Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Crispy outside and chewy inside, these are wonderful chocolate chip cookies. You’ll never guess what’s in them.

Secret Ingredient 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 might just have 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’m not sure I’ve ever had a better chocolate chip cookie. The secret ingredient? Actually, there are two. The first is oatmeal, which is finely ground so that it lends the desired chewiness without drawing too much attention to itself. The second, believe it or not, is coconut. Weird, I know, but you can barely taste it and it makes these chocolate chip cookies out of this world.

“Such a great recipe— I try all different kinds of chocolate chip cookie recipes and this one is definitely at the top!”


What You’ll Need To Make Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookie ingredients including oats, vanilla, and flour.
  • Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats: Adds a subtle nutty flavor and chewy texture when ground.
  • All-Purpose Flour: Provides the structure for the cookies. Measure by spooning it into the measuring cup and leveling it off to ensure accuracy.
  • Baking Powder: Helps the cookies rise and become fluffy.
  • Baking Soda: Ensures even spreading and browning.
  • Butter: Provides richness and moisture.
  • Light Brown Sugar: Adds sweetness and a hint of molasses flavor. When measuring brown sugar, always pack it tightly to eliminate air pockets.
  • Granulated Sugar: Contributes to the sweetness and texture of the cookies.
  • Large Egg: Binds the ingredients together and adds moisture.
  • Vanilla: Enhances the flavor of the cookies with its aromatic richness.
  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips: Provides rich chocolatey bites throughout the cookies.
  • Sweetened Flaked Coconut: Adds a touch of sweetness and chewy texture.
  • Pecans: Introduce a crunchy texture and nutty flavor — a wonderful pairing with the chocolate chips.
  • Jump to the printable recipe for precise measurements

Step-By-Step Instructions

To begin, place the oatmeal in the bowl of a food processor or blender.

Oats in a food processor.

Process until finely ground.

Food processor of finely ground oats.

In a medium bowl, combine the ground oats with the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Bowl of unmixed dry ingredients.

Whisk to combine and set aside.

Whisk in a bowl of dry ingredients.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar.

Butter and sugars in a bowl.

Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Bowl of creamed butter and sugars.

Add the egg and vanilla.

Eggs and vanilla in a bowl with creamed butter and sugar.

Beat to combine.

; continue beating until combined, about 40 seconds.

Add the dry ingredients.

Dry ingredients in a bowl with wet ingredients.

Beat at low speed until just combined.

Bowl of cookie dough.

Add chocolate chips, coconut and nuts.

Chocolate chips, coconut, and nuts in a bowl with cookie dough.

Mix well.

Bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough.

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.

Scoops of chocolate chip cookie dough on a lined baking sheet.

Bake, reversing position of cookie sheets halfway through baking, until edges of cookies begin to crisp but centers are still soft, 12 to 14 minutes.

Chocolate chip cookies on a lined baking sheet.

Cool cookies on baking sheets for 1 minute, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

Chocolate chip cookies on a wire rack.

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Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies

Crispy outside and chewy inside, these are wonderful chocolate chip cookies. You’ll never guess what’s in them.

Servings: About 25 cookies
Total Time: 30 Minutes


  • ¾ 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
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla
  • ⅔ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup loosely packed sweetened flaked coconut
  • ¾ cup pecans, chopped


  1. Adjust racks to upper- and lower- middle positions and preheat the oven to 350° F. 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. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined. Add the chocolate chips, coconut and nuts and mix until evenly combined.
  4. Working with 1½ 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, 12 to 14 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheets for 1 minute, then transfer to racks to cool completely. Repeat with remaining batter.
  5. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The Cookie Dough can be Frozen for up to 3 Months: Scoop the dough into balls, let set on a baking sheet in the freezer, then place in a sealable bag and press out as much air as possible. Bake as needed directly from the freezer. (Allow 1 to 2 minutes longer in the oven.) To Freeze After Baking: Let the cookies cool completely and store in an airtight container separating layers with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Before serving, remove the cookies from the container and let them come to room temperature.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Serving size: 1 cookie
  • Calories: 146
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Saturated fat: 4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 17 g
  • Sugar: 11 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Sodium: 92 mg
  • Cholesterol: 18 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  • Another winning recipe!! Made these today, and they are almost all gone!
    So delicious!

  • Wonderful – my picky 8 year old boys loved them! I used mini semi sweet chocolate chips instead of regular sized ones.

  • Excellent cookies.

  • Hi Jenn! Will these turn out well if I omit the nuts?

    btw: I just received your latest cookbook and it’s fabulous – just like the first! Thanks for always making me look good at the dinner table!


