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If you follow Handle the Heat at all, then you likely know I really like cookies. Chocolate chip cookies. Peanut butter cookies. M&M cookies. I love them ALL.
I mean, I did write The Ultimate Cookie Handbook, so I think “cookie obsessed” may be a better description.
Because of that obsession, I thought I’d revamp my best Soft and Chewy M&M Cookies recipe that was originally published in 2015 with all the tips, techniques, and improvements I’ve learned and made since then.
My goal for this recipe was to truly let the M&M candies shine. I find this is best done with a perfectly balanced cookie dough that I ever so slightly underbake so it’s still super soft in the center. Just the thought of the contrast between that soft center and the crunchy M&Ms is enough to make my mouth water.
These cookies also feel pretty nostalgic to me. From elementary school through high school growing up, the cafeteria always sold M&M cookies for $.25 each. Eating one of those cookies was always a highlight of my day. But I have to say… they’re even better when made from scratch!
How to Make Soft & Chewy M&M Cookies
Ingredients for Soft and Chewy M&M Cookies:
- All-purpose flour: Be sure to measure your flour the RIGHT way to avoid dense, crumbly, or hockey puck cookies.
- Cornstarch: A tenderizing ingredient that helps create an ultra soft, chewy cookie.
- Baking soda: I typically prefer cookies made with baking soda, which you can read all about here in my baking soda vs. baking powder guide (with comparison photos).
- Salt: Just enough to balance out the sweetness.
- Butter: Always use unsalted butter to control the amount of salt used. Make sure your butter isn’t too warm (more details below).
- Granulated sugar: Sweetens but also helps give these cookies softness, a little spread and chewiness.
- Brown sugar: I love nothing more than that butterscotch flavor and soft texture brown sugar gives cookies!
- Pure vanilla extract: The aroma tells your taste buds to get ready for something delicious.
- Eggs: Two large eggs and one egg yolk for extra chewiness, all at room temperature.
- M&Ms: I used regular-size M&Ms for the perfect crunch in this recipe, but you could also use mini or even peanut M&Ms if you prefer. Of course, feel free to switch out for Christmas M&Ms, Easter M&Ms, 4th of July, Halloween – whatever the season, these cookies will look so cute with seasonal M&Ms mixed in!
- Chocolate chips: For that gooey texture.
Why Are My Cookies Flat?
Butter temperature is KEY!
If your butter gets too warm at any stage before baking your cookies, you’ll likely end up with flat sad cookies. Start with butter at a cool room temperature, about 67°F. Then keep the dough around that temperature until it hits the oven.
In the image below, both cookies came from the same batch of dough, baked (separately) in the same oven at the same temperature for the same amount of time. The only difference? The cookie on the right came from the last bit of dough that had sat on the counter near a sunny window for about half an hour before baking. In that time, the dough warmed up considerably and the resulting cookies look melted and flattened.
What a difference, right?! If you’re baking multiple batches of cookies over a period of time, pop the remaining dough in the fridge while they wait to enter the oven.
How Long to Cream Butter and Sugar for M&M Cookies
There are lots of factors that influence the speed at which your butter and sugar will become properly creamed. Temperature, mixer power, paddle size and shape, the amount of butter you’re creaming, etc.
Generally, two to three minutes at whatever your hand or stand mixer’s version of medium-high speed is perfect in my kitchen for cookies. Check out more instructions and tricks on this in my How to Cream Butter & Sugar article.
Why You Should Chill Your Cookie Dough!
Another thing that makes your cookies that much thicker and chewier is chilling your dough! It might be a little annoying to see that I call for chilling the dough for a minimum of 24 hours in this recipe. But believe me, it makes a big difference here. Both the taste and texture improve during this time. Think of it as a marinating time where everything just gets better and better!! This added chill time will make for the best M&M cookies ever, promise.
Check out my full article explaining the magic of chilling your cookie dough HERE.
If you can’t wait, bake off a few cookies to satisfy your craving now, then save the rest for baking after the dough has marinated.
Why Use a Cookie Scoop?
How Long to Bake Soft & Chewy M&M Cookies:
Don’t overbake these! I prefer to take these Soft and Chewy M&M Cookies out of the oven just before they look done when the top center still looks a bit ‘wet’, around 11 to 13 minutes in my oven.
The residual heat of the oven and pan will continue to cook the cookies to soft and slightly gooey-in-the-middle perfection.
How to Freeze Cookie Dough:
- Make the cookie dough as the recipe directs. Use a large (3-Tablespoon) spring-loaded cookie scoop to portion out balls of dough onto a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.
- BONUS TIP: If the recipe calls for chilling or ‘marinating’ the cookie dough (which does WONDERS for your cookies as described above), be sure to allow the dough to marinate before shaping and freezing.
- Place the tray of cookie dough balls in the freezer. Freeze until firm and solid.
- Remove the balls of cookie dough to a labeled and dated airtight container or ziptop bag.
- Cookie dough can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 weeks.
- Find out how to bake frozen cookie dough in this article HERE.
How to Store M&M Cookies:
Soft and Chewy M&M Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature and will stay soft for up to 3 days. Store cookies with a tortilla, apple wedge, or piece of bread to keep them soft for longer.
More Delicious Cookie Recipes You’ll Love:
(380 grams) all-purpose flour
fine sea salt
sticks (227 grams) unsalted butter,
at cool room temperature
(100 grams) granulated sugar
(247 grams) lightly packed light brown sugar
at room temperature
at room temperature
(12 oz or 340 gram) bag M&M® candies
(85 grams) semisweet chocolate chips
If baking the cookie dough immediately, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, use an electric stand or hand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment to beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl before adding in the vanilla, eggs, and egg yolk, beating well after each addition, and scraping down the bowl as needed. Slowly beat in the flour mixture. Stir in the M&M candies and chocolate chips with a rubber spatula, reserving about 1/4 cup M&Ms to garnish each cookie dough ball.
For best results if time permits, wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours but no more than 72 hours. This will improve both the flavor and texture of the cookies. Let dough sit at room temperature just until it is soft enough to scoop.
Using a large (3-Tablespoon) spring-loaded cookie scoop, divide the dough into 3-tablespoon sized balls and drop onto prepared baking sheets. Press a few extra m&m candies into the top of each ball of dough.
Bake at 350°F for about 11 to 13 minutes, or until golden brown but still ever so slightly wet looking on top. Cool for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
This post was originally published in 2015 and updated in 2022 with recipe improvements and new photos. Photos by Joanie Simon.