After testing a ton of different recipes, I’ve decided that these are the best dairy free chocolate chip cookies out there. They aren’t too soft or too crunchy. And, they have just the right amount of brown sugar. Makes 36 cookies.

dairy free chocolate chip cookies on cooling rack with striped napkin in the foreground and a glass of almond milk to the side

Baking is one of the hardest things to do once you’ve gone dairy free. There are so, so many recipes out there that require milk, butter, or – my least favorite to replace – yogurt.

But, I’ve got your back. I’ve tested out many of those dairy free chocolate chip cookies, and we’ve decided that these are our favorite.

They’re texture is most like the butter-based cookies of our childhood and they flavor is the closest we can find. In fact, I’d say it’s dead on.

That’s mostly because of the vegetable shortening I replaced the butter with – it’s my favorite substitute for butter when baking – and allergy friendly chocolate chips.

stack of dairy free chocolate chip cookies on a small gray plate

Here’s what you’ll need to make them:

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Equipment

ingredients for dairy free chocolate chip cookies in various sizes of glass bowls

Ingredient options

As I mentioned, I’ve used both vegetable shortening and dairy free chocolate chips for this recipe. You can easily swap vegan butter or coconut oil for the shortening if that’s what you have on hand just be sure to let it soften a bit.

Dairy free chocolate chips are readily available at most grocery stores, but sometimes they are located in the organic section rather than the baking aisle. If you’re unsure, just read the label and look for milk listed as an ingredient.

10 EASY DAIRY FREE SUBSTITUTIONS

Not sure where to get started with dairy free swaps? I’m here to help! Subscribe now to receive my free guide to dairy free substitutes.

    a large glass bowl with a whisk mixing dry ingredients for chocolate chip cookies

    How to make chocolate chip cookies without butter

    Mise en place. Preheat your oven to 350˚F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Measure out all of your ingredients before you begin mixing. This helps make sure you don’t miss anything.

    Whisk your dry ingredients. Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Set the bowl aside for later.

    Mix the wet ingredients. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the shortening and sugars until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time and beat until they’re incorporated.

    baking sheet lined with parchment paper topped with unbaked cookie dough balls and a cookie scoop holding cookie dough

    Combine the dry and wet ingredients. Add the flour to the mixing bowl, about 3/4 cup at a time, scraping the sides as needed.

    Once that is all mixed, you’ll need to stir in the chocolate chips. You can also add about 1/2 cup chopped nuts if you want.

    Scoop the cookies. Use a cookie scoop to shape the dough into 2 tablespoon sized balls and place them on the cookie sheet about and inch or so apart.

    Bake for 11 – 13 minutes – or until the tops of the cookies have set. They should still be super soft when you take them out, especially if you want them to be chewy.

    Let them cool. Remove the cookies from the oven and leave them on the baking sheet for a few minutes. Then transfer them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

    dairy free chocolate chip cookie sitting on top of a glass of almond milk, with text overlay for Pinterest

    FAQs and tips for making the best chocolate chip cookies

    What can I substitute for butter in chocolate chip cookies?

    If you want to replace butter in chocolate chip cookies, you have several options. Since chocolate chip cookies typically use softened, but not melted butter, I recommend using vegetable shortening, vegan butter, or softened coconut oil for a 1:1 replacement.

    Are Nestle semi sweet chocolate chips dairy free?

    Traditional Nestle chocolate chips aren’t dairy free, but they recently came out with a line called Simply Delicious that are top 8 allergen free, which means they are dairy free. If you’re unsure, be sure to check the ingredients list.

    dairy free chocolate chip cookies on a cooling rack, one has a bite taken out of it

    More dairy free chocolate recipes:

    kids hand holding a dairy free chocolate chip cookie over a glass of almond milk
    Print

    The Best Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

    These dairy free chocolate chip cookies are seriously the best ever. They are made with shortening instead of butter, which makes them perfectly chewy with slightly crunchy edges. No one will ever know that the butter is missing. #dairyfree #cookies

    • Author: Melissa Belanger
    • Prep Time: 20 minutes
    • Cook Time: 35 minutes
    • Total Time: 55 minutes
    • Yield: 36 cookies 1x
    • Category: Desserts
    • Method: Baking
    • Cuisine: American

    Ingredients

    Scale
    • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup vegetable shortening*
    • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 cup dairy free chocolate chips

    Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 350˚F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
    3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat shortening and sugars at medium speed until light and fluffy – about 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until combined. Add flour mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until incorporated, scrapping sides as needed.
    4. Stir in chocolate chips.
    5. Using a medium cookie scoop, drop 2 tablespoon balls of dough onto cookie sheet. Bake for 10 – 11 minutes.
    6. Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
    7. Repeat steps 6 – 7 to bake remaining cookies.