    • — Jennifer Semchuk
    • Reply
    • Sure, you can omit the nuts here. (And so glad you like the cookbook!) 🙂

  • Once again a perfect recipe. Second time making them (only change has been walnuts instead of pecans) and they are simply delicious. Made a double batch so I can mail some to the folks. Thank you yet again for a foolproof recipe.

  • Jenn, thank you for sharing Carrie’s recipe. I used fine chopped roasted salted almonds. Beautiful aromatic smell as the cookies were baking. I also appreciate your culinary methods and expertise in many of your recipes. Mary, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

  • These cookies are delicious!! I used unsweetened flaked coconut and I didn’t miss the extra sugar at all. My husband and I both think they’re the best chocolate chip cookies we’ve ever had. He didn’t taste the coconut but guessed they had oatmeal in them. Thanks again, Jenn, for another easy and yummy recipe 😊

  • Absolutely delicious. I only had unsweetened coconut flakes so I used that instead of sweetened flakes. I cannot stand pecans so I added more chocolate chips as a replacement. Came out perfect. Thank you, Jenn, for yet another winner!

  • Hi Jen – I was just wondering if I could use a dark chocolate bar broken into pieces instead of chocolate chips. I can’t always get them here and they are often inferior quality of chocolate?
    Thanks. Your recipes are always the best.

    • Hi Andrea, that should be fine. Just keep in mind they won’t hold their shape as well as chocolate chips. (Chocolate chips are made with stabilizers to help them retain their shape when heated.) Enjoy!

  • WOW! These cookies are delicious! Crispy edges, buttery, the combo of pecans, coconut & chocolate chips is perfect. Will definitely be making these often. Thanks Jen. 🍪🍪🍪

  • Hands down THE best chocolate chip cookie! A little bit crunchy and a little bit chewy. The best of both worlds. I made them exactly as written and they are perfect!

  • Great recipe. I do the whole thing right in the food processor. I use two egg yolks instead of 1 egg for an extra crispy cookie, and also substitute dried fruit (specifically cherries) instead of coconut.
    Yum!! Great Recipe!

  • These are superb! So much so, my son asked to have them for his birthday.
    Is it possible to make these as a “giant” cookie, say in a springform pan? Looking for advice. Thank you so much!

    • Hi Lisa, so glad you like these! I’ve never tried this as a giant cookie so not 100% sure, but I think it should work. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

  • Hi Jenn
    Everyone loved the cookie❤️
    I mixed the oatmeal as is with a fine dessiccated coconut, cracked dark choco and raw pumpkin seeds. The result was cruchy, gooey, thanks.

  • I love a traditional Toll House Cookie, but I’m always looking for new spin to an old tradition. These cookies are wonderful! The combination of the coconut and oatmeal gives this cookie its chewy texture. Fresh out of the oven they are hard to resist, and remained good the next day. Once again another winner. Thank you Jenn.

  • These chocolate chip cookies are wonderful! I wasn’t sure about adding the coconut, but it doesn’t stand out as an ingredient! Rather, it just adds a subtle sweetness to the cookies. I used mini chocolate chips as they are my favorite in cookies! Ghiradelli, of course!!! No other chocolate chip compares!!!

  • I made these cookies at Christmas and twice since then. Love them, it’s very hard to keep them around as hey are so tasty.

    • — ElizaBeth Swanson
    • Reply
  • Thank you!. I’m an American living in Germany.
    I make these all the time for my neighbors and to put in a welcome or congrats meal to new families and babies. They are amazing! The perfect chewy and sweet. I make them with walnuts, I toast. Pecans are sometimes hard to come by here. My daughter lives in Italy and makes them to gift also. Always a taste of home(USA) and a special treat for our host country friends.

  • I just happened to have all the ingredients on hand so I decided to make these and they blew me away! Such a good combination that I’ve somehow never tried before! They were crispy and delicious. My son loved them! I will definitely make again soon!

  • Somehow these have become the only chocolate chip cookie I make anymore, almost the only cookie period. Because I am lazy I don’t blend the oats; the cookies are still the best thing ever. Ever.

  • Deliciously crip on the outside and soft in the center. Better than plain chocolate chip.
    I followed your recipe exactly, but doubled it. I used a cookie scoop and it took a minute or two longer. My husband loved them!

  • Yum! I did it without the coconut because my husband really really really can’t deal with coconut. Maybe someday when he’s away or my kids are old enough to help me finish them I’ll try with the coconut! Loved the addition of oats.

  • Excellent recipe, we have made these cookies several times and they always turn out great. We make double or triple batches roll into balls and freeze, then enjoy fresh baked cookies for a couple of months. Side note: buy Jenn’s cookbooks they make great gifts.

  • These cookies are amazing. Every time I make them people tell me they’re the best cookies ever. So perfect and yummy. Thank you for the recipe!!

  • I bought some King Arthur flour and it made all the difference!! Now my cookies are not flat!! Thanks for the tip.

    • — Wendy Schoenburg
    • Reply
  • Looking for something special to do on a lazy Sunday afternoon?? Try baking these little nuggets of heaven! This was the first time I tried this recipe. It will be my “go to” from now on. *** Note*** The batter seemed dry, it isn’t. My cookies were puffy but not too puffy…as Goldilocks would say, “just right “.

    • — Kathy Vukasovich
    • Reply
  • These cookies are to die for. They’re the perfect balance of crispy and chewy. I’ve made them with and without pecans and either way they’re absolutely divine. Every time I serve them to people they rave about them and can’t stop eating them!

  • I made these without the nuts and they were amazing! One of the best cookie recipes I have made in a long time!

  • I made this recipe as written… it was delicious!! Tastes like a cookie you would get at a bakery or nice cafe. Don’t let the longer list of the ingredients daunt you… I will definitely be making this again..and again…and again

  • Ok. I’ve been baking cookies a long time. My kids are adults and I have no reason to keep baking cookies 😂 but I made these yesterday. My husband ate 6 in one sitting and said they’re the best I’ve ever made.
    Followed the recipe 100% next time I’ll be doubling it. 😊

  • This is the 2nd time I’ve made these cookies and everyone loves them. My coconut was unsweetened but because of the sugar in the cookie dough no one seemed to question. Liked the surprise of coconut flavor. Love your recipes.

  • I made these today. I like how the ground oatmeal takes away some of the sweetness. Very nice cookie.

  • Can you use oat flour instead of grinding up oat flour? I have a bag of oat flour that I am looking to use up. Thanks!

    • Sure, Karen, that should be fine. Enjoy!

  • Hi again Jenn,
    I’ve tried again your cookies after finally finding sweetened coconut; they got flat again, I really don’t understand what I’m doing wrong : in the last minutes they flatten a lot and when I take them out from the oven, they deflate completely and they end up being around 1/4 “ thick.
    What do you think it could be? I noticed in your photos that your oat is coarsely ground not very fine, I ground mine very fine, flour like, maybe that’s the culprit?

    • Sorry you’re having a problem with these! I don’t think the oats would be causing a problem. May I ask what brand of flour you’re using?

      • Hi Jenn,
        I’m using Five Roses all purpose unbleached flour (I assume it’s a canadian flour).

        • Hi Ingrid, I’m not familiar with that brand (perhaps because it’s specific to Canada). Next time you make these, I’d add another 2 – 3 Tbsp. of flour to the batter. Also, I always use (and have good luck with) King Arthur brand flour. Hope that helps!

  • LOVE this recipe. I finely chopped about a quarter or so of the chocolate chips super fine. My sister used to make the Neiman Marcus cookies and this is somewhat of a version of that. I also lightly toasted the nuts. I also used my convection oven which worked really well. Tastes amazing with the coconut and might even replace it with macademia nuts.

    I’m also going to try maybe adding even a tiny little more texture using some semolina and wheat germ. We’ll see.

  • At what degrees should we bake these cookies? I’m assuming 350?

    • Hi Robbie, Yes, they get baked at 350°F/175°C. Hope you enjoy!

  • There were fantastic and I will certainly be making them again and again.

  • Just made these delicious cookies and they are perfect. Thank you for making my baking experience make me one everyone ask for the recipe. Of course, I tell them about your amazing site, Once upon a chef. 😊

  • Hi,
    A quick question : when you said 3/4 cup rolled oats ground, did you measure before grinding or after?
    And if I don’t have semi-sweetened coconut, should I add 1 Tbsp of sugar?
    They came out very soft, so I had to keep them another 6-8 minutes in the oven. Delicious!
    Thank you for another great recipe!

    • Hi Ingrid, I measure 3/4 cup of oats first and then grind them. And I don’t think you need to add additional sugar if using unsweetened coconut, but I’d be concerned that the unsweetened coconut would make the cookies a little dry. How did they turn out?

      • Hi Jenny,
        Thank you for your answer; yes, they turned dry but still tasteful; it’s extremely difficult to find sweetened coconut nowadays.
        Have a great day!

