No-fuss, easy, and delicious! Serve these classic chocolate chip cookie bars with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a dessert that’s out of this world!
Cookie bars are a necessity for when that sweet tooth strikes! These chocolate chip cookie bars are everything you love about the best chocolate chip cookies in bar form. They’re soft with fluffy tops, gorgeous bursts of melted chocolate, and a buttery, rich flavor that’s just about perfect. It’s a one of my go-to recipes that will be welcome at potlucks, parties, and on your own table.
These cookie bars take about 30 minutes from start to finish. I love to underbake mine slightly so that they are a little ooey-gooey in the center. My ideal cookie bar needs to be eaten with fork, and it should definitely be topped with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. That combination of buttery warmth and cold sweetness is always a good decision!
These are also perfect for bake sales, as you can make tons in a short amount of time, and they cut up and package easily. If you’re planning to package these, I would recommend making them the night before so that they are completely cooled and set up. This makes cutting and wrapping the bars up a breeze!
What do I need for Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars?
Butter or Margarine
Butter will yield a richer, thicker cookie bar. If you use margarine, your cookie bar may drop in the center — you’ll end up with thick edges and a thinner middle. The cookie bar will still taste delicious, though! If you choose to use butter, I recommend unsalted butter. You can use salted, but you’ll want to omit the salt in the recipe.
Two reasons to include shortening — it’s cheaper than 100% butter, and it adds more structure to the bar. You can definitely sub with 100% butter, but expect that your bars will be much, much thinner. If you really miss that extra butter flavor, you can use butter-flavored crisco to round out the taste! I find that this comes out just fine with regular crisco, which is how I usually make them.
White and Brown Sugar
This combination gives you a cookie bar with the perfect blend of moist and airy. White sugar tends to trap air and gives the bar that structure we’re looking for. The brown sugar adds a richness of flavor and a bit of moisture to balance the lightness of the white. I like to use light brown sugar for this, but feel free to use dark brown too!
Our leavening agent. This is what makes your cookies bars rise up and get that lovely thickness.
Adding a small amount of salt to a dessert is the secret to flavor that wows. Salt cuts the sweetness and intensifies the already-existing flavors. Adding just a 1/2 teaspoon salt is enough to make these cookie bars pop!
This recipe uses all-purpose flour. The texture of this flour is what gives the cookie the chewy insides with a slightly browned outside
I use plain old semisweet chocolate chips, but there’s no reason you can’t change this recipe up with milk, dark, white, or any other chip. A good base recipe is versatile, and this one is a good base recipe!
Other Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes
How do I make classic Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars?
Step 1 | Cream shortening, butter/margarine, and sugar
In a large bowl, cream your shortening, butter or margarine, and sugar on medium speed. This step helps to beat some air into the butter (or margarine), and the sugar holds that air in there, giving your cookie bar structure. I know it’s tempting to just throw everything in at once, but taking the time to cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer (or a hand mixer) first really does make a difference.
Step 2 | Add eggs and vanilla
The dough will look pretty wet at this point — in the heat of the summer, when my butter is super soft, this can even be basically a liquid. I recommend room temperature butter, which will yield a sticky, thin dough at this step.
Step 3 | Mix in the dry ingredients
Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and most of the chocolate chips with the wet ingredients. Mix these on low speed until you have something that looks like a standard chocolate chip cookie dough. Do not, I repeat, do NOT eat all of the dough at this point. It’s tough, but you’ve got to resist that temptation.
Step 4 | Press into pan and bake
Either line your 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper, or grease and flour your pan. Then, press the dough into the pan. I use my (clean) fingers or a rubber spatula for this to make sure I can press the dough into all the corners. As a purely cosmetic addition, you can sprinkle the rest of the chocolate chips over the dough before putting the whole thing in the oven and baking it for 25 minutes. You’ll want to the top to be golden brown, and a knife inserted in the center should come back clean.
Step 5 | Cool and serve
If you want gooey warmth, you can cut and serve this almost immediately. This is my favorite way to eat them. Otherwise, these will need to cool for quite a while — at least an hour — before they’re completely set up and ready to be cut into neat squares.
If you’re looking for other cookie bar recipes that use this same base, you’re in the right place. This chocolate chip cookie bar base can be turned into a ton of other bar cookies just by using different mix-ins. Here are a few of my favorite:
Peanut Butter Chip Cookie Bars
Instead of using the 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips, use 1 cup milk chocolate chips and 1 cup peanut butter chips.
White Chocolate Blondies
Substitute white chocolate chips for the chocolate chips in the recipe.
Sea Salt Caramel Bars
Instead of using the 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips, use 1 cup dark chocolate chips and 1 cup caramel chips. Top with course-ground sea salt flakes to elevate this recipe!
Candy Cookie Bars
Perfect for after Halloween, Christmas, and Valentines, simply sub your favorite chocolate-based candy for the chocolate chips. Reeses, M&Ms, Snickers, Milky Ways, and so on work great! For larger bars, chop them into smaller pieces before mixing them into the dough.
Replace the chocolate chips in the recipe with 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, and 1/2 cup white chocolate chips. For true Congo bars, add 1 cup toasted shredded coconut and 1/2 cup toasted pecans.
You can store finished cookie bars in an airtight container for up to a week.
Yes. To do this, make sure your cookie bars are completely cooled. Then wrap the whole thing tightly in 2 layers of saran wrap. Finally, wrap the whole thing tightly in foil. It will keep in the freezer for up to three months.
To defrost, place on the counter for 3-4 hours.
If you are interested in subbing ingredients, check the ingredients notes section (What do I need for Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars?). We cover a variety of substitutions there. If you are interested in a substitution that is not covered, either leave a comment below, or use our Contact Us form and we’ll get back to you.
More Mouth-Watering Bar Recipes
Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
- ⅔ cup butter or margarine
- ⅔ cup shortening
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 3 cups flour
- 2 cups chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease and flour or line a 9×13 baking pan. Set aside.
- Cream sugar, shortening, and butter.
- Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
- Add flour, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips and mix until a dough forms. Reserve some chocolate chips to sprinkle on top later.
- Press dough into prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with reserved chocolate chips.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Serve immediately, or allow to completely cool and cut into squares to serve.