25 Best Ingredients To Upgrade Your Chocolate Chip Cookies

When thinking about what classifies a dish as comfort food, chocolate chip cookies hit every single mark. They're buttery and sugary with rich chocolate that is oh-so-satisfying. There is much to revel in, from the cookie's outer crispiness to its gooey center. Taking just a single bite of a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie can bring a wave of nostalgia over you, temporarily alleviating any stress you might have. Typically, you can make this traditional bake with simple elements like butter, sugar, vanilla, eggs, flour, leavening agents, and chocolate chips. 

But the chocolate chip cookie can also serve as a foundation for experimentation, from which you can create a commendable confection. From incorporating add-ins to making calculated substitutes, these recommendations will improve the cookie's flavor and mouthfeel. So, say goodbye to cookies that are too dense or downright bland. Your dessert will assuredly reach new heights by putting these clever ingredient ideas into play, upgrading your chocolate chip cookies from classic to classy in no time.

Instant pudding mix

If your chocolate chip cookies commonly turn out crunchy and you would like them softer, instant pudding mix is a simple addition that will elevate your chocolate chip cookies. This is an effortless way to improve a cookie's texture because all you have to do is add the instant pudding mix to the dough before letting the dough chill for an hour. 

Of course, to keep your cookie's flavor similar to that of a traditional chocolate chip cookie, you'll want to add just under 3.5 ounces of the pudding mix and use the vanilla-flavored product. However, if you wanted to let your creative side take over, you could experiment with unique pudding flavors like strawberry or chocolate.

Bread flour

One way to guarantee that your cookies turn out chewier is to use the unconventional flour Alton Brown uses for chocolate chip cookies: bread flour. If you aren't familiar with different types of flour, you might wonder what bread flour is and how you use it

Bread flour has extra protein compared to all-purpose flour, which helps the baked good become chewier. Luckily, using it in cookie dough is quite simple; you can replace all of the all-purpose flour with bread flour, and you don't need to change the proportions. Let's just say that Brown was definitely onto something with this idea.

Cayenne pepper

Cayenne pepper is not a typical cookie component, but this ingredient will change your chocolate chip cookies forever. Not convinced? Don't knock it until you've tried it, because using a small amount doesn't make the cookie taste unpleasantly spicy — rather, it works its special magic on these delicious baked goods. 

Cayenne and other chili peppers enhance the overall flavor of the cookie and specifically bring out the flavor of the chocolate chips. By adding ¼ to ½ teaspoon of cayenne into the dough, the final product of the baked good will have a new level of decadence that you didn't know was possible.

Brown butter

Browning the butter before adding it to your cookie dough will give the sweet treat a more complex flavor. It will also amplify hints of nuttiness that you can't achieve with regular butter. It can be easy to burn butter when making brown butter, so it's important not to leave it unattended. 

Simply melt the butter under low heat until its changes from yellow to brown; you can transfer it to a heat-resistant container so that it won't keep cooking in the hot pan. Then, allow it to cool before adding it to your brown butter chocolate chip cookies. If you neglect to let it cool first, it can curdle the eggs, which you don't want.

Toffee chips

Have you ever tried toffee chips? This buttery-yet-crunchy add-in is a must-try if you want to make your cookies more indulgent. Toffee bits are quite easy to get your hands on; you can usually find them at the grocery store. Another option is to use homemade toffee and break it up into small pieces, which would be quite scrumptious.

This toffee chocolate chip cookie recipe is perfect for trying this ingredient out. It uses equal parts chocolate and toffee chips — ½ a cup each, to be exact. Add in the toffee last when you add the chocolate chips; how easy is that?


Coconut is a fantastic addition to cookie dough because coconut and chocolate bring out the best in each other flavor-wise. Depending on your desired texture, you can use desiccated or shredded coconut. These coconut chocolate chip cookies use desiccated coconut, which is a fine consistency, but still gives the dessert a texture lift. 

Only a cup of coconut is needed for it to make its mark. You can add it to the dough just after creaming the butter and sugar (and before you add the eggs). Another fun course of action would be to toast the coconut before blending it into the dough, adding even more complexity to the confection.

Extra egg yolks

If you are hoping to make light and pillowy cookies, you might be wondering how you can do so with ingredients that you already have on hand. Adding instant pudding mix can be helpful, but what if you don't have time to run to the store? Incorporating an extra egg yolk can do wonders for your chocolate chip cookies

Simply put, egg yolks contain fat, which in turn will make the dough moister and creamier, leading to cloud-like cookies. To do so, you can add the same amount of yolks as you add whole eggs, but you won't need any more than that, as it will be sufficient.