    Notes

    If you are concerned about the palm oil found in shortening, try buying a sustainably sourced brand such as Spectrum.

    Nutrition

    • Serving Size:
    • Calories: 151
    • Sugar: 12.2 g
    • Sodium: 105.2 mg
    • Fat: 7.8 g
    • Saturated Fat: 2.6 g
    • Carbohydrates: 19.3 g
    • Fiber: 0.7 g
    • Protein: 1.7 g
    • Cholesterol: 10.3 mg

    Keywords: dairy free, easy, chocolate, cookies

    Last Updated on November 13, 2020 by Melissa Belanger

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    Recipe rating

    57 Comments

    1. Truly the best dairy free chocolate chip cookies….and maybe the best chocolate chip cookies period! Delicious!!

    2. My cookies had good flavor but they turned into cakey cookies? I don’t know what I did wrong but they were so tall and not flat at all.

      1. Is it possible that you used baking powder instead of baking soda? Or that you left changed the sugars? In order for them to spread, the baking soda needs to react with the acidity of the brown sugar. If either of these things aren’t there or don’t happen, the cookies won’t spread. I hope that helps!

      1. Yes. You definitely can. The water content might be slightly different in the spread though, so it could affect how the cookies spread and taste, but it shouldn’t be too significant. Let me know how it goes if you do it!

    3. The best recipe I’ve tried so far and the only one that tastes just like a dairy cookie. I think it tastes even better! My kids love it!!

    4. Omg! I can’t stop eating them! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I was losing hope; all the other recipes have been cakey and dry. My search is finally over! Thank you thank you thank you!!!

    5. OMG – these cookies were amazing, though I did make a substitution. Instead of shortening (as I had none), I used dairy-free margarine and coconut oil. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

    6. My son has a dairy allergy and I needed to find a cookie recipe for the holidays and I found a winner! My son loves them and so will 🎅

      My only thing with this recipe, it calls for 2 eggs, yet the eggs are never mentioned in the directions. I added it to the shortening and sugars.

    7. My friend made me these cookies and they were the bomb. I made some and I tasted them , they were great. Well… a few hours later I ate another one and they were hard 🙁

    8. My little girl just developed an allergy to milk. I was nervous to try baking but this was amazing!! Soft in inside, perfect on outside. Really good.

    9. This recipe didn’t work out for me. I’m not sure what it was (maybe too much flour?), but I’ve double-checked and I had all the ingredients and measurements correct as per the instructions. The dough was very dry and crumbly, so I ended up adding a splash of almond milk to make it workable as a cookie dough. The cookies never spread, and they ended up as partially baked, crumbly balls of cookie dough and chocolate — and then into the trash. 🙁

      1. If the cookies didn’t spread, your baking soda was probably not good anymore. It is possible that you needed a bit of extra liquid depending on which brand of shortening or vegan butter you used though. They all have different compositions. I’m sorry the recipe didn’t work out for you.

    10. I’ve tried this recipe (4) different times now. Here’s the thing: if you follow it exactly, your cookies will come out chewy…for about 15 minutes.

      After that, they turn into crumbly cakey hockey pucks. After a day you can just throw them out, because they are hard as rocks.

      I struggled trying to figure out why this recipe was so popular, when what I really wanted was moist and chewy dairy-free cookies that lasted for more than a day at room temps. You know, like regular dairy cookies.

      Here is what I did to get it to work:

      1) Cut back on the flour by 1/4 cup. Less flower worked better.
      2) Use 1 whole cup brown sugar. More brown sugar reacts better with the baking soda and you get chewier cookies.
      3) Make sure your baking soda is fresh as can be. My first batch I used old stuff, didn’t work at all.
      4) If you use butter flavored shortening like I did, read the directions on that package and add the right amount of water to the recipe. Shortening is 100% fat and no water, whereas butter is 80% fat and like 20% water. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of water for every 1/4 cup of shortening in the mix. This means I added 5 teaspoons of water to the recipe.

      Once I did these things, my cookies were finally flatter, chewy for days, and didn’t turn out cakey and tough after 15 minutes cooling.

    11. I just made this recipe yesterday and my family loved them. I added some crushed toasted walnuts as well and they cake out great! Thank you for your recipe. I will save this recipe to keep making it in the future.

    12. I LOVED these cookies! They had the texture of a “regular” cookie. They tasted FABULOUS! I used King Arthur Flour and Enjoy Life chocolate chips. My family didn’t know the difference, and I gave a dozen to my allergist’s office.

      I posted the picture in IG: a_positive_force

    13. I LOVE these cookies!

      My son and mom didn’t know they were gluten-free. They were a little taller than “normal” chocolate chip cookies but otherwise, the texture was good.

