Replicate the famous Panera Chocolate Chip Cookies at home in under 30 minutes! No mixer, softened butter, or chilled dough needed – just a bowl and spatula and you’re on your way to soft, warm, melt-in-your-mouth cookies.
Back when I lived in Iowa, I’d occasionally drive 20 minutes to the nearest “city” and plant myself at Panera to get some work done (the wifi was horrible, but it was the only option before Starbucks!). In that time, I was introduced to their chocolate chip cookies and it wasn’t long before I developed a love/hate relationship with them.
Some days they were fresh, soft, warm, and amazing while other days they were clearly a few days old, a little stale, and hard. But oh man, when they were fresh and warm, DANG they were good.
Ever since then, I’ve been trying to replicate them and have finally done just that. With the homemade copycat version of these Panera chocolate chip cookies, you don’t have to risk those off-days and can instead get perfect, soft cookies every time.
Whip them up in under 30 minutes and you’ve got yourself an entire batch of warm, soft, melt-in-your-mouth cookies. Slightly chewy on the edge, with a gooey, soft center. (And pro tip: they’re just as good straight from the freezer!)
What makes these copycat Panera chocolate chip cookies so great?
- You don’t have to soften the butter. This recipe uses melted butter which means you can make them on the spot when the craving hits.
- You don’t need a mixer and actually you should NOT use one. All you need is a bowl and spatula.
- You don’t need to chill the dough. Because the last thing I want to do is wait 2 hours to make cookies.
- This recipe makes 10-12 large bakery style cookies, which means you only need to bake 1 tray.
- They’re perfect for gifting (more on that later).
What You Need to Make Panera Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Unsalted Butter
- Brown Sugar & White Sugar
- Vanilla Extract
- Baking Soda, Baking Powder, and Salt
- All-Purpose Flour
- Dark Chocolate Chunks (I used Kroger brand “Private Selection Dark Chocolate Chunks” and have found them to be the most authentic to the Panera kind.)
How to Make Panera Chocolate Chip Cookies
Step 1: Chop Half the Chocolate
Use a sharp knife to chop 1/2 cup of the chocolate chunks into small shards and slivers (set the other 1/2 cup of unchopped chunks aside). Set aside.
Step 2: Melt Butter & Add Ingredients
In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, add the butter and cover with a paper towel (will help for splattering). Melt the butter for 30-60 seconds until all is melted (no chunks left). You want it hot; if you hear it “pop” then it’s most likely done. *If you’ve made these before, see notes section in recipe card for this change in 2022.
Pour melted butter in larger mixing bowl then add in white sugar and brown sugar; use a spatula to stir until combined. Mix in egg. Next, add in baking soda, baking powder, and salt and mix again. Add flour and mix until all the flour disappears into the dough. Lastly, add the 1/2 cup of chopped chunks and 1/2 cup of whole chunks into the dough and mix. Let sit for a minute or two to allow dough to set up a bit so it’s not too sticky.
Step 3: Scoop and Roll
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop dough into 3-tablespoon sized scoops then gently roll into your hands to create a ball. Flatten the tops so that they’re a thick disc vs. a round ball (see image below).
Tip: If you notice 2-3 chocolate chunks are stuck together, separate them before baking. This will allow the chocolate to be evenly dispersed and prevent the cookie from having a giant clump of chocolate in one spot..
Step 4: Bake
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. You want them to be slightly brown on top and look slightly underbaked (my oven was perfect at 11 minutes). Remove from oven and place entire pan on a cooling rack. Allow the cookies to cool on the hot pan for 10-15 minutes before removing them. This will allow them to finish baking on the hot pan. Once cooled, use a spatula to transfer them to a wire cooling rack.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do I have to chop half the chocolate chunks?
Yes, you do. If you truly want them to be like Panera chocolate chip cookies, then take the extra 1 minute and just do it ;) Having this mix of chopped and whole chunks allows for the chocolate to be evenly dispersed.
Can I use chocolate chips instead of chunks?
So here’s the thing. If you’re truly looking to replicate Panera cookies, you need the chunks. I tested this recipe with chocolate chips and they weren’t the same because most brands of chocolate chips don’t melt down as well as chunks (and therefore the cookies are not as thin). If you use chocolate chips, it will still result in a good chocolate chip cookie but it may not turn out the same as the traditional Panera cookie. That said, if you do use chocolate chips, make sure you are still chopping half of them so that the dough has an even dispersion of chocolate.
How big will these be?
If you follow the instructions and use a 3-tablespoon sized scoop, your cookies should end up being around 3.5 inches. This can vary depending on your altitude and climate, but that’s how big mine spread in Tennessee.
This is not a diet recipe and these nutritional facts are just estimates. But the Panera website lists their Chocolate Chipper Cookie at 380 calories. If you make 12 of these cookies, they’ll come in around 260 calories/each.
Any ideas to gift chocolate chip cookies?
Of course I do! Gift cookies in single cookie boxes with printable cookie wraps and tags (as seen below, coming soon!), gift in cellophane bags with a printable cookie tag or wrap them in plastic wrap and slip in my chocolate chip cookie bags.
Copycat Panera Chocolate Chip Cookies
Replicate the famous Panera Chocolate Chip Cookies at home in under 30 minutes! No mixer, softened butter, or chilled dough needed - just a bowl and spatula and you're on your way to soft, warm, melt-in-your-mouth cookies.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1.5 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (not packed, just scooped and leveled with a knife)
- 1 cup dark chocolate chunks (You'll be chopping 1/2 cup and adding the remaining 1/2 cup whole). I used Kroger brand "Private Selection Dark Chocolate Chunks" and have found them to be the most authentic to the Panera kind.
