May 20, 2024 - Food and Drink

Best chocolate chip cookies from national chains

Chocolate chip cookie on a paper bag with a drawing of a smiling cookie.

And the winner is… Photo: Carrie Shepherd/Axios

When you're a Cookie Monster like me, you can sniff out a fresh batch from miles away.

Driving the news: The national chain Chip City just opened its first Chicago spot in Streeterville, joining a growing list of cookie chains arriving to augment a great local selection.

Dig in: That inspired me to take on the tough task of trying chocolate chip cookies from four chains to find the best.

Here's how they rank.

1. The best bite: Chip City

55 E. Chicago Ave.

Chocolate cookie cut in half with both sides on top of bad with drawing of a smiling cookie.
And look at that cute bag! Photo: Carrie Shepherd/Axios

Chip City's brown butter batter takes it a step further than your average cc cookie, and the crunchy outer ring is perfect. Plus, the vegan version is great! ($5)

What to try: The cookie butter cookie filled with Biscoff cookie butter. Also vegan!

2. Levain Bakery

840 W. Randolph St.

408 N. Clark St.

Fingers holding half of a chocolate chip cookie.
Photo: Carrie Shepherd/Axios

I was initially skeptical of this New York-based chain; seemed like a lot of hype. But the undercooked center and abundance of high-quality chocolate make this a standout. ($5.25)

Plus, they go for thickness over diameter, the way my mom makes them.

3. Crumbl

Several in Chicago and the 'burbs.

Chocolate chip cookie with sea salt cut in half and sitting on green plate.
Photo: Carrie Shepherd/Axios

I'm a sucker for sea salt and chocolate, but the sea salt doesn't come through enough. The center is soft but not undercooked. I'd opt for one of their special cookies that they rotate weekly. ($4.99)

4. Subway

Pretty much every intersection

Foot-long chocolate chip cookie in black plastic tray.
Photo: Carrie Shepherd/Axios

Yeah, you read that right. Monica gave the footlong cookie a try when it debuted in Chicago earlier this year, and I had to get in on that. ($5)

  • It's soft in the middle with crunchy edges, and Monica says it's good for four people, but let's be honest, we Cookie Monsters could nail that ourselves.

📫 Tell us your favorite chocolate chip cookie! Email [email protected]!

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