Donna Kelce’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

from 21 votes

If irresistibly chewy cookies loaded with chocolate are your idea of the perfect cookie, then this recipe for Donna Kelce’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies is a must-try! And don’t miss the secret ingredient that elevates these cookies to a whole new level.

What do football, Taylor Swift and the best cookies you’ll ever taste have in common? Donna Kelce. If you’re totally lost, let me fill you in: Taylor Swift is currently dating Travis Kelce, a tight end football player for the Kansas City Chiefs. Just before Super Bowl 57, Donna Kelce was spotted handing her sons (yes, Travis is not the only football star in the family; brother Jason Kelce plays for the Philadelphia Eagles!) a container filled with her homemade cookies.

The photo went viral, and, long story short, that’s how we’ve arrived here: Soft, chewy cookies loaded with Ghirardelli chocolate chips and a touch of cinnamon!

Unlike your typical chocolate chip cookies, these cookies are generously loaded with top-notch ingredients, leaving no room for compromise. So, if your vision of the perfect cookie includes an abundance of gooey chocolate and an unbeatable level of chewiness, then this recipe is Taylor-made for you!

What Makes Them Unique

  • Two types of chocolate chips. Not only does Donna Kelce use two kinds of chocolate chips (white and milk chocolate) in her recipe, but she also calls for a specific brand: Ghirardelli.
  • Ground cinnamon. The secret ingredient! I love ground cinnamon in my cinnamon roll cookies recipe, but I’ve never thought to add it to good ol’ chocolate chip cookies. This addition adds an unexpected layer of complexity to the classic dessert, introducing a subtle warmth and a gentle hint of spice that complements the sweetness of the chocolate chips and sugar. It’s a small but transformative ingredient that takes these cookies to a new level.
  • All-purpose flour and cake flour. The use of all-purpose flour provides structure, while the introduction of cake flour imparts a delicate tenderness to the cookies. The result is a cookie that boasts the perfect balance of structure and softness, setting it apart from traditional chocolate chip cookie recipes.
  • Activating the baking soda. What’s truly unique about this recipe is the process of activating the baking soda. Before incorporating it into the dough, Donna dissolves the baking soda in hot water. This seemingly minor step is the secret to achieving cookies with a wonderfully chewy texture albeit flatter. By dissolving the baking soda, its leavening power is evenly distributed throughout the dough. This extra effort creates a delightful contrast between the crispy edges and the soft, chewy center.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Glass bowls containing the ingredients for Donna Kelce's chocolate chip cookies
  • Butter: While most of my recipes typically call for regular unsalted butter, like in my go-to mini chocolate chip cookies, Donna’s recipe calls for sweet cream butter, which adds richness. When in doubt, regular ol’ butter works great and is actually what I use when I make this recipe.
  • Sugars: You’ll need light brown and white sugar. Both contribute moisture and sweetness to the cookies, with light brown sugar adding a subtle molasses flavor and chewiness, and white sugar contributing to crisp edges.
  • Eggs: You’ll need 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk for this recipe. The extra yolk adds richness and tenderness to the cookies.
  • Vanilla extract: If you have homemade vanilla extract, it’s a wonderful option to use!
  • Baking soda: Dissolved in hot water to activate; carefully microwave water then stir in baking soda to dissolve. This helps promote an even rise and a chewy texture.
  • All-purpose flour: All-purpose flour provides structure to the cookies. It contains a moderate amount of protein, which contributes to their chewiness.
  • Cake flour: Cake flour has less protein than all-purpose flour, making it ideal for producing tender, delicate crumbs in the cookies.
  • Baking powder: Also helps give them rise.
  • Cinnamon: Ground cinnamon is a surprising but delightful addition, providing warmth and a gentle hint of spice.
  • Salt: Enhances the overall flavor by balancing the sweetness and intensifying the other ingredients.
  • Ghirardelli white and milk chocolate chips: A dynamic duo resulting in a perfect blend of flavors and textures in every bite.
Chilled cookie dough in a glass bowl with two small bowls of chocolate chips next to it

