May 18, 2023

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies Without Brown Sugar

If you want chocolate chip cookies but you have stale brown sugar or no brown sugar at all, use this recipe! Made with healthier ingredients and little chill time, each cookie has crispy edges, a chewy center, and puddles of chocolate in every bite.

If you've ever found yourself wanting a fresh batch of cookies but you're brown sugar is stale or you ran out of brown sugar, no worries!

This new recipe for chocolate chip cookies requires no brown sugar and they still have that perfect chewy texture with crispy edges and golden brown tops.

Better yet, they're an adaptation from my original chewy chocolate chip cookies recipe that went viral on Instagram, so you know they're going to be amazing.

They're basically white sugar chocolate chip cookies with chocolate chips (not to be confused with frosted sugar cookies!) and they're more of a crispy cookie than your classic chocolate chip cookie recipe.

But what does brown sugar actually do in your cookies?

A tray of chocolate chip cookies

Role of brown sugar in cookies

Brown sugar changes the spread and the texture of your cookies because it has molasses in it. The added molasses gives a chewier texture, keeps the cookies from spreading too far, and makes them a touch thicker.

Brown sugar is also considered an acidic baking ingredient, which means you use baking soda in the recipe.

There are two types of brown sugar: light brown sugar and dark brown sugar. Dark brown sugar has more molasses in it, but to the untrained tastebuds, swapping one for the other doesn't make a huge difference in the cookies.

Because this recipe doesn't have any brown sugar in the cookie dough, the cookies will be lighter in color, spread more, and have crispier edges.

Why you'll love this recipe

Basic ingredients: despite not having (or wanting) brown sugar, I'm sure you've got everything else on hand!

Healthier swaps: a couple better-for-you ingredients that don't compromise in texture or flavor

Easy cookie recipe: you can have these delicious cookies in less than 30 minutes!

Minimal chill time: just 15 minutes makes all the difference.

Best texture: each cookie has crispy edges, a chewy center, and puddles of chocolate

A chocolate chip cookie with sea salt on top

Ingredients you'll need

  • Grass fed unsalted butter: butter with more vitamins and minerals. Feel free to use whatever butter you have on hand though.
  • Organic cane sugar: sugar that hasn't been sprayed with glyphosate. Regular granulated sugar will also work.
  • Stevia: to keep these cookies sweet without too much sugar. Stevia is an all natural sweetener that replaces white sugar 1-for-1, but it does affect the bake of the cookie so it's important not to change the ratio.
  • Large egg: for moisture, fat, and leavening. Make sure your egg is room temperature!
  • Vanilla extract: for a touch of sweetness. I always measure with my heart!
  • Organic all purpose flour: soft, fluffy flour that hasn't been sprayed with any chemicals or bleached during processing. Regular flour or gluten free all purpose flour will also work here.
  • Leavening: baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Don't skip any of them!
  • Sugar free chocolate chips: they taste just like dark chocolate chips but without the added sugar.

Equipment you'll need

  • Electric mixer with paddle attachment (you can also use a hand mixer with a large bowl)
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Rubber spatula
  • Baking sheet (aka sheet pan, baking tray, or cookie sheet)
  • Parchment paper (NOT a silicone mat)
  • Cookie scoop (3 Tbsp)
  • Wire rack or cooling rack
  • Round cookie cutter (optional)
  • Kitchen scale (optional)

Balls of chocolate chip cookie dough

How to make this recipe

Step 1: prepare the kitchen

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set out the butter and eggs to warm to room temperature. This takes about 60 minutes.

Step 2: cream the wet ingredients

In a stand mixer, cream the butter and granulated sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.

Scrape down the sides and the bottom, then mix in the eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.

Step 3: fold in the dry ingredients

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

(For the best results in all of your baking, you should use a kitchen scale. However, since most American bakers don't have or don't prefer a kitchen scale, the next best way to properly measure your flour is the "spoon and level method."