        • Thanks for reporting back!

          • Do you recommend adding something to offset the dryness, if one uses unsweetened coconut? Thanks!

            • — Lesli
          • Hi Lesli, I would just keep the recipe as is. Please LMK how they turn out!

            • — Jenn
  • Hi Jenn, may I find out what can I use to replace vanilla extract? It’s so hard to find this in my country! Sometimes I do see vanilla essence instead, but if I can’t find that either, can I omit vanilla totally? Or is there something else I can add instead?

    Thanks in advance for ur recommendation!

    • Hi Jenn, It’s perfectly fine to just omit it. 🙂

      • Thanks Jenn! I just made them today and they taste so good!! perfectly crispy on the outside and so chewy inside. I omitted the coconut as well because i’m really not a fan of it, but it still came out good. not sure if there’s a way to modify the recipe to make it a totally crispy cookie, like famous amos’s? 🙂

        • Glad you like these! I wouldn’t recommend modifying the recipe to make them thin and crispy as you’d need to make too many changes to achieve that texture. Instead I’d look specifically for a recipe for thin and crispy cookies.

    • Try replacing vanilla with brandy or cognac. Works well as a substitute.

  • Jenn, you did it again. Last week I made your excellent crusty artesian bread and yesterday these great secret ingredient chocolate chip cookies. Super delicious! They get crunchy and coconut is just a hint but makes the cookie. Wonder what I will try next. Sure it will be another 5 star recipe. Thanks for refining these recipes to perfection.

    • — LeAnne M Fredrick
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen,

    Is it okay to use instant oats instead of old-fashioned rolled oats? If yes, is there any difference in measurements? Thank you!

    • Hi Raji, The recipe will work with instant oats (with the same measurements) but the cookies will have a slightly different texture. Please LMK how they turn out if you try them!

      • Hi Jenn,
        Thanks for your feedback. I tried it today and it turned out to be great! It is crispy and chewy. We all liked it. Thank you.

        • So glad they came out nicely – thanks for reporting back!

  • These cookies are fabulous! Perfect combination of flavor and texture. Thank you!

  • Jen – Absolutely delicious! I have a question regarding convection baking with this recipe. My cookies were quite overdone using this method. Is it best not to do so, or is there a modification I can make? Thanks so much for sharing your talents!


    • — Stephanie Gray
    • Reply
    • Hi Stephanie, I always develop and publish my recipes using the regular setting on my oven (because many people don’t have convection settings on their ovens), so I’d go with the regular/non-fan setting. If you do want to use the convection setting, the rule of thumb is to reduce the oven temp by 25 degrees.

  • My problem with these cookies is that they are too delicious and we can’t stop eating them. The good thing is that we feel less guilty eating so many because of the oats, coconut (used unsweetened organic) and the walnuts.
    I have been waiting years to try this recipe because my son was allergic to tree nuts, but recently grew out of the allergy and I am so happy I remembered to come back to it! I was so confident that it would be a good recipe that I made a double batch and I am so happy I did.

    • — Julie- (
    • Reply
  • These are the BEST chocolate chip cookies I have ever tasted! When they came out of the oven. I let them cool in the pan and then on a rack. After that I tried a cookie and it was very tasty. I think this is something I will definitely make again.

  • Can I substitute walnuts for pecans?

  • Hi Jenn,

    Thank you for all your wonderful recipes! Was wondering if I could leave the coconut out and if so would I need to make any adjustments?


    • So glad you like the recipes, Tamara! Yes, you can omit the coconut with no other adjustments necessary. Enjoy!

  • Hi, Jen, I want to incorporate the oats to another cookie recipe. once ground, do I reduce the amount of flour? I would also like to turn the butter into brown butter. your thoughts?

    • Hi Sherie, Without seeing the recipe, it’s hard to say for sure, but yes if you’re adding ground oats to a cookie recipe, I’d suggest reducing the flour by an equal amount. And if the butter in the recipe is supposed to be melted, I think browned butter should work. Hope that helps!

      • Jenn the added oatmeal to the flour made for a great cookie I did what you said to do equal amounts I did the brown butter I let it sit long enough for it to have the consistency of room temperature butter I also chopped the pecans to a fine chop and added a little bourbon thank you for the tip

  • Hi Jen – I only have shredded sweetened coconut on hand. Will that do or is it worth a trip to the store to pick up some flaked coconut instead? Thanks so much!

    • Hi Monica, sweetened shredded and flaked coconut refer to the same thing, so you’re good to go! Enjoy the cookies. 🙂

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