Remember Nestle® Toll House® Chocolate Chip Cookies from your childhood, but want to make them with better ingredient choices? I’ve got the answer!

Real Food Copycat Nestle® Toll House® Cookies :: Gluten and Dairy Free Too!Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

We were known for them…

Growing up, our house was *known* for bringing the best chocolate chip cookies *ever* to whatever gathering we went to. I’m talking people were NOT happy if they were not brought. They were soft and sweet, and whether it was right out of the oven, out of her old Tupperware, or if we were sneaking them out of the freezer {ahem…}, they were seriously nothing short of amazing.

Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.My mom’s secret?

The recipe on the back of the Nestlé® Tollhouse® chocolate chips bag, with a couple tweaks that literally make them melt in your mouth.

Her secrets to making them soft and chewy instead of crispy were:

  • Swap the butter for vegetable shortening – in other words…Crisco® (I know, I know. Just hang tight with me real food police…I’ve got your back in a few paragraphs here…)
  • Half the salt. I’m not sure why this is – I didn’t half the salt in the recipe I made just out of curiosity and I still liked them. Could have been her preference!
  • Back off the cook time to about 8 minutes. Meaning leave them just slightly under-cooked. They finish cooking a couple minutes on the hot sheet pan and then on to the cooling rack to cool. The result is a middle that is soft and literally melts in your mouth!

Real Food Copycat Nestle® Toll House® Cookies :: Gluten and Dairy Free Too!The challenge…

Well her tweaks, along with most of the rest of the ingredients in the recipe have made it pretty hard to enjoy knowing what I know now. Know better, do better, right? I’ve tried literally dozens of “healthier” cookie versions but nothing reminded me of my childhood…until these!

Real Food Copycat Nestle® Toll House® Cookies :: Gluten and Dairy Free Too!What’s so bad about vegetable shortening?

Dear friends, something happened during my grandparent’s generation. Fat got a super bad rap. Everyone started swapping their butter for this new fangled cooking fat medium called vegetable shortening. It is usually made up of hydrogenated soy. It was easy to cook with, gave amazing results, and {the real kicker for this particular generation}…it was cheap.

In short, we have not only come to learn the damage that hydrogenated oils such as vegetable shortening does to our bodies causing free radicals (think cancer feeders), but that it also doesn’t do the body systems that actually need real fat any good. Everything from our brains, to our digestion, to our hormones, rely on real, unprocessed fat. These hydrogenated vegetable oils were also made cheap and fast using GMO crops which is leading to a host of digestive/genetic issues in the last couple generations of kids.

In the end, we have a couple generations in counting of kiddos that grew up without well fed hormones, brains, etc and we are still recovering from the mess. (Hence my mission at Raising Generation Nourished! To read more about healthy fats, how to make the switch to the good ones, and how to use them, you can pick up my cookbook, Nourished Beginnings! There is a whole section on fats, their use, which ones to avoid, and almost 100 recipes using real, healthy fats to cook with!)

Real Food Copycat Nestle® Toll House® Cookies :: Gluten and Dairy Free Too!Still a cookie…but with real ingredients.

Yes, dear friends these cookies still have sugar (albeit the non GMO variety!). And whether you want to admit it or not, sugar is still sugar. I‘m not glorifying these cookies by even letting them be called healthy. Because if you ate them everyday, you’d be overloading your body with sugar.

But for a weekend family reunion treat? A birthday sleepover midnight indulgence with friends? Absolutely!

Real Food Copycat Nestle® Toll House® Cookies :: Gluten and Dairy Free Too!Here are my Nestle® Tollhouse® Real Food Copycat Swaps!

