Cookies recipe

Best Anything Goes Pantry Cookie Recipe

I firmly believe that one man’s trash can always be another man’s treasure. When I first showed friends a photo of a goldfish-popcorn-dill-pickle-chips studded pantry cookie, most thought I had lost my mind. I wouldn’t say they’re wrong – do you know anyone else who puts cauliflower in their brownies? – but that shouldn’t affect the actual quality of these cookies.

No matter what you might have in your pantry right now, this recipe will be there for you. If you like classic chocolate chip cookies, keep it simple with chocolate chips and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. But if you’re fresh out of chocolate and still love a good sweet-salty combination, please scroll down for the “junk food junkie” cookie mixes: there’s nothing better than sweet crunch and puff pastry of a cheddary goldfish against the bottom of soft, chewy cookie dough. Want to eat cookies for breakfast? Try the healthy-nutty granola version where hearty oats, toasted nuts, plump raisins and a small sprinkle of healthy seeds come together in cinnamon-flavoured harmony.

But don’t let me limit your imagination. These are your pantry cookies. You can put whatever you want in there. Melt your butter or go a step further and brown your butter for a riper, toastier flavor. Add vanilla extract, almond extract or go wild and add something spicy like chili powder or black pepper. Play it safe with traditional flavors or go completely nuts. I fully support you, as does this general all-purpose cookie formula:

Start with soft, chewy cookie dough. As we learned in our chocolate chip cookie challenge, a 2:1 ratio of brown sugar to granulated sugar is crucial for that perfect texture. I opt for melted butter to make an even fluffier cookie that requires fewer tools (no need for a mixer to cream the butter) and leaves you with easier cleanup (who doesn’t like a one-man process jar?).

Up to 3 mixed ingredients chopped. Two is a party, and three is a bigger party. Always go for the biggest party. Chocolates, chocolate bars, crisps and crushed biscuits (cookie inception!), roasted nuts, dried fruits or crystallized ginger or candied citrus peel, seeds, cereals, vermicelli, toasted coconut, swirls of jam, crispy bacon. Made the feast ! Just make sure you don’t go over about 1 cup of the mixes or your cookie won’t spread in the oven at all.

Spice up. 1 or 2 spices will help the biscuit find its identity: a savory biscuit goes well with a little black pepper, cayenne powder, or finely chopped herbs such as rosemary and thyme; a sweet cookie can take classic cinnamon, multi-faceted cardamom, or traditional vanilla extract; a more experimental biscuit may take more androgynous spices, such as fennel seeds, caraway seeds or ground turmeric.

If you can’t decide and want to try several combinations of mixes, divide your base dough into two or three batches and do them all! (Just be sure to decrease the amount of mixes you incorporate into each mini batch of dough accordingly!) When you’ve created your cookie masterpiece, be sure to drop us a line below in the comments section to let us know how you liked it and what your favorite mix-ins are!

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Preparation time:





Total time:





For the basic cookie dough

1/2 tsp.

packed brown sugar

1 C.

your choice of ground spices or flavoring extracts

1 1/4 tsp.

all purpose flour


to 1 1/4 tsp. your choice of chopped mixes

Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie Mixes

Healthy Nut Granola Cookie Mixes

1/3 tsp.

Old fashioned oats

1/3 tsp.

finely chopped toasted almonds

Mixes for the Junk Food Cookie Junkie

1/4 tsp.

crushed potato chips

Freshly ground black pepper

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  1. Preheat the oven to 325° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. If desired, continue cooking until butter browns, about 5 minutes: Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking, watching carefully and stirring occasionally. The butter will simmer and foam, and the milk solids will start to turn golden brown. Once the vigorous simmering stops and the butter is golden brown and smells nutty, immediately remove from the heat.
  2. In a large bowl (or your saucepan), whisk together the hot melted butter, sugars, spices or extracts (if using) and salt until the sugar is almost dissolved and the mixture is smooth and brilliant. Cool slightly, then stir in egg until smooth and consistent.
  3. Stir in flour and baking soda until just combined, then stir in mixtures until evenly distributed. Scoop out heaping tablespoons of batter and transfer to prepared pan.
  4. Bake until edges are golden brown and top is set but still golden, 11 to 13 minutes.

June Xie

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