Before you begin! If you make this, will you do me a huge favor and leave a review and rating letting me know how you liked this recipe? This helps my small business thrive so I can continue providing free recipes and high-quality content for you.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (you want the oven ready as soon as you're done scooping!)
Use a sharp knife to chop 1/2 cup of the chocolate chunks into small shards and slivers (Note: only chop HALF of the chunks - not the full cup we'll be adding). Set aside.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, add the butter and cover with a paper towel (will help for splattering). Melt the butter for 30-45 seconds until all is melted (no chunks left). You want it hot; if you hear it "pop" then it's most likely done. *If you've made these before, see notes section for this change in 2022.
Pour butter into a larger bowl then add in white sugar and brown sugar and use a spatula to stir until combined (* do not use a mixer for this recipe). Add in egg and vanilla, then mix. Next, add in baking soda, baking powder, and salt and mix again. Add in flour and mix until all the flour disappears into the dough. Note: the dough WILL be wet and sticky, this is normal.
Add the 1/2 cup of chopped chunks and 1/2 cup of whole chunks into the dough and mix. Allow dough to sit for 1-2 minutes to slightly set so it's not as sticky.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop dough into 3-tablespoon sized scoops then gently roll into your hands to create a ball. Flatten the tops so that they're a thick disc vs. a round ball. See image in post for reference. Without flattening, your cookies will be thicker and more cakey.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. You want them to be slightly brown on top and look slightly underbaked (my oven was perfect at 11 minutes).
Remove from oven and place entire pan on a cooling rack. Allow the cookies to cool on the hot pan for 10-15 minutes before removing them. This will allow them to finish baking on the hot pan. Once cooled, use a spatula to transfer them to a wire cooling rack.
Last Step! Please leave a review and rating letting me know how you liked this recipe! This helps my small business thrive so I can continue providing free recipes and high-quality content for you.
2022 Update: Some readers have reported their cookies being cakey. After making this recipe for years, this has also started happening to me. There's been speculation that store-bought butter has changed its formula a bit during the pandemic. Until we can properly retest this recipe, I am now recommending to melt the butter until it "pops" to make sure it's hot. This should help the cookies flatten more.
Have you tried the Panera chocolate chip cookie? If so, you have to try this homemade version! If you end up making it, be sure to leave a comment or tag me on Instagram with how you liked them!
I’m excited to try this recipe! I usually weigh my ingredients. Would it be safe to use 150 g of flour, using a conversion factor of 1 cup flour = 120 grams?
Hi there! You’ll want closer to 180g for these! As I understand it, the 120g/cup is typically for when the flour is sifted. For these, I recommend scooping the flour and then leveling off the measuring cups with a knife. Just be sure to loosely scoop the flour and not pack it like you would brown sugar.
I changed up the recipe slightly so it is not as cakey, and more moist, with a slightly crunchy top like a brownie. As for the Panera flavor…almost, not quite, and I am keeping my changes a secret. This recipe is a great springboard to make your own changes to achieve the cookie that you desire.
I work at Panera and I can say that we bake the cookies at 330 for 13 minutes if you want it to be more accurate!
Oh thanks for sharing that, totally going to try it!
can we substitute the regular flour with almond flour ?
Hi! I don’t think almond flour would work here; I think the texture would be off with the melted butter.
I don’t bake a ton with almond flour but this is my favorite cookie recipe using it! https://www.designeatrepeat.com/gluten-free-peanut-butter-cookies/
I’ve been looking for a “better” chocolate chip cookie recipe for some time now, but after trying your Copycate Panera Chocolate Chip Cookies, my search is over. These are by far the best I’ve ever made. Thank you for sharing!
Ahh I’m so glad you love them! They’re my family’s favorite!
I tried alot of chocolate chip cookie recipes to please my son who only will eat Panera chocolate chip cookies, and this is by far the easiest and best! I do freeze my cookies while the oven preheats and add a little extra baking powder and soda so that they dont fall so flat, which my kids prefer. My daughters think they are way better than Panera ones! Thanks for the recipe!
Ahh I love hearing this!! So glad you guys love them!
This recipe is excellent!! Thank you!! I recently tried Panera’s cookie, fell in love, and was so excited to find this recipe. It turned out delicious, maybe even better than theirs! I think it might be my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe yet and the easiest!! Fantastic job!!
I’m so glad you love it! I agree, homemade is tastier than the real thing!
I liked these a lot, very tasty!
But for me, the dark chocolate was not the right choice for that Panera Bread cookie taste I was hoping for. I wish I would have used semi-sweet or 1/2 dark chocolate.
Also it would have been useful to suggest two pans as all my cookies ran together and there’s nothing worse than working hard to get a perfect cookie and then they just melt into each other. (I did follow the recipe exactly how it was written).
Lastly, I needed 14 min for these. At 12 min they were still raw, I know each oven is different though.
Mine came out very thin and not very chewy or dense like I’d hoped.
But like I said, still yummy ?
These are delicious and didnt have that funky home made tacky metal taist like the other recipes. ♡ Legit good cookies. Thanks.
Do you add the vanilla with the egg?
Yes, vanilla goes in with the egg! Thanks for catching that – all fixed!