Why spend hours scouring the internet for the best cookie dough recipe? You'll love this foolproof recipe! The ingredients are simple, the method is effective and this great recipe works for just about any kind of cookie you want to make!
Use this quick and easy no fail recipe and whip up a batch of soft chewy cookies in no time!
If you've ever had Tiff's Treats™ cookies, then you know exactly how these turn out! Warm, soft, chewy and delicious!
Why this recipe works
This is the best recipe (if not the perfect recipe) to keep on hand whenever you want to offer your guests something sweet!
- Simple ingredients: butter, flour, baking powder, baking soda, large eggs, a little salt and vanilla extract
- Easy to make: combine ingredients and bake! There's no resting time, you don't have to chill dough, roll out pastry or use cookie cutters! Just scoop a handful of the freshly made dough into a ball and bake! Don't worry about making intricate designs or icing - these cookies are delicious straight from the oven
- Store the cookie dough for later - if you have any leftover, refrigerate the rest of the dough in an airtight container or wrap in plastic wrap. When ready to use, scoop the dough into a ball and place it on a parchment lined baking sheet
- Versatile - you can easily substitute or add ingredients to this basic dough recipe and create whatever flavor of cookie you like!
What you'll need
Sometimes simple is best. This recipe produces a soft, chewy vanilla cookie that you can easily turn into perfect sugar cookies!
Butter - I recommend unsalted butter, but if you only have salted, just reduce the amount of salt in the recipe by half
Flour - for best results, use all-purpose flour
Large eggs, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla extract, granulated sugar, brown sugar (not shown) and a little salt-that's it!
How to make foolproof cookie dough
Here's an overview of how to make these - exact steps and measurements are in the recipe card below
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and set aside
Use a stand mixer or hand mixer with a paddle attachment to cream granulated sugar, brown sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla extract
Pour the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, mix on low speed until well combined and form into ¼ cup balls
Place the balls of dough in a single layer onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake cookies at 350°F for 11 - 13 minutes
The cookies are done when the tops begin to crack a little
Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack
If you're making soft sugar cookies, sprinkle a little granulated sugar on the cookies right after you take them out of the oven!
Variations and substitutions
I've always had good luck with this foolproof cookie dough recipe. It makes the best homemade sugar cookies but you can also use this basic dough recipe for Christmas cookies, chocolate chip, or add chopped pecans or walnuts!
A general rule of thumb is to add 1 cup of chocolate chips, nuts or dried fruit. You add this when you are creaming the sugar and butter together.
If you decide you want more chips or whatever, add more. As for the extracts, keep the ratio 50/50. For example, 50% vanilla extract and 50% orange or lemon extract.
As for citrus zest, add as much or little as you like. (For example, for lemon cookies, use about 3 tablespoons of lemon zest and substitute half of the vanilla extract with lemon extract.)
Extracts: swap out or substitute half of the vanilla extract with almond extract or orange extract.
Zest: if you want to incorporate a hint of citrus in your homemade cookies, add a little lemon zest or orange zest to the dough! This always produces a delicious cookie!
Nuts: add a little crunch to these chewy cookies with a cup of chopped pecans, walnuts or almonds
Dried fruit: want a hint of color and citrus flavor? Add a cup of dried cranberries, dried cherries or dried lemon to this foolproof cookie dough
Frosting or icing: if you want an added punch of "wow", top your cookies with a buttercream frosting or royal icing
- Chocolate chip: add 1 cup of semi-sweetened chocolate chips
- Pecan & Chocolate Chip: add ½ cup of each
- Macadamia nut: add 1 cup of chopped macadamia nuts
- Orange almond: substitute half of the vanilla extract with orange extract and add 1 cup of chopped almonds
- Peppermint Chocolate Chip: add ½ cup chopped peppermint candy and ½ cup chocolate chips
- Chocolate Mint: substitute half of the vanilla extract with Creme de Menthe and add ½ cup chocolate chips
- Peanut Butter Cookies: add ⅔ cup of peanut butter to the butter/sugar mixture
For a really great cookie, make sure you preheat your oven to 350°F and bake the cookies on the middle rack
Make sure your baking powder and baking soda are fresh and your butter is softened to room temperature - cold butter doesn't work in this recipe
If you're adding ingredients like chopped nut, lemon zest or dried fruit, add it to the dough when you cream butter and sugar together
Place the balls of dough at least 1" inch apart in a single layer; the cookies spread a little, but not much
Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes after you remove them from the oven
The dough will be soft and chewy, not crispy, so I do not recommend using this recipe for cut-out cookies
This foolproof cookie dough recipe makes 28 cookies when using ¼ cup measuring scoop and the cookies are about 3 ½" inches in diameter.
The edges of the cookies will slightly turn a light golden brown and the center will still be a bit chewy. In a 350°F oven, these are done in about 11 - 13 minutes.
Oven temperatures vary so the cook time may be slightly longer.
Storage and make ahead
The cookie dough can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week. Freezing is not recommended.
Store baked cookies at room temperature in a sealed plastic bag or airtight container.
This cookie dough recipe is my absolute favorite go-to cookie recipe! It always produces beautiful, delicious soft cookies that are easy to make, delicious to eat and fun to serve! Play around with the recipe and make your favorite cookie!
This foolproof, basic cookie dough recipe makes a batch of cookies in no time - perfect for Valentine's Day cookies, Christmas cookies or "anyday" cookies!
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Foolproof Cookie Dough Recipe
- Stand or hand mixer with paddle attachment
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups butter, softened, unsalted (4 sticks)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Bring butter and eggs to room temperature2 cups butter, softened, unsalted, 2 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside5 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1½ teaspoons salt
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all the softened butter, eggs, vanilla extract and sugar using the paddle attachment on a stand or hand mixer; combine til light and fluffy2 large eggs, 2 cups butter, softened, unsalted, 2 cups granulated sugar, 4 teaspoons vanilla extract, ⅔ cup light brown sugar, packed
- Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture; lightly mix with paddle attachment on low speed until well combined; do not over mix (see recipe notes)
- Use a ¼ cup measuring cup to scoop the dough; shape into balls and place onto baking sheet
- Bake at 350°F on middle rack for 11 - 13 minutes; remove from oven and sprinkle the warm cookies with a good dose of sugar; allow cookies to cool for 5-minutes on the baking sheet; use a spatula and transfer to serving platter