This method prevents you from compacting the flour in your measuring cup and therefore using too much flour in your cookies. Too much flour means dry, cakey cookies that don't spread. And no one likes those cookies.)

Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing on low speed until a few streaks of flour remain.

Lastly, fold in the chocolate chips until just combined.

Wrap the bowl in plastic wrap and place in the fridge while you preheat the oven.

Step 4: bake the cookies

When the oven is ready, use a cookie scoop to portion three tablespoon sized cookie dough balls into a single layer on the prepared baking sheet, placing no more than 5 on one sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven for 11-13 minutes, removing from the oven when they look slightly underdone.

Step 5: scoot, salt, and cool

If you want perfectly round cookies, use a cookie cutter or small bowl just bigger than the cookies to scoot them into uniform circles.

Top with flaky sea salt and allow to cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Enjoy!

A chocolate chip cookie with a bite out of it stacked on top of other cookies

Frequently asked questions

Why do chocolate chip cookies need brown sugar?

Although brown sugar is just white granulated sugar with blackstrap molasses in it, the dark molasses adds a depth of flavor, a little bit of acid (for leavening), and yields a chewier cookie. In my opinion, it's what makes good cookies perfect cookies.

Can I make these cookies without a stand mixer?

Of course! You can also use a hand mixer. However, I don't recommend making this by hand because you're using softened butter.

Can I make these cookies gluten free?

Yes, I have successfully substituted gluten free 1:1 all purpose flour.

Can I use a different cookie scoop?

Sure. If you use a 2 Tbsp scoop, bake the cookies for 9-11 minutes. If you use a 1 Tbsp scoop, bake for 8-10 minutes.

Can I make this recipe into cookie bars?

Yes. Add all the cookie dough to an aluminum 8x8 baking pan and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350°F.

Can I make these cookies into a cookie skillet?

You can! Just follow the directions in this skillet cookie recipe.

How long do chocolate chip cookies last?

When stored at room temperature, these cookies will last 3-5 days in an airtight container.

Chocolate chip cookies on parchment paper

More cookie recipes you'll love

Frosted Chocolate Chip Sugar Cookies

BEST Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Healthy Kitchen Sink Cookie Bars

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Vegan Rainbow Chocolate Chip Cookies

BEST Healthy Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

Next time you need to make classic chocolate chip cookies but without the brown sugar, you need to make these cookies! They're an easy recipe to make and just as delicious as my best chocolate chip cookies, too.

Be sure to leave a star rating and review below the recipe card if you try this recipe so other readers know how you liked it! You can also favorite this recipe here on the blog using the heart icon or save it to Pinterest for later.

If you want chocolate chip cookies but you have stale brown sugar or no brown sugar at all, use this recipe! Made with healthier ingredients and little chill time, each cookie has crispy edges, a chewy center, and puddles of chocolate in every bite.


Brooke Harmer













  • 1/2 C unsalted grass fed butter, room temperature*
  • 1/2 C organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 C stevia
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 1/3 organic all purpose flour**
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C sugar-free chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until well combined, about another minute.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula until just combined.
  4. Scoop 3 tablespoons of cookie dough together and roll into a ball. (You can also use a 3 Tbsp cookie scoop!) Place on the prepared baking sheet and repeat until you have 5 cookies per pan. Feel free to add additional chocolate chips to the top of the cookies if you want to.
  5. Bake for 11-13 minutes on the middle rack of the oven. Remove when the edges have set but the tops look slightly underdone. When finished baking, reshape into circles** and sprinkle with sea salt. Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack and cool for another 10 minutes.


*Feel free to swap equal amounts of dairy free butter, but make sure it's unsalted and room temperature.

**If baking at 3000 ft elevation or higher, add 2 tablespoons flour.

Nutrition facts are a calculated estimate of one cookie, including the chocolate chips.


Serving: 1 cookie / Calories: 223 / Fat: 10.8g / Saturated fat: 5.2g / Carbohydrates: 29.6g / Fiber: 0.7g / Sugar: 7.5g / Protein: 2.6g