Butter v. Coconut Oil: Chocolate Chip Cookies with Coconut Oil

I had never baked with coconut oil until I received Bravetart, a new baking book by Stella Parks, and saw that quite a few recipes called for it. Inspired, I ventured off into into a project to see what coconut oil would do for one of my proven recipes: Chocolate Chip Cookies. My experiment included a group of tasters and three separate batches of cookies:

A. The original recipe using all butter.

B. Substituted cold-pressed virgin coconut oil for the butter.

C. Used a 50/50 blend of butter and virgin coconut oil.


A. Original Recipe using all butter.

These are the classics that everyone knows. Honestly, it's hard to beat all-butter cookies.  But, in this project, my tasters preferred either B or C, with coconut oil.    

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Coconut Oil




B. Substituted Cold-Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil for the Butter.

I made these using all Virgin Coconut Oil instead of butter. They are crunchy and tasty,   but I found the dough to be crumbly and hard to work with. Notice also that the  surface of the cookies looks rough and cracked compared to either of the other two versions.   Even so, my tasters chose this version, along with the C version below, both with coconut oil.    

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Coconut Oil




C. Used a 50/50 Blend of Butter and Virgin Coconut Oil .

This one is the overall winner because the baker broke the tie. They are very crispy with    50% coconut oil and flavorful with 50% butter. I also like the smooth but lumpy-bumpy tops.    

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Coconut Oil



This endeavor may sound obsessive, after all, it is twelve dozen cookies, but they do freeze well. My curiosity was pushing me to discover what the differences would be, how the coconut oil batches would stand up to the original, and which version was best. So, I arranged a very un-scientific group of tasters; our simple criteria for tasting would be flavor, texture, and appearance. I set up three plates of cookies on the coffee table, each with just a label: A, B, and C. Soon the comments were coming in, like the results of an election.

  • C has crisp edges.
  • I like the coconut flavor of B.
  • A seems a little heavy.
  • C has the best appearance.





To summarize: In the first tasting (family), no one picked A, the original all-butter cookie, as their number one choice, and preferred the two other versions. Those who picked B said it was because of its coconut flavor and crunchiness. The C people liked the light crispy texture, the flavor, and appearance. But I had another tasting to consider, that of my writing group, where six women joined in, resulting in a 3-way tie. Click here for a video of the tasting that Jessica Sitomer made. Thank you so much, Jessica.

And the winner is: a tie, between the two coconut-oil-enhanced versions. Clearly, in the opinion of the tasters, coconut oil improved this cookie. But it was left to the baker to break the tie. I chose C, because I liked the crispiness and the appearance, plus having some butter in the cookie improved the flavor.


So here’s a tip: the half butter and half coconut oil cookie is the best!


Here’s another tip. There are two kinds of coconut oil. Virgin coconut oil (or unrefined) is the preferred version for baking; it is cold-pressed from fresh coconuts and is a medium-heat substitute for butter or oil. Although it has a tropical coconut flavor and scent, these are barely detectable in a baked product. Refined coconut oil is processed from dried coconuts and is produced to withstand higher heat than Virgin, which makes it suitable for sautéing, cooking, or deep-frying. It has a neutral flavor and scent.





Prepping the Dough:








Chocolate Chip Cookies with Coconut Oil

Shirl Gard
This recipe was created from a timeworn recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies that I have been using for years. I wanted to know if coconut oil could improve chocolate chip cookies, so I made three batches: a) original recipe using all butter b) all coconut oil c) half butter / half coconut oil. From this series of bakes and two tastings later, I concluded that the best version of this recipe is made with 50% butter and 50% coconut oil, based on appearance, taste, and texture. This cookie spreads beautifully when baking, and has crispy edges and a wonderful flavor. The all-coconut-oil is good too, especially if you are looking for a dairy-free cookie, but it is a little thicker than either the all-butter original or the 50/50 version. Of course, the all-butter version has been the favorite for years and will still be the choice of many.

#40 Scoop (or 2 Tablespoons) - 30g (1 oz) Each
5 from 1 vote


  • 320 grams unbleached all-purpose flour King Arthur or Gold Medal (2 1/4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 115 grams unsalted butter softened but still firm (4 oz stick / 8 Tablespoons / 1/2 cup)
  • 115 grams virgin coconut oil 1/2 cup
  • 100 grams light brown sugar 1/2 cup
  • 100 grams dark brown sugar 1/2 cup
  • 100 grams granulated sugar 1/2 cup

  • 100 grams whole eggs 2 large, lightly beaten with vanilla
  • 15 grams vanilla extract 1 Tablespoon

  • 340 grams semisweet chocolate chips 1 - 12 oz package
  • 120 grams walnuts lightly toasted, and coarsely chopped (1 cup heaping)

  • 1425 grams = Total 50 oz 3# 2 oz


  • WHISK dry ingredients.
  • RUB sugars between your hands to break up lumps in brown sugar.
  • CREAM together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy In mixer with paddle, about 5 minutes on medium speed.
  • ADD eggs and vanilla gradually, then beat until combined. Scrape down bowl.
  • PULSE in dry ingredients in 3 portions and beat on low speed just until flour is incorporated.
  • ADD chocolate chips and nuts and mix until evenly distributed. Scrape up bottom and sides of bowl and mix in.
  • TRANSFER dough to a stainless steel mixing bowl and press plastic wrap directly on top of dough.
  • REFRIGERATE the dough, wrapped tightly with plastic, until cold enough to scoop.
  • SCOOP with #40 (2 Tablespoons) ice cream scoop. Place scoops on parchment-lined sheet pan and refrigerate until ready to bake. If baking ahead, freeze scoops on sheet pan. Once frozen, the scoops can be packed into plastic bags, if desired. I like keeping the frozen scoops on a sheet pan.
  • ARRANGE cold dough scoops on half sheet-pans lined with parchment paper,
  • BAKE at 350° F (175° C) for 13-14 minutes until cookies are puffed and a light golden brown. Don't bake so long that the puffed cookies start to fall or they will be too dry. Watch closely, a minute or two can make a difference.
  • VARIATIONS: ALL BUTTER: Omit coconut oil and use 225g butter (2 - 4 oz sticks / 1 cup), which is what my original recipe called for. ALL COCONUT OIL: Omit butter, and use 230g virgin coconut oil (1 cup) for a dairy-free version of these cookies.


Adapted from an original recipe in How to Make Cookie Jar Favorites by Cooks Illustrated; 1998, pg. 28
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!



Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy!