Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies

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To me, these Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies (with two secret ingredients) are the ultimate chocolate chip cookie. They’re also known as Secret Recipe Chocolate Chip Cookies.

stack of Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies

Baking different varieties of chocolate chip cookies seems to be all-the-rage these days. If someone claims to have the most superior recipe, I’ll give it a go. I’ve tried many recipes but I always come back to this one. This recipe was on a recipe card that I’ve had for many years. I’m not quite sure where it was originally published.

Cookie Dough for Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m personally happy nibbling away on the cookie dough. My husband freaks out about that. I try to explain to him that I grew up eating cookie dough and cake batter and all that stuff and I don’t seem to harbor any ill-effects. The best part about baking is licking the beaters and rubber spatulas. Yum.

Cookie Dough for Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies

I haven’t found any value in refrigerating cookie dough before baking… but I do like to plop it on my cookie sheets (lined with parchment) in a semi-round manner. I figure if it starts out round, it’s less likely that you’ll get the funky shapes. For these cookies, I use a regular-sized ice cream scoop (about 1/4 cup).

measuring Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies

The result: Big. Round. Perfect.

Warm is best.

With milk, of course.

stack of Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies

These Secret Recipe Chocolate Chip Cookies produce a big, round, chip-filled chewy cookie. And what are those secret ingredients I mentioned??

Secret Ingredients for Chocolate Chip Cookies

Vanilla and lemon. Lots of vanilla… 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract plus a scraped vanilla bean. Lemon juice too… just a teaspoon. You don’t taste it at all, but it helps produce a chewier cookie. I suppose there is a third secret ingredient to share too… oatmeal. Except that you put the oatmeal in the food processor or blender and pulverize it into an almost-powder. That adds a little twist to the dry ingredients.

Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies served with milk

So go ahead and continue your search for the ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe… refrigerate the dough for 24 hours, use parchment, use silpat, use insulated sheets, use jelly roll pans, bake them upside down or whatever… but if you try these, you might just wish to put an end to your search.  Enjoy!

Here are a few more recipes for chocolate chip cookies you might enjoy:

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5 from 6 votes

Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies

I really think this is one of the best chocolate chip cookie recipes out there!
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 16 minutes
Total Time 41 minutes
Servings 24 cookies
Calories 355kcal
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword chocolate chip cookies, secret ingredient chocolate chip cookies


  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (regular or quick)
  • cups all purpose flour
  • teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped (optional-- but so good)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
  • cups chopped walnuts, optional


  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Cover 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats.
  • Place rolled oats in blender or food processor and process until finely ground. Combine ground oats, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in mixing bowl.
  • In another bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the butter, sugars, vanilla, vanilla bean and lemon juice. Add the eggs, and beat until fluffy.
  • Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture, blending well. Add the chips and nuts (if desired) to the dough and mix well. Using 1/4 cup of dough for each cookie, scoop round balls with an ice cream scoop and place 2½-inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
  • Bake until cookies are lightly browned, 16 to 18 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Store in a sealed container to keep them soft and chewy.



  • If you do not want to grind oats for this recipe, go ahead and use regular oats. Just make sure that you are using quick-cooking oats.


Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 355kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 198mg | Potassium: 196mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 285IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 2.4mg

Thank you to Miranda from the blog for shooting some of these photos for me.

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  • Barb Oliger wrote:

    I have the same recipe card you were referring to. This is the only chocolate chip cookie recipe I ever use. I also search for years to find a really really good one and this is it.

  • JohnS wrote:

    Is there an alternative to the Lemon Juice? Perhaps some type of vinegar? My wife cannot have anything that has lemon juice – so in many recipes we substitute champagne vinegar.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I’m not familiar with subs for lemon juice… but perhaps vinegar would do the trick? Or you can just leave it out 🙂

  • Laura Libby wrote:


  • Laura wrote:

    I’ve been making these cookies for years, from a recipe card as well. “Easy to Bake easy to Make”. I received the recipe cards in the mail every few weeks when I was a kid and first got into baking. I’m 31 now and I have held onto that recipe card ever since. I just moved to Australia and couldn’t find the recipe in all my boxes of cook books and I’ve been craving those cookies. I started googling the list of ingredients and chocolate chip cookies and found this post. Thank You! Best cookie recipe ever, so glad someone posted the recipe! Thanks a ton!

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      So glad you found it!

  • Teresa wrote:

    Hello I made your secret ingredient chocolate chip cookies. They where awesome. I gave some to my next door neighbors who are in their 80s. They said they where the best chocolate chip cookies they have ever had. I love that they didnt go flat. I didnt use the vanilla bean (its really expensive) but added more vanilla extract. Will be making these again. Thank you

  • Becky Hardin wrote:

    Nothing better then hot chocolate chip cookies.

  • Krissy wrote:

    Hands down, the best chocolate chip cookies ever!

  • Anna wrote:

    These are the best cookies ever! My family loved them!

  • Aimee Shugarman wrote:

    Just pulled them out of the oven. Delicious!

  • Kevin wrote:

    A very similar recipe to the DoubleTree Hotel chocolate chip cookies, served warm when you check-in! No wonder you keep coming back to this one…I think it truly is the ultimate! The addition of the processed oats, lemon, and cinnamon definitely elevate the cookie. Thanks for posting 🙂

  • Kelly wrote:

    Lol, I have that recipe card in my recipe binder! Lunch Box Special, cookies & brownies card 1, easy to bake easy to make series. One of those subscription things where you get packs of cards every month. I still keep a few of them. I swear I made them in college, but my card says 2009. Maybe I got a second sample set years later because my head tells me it is 20 years old. And it IS a good recipe! I need to roll them out again.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Yes! It definitely was from some old recipe card subscription service a long time ago!

  • wrote:

    I only have regular vanilla extract, do I have to use the vanilla bean ??

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      No– it’s just an extra vanilla flavor. Add a little more vanilla if you’re not using the bean.

  • Natalie wrote:

    Delicious cookies! Can’t wait to try them!

  • Tee wrote:

    These cookies are easy to make and a pleasure to eat.
    Thumbs up all the way.

  • Mark wrote:

    I use almost the exact recipe, but I use vanilla bean paste, I add half of a grated hershey bar to the dough, and use pecans instead of walnuts. Vanilla Bean Paste makes everything better.

    I have tried many of your recipes and have never been disappointed. Thank you for having an excellent site.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Thanks for the tip. I actually just bought vanilla bean paste at Williams Sonoma the other day. I’m excited to use it!

  • Melissa wrote:

    These are fantastic! I’ve been searching for my go-to chocolate chip cookie and this is the one.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Good to hear!

  • Laura Patriarca wrote:

    These are legitimately the best cookies I have ever made/eaten in my life! All the members of my track team agree!

  • Bonnie wrote:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I lost this recipe during a recent move. I have been on the web for hours trying to find it. I originally found it on a recipe card from the Easy to Make Easy to Bake club. I have made these cookies so many times I knew the ingredients but did not know the portions. Tips: If you substitute 1.5 cups of packed dark brown sugar for the sugars, you end up with a fatter, prettier cookie. Make sure to take them out of the oven when they look almost done. I have also been known to substitute different types of add ins, such as white chocolate and macadamia nuts or craisens and pistachios.