I originally shared this recipe for dairy-free chocolate chip cookies in 2006. It was my first holiday recipe, which I aptly named “Santa’s Cookies.” Since then, it has been a staple in my flagship book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook, and in my own kitchen. I’ve baked it for cravings, for parties, and for gifting, when we’ve lived at both sea level and high altitude. And despite the fact that I’ve since tried various other recipes, these are still the best dairy-free chocolate chip cookies, in my opinion.
The Best Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies (made with Oil, not Butter!)
When I first created this dairy-free chocolate chip cookies recipe, there were no dairy-free butter alternatives sold in my town. In fact, Earth Balance was the only buttery spread on the market, and it had yet to gain strong distribution. But I loved traditional cookies, and didn’t want them to taste like shortening. So after many, many attempts, I learned to make the perfect cookies with oil, instead of butter.
Today, there are many dairy-free buttery spreads and sticks available. But the ingredients, taste, and performance of each one varies quite a bit. So I stick with this reliable recipe for dairy-free chocolate chip cookies. There are no greasy or burnt edges, and I don’t have to worry about any “off” tastes from questionable additives.
Each batch of dough bakes up into wonderfully delicious cookies that everyone loves, including Santa and all of the elves. In fact, whenever I take these cookies to parties, they are the first platter finished. And inevitably, somebody asks for the recipe!
Ingredient Notes, Tips, and Substitution Suggestions
- Flour – For traditional cookies, use all-purpose. When I’m craving whole grain, I bake these with white-wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour. They both work well. I have made this recipe with gluten-free all-purpose flour and with gluten-free oat flour. Both worked out well, but I do make them with egg, not egg-free.
- Oil – Keep the smoke point and flavor of your oil in mind. I usually opt for a neutral-tasting oil with a high enough smoke point for the 375°F baking temperature, like grapeseed oil, rice bran oil, non-GMO canola oil, or extra-light olive oil (not extra virgin!). Sometimes I use melted coconut oil, but it does impart a slight flavor.
- Sugar – I have made this recipe with evaporated cane sugar (sucanat) and coconut sugar. It changes the sweetness level, underlying flavor a touch, and the texture a smidgen. The swap still works, but I recommend making this substitution only if you typically bake with coconut sugar.
- Chocolate Chips – Yes, there are many dairy-free options! See our Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Guide for all of the brands and flavors – even white chocolate and butterscotch!
Special Diet Notes: The Best Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, optionally egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, optionally vegan, and vegetarian. See the flour notes above for gluten-fee tips.
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour (can sub whole wheat pastry flour)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup oil
- 1 to 2 tablespoons plain or unsweetened dairy-free milk beverage
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs (see Vegan Option below for egg-free)
- 1 cup dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat your oven to 375ºF and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
- Put the brown sugar, cane sugar, oil, milk beverage (1 tablespoon for puffier cookies, 2 tablespoons for flatter, chewier cookies), and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until creamy.
- Add the eggs and beat with a hand mixer until smooth. Gradually stir or beat in the flour mixture until fully incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Drop the dough by the large teaspoonful onto your prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cookies just begin to take on a light brown hue.
- Let cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheets before removing the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week, or put the cookies in plastic freezer bags and freeze to enjoy later.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies Option: Reduce the flour to 2 cups, and add 2 cups quick oats (or rolled oats for more rustic cookies).