Soft White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Cookies
Originally published in 2012, this popular recipe stands the test of time. You’ll love these white chocolate chip cranberry cookies because they’re soft-baked, wonderfully chewy, have extra vanilla, plus they combine sweet white chocolate morsels with tart dried cranberries. It’s a flavorful and classic pairing for holiday cookie trays or anytime throughout the year!
I’ve made these white chocolate cranberry cookies countless times over the past 9 years and decided to add them to my Sally’s Cookie Palooza lineup. They’re festive, a fan-favorite, and there’s hardly ever a crumb leftover. There are a few tricks to this cookie magic, so let me share some tips I’ve added over the years (including reducing the dough chill time from 2 hours to 1 hour). It’s a great cookie recipe to have in your back pocket.
In Short, These White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Cookies Are:
- adapted from these soft chocolate chip cookies
- soft-baked with slightly crisp edges
- brown sugared with extra vanilla
- thick & chewy
- easy to make
- brimming with creamy white chocolate chips & tart dried cranberries
Plus, the cookie dough freezes easily and the baked cookies freeze and thaw without issue. If you ever want to learn more about my process for freezing cookies and cookie dough, here is my How to Freeze Cookie Dough page.
Start With a Tested Cookie Dough
As I mentioned above, this recipe uses this soft chocolate chip cookies recipe as the base. It’s unfussy and welcomes a variety of add-ins and flavors. Honestly, I make this version more often because the add-ins are a little more special. You could also replace the white chocolate chips with regular chocolate chips for a chocolate/cranberry combo. Or go a little wild and make my other variations using this dough: butterscotch pretzel chocolate chip cookies & salted caramel pecan chocolate chip cookies.
Key Ingredients in White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
- Room Temperature Butter: If you’re looking for an extra buttery, almost dense chocolate chip cookie, try my chewy chocolate chip cookies. That recipe starts with melted butter. For today’s version and the original soft chocolate chip cookies, I start with room temperature butter. Creaming the butter with sugars provides a fluffy and aerated base. The creaming process is only possible if the butter is softened to room temperature. Keep in mind that softened butter is cool to the touch, not greasy. (See Room Temperature Butter if you’re interested in learning more.)
- More Brown Sugar Than White Sugar: Did you know that sugar does more than just sweeten cookies? Brown sugar can give cookies a chewier, softer, and more moist texture, while regular white granulated sugar helps the cookies spread. For chewier and more flavorful cookies, use more brown sugar than white sugar. And, if you have it, use dark brown sugar for deeper brown sugar flavor.
- Pure Vanilla Extract: For optimal flavor, reach for pure vanilla instead of imitation. Even better, try homemade vanilla extract!
- Cornstarch: It seems like an odd ingredient for cookie dough, doesn’t it? Just as it makes shortbread cookies extra tender, a small amount can actually provide added softness to other cookie doughs too. We don’t want to replace any flour with it because the cookies could lose shape, so just add 2 teaspoons. Cornstarch also helps keep the cookies thick.
- Dried Cranberries & White Chocolate Chips: Add 1 cup of dried cranberries and 3/4 cup white chocolate morsels. I used to make these cookies with 3/4 cup of each but lately I add extra cranberries for more chunks in each bite. Use dried cranberries instead of fresh because when baked, fresh throws off the dry/wet ratio. I usually use the brand Craisins.
Success Tip: Chill The Dough
The ingredients come together quickly and easily, but allow 1 hour for the dough to chill in the refrigerator before baking. The refrigerator is a cookie dough’s best friend because it helps firm up soft cookie doughs (like today’s) which prevents the cookies from over-spreading. Chilling also gives the flavors in the dough a chance to settle and mingle together. I used to chill this dough for at least 2 hours, but 1 hour is plenty and still allows for a decent spread.
Success Tip: Use a Cookie Scoop & Your Hands
I always use this medium cookie scoop for the cookie dough. Each cookie should be around 1.5 Tablespoons of dough, so that size is perfect. After scooping, I briefly roll the dough in my hands. You don’t need to make a perfectly smooth and round ball– in fact, I like keeping the dough balls taller rather than wide as pictured next. Shaping this way helps achieve a thicker, textured-looking cookie.
And, if desired, press a few more white chips & dried cranberries into the baked cookies while they’re still warm. Accessorizing with extras makes a pretty cookie, don’t you think?!
Sally’s Cookie Palooza
This recipe is part of my annual Christmas cookie countdown called Sally’s Cookie Palooza. Every year since 2013, I publish 10 new cookie recipes in a row. It’s the biggest, most delicious event of the year! Browse dozens of Christmas cookie recipes over on the Sally’s Cookie Palooza page including:
You’ll love these white chocolate chip cranberry cookies because they’re soft-baked, wonderfully chewy, have extra vanilla, plus they combine sweet white chocolate morsels with tart dried cranberries. Set aside 1 hour to chill the dough in the refrigerator before baking.
- 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks to 170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup (150g) packed light or dark brown sugar (I use dark)
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch (cornflour)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (135g) white chocolate chips, plus a few extra for garnish
- 1 cup (140g) dried cranberries, plus a few extra for garnish
- In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together on medium speed until combined and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt together. On low speed, slowly mix into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be soft and thick. Add the white chocolate chips and dried cranberries and beat on low speed until combined. Cover dough tightly and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 3-4 days. Chilling is imperative to prevent the cookies from over-spreading.
- Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator. If the cookie dough chilled longer than 3-4 hours, let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This makes the firm cookie dough easier to scoop and roll.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
- As the oven preheats, scoop and roll dough, about 1.5 Tablespoons of dough each, into balls. The dough may be slightly crumbly, but will come together as you work it with your hands. Arrange dough balls 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.
- Bake for 11-12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. The centers will still look soft. If cookies didn’t spread much, lightly bang the the baking sheets on the counter a couple times while the cookies are still warm. They’ll stretch and deflate.
- Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. During this time, press extra white chocolate chips and dried cranberries into the warm tops. This is optional and only for looks. After 5 minutes, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Allow to come to room temperature then continue with step 3. Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Unbaked cookie dough balls freeze well for up to 3 months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw. Click here for my tips and tricks on freezing cookie dough.
- Cornstarch: A small amount of cornstarch provides added softness to the dough and cookies. Cornstarch also helps keep the cookies thick. If you don’t have any, you can leave it out– no need to replace with anything.
- Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.
Keywords: white chocolate cranberry cookies