Have you ever been craving homemade chocolate chip cookies but realized you don't have any brown sugar?? There's nothing worse! That's why this recipe is designed specifically so you can make delicious chocolate chip cookies without brown sugar! They're soft and chewy, with slightly crispy edges and tons of chocolate chips of course!
How Does Brown Sugar Affect Cookies?
Most chocolate chip cookie recipes use a combination of white sugar and brown sugar. And while they're incredibly similar ingredients, it's not as simple as just swapping out one for the other.
Brown sugar still contains molasses, whereas granulated white sugar is fully refined until all the molasses is removed. The molasses is what gives brown sugar its signature brown color, caramel flavor, and added moisture. Cookies with brown sugar will have:
- Softer, chewier texture
- A richer, more caramelly flavor
- Thicker, taller cookies
If you don't have brown sugar, you can combine granulated sugar and molasses. But chances are if you don't have brown sugar, you probably don't have molasses on hand either. That's why this recipe was developed to just use granulated sugar!
There are some drawbacks to just using granulated sugar and I'll be honest, I'm always going to prefer my classic chocolate chip cookies. But these cookies without brown sugar are a delicious way to satisfy that craving!
Cookies without brown sugar will:
- Spread more - which is why it's important to chill the dough and why there's a little extra flour.
- Dry out faster - meaning they'll be crispier and won't keep as long (but if you eat fast, that doesn't matter)!
- Be lighter in color - the cookies won't be as golden brown as traditional chocolate chip cookies. If you bake the cookies until they are golden brown, they'll be incredibly dried out!
You only need 8 simple pantry ingredients (and NO brown sugar) to make these chocolate chip cookies!
- Brown Butter - My favorite ingredient of all time is brown butter!! Brown butter is just unsalted butter that has been melted and gently cooked to bring out a toasty, nutty flavor. If you've never made brown butter before, you can check out this post with all my tips for how to make brown butter! But if you're trying to keep things simple, you can just use regular unsalted butter!
- Granulated Sugar - Just good old plain white sugar for these cookies!
- Vanilla - I use a little extra vanilla extract in these cookies to make up for the lack of brown sugar.
- Chocolate Chips - If you like dark chocolate, I highly recommend the Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate baking chips. The flavor is amazing and the baking chips are slightly larger and flatter than normal chocolate chips and melt beautifully inside your cookies. Trader Joe's chocolate chips are also some of my faves!
- Flaky Sea Salt - This is completely optional, but I just love a little sprinkle of flaky sea salt on top of warm chocolate chip cookies!
How to Make No Brown Sugar Cookies
Using a stand or hand mixer, cream together the brown butter and granulated sugar until smooth and creamy.
Add in the eggs and vanilla extract and beat until the texture is light and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes, it should look much paler than before).
Add in the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix until thoroughly combined. The dough should be wet and sticky.
Using a spoon or spatula, gently fold in the dark chocolate chips.
Scoop a generous 3 tablespoons of dough and roll into balls. I use a size 20 cookie scoop.
Cover the dough balls and chill in the fridge overnight for best results. If you absolutely can't wait, just chill it for at least 2 hours.
Chilling the dough is super important so that the cookies don't spread!
Preheat your oven to 350°F.
To bake, place 2-3 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Note: I only bake 5-6 cookies at a time on a half sheet pan because they're big and will spread out.
Place the rest of the cookie dough back in the fridge while the first batch bakes.
Bake the cookies at 350°F for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are set and just slightly brown. Remember since these cookies don't have brown sugar, they won't get dark golden brown, so if you're looking for that color the cookies will end up being overbaked and dry!
Remove from the oven and let rest on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and enjoy!
Why do I have to Chill the Dough?
Chilling the dough is super important for a few reasons!
First, letting the dough rest gives the flour time to hydrate. Eggs are the only liquid in these cookies and it takes flour a long time to absorb that moisture. When the flour is hydrated it helps contain the spread of the cookie so that you get a nice set edge and soft, chewy center. This is extra important since these chocolate chip cookies don't have any brown sugar!
