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"It's Like A Cheat Code For Baking": People Are Sharing Their Secrets For The Most Delicious Cookies Ever

"It is the single ingredient that makes the most noticeable difference in flavor."

Not that you need any excuse to make cookies, but the holidays are here, which means there's no better time to whip up a batch of your favorite baked goods. If you're looking for a little inspiration, here are some secret ingredients that bakers from Reddit and the BuzzFeed Community swear by for the most delicious cookies ever.

Note: If you're adding "secret" or extra ingredients to recipes, always check to make sure that those you're serving do not have any food allergies! 🍪

1. "Cardamom. It's my secret ingredient for any baked goods that also call for cinnamon. I will jazz up the recipe by adding cardamom and some freshly ground nutmeg."

Ginger molasses cookies with crystallized ginger

2. "Rum. A little bit makes for the best cookies you've ever tried."


3. "Whip your butter and sugar together before adding the other ingredients. It makes the dough so much smoother."

Whipping butter in an electric mixer

4. "High-quality butter. It is the single ingredient that makes the most noticeable difference in flavor."


5. "Egg yolk. This is a very simple adjustment you can make to almost any chocolate chip cookie recipe to make things a bit richer: Replace every egg with two egg yolks. Don't use any egg whites! It adds the perfect amount of richness to the cookies, and many professional bakeries do it this way."

Cracking egg yolk into bowl

6. "Cornstarch. If you simply add 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to your dough, they stay exceptionally chewy and soft once baked."


7. "Salt. So many cookies taste bland because people add far too little salt."

Adding flaky salt to cookies

8. "Someone in our family has an egg allergy, so our secret cookie ingredient is to swap the eggs for sweetened condensed milk. It does a great job of keeping them moist so they don't fall apart."


9. "Put more than one type of chocolate in your chocolate chip cookies! I mix big chunks of chocolate and small pieces, and I also try to use a blend of both dark and milk chocolate. It makes for a better, more interesting cookie."

Freshly baked chocolate chip cookies on a rack

10. "Toasted sugar. Try toasting the sugar that you use in your go-to cookie recipe. It may take a while, but it's totally worth it. I now keep a bag of toasted sugar in the pantry just for my cookies."


11. "Orange zest. I always add a bit to my cookie dough. It's not obvious enough that it ends up tasting like oranges, but it brightens things up in a way that's really delicious and hard to pinpoint."

Hands zesting an orange

12. "Toffee bits. I use a mixture of chocolate chips and toffee bits. Heath makes pre-crushed toffee bits that save you a lot of time trying to break up bars yourself."


13. "Creamy peanut butter. Add in just a little bit when you add the softened butter. It's not enough to make it turn into a peanut butter cookie, but it's present enough in the flavor profile that you can't quite figure out what's making the cookie taste so darn delicious."

Peanut butter cookie dough

14. "Apple cider vinegar. Add a teaspoon per batch. You can’t taste it at all, but the vinegar reacts with the baking soda and makes your cookies taste light, chewy, gooey, and crispy all at the same time. I thought it sounded absurd when I first heard it, but it’s SO GOOD! Just add the vinegar in with your wet ingredients."


15. "Sour cream. I have a sugar cookie recipe I love that uses sour cream. They turn out soft and delicious with a more complex flavor than plain sugar cookies."

Hand holding cookie cutter over dough

16. "Any lemon-based cookie recipe gets citric acid, and any chocolate cookies get a dash of espresso powder."


17. "Chinese five-spice powder. Add a little into your chocolate cookies, snickerdoodles, or any cookies where warm spices would be welcome. I just made cinnamon swirl bread this weekend with cinnamon sugar in the swirl and a little five-spice in the dough. It came out so good."

Snickerdoodle cookies

18. "Almond extract. It pairs nicely with vanilla extract and just adds a little extra something."


19. "Malted milk powder. This is basically MSG for baking. It’s a cheat code that will make all your baked goods taste better."

Raw cookie dough on a mixer above a bowl of cookie dough

20. "Cacao Barry cocoa powder. It beats the hell out of the cocoa powder you can buy at the grocery store. It's pricey, but I usually set up a price watch and pick up 2 kilos for around $25, which lasts me a while."


21. "People always rave about the cookies I make, and my secret is adding a package of vanilla pudding mix. I mix it into the butter and sugar while I'm creaming them together. They always come out so soft!"

22. "My mom makes absolutely killer chocolate chip cookies. Everyone's always raved about them my whole life. I've never had any others quite as good as hers, to be honest. Recently, I found out that she's been using butter-flavored Crisco in place of actual butter all these years. I don't know how, but it makes the cookies quite good. They always turn out incredibly chewy and pleasantly soft."


23. "Bread flour. If you like your cookies chewy, use bread flour instead of all-purpose flour. Bread flour has more gluten, which gives the cookies more chew."

Cutting dough circles with cookie cutter.

24. "I buy Costco cashew clusters (or any candied nut clusters) and use the crumbs at the bottom of the bag as part of my dough when baking homemade cookies. People always go wild for them."


25. "Browned butter. To make brown butter, just toss it in a sauce pan and bring it to a boil. After a few minutes of boiling, the milk solids in the butter are going to toast and turn brown. This butter will give a rich, nutty flavor to the cookies."

Freshly melted browned butter in a skillet

26. "Oats. It doesn’t really matter what kind of cookies you're making. They’ll all taste better when you add oats to the dough."


27. "Miso paste. In chocolate chip cookies especially, I think the miso cuts some of the sweetness of the dough and brings out the flavor of the chocolate chips even more."

A hand holding a cookie with a bite out of it

So, what's your secret ingredient or baking hack for the most delicious cookies? Tell us in the comments.

Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.