Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

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Chocolate crinkle cookies are ridiculously delicious. They’re one of Santa’s favorite Christmas cookies. Rolled in powdered sugar, this fudgy dessert has mini chocolate chips, a soft center and crinkled tops. These crackle cookies are traditional holiday treats that are easy to make.

📌 Pin Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

8 chocolate crinkle cookies (AKA crackle cookies) on a wire rack next to reindeer napkins.

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There’s something extra special about chocolate crinkle cookies. Their taste and texture are beautiful, and they’re super fun to make. This simple recipe is so exciting!

Like Linzer cookies and snowball cookies, crinkles are ideal for holiday cookie exchanges, cookies for Santa, or holiday gifts for neighbors. Double this recipe. Make a batch for yourself, and another for someone you love.

🛒 Ingredients

  • Dutch-process cocoa: Like Hershey’s Cocoa Special Dark. It give the cookies a rich, dark, chocolaty look and taste.
  • Granulated Sugar: Adds sweetness while helping the exterior of the cookies get crisp.
  • Light-Brown Sugar: Adds sweetness and moisture with a hint of caramel flavor.
  • Vegetable Oil: Provides rich moisture. If desired, use canola oil instead.
  • Large Eggs: Help bind the ingredients in the cookie dough together.
  • Vanilla Extract: Enhances the flavor of the other ingredients.
  • All-Purpose Flour: Provides strength and structure for the cookie dough.
  • Baking Powder: This leavening ingredient pairs perfectly with Dutch-process cocoa. It helps the chocolate crinkle cookies rise in the oven.
  • Kosher Salt: Brightens the flavor of the cookie dough so it doesn’t taste bland.
  • Mini Chocolate Chips: Contributes a yummy chocolate flavor.

For the Coating

  • Granulated Sugar: Helps the balls of cookie dough hold their shape.
  • Powdered Sugar: Provides the crinkle cookies with a classic dusted sugar look.
Overhead image of ingredients for chocolate crinkle cookies recipe laid out on a white rustic tabletop.

🥣 Easy Ingredient Substitutions

If you’re missing a recipe ingredient, check your pantry for these easy ingredient swaps.

  • Vegetable Oil: Replace 1/4 cup oil with 1 stick (1/2 cup) softened butter.
  • Granulated Sugar: You can use brown sugar instead. However, there will be a difference in texture. White sugar produces crispier cookies. Brown sugar has more moisture, which makes these crinkle cookies chewy.
  • Dutch Process Cocoa (Hershey’s Special Dark): *You can use Hershey’s unsweetened natural cocoa powder instead, but you must also make another swap too. Instead of using 1 teaspoon baking powder, you must use 1 teaspoon baking soda.
  • Mini Chocolate Chips: Use regular chocolate chips, or baking chocolate (chop it up).

*Pair the correct leavening agent with cocoa powder: Dutch Process cocoa powder (alkalized cocoa) has neutralized acidity. It pairs with baking powder, but doesn’t react with baking soda. On the other hand, natural cocoa powder (ACID) needs baking soda (BASE) in order for crinkle cookies to rise. Learn more about baking soda vs. baking powder in this MasterClass article.

Overhead view of 8 chocolate crinkle cookies on a wire rack set on a white tabletop.
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together cocoa powder, light-brown sugar, granulated sugar and oil. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla extract. Set the bowl aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Gradually, adding 1/3 of the mixture at a time, incorporate dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Mix until combined with no streaks of flour. But don’t over-mix! Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Fold mini chocolate chips into the dough. Cover bowl and refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight. For recipe success, the dough must be chilled all the way through.
4-images showing how to make crackle cookies, step by step.

🍪 Bake Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

It’s so magical to watch these cookies bake through the oven window. As the dough rises and cracks it develops a unique look and texture.

RECIPE PREP: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Add granulated sugar to a small bowl. Add powdered sugar to a second bowl.

