The Way the Cookie Crumbles
Courtesy of Cheapism

Best Store-Bought Chocolate Chip Cookies: Famous Amos vs. Chips Ahoy and 14 More

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The Way the Cookie Crumbles
Courtesy of Cheapism

The Way the Cookie Crumbles

Store-bought cookies can satisfy your sweet tooth in less time than it takes to bake a batch of homemade. But which kind to get from that endless grocery aisle? To find out, we bought 16 bags of chocolate chip cookies from well-known brands like Keebler, Pepperidge Farm, and Nabisco, as well as house brands from stores including Walmart, Aldi, and Trader Joe’s. Then we assembled a crack team of food fanatics (including a professional baker) to find out which of the cookies was the best, taking into account appearance, chip distribution, texture, mouthfeel, and flavor. Samples were tasted blind, with water to cleanse the palate between rounds. The contenders are ranked from worst to first by consensus. 

Price and availability are subject to change.

Related: We Tasted 13 Frozen Pizzas and This Is the Best

14. (Tie) Target Market Pantry Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Target

14. (Tie) Target Market Pantry Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Price: $1.25 for 19.5 oz.
Serving size: 2 cookies | Calories: 140 | Fat: 6 g | Sugars: 10 g
Our food folks agreed on one thing: The store-bought “chewy” cookies we sampled are the worst of the bunch. And at the bottom of the barrel is this cookie from Target, with a gummy consistency that turned into tasteless mush after a few chews. A panelist described it as underbaked and bland, lacking any of the buttery, vanilla notes you’d expect, with chips that tasted flat and not very chocolatey. Another quipped, "It's almost so bad that it's good."

Aldi Benton's Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Amazon

14. (Tie) Aldi Benton's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Price: $1.35 for 13 oz.
Serving size: 3 cookies | Calories: 160 | Fat: 7 g | Sugars: 12 g
Among the “classic” (i.e., crispy, crunchy) chocolate chip cookies we tasted, Aldi’s was the least impressive. It tasted powdery, dry, and cardboard-like, with none of the intense chocolate flavor we expected from a chip-studded cookie like this. “It just tastes cheap,” said a panelist. "I'd never get this."

13. Aldi Benton's Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Neydtstock/istockphoto

13. Aldi Benton's Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Price: $1.25 for 13 oz.
Serving size: 2 cookies | Calories: 140 | Fat: 6 g | Sugars: 12 g
Aldi’s soft-baked version had an odd chemical aroma that smelled sugary but overpowered any whiff of chocolatey goodness. Like other store-brand versions we sampled, this one had an unpleasant gummy mouthfeel, with very little hint of butter, vanilla, or brown sugar. One person said it tasted more like a sugar cookie you might get from a grocery store bake shop than a chocolate chip cookie.

12. Walmart Great Value Chewy Chippers Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Walmart

12. Walmart Great Value Chewy Chippers Chocolate Chip Cookies

Price: $1.98 for 13 oz.
Serving size: 2 cookies | Calories: 150 | Fat: 6g | Sugars: 11 g
Walmart’s chewy cookies didn’t impress us much more than Target’s. They were too sugary-sweet for our tasters, with a mushy texture almost like Play-Doh food. They were studded with chips that were rich, if slightly artificial-tasting. Two of our tasters said the cookies tasted slightly burnt, although to the eye they looked perfectly baked. Unlike other chewy cookies, which get crumbly as soon as you pick them up, these remained intact enough for a quick dunk in milk. 

11. Nabisco Chips Ahoy Chewy
Source: Target

11. Nabisco Chips Ahoy Chewy

Price: $3.41 for 19.5 oz.
Serving size: 2 cookies | Calories: 140 | Fat: 6 g | Sugars: 11 g
There were oodles of chips and plenty of cocoa taste in these chewy, buttery Chips Ahoy cookies. But the cookie itself lacked any hint of the vanilla, sugar, and spices you’d expect in a chocolate chip cookie, even store-bought. As a panelist said, “There’s just very little cookie-like taste.”

10. Keebler Soft Batch
Source: Amazon

10. Keebler Soft Batch

Price: $2.56 for 15 oz.
Serving size: 2 cookies | Calories: 150 | Fat: 7 g | Sugars: 12 g
Keebler more or less invented the soft-bake chocolate chip cookie category back in the 1980s. Mostly, this one appealed to our sense of food nostalgia; who didn’t eat these as a kid? Appearance-wise, they were pale and flat, as if taken from the oven a few minutes too soon, with practically no visible chips. Surprisingly, they tasted very chocolatey and buttery, though also a bit gritty (again, underbaked). Still, if you crave a good soft cookie, the original is the best.

Related: 26 Foods We Miss From the '70s and '80s

9. Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Whole Foods Market

9. Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Chocolate Chip Cookies

Price: $3.99 for 12 oz.
Serving size: 2 cookies | Calories: 150 | Fat: 8 g | Sugars: 10 g
As soon as a taster bit into her cookie and asked, “Is this stale?” it was clear this cookie wouldn’t finish at the top. Chip distribution was skimpy and uneven, and the cookies were surprisingly lacking in chocolate flavor. They were also dry and crumbly, and left an unpleasant, pasty mouthfeel that no one wanted to serve alongside a glass of milk.