How to Make Donna Kelce’s Cookies

  1. Melt the butter. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter in 20-second intervals. Carefully pour the melted butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  2. Cream the butter and sugars. Add the white sugar and brown sugar to the bowl; cream together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla. Add the egg and egg yolk one at a time, beating between each addition, then beat in the vanilla extract.
  4. Add dissolved baking soda.
  5. Combine dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Gradually add this dry mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
  6. Add the chocolate chips. Gently fold in the white and milk chocolate chips until evenly distributed throughout.
  7. Refrigerate the dough for at least 3 hours; ideally overnight. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for a minimum of 3 hours and up to 3 days.
  8. Preheat the oven and line your baking sheets. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  9. Scoop and bake. Drop 2- to 3-tablespoon mounds of dough onto the baking sheets, spacing the mounds at least 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies for 9 to 11 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 2 minutes then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
A bowl of cookie dough with an ice cream scoop next to a baking sheet with balls of cookie dough

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Scoop, then Chill: Unlike traditional chocolate chip cookies, this recipe starts with melted butter, which means the chilling of the dough is not only required, but essential for cookie success. Donna suggests chilling the dough prior to scooping it, but I found more success (and less spreading) when I scooped, chilled and then baked the cookies.
  • Spice is Nice: I love the addition of the ground cinnamon in these cookies, but a pinch of cloves, allspice or even pumpkin pie spice would also be welcome additions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is sweet cream butter and can I use regular butter instead?

Sweet cream butter is simply butter made with pasteurized cream and salt. You can easily swap in good ol’ unsalted butter in this recipe and still achieve amazing results.

Can cake flour be used for cookies?

Absolutely! It has a lower protein content compared to all-purpose flour, which makes it ideal for creating tender and delicate textures in baked goods, including cookies. When used in cookie recipes, cake flour can result in cookies that are softer and finer in crumb, giving them a delightful melt-in-your-mouth quality.

How can I prevent the cookies from spreading too much during baking?

Be sure to follow the directions carefully and refrigerate the dough for at least 3 hours. Chilling the dough is crucial to help your cookies maintain their shape during baking. When it comes time to bake them, the scooped dough should still be very, very cold.

What’s the best way to store these cookies to keep them fresh?

Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3-4 days.

Can I freeze the cookie dough for future use, and if so, for how long?

Yes, you can freeze the cookie dough for up to 3 months. Scoop the dough into portions and freeze them on a baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer the portions to an airtight container or bag, and bake straight from the freezer as needed.

How can I lessen the chilling time of the dough?

To speed up the process of making these cookies, prepare the dough then scoop it into mounds on a baking sheet. Freeze the scooped dough for 20 minutes then bake the cookies directly from the frozen state, adding on 1 to 2 minutes to the total bake time.

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Donna Kelce’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

NFL football player Travis Kelce's mom scores a sweet touchdown with this recipe for thin, chewy chocolate chip cookies loaded with Ghirardelli chocolate, cinnamon and optional pecans.
Author: Kelly Senyei
5 from 21 votes
Prep Time 4 hours
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 24 cookies


  • 1 1/2 cups sweet cream butter (See Kelly's Notes)
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (dissolved in 2 Tablespoons hot water)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake or pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup Ghirardelli white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped (optional)


  • In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter. Let it cool for 15 minutes then add it to the bowl of a stand mixer.
  • Add the brown sugar and white sugar to the butter and beat on medium speed for 4 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the egg and egg yolk and beat just until combined.
  • Add the vanilla and dissolved baking soda and beat just until combined.
  • In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  • Add the flour in 1/2-cup increments to the stand mixer and beat just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans (optional).
  • Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough for a minimum of 3 hours but ideally overnight. (See Kelly's Notes.)
  • When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Scoop 1 1/2-tablespoon mounds of the dough onto the baking sheets, spacing each mound at least 3 inches apart.
  • Bake the cookies until golden brown and the centers are still not fully set, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool completely on the baking sheets before serving.

Kelly’s Notes

    • If you don’t have sweet cream butter, you can easily swap in regular unsalted butter.
    • Important! Unlike traditional chocolate chip cookies, this recipe starts with melted butter, which means the chilling of the dough is not only required, but essential for cookie success. Donna suggests chilling the dough prior to scooping it, but I found more success (and less spreading) when I scooped, chilled and then baked the cookies.
    • I love the addition of the ground cinnamon in these cookies, but a pinch of cloves, allspice or even pumpkin pie spice would also be welcome additions.
    • ★ Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!


