The Best Store-Bought Cookie Doughs, Tested by Food Network Kitchen
These are the ultimate doughs to stack in your fridge and freezer.
Homemade cookies are amazing, but I’m here to reassure you that reaching for prepared cookie dough from time to time is totally acceptable too. Not all doughs are created equal. To help navigate your next cookie craving, I bought, ordered, baked and tasted a wide variety of frozen and refrigerated cookie doughs. Since taste can be subjective, I’ve included notes and details should your preferences skew differently. Keep reading to see if your favorite dough made the cut.
Baking these reminded me that sugar cookies are complex. Should they be crisp, soft or chewy? Should they have a strong vanilla flavor or just be mild and sweet? Each cookie in this category touched on something different and it was much harder to call a clear winner than with the chocolate chip category.
These slice-and-make cookies bake up big, crisp and golden. After a few minutes of baking, their centers stay soft and chewy, while a few extra minutes makes them crisp throughout. Overall, they had a toasty sugar flavor with a hint of vanilla. They reminded me the most of a homemade cookie, right down to the decent amount of crumbs they left behind.
These break apart cookies are vegan and gluten-free, but they still satisfy with a sweet vanilla flavor, crispy edges and chewy centers. Though they take a while to transform from squares of dough into round, puffy cookies, they had a nice thick texture overall. The slightly off-white, light grey color of the baked cookies is due to their oat-forward flour blend and definitely lets you know that these aren’t a classic butter-flour-based recipe. Despite this, the subtle nuttiness and chewy texture from the oats is a delicious complement.
These cookie dough balls aren’t available in grocery stores but can be shipped quickly to your home with excellent insulation to ensure they arrive frozen. Of all the cookie doughs I tested, this one yielded the thickest and softest cookies. They also reminded me of the freshly baked ones I would get from the supermarket bakery case as a kid. While I had expected the cookies to have a balanced vanilla-sugar taste and a somewhat smoother texture, I was quite surprised by their slightly crinkly top and their strong birthday-cake flavor.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
There were a lot more options in this category to test and try. To streamline the testing process, I considered the taste of the cookie itself, the amount and flavor of the chocolate chips or chunks used and how those two elements tasted together. Almost all of these cookie doughs were thoroughly devoured in my house, so I really had to nitpick and be thoughtful when ranking them. What’s more is that a cookie by itself is almost always a delight, but the nuances really show up when you taste different varieties side by side.
These cookies were a nice size and had a solid amount of chocolate chips. It’s somewhat personal, but I favor chocolate chips over chocolate chunks because I like to taste the baked cookie dough itself, not just the chocolate. These cookies had a rich toffee flavor, which is a hallmark of a solid chocolate chip cookie. There was nothing surprising about them either — they were exactly what you expect and want a great cookie to taste like. It should be noted that Pillsbury recently changed their formula to make their cookies safe to eat raw and the reviews online reflect a LOT of upset over this fact. I wasn't comparing the old version to the new one here; I was just judging their new offering.
These frozen cookie dough balls have big milk chocolate chunks in them, but as the cookies bake and spread out there's plenty of plain cookie dough around the chocolate puddles. Much like their sugar cookie counterparts, these cookies channel a bakery cookie with a texture that's more soft than chewy. The cookies have a pale color and that's also reflected in their overall taste, which is very yummy but mild. This cookie dough is also the only one on this list to actually contain butter (in addition to oil), which really does add a little something extra. Overall, I found myself wanting a deeper flavor and a hint of salt to bring it all together.
The instructions on this cookie dough direct you to drop heaping teaspoons of it onto your baking sheets, so you end up with a bunch of tiny little cookies. You have to keep a careful eye on your cookies as they bake since they transform from raw dough to cooked cookie very quickly. The end products were crisp and very familiar tasting in a good way. What dropped these guys a few spots on my list was the chocolate itself! Not only did the chocolate chips have a strong, almost not-sweet-enough flavor, but due to their tiny size, the chocolate dominated the flavor of each cookie in a way that was just too hard to ignore. This cookie dough still keeps a top spot though, because it wasn’t really until I was nibbling on all the chocolate chip versions side by side that I noticed the dominance of the chocolate in these.
Much like the sugar cookies from this vegan and gluten-free brand, these chocolate chip cookies have raised, crisp edges with soft and chewy fallen centers when baked. But they do take on an appealing, lightly browned hue and there are plenty of chocolate chips distributed throughout each one. The hint of oat gives them a slightly gritty texture, but as someone who loves an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, the flavor still felt familiar and tasty. The crispy-chewy blend was so appealing that I could easily overlook the grittiness.
This brand has a classic and gluten-free offering, and the packaging on each is very similar, but the cookies themselves couldn't be more different. These cookies had an iconic look and size very similar to Pillsbury. The overall flavor was equally tasty and well-balanced with notes of toasty brown sugar and fragrant vanilla. The middle of the cookie was soft and chewy with a crisp edge, but the crispiness was crumbly and sandy, closer to the texture of shortbread. Not exactly unpleasant, but also kind of unexpected.
How We Tested:
All cookies were baked according to the package directions. I stuck with brands nationally available and the ones I could easily find myself with one online exception. I decided to bake only sugar cookies and chocolate chip/chocolate chunk cookies as those were the 2 most popular varieties across all brands. I also decided to bake any dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan and/or grain-free options right along with the others rather than create their own category. All together, 13 different doughs were tested, but this list was narrowed down to show the ones I would re-buy.