Chewy Sugar Cookies

June  8, 2021
49 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Makes about 2 dozen
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. —Food52

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Chewy Sugar Cookies
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (99 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (52 grams) light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (180 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (I use Diamond Crystal)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup turbinado sugar
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Line two large sheet pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream butter and sugars for 1 minute. Scrape sides of bowl. Continue beating for another minute. Scrape bowl again. Add vanilla. Beat for 1 minute. Scrape sides of bowl. Add egg. Beat for 1 minute. Scrape sides of bowl.
  3. Add flour, salt, and baking soda. Beat 1 minute. Scrape sides of bowl and beat for 1 minute, or until combined and no flour pockets remain.
  4. Place turbinado 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. Do not press the balls down. This will ensure a chewy middle.
  5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, turning pans halfway through baking, until cookies have spread into rounds and the edges look set. 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.
  6. Place pans on cooling racks. When cool, store cookies in air-tight containers.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Alix Augustine
    Alix Augustine
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    Rachael Moss
  • Samantha Daly
    Samantha Daly

180 Reviews

riceball December 28, 2023
Platonic ideal of a sugar cookie that never gets boring to eat — warning: highly addictive! Crisp buttery edges, with crunchy tops, and slightly cakey center. Added a pinch of nutmeg and a few drops of almond extract to give it a bit of a cake batter taste and turned it into a “birthday cake” cookie with nonpareil rainbow sprinkles. Non pareil Sprinkles makes it taste a bit less sweet than turbinado sugar and adds a hint of vanilla flavor on top.
Alix A. August 29, 2023
Mine are flat pancakes (could be old baking soda) but taste DELICIOUS. Recipe is definitely a keeper. So easy!
doubleboiler June 4, 2023
Yet another recipe that says "kosher salt" but doesn't specify which kind. For those who aren't aware Morton Kosher Salt is twice as salty as Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt, so you'll have wildly different results depending on the brand you have on hand.
mrslarkin June 4, 2023
Excellent point! I updated the recipe.
doubleboiler June 5, 2023
Thank you! I had a feeling you must have used Diamond Crystal because I used Mortons (all I really see at the grocery stores around me) and the cookies turned out pretty salty. They're still good - my wife actually commented that she loves the extra saltiness! - but I would have definitely used less had I known in advance.
Parker February 7, 2023
Perfectly level of sweetness, chewiness, with a thin layer of crunch! Not floury like every other sugar cookie recipe I’ve tried. You don’t even have to refrigerate them before baking, just bake straight away! 😋
runnerfemme February 1, 2023
I made these for my boyfriend who loves soft sugar cookies. To make them a little softer, I added a 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar to the dough (with the flour, salt, and baking soda). I also added 1/4 teaspoon of LoRann Princess Cake and Cookie dough emulsion ( to amp up the flavor a little (I still added the vanilla called for in the recipe). I let covered the dough let it sit in the fridge for 24 hours to let flavors develop as recommended by the article on this website: Used this cookie scoop:
And the bake time was perfect for me: 5 minutes; turned the pan; 5 more minutes. Then let them cool on the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. He remarked that these cookies are "wicked." He loved them. (Oh - I also rolled some of the dough balls in a cinnamon sugar mix to make them snickerdoodles.) This recipe has so many possibilities! Next time, might add some lemon zest and a drop or two of lemon oil... or almond extract... or maple extract.. I love how easy it was. Def making again.
mazie January 16, 2023
I made these following the recipe exactly and they are delicioius!
Soft, tender and stay that way for one day only because by then they were all gone.
This recipe is a keeper!
Susan January 16, 2023
These are SO GOOD. Added 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom because I want cardamom in everything, plus just a tiny sprinkle of freshly ground nutmeg. Used a 2 inch cookie scoop and got exactly one dozen cookies. Be sure not to crowd the baking sheet, because these cookies obviously spread. You can also get by with way less turbinado sugar.
lforrest122 January 14, 2023
going straight by your recipe...but the write-up mentioned adding nutmeg, but none in the ingredient list
heidi F. January 13, 2023
The hype is true! These are the best damn cookies! I used half vanilla puree & half Anise extract, SO GOOD!!
Maggie January 13, 2023
Absolutely the best!
GAYMAN69420 November 7, 2022
oh my gosh best this is the best my family is coming over in 2o minuets and ths resepie is the Slay recipe and my brother died due to me putting chocolate in this and my dog died too! :D
samslo23 January 9, 2022
Used sprinkles instead of turbinado sugar and it was a huge hit. My entire family ate the entire batch in a day.
nahrissarush December 24, 2021
I love this recipe! I couldn't find any turbinado or coarse sugar so for rolling I used brown sugar for one batch and cinnamon sugar for another batch. This made the cookies crunchy on the outside but still soft on the inside. This will definitely be added to my holiday cookie recipe box, but they're easy enough to make any time of the year!
Rachael M. October 16, 2021
I make these every year. I follow the recipe to a “T,” but I do have 2 “tweaks”:

1.) you can roll the dough in nonpareil sprinkles, and you get sprinkle sugar cookies. Just make sure they are NONPARIEL sprinkles—ones that look like tiny dots—not “jimmies” or any other type of sprinkle. Other sprinkles will melt in the oven, and then you will cry.

2.) you can roll them in colored or clear sparkling sugar. I buy tubs from the bakery department of my grocery store. Then, you can make them colored, like for a baby shower.
indiagateflours July 10, 2021
Delicious Recipe. Made a slight change, used whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour, the cookie came out much crispier and I found it to be healthier.
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.
Dee A. January 13, 2023
I haven’t tried it, but check out King Arthur’s baking for gluten-free tips. I believe they do not recommend using GF flour for cookies. I would substitute nut flour if avoiding wheat.
Kelliok1 January 13, 2023
Actually, GF flour is PERFECT for these cookies and my FAVORITE is CUP for CUP even though quite expensive it’s worth it. I don’t tell anyone they’re GF and they taste like regular cookies.
Dee A. January 13, 2023
Thanks- good to know!
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.