Cornstarch in chocolate chip cookies?Who knew. I read this blog post last week discussing using a secret ingredient to keep chocolate cookies soft and chewy. I was surprised to learn the secret ingredient was cornstarch.

I’ve soaked raw beef strips in cornstarch to make the beef tender, so I guess it makes sense. Curiosity got the best of me and I had to try it out. The recipe comes courtesy of Anna Olson and can be found on the Food Network.

I followed the recipe almost exactly. I found the dough to be pretty dry, especially for a chocolate chip cookie recipe. As a result the cookies didn’t do much spreading and they maintained a pale color.

The cookies were indeed soft. So the cornstarch definitely worked. These were good, but a little dry and a little pale. My favorite soft chocolate chip cookie is still this one. But it was still fun to try out another recipe. I might have to try adding cornstarch to other cookie recipes and see what happens.

Print Print Recipe

Chocolate Chip Cookies with cornstarch


3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into chunks (I used one cup of chocolate chips)


1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Cream together butter and sugars until smooth. Add egg and vanilla and blend in. Stir in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chunks.
3. Drop by tablespoons onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.

Recipe from Anna Olsen found on Food Network


67 Responses to “Cornstarch soft chocolate chip cookies”

  1. Rosie — April 16, 2012 at 10:28 am

    I’ve made Anna Olsen’s chewy chocolate chip cookies numerous of times, and they’re one of my favourites!

  2. Meg — April 16, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    I have had issues with almost every single one of her recipes I have tried. From desserts to main courses. There just always seems to be something missing from them.

    • Kirbie replied: — April 17th, 2012 @ 8:39 am

      Thanks for telling me your experience. While the cookies came out okay, I did feel like the recipe needed to be tweaked a little and they would have been better.

  3. Susan — April 18, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Adding cornstarch is a well kept secret. I didn’t knew about this till I came across this recipe. I usually prepare fathers day chocolate hampers and this year I’m planning to prepare cookie hampers for a change. Small tips like this will be highly helpful for me.

  4. Kelly — June 19, 2012 at 12:34 am

    Hey I live in Austalia and I was wondering if Cornflour is the same thing as Cornstarch ? As I would really like to try this bickies thanks :-)

    • Kirbie replied: — June 19th, 2012 @ 8:30 am

      Hi Kelly. Unfortunately I don’t know the answer to that. You might want to try asking around.

  5. TP — June 19, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Yes, cornflour is the same thing as cornstarch.

  6. Deborah — June 19, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Cornstarch and cornflour ARE the SAME thing

  7. Helen — June 19, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Kelly, cornflour is in fact the same as cornstarch. It is a thickening agent, most often used in sauces, but also use in baking.

  8. Shannon O — June 26, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    I just made these cookies and just like any cookie I have ever made with butter they spread… and these spread… when I want soft cookies I use a combo of butter and shorting… but mine came out flat and crispy and I followed the recipe perfectly… and I tried cooking them for 7 mins, 8mins, 9 mins … all them flat and crispy lol… they taste great but look nothing like the photo… to get cookies to look like that for me… it is the combo of the butter and shorting :)

    • Kirbie replied: — June 26th, 2012 @ 7:55 pm

      Hmm, do you use room temperature butter when you make these? I know that some people melt their butter and that can cause them to spread. I’ve had a few people who have cookies that spread no matter what recipe they use. I really want to go over and watch them make it and find out what is going on. hehe.