  1. The cold dough will be thick and sticky. If the dough gets too hard to handle, put it in the freezer for 10 minutes. With a small metal scoop, quickly portion the dough into roughly-shaped 1-inch pucks. Work with 5 to 6 pucks at a time. In quick succession, drop them onto a piece of waxed paper or directly into the bowl of granulated sugar!
  2. Roll pucks in granulated sugar until fully coated. The dough will now be easier to handle and shape. With your fingertips, pat the pucks into balls. One after the other, roll balls in powdered sugar. Coat generously.
  3. Place cookie dough balls on prepared baking tray. Leave 2 1/2 inches of space between each cookie. Wipe hands clean with a damp cloth, and continue. (Between batches, return the bowl of dough to the refrigerator to keep it chilled.)
  4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven. Allow the treats to cool on the baking tray for 1 minute. Transfer crackle cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling.
4 overhead images showing how to make crinkle cookies, step by step.

👩🏻‍🍳 Recipe FAQ

There are several reasons chocolate crinkle cookies made with the same recipe can have a different look and texture. These baking tips can help you achieve crackle cookies that look like they were made in a bakery.

Can I use whole wheat flour for crinkle cookies?

Yes. You can use a combination of 50% white whole wheat flour and 50% all-purpose flour. For every 1/2 cup of wheat flour, add 1 teaspoon of liquid: water or vanilla extract.

Why does the dough for crinkle cookies need to be chilled?

When making cookies, the temperature of the dough is important. For crackle cookies that are slightly puffy and hold their shape, the dough must be well chilled. Cold dough is also easier to work with.

Why coat chocolate crinkle cookies in granulated sugar and powdered sugar?

Granulated sugar makes the balls easier to shape and handle, and provides a moisture barrier between the dough and the powdered sugar. This is the best method for keeping the powdered sugar on the cookies bright white.

What to do if the crinkle cookies spread too much during baking?

As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, use a large cookie cutter (larger than the baked cookies) and swirl the warm cookies around inside it, bumping in the sides. Then put the next tray of uncooked balls in the freezer for 10 minutes before baking. When the dough is chilled, the cookies will spread less in the oven.

Why use parchment paper instead of just greasing the cookie sheet?

A greased cookie sheet will prevent sticking, but it can cause the cookies to spread. Parchment paper or a silicone baking mat will prevent cookies from sticking. In a pinch, use cooking spray. But do not grease with butter as it will cause the cookies to burn.

How to store crinkle cookies?

Store completely cooled cookies in a tightly-sealed container. In cool room temp, they’ll stay fresh on the counter for up to 5 days. Or freeze for up to 1 month.

How to freeze crackle cookies?

After the baked cookies have cooled, arrange them in layers between pieces of parchment paper. They’ll freeze well for up to 1 month.

Stack of 7 crackle cookies on a small white Christmas plate with red scalloped edges.

🧑🏼‍🍳 Expert Tips

  • Use fresh baking powder: Stale or expired baking powder can make cookies dense and fall flat in the oven. An open can of baking powder should be replaced every 5 to 6 months.
  • Best mixing technique for this cookie dough: Mix until just blended. How do you know when to stop? When there are no more streaks of flour in the mixing bowl and the dough looks uniform. Over-mixing is damaging. It adds air to the dough which can make crackle cookies rise and then fall. They’ll be crispy and flat instead of round and slightly puffy.
  • The type of cookie sheet used makes a difference: It can make or break a cookie recipe. Do not bake cookies on dark cookies sheets. They absorb more heat and become hotter than light-colored aluminum trays. They cause cookies to over-brown and burn. If these are the only type you have to work with, reduce the oven temp by 25°F and reduce baking time. Keep a close eye on the cookies as they bake.
  • Make ahead instructions: Place uncoated, unbaked cookie balls on a parchment-lined baking tray leaving space between the pieces. Freeze 45 minutes or until solid. Transfer the hard balls to a zip-top freezer bag. Freeze up to 3 months. When ready to bake, thaw on the counter for 30 minutes. Roll in granulated sugar and powdered sugar. Bake for 12 minutes at 350°F.
Chocolate Christmas Cookies (AKA Crinkles) on a wire rack next to small Santa plates and milk.

