- We asked chefs from around the country to tell us about their favourite store-bought cookie doughs, and they definitely didn’t disappoint.
- The hands-down winner? Nestlé Toll House Cookie Dough, which is also the most easily-accessible dough on this list.
- Other top contenders include Trader Joe’s Chunky Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Whole Foods 365 Sugar Cookie Dough, and Sweet Loren’s Cookie Dough.
There’s nothing better than a fresh batch of cookies pulled straight out of the oven … but making cookie dough from scratch can feel like a massive struggle for those of us who lack keen pastry skills. And honestly, even the folks with these elusive talents sometimes want a quick and easy solution to their sudden cookie cravings. That’s where store-bought cookie dough comes in.
Of course, taking a shortcut doesn’t mean that you should skimp on quality. To set you on a righteous path toward delicious cookies, we asked a group of chefs to name the best pre-made cookie doughs out there. To our surprise, one brand stood out as the overwhelming favourite … and it’s probably the easiest dough to find at any grocery store you visit. First, check out the runners-up:
Trader Joe’s Chunky Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough delivers close-to-homemade flavours without any artificial preservatives.
An NYC-based chef, food stylist, and culinary producer of “Scraps” on A&E, Clare Langan knows a thing or two about prepping delicious and attractive dishes under a tight time crunch. When she needs to whip up a batch of cookies in a hurry, Langan grabs a package of Trader Joe’s Chunky Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.
“I’ve used [this dough] on photo shoots I’ve styled in a pinch – [the cookies] come out looking homemade and taste pretty close, too! I also appreciate that there are no artificial preservatives, and of course, you can’t beat the price. To jazz up store-bought dough, try adding a handful or two of unexpected mix-ins: chopped chocolate-covered espresso beans, toasted hazelnuts or even crushed potato chips for a sweet and salty vibe,” Langan told INSIDER.
Whole Foods 365 Sugar Cookie Dough makes a great canvas for fun cookie experimentation
As the pastry chef for the acclaimed Gotham Bar & Grill in NYC, Ron Paprocki vastly prefers to make his own doughs from scratch. But if he’s relaxing at home and wants something quick and easy to customise, Whole Foods 365 Sugar Cookie Dough is his go-to. These classic sugar cookies are ideal for Paprocki’s creative embellishments:
“What I really like to do is make a simple cream cheese frosting, spread it on a cooled baked cookie, and decorate it with rainbow sprinkles, an almost exact replica of the Schmackary’s famous Funfetti sugar cookie. Cookies should be fun.”
For an all-natural, health-conscious spin on pre-made cookie dough, try Sweet Loren’s
“From both a chef and RD standpoint, I would recommend Sweet Loren’s store-bought cookie dough. With a simple ingredient list, these cookies are delicious right out of the oven. Sweet Loren’s cookies are gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, plant-based, dairy free, nut free, 100% whole grain, and kosher pareve making them enjoyable for everyone. Plus, now they even have an edible cookie dough. I mean, who doesn’t love cookie dough?”
And now, the all-around favourite store-bought cookie dough: Nestlé Toll House
The vast majority of chefs we consulted opted for a childhood classic, a cookie dough so ubiquitous that you’d be hard-pressed to name a grocery store that doesn’t carry it. Yes, according to chefs we asked, Nestlé Toll House cookie dough is, in fact, the best of the bunch.
Chef Matt Ward of NICO in Charleston, Sout Carolina said he loves the simplicity of the pre-cut Nestlé cookie doughs, which he can jazz up to his heart’s content: “I have a soft spot for all of Nestlé’s Pre-Cut cookie doughs. The classic chocolate chip dough is a great base, and sometimes I like to press Reese’s Pieces or M&Ms into them before baking.
“The pre-cut ones literally take no time at all and can curb any sweet tooth [craving] in about 15 minutes, start to finish. Not to mention, when baked, they’re pretty solid cookies. The best thing to pair these cookies with is a cold glass of whole milk.”
As a culinary student, Alex Levin, the culinary director of pastry for Alta Strada in Washington, DC, conducted an experiment to find the finest store-bought cookie dough, and Nestlé emerged triumphant:
“In culinary school, I did a project evaluating a number of different store-bought cookie doughs. I looked at Trader Joe’s, Nestlé, Pillsbury, and Betty Crocker. Before any baking at all, the one that tasted the best raw was the Nestlé dough. The Nestlé chocolate chip was the most flavorful, and the dough had a very buttery [taste]. The colour of the Nestlé dough is also a bit darker – either from molasses in the recipe or from the dark brown sugar. The dark brown sugar, butter, and good chocolate chips are the three key things [needed] for a great cookie … and [thanks to] the millions of dollars of research used to perfect the Nestlé recipe, they nailed it on all fronts.”
Culinary director Amanda Rockman of New Waterloo Hospitality Group in Austin, Texas thinks that Nestlé dough achieves the Platonic ideal of cookiedom, especially with some special touches added in:
“[Cookies made from Nestlé dough]have the perfect crunchy outside and gooey soft inside texture that you want from a cookie. [For the best baking experience,] let the dough rest in the fridge for one to two hours before scooping and baking. The easiest way to upgrade your cookie is to sprinkle Maldon sea salt right before you bake them.
Also, I don’t follow the baking times on the instructions; I bake till they are barely set in the middle and then let them carry-over bake to perfection.”
Executive chef Steven Lona of Waterbar in San Diego, California likes to add some spice to his Nestlé dough:
“[Nestlé Toll House Chocolate Chip Dough is] consistent and yields the perfect cookie every time. I do have ways that I typically jazz up my pre-made dough. I usually like to add some salt and spice to the cookies.
“I portion out the cookie dough, sprinkle them with some almonds and dust them with sea salt, plus a mixture of cinnamon, clove and cayenne pepper, to give them a more complexity.”
Pastry chef Alisha Ivey of Il Solito in Portland, Oregon said she especially likes the Nestlé sugar cookie dough, which she uses to make pretty epic “dessert pizzas”:
“The sugar cookie dough is so versatile if you are in a time crunch. I think one of my favourite uses, though, would be to make it into a ‘dessert pizza.’ My mum used to make these for birthdays [when I was] growing up,” Ivey said. “It’s a sugar cookie base rolled out into the shape of a pizza, baked, then topped with a layer of cream cheese icing and a layer of homemade strawberry jam.”
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