A new kind of cookie is on the rise.
Refrigerated cookie dough stands tall (along with boxed brownie and muffin mix) amongst iconic supermarket shortcuts to making a truly quick-and-easy treat possible. And in general, cookies simply bring joy—especially chocolate chip cookies. The thing about pre-made cookie dough is that, for many, it holds almost as much nostalgic value as a homemade cookie made using the recipe from the back of the chocolate chip bag. Almost everyone has memories of pulling apart refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough (probably a specific brand of it), plopping the blobs on a cookie sheet, sending them into the oven—and within a few minutes, enjoying warm and gooey cookies...that you made. And honestly, the stuff is so convenient to prepare that we’ve all gone through phases when making cookies from scratch seemed like an unfathomable hassle (right?).
Given what an irreplaceable stand-by refrigerated cookie dough is in the busy home cook’s kitchen, we wanted to find the best brand of refrigerated cookie dough on grocery store shelves. There was a noticeable distinction among the brands that our team put to the taste test. We included the classic brands that most grew up with, and a few “new age” brands that challenged what we know refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough to be.
Overall, this cookie taste test revealed an evolution of how consumers seemingly prefer their chocolate chip cookies today. One editor even mentioned that he wanted to have a sprinkle of sea salt over the contestants to balance the sweetness of the cookies… not the reaction one would likely have had to a shortcut cookie a decade ago. Even the hype over those viral Instagram salted chocolate chunk shortbread cookies reflects a shift in the way we perceive what chocolate chip cookies can be. With that being said, our collectively changing palate revealed an unexpected winner to our cookie taste test.
5. Our Least Favorite:
Pillsbury Chocolate Chip Cookies (24-count, $2.87)
These legacy cookies had the familiar “fake” flavor even though the packaging label notes that they’re free of artificial colors and flavors. These cookies came out slightly more pale in color compared to the other brands and lacked the appropriate dispersion of chocolate chips per cookie. All in all, the cookies tasted decently edible enough not to turn them down if they were offered, but they wouldn’t be anyone’s first choice.
4. Annie’s Organic Chocolate Chunk (12-count, $5.39)
Of all the cookie doughs, Annie’s spread the most in the oven resulting in the thinnest (and crispiest) cookies of the batch. The cookies had a nice nutty, browned butter flavor. However, the chocolate chunks were deceptively small; we definitely expect something called a chunk to be larger and well, chunkier, than what Annie’s brand was packing. These cookies could have used a pinch more salt in the dough to balance their sweetness. Redemption point: As the packaging says, “made with goodness,” all the ingredients are organically sourced and that’s something to feel good about if you’re making these for the fam.
3. Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies (24-count, $2.88)
The tried-and-true OG of the cookie dough world is the beloved Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies, which sadly landed in the middle of the pack. If anything, these cookies reminded people of their childhood, and that’s significant. These cookies baked the most even and were all very uniform; they were crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Though a few newcomers to the cookie dough game were not utterly impressed with the classic go-to, if you continue to reach for this brand, we can’t blame you.
2. Immaculate Organic Chocolate Chunk (12-count, $4.49)
Immaculate brand makes their cookies from organic and fair trade certified ingredients. Beyond that, these cookies offered the perfect ratio of chocolate chips to cookie, and the texture hit a balance of delightfully crisp and chewy. When baked, the cookies were not too thick or too thin—they were just right. The buttery vanilla flavor was what you’d expect from a standard chocolate chip cookie, and we were pleasantly surprised by this brand.
1. The Wildcard Winner:
Sweet Loren’s Chocolate Chunk Cookies (12-count, $4.49)
Overall, Sweet Loren’s Chocolate Chunk Cookies were entirely different from all the other brands. For starters, the cookie dough had a much more natural aesthetic. The dough itself was visibly darker in color due to the use of molasses and a whole grain flour blend, compared to the standard all-purpose flour. The dough was firm and pre-cut into hefty sized cylindrical pieces. When the cookies baked, they were thick, fluffy, soft, chewy, and a little crispy all at the same time. The Sweet Loren’s line of cookies prides themselves on producing GMO-free, dairy-free, and artificial flavoring-free cookies made with simple ingredients, and we were somewhat shocked to find that, as a group, we found them to be the most delicious.