🎅🏻 More Cookies for Santa

Every year, Santa looks forward to crinkle cookies. He also loves the yummy recipes below!

Rate This Recipe ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Friends and family say these are the best crackle cookies! The love the soft fudgy middles filled with chocolate chips, and the crinkly tops dusted with powdered sugar. They said they’re better than the chocolate crinkle cookies sold at a local high-end bakery.

If you agree this recipe’s a keeper, give it a 5-star rating in the comments. Then be a recipe hero. Share it with friends. 📌 Pin it to Pinterest.

Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com

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8 chocolate crinkle cookies (AKA crackle cookies) on a wire rack next to reindeer napkins with antlers.

Chocolate Crinkle cookies


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 13 reviews

  • Author: Denay DeGuzman
  • Total Time: 20 Active Minutes
  • Yield: 36 Cookies 1x
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Description

Chocolate crinkle cookies are like fudgy moist brownies, crunchy around the edges and soft in the center. Rolled in powdered sugar, these Christmas cookies are super delicious and fun to make!


Ingredients

Units Scale

FOR COOKIE DOUGH

  • 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa (Hershey’s Cocoa Special Dark)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

FOR COATING

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Instructions

Make the Cookie Dough

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together cocoa powder, light-brown sugar, granulated sugar and oil. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla extract. Set the bowl aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually, adding 1/3 of the mixture at a time, incorporate dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix until combined with no streaks of flour. But don’t over-mix! Scrape bottom and sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Fold in the mini chocolate chips.
  4. IMPORTANT: Cover bowl and refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight. For recipe success, the dough must be chilled all the way through. 

Bake the Cookies

RECIPE PREP: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Add granulated sugar to a small bowl. Add powdered sugar to a second bowl. 

  1. The cold dough will be thick and a little sticky. If the dough gets too hard to handle, put it in the freezer for 10 minutes. With a small metal scoop, portion dough into roughly-shaped 1-inch pucks.
  2. Drop each puck directly from the metal scoop into the granulated sugar. Roll to coat. This step makes the dough easier to handle and shape. With your fingertips, pat the puck into a ball. Work with 5 to 6 pucks at a time in the granulated sugar. Then roll the balls in the powdered sugar, coating generously. 
  3. Place the coated balls on a prepared baking tray.  Leave 2 1/2 inches of space between each cookie. Wipe your hands clean with a damp cloth, and continue. (Between batches, return the bowl of dough to the refrigerator to keep it chilled.)
  4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven. Allow the treats to cool on the baking tray for 1 minute. Transfer crackle cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Notes

Tips for mixing the cookie dough: Mix until just blended. How do you know when to stop? When there are no more streaks of flour in the mixing bowl and the dough looks uniform. Over-mixing is damaging. It adds air to the dough which can make crackle cookies rise and then fall. They’ll be crispy and flat instead of round and slightly puffy.

Make ahead directions: Place uncoated, unbaked cookie balls on a parchment-lined baking tray leaving space between the pieces. Freeze 45 minutes or until solid. Transfer the hard balls to a zip-top freezer bag. Freeze up to 3 months. When ready to bake, thaw on the counter for 30 minutes. Roll in granulated sugar and powdered sugar. Bake for 12 minutes at 350°F.

How to store the cookies: Store completely cooled cookies in a tightly-sealed container. They’ll stay fresh (in room temperature) on the counter for up to 5 days. Or freeze for up to 1 month.

  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes + 4 Hours Chill Time
  • Cook Time: 10 Minutes
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American
Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com

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13 Comments

  1. Love your hint to use fresh baking powder! It makes all the difference. And what a delicious cookie. Thanks for this holiday favorite!






  2. These chocolate crinkle cookies are delicious. The instructions were super easy to follow. The family loves the cookies and we will be making them often.