  9. Shannon O — June 26, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Nope it wasn’t melted it was softened butter… not even room temp butter… but it is just a chemical fact that this kind of fat spreads as it bakes where was shortening gives off steam when it bakes which makes them soft but not chewy… so for a soft chewy cookie… you have to mix them… it was something oddly enough I learned in college… but I believe alton brown also did something about this issue on good eats years ago…

    like I said… they tasted great but very flat and crispy (that is from the sugar to flour ratio)… I have been baking FOREVER lol… and my friends that run cupcake shops agree with me… butter spreads and they have never heard of this corn strartch thing either… but they do cakes and cupcakes and not cookies lol… oh yeah and it wasn’t super hot here today and my house has the ac at 70 lol… so it wasn’t over warm either…

    • Kirbie replied: — June 27th, 2012 @ 8:06 am

      That’s strange. My cookies don’t ever seem to turn flat and crispy. This one time I even accidentally doubled the amount of butter and they still came out poofy.

  10. Ember K — June 27, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    @Shannon O this site might help you out in determining what you may have done wrong. If you scroll down it will show you pictures of a bunch of different cookies and why they came out the way they did. It sure helped me out in the past!
    I have made the Anna Olsen version and the only difference was 3/4 cup of brown sugar instead of 1 cup. They turn out perfect every time.

    • Kirbie replied: — June 28th, 2012 @ 12:17 am

      Ooh, what an informative post! Thanks for sharing

  11. ellen — June 29, 2012 at 3:58 am

    I found out that I can’t make cookies with butter because of them spreading so much,so I use margarine with 80% vegetable oil and I have no problem.

    • Kirbie replied: — June 29th, 2012 @ 8:19 am

      Interesting. I haven’t baked with margarine before.

  12. Becky — July 18, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Good gracious, these are good.

    I’m taking them over to my neighbor tonight. Maybe they will make him want to mow his grass! :)

    Thanks for the great recipe!!


  13. Stephanie @ 52 Kitchen Adventures — July 18, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    I can’t wait to try this trick! I’m on the quest to find the perfect CCC recipe. I hope you’ll consider adding this post to the Chocolate Chip Cookie Challenge link-up. Learn more here:

  14. Denise — August 21, 2012 at 4:54 am

    I’m at high altitude – would you know if there are anything changes to the recipes?

    • Kirbie replied: — August 21st, 2012 @ 8:27 am

      Sorry, I have not had experience baking at high altitude so I don’t know the adjustments that need to be made.

  15. Tara — October 18, 2012 at 5:39 am

    To avoid the cookies from “spreading” use baking powder instead of baking soda. They are awesome!

  16. Gale — October 18, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    I tried these tonight because I love fluffy cookies – was really bummed when I baked them and they spread and look like discs with chocolate tumors. I am at high altitude but thought I’d try your recipe with no alterations. I guess I was hoping for cornstarch miracles. The next time, I’ll try baking powder as was suggested by Tara. I also used margarine because I find that butter really spreads and makes for crispy cookies. I’ll keep searching…

    • Kirbie replied: — October 18th, 2012 @ 10:14 pm

      Aw I’m sorry to hear that. I actually had a hard time getting the cookies to spread at all. But then I’ve never baked in high altitude before.

  17. MIchelle — October 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    What do you do differently with this cookie recipe that you posted in order to add the cornstarch or change anything else.

    Thank you!

    • Kirbie replied: — October 24th, 2012 @ 8:09 am

      I’ve never tried adding cornstarch to that recipe. The pudding mix already keeps them very soft.

  18. Victoria — October 28, 2012 at 8:52 am

    For the brown sugar is it packed or loose? I’m making them atm and Im going to go with loose so hopefully it works…Thanks

    • Kirbie replied: — October 28th, 2012 @ 6:56 pm

      I did loosely packed. Hope yours worked!

  19. Monica Higgins — October 28, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    @ Shannon O – A trick I learned to help keep my cookies from going flat, and helping them stay softer is adding peanut butter. It also makes for a very yummy cookie. I just use my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and add about a half cup of peannut butter (I just eyeball it). The cookies really keep their shape so much better and are softer. I also, like you, do the half butter/half shortening.