Agave syrup

It is no secret that agave syrup is naturally sweet, but did you know it can also improve the texture of baked goods? You can use this secret ingredient if you prefer super chewy cookies. It can be an ultra-bummer when you make tender cookies only to find that they have hardened up hours later. But if you use agave syrup in the dough, this problem won't arise. 

You can do this by keeping 80% of the sugar your recipe calls for and replacing the rest with agave. However, since agave makes the dough softer, you will want to add a bit of flour (1 tablespoon flour to every ¼ cup agave) to make up for it.

Apple cider vinegar

When searching for ways to improve your sweet treats, the first thing that comes to mind probably isn't vinegar. However, apple cider vinegar could help your cookie dough. The acid in the apple cider vinegar will boost the baking soda in the recipe, making the cookies fluffier. 

Apple cider vinegar is strong, but don't worry — you won't be able to taste it because you only need a teaspoon to see its effects. To utilize it, you can blend it into the dough just after creaming the butter and sugar. Try this clever trick out, you'll only need to take a bite, and you will certainly be amazed at the cookie's softness.

Butterscotch chips

You've heard how toffee chips can elevate your chocolate chip cookies, but how about adding butterscotch chips? The two are both made with brown sugar and butter, so It's understandable to get them mixed up. However, there is a real difference between toffee and butterscotch: how they're cooked. 

Butterscotch is cooked for a shorter amount of time, which results in a softer consistency. So while toffee can give your cookies a pleasant crunch, butterscotch chips are soft like chocolate chips and will complement the flavor of the chocolate. You can mix them in last minute, giving your baked good a buttery caramel-like boost in flavor.

Coarse salt

Did you know that a spritz of coarse salt can embellish your dessert in more than one way? Yep, that's right; this simple addition will make your homemade cookies taste sweeter while also giving them a charming appearance. Rather than mixing the coarse salt into the cookie mixture, try dusting the freshly baked goods with it. 

This ingredient is the perfect offset because it makes the pleasant taste of the sugar more noticeable. Of course, you'll have to act rather fast when sprinkling it on, so have the coarse salt ready before pulling the cookies from the oven. If you wait too long, the cookies will set, and the salt won't stick.

Almond flour

Using almond flour instead of all-purpose flour can benefit your cookies for a few reasons. First of all, it will give the cookie base a nuttier flavor that regular flour doesn't offer. Not to mention, almond flour is gluten-free, so recipes like this almond flour chocolate chip cookie recipe are suitable for those who need to stay away from gluten. 

If you're wondering what the difference is between almond meal and almond flour, the answer is that almond flour is finer. This property makes it more suitable as an all-purpose flour replacement, although you could use almond meal in a pinch — just expect cookies that are likely a bit denser. One thing is for sure: When using almond flour in your cookies, its flavor will work wonders.


There is no denying that sweet and salty food combos are satisfying to the tastebuds, and mixing bacon into your cookie dough is a sure way to create that combo. This add-in is one of many weird chocolate chip cookie ingredients to try if you're daring enough. 

Thick-cut bacon is the best option, though it can be a bit pricey. But it's worth spending up on thick bacon, because it cooks better than thin cuts, is less greasy, and turns out crispier. So, cook up some bacon and chop it into bits before adding it to the cookie base. Not only will the dessert taste divine, but your kitchen will smell like heaven too.

Salted caramel

For another sweet and salty creation, try incorporating salted caramel into your mixture before baking; This is key to Valerie Bertinelli's tasty spin on chocolate chip cookies, and it sounds absolutely delectable. Bertinelli suggests using semi-sweet chocolate chips and caramel pieces in the cookie base, then sea salt sprinkled on top to enhance the flavor of the caramel and chocolate. 

Bertinelli uses the Kraft brand of caramel chunks for best results because other brands tend to melt in the oven. You could even go a step further and add pecans, which would make the cookie a turtle-style delicacy.


Anybody that has indulged in Nutella can vouch for the fact that hazelnuts and chocolate are a dreamy pair. For that reason, it only makes sense to add hazelnuts to your cookies. You can rough chop some hazelnuts and blend hazelnut powder into the mixture, giving you the best hazelnut chocolate chip cookies imaginable. 

If you need to find a way to chop the nuts without a chef's knife, you can always use a food processor or even a pastry cutter. The nuts will give a pleasant crunch to the final product, while the powder will give the cookie base a richer taste, so it's a win-win.

Baileys liqueur

If we told you there is a creamy liqueur you need to try adding to your chocolate chip cookies, what liqueur comes to mind? If you guessed Baileys Irish Cream, you hit the nail on the head. Baileys liqueur is known for being especially velvety with hints of chocolate, and you'll only need a few tablespoons of it to build on the already tasty flavor of the cookies. 

