Underneath the bright packaging and enticing photos, some packaged cookies are like a minefield of sugar, inflammatory sweeteners, and trans fats. Just one look at some of these ingredients is enough to make you swear off grocery store cookies for good.
But it’s not all bad news; there are some food companies who are getting it right, sticking to simple ingredients and keeping the calorie and sugar content in an acceptable range. If you get a hankering for chocolate chip cookies, make sure you pick up one of our Eat This-approved brands — and steer clear from the ones on the Not That! list. Love cookies beyond just chocolate chip? Be sure to check out our 36 Most Most Popular Cookies in America — Ranked!
First… The Worst
With sketchy, inflammatory ingredients, hidden sources of trans fats, and way too much sugar, these are the cookies that made it into our “don’t eat” list.
Nabisco Chips Ahoy Original Chocolate Chip
3 cookies (33 g): 160 calories, 8 g fat (2.5 g saturated, 2 g monounsaturated), 110 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (1 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 1 g protein
These crunchy chocolate chip cookies were a staple in most people’s childhoods, but the ingredients list is enough to make you stay away as a grown-up. If the 11 grams of sugar per serving wasn’t enough to deter you, they’re made with high fructose corn syrup, which can increase body weight, body fat, and triglyceride levels, according to a Princeton University study. That sounds bad enough, but these cookies also contain multiple vegetable oils in the form of partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil and soybean oil, which could be worse for you than sugar. With questionable additives lurking under the “artificial flavor” label, it’s best to say goodbye to these grocery store cookies.
Keebler Chips Deluxe Original
2 cookies (30 g): 160 calories, 8 g fat (3.5 saturated), 105 mg sodium, 19 g carbs ( < 1 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 2 g protein
The ingredients list on these chocolate chip cookies looks like the Keebler elves tried to sneak in as many sweeteners as possible: sugar, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, and molasses. With 3.5 grams of saturated fat per serving, these ones are better left on the supermarket shelves.
Famous Amos Chocolate Chip
4 cookies (29 g): 150 calories, 7 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 105 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (< 1 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 1 g protein
You may think you’re doing yourself a favor reaching for Famous Amos — after all, each cookie is just bite-sized — but after four tiny cookies, you’re looking at 150 calories, 20 grams of (refined) carbs, and 9 grams of sugar. These little bite-sized sweets also contain high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, artificial flavor, and caramel color.
Market Pantry Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cookies: 140 calories, 6 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 85 mg sodium, 21 g carbs (< 1 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 1 g protein
Target’s house brand chocolate cookies are pretty low in calories (as far as packaged cookies are concerned), but they contain some questionable additives, including high fructose corn syrup, trans fatty vegetable oil, and “artificial flavor.” Don’t stock your pantry with these.
Nice! Original Chocolate Chip Cookies
3 cookies: 160 calories, 7 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 110 mg sodium, 23 g carbs (< 1 g fiber, 12 g sugars), 1 g protein
Although these are Walgreens’ house brand cookies, they’re more likely to make you sick. Made with high fructose corn syrup, vegetable oil, and “artificial flavors,” these cookies are anything but nice. With 12 grams of sugar per serving, they’re one of the higher sugar cookies on our list.
Mrs. Fields Semi Sweet Chocolate Chip
1 cookie (48 g): 210 calories, 10 g fat (5 g saturated), 170 mg sodium, 29 g carbs (1 g fiber, 19 g sugar), 2 g protein
At 48 grams each, these Mrs. Fields cookies are huge, which probably explains why one cookie is just 201 calories and a whopping 19 grams of sugar. The ingredients also include inflammatory high fructose corn syrup, and two possible sources of trans fats in the margarine and mono and diglycerides. "Mono and diglycerides shouldn't be consumed; they're generally found in similar baked goods to other trans-fat containing foods like baked goods, candies, and other processed foods,” Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN says. “They are considered to be a type of trans fat that over time can contribute to an unhealthy heart and they don't currently fall under the labeling laws as trans fats do. Avoid them anytime you're able to!"
Grandma's Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cookie (40.7 g): 200 calories, 10 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat, 0.5 g trans), 125 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (1 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 2 g protein
Grandma wouldn’t want you to eat heart-clogging trans fats, like the ones found in monoglycerides and canola oil. Nor would she want you to consume inflammatory and fattening high fructose corn syrup. Yet those are ingredients you would find in these cookies along with caramel color and “artificial flavors.” At 200 calories for just one (albeit big) cookie, leave these ones on the shelf.
Fiber One Soft Baked Chocolate Chunk Cookie
1 cookie (31 g): 120 calories, 4.5 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 120 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (5 g fiber, 10 g sugar), < 1 g protein
Fiber One is one of those brands with a “health halo;” it sounds a lot healthier than it actually is. In reality, although there are 5 grams of fiber, this cookie boasts 10 grams of sugar and less than 1 gram of protein. With ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and vegetable oil, you’re better off eating some fruit or whole grain bread for real fiber, and grabbing one of our Eat This-approved cookies below for a sweet treat.
