These Chocolate Chip Cookies Without Brown Sugar are classic chocolate chip cookies but made without any brown sugar. They are perfect to turn to when you are running low or are out of brown sugar.
I’ve also included a detailed breakdown of what ingredients and techniques you can use to replace brown sugar and get that perfectly sweet chocolate chip cookie.
The Trick to Chocolate Chip Cookies Without Brown Sugar
The trick to making chocolate chip cookies without brown sugar is to replace that “caramel” like taste that you get from brown sugar with another ingredient. You can do this in one of three different ways with ingredients that you may already have at home.
- Add just a little bit of maple syrup replacing the “caramel” flavor from the brown sugar.
- Rather than maple syrup, add a little bit of molasses.
- Brown the butter: this gives you that caramelized flavor with an ingredient that you already have.
I have made these chocolate chip cookies without brown sugar over a dozen times trying to figure out the best version with the easiest ingredients and preparation. I have experimented with a batch using all granulated sugar, another with a little bit of maple syrup, one with a lot of maple syrup, one with a little bit of molasses, one with too much molasses, and multiple variations with browned butter.
The recipe written below is using maple syrup. This is the simplest version. Maple syrup is a fairly common ingredient. Many households may already have maple syrup in their pantry, making it an easy addition. However, if you have molasses, it would be just as easy to add that instead (though fewer people might have this on hand).
Using Browned Butter
Browning the butter is totally optional. If you have the time and patience, browning the butter will get you closest to a classic chocolate chip cookie. When you brown the butter, you are toasting the milk solids and you get a caramelized nutty flavor.
However, in addition to browning the butter, you also have to cool the now melted butter. If you were to add the melted butter to your cookie dough, you would get a cookie that spreads too much and is too thin. Cooling the butter can be done in about 10-15 minutes in the freezer, which is not a ton of time, but it is an entire extra step (in addition to browning the butter).
If you do choose to brown your butter, do so in a medium sauce pan on medium-low heat. Watching carefully and stirring occasionally allow the butter to brown, about 5-7 minutes. Remove. Allow to cool slightly, then transfer to a bowl and place in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes. Then proceed as indicated in the recipe below.
Using Maple Syrup or Molasses
Real Maple Syrup and Molasses are two ingredients you might already have in your pantry. Brown sugar is granulated sugar with molasses. So, if you have molasses it’s a great substitute. You don’t need a ton, however. Just 1 tbsp will do the trick. Adding too much molasses will you give you a very strong molasses aftertaste in your cookie.
Maple Syrup will work really well too. In fact, I have made these cookies with maple syrup and molasses side by side, and I cannot really tell the difference between the two. They both have a subtle caramel flavor that you don’t get when only using granulated sugar.
Using Only Granulated Sugar
If you only have granulated sugar on hand (no maple syrup and no molasses) and you don’t have the time or capacity to brown the butter, you’re cookies will still turn out great! They won’t have that caramel note, but if you have a good amount of chocolate chips in there – you’re all set! They’ll be sweet and chocolatey (and easy) and really hit the spot.
Photos of Variations of Chocolate Chip Cookies Without Brown Sugar
Below are photos of the different variations that you can try based on the ingredients and time available to you. I hope that these details and photos help you to make the best chocolate chip cookies without brown sugar at home! Because not much beats a chewy, melty, chocolatey cookie when you really need one.
If you make this recipe, I'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment down below or tag a photo on instagram! Your feedback means a lot.
If you're interested in other cookie recipes you might also enjoy these:
Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies: Thick and chewy oversized cookies with lots and lots of chocolate.
Crispy Salted Caramel Cookies: Thin and crispy salted caramel cookies with a pool of caramel in the middle.
Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies: A recipe for a small batch of chocolate chip cookies for when you really only need a few cookies, not a huge batch.
Chocolate Chip Cookies Without Brown Sugar
- ½ cup butter, softened (or browned and cooled)
- 1 large egg
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp pure maple syrup or molasses
- ½ tsp vanilla
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350℉.
- In a large bowl combine the butter, egg, sugar, maple syrup (or molasses) and vanilla. Add the baking powder, baking soda, and salt and combine.
- Add the flour and mix to combine. Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Shape the dough into balls using 2 tbsp worth of dough and place on a cookie sheet.
- Bake for 9-10 minutes.