Simply mix the milky liqueur into the dough after whipping the butter and sugar to a light and fluffy state. You could also add a bit of espresso powder to highlight the chocolate taste even more.


Before discovering why you should add tahini to your classic sweet treat, you should first know what tahini is and how you use it. In simple terms, tahini is toasted and ground sesame seeds (typically accompanied by oil). You can use this smooth paste in savory and sweet recipes to add both flavor and creaminess.

It can provide an earthy and rich essence to an otherwise simple dessert, making it perfect for cookies. This easy chocolate chip cookie recipe with tahini is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with tahini if you've never used it; it does an impressive job of replacing the butter and delivering delightfulness.

Maple sugar

Maple sugar can replace the granulated sugar in chocolate chip cookies, giving you deeper sweetness. If you have never worked with this product, you might wonder what maple sugar is and how you use it. Specifically, maple sugar is evaporated maple syrup. It is created by cooking the syrup down, which turns it into a sugar-like texture. 

From there, you can use it as you would use granulated sugar. So, to make maple sugar chocolate chip cookies, you'll have to swap the cane sugar with the maple version. Easy enough, right? This will give your cookies with a gooey center rather than a brittle one, and they will have wonderful hints of maple.


The flavors of Bananas and chocolate are indisputably compatible. Foodies often enjoy this combo in banana bread with chocolate chips or even banana splits with hot fudge sauce. If you want to bake with some bananas, you can try incorporating them into cookies rather than banana bread for a change. 

Banana cookies only require a couple of mashed bananas for the banana flavor to shine through and for the cookie to be pleasantly soft. If you're unsure how to tell if a banana is ready to bake with, try to choose a banana whose peel is generously spotted; this will provide you with the sweetest taste.

Cocoa powder

Making double chocolate cookies is a classic and delicious way to enhance a traditional recipe. You can either replace some of the flour with cocoa powder in your usual cookie recipe or find a formula like this rich double chocolate chip cookie recipe (which makes it a bit easier because it saves you from doing math). This recipe is unique because the chips are mixed throughout the dough and sprinkled on top before baking. 

The cocoa powder matched with the chocolate chips makes for double the trouble in the best way. This combo certainly is made for chocoholics. And you're only ½ cup of cocoa powder away from bringing this confection to life.

Andes mints

If you want an ingredient that will make your cookies taste better and have a more tempting presentation, Andes mints are assuredly the way to go. For mint chocolate chip cookies, you'll want to rough chop the mints or at least break them up with your hands before adding them to the dough. 

Then, you can include them last when you throw in the chocolate chips. Once the cookies are fresh out of the oven, press some more Andes mint chunks into the cookies before they set. This will give the sweet treats a nice pop of mint green that looks quite lovely.

Sourdough starter

You shouldn't throw out leftover sourdough starter because you can use it in your chocolate chip cookies. Not only will you reduce food waste (if you use sourdough discard), but your bakes will turn out lighter and airier, so you get the best of both worlds. 

To do so, just remember that you have to compensate for it by altering other ingredient amounts. For example, if you were to add four ounces of starter to your mixture, you would have to subtract two ounces of flour and two ounces of wet ingredients from the dough (this is because the starter is a 1:1 ratio of flour and water).


Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are a famous variation of the classic chocolate chip, and for good reason. The oats give a certain level of heartiness and flakiness to the middle of the cookie that you can't replicate with other ingredients. As a result, you'll want to utilize old-fashioned oats rather than quick oats in your oatmeal chocolate chip cookies because they will supply the optimal texture you're hoping for. 

To turn your cookies into a classy oatmeal rendition, make the cookies as normal, creaming the butter and sugar first before adding the liquids. Then, mix the oats into the dry ingredients before blending them and finishing the dough.

Corn syrup

Taking advantage of corn syrup could be the solution that prevents your cookies from being too dense. It is the ingredient swap you need to try for ultra-chewy cookies. Although you can scour the internet for a recipe that uses corn syrup, the easiest way to go about it is to add a tablespoon of it to your favorite recipe. 

Since it is only a small amount, it isn't enough to where you would have to compensate for it and adjust the other ingredient amounts. Yet, it is enough to positively affect the texture of the baked good. Ultimately, it will leave the cookie perfectly crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside.


Cherries can be a marvelous addition to your classic dessert; this ingredient will tack on sweet and tart flavors to the cookie while complementing the chocolate. Chocolate cherry cookies taste best when you pair dark chocolate with dried cherries you've chopped. However, if you only have fresh cherries, they can also work. 

If using fresh fruit, you'll want to know how to stop cherries from sinking to the bottom of bakes. According to Mary Berry, this issue can be prevented by lightly coating the fruit in flour before adding it to the mix. Whether you use dehydrated or succulent cherries, your cookies will be as flavorsome as ever.