8. Target Market Pantry Original Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Target

8. Target Market Pantry Original Chocolate Chip Cookies

Price: $1.25 for 13 oz.
Serving size: 3 cookies | Calories: 160 | Fat: 8 g | Sugars: 11 g
Compared with how yucky we thought Target’s soft-bake chocolate cookie tasted, this version was downright yummy. Still, we weren’t sure if this was supposed to be a classic or soft-baked cookie; it was neither crisp nor chewy, with a slightly mushy, medium crumb. But the chips had a strong, rich cocoa flavor, and the cookie was very sweet.

7. Back to Nature Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Source: back to Nature

7. Back to Nature Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Price: $3.99 for 9.5 oz.
Serving size: 2 cookies | Calories: 130 | Fat: 6 g | Sugars: 9 g
These cookies had a big, almost overwhelming chocolate flavor, according to our panelists. The well-distributed morsels definitely tasted of real cocoa, but with a subtle burnt hint at the end, while the cookies tasted dry as if they'd been left to bake for too long. 

Chips Ahoy! Cookies
Source: Walmart

6. Nabisco Chips Ahoy Original

Price: $2.50 for 13 oz.
Serving size: 3 cookies | Calories: 160 | Fat: 8 g | Sugars: 11 g
Nabisco Chips Ahoy has long boasted of how many chocolate chips it crams into each cookie, and we could find no fault with that claim. For all those chips, however, the cocoa flavor was underwhelming and slightly artificial to the taste. A panelist described these cookies as having a “generic” taste. But Chips Ahoy are ubiquitous; no matter what shop you're in, you can probably find them (good for cookie emergencies).

5. Trader Joe's Organic Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Trader Joe's

5. Trader Joe's Organic Chocolate Chip Cookies

Price: $3.49 for 8 oz.
Serving size: 5 cookies | Calories: 160 | Fat: 8 g | Sugars: 11 g
There’s something irresistible about petite cookies like these, which are so easy to pop in your mouth one after another until the bag is almost empty. Tasters agreed on the snackable appeal and loved the crunchy texture but also said they were a little too sugary. Chip distribution per cookie was also very erratic: Some had plenty, others just a few.

4. Keebler Chips Deluxe Original
Source: Amazon

4. Keebler Chips Deluxe Original

Price: $2.56 for 15.8 oz.
Serving size: 2 cookies | Calories: 160 | Fat: 8 g | Sugars: 9 g
Another grocery store classic, the Keeblers had a rich, if slightly artificial-tasting, balance of butter, vanilla, and sugar flavors. The cookies had a pleasant bite and texture, and the chocolate chips were generously scattered about, but they had a toffee-like flavor that wasn't to everyone's taste.

3. Famous Amos Chocolate Chip
Source: Amazon

3. Famous Amos Chocolate Chip

Price: $2.59 for 12.4 oz.
Serving size: 4 cookies | Calories: 140 | Fat: 7 g | Sugars: 9 g
These bite-size cookies impressed us with their fine crumb and crunchy snap, making them delightful to pop into your mouth and crunch away. Powerful notes of vanilla and a sugary aftertaste were too much for a few of our panelists, and chip distribution was uneven. But everyone agreed their size made Famous Amos one of the best for snacking with a glass of milk on the side.

2. Walmart Great Value Classic Chippers Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Walmart

2. Walmart Great Value Classic Chippers

Price: $1.98 for 13 oz.
Serving size: 3 cookies | Calories: 170 | Fat: 8 g | Sugars: 11 g
Imagine our surprise when we found out this crispy, chocolatey cookie was from Walmart, especially given how poorly the soft-bake version fared in our taste test. It was studded with tiny, dark chips, and had a very good crispy-crumbly texture that tasters described as “nostalgic” and “tasting like every cookie I ate as a kid.” The chips had a pleasant, mild flavor, while the cookie was buttery without being greasy.

1. (Tie) Pepperidge Farm Double Chocolate Nantucket
Source: Target

1. (Tie) Pepperidge Farm Double Chocolate Nantucket

Price: $2.88 for 7.75 oz.
Serving size: 1 cookie | Calories: 140 | Fat: 7 g | Sugars: 11 g
Everyone agreed: Pepperidge Farm’s cookies look like they’re homemade. They were by far the biggest we sampled, with fat, soft chunks of dark, very rich chocolate scattered liberally about the nicely browned surface. They’re also the most decadent: Each cookie (a single serving) has 140 calories, nearly twice as much as some others. The Nantucket cookies have a nice snap and a medium crumb that stands up to dunking in milk, while the flavors are nicely balanced. If you’re a fan of thick cookies, these are the best by far.

1. (Tie) Tate's Bake Shop Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Tate's Bake Shop

1. (Tie) Tate's Bake Shop Chocolate Chip Cookies

Price: $4.79 for 7 oz.
Serving size: 2 cookies | Calories: 140 | Fat: 7 g | Sugars: 12 g
Tate’s began with one shop in Southampton, Long Island, and although you can buy them darn near anywhere today, they still look like they’re hand-baked. They’re thinner than the Pepperidge Farms version and very crispy and crunchy. But they taste just as good, with distinct hints of sugar, salt, vanilla, and spice: the perfect companion to a cold glass of milk. And the chocolate chunks! Pure bliss, as one of our judges put it. If you prefer a crunchy chocolate chip cookie that won’t turn to mush, this is tops.