These thin, crisp, and chewy M&M cookies are inspired by the classic mall bakery cookies of yesteryear. They are made with melted butter for a quick and easy approach to homemade cookies!
I recently set out on a journey to make the chewy M&M cookies of my dreams, the kind that I bought at mall bakeries like Mrs. Fields and Great American Cookies as a kid. Those cookies were thin, chewy, with a soft center and crispy, golden edges.
Gone are the days of many mall bakeries, and the M&M cookies at grocery stores never quite cut it. Too crumbly, too flat, not soft enough.
So I took matters into my own hands. After six times testing this chewy M&M cookie recipe, I am so happy with the result. These are definitely going to be a regular alongside molasses crinkles, double chocolate chip cookies, and monster cookies.
These cookies are soft, chewy, tender, dappled with mini M&Ms, and they're even easier to make than a classic chocolate chip cookie.
Why this recipe works
- Bakery-style cookies: Soft and chewy M&M cookies with a soft center and crispy, buttery edges. Lots of butter flavor and not overwhelmingly sweet.
- Melted butter: I was inspired by Joy the Baker's method for making these cookies, where she melts the butter instead of creams it. After some research, I also learned that using melted butter instead of room-temperature butter is an easy way to make a cookie chewier.
- This recipe makes a dozen medium (3-inch) M&M cookies. It’s easy to double or triple, and the cookies freeze well.
- Unsalted butter: I recommend unsalted butter to avoid over-salting the cookies. If using salted butter, decrease the added table salt.
- Mini M&Ms: I like using minis because it distributes the M&Ms more evenly across each bite.
- Light brown sugar and granulated sugar: Equal amounts of these two types of sugars yield a chewy, golden cookie.
- Egg: This recipe uses one large egg.
- All-purpose flour: My go-to flour for baking cookies. I have not tested this recipe with GF flour.
- Baking soda: This gives the cookies the slightest amount of puff.
- Salt: I recommend using table salt.
Equipment: I use a wide-bottomed pot, similar to a Dutch oven, to melt the butter because it is large enough to double as a mixing bowl and its sloped edges make it easy to stir with a spatula. The butter can be melted in a small pot or a skillet, but I recommend transferring it to a mixing bowl once melted.
- Melt butter: Melt the sliced butter over low to medium-low heat, stirring frequently to help the butter melt evenly. Remove the melted butter from the stove.
- Stir in sugar and eggs: Stir in the light brown sugar and granulated sugar until the sugars appear melted, about 30 seconds. It may look like the butter and sugar aren't combining, but just keep whisking. This step is important because it cools down the butter, making it so that the egg doesn't scramble when it's added. Stir in the egg and vanilla extract. Stir continuously to distribute the egg.
- Stir in dry ingredients: In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly stir this into the butter mixture until just combined. Don't dump all of the dry ingredients in at once. The cookie dough will appear batter-like but should mostly hold its shape when scooped.
- Add M&Ms and bake: Fold in the M&Ms. This recipe makes 12 medium (3-inch) cookies, which is one heaping spoonful of dough. Bake at 350F for 7 to 9 minutes. 7 minutes yields soft and chewy M&M cookies, while 9 minutes yields crisper cookies. Let rest for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Tips and variations
- Slice the butter before melting it. This makes it melt more quickly and uniformly.
- Don't let the butter bubble. Melt it on low to medium-low heat, stirring occasionally to promote even melting. The butter isn't ruined if it bubbles, but prolonged simmering can result in burned or browned butter, which isn't the goal with these cookies.
- More add-ins (M&Ms, nuts, etc.) results in thicker, less spread-out cookies. Only ½ cup of mini M&Ms may not seem like much, but it helps yield a thin and chewy cookie. Check out my M&M Chocolate Chip Cookies if you're looking for something more than just M&Ms.
- Regular M&Ms also work in these cookies. I use mini M&Ms because they remind me of bakery M&M cookies and they distribute more evenly.
- Parchment paper or a silicon baking mat are optional but help ensure that the cookies don't stick to the cookie sheet.
- I highly recommend weighing out the cookie ingredients, or at least the flour. If you don't have a scale, measure flour more accurately by spooning the flour into a measuring cup and using the back side of a knife to wipe off excess flour. This is the kitchen scale that I use.
I often test my baking recipes with dairy-free options as well, because many readers request them. I honestly wasn't super happy with the result of vegan butter in these M&M cookies. Because the butter is melted, it has a stronger flavor in the cookies.
I used Country Crock Olive Oil sticks and found the flavor offputting and distracting. It also made a much greasier cookie. Perhaps this recipe would work with a different variety of vegan butter, but I can't guarantee it will have the same quality.
M&Ms themselves aren't dairy-free because they contain milk chocolate. Check out this blog post for alternatives.
- Leftovers: Store M&M cookies at room temperature in a closed container. Note that they dry out with time, so although they keep for up to 4 days, their quality will diminish over time.
- Freezing: These cookies freeze well. Let cool before transferring to a freezer-safe container and freezing for up to 3 months. The cookies thaw quickly at room temperature.
- Freezing the cookie dough: I have not tried freezing the cookie dough, but unlike with most cookie recipes I don't recommend freezing this dough because the melted butter impacts the texture of the cookie.
- Making in advance: I don't recommend making this dough in advance and chilling it because the melted butter contributes to the cookie texture.
More classic cookie recipes
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Chewy M&M Cookies
- ½ cup unsalted butter sliced
- 6 tablespoons granulated sugar (¼ cup + 2 tablespoons)
- 6 tablespoons light brown sugar (¼ cup + 2 tablespoons)
- 1 large egg
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- ½ cup mini M&Ms
- flaky salt, such as Maldon optional
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a small Dutch oven or pot, melt the sliced butter over low to medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat if the butter starts to bubble. Remove from the stove once melted.
- Stir in the light brown sugar and granulated sugar until the sugars appear melted, about 30 seconds. It may look like the butter and sugar aren't combining, but just keep mixing. This step is important because it cools down the butter, so that the egg doesn't scramble when it is added.
- Stir in the egg and vanilla extract until well combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly stir this into the butter mixture, about ½ cup at a time, until just combined. Fold in the mini M&Ms.
- Transfer 6 large spoonfuls of cookie dough to a parchment paper lined baking sheet, leaving at least 3 inches between pieces of dough. This recipe makes 12 cookies, so the cookies need to be baked in two batches if using a standard cookie sheet.
- Bake at 350F for 7 to 9 minutes. The cookies are ready when the edges appear golden and wrinkled and the center still appears a touch doughy. 7 minutes yields very soft and chewy cookies, while 9 minutes yields crisper cookies.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with flaky salt (optional). Let rest for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack and baking the second batch of cookies.
- Equipment note: I use a wide-bottomed pot, similar to a Dutch oven, to melt the butter because it is large enough to double as a mixing bowl and its sloped edges make it easy to stir with a spatula. The butter can be melted in a smaller pot or a skillet, but I recommend transferring it to a mixing bowl once melted.
- Mixing utensil: I usually use a large spoon to make cookies but I found that a silicon spatula works best for this recipe, especially if mixing the cookies in the sauce pot/Dutch oven.
- Melted butter: Cookies usually use room temperature butter creamed with sugar. I was inspired by Joy the Baker's cookies and found with testing that using melted butter creates the perfect crispy edge and soft center.