These Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies are chewy and dense with a flavor that will blow you away! The cream cheese keeps these cookies incredibly soft and tender and adds just a hint of tang.
There are few things I love more than a chewy chocolate chip cookie and there is no shortage of different recipes on CLF. These soft batch cream cheese ones are right up there with my Childhood Chocolate Chip Cookies and these Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. If you don’t have cream cheese on hand and the CCC craving strikes, make one of those.
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Tips for the best Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Don’t Underbake: Now I don’t say this often but I would be weary of underbaking these cookies. While they were delicious when baked to my usual underbaked perfection, they were outstanding when baked just several minutes longer. They puffed up a bit more and the texture was truly amazing.
- Chip to Dough Ratio: I am a firm believer that chocolate chip cookies should have just enough dough to hold all of the chocolate chips. This dough is so delightful that I wanted just a little more dough to chocolate. I wanted that chewy, tanginess present in each bite.
- Mix up the chips: I used a mixture of bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolate chips because I love the way bittersweet chips temper the sweetness of the cookies.
- Perfectly Softened: The cream cheese and butter should be cold but soft and pliable. That way they will incorporate smoothly together and cream nicely with the sugar but not take on too much air. This will help them stay chewy rather than cakey.
Ingredients needed for Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Butter: I use unsalted butter for baking, because you want to control the amount of salt you are adding. Every brand is different and it makes adjusting the recipe a challenge.
- Cream Cheese: Cream cheese in cookies gives them a soft, chewy texture. It also adds a nice tang and rounds out some of the sweetness. I always use full fat cream cheese, but you could use reduced fat as well. Just not whipped!
- Kosher Salt: Kosher salt is lass salty than table salt and a teaspoon weighs less than other finer ground varieties. . It heightens the flavor here and will keep your pastries for tasting dull or flat.
- Light Brown Sugar: Using light brown sugar adds sweetness along with a little moisture. This will keep the cookies softer while adding a nice, rich molasses flavor.
- Granulated Sugar: Granulated sugar is obviously here for sweetness, but if you add too much in proportion to the butter and flour, the cookies will spread rather than stay tall and chewy
- Whole Egg: The eggs are here to add fat, moisture and leavening. The fat from the yolk adds richness and helps keep the cream cheese chocolate chip cookies chewy. Beating in the eggs just enough will add a little or a lot of leavening depending on the desired texture. Eggs also emulsify the batter and keep everything texturally perfect.
- Vanilla Extract: Vanilla Extract adds a beautiful flavor itself but it also boosts the flavor of other ingredients around it such as chocolate and brown sugar.
- All-purpose flour: All-purpose flour has just the right amount of gluten to make a chewy, soft chewy cookies.
- Cornstarch: Adding cornstarch to cookies helps make them chewy and thick.
The Most Important Ingredient...Chocolate Chips!
- Chocolate Chips: I use a mix of semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate chips for contrasting flavors and to balance some of the sweetness.
Substitutions for Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Low Fat Cream Cheese: I always use full fat cream cheese for the flavor and texture benefits in these cream cheese chocolate chip cookies, but you could use low fat cream cheese here as well. Whipped cream cheese is not suggested.
- Cornstarch: If you don’t have cornstarch you can omit it or you can use tapioca starch instead.
- Light Brown Sugar: If you don’t have LBS on hand, you can absolutely substitute dark brown sugar in equal amounts. The flavor will just be a bit more robust but you will still get all the benefits of the added moisture and caramel notes.
Variations for Cookies
- Mix ins: Get crazy with it! Add oats, peanut butter chips, M&M’s, butterscotch chips or mini snickers. Or all of them for a party like in these Kitchen Sink Chocolate Chip Cookies!
- Stuffed: Flatten each cookie dough ball into a disk and then wrap it around a frozen scoop of peanut butter, caramel candy or more chocolate!
- Salty Sweet: Sprinkle the top with fleur de sel for an elevated salty sweet finish!
Professional Chef Tip
Even though these Chocolate Chip Cookies are stacking the deck for chewiness with the added cream cheese and cornstarch, you still want to barely cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar. Beat just until a smooth paste forms. This will keep extra air from incorporating into the dough, which will make for chewier cookies.
Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies
- ½ cup unsalted butter (softened)
- ¼ cup cream cheese (softened (don’t use fat free, light or whipped cream cheese!))
- ¾ cup light brown sugar (packed)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt (kosher or sea salt)
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli)
- ½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli)
- Whisk together in a medium bowl the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- Cream butter and cream cheese. Add sugars, egg and vanilla together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. I use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
- Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture. After each addition mix until just incorporated. I do 5-7 small additions.
- Add the chocolate chips and mix briefly to distribute.
- You can refrigerate the dough or not. I actually baked one right after mixing (#impatience) and it was just as thick as the ones I baked the next day. I do, however, think the flavors are enhanced after a little refrigeration, so I would suggest refrigerating the dough 2 hours or up to 3 days before baking.
- Scoop the dough using a 2” cookie scoop or a ¼ cup measuring cup. Chill or bake immediately.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350° F and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Place cookie dough balls 2” apart on the cookie sheet. These cookies really don’t spread that much.
- Bake 11-12 minutes. The sides should just be starting to brown. You don’t want them to be brown. Just have a nice kiss of color. Let them cool 5 minutes on the baking sheet and then move to a wire rack to cool completely.