David Leite’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Say hello to the chocolate chip cookie recipe that started an Internet craze and made bakers rethink how to make cookies. They originally appeared in the July 9, 2008 edition of the New York Times in an article written by our Fearless Leader, David Leite. What makes them so damn special is the dough is refrigerated for 24 to 36 hours for a more complex flavor and greater variation in texture. Sea salt is the finishing touch.

Seven of David Leite's chocolate chip cookies cooling on wire racks

Are these chocolate chip cookies the ultimate, unsurpassed, perfect specimen? The consensus is yes. But, hey, don’t take our word for it. Bake them for yourself. Originally published May 22, 2009.David Leite

Video: How to Make NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookies
Video courtesy of New York Times

David Leite's Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Quick Glance
  • (65)
  • 15 M
  • 1 D, 12 H
  • Makes 18
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Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and kosher salt into a bowl. Set aside.

Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. 

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. 

Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. 

Drop the chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. You may have to do this by hand with a spatula. 

Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. (I vote 36 hours.) Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

Tester tip: To make handling the dough easier, you can form the dough into balls now and refrigerate in a resealable plastic bag.

When you’re ready to bake, fire up the oven to 350° (176°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

Scoop six 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto a baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. You can also freeze the balls in a resealable plastic bag.) Sprinkle lightly with sea salt.

Bake the cookies until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. You’ll know the cookies are done when the tops have the caramel folds of a Shar Pei. 

Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with the remaining dough. Eat warm, with a big napkin.

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    How To Make Gluten-Free Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

    • Lusting after these cookies but groaning and bemoaning over being gluten-free? Dry your tears and try Shauna James Ahern’s gluten-free version of the cookies. If only we could fix all your problems so easily!

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    I've searched high and low for several years trying to find the greatest chocolate chip cookie recipe. Thankfully, David Leite has done the footwork for us. I've made this recipe several times now, and the very first time I made it, I knew I had encountered some otherworldly magic.

    This chocolate chip cookie is THE cookie against which all cookies should be measured. I've made these to impress friends and colleagues and even to help me woo my new wife. When you give these cookies to friends or family, expect EVERY comment to be overwhelmingly positive. Every single person who has tried one of these cookies has had the same reaction: "OMG! This is the best cookie EVER!"

    When I make this recipe exactly as it's written, it makes huge 3 1/2 ounce cookies—just 1 perfect cookie per person is a great dessert, nothing more needed.

    Exactly one month ago, I made these cookies for my annual Christmas cookie exchange at my friend Anita's in Cincinnati. I started by making 40 pounds of cookie dough. (I decided to make 1 1/2 ounce cookies, which are a normal size. I had to adjust the baking time because the cookies were less than half the size the recipe called for. Exactly 13 minutes at 350ºF worked perfectly. My yield was between 40 and 42 cookies per batch.) Needless to say, I won the cookie exchange. I made far more dough than was needed, so I divided the leftover dough into 1-pound batches, rolled the dough into 12-inch logs, and tightly wrapped them in the plastic wrap. Next I filled 1-gallon resealable plastic bags with the cookie logs, forcing the air out, and stacked the logs in the freezer. The cookies I made with the frozen dough tonight are as perfect as the cookies I made from the unfrozen dough a month ago.

    On a final note, the cookies are wonderful warm, but they're delicious a few days later, cold. I promise you, if you make these cookies, you'll soon find yourself referring to them as "My Cookies."

    I will go to this chocolate chip cookie recipe again and again because these are the best I have ever baked. I had some fleur de sel I used to sprinkle on the top. This sure did bring out the sweetness of this ultimate cookie! Nice and gooey right out of the oven. Of course, this is the only way to have them. Yum….Thanks, David.


    #leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


    1. 5 stars
      I am a Junior Baker/Novice at 77 years old. I tried this recipe but, as usual, I adapted it based on preferences. It is my go-to recipe now. I’m posting for others that they can ponder my adaptations. I used all-purpose flour, 14 oz. of 1/2 60% bittersweet chips, and 1/2 peanut butter chips (7oz. ea). I preferred folding in the dry ingredients and I let the dough come to room temperature before scooping it into standard-sized cookies. I baked till the edges started to brown. Thank you for this recipe!

      1. You’re welcome, Tim. We’re delighted to hear that you’re enjoying these as much as we do, and we so appreciate you taking the time to share your tips and experience with us and the rest of our readers.

    2. 5 stars
      I’ve tried so many chocolate chip cookie recipes but this, by far, has been the best! I used Auro Chocolate couverture (half milk chocolate, half dark chocolate) instead of Valrhona. My only regret is making only half a batch as a test group. 😂 thank you!

      1. Hah! I’d regret only making 1/2 a batch if I had cookies that looked that good, MM. We’re so glad you love them!

    3. Hi David, hope you are well! I am having some issues with the cookies; they don’t seem to spread when baked. Can you please advise on what to do?

      Many thanks.

    4. 5 stars
      Hi! Can’t I use unbleached AP flour instead of bread flour? Also, should I refrigerate the cookies before packaging in individual sealed cellophane bags? I’m transporting them 7 hours by car fo a wedding in three days. Any suggestions are very much appreciated!

      1. Hi, Jo. Sure, you can use AP flour. They won’t be as chewy (bread flour) or tender (cake flour). And you sure can shape the cookies before traveling, but you really want to refrigerate them for the full 36 hours for ultimate texture and flavor.

    5. 5 stars
      Also just writing here to say THANK YOU TO DAVID for this cookie recipe. This is the best and easiest recipe I’ve followed! I’ve tried more than 10 cookie recipes on the internet but this one is the best I found!! Perfectly chewy, not too sweet and very flavorful. I added chopped walnuts to my cookies and it’s always been a hit. Thank you so much!

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