Why You Should Reconsider Using Chocolate Chips In Your Cookies

If you're making chocolate chip cookies, adding chocolate chips to the dough is probably a no-brainer, especially considering the ingredient is right there in the name. But while chips are definitely the most common form of chocolate to add to cookies, they aren't necessarily the best option. For starters, they're usually lower in quality, as they contain less cocoa butter and cacao and more sugar. As a result, their chocolate flavor isn't as rich, and their consistency isn't as smooth.


Chocolate chips also contain soy lecithin or other stabilizers. This combined with the smaller amount of cocoa butter prevents them from melting properly. Poor melting isn't a bad thing per se, but it does lend itself to a more one-dimensional taste in a cookie. When chocolate fully melts inside of a cookie during the baking process, it has a sort of laminating effect on the dough, almost like the layers of butter in a croissant. This doesn't happen when you use chocolate chips. Instead, the chocolate just remains suspended in the dough, and as a result, the cookie doesn't have as much depth of flavor.

What to use instead of chocolate chips

The easiest way to determine whether any given chocolate will perform well or not when baked into a cookie is by checking the label. Look for ones that are 60% cacao or higher. If the percentage isn't listed, refer to the ingredients list, and take note of the sugar and milk fat. If the sugar is listed before the chocolate, or if you see milk fat listed at all, it's a sign that it's lower quality and won't melt as well or taste as good.


Chocolate candy bars can often be a more reliable option than chocolate chips, but many brands including Hershey's still contain stabilizers and milk fat in their formulas, even though chocolate might be listed as the number one ingredient.

The ratios of the ingredients in baking chocolate, also known as couverture chocolate, will typically yield the best taste and texture. Since it isn't made with any stabilizers and also gets tempered, it's able to melt into puddles that will ultimately turn into layers of chocolate within the cookie.

Chocolate chips affect the structure of cookies too

Cookie dough made with baking chocolate or any good quality chocolate will yield a noticeably flatter cookie. A cookie made with chocolate chips on the other hand will come out a bit puffier. This is because when chocolate melts, it causes cookie dough to spread. Since chocolate chips stay mostly intact, the cookie dough will hold its shape a lot better in the oven. The opposite is true when you use baking chocolate.


If you use baking chocolate in your recipe, you'll have to make a few adjustments if you want to stop your cookie dough from spreading in the oven too much. Using a combination of both chocolate chips and chopped baking chocolate is a reliable way to offset this. However if you want to avoid adding any chocolate chips to your dough, simply mix in a bit of extra flour to give it more structure. You can also shape your cookies so that they're a bit thicker and taller, and when they spread they won't completely flatten. Flat or not however, cookies made with high quality baking chocolate instead of chocolate chips tend to taste a lot better, or at least have a more complex flavor profile.