Paleo or not, this is one of the best chocolate chip cookie recipes you’ll ever try. Best right out of the oven, these paleo chocolate chip cookies have the requisite crispy edges and soft centers and are studded with flecks and pools of rich dark chocolate. You can even make the dough ahead of time (see recipe notes). Make a batch today!
I may have two other recipes for paleo chocolate chip cookies on this site, but this one is different because it is, hands down, the best chocolate chip cookie recipe I have ever made. And eaten. That goes without saying, I hope.
Did you catch that I didn’t say that this is the best paleo chocolate chip cookie recipe I’ve ever made? That was intentional. Of all the chocolate chip cookie recipes I’ve made in my entire life, this one is better than anything with wheat or real sugar or any amount of butter. But it is completely gluten free, grain free, and paleo.
That’s right: one of the best cookies I’ve ever made start with blanched almond flour*. Almond flour chocolate chip cookies beat the dark chocolate out of Mrs. Fields. It blows my mind, too.
How is it possible?
Well, nearly a year of testing and tweaking, dozens of test batches, and eventually landing on the perfect recipe taught me one thing: don’t stray too far from the basic recipe. But more on that in a second.
Wait, let’s back up: why does the world need another recipe for paleo chocolate chip cookies?
You might argue that it doesn’t, but… I believe you’d be wrong. There are probably hundreds of recipes out there, and certainly thousands of conventional chocolate chip cookie recipes, but none of them were quite right.
What’s wrong with what’s already out there?
Well the conventional recipes out there are… conventional. They’re full of wheat flour and white sugar, which is a no-go for me. You too, I assume.
Then there are a whole slew of allergen free versions: the gluten free cookies are full of grains that don’t agree with me, and the vegan ones don’t contain eggs (which, if you can tolerate them, make a huge difference in making the perfect chocolate chip cookies)(but if you can’t tolerate eggs, these are pretty dang good), but often contain wheat flour.
The paleo chocolate chip cookie recipes, however, are usually either too cakey for my taste, or rely on a huge amount of almond butter/sunflower seed butter/peanut butter as the base, which can be pricey – and I’ve gotten dozens of emails from you guys, saying that a recipe that starts with half of a $14 jar of almond butter is not appealing to you. Me, neither.
So I set out to make something better. Not just better – best.
Criteria for a mind-blowing paleo chocolate chip cookie recipe
- No unnecessary (or conventional) ingredients
- Easy to make
- Crispy edges
- Soft centers
- Tons of gooey chocolate deposits
That’s a lot, I know. We need to go through them one at a time.
No Unnecessary Ingredients
The best conventional chocolate chip cookie recipes always contain the same ingredients (albeit in slightly different ratios), and if you have a sweet tooth like I have always had, you’ve likely made enough of them to be able to recite the ingredients off of the top of your head: butter, brown sugar, white sugar (cream together); add vanilla and eggs; combine with dry ingredients consisting of flour, salt, and leavener. Fold in regular chocolate chips (boo milk chocolate). Plop scoops of cookie dough on a baking sheet, bake, eat.
Nothing good comes from unnecessary complication. I intentionally designed this recipe to stick as close to the tried-and-true conventional chocolate chip cookie recipes as possible. If you scroll down and look at the recipe (go look… I’ll wait… come on back here when you’re done!), you’ll see a lot of familiar ingredients: fat, sweetener, flour, baking soda, vanilla extract, sea salt, dark chocolate chips, etc.- but in paleo cookies, they are all gluten free, unprocessed, grain free versions.
Easy to make
Tweaking the ingredients is not as easy as I am making it sound. It’s not just a question of taking your favorite conventional recipe and swapping the wheat flour out for almond flour and coconut flour, and the butter out for coconut oil. Grain free/unprocessed ingredients often act very differently than their conventional counterparts, and the recipe has to account for that.
Take sweetener, for example: replacing white sugar with coconut sugar is one of the simplest swaps I can think of. Nonetheless, even that small change creates a cookie with a different flavor (less sweet, more caramel-y), texture (may spread more or less, or be more grainy, depending on the coarseness of the coconut sugar you’re using), and color (browner, for obvious reasons).
So, don’t try this at home, kids. But you don’t need to. I’ve already made sure to compensate for the extra moisture in the maple syrup, the extra meltiness of the coconut oil, and the extra absorbency of the coconut flour.
The upside – and the easy part – is that replacement ingredients can actually produce an easier, more allergy-friendly paleo chocolate chip cookie recipe. Because you’re using melted coconut oil and liquid sweetener (maple syrup), there is no way to cream the fat and sweetener together the way you would as the base of conventional cookie dough. So, the paleo cookies actually require less prep time, less equipment, and fewer dishes.
And, if you use dairy free chocolate chips, (I like Enjoy Life [not sponsored, I just really like this brand]) the coconut oil actually makes the cookie entirely dairy free too.
Crispy Edges and Soft Centers
These two point are, in my book, non-negotiable, and the difference between a good cookie and a great cookie. My other paleo recipes for chocolate chip cookies nailed the soft center part, but never struck the balance I have been looking for.
The first key to is using a sweetener that caramelizes as it cooks (which stevia or monk fruit, unfortunately, does not), producing those crisp, golden brown cookie edges. The second: using room temperature eggs. Egg is the other source of structure (and crispiness) in a cookie that is key for these cookies and room temperature eggs incorporate better into the batter so that they are evenly distributed.
