Replicate the famous Panera Chocolate Chipper Cookies at home in under 30 minutes! No mixer, softened butter, or chilled dough needed – just a bowl and spatula and you’re on your way to soft, warm, melt-in-your-mouth cookies.
Back when I lived in Iowa, I’d occasionally drive 20 minutes to the nearest “city” and plant myself at Panera to get some work done (the wifi was horrible, but it was the only option before Starbucks!). In that time, I was introduced to their chocolate chip cookies and it wasn’t long before I developed a love/hate relationship with them.
Some days they were fresh, soft, warm, and amazing while other days they were clearly a few days old, a little stale, and hard. But oh man, when they were fresh and warm, DANG they were good.
Ever since then, I’ve been trying to replicate them and have finally done just that. With the homemade copycat version of these Panera chocolate chip cookies, you don’t have to risk those off-days and can instead get perfect, soft cookies every time.
Whip them up in under 30 minutes and you’ve got yourself an entire batch of warm, soft, melt-in-your-mouth cookies. Slightly chewy on the edge, with a gooey, soft center. (And pro tip: they’re just as good straight from the freezer!)
What makes these copycat Panera chocolate chipper cookies so great?
- You don’t have to soften the butter. This recipe uses melted butter which means you can make them on the spot when the craving hits.
- You don’t need a mixer and actually you should NOT use one. All you need is a bowl and spatula.
- You don’t need to chill the dough. Because the last thing I want to do is wait 2 hours to make cookies.
- This recipe makes 10-12 large bakery style cookies, which means you only need to bake 1 tray.
- They’re perfect for gifting (more on that later).
What You Need to Make Panera Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Unsalted Butter
- Brown Sugar & White Sugar
- Vanilla Extract
- Baking Soda, Baking Powder, and Salt
- All-Purpose Flour
- Dark Chocolate Chunks (I used Kroger brand “Private Selection Dark Chocolate Chunks” and have found them to be the most authentic to the Panera kind.)
How to Make Panera Chocolate Chip Cookies
Step 1: Chop Half the Chocolate
Use a sharp knife to chop 1/2 cup of the chocolate chunks into small shards and slivers (set the other 1/2 cup of unchopped chunks aside). Set aside.
Step 2: Melt Butter & Add Ingredients
In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, add the butter and cover with a paper towel (will help for splattering). Melt the butter for 30-60 seconds until all is melted (no chunks left). You want it hot; if you hear it “pop” then it’s most likely done. *If you’ve made these before, see notes section in recipe card for this change in 2022.
Pour melted butter in larger mixing bowl then add in white sugar and brown sugar; use a spatula to stir until combined. Mix in egg. Next, add in baking soda, baking powder, and salt and mix again. Add flour and mix until all the flour disappears into the dough. Lastly, add the 1/2 cup of chopped chunks and 1/2 cup of whole chunks into the dough and mix. Let sit for a minute or two to allow dough to set up a bit so it’s not too sticky.
Step 3: Scoop and Roll
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop dough into 3-tablespoon sized scoops then gently roll into your hands to create a ball. Flatten the tops so that they’re a thick disc vs. a round ball (see image below).
Tip: If you notice 2-3 chocolate chunks are stuck together, separate them before baking. This will allow the chocolate to be evenly dispersed and prevent the cookie from having a giant clump of chocolate in one spot..
Step 4: Bake
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. You want them to be slightly brown on top and look slightly underbaked (my oven was perfect at 11 minutes). Remove from oven and place entire pan on a cooling rack. Allow the cookies to cool on the hot pan for 10-15 minutes before removing them. This will allow them to finish baking on the hot pan. Once cooled, use a spatula to transfer them to a wire cooling rack.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do I have to chop half the chocolate chunks?
Yes, you do. If you truly want them to be like Panera chocolate chip cookies, then take the extra 1 minute and just do it ;) Having this mix of chopped and whole chunks allows for the chocolate to be evenly dispersed.
Can I use chocolate chips instead of chunks?
So here’s the thing. If you’re truly looking to replicate Panera cookies, you need the chunks. I tested this recipe with chocolate chips and they weren’t the same because most brands of chocolate chips don’t melt down as well as chunks (and therefore the cookies are not as thin). If you use chocolate chips, it will still result in a good chocolate chip cookie but it may not turn out the same as the traditional Panera cookie. That said, if you do use chocolate chips, make sure you are still chopping half of them so that the dough has an even dispersion of chocolate.
How big will these be?
If you follow the instructions and use a 3-tablespoon sized scoop, your cookies should end up being around 3.5 inches. This can vary depending on your altitude and climate, but that’s how big mine spread in Tennessee.
This is not a diet recipe and these nutritional facts are just estimates. But the Panera website lists their Chocolate Chipper Cookie at 380 calories. If you make 12 of these cookies, they’ll come in around 260 calories/each.
Any ideas to gift chocolate chip cookies?
Of course I do! Gift cookies in single cookie boxes with printable cookie wraps and tags (as seen below, coming soon!), gift in cellophane bags with a printable cookie tag or wrap them in plastic wrap and slip in my chocolate chip cookie bags.
Copycat Panera Chocolate Chip Cookies
Replicate the famous Panera Chocolate Chip Cookies at home in under 30 minutes! No mixer, softened butter, or chilled dough needed – just a bowl and spatula and you’re on your way to soft, warm, melt-in-your-mouth cookies.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1.5 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (not packed, just scooped and leveled with a knife)
- 1 cup dark chocolate chunks (You’ll be chopping 1/2 cup and adding the remaining 1/2 cup whole). I used Kroger brand “Private Selection Dark Chocolate Chunks” and have found them to be the most authentic to the Panera kind.
Before you begin! If you make this, will you do me a huge favor and leave a review and rating letting me know how you liked this recipe? This helps my small business thrive so I can continue providing free recipes and high-quality content for you.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (you want the oven ready as soon as you’re done scooping!)
Use a sharp knife to chop 1/2 cup of the chocolate chunks into small shards and slivers (Note: only chop HALF of the chunks – not the full cup we’ll be adding). Set aside.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, add the butter and cover with a paper towel (will help for splattering). Melt the butter for 30-45 seconds until all is melted (no chunks left). You want it hot; if you hear it "pop" then it's most likely done. *If you've made these before, see notes section for this change in 2022.
Pour butter into a larger bowl then add in white sugar and brown sugar and use a spatula to stir until combined (* do not use a mixer for this recipe). Add in egg and vanilla, then mix. Next, add in baking soda, baking powder, and salt and mix again. Add in flour and mix until all the flour disappears into the dough. Note: the dough WILL be wet and sticky, this is normal.
Add the 1/2 cup of chopped chunks and 1/2 cup of whole chunks into the dough and mix. Allow dough to sit for 1-2 minutes to slightly set so it's not as sticky.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop dough into 3-tablespoon sized scoops then gently roll into your hands to create a ball. Flatten the tops so that they're a thick disc vs. a round ball. See image in post for reference. Without flattening, your cookies will be thicker and more cakey.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. You want them to be slightly brown on top and look slightly underbaked (my oven was perfect at 11 minutes).
Remove from oven and place entire pan on a cooling rack. Allow the cookies to cool on the hot pan for 10-15 minutes before removing them. This will allow them to finish baking on the hot pan. Once cooled, use a spatula to transfer them to a wire cooling rack.
Last Step! Please leave a review and rating letting me know how you liked this recipe! This helps my small business thrive so I can continue providing free recipes and high-quality content for you.
2022 Update: Some readers have reported their cookies being cakey. After making this recipe for years, this has also started happening to me. There’s been speculation that store-bought butter has changed its formula a bit during the pandemic. Until we can properly retest this recipe, I am now recommending to melt the butter until it “pops” to make sure it’s hot. This should help the cookies flatten more.
Have you tried the Panera chocolate chipper cookie? If so, you have to try this homemade version! If you end up making it, be sure to leave a comment or tag me on Instagram with how you liked them!
These are perfect! I followed the directions exactly and the flavor was great! Nice big cookies just like paneras.
Thank you for taking the time to leave a review Stephanie! I am so glad that you enjoyed the cookies and recipe!
Jamie Villalobos says
Absolutely delicious! They stay very moist and the size, texture and thickness is perfect. The recipe is super easy to do and to even memorize. Love them!
Mine were delicious but flat. Any ideas why?
Awesome awesome cookies. A little bit more flour is a definite. I doubled the recipe and used closer 3 cups flour. From 2.5 cups to made a big difference between a cookie slide versus a actual cookie.
Amanda Kuhns says
Mine came out cakey too! In all fairness- maybe it is the butter as my normal go to recipe has not been coming out as good as it did pre-pandemic. I prefer a buttery crispy cookie but love the starbucks and panera cookies because they are always a compromise in density, thickness and delish! Usually never cakey though. For whatever reason I can’t recreate it these days!
Ugh, I swear the butter has changed!! I’m trying to figure out why this recipe is all of a sudden getting cakey and that’s the only thing I can think of, as I’ve had issues with butter starting in 2022. The one thing I’ve changed is making the butter hotter so the sugars melt down and the cookies flatten.
Excellent cookies and so easy!! Melt in your mouth delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe!
So glad you loved them!
Made your cookies & they are delicious, love idea of not using my stand up mixer. I took advise from another review & added more baking soda/baking powder. It’s a keeper 😉
I made this recipe and turned out amazing the first time but when I made it again they tasted different and more cakey but I don’t know what I did differently the next times
i love this recipe!! i’ve loved panera’s cookies sooo much but this might be better than the usual! i had a slight problem though and i’m not sure what caused it. my cookies turned out to be too cakey and fluffy. do you know what it is that made them like this?
Fantastic! These are the best homemade cookies we’ve ever had (made). They are exactly like what you would get at Panera or similar mall cookie shoppe for $2 each. Thank you for making the effort to put this out.
I’m so glad you loved them, Tori! They are really my fave!