Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

Can you guess the secret ingredient in this new recipe for the best-ever chocolate chip cookies? Here are a few hints:

1. It’s a favorite fridge item for carb-lovers.
2. It works wonders in cheesecake.
3. It’s not sour cream … or applesauce … or cream of tartar.

Still stumped?

The secret ingredient in my chocolate chip cookies is none other than … cream cheese! The tangy spread has become my latest baking obsession ever since I experimented with subbing a bit of it for butter in a classic chocolate chip cookie recipe. The result is the softest cookie that pairs a perfectly chewy center with slightly crispy edges.

Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

Ready to up your chocolate chip cookie game? Here are a few tips to guide you on on your path to cookie perfection:

  • DO use brown sugar in addition to granulated sugar. A combination of the two sugars results in chewier cookies, while cookies made with only white sugar will be much crispier.
  • DON’T use low-fat cream cheese. These are cookies, not green juice.
  • DO chill the dough before scooping and baking it. The refrigeration period, which is anywhere from 2 to 72 hours, gives the ingredients a chance to bind. A cohesive dough is a better dough, and one that guarantees the cookies won’t spread too much while baking. Put simply: The longer you refrigerate the dough, the better the cookies will taste.
  • DON’T over-bake the cookies. For perfect cookies with crispy edges and soft, chewy centers, remove them from the oven 2 minutes before they’re fully baked, as they’ll continue cooking and crisp up slightly as they cool.
  • DO tell yourself that you’re “only going to eat one cookie” … and then eat three.

Drooling yet? Grab the cream cheese, bypass the bagels and get baking with my new go-to recipe for soft and chewy Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies

Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies

Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies

A surprising ingredient guarantees these Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies are soft and chewy in the center and perfectly crispy around the edges.
4.93 from 65 votes
Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies from #recipe
Prep Time 2 hrs
Cook Time 11 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 11 mins
Servings 36 cookies


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips


  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, cream cheese, sugar, light brown sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture, beating to combine, then stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for a minimum of 2 hours and up to 3 days.
  • When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.
  • 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.

Kelly's Notes:

  • Measure ¼ cup cream cheese by spooning/scraping it into a dry measuring cup and leveling it off.
  • ★ Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to give it a star rating below!


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Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.

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Calories: 163kcal, Carbohydrates: 20g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 21mg, Sodium: 106mg, Potassium: 79mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 12g, Vitamin A: 160IU, Calcium: 16mg, Iron: 1.1mg

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  1. I just made my cookie dough and it’s in the fridge.
    The dough came together super easy.
    My question is, can you freeze the dough?
    If yes, should I roll it out in a log or scoops?

  2. 5 stars
    my husband LOVED the cookie.he always said he would never eat anything with cream cheese in it,he then went out to the grocery and bought a pkg of cream cheese to make sure I had some to make the cookies again.(it only took 2 oz,and I had the remainer from having made the batch of cookies) I was tickled he wanted to be sure I had enough for more cookies

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve been making these cookies for years. It’s my go to Christmas cookies. Just make sure you use light brown sugar it makes a difference

  4. 5 stars
    I have been using your recipe for years and my family loves the cookies. Many have asked me the recipe as well.

  5. 5 stars
    Hi Kelly,
    This cookie recipe is a winner! I have been looking for a superb recipe and finally got it! Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I pushed the flour to 3 cups like my other recipes and it still came out amazingly perfect! First batch disappeared like magic! My whole family just loved it!

      1. 1 dumb question before I start. Do You mean bake for time stated or take out 2 minutes before.
        Just a thought…my oven is a convection oven. Though I di not press the convection setting, the fan still goes on and off to maintain temp. Has anyone made these in a convection oven ? I have read that time and temp MIGHT need to be adjusted. Any tips?

      2. Hi! Bake the cookies for 9 to 11 minutes, or until golden brown, and then cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 2 minutes before removing them. Also, I never bake using the convection setting because it circulates really hot air, which causes foods to brown very quickly. It’s great for crisping chicken and veggies, but not so great for baked goods :)

    1. Hi Christine – I wouldn’t recommend increasing the amount of cream cheese as it’ll affect the outcome of the cookies if you alter it.

    1. Hi Nimita – I haven’t tried an egg substitute in this recipe so I can’t say with certainty what the results would be.

  6. 5 stars
    This is my go to recipe each time I make these cookies. Everyone loves it!!! Thank you for sharing!

  7. You had me at ‘cream cheese’. Made these two weeks ago for Father’s day. My husband and son loved them.These are the best chocolate chip cookies. It was not my intent to deviate from recipe, but I didn’t have enough semisweet chocolate chips so I used equal amounts of semisweet and bittersweet. I froze some of the dough and just a few minutes ago, baked from freezer to oven. How nice to be able to bake up a small batch at a moment’s notice. So good!

  8. 5 stars
    Delicious! I have always under-baked my cookies. Always. I like my chocolate chip cookies on the soft side … never crispy or hard. These are naturally a (deliciously) “soft” cookie so no need to underbake them! They’re perfect just as they are! Thanks Kelly! You’re my food hero! :)

  9. 5 stars
    I’ve been making these cookies for 8 years. They are a hit for my family gatherings. I’d like to incorporate walnuts to the recipe but every time I try it the cookies come out flat and crispy. Any recommendations on adjustments to successfully add nuts?

    1. Hi Terra! Chopping the walnuts up into smaller pieces will help them more evenly distribute in the batter (unlike larger pieces that could weigh down the cookies). Hope this helps!

  10. 5 stars
    Excellent cookie! I get nothing but compliments when I make these for my family.
    I thought about playing around with the sugar ratio, I would like a bit crispier cookie (these are perfectly soft cookies and delicious – the crispier cookie is just my preference) wondering if it will work if I were to just switch the sugars around -1c white and 1/2c light brown? Or 3/4c, 3/4c?

    I am not a baker btw just a cookie lover. :)

    1. Thanks, Michelle! You could def switch the sugar ratios around. It might not make a huge difference in texture, but it’s worth a shot!

  11. Good Morning Kelly perusing your recipe for the Secret Ingredient, Adding Cream Cheese alongside Butter in Choc Chip Cookies – Question? Could one roll the Dough into a LOG, then Slice instead of
    scoop onto Trays? + Doo the Cookie and a Dough Spread During Baking?

      1. Kelly she asked about rolling the dough into a log then slice and bake. I think that is doable but I would make sure the dough is either very cold or put in the freezer for about 3 or 4 hours then slice it.

    1. 5 stars
      Other people I know have chilked the dough. Then scooped into balls #20 scoop The froze on parchment lined plates or small tray. When frozen they moved to an air tight container BUT ALSO added a layer of plastic wrap over the balls.

  12. 5 stars
    Making them for the 4th time since Thanksgiving! My kids (and grandpa) LOVE this recipe! Happy New Year!

    1. Hi Sandy – You’ll want to use regular (full fat) cream cheese for this recipe to achieve the best results. :)

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