Chewy Sugar Cookies #2

March 30, 2010

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: One of the things I like best about this sugar cookie is that it’s not tooth-achingly sweet. It’s got a nice proportion of crunch-to-chew. And it’s so sparkly from the turbinado sugar! The inspiration behind this cookie came from the New York Times’ chocolate chip cookie recipe, printed March 1, 2000, one of the best chewy cookies I’ve ever tasted. - mrslarkinmrslarkin

Food52 Review: Mrslarkin’s classic sugar cookie makes use of three sugars: granulated, light brown and turbinado. The granulated gives the cookie a foundation of sweetness, the light brown adds caramel notes and the turbinado’s in there for a little snap. They’re crisp and buttery on the edges and chewy through the center. Perfect for dunking and ice cream sandwiches, we think! Note, if baking them on a dark, non-stick baking sheet, reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees (this is a good general rule for all baking). - A&MThe Editors

Serves: about 2 dozen


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour (I use King Arthur)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup turbinado, or coarse sugar
In This Recipe


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 large sheet pans with parchment paper.
  2. Cream butter and sugars for 1 minute. Scrape sides of bowl. Continue beating for another minute. Scrape bowl again.
  3. Add vanilla. Beat for 1 minute. Scrape sides of bowl.
  4. Add egg. Beat for 1 minute. Scrape sides of bowl.
  5. Add flour, salt and baking soda. Beat 1 minute. Scrape sides of bowl and beat for another minute.
  6. Place coarse sugar in small, shallow bowl. Using a small cookie/ice cream scoop (mine is 1 ½“ in diameter), scoop balls of dough and drop a few at a time in the coarse sugar and gently roll around. Place balls of dough on parchment, leaving about 1 ½“ space around each. My pans fit 12 cookies very comfortably.
  7. Do not press the balls down. This will ensure a chewy middle.
  8. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes, turning and reversing pans midway through baking. Resist the urge to bake your cookies longer, or they won’t be chewy. The tops don’t get much color, but the bottoms will be nicely golden.
  9. Place pans on cooling racks. When cool, store cookies in air-tight containers.

More Great Recipes:
Cookie|Grains|Sheet Pan|Vegetarian|Dessert

Reviews (153) Questions (3)