Entenmann's Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies
3 cookies (30 g): 150 calories, 7 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 90 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (0 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 1 g protein
Sure, 50 calories a cookie isn’t terrible, but it’s the ingredients you have to watch out with Entenmann’s. These cookies are made with high fructose corn syrup, soybean oil, caramel color, and an artificial vanilla flavor called vanillin. It also contains guar gum, which is a laxative and has been linked to flatulence — yikes!
And Now… The Best
Although a cookie is still a cookie, these are some better-for-you options at the store that don’t contain any questionable ingredients, and fit right into your healthy eating plan (in moderation).
Tate's Bake Shop All Natural Chocolate Chip
2 cookies (28 g): 160 calories, 8 g fat (5 g saturated), 160 mg sodium, 18 g carbs (0 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 1 g protein
Tate’s has become a popular cookie brand in the last few years, thanks to their gluten-free line. Although these aren’t gluten-free, they do have pretty simple ingredients: unbleached flour, butter, cane sugar, brown cane sugar, eggs, baking soda, salt, and vanilla extract. Almost as good as homemade. Although there are 12 grams of sugar and 8 grams of fat per serving, they’re an indulgence you won’t feel too bad about (in moderation, obviously).
Whole Foods Market Two-Bite Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies
3 cookies (30 g): 140 calories, 7 g fat (4 g saturated), 50 mg sodium, 18 g carbs (1 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 1 g protein
These bite-sized cookies keep the calories, fat, and sugar reasonably low, and leave out any inflammatory HFCS or artificial sweeteners or artificial flavors. Even though they’re small, eating three will feel like a splurge.
Go Raw Sprouted Choco Crunch Cookies
28 g (about 18 pieces): 160 calories, 9 g fat (5 g saturated), 10 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (4 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 2 g protein
Although these cookies have 9 grams of fat and 5 grams of saturated fat — and saturated fat has been associated with raising LDL or “bad” cholesterol — it comes from coconut. Studies have shown that coconut oil actually raises levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol. Another study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that coconut flakes actually reduced levels of LDL. Another perk is how simple and clean the ingredients are: Coconut, sprouted sesame seeds, dates, and cacao (the purest form of cocoa). That’s it. Considering pure cocao has antioxidant benefits and can help you lose weight, these cookies are definitely a winner.
Enjoy Life Chocolate Chip Crunchy Cookies
2 cookies: 140 calories, 8 g fat (4 g saturated), 100 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (1 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 1 g protein
Enjoy Life makes their cookies with a combo of whole grain flours, including rice, buckwheat, and millet, which is better for you than refined enriched flours. Even though that only yields 1 gram of fiber in this recipe, the total calories are on the lower end at 140. Stick to one serving size and you can enjoy these as a treat guilt-free.
Annie's Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cookies (26 g): 130 calories, 7 g fat (2.5 g fat), 80 mg sodium, 15 g carbs (1 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 1 g protein
With just 7 grams of sugar per serving, these are the lowest sugar cookies on our list. And at just 130 calories for two, you can indulge in your cookie cravings without blowing your daily total calories. Plus, the ingredients are free of high fructose corn syrup and sweetened instead with organic cane sugar and organic molasses.
Back to Nature Chocolate Chunk Cookies
2 cookies (26 g): 130 calories, 6 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 70 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (< 1 g fiber, 9 sugar), 2 g protein
At just 130 calories and 6 grams of fat, eating two of these cookies is nothing to feel guilty about. Plus, Back to Nature keeps the ingredients pretty simple with around a dozen ingredients: Much fewer than other store-bought competitors.
Trader Joe's Crispy Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies
12 cookies (30 g): 150 calories, 9 g fat (4.5 g saturated), 75 mg sodium, 19 g carbs (< 1 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 2 g protein
Sure, these cookies have 9 grams of fat and 11 grams of sugar per serving, but that serving is 12 cookies — that’s a lot! They are so small that 12 cookies weigh just 30 grams, but you could easily cut the serving size in half and feel satisfied after just six cookies; that will only set you back 75 calories, 4.5 grams of fat and 5.5 grams of sugar.
Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Thin & Crispy Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cookies: 140 calories, 6 g fat (4 g saturated), 135 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (0 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 1 g protein
Looking for a better-for-you cookie in the cookie aisle without having to head to a health food store? These Pepperidge Farm crispy cookies don’t contain any high fructose corn syrup or sketchy sweeteners; just sugar and brown sugar. They also clock in at just 140 calories and 6 grams of fat for two. With pretty simple ingredients and a lower fat content, these are a winner in our book (in moderation, of course — there’s still 12 grams of sugar).
Kashi® Cookies Oatmeal Dark Chocolate
1 cookie: 130 calories, 5 g fat (1 g saturated), 65 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (4 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 2 g protein
Oatmeal chocolate chip isn’t exactly the same as regular chocolate chip, but the heart-healthy oatmeal and whole grain flour give the cookies 4 grams of filling fiber per serving. They also only have 8 grams of sugar and are relatively low-calorie at 130 calories.