Taste Test: The Best and Worst Chocolate Chip Cookies at the Grocery Store

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chocolate chip cookies laid out and numbered on posterboard, hands reaching for cookies
Photo credit: 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 choose 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 tasters (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.

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target market pantry chewy chocolate chip cookies
Photo credit: 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
The tasters agreed on one thing: The store-bought “chewy” cookies we sampled are the worst of the bunch. And at the bottom of the barrel was this cookie from Target, with a gummy consistency that turned into tasteless mush after a few chews. One person 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.

Aldi Benton's Chocolate Chip Cookies
Photo credit: 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) 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,” one panelist said.

chewy chocolate chip cookies on wooden surface
Photo credit: 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 cookie had an odd chemical aroma that smelled sugary but overpowered any whiff of chocolatey goodness. Like other store-brand cookies 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 from a grocery store bakery than a chocolate chip cookie.

walmart great value chewy chippers chocolate chip cookies
Photo credit: 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. They were studded with chips that tasted rich, if slightly artificial. One of the testers said the cookies tasted slightly burnt, although to the eye they looked perfectly baked. Unlike other chewy cookies, which tend to crumble into large pieces as soon as you pull at them, these remained intact enough for a quick dunk in milk.

Nabisco Chips Ahoy Chewy
Photo credit: 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 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 one panelist said, “There’s just very little cookie-like taste.”

keebler soft batch chocolate chip cookies
Photo credit: 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-baked chocolate chip cookie category back in the 1980s. Mostly, this one appealed to our sense of 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 soft cookie, the original is the best.

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

whole foods 365 everyday value chocolate chip cookies
Photo credit: 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 one 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 behind.

Target Market Pantry Original Chocolate Chip Cookies
Photo credit: 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-baked chocolate cookie tasted, this one was downright yummy. Still, we weren’t sure if it 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.

back to nature chocolate chunk cookies
Photo credit: 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 chips definitely tasted of real cocoa, but with a subtle burnt hint at the end, while the cookies tasted dry and overbaked compared with others in our test.

Chips Ahoy! Cookies
Photo credit: 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 has long boasted of how many chocolate chips it crams into each cookie, and we could find no fault with that claim. But for all those chips, the cocoa flavor was underwhelming and slightly artificial to the taste. One panelist described these cookies as “generic.”

trader joe's organic chocolate chip cookies and sundaes
Photo credit: 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 crisp 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.

keebler chips deluxe original
Photo credit: 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, these Keebler cookies had a rich, if slightly artificial-tasting, balance of butter, vanilla, and sugar flavors. The chocolate chips were generously scattered about, but they had a toffee-like flavor that not everyone loved. The cookie itself had a pleasant bite and texture.

famous amos chocolate chip cookies
Photo credit: 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 pleasant 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 the chip distribution was uneven. But everyone agreed their size and snackability would make Famous Amos cookies a great addition to a party dessert table.

walmart great value classic chippers chocolate chip cookies
Photo credit: 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-baked version fared in our taste test. It was studded with tiny, dark chips, and had a crispy-crumbly texture that one taster described favorably 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.

Pepperidge Farm Double Chocolate Nantucket
Photo credit: 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 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, look no further.

tate's bake shop chocolate chip cookies
Photo credit: 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 bakery in Southampton, New York, and although you can buy them darn near anywhere today, they still look like they’re hand-baked. They’re thinner and crispier than the Pepperidge Farm version but just as delicious and rich, with distinct hints of sugar, salt, vanilla, and spice. And the chocolate chunks! Pure bliss, as one taster put it. If you prefer a thinner chocolate chip cookie that won’t turn to mush, this is tops.

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