  20. Monica Higgins — October 28, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    @ Gale – I used to live in Denver, and the trick to cookies at high altitude was to use more flour. You can try using 1/4 c more flour in a recipe, a lot of times that is all I did. But you can also decrease the sugar a little bit and the baking soda a little bit. You may jut have to play with a recipe you like with these adjustments until you find the combination that you like best. I’m not a pro – I was just the designated cookie maker in our family so I just learned a few tricks.

  21. natasha — October 29, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    my cookies were flat all the time until I stopped using those air bake cookie sheets. I switched to plain old jelly roll pans and parchment paper.

    • Kirbie replied: — October 29th, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

      Interesting! I have noticed how things bake differently depending on the pan, parchment paper, etc. It’s crazy how many factors there are.

  22. Deanna — November 5, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    I just baked these using 2 eggs, 1 c white flour, 1 c wheat flour, 2 T flax seed and 2 T brewers yeast, 1/2 c dark chocolate chips and 1/2 c semi-sweet. Lactation cookies! All that’s missing is oats. Delicious!

    • Kirbie replied: — November 6th, 2012 @ 9:29 am

      Wow, sounds great!

  23. Kaitti — November 12, 2012 at 12:49 am

    Honestly this recipe was a disappointment. I was excited to try them but they ended up tasting a bit odd.

    • Kirbie replied: — November 12th, 2012 @ 9:34 am

      If you read my post, I didn’t actually love them either. But a lot of other people tried it and loved it, so I’m wondering if I did spmething wrong.

  24. a — November 22, 2012 at 6:27 am

    this recipe works better with an eletric mixer, and i even put some hazelnut jif in the middle of the cookie

    • Kirbie replied: — November 22nd, 2012 @ 8:43 am


  25. Caroline — November 30, 2012 at 11:15 am

    I just made these cookies to kick off the Holiday baking season here at our house. I really love them! Mine did not spread at all! I browned them but left the center a little gooey. They are great! I followed the recipe exactly. Thanks so much. Happy Holidays.

    • Kirbie replied: — November 30th, 2012 @ 11:26 am

      Nice! I can’t wait to start cookie baking this weekend!

  26. shannon — January 1, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Made these last night for ice cream sandwiches, they were perfectly fluffy and soft!!

    • Kirbie replied: — January 1st, 2013 @ 1:33 pm

      Oooh, nice!

  27. Glori — January 14, 2013 at 2:27 am

    I’ve learned that if I refrigerate the cookie dough after it’s all mixed and ready, the cookies tend to keep their shape and not go flat. I’ve even refrigerated the dough overnight…or longer.

    I’m looking forward to first trying Kirbie’s “instant pudding” cookie recipe, and then I’ll try this one.

    Has anyone ever heard of putting some cream of tartar in the cookie mixture to help keep them soft. My friend’s mom told me she does that, when I asked how she always got such perfectly soft cookies. I’m not sure of the measurement, though…so might be something to experiment with, as well.
    Thank you!

  28. Melissa — January 26, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    We love these cookies. I even made them in a gluten, soy, dairy, nut, free they were still awesome!

    • Kirbie replied: — January 27th, 2013 @ 11:56 pm

      Wow, that’s a lot of variations!

  29. lilkunta — February 9, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    hello kirbie. I hope this wont make you made but I’m short on time but love the house to smell like fersh bake cookies. Would this cornstarch work for cookie dough? If i mix it in and then cut the dough apart? Will the peanut butter trick work also? Thanks.

    • Kirbie replied: — February 9th, 2013 @ 10:25 pm

      Sorry I don’t think you can add the cornstarch after to premade cookie dough. I don’t think it will mix in the dough properly

  30. lilkunta — February 10, 2013 at 10:30 am

    ok. thanks kirbie. I guess I’ll just have to bake the cookies for 8min for them to be soft. Someone told me to put butter on them, and as the butter melts the cookie softens. Any thoughts on that ?

    • Kirbie replied: — February 11th, 2013 @ 9:54 am

      I’ve never heard of that! I would worry that it would make the cookies too oily

  31. Andrea — February 16, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Looking at this recipe I guarantee if you do 1.5 sticks of room temp butter and potentially add an egg white (bringing it to 1 egg 1 egg white) your cookies will be moist, will spread a bit, and will brown. :)

    • Kirbie replied: — February 17th, 2013 @ 10:37 pm

      Thanks, I will try that out!

  32. Kathy — April 5, 2013 at 11:01 am

    these were awesome! Made some for my family and they were like ” is this pillsbury?” the recipe was right on my cookies didnt look like the picture but they were still pretty and chunky and a bit more brown like normal choco chip!! I will be making these forever

    • Kirbie replied: — April 5th, 2013 @ 11:02 am

      Glad you enjoyed these! I actually have another cornstarch version which I made recently that I love even better, but I haven’t gotten a chance to post about it yet.

  33. Melissa — April 6, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    I have been making really fluffy cookies for years with a combo of butter/butter flavored shortening. I made these tonight, and followed the directions exactly – and mine fell flat. Not CRAZY flat, but definitely not a fluffy cookie. The reason I’m commenting is because I live in a higher altitude, and have to adjust my flour accordingly. Today I decided to follow the directions exactly, but feel like if I added 1/4 -1/2 cup more flour, these probably would have turned out better. Just a little note for those of us living the high life! :)

    I will try these again – with more flour next time! Thanks for the recipe!

  34. Heather — April 13, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Delicious cookies, no doubt. Although we followed directions exactly, ours were flat.

    • Kirbie replied: — April 14th, 2013 @ 5:49 pm

      That is strange. Mine did not turn out flat. As I mentioned, this wasn’t my favorite recipe and I’ve actually found another cornstarch one I like better, though a lot of people really love this one. It seems like the cornstarch should prevent the cookies from going flat. I wonder if maybe you had too much butter?

  35. Tara — April 17, 2013 at 5:50 am

    Thanks for the recipe! I made two batches for my coworkers and have gotten lots of compliments! I used 3/4 cup of brown sugar instead of the full cup and I ended up using half vanilla and half almond extract. They came out a little flat but definitely soft and, most importantly, yummy! Thanks again!

    • Kirbie replied: — April 17th, 2013 @ 8:34 am

      Glad you enjoy the recipe. Thanks for sharing your variation!

  36. Shannon — April 24, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Just made these cookies, exactly as the recipe states, and they are awesome! Crispy on the outside, soft and gooey on the inside. These cookies barely spread, I always bake on a stone, maybe that plays a part? Next time I might add a little cinnamon, just because I love it. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Kirbie replied: — April 24th, 2013 @ 2:56 pm

      Hmm, I think the stone might be the reason they barely spread. Glad you like them though!

  37. Jaclyn — July 2, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    There’s been a lot of talk about these cookies spreading. Yes, anything with butter will spread a little bit. The trick is to refrigerate the dough for about 20 mins before you bake it. Learned it from good ol’ Martha Stewart! Works every time!

    • Kirbie replied: — July 3rd, 2013 @ 12:33 am

      I actually have had issues with the cookies spreading. In fact, they don’t spread much at all. You sort of have to press down on them to help them spread.

  38. Brooke — October 6, 2013 at 10:21 am

    I did not have any problems with mine spreading out. I did however make my cookies gluten free. I used 2 C of my gluten free baking mix, 1 t of baking powder instead of soda, and 1.5 t of xanthium gum. Delicious!

    • Kirbie replied: — October 6th, 2013 @ 11:20 pm

      I’ll have to try it with gluten free baking mix sometime!

  39. Theresa — December 12, 2013 at 10:44 am

    I’ve seen recipes that swear by refrigerating the dough for at least an hour before baking,(and it seems to work for me) will this hurt this recipe?

    • Kirbie replied: — December 12th, 2013 @ 12:10 pm

      I don’t think it will hurt the recipe.

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