Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Cookies

July 11, 2021
38 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Makes 9 large cookies
Author Notes

In 1999, my dad and I memorized how to make chocolate chip cookies in case Y2K actually happened. I’m not sure what kind of world we were expecting if it had, but we feared the future might be cookie-less. And a world without the classic Nestlé Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe was not a world we wanted to live in.

I admit, that was pretty ridiculous and, yes, we were mostly joking. Partially because I actually did memorize the recipe and still have it memorized to this day. In fact, when people ask, “What’s your favorite thing to make?” (and when you cook for a living you get asked this question often), I always say: chocolate chip cookies.

Those cookies are always the first in mind, for me, which is helpful because when you’ve got a recipe memorized, it’s easy to experiment with it.

After many years of sweet successes and admitted failures, I came up with my own “perfect cookie combo” based on the classic recipe. Though, after so many adjustments, it’s arguably become a new recipe of its own. In my cookies, I use milk and dark chocolate chips, some heartily ground oats, whole-wheat flour, and a big pinch of coarse salt, plus a little more for sprinkling on top. I was curious to see how others personalize their baker's dozens, so I did a little crowdsourcing on Instagram.

Some suggested replacing some of the all-purpose flour with bread or pastry flour. Others traded in chocolate chips for chunks or wafers. There were plenty of suggested pinches and dashes of things from cardamom to orange zest.

But one comment was so intriguing, I had to try it out for myself:

"With buttermilk added, please and thank you," the comment read. Which immediately sent me on a mission to create a buttermilk-y chocolate chip cookie! After all, why have milk and cookies when you could have (butter)milk IN cookies?

I had to make a few adjustments to accommodate for the extra liquid. I started by adding some more flour. Since the acidity in the buttermilk would naturally help the cookies rise and help bind the dough, I decreased the amount of eggs to one. I also chilled the dough before baking. (This prevents the cookies from flattening too much in the oven.) And, inspired by a recent trip to Levain Bakery, I decided to make these cookies really, really LARGE.

The colossal cookies have both a slightly cakey texture with a gooey, moist center. And the touch of tang from the buttermilk is the perfect counterbalance to the incredible sweet, slightly salty dough. You could make these cookies smaller if you wanted, but their gargantuan size helps make them the perfect texture. This dough recipe makes nine LARGE cookies, which I like to bake three at a time. Each chocolate chip cookie comes out perfectly this way.

And, like all cookies, this big buttermilk CCC is easy to customize. So how will you personalize yours? —Grant Melton

What You'll Need
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups chocolate chunks (I like a mixture of milk and dark chocolate)
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and both sugars. Add in the egg and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Turn the speed to low and add in half of the dry mixture. Once incorporated, slowly stream in the buttermilk followed by the rest of the dry ingredients. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate chunks. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (I typically let it refrigerate overnight and bake my cookies the next day.)
  3. When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Using a 3.25-ounce cookie scoop (I used a #10 scoop), scoop the dough so it overfills the scoop and then mound the dough to make a big ball, slightly smaller than a tennis ball. You should end up with 9 dough balls. Bake them, three per sheet tray on the middle rack of the oven, for 12 minutes. They’ll spread out quite a bit. If you like them a little less gooey, cook them for 3 minutes more. Let the cookies cool on the sheet tray while the second round bakes. Remove the first round of cookies to a cooling rack and reuse for the third and final round of baking.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Nicole Lopez-Hagan
    Nicole Lopez-Hagan
  • Brooke Butera-Lewis
    Brooke Butera-Lewis
  • Olivia Nguyen
    Olivia Nguyen
  • Jon Rhodes
    Jon Rhodes
  • Smaug

16 Reviews

gracebbird September 5, 2022
These cookies were super popular, theyre like the most perfect cookie Ive ever made. I definitely recommend letting them sit overnight! Making them a second time today lol
Kelli February 20, 2022
I have a lot of thought on these cookies. I love the idea of using buttermilk, and if you leave out the egg, this is a perfect recipe for no-bake cookie dough that would probably keep well for 2-3 days in the fridge (if you can resist eating it faster than that).

That said, as baked cookies, these are terribly bland. Other reviewers are correct in they have a cake-like texture. I think the buttermilk and baking soda causes too much leavening. Some modifications that make this recipe work a little better on second try: Sub out 1 cup all-purpose flour for 1 cup whole wheat flour—this gives a nuttier flavor and better texture. Sub out the 1/2 cup of sugar and go all in with brown sugar—more overall caramelization. Throw in a teaspoon of vanilla extract because it needs that extra depth. Increase the oven temp to 375F and bake for 15-20 minutes—you’ll get a crispier cookie on the edges and a deeper color.

To be honest, I am terrified by how big this author’s cookies must have been to get 9 cookies out of this recipe. I got 36 well-sized cookies! With all of these substitutes, is it still the same recipe? No, but we need a true buttermilk chocolate chip cookie out there, and I won’t rest until I find one!
Nicole L. February 24, 2021
This was definitely more than 9 cookies worth of dough, and it took at least twice as long for the cookies to cook through. I am not sure what I did wrong.
Brooke B. April 15, 2020
Kat August 8, 2019
These cookies were a nice change of pace. The original story I found it through states it’s more of a cakey cookie and you can kind of tell it would be by the amount of flour and the way it is added with the buttermilk. I did add vanilla because that’s what I’m used to with most cookies and I used refrigerated dough so they had a really nice shape. This is kind of a blank slate for flavor and next time I’ll add more vanilla or some spices. You have to be open to a new take on the chocolate chip cookie though and know what you like.
Betzy June 27, 2019
These are terrible!!!!!! Pretty, but terrible. My daughter took one bite and said “ these taste like chocolate chip cornbread”. The buttermilk does nothing. BAD. I know a good cookie when I meet it and this one is not. They are so bad I am throwing the unbaked ones out.
Debra June 17, 2019
My husband and son loved the texture of these cookies. I made smaller cookies and they came out soft the way they like them.
SandraM June 11, 2019
Made these cookies and froze the majority of the dough for later use. Really liked the thicker cakey texture of these cookies. And I always have a little buttermilk left in the fridge to use up.
Can never have too many CCC recipes! Always on the hunt for new ones. Always room for another CCC recipe in my kitchen. 🤗
Imagine only having one CCC recipe!?!? 😱 The horror!!!🤣

susan H. June 21, 2019
have you tried david lebowitz's tahini chocolate chip cookie recipe? very smooth dough, yummy cookie with a crispy quality to the edges. my personal fave.
SandraM June 21, 2019
Yes! Another recipe for CCC lovers to add to their collection for sure!
Olivia N. June 4, 2019
I made the cookies this morning (after having them in the fridge overnight) and they are not as good as i expected and I didn't get much tang from the buttermilk. They also have more of a cake-y texture but that may be due to not taking it out of the oven in x minutes. But they are tasty!
Jon R. May 31, 2019
My cookies came out like cake. I followed the recipe, so not sure what I did wrong
Olivia N. June 4, 2019
same exact issue. I was hoping for a gooey cookie
Jennifer C. May 30, 2019
I do this but I add half milk choc morsels and half crushed up heath bar DELISH
Tammy L. May 30, 2019
WHAAAAAT?! 0 reviews? I will make these. Sounds fun & delicious.
Smaug May 31, 2019
There was quite a bit of discussion with the story that accompanied the recipe- F52 doesn't provide links from recipe back to story, but if you scroll down the home page it should still be there.