Bake

Chewy Sugar Cookies #2

by:
March 30, 2010
23 Ratings
Author Notes

I created this sugar cookie recipe for a Food52 recipe contest in 2010. (Spoiler alert: It won!) 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 on March 1, 2000, one of the best chewy cookies I’ve ever tasted.

These days I’ve been adding a pinch of nutmeg to my sugar cookies because Stella Parks once said it enhances their butteriness. I also like to bake them all different sizes, most recently: one HUGE cookie as big as my face! I've so enjoyed reading the comments section on this recipe page. Everyone's ideas are great, additions like: lemon zest, coconut extract and shredded coconut, more flour so you can roll-and-cut, and jam for thumbprints. Thank you all for making this sugar cookie recipe yours. —mrslarkin

Test Kitchen Notes

What makes a perfect sugar cookie? More than 150 rave reviews and nearly 3,000 saves is what. All of you agreed that this was it: Voted "Your Best Chewy Sugar Cookie," this recipe has been a Food52 favorite since 2010, not least because they're so easy to make. There's no rolling nor cutting involved—just scooping and baking. And for such a short ingredient list, their flavor is incomparable.

Mrslarkin’s classic sugar cookies make 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 is in there for a little snap. These sugar cookies are crisp and buttery on the edges and chewy through the center. Perfect for dunking and ice cream sandwiches, we think, and for the holidays.

Note: If baking them on a dark, nonstick baking sheet, reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees (this is a good general rule for all baking). —A&M

Featured in: The Sugar Cookie Recipe That Won Contests, Changed Lives. —The Editors

Watch This Recipe
Chewy Sugar Cookies #2
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Makes about 2 dozen
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at 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
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two 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 1/2 inches 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 1/2 inches of 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 to 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Samantha Daly
    Samantha Daly
  • Lauren Malkani
    Lauren Malkani
  • AngieGH
    AngieGH
  • Eric Kim
    Eric Kim
  • zoemetro uk
    zoemetro uk

160 Reviews

BettyH December 8, 2020
For some reason my cookies didn't go flat, more like haystacks. I don't believe I over -rolled them. But something went askew. They have nice colouring and are chewy. Any suggestions?
I love this site - thank you.
 
alisonia September 26, 2020
Thank you for this recipe. These cookies are delicious! I rolled them in turbinado sugar and sprinkled Maldon sea salt on top in the middle. I used two different cookie sheets to see how they would differ. My oven thermometer registered 375 degrees, and I used a 1.5 teaspoon cookie scoop, as recommended. On an insulated sheet I had to bake them 13 min to get a golden brown bottom. They flattened nicely and the chewiness stayed intact! Baked separately as a second batch, the cookies on a non-insulated aluminum sheet pan baked for 10 minutes and didn’t flatten as much as the first batch. Same dough, prepared with slightly less than one minute of beating the egg to make sure I didn’t whip in too much air. I’m thinking the results do have something to do with the pan you use.
 
SusieI September 24, 2020
Hi, wondering if anyone has tried making these with gluten free flour, and if the recipe would need to be adjusted at all.
Thanks!
 
SPark0101 September 22, 2020
Whoa delicious! Made this with salted butter and skipped the turbinado. It was the perfect balance of crunch and chew, sweet and salt. Also the perfect size batch.
 
Samantha D. August 19, 2020
These are amazing and so easy to make—almost TOO easy! Onto making my third batch as these disappear from my house within a day.
 
Therese April 10, 2020
Perfect sugar cookie!. Super easy.
 
Lauren M. April 6, 2020
Everything you want in a cookie- simple, easy and wonderfully delicious.
 
AngieGH December 14, 2019
Easy recipe. Very good sugar cookie. Nice and chewy and love them rolled in the turbinado sugar.
 
Eric K. December 2, 2019
I adore this cookie.
 
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.
 
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
 
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!