Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies

5 stars based on 8 votes

chocolate chip cookies

In the food world, there are few things as elusive or sought after as the perfect chocolate chip cookie. This recipe from my friend Carrie has my vote. When she first sent it to me, I thought Geez, she sure threw the whole kitchen sink in there. But Carrie is a great baker so I tried them, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a better chocolate chip cookie.

Cookies 3

To be fair, there are several “camps” when it comes to the perfect chocolate chip cookie: there’s the flat and crispy, the soft and chewy, the puffy and cakey, the nuts or no nuts, the list goes on and on. What I love about these cookies is that they have that amazing combination of crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside; they’re not too flat and not too puffy, they’re chock full of all kinds of stuff — they’re just right.

Choc chip cookies 2

The secret ingredient? Actually, there are two. The first is oatmeal, which – I know – is not so secret, but in this case it’s finely ground so that it lends the desired chewiness without drawing too much attention to itself. Brilliant!

Choc chip cookies 3

The second, believe it or not, is shredded coconut! Weird, I know, but trust me – you can barely taste it and it makes these chocolate chip cookies out of this world. Enjoy!

Choc chip cookies


Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies

Servings: About 25 cookies
Total Time: 30 Minutes


  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, ground in a food processor or blender until very fine
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 3/4 cup pecans, chopped


  1. Adjust racks to upper- and lower- middle positions and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the ground oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the egg and vanilla; continue beating until combined, about 40 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, about 20 seconds. Add chocolate chips, coconut and nuts; stir to combine. Do not over mix.
  4. Working with 1-1/2 tablespoons of cookie dough at a time, form balls and place on parchment-lined cookie sheets, leaving at least 2 inches between them. (Keep remaining batter cool in refrigerator while first batch cooks.) Bake, reversing position of cookie sheets halfway through baking, until edges of cookies begin to crisp but centers are still soft, 13-15 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheets for 1 minute, then transfer to racks to cool completely. Repeat with remaining batter.

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    The ground oatmeal & coconut elevate this cookie to something really special. Made a batch, baked some fresh and scooped froze the rest; just as great baked out of the freezer when friends drop by or just a treat.

    - M on March 12, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Great recipe! My favorite chocolate chip cookies!

    - Gaye McPherson on February 6, 2015 Reply
  • instead of grinding the rolled oats, can I use instant oatmeal? (the ones that are thinner)


    - Jane on February 5, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Jane, The recipe will work but the cookies will have a slightly different texture than they do with the ground oats.

      - Jenn on February 5, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Made these without the nuts, doubled-up on the chocolate chips and used unsweetened flaked coconut. The BEST!

    - Beth S. on January 29, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I’m going to try these for tonight! Looks delish

    - Annika on January 28, 2015 Reply
    • Hi,
      The cookies turned out delicious !
      I baked them for only 9 minutes (I never bake cookies longer).
      Thank you for the recipe.

      Next time I’ll buy rolled oats in advance, and compare.
      Thanks again.

      - Jane on February 7, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made a mistake right off the bat with these and added regular oats (in flakes, without processing them finely) to the flour mixture before I realized my “woops.” Instead of throwing the ingredients out and starting over, I continued, but added 1/4 C. finely ground pecans (like flour) to the dry ingredients. We also had no chocolate chips, so we took dark Ghirardelli chocolate squares (72% cacao) and chopped them into small chunks/chips to use in place of the chocolate chips. I baked these exactly as directed. These turned out fantastic, although probably denser in texture and not quite as sweet as the original recipe (which I will try in the future to compare). But my husband and I both loved the texture and flavor of these, mistakes and all!

    - Jane W on January 10, 2015 Reply
  • Not sure if anyone has asked; will texture change if unsweetened coconut is substituted? Thx!

    - Marivic on January 9, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Marivic, I think the cookies might end up a little dry with unsweetened coconut.

      - Jenn on January 9, 2015 Reply
  • This recipe sounds amazing and I want to try it but I couldn’t find parchment paper at any of the stores that I went to. Can I use foil or grease the cookie sheet?

    - William McRae on December 7, 2014 Reply
    • Hi William, Just grease the cookie sheet — the parchment is just for easy clean up. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on December 7, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made these last week. The dough tasted great! The cooked cookies taste great! They are even great frozen (I froze some of the baked cookies in anticipation of my mom coming to visit)! These will now be my go-to recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Thank you Jennifer for sharing the recipe.

    - CLC on November 8, 2014 Reply
  • I had to omit the pecans as I planned to offer these cookies to a child with nut allergies, and I don’t think it was a great loss, though I love pecans and would try them next time. The cookies were plenty sweet, even though I used only slightly more than a half cup of chocolate chips and *un*sweetened coconut flakes. Unfortunately, the bottoms of the cookies were burnt black after 15 mins. at 350 degrees, even though I rotated the cookie sheets halfway through the baking process. I was surprised that they were overdone, given that my oven usually requires the upper end of the baking time range. Oh well, cookies burnt, lesson learnt (will watch them more closely next time!)