    14. Somehow, these tasted like they were made with browned butter instead of Earth Balance. Used a pinch of Fleur de Sel sea salt on each cookie before baking…they are divine! Baked 12-13 minutes in my oven and they were really soft and gooey inside. I also used 1 cup bread flour, the rest AP; always helps the cookie texture.

    15. I’ve noticed that other people are having the same problem I have had, which is how cake-like they are. They taste great, but they are very cake-like. And yes, I’m using Baking Soda and brown sugar. I haven’t switched any of the ingredients. I even reduced the amount of flour and they are still cake-cookies. My next step is to just get rid of items and buy newer ingredients to see if that’s the problem (?). If I have an update I will come back and post it.

    16. My 4 year old daughter and I made these this rainy afternoon. We used coconut oil, and they were delicious! They will not last long! Will make again, thank you!

    17. Storing the cookies with a piece of bread keeps them soft! I learned the hack a few years ago and it works great.

    18. Thank you for sharing! I just recently removed dairy from my diet and I’ve been having trouble finding delicious recipes. I used Coconut oil instead of vegetable shortening and I added walnuts and these were the best version of chocolate chip cookies I’ve made. Holding tight onto this recipe! Excited to explore more of your recipes.

    19. These are the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever made and I have tried many recipes!! Using the butter flavored Crisco has been my go to. I am now being asked to give these cookies as bday presents to my family!

    20. Just a few more tips. Either aerate before measuring or weigh your flour. That makes a big difference and scales are not expensive. Fresh baking soda, remember to pack down the brown sugar. If you are making multiple batches the dough can dry out waiting in your bowl. Either use 2 trays and rotate half way through or cover your bowl with a damp towel in between batches.

    21. Just made these for my son who is allergic to milk and eggs. Used half cup for each sugar, used flax eggs, Enjoy Life mini chips, and coconut oil. They were so good! They taste like my “regular” chocolate chip cookies. Thanks for the recipe!

    22. I made these gluten free by using 1 c. gluten free quick oats and 1 1/2 c. Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 baking flour in place of the 2 1/2 cups flour. They were delicious! I loved the texture – crisp on the outside, chewy and soft on the inside, just how a good chocolate chip cookie should be. The flavor wasn’t quite as good as I hoped though, I missed the butter, as I always do in dairy free baking. I think next time I may try half shortening, half Earth Balance buttery sticks to help with that. But overall they were a really great basic chocolate chip cookie that tasted very close to the “real deal”. Hard to come by in our family full of allergies! Thank you!

    23. My son was newly diagnosed with Eosinophilic Esophasgitis and I just made these. They are AMAZING and I’m so glad I can still make him some yummy treats. I’m a chef and have not had to deal with a dairy allergy before so I’m having fun learning and trying new things. I used half Earth Balance and half vegetable shortening and 2 1/4 c for and they were perfect! Thank you again!

    24. We made the chocolate chip cookies, used semi sweet and dk chips plus walnuts, so great, all the family luv’d them and didn’t know they were dairy free, thanks:)

    25. As someone who is allergic to dairy (I get postnasal drip from dairy), these cookies are quite good. Sure, I miss the buttery flavor of a cup of butter; however, it sure beats having snot run down the back of my throat, making me cough and needing to run for a Claritin 😉

    26. I had to cut out dairy when I found out my baby was allergic while nursing. I have a huge sweet tooth and was so happy to find this recipe!!
      I’ve made batch after batch, keeping the dough in a Tupperware in the fridge and baking them in small batches, however, I’ve made them all at once also and had no issues. I now add 1/4 cup dairy free butter and 3/4 cup shortening, bake for 11 mins and they come out perfect!

    27. Hi Melissa! This recipe is amazing! I’ve struggled to find sweets that my son can eat because he is dairy free. This is by far the best dairy free dessert I’ve found! I used dairy free butter instead of shortening. They turned out great! Thank you! 🙂

    28. I did everything instructed in recipe but they turned into biscuits instead of cookies still had good flavor

    29. Made the recipe today- followed all the instructions and did not make any changes. Came out great! Cookies was soft and chewy with a crisp on the outside. My first time using shortening and definitely not the last!

    30. I’m on an MSPI diet, and I’ve been looking all over for good desserts. I’ve tried so, so many cookies, and this is the best recipe I’ve found. Even my kids want to eat these, rather than our regular tried and true cookies that use dairy! These are excellent all the time, and even better when I’ve used Spectrum shortening.

    31. This may be my new go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe, even once I can have dairy again! The texture is perfect, they come together great, and the whole family loves them!

    32. Outstanding dairy free recipe!
      This recipe is by far the best dairy free cookie recipe I’ve made! Everyone loved them, thanks for sharing it!

    33. I make these cookies all the time and they are fabulous!! This time, I want to make a cookie cake, should I just bake the whole cake at 350 for 20 mins? What would you recommend?