How to Make a Good-for-You Chocolate Chip Cookie

Rich, chocolaty, warm and...good-for-you? Yep! This healthy chocolate chip cookie recipe is packed with hidden nutrients.

Chocolate chip cookies are one of those childhood recipes that are almost impossible to resist. Pulling a pan of warm, freshly baked cookies out of the oven can put a smile on anyone’s face. So why mess with a good thing?

Tweaking the recipe

While chocolate chip cookies are tasty and easy to make, they could use an upgrade in the health department. And when it comes to healthy baking, it’s all about proportions. The goal is to find the healthiest substitutions while keeping the flavor and texture the same.

Start by experimenting with flour—and be sure to measure it the right way. To add nutrients to your cookies, try substituting white flour with oat flour, whole wheat flour or almond meal. Next, try cutting back on the recipe’s sugar. You can use mashed banana or unsweetened applesauce for natural sweetness. To cut back on fat, try using coconut oil (it has so many benefits) instead of butter or adding applesauce instead of oil.

Healthy baking is always a little bit of an experiment, so toss on your apron and start testing! That’s exactly how we came up with this healthy chocolate chip cookie recipe. (And you won’t believe how close it tastes to the original.)

How to Make a Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) dark chocolate chips

Initial thoughts

To get started, I chose a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe and started brainstorming healthier substitutions. I wanted to make sure the cookies still had that moist, buttery bite to them, so I chose to substitute just half of the recipe’s butter. I also wanted to keep their richness so played around with the amounts of fat and sugar. Once I had my list of potential substitutions, it was time to get to work.

Getting started

I started by gathering all of my ingredients. In place of half of the recipe’s butter, I opted for refined coconut oil. I don’t care for the smell and taste of coconut, so I chose refined coconut oil. This type is extracted from dried coconut meat and won’t add any tropical flavor. If you’re up for some coconut chocolate chip cookies, look for unrefined or pure coconut oil.

I added the butter and coconut oil to my mixing bowl and set the stand mixer at medium speed to cream them together (here’s our favorite mixer!). I then added the sugars and applesauce. Unsweetened applesauce is a great sugar replacement and gives the cookies a fluffier texture. I added the vanilla pudding mix, eggs and vanilla, then set the mixer to medium speed.

Preparing to bake

Once the wet ingredients were well-mixed, I pulled out an additional bowl for the dry ingredients. I used a wooden spoon to stir the flour, oats and baking soda together. The original recipe called for white flour, so I added texture and nutrients by combining quick oats with whole wheat flour. Once the dry ingredients were combined, I slowly added them to the butter mixture.

Bake up some love

When I had my cookie dough, I folded in the dark chocolate chips. Dark chocolate adds a decadent sweetness and extra health benefits to the cookies. I then dropped teaspoonfuls of the dough onto a greased cookie sheet. I heated the oven to 375° and baked the cookies for about 10 minutes.

The finished cookies

healthy chocolate chip cookie Carrie Madormo for Taste of Home

The result? Rich, moist, healthy chocolate chip cookies! The cookies have almost a bread-like texture thanks to the applesauce and whole wheat flour. They make the perfect after school snack or light after-dinner treat. My family devoured these right away, but if you manage to snag some leftovers, they can be kept in a sealed container for about 5 days or frozen for a month. These guilt-free cookies will be a staple in our house from now on.

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Carrie Madormo, RN
Now a freelance health and food writer, Carrie worked as a nurse for over a decade. When she isn't hunched over her laptop with a baby in hand, you will find her cooking her grandmother’s recipes, lacing up her running shoes or sipping coffee in the bathroom to hide from her three young children.