Also, cold eggs will chill your oil and create weird greasy pockets of oil in the cookies. Ick.
A couple of other notes:
- Make sure you use a cookie scoop, if possible, to portion your cookie dough evenly. Similar-sized cookies produce uniformly crispy edges. Cookies of all different sizes won’t cook at the same rate so some of them might be burned while the others are just crisping up.
- Don’t forget to line your baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper, to prevent the bottom of the cookies from sticking or burning.
- The crispy edges don’t last forever. These cookies are best within a few hours of baking; once you store them in an airtight container overnight, the moisture redistributes and produces a softer, cake-ier cookie. To compensate, add a few minutes of bake time or store them in the fridge after the first day.
Those gooey chocolate deposits
You know the saying “you eat with your eyes first”? Well that goes doubly so for chocolate chip cookies, in my experience. I’m talking about the perfect spread, the perfect crispy edges, and the perfect ratio of dark chocolate flecks and dark chocolate lagoons throughout the cookie.
I know these are called paleo chocolate chip cookies, but the secret to getting the perfect chocolatey look and feel is actually (gasp!) chocolate chunks. Not bagged chunks, though. It’s really important to DIY your chunks by chopping up a bar of dark chocolate.
Bagged chips and chunks contain additives that force the chocolate to maintain its shape, rather than melting into those perfect pools we’re looking for. They also don’t produce the flecks – the byproducts of chopping up a bar of chocolate that doesn’t always want to split cleanly (and that’s ok). The flecks + lagoons mean you’re always getting the perfect amount of chocolate in every bite; even when you’re not biting into a chunk of chocolate, you are still covered.
And that’s the way the best chocolate chip cookies should always be, don’t you think?
*I get a lot of questions about the difference between almond meal and almond flour. Although the terms are generally used interchangeably in packaging, your best bet is to look for a product that is called blanched almond flour (or blanched almond flour/almond meal).You want a product that is very finely ground and cream colored without any specks of brown in it. I recommend Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour (found online) or Bob’s Red Mill Blanched Almond Flour (found online or in the natural aisle of many supermarkets; sometimes, in stores, the packaging reads “blanched almond meal/almond flour”). Read more about the differences between almond meal and almond flour – and what you should be thinking about when selecting ingredients – here.
I have had several questions about making the dough ahead of time. You can follow the instructions through step 7, and then freeze the dough balls in single layers for a minimum of 6 hours. Then, preheat the oven, and bake from frozen for 15-17 minutes.
To freeze, I recommend placing dough balls on a small, wax paper-lined baking sheet or dinner plate, freezing solid, and then transferring to an airtight container or zip top bag where they no longer have to be in a single layer.
- 1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 large egg, beaten (must be room temperature)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup (warmed to room temperature)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate, or dark chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone pad or parchment paper, and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut sugar, coconut flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk the egg, then whisk in the oil, maple syrup, and vanilla.
- Pour the wet (egg, etc.) mixture into the dry (flour, etc.) mixture and stir to combine.
- Fold in chocolate until well distributed.
- Let the dough rest 10-12 minutes. It will firm up.
- Use a small cookie scoop (about 1 heaping tablespoon) to create 30-31 dough balls. Place them, evenly spaced, on the prepared cookie sheet.
- Optional: sprinkle a little coarse salt on top of each cookie.
- Bake for 9-11 minutes, until golden brown and crisp around the edges.
- Remove from oven and allow the cookies to cool for 10-15 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- You can use butter or ghee instead of coconut oil, but your cookies won't spread very much, so make sure to gently press them into a thick disc before baking.
- Make sure you use a cookie scoop, if possible, to portion your cookie dough evenly. Similar-sized cookies produce uniformly crispy edges. Cookies of all different sizes won't cook at the same rate so some of them might be burned while the others are just crisping up.
- Don't forget to line your baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper, to prevent the bottom of the cookies from sticking or burning.
- Do not try to transfer your cookies off of the baking sheet right out of the oven. They will be too soft and will fall apart. Let them cool and firm up on the baking sheet, as the recipe requires, even though it is torture!
- The crispy edges don't last forever. These cookies are best within a few hours of baking; once you store them in an airtight container overnight, the moisture redistributes and produces a softer, cake-ier cookie. To compensate, add a few minutes of bake time or store them in the fridge after the first day. After about the 5th day, transfer them to the freezer.
- To make the dough ahead of time, follow the instructions through step 7, and then freeze the dough balls in single layers for a minimum of 6 hours. Then, preheat the oven, and bake from frozen for 10-12 minutes.
- When freezing, I recommend placing dough balls on a small, wax paper-lined baking sheet or dinner plate, freezing solid, and then transferring to an airtight container or zip top bag where they no longer have to be in a single layer.
- For larger cookies, use a medium cookie scoop (about 2 tablespoons of dough per cookie) to make about 16-18 cookies, and bake for 13-16 minutes. If freezing the larger balls, bake from frozen for about 15-17 minutes.
- For a thinner, chewier cookie, use 1/2 cup of coconut flour and rest for 1-2 minutes before baking. The baking time will be about the same. Watch for crispy, golden brown edges to know when the cookies are done.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 16
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 238Saturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 93mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 3gSugar: 9gProtein: 4g