Calories: 226kcal, Carbohydrates: 30g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.5g, Cholesterol: 31mg, Sodium: 258mg, Potassium: 34mg, Fiber: 0.3g, Sugar: 22g, Vitamin A: 355IU, Vitamin C: 0.003mg, Calcium: 27mg, Iron: 1mg


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  1. What should the consistency of the dough be like once everything is mixed and before chilling? Mine seemed too runny which made scooping difficult but is that how it’s supposed to be? Or should it have been sturdier? Thanks!

  2. 5 stars
    I have made these twice now. The second time I didn’t have enough light brown sugar so I used dark and they still worked great! The key thing, I think, is to do the swoooshing thing (is that the official name?) while they’re still warm with a big cup or something to make them perfectly round. I use semi-sweet CC because I never have white or milk and everyone loved them! My new favorite recipe. I have some dough in the freezer now and am trying not to go make some this second. :)

  3. 5 stars
    These are the most delicious chocolate chip cookies we’ve ever made. They are especially yummy when they are warm. We will definitely be making these again and again. Our new go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe.

  4. 5 stars
    Dangerous! These were so good! I am not a very good baker, but these were super easy to make. I didn’t scoop prior but I will for sure next time as the dough is too hard to scoop out. Making a second batch tomorrow as we devoured them!!

  5. 5 stars
    New favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. How could they not be with the amount of butter and brown sugar. The cinnamon adds just a hint of something different. Your tip about making the balls before refrigerating overnight is important. Thanks Kelly!

  6. 5 stars
    I made them yesterday/baked them today and they are great!!! I followed your lead and scooped them THEN chilled them and then baked them. The only thing I would do differently is not take them out of the fridge until ready to go into the oven. They still spread a lot even though I only took them out of the fridge for the short time while the ovens heated up. I used a size 20 disher and got exactly 30. I don’t usually like cinnamon and chocolate together (too bitter) but it added a pleasant nuance in these cookies, so if you are considering leaving it out, don’t!!! My husband is going to have to take them to work tomorrow to keep me from eating them!

    1. Hi, Najia! I’m sorry, we don’t provide those measurements in grams but feel free to use an online converter and the recipe should turn out well!

    1. Hi, Caroline! I haven’t tried using brown butter but I think that would work great! Let me know if you try it!

  7. 5 stars
    Huge fan of all things football, Taylor Swift and sweets so I had to try this recipe. My husband said they are the best cookies he’s ever eaten. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

      1. 5 stars
        This is a really solid CC cookie recipe, top 4 I think. I tried to keep the recipe 100% original, but I had to omit the white chocolate – I really don’t care for it at all – instead subbing in some dark chocolate chunks. I also didn’t have regular white sugar so I used golden, but that’s allegedly a 1-for-1 swap. They came out great, albeit a bit salty bc I used salted butter and didn’t reduce the kosher salt at all, which I should have. Total nitpick though. Great chew, great outside crunch on the edges. The cinnamon is noticeable but subtle, and a nice touch.

        Note: my dough was not runny at all, it made a very traditional cookie dough. After chilling for 3 hours it was actually quite stiff. I did let the melted butter cool quite a bit before mixing, so that may have had something to do with the consistency.

    1. Hi Jen! She didn’t ever post the recipe, she just talked about how she makes this recipe that was inspired (I think!) by a Joy of Cooking recipe from way back. I’ll try to track down where she mentioned it!

  8. 5 stars
    Wow!! These majorly lived up to the hype. Chewy and crispy. Not usually a white chocolate fan but wanted to be true to the recipe. One word: YUM!

      1. I followed the recipe exactly and, while they taste great, they look terrible. Extremely thin and spread all over the pan. Some were over cooked, while others were a bit undercooked. We will eat them but no way could I put them out for guests or bring to work.

  9. 5 stars
    Made these for the Chiefs game today and they were SO PERFECT. My new favorite cookie recipe for game day. Thanks for sharing!

  10. 5 stars
    Just made these and they are hands down the best cookies I’ve ever made. Followed the recipe exactly as written and they came out perfectly. THANK YOU!