers are soft when you bite into them. Spreading frosting on top is no issue at all.

  11. I’m a little late to the party but these are amazing. My son who generally doesn’t like chocolate cookies liked these. He told me they taste like brownies. I cut them out using a gingerbread man cutter. Once they cool completely, I’m going to decorate like voodoo dolls for our office Halloween luncheon.

    1. Oh my gosh – I love it! What a creative use of your cookie cutters!

  12. Do you think I could add mini chocolate chips to this recipe and still use it with cookie cutters? Thank you!

    1. Yes, definitely! 3/4 cup should be plenty and make sure they’re mini. Regular size would be too large.

  13. Thank you Sally! We have been using your sugar cookie & gingerbread cookie for 3 years in a row. They are our no-fail, go to Christmas cookies! I’m excited to try this out with the chocolate chips. Have a lovely weekend xoxo

  14. Will using salted butter and omitting the salt that you added make a big difference in the taste?

    1. Hi Kristine! Not really. You can use salted butter and omit the salt.

  15. Hi Sally, hope you are well 🙂 What is the best way to store these if I am making them a few days before my son’s first birthday party? Thanks!

    1. Hi Alyssa! Just at room temperature– they’ll stay extra soft. Make sure they are in a covered container. 🙂

  16. I want to make the chocolate sugar cookies to make a stacked Christmas tree (with the Wilton graduated sizes Christmas tree cookie cutter set)…
    the recipe says they are soft, will they be hard enough to hold up in a stack that forms the Tree?

    1. Hi Gail! The centers are soft, but these chocolate sugar cookies are still perfect for stacking. I’ve made cookies like that before with this exact recipe. Worked perfectly. If you’re nervous, you can always bake the cookies for an extra minute or 2.

  17. These look amazing! I was wondering if you would be able to substitute the butter for a dairy free margarine or shortening to make this recipe dairy free?

    1. Hi Daniella! I haven’t personally tried it. I recommend shortening or even coconut oil– not margarine. Let me know how they turn out.

  18. Hello. Can you use a hand-held mixer with the 2 beaters to make these? I adk because I tried a different recipe and could not get the butter to cream up very well. I had the butter at room temperature so I’m not sure why I had an issue. Also, I cannot add the flour while using a hand-held mixer. It gets too thick and the beaters don’t want to turn. Any other a available option? I don’t own or know amyone who has a kitchen aid. I was so disappointed to have to throw out the other dough because it didn’t come out right. Thank you!

    1. Hi Deana! Yes, hand mixer with beaters works just as well. Make sure the butter is soft enough so it’s easily creamed.

  19. My family loved this chocolate version of cutouts my only problem was I had a lot of them breaking as I tried to ice and plate up, any suggestions? I did chill beforehand and also live in Florida so would the extra humidity affect them? Thanks for the recipe and any suggestions

    1. Hi Kellye, I’m glad your family loved them! Be sure to roll out the dough to only 1/4″ thickness as thinner cookies can be more fragile. I also find that certain shapes are more prone to breaking – very large cookies and more intricate shapes can break easier!

  20. This was a last minute addition to my Christmas cookie tray- best decision I ever made! They are so tasty and my home smells like brownies!! So much love for this recipe.

    Merry Christmas, Sally!!

  21. Hi Sallay, just found this recipe and I can’t wait to try them! I would like to ask, if I’m using smaller cookie cutters should I adjust the baking time?

    1. Only by a minute or 2. 🙂

  22. Made these yesterday and your original sugar cookies yesterday and they were heavenly; I used Dutch-processed cocoa powder and it gave the cookies a rich chocolate taste that I love.

  23. Would these be a good cookie to use with the dip style royal icing? I’m looking to do a galaxy style royal icing for New Years. I have another cookie recipe that is wonderful for piping on royal icing but breaks when I try to dip them.

    1. Yes, definitely! Let me know how they turn out.

  24. Cute! My son has an egg allergy…any chance you (or any readers) have tried this with an egg substitute? We usually use a flax egg in baking recipes (cakes/muffins/brownies) but haven’t tried it with cookies. I do traditional shortbread for regular decorating, but these look really good! Thank you!

    1. Hi Courtney! I haven’t personally tried it, but you can try using a flax egg instead of the egg.

  25. Thanks so much for this recipe! I made them last night and they were the best chocolate cookies I’ve ever had. They taste like cakey brownies. So delicious!

    1. You are welcome, Jana!

  26. I’ve made these twice and they really do taste like brownies! Last year I made 4 dozen using a mustache-shaped cookie cutter for a steampunk party (Victorian fantasy). They were a hit!

  27. These came out so well!! Do you have a regular (not chocolate) sugar cookie that works like this?

    1. I do! Here are my regular sugar cookies.

  28. I am obsessed with these and have made them 4x in the past month. You changed my life with the tip of rolling the dough out first, which is CRAZY easy on one of those silicone baking mats, and then chilling and cutting. My new thing with them is to, instead of frosting them, slather on some whipped cream and sprinkles. Even better this way (not a real icing person) and super easy too! THANK YOU for this recipe!

    1. I’m thrilled you enjoy these so much, Lisa!

  29. Can I chill these in a ball? I don’t have room in my fridge for rolled out onto cookie sheets….

    1. Hi Sarah! You can, yes, but it’s fairly difficult to roll out the chilled cookie dough.

  30. Christina Sorensen says:

    Hi Sally,
    Do these bake up soft enough to use them for ice cream sandwiches?

    1. Yes! That would be delicious!!

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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