153 Reviews

angievb254 December 30, 2018
I found this recipe just a few weeks ago and they came out amazing! When I did it the second time I tried adding the zest of one lemon, and it worked really well, so if you want a type of lemon sugar cookie than add the zest of one lemon in before the eggs. Have fun baking!
zoemetro U. February 1, 2018
Hi mrslarkin! Cooked your eggs tonight and also made these cookies. We had a reject result from the recent chocolate chip cookies from Smitten Kitchen(usually her recipes are spot on and I am probably to blame for the less than stellar result)--so I turned to your recipe and WOW!--it is heaven in a bite. As well, I added 1/2 cup puree of mango/butternut squash puree to help my son get some veg/fruit in his body.
Trena H. January 5, 2018
I've had my eye on this cookie recipe for months. I finally made these today as an anecdote to the cabin fever I'm suffering as a result of the snowstorm. They are delicious. Thank you for sharing, mrslarkin!
margaret December 23, 2017
Have been looking for YEARS for an exceptional sugar cookie recipe. These are it! Turned out PERFECT. I like that they're a substantial cookie and not thin. I didn't have turbinado sugar. so i rolled them in demera. I'll definitely be making these again! Thank you!
tanteilonka August 14, 2017
To save time I melted the butter before blending with sugar - this creates a batter rather than a dough, so impossible to scoop and role in sugar. I baked as a standard sugar cookie (6 min at 350 degrees). Decent but that's all. Next day the leftover batter had firmed up (I refrigeratorated then brought to room temp) and the scoop & roll method worked with much better results.
Kerry G. December 15, 2016
I was in a rush to make these, so just melted the butter and mixed in the sugar, and proceeded from there. The cookies were EXCELLENT.
debbykc December 13, 2016
***** Just finished making these cookies for cookie exchange tomorrow. Easy and quick....didn't look like much BUT THEY TASTE GREAT! The turbinado sugar gives them crunch...a bit cakey, but got a "really good---almost addictive" from my husband. Doubled the recipe expecting to get 4 dozen cookies---unfortunately only 3 dozen--used a scoop that had 1 3/4" diameter--extended baking time to 12 minutes<br />
Sahra February 24, 2016
Oh my goodness, these were fabulous!! Bad weather led to my school closing and so my family was treated to your delightful recipe. Thank you for sharing.
Author Comment
mrslarkin February 24, 2016
Yay!! So glad you like them!
Madelien February 17, 2016
These cookies are the best I have ever made according to my husband and 2 kids. They are crunchy, chewy, buttery, vanilla -y and just a tad salty ... SUBLIME! I have made them 3x in the past 2 weeks (double batches!!) Thank you for the recipe!! My husband's quote sums it up, " It's like a pepperidge farm sugar cookie had sex with a shortbread cookie and the fat baby cookie is sprinkled with crack"LOL We can't stop eating them!!
Author Comment
mrslarkin February 18, 2016
Ha! I love it! So glad you all like these. Next time I might sprinkle a little Maldon sea salt ON TOP, I am crazy.
Den January 24, 2016
These cookies are so, so good. I used salted butter (didn't have any unsalted on hand) and otherwise followed the recipe. They were still somehow a little too sweet for my taste -- next time I'll try putting a little less sugar and maybe roll only the tops of the cookies in the turbinado (maybe this is what is supposed to be done anyway?). Overall: great cookie!
ifjuly December 20, 2015
I was afraid there was no way these could live up to the hype simply because there's so much (nearly 2500 hearts and over a hundred effusive, dazed with delight comments!), but wow, they did. I followed the comment about adding 1/2 cup flour to the dough and chilling the dough a long time (mine actually sat in the back of the fridge, the coldest part, for 2 or 3 days) to be able to roll the dough out and make cut outs. I'm sure something of a magical chewiness gets lost that way but the flavor, as everyone says, is impeccable, subtly perfect but not busy/showy, just sort of platonic ideal sugar cookie taste. The turbinado "sprinkles" were excellent too, as many have already noted. And I loved that they were relatively durable--some years I get to party destinations and half my cut out sugar cookies have edges that have crumbled off, so sad, but these were wonderfully textured while being noticeably sturdier, where not a single cookie wound up mangled--and the dough was very forgiving to work with--I kept doing that no no where you cut out what you can, grab the leftover scrap, knead a second, then reroll...sometimes that leads to the later batches being sad, but not these! They are my go-to now, as everyone else in comments has already said. Thanks for giving me a holiday cookie recipe I can rely on and always look forward to in the future! :D
Author Comment
mrslarkin December 20, 2015
That is awesome, ifjuly! Thanks for your feedback, and I'm glad the cookies worked out. Merry Christmas!
Melanie September 13, 2015
This is my go-to sugar cookie recipe, and today I changed it up a little. I added 1/2 t. organic coconut extract w/ the vanilla, and stirred in 1/2 c. unsweetened desiccated coconut with the flour. Delicous!
byker B. December 16, 2014
Love the taste of these, but my cookies did not flatten out. What did I do wrong?
Author Comment
mrslarkin December 16, 2014
Hmmm...I think that happens when too much air is beaten into the dough. I'm glad they taste good!
NotTooSweet December 15, 2014
Oh my mrslarkin, these are so delicious! They have replaced my decades old recipe that I thought could not be beat. Mailed some to my sugar cookie- loving daughter and she called to say they are hands down the best she ever had. Thanks for the great recipe!
Author Comment
mrslarkin December 16, 2014
You're welcome, NTS!
Liz P. December 4, 2014
I was wondering whether I couple freeze these at the "ball" stage, and then bake them straight out of the freezer as needed?
Author Comment
mrslarkin December 4, 2014
Señora H. September 22, 2014
I'm pregnant, had a craving made the easiest quickest batch and devoured it over night!! haha... These are amazing
Trena H. January 29, 2014
mrslarkin - these are by far the best sugar cookies I've ever eaten, store-bought or homemade. Thank you for sharing your delicious recipe. You are a very talented baker!
dotcalm9 January 2, 2014
by far the best sugar cookies i have ever made for christmas. thought i had turbinado sugar at home, but didn't, it was demarara and wasn't sure i could substitute... so i just used large grain and fine grain sanding sugars in red and green. Loved the results!
Dana S. December 27, 2013
These cookies are one of my favorites - perfectly chewy, and with the right hit of saltiness to accompany all that sugar. These were specifically requested for Christmas again this year, and I was all too happy to whip up a batch.
chrissiebakes December 22, 2013
hmm...eleventh hour epiphany on possible reasons why my chewy sugar cookies are not coming out right: Insulated. Cookie. Sheets. I just dragged the last tray out of the oven, whipped out an old stained jelly roll pan, and slid the parchment paper with cookies onto it. This should give a clue as to whether I am on the right track, but still wondering about the flour measurement (sifting vs. not)..
Author Comment
mrslarkin December 22, 2013
Hi Chrissie! Sorry you're having problems with this recipe.<br /><br />I do NOT sift my flour, but I do aerate it very well with a whisk or fork before spooning it into the measuring cup and leveling it off with the straight edge of a knife.<br /><br />I don't beat the eggs for more than a minute. Any longer, and the dough is too fluffy, resulting in a cakier cookie.<br /><br />You can try refrigerating the dough for a half hour - i have never tried it so don't know what effect it might have on the cookies.<br /><br />Make sure the oven thermometer reads 375, and the lesser baking time will ensure a chewy cookie.<br /><br />Good luck!
chrissiebakes December 23, 2013
Thanks for your tips. Next time you are making these, it would be interesting to know the weight of your whisked and spooned flour. I weighed by dipping and leveling, straight from the bag (7.5 ounces= 1.5 cups) and then by whisking/spooning/leveling (this time, 1.5 cups weighed 5.6 ounces). The dough was fairly sticky, so I made some tests with it that way and then stirred in a little of the extra flour till the sought was less sticky. I used non-insulated pans, reduced the size of the cookies from 1.2 ounces to .6-.8 ounce (since they were coming out raw in the middle), and used the oven thermometer temperature as guide. Definitely improved the result.