    - Jenn on October 16, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Jenn, That’s strange that the cookies burnt on the bottom. Perhaps your oven is running hot? The only other thing I can think of is that maybe your oven was not fully preheated. Sometimes the initial surge of heat from the bottom of the oven during preheating will burn the bottoms of the cookies before the tops are done.

      - Jenn on October 18, 2014 Reply
  • Hi Jennifer,
    I am a big fan of your website and recipes, as are the people I bake for. I would like to know what you suggest using for brown sugar, as I can only find light or dark brown sugar. Is one generally preferred over the other?
    Thanks, and keep giving us your wonderful recipes.


    - Sheila Manera on September 25, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Sheila, Thank you, so glad you are enjoying the recipes! If a recipe does not specify which one, use light :)

      - Jenn on September 26, 2014 Reply
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  • 5 stars

    I have made these cookies in the past and they were fantastic. I want to make them today but I am out of baking powder. Any suggestions?

    - Roberta on July 16, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Roberta, You definitely need the baking powder. Sorry!

      - Jenn on July 16, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Best cookies ever! These came out exactly as described, soft in the center and slightly crunchy on the outside. Perfect combination of ingredients too. My husband ate three in one sitting right after them came out of the over! Can’t wait to make them again. Thanks for another great recipe!!!

    - Jackie on June 27, 2014 Reply
  • Thanks Jenn!

    - Yvonne on March 2, 2014 Reply
  • They stayed puffy and in effort to have them flatten out I left them in the oven a few minutes longer so they dried out a little more than I would have liked. Thanks for any tips I can use for the next batch! Yvonne

    - Yvonne on March 2, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Yvonne, I’m wondering, did you chill the dough before baking? If it was cool, that would definitely make the cookies puffier. Also, be sure to use to “spoon and level” method of measuring flour (spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level-off); otherwise, you will have too much flour, and that would also make the cookies puffy.

      - Jenn on March 2, 2014 Reply
  • These were delicious, however, mine didn’t spread as nicely as yours pictured. I followed the recipe so not sure what I did wrong. Oh well, it didn’t stop us from eating them!

    - Yvonne on March 1, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Yvonne, Glad you enjoyed the cookies. Did they spread too flat or were they too puffy?

      - Jenn on March 1, 2014 Reply
  • I thought my chocolate chip cookie recipe was that elusive “best”. Crispy on the outside, but chewey in the middle. Gonna try this though! I’m always up for improvement! Just a thought….I have been using Geridelli bittersweet chips and the troops have informed me that the cookies are WAY better with these chips. Also, Land ‘O Lakes unsalted and King Arthusr flour. Great ingredients=great product!

    - Heather Lampman on January 30, 2014 Reply
  • FIVE STAR RATING. Made these yesterday and they are GREAT!! I’m an avid baker of cookies and these hands down are the BEST chocolate chip cookies I’ve made.

    Not too sweet, yet sweet enough. The coconut is in the background — you can’t really taste it though it does add that hint of something oh so wonderful.

    Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. Hubby loved them. Definitely a keeper!

    - Dee on December 21, 2013 Reply
  • Great recipe! I used it to make Truffle stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies with blueberry balsamic vinegar truffles. Turned out great.

    - Kathleen Steffanic on November 7, 2013 Reply
  • I’m a big fan of this recipe. I love the balance of chewiness and crispness it has. I usually make a double batch and freeze the dough balls so whenever I feel like having some I place them in the oven and, voila! I have fresh baked cookies!!!

    - Andi on November 6, 2013 Reply
  • These are great cookies! The coconut is not overwhelming, but it seems to add a chew and a more heavenly flavor! I like them slightly under baked!

    - Jennie on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • I love these cookies, I make batches and send them with my husband to work. His co-works all love you for the best cookies.

    Thanks Jenn

    - Liz on October 2, 2012 Reply
  • Review: 5 star on taste, love the buttery, chocolatery, nutty taste….I did not taste the coconut at all, the only thing is that I don’t know if I overcooked them because they were kind of hard…I am an amateur in the kitchen though lol

    - Arianna on October 2, 2012 Reply
  • This is THE BEST chocolate chip cookie recipe I have ever made, and my entire family agreed! I even featured it on my Pinspiration in the Kitchen series on my blog-
    I left out the pecans because I didn’t have any in the house, but they were still amazing! My husband and my son said that I have to only make this chocolate chip cookie recipe from now on. ;)
    *This is one of my entries for the Anolon Cookware giveaway.*

    - Carrie R on June 21, 2012 Reply
  • These are perfect just the way they are! The kids loved them even thought they dont like coconut and nuts!

    - Meredith Loveless on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • These were a big hit at a BBQ I brought them to last weekend. I made the cookies a little smaller (not quite 1 T each), so they cooked a bit faster.

    - Jennifer on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • I love the secret, I’m not usually a fan of coconut but these were soooo good!

    - Valerie on May 17, 2012 Reply
  • My husband considers himself a bit of a chocolate chip cookie connoisseur and this were a huge hit with him. Quite a testimonial coming from him!!!