Similarly, the brown butter needs to be as cold as possible before baking so that the cookies don't spread too much.
But don't we want the cookies to spread? Yes, we do and they will. We just don't want them to spread too much because then you get a flat, crispy cookie instead of one with a soft, chewy center.
Tips for Perfect Cookies
Measure your flour correctly! It's most accurate to use a kitchen scale, but if you're measuring by volume you want to spoon and level! Fluff up the flour a bit with a spoon, and then spoon flour into the measuring cup. Once it's overflowing, use the back of a knife to level it off. Don't ever pack flour into the measuring cup or you'll end up with way too much! Improperly measured flour can lead to dry, crumbly cookies that don't spread.
Make sure your oven is the proper temperature! Use an oven thermometer to make sure your oven is exactly 350°F. If the oven is too cold, the cookies will spread too much and if it's too hot they centers won't bake all the way through. For example, my oven is about 20 degrees off. So I have to set the oven to 370°F in order to get it to bake at 350°F.
Use a lightweight, light colored baking sheet for best results! Believe it or not, a lighter pan makes the cookies bake more slowly than a dark pan, which helps keep them from spreading too much. My favorite pans for baking cookies are:
You also want to use either parchment paper or silicone mats on your cookie sheet to help keep the cookies from spreading.
Bake the cookies one sheet at a time, on the center rack. This will ensure all your cookies cook evenly and the bottoms don't burn. Then let the cookie sheet cool completely between batches. This ensures the cookies cook evenly and don't spread too much by being put on a hot pan.
Always under-bake the cookies! If you slightly under-bake the cookies (so the centers are still soft when you remove them from the oven), they'll stay soft and chewy for days!
Do the cookie scoot! In order to get perfectly round cookies, use a large cookie cutter to gently scoot them around as soon as they come out of the oven!
Since these cookies don't have brown sugar, they do dry out more quickly than traditional cookies. Store the baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days!
Yes! Freeze the pre-rolled cookie dough balls on a baking sheet, once frozen transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 6 weeks. The frozen dough can go straight from the freezer to the oven, just add 2-3 minutes to the cooking time.
Tips for Success!
For best results I always recommend using weight measurements (especially when baking) because it's the most accurate. Kitchen scales are super affordable and also reduce the number of dishes you have to do! However, all my recipes also include US customary measurements for convince. Use this chart to convert measurements for common ingredients!
Substitutions: In all my recipes, I've included substitutions that I know will work, but I cannot guarantee results if you substitute ingredients that I have not recommended. [For example, granulated sugar and honey are indeed both sweeteners but they have very different properties so they can not always be swapped 1:1. Using honey in a cookie recipe that calls for granulated sugar will yield a giant mess.] In the recipe card you'll find links to the specific ingredients/brands that I use.
A note on salt: I almost exclusively use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt because it's the best all-purpose salt for cooking and baking. If you're not using kosher salt, consult this handy guide for a conversion chart! When in doubt, if you're using table salt just reduce the amount by half for baked goods. When cooking, I prefer to under-salt because you can always add more! If you've over-salted, adding a little bit of acid (like lemon juice) can help.
More Cookie Recipes You Might Like!
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Chocolate Chip Cookies with No Brown Sugar
- Using a stand or hand mixer, cream together the brown butter and granulated sugar until smooth and creamy.
- Add in the eggs and vanilla extract and beat until the texture is light and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes, it should look much paler than before).
- Add in the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix until thoroughly combined. The dough should be wet and sticky.
- Using a spoon or spatula, gently fold in the chocolate chips.
- Scoop a generous 3 tablespoons of dough and roll into balls.
- Cover the dough balls and chill in the fridge overnight for best results. If you absolutely can't wait, just chill it for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Place 5-6 cookies at least 3 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Bake the cookies at 350°F for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are set and just slightly brown. Remember since these cookies don't have brown sugar, they won't get dark golden brown, so if you're looking for that color the cookies will end up being overbaked and dry!
- Remove from the oven and let rest on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and enjoy!
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.