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Chocolate Drop Cookies

Just like the ones your grandma used to make!

Chocolate drop cookies are lightly sweet with a cake-like texture and are topped with powdered sugar frosting. Bake a batch in 30 minutes!

Not only are these easy enough for an afternoon snack or dessert, but they can be packaged up for cookie swaps and bake sales.

Plus, any well-stocked pantry should have everything you need – saving you an extra trip to the store!

For a wintertime twist on frosted chocolate cookies, try this peppermint version with rich brownie flavor. Ginger molasses and pecan candy cookies are two more family favorites that we make each holiday season as well.

a stack of chocolate drop cookies with frosting and red sprinkles on a table with a glass of milk.

Key ingredients & substitutions for Chocolate Drop Cookies

  • Vegetable shortening — Cookie doughs make with all butter tend to flatten in the oven. By substituting shortening as part of the fat, you’ll still get that buttery flavor plus plenty of lift!
  • Cocoa — Quality really makes a difference here. Look for unsweetened baking cocoa (not hot cocoa mix!) that is natural and not dutch-processed. More expensive doesn’t automatically mean better, but you may notice a difference in taste between store brands and gourmet ones.
  • Baking soda — One of the biggest culprits for flat treats is expired leavening agents! Always keep your baking soda in an airtight bag or container and open a new box if you haven’t used it in a while.
  • Milk — Use whatever you have on hand. While whole milk tends to create the best texture, the difference isn’t noticeable enough to make a difference.

tip

  • With any type of baked good, it’s best to start with room-temperature ingredients. They incorporate more easily into the other ingredients, resulting in a better overall texture. Allow measured milk, eggs, and butter to sit on the counter for about 30 minutes before getting started.

process steps for making chocolate drop cookies: preparing batter; batter in the bowl; cookie dough on baking sheets; cooling on wire racks.

How to make frosted chocolate cookies?

STEP 1 | Mix the dough

Pay close attention to the directions and order of ingredients! The egg is added after the sugar, and the vanilla is mixed in at the very end. Also, alternating the flour mixture and milk ensures that the dough comes together properly.

STEP 2 | Bake

Watch for the edges to crisp and the tops to set. The cookies should still be a bit soft in the center, as they will continue baking as they cool on the pan.

STEP 3 | Decorate with frosting

Whip up the icing ingredients until you get a spreadable consistency. Spread onto cooled chocolate drop cookies and add some colorful sprinkles if you’d like!

tips

  • When I bake these, I use a small scoop to place the dough on my baking sheet. The process is quick and easy, the treats are uniform in size, and my hands stay clean!
  • If your oven has a single rack, place it in the center for best results. Otherwise, you may need to rotate the pans halfway so everything bakes evenly.
using a spatula to spread frosting on a chocolate drop cookie.

Frequently asked questions

Do frosted cookies need to be refrigerated?

These are fine at room temperature for a few days but should be transferred to the refrigerator if not eaten before then. Store in an airtight container so they don’t dry out.

How do I make this recipe dairy free?

Simply replace the butter with non-dairy baking sticks and swap the milk for a plant-based alternative — oat or soy milk tends to work the best.

Can I freeze chocolate drop cookies?

Yes! Place them on a baking sheet and pop them in the freezer for an hour or two until firm. Then, transfer to a storage bag or airtight container and enjoy within 2 to 3 weeks. You can thaw them in the refrigerator or on the counter before serving.

chocolate drop cookies with vanilla frosting and red and green sprinkles on a wire cooling rack.

Serving suggestions

Decorate the tops with colored sprinkles to match any occasion. If you’re concerned with synthetic food dyes, India Tree is a wonderful company that derives its colors from edible plants.

If you’re craving extra chocolatey flavor, mix a little cocoa powder in with the frosting as well. A drop or two of corn syrup will mellow out any bitterness and give it a lovely shine too.

frosted chocolate drop cookies on a holiday plate with a glass of milk in the background.

Frosted chocolate cookies: behind the recipe

My mother-in-law, Sue, told me that making these with her children was just plain fun. She would make four different colors of icing so each kid had a couple of options to decorate with. The memories they created must have had an impact because my husband still mentions “Mom’s Chocolate Drop Cookies” to this day!

Sue’s recipe originated from the Better Homes and Gardens NEW Cookbook circa 1950s, which she received as a wedding gift over 50 years ago.

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Yield: 3 dozen

Chocolate Drop Cookies

a stack of chocolate drop cookies with frosting and red sprinkles on a table with a glass of milk.

Chocolate drop cookies are lightly sweet with a cake-like texture and are topped with powdered sugar frosting. Bake a batch in 30 minutes!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 7 level tablespoons cocoa
  • 1-3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Icing

  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cream together butter and vegetable shortening until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and mix well. Stir in egg.
  3. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa. Add to creamed mixture alternately with the 1/2 cup milk and mix until all incorporated. Stir in vanilla.
  4. Drop by tablespoons onto a large ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 - 10 minutes. Allow to cool on cookie sheet 1-2 minutes before removing to wire racks and cool completely before icing cookies.

Icing

  1. Mix together butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar adding milk 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
  2. Frost cookies and decorate with sprinkles, if desired.

Notes

From Better Homes and Garden NEW Cookbook (1950s).

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

36

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 118Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 82mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 0gSugar: 10gProtein: 1g

Did you make this recipe?

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sheila thigpen in her kitchen

Sheila @ Life, Love & Good Food

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

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Angi @ SchneiderPeeps

Friday 10th of October 2014

I love the story behind the cookies. What a great legacy Sue gave to her children! I can't wait to try these, I love that they can be changed up by just changing the sprinkles or color of the frosting.

sheilathigpen

Friday 10th of October 2014

Thanks, Angi. Family traditions and memory-making are the best!

Wendy

Friday 10th of October 2014

These must be heavenly to bite into, Sheila! Sprinkles always add pizzazz, and these bright orange India Tree sprinkles turn your cookies into a party! :)

sheilathigpen

Friday 10th of October 2014

Wendy, you have such a way with words! Thanks so much!

Pure Grace Farms

Thursday 9th of October 2014

Oh Sheila I love the chocolaty cake cookie. You have made yours so pretty with all those orange sprinkles. I appreciate the sprinkles are made with all natural dyes too. I am becoming more and more a stickler on such things. Thanks for sharing your lovely recipe. Blessings, Shari

sheilathigpen

Thursday 9th of October 2014

Thank you, Shari! Besides being tasty, these cookies are really easy to make...definitely an added bonus to this recipe!

Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

Thursday 9th of October 2014

Sheila your cookies are soooo pretty! Love those BHG cookbooks.

sheilathigpen

Thursday 9th of October 2014

Thanks, Heather! The BHG is a good stand-by!

Linda

Thursday 9th of October 2014

This recipe looks so tasty! Love how you can change the theme by justing adding different colored sprinkles. By the way, how do you get involved with something like this sponsored Cookie Month? We love to bake and would love to share our recipes.

sheilathigpen

Thursday 9th of October 2014

Thank you, Linda! Feel free to use our hashtag #cookiemonth14 if you share any cookies during National Cookie Month.

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