    - LindaK on May 16, 2012 Reply
  • I ground the oats in a Magic Bullet saving clean up of the food processor. These are amazing, chewy cookies with crisp outer edges. Definitely a “keeper” recipe!

    - Grace DeShaw-Wilner on May 15, 2012 Reply
  • These are to die for! This has become my “GO To” recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies.
    Thanks a million!!!

    - Jody in California on May 15, 2012 Reply
  • These were delicious. I will definitely be making these again!


    - Maria Malaveci on May 15, 2012 Reply

    - Glenda on May 15, 2012 Reply
  • Delicious, this will become an heirloom recipe.

    - Gisela on March 27, 2012 Reply
  • Will definitely be trying these in the very near future!

    - Becca L on March 8, 2012 Reply
  • I will be trying this recipe this weekend! Thank you!!!

    - Karla Jalowiecki on March 2, 2012 Reply
  • What an interesting twist on a classic! I like the way you think and will defiantly try this soon!

    - Cassie on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • Looking forward to trying this “secret”. Love softer cookies!

    - Janda on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • I was surprised that my coconut-adverse fiance loved these so much! The coconut added moisture without taking over the flavor – a great recipe!

    - Erin on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • Made these several times and everybody loves them, especially my hubby. Moist and chewey!

    - Susan on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • Can’t wait to try this one!

    - GJ on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • These cookies were a big hit at the office, even though I cooked them a touch too long. I just upgraded my cookie sheets though, so I should probably test them out with this wonderful recipe. Very moist, flavorful cookies.

    - Andrew on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • Interesting. I’ve never thought to put coconut in a chocolate chip cookie before. I’ll have to give it a try! :D They look great!

    - Caroline @ chocolate & carrots on February 29, 2012 Reply
  • just made these cookies. They are really very YUM !!
    I replaced egg. (with flaxmeal + water) combination.
    Will def make them again. Thank you

    - ritu on January 14, 2012 Reply
  • These are hands down the best chocolate chip cookies ever! I have made these for all my family and friends and they fight over who will get the left over cookies.

    - Kathy on January 12, 2012 Reply
  • me and my friends are doing a baking class project. she found this and we’re planning on using it. wish us luck!

    - Emily on October 21, 2010 Reply
  • I was craving coconut and chocolate one day – so I made my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and added coconut…I thought I was really onto something all by myself! My hubby was not a big fan. But others who I shared them with loved them as much as I did. And I always make my cookies as organic as possible with my ingredients.

    - Kelly on October 10, 2010 Reply
  • Dee-licious cookies! Thank you!

    - Erica on September 29, 2010 Reply
  • Thanks for revealing that secret ingredient , we will have to believe that it would be truly special when baked.

    - Avelina Dailytrader on August 27, 2010 Reply
  • These cookies sound wonderful. I’m usually not a fan of coconut but I think I will have to give these a try. It also helps that I have little cookie monsters in my house with my two girls and husband. I know they would love these! Thanks for sharing.
    I love your blog so beautiful!

    - Heather on May 13, 2010 Reply
  • I did find a box with a decent amount of quick-cooking brown rice in it. I used the microwave directions to prepare a couple cups. By adding the brown rice and some extra salt, pepper and vinegar to the salad, I made dinner.

    - andropause on April 28, 2010 Reply
  • Hi,
    Thanks for the secret ingredient chocolate chip cookies that you share and send it to me. I will try to follow these ingredient of coming semistral breake. I will send you the result. To tell you I really love cooking or making cake or cookies.

    Respectfully your’s

    - virginia on March 25, 2010 Reply
  • These cookies turned out great! I had to make half without the coconut (hubby doesn’t like it), but they are so addictive!

    - Home cook on January 31, 2010 Reply
  • thank you for the best choc chip cookie ever! it is so yummy and delicious~perfect! i’ll use this recipe from here on out!

    - bethy on January 24, 2010 Reply
  • Just be careful to let people know what is in these…hiding coconut could trigger someone’s allergic reaction (unknowingly sent a dear friend to the hospital this way).

    - Inger on December 5, 2009 Reply
  • Yummy! I baked these and brought them to work and they were gone in under 30 minutes. So delicious – I love the consistency and buttery-ness.

    - kat on November 20, 2009 Reply
  • I reduced the oat flour to 1/2 cup, and threw in 1/4 cup of wheat germ. The addition of the coconut keeps the cookie tasty fresh and chewy even after a couple of days. :)

    - Chris on November 18, 2009 Reply
  • I think I have the world’s best cookie but I cannot wait to give this one a try! Thus far, I have L O V E D all of your recipes.
    Keep up the good work.


    - Deborah Greene on November 17, 2009 Reply
  • Delish cookies. Love the “secret”!
    Oatmeal AND coconut! yum

    - Leslie on November 10, 2009 Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I have been using Earth’s Best Organic Whole Grain Oatmeal Cereal for years in my chocolate chip cookie recipe and it saves an enormous amount of time grinding oatmeal. Hope your readers find that tip helpful. We’ll stick with our yummy organic recipe but yours looks wonderful too.
    Thanks, Deb

    - Debbie Greenspan on November 10, 2009 Reply

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