  • Swap the vegetable shortening my mom used for Nutvia Organic palm shortening, which is coconut/palm oil based (No it doesn’t make it taste like coconut! And yes, please be careful on brands – this brand is sustainable, fair trade, etc). You could use butter if you want, which is what is on the original Nestle recipe. Your cookies will be crispier – and some people like that! Awesome! I was really going for the soft and chewy cookies my mom made when I was a kid, and palm shortening is the ticket!
  • Use an organic, non-GMO sugar, and back off the amount a bit. Honestly, when I make these again for just my kids, I will be backing off the sugar amounts even more. These were so sweet for my kids’ and my palates because we just don’t eat sugar anymore. They taste JUST like I remember them as a kid (even with the amount backed off a bit!), and I cringe that I thought that was ok! So I backed off the {organic/non GMO} sugar from ¾ cup to ½ cup and then made my own brown sugar. You can get organic brown sugar and use ½ – ¾ cup brown sugar. I never use brown sugar and it always ends up getting hard in the back of my pantry. Brown sugar is just sugar mixed with molasses (1 cup to 1 tablespoon ratio.). So instead of ¾ cup brown sugar, I used another ¾ cup sugar and around 1 tablespoon of molasses (This is why the sugar is 1 ¼ cup. ½ cup regular sugar plus the ¾ cup used for the brown sugar. Again, I think we could pop that sugar down to 1 cup total or even ¾ cup and my kids would still be very happy).
  • Because we are a gluten free home, I used the Namaste Gluten Free Flour Blend. It swapped for all purpose flour perfectly. (If you can tolerate gluten, I would try some Einkorn All Purpose Flour. I am not an experienced baker with it, but if there are friends here reading this that are, please let us know your experiences. I hear it leaves things “wetter”, or the flour isn’t as absorbent, so the amount may need to be adjusted up a bit?)
  • Swap the Nestle® chips for an organic brand. This is another one of those, “Well if sugar is still sugar, then why fuss about this ingredient? Well to be honest I don’t want to support companies that are still making products with GMO filled cane sugar and/or corn syrup, soy, and fillers. If you are dairy free, the Enjoy Life chocolate chips or Enjoy Life chocolate chunks are a good choice. I like using the Organic Meijer brand that our local Meijer grocer carries. If you are going to shop around, just really watch the ingredients (even in “health food” stores!). You can find them without the GMO’s, fillers, and corn syrup!

Real Food Copycat Nestle® Toll House® Cookies :: Gluten and Dairy Free Too!

Real Food Copycat Nestle® Toll House® Cookies

Renee -
Remember Nestle® Toll House® Chocolate Chip Cookies from your childhood, but want to make them with better ingredient choices? I’ve got the answer!
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24 cookies


  • 1 cup organic & sustainable palm shortening
  • 1 ¼ cup organic pure cane sugar I will be trying 1 cup next batch - the 1 1/4 is still less than the original Nestle recipe, but quite sweet for our taste as we don't eat sugar much
  • 3-4 tsp molasses If going lower on the cane sugar, use more lik 2-3 tsp molasses
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ¼ cup Namaste Gluten Free Flour Blend I hear the Trader Joe’s GF flour blend is similar if you have that. I am not sure how other GF blends will behave, but it is worth trying! There are many great ones out there!
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 10-12 oz package chocolate chips of choice If you are dairy free, the Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips or Enjoy Life Chocolate Chunks are a good choice. I like using the Organic Meijer brand that our local Miejer grocer carries. Just really watch the ingredients if you want to shop around. You can find them without the fillers and corn syrup!


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Use a hand blender to cream the palm shortening, sugar, molasses, and vanilla. Add the eggs and blend until creamy and smooth.
  • Add the flour, baking soda, sea salt, and chocolate chips, and stir with a spatula until mixed evenly.
  • Drop spoonfuls of batter on a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. You don’t need to roll these unless you want perfect circles – this is one thing I remember as a kid loving – my mom always let us drop the dough on the sheet and imperfectly shaped cookies feel the most homemade to me! Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes. Cool on the tray for 2 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool off the rest of the way (if they last that long!)
Keyword copycat tollhouse recipe, dairy-free chocolate chip cookies, gluten-free chocolate chip cookies
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Recipe Rating


  1. Those cookies look absolutely perfect. I wish I could just pick one right off the screen! Definitely keeping this recipe on hand for friends or family members who ‘can always tell if it’s gluten-free.’ 😉 Thanks!

  2. These look so delicious! The Namaste flour blend contains xanthum gum and my family can’t do corn so any ideas on what I could use to replace it with?

    1. Hi Amanda! Most GF flour blends use xanthan gum in the mix because it helps give the gluten-y texture, bind, and it also helps with rising. It is pretty hard to replace it. Maybe try googling “replacement for xanthan gum” and see what you come up with – I see guar gum or agar agar a lot in gluten free baking so maybe one of those?

  3. I made these for my husband for Father’s Day and he loved them! I think he gets tired of me making super healthified “cookies” so he felt loved by these that were more his style!

  4. 5 stars
    I will have to make a batch of these when my teen comes back from his trip. I’ll probably go light on the sugar too as we don’t do a lot of sweets here.

  5. 5 stars
    Cookies were amazing!! Tried them using the Trader Joe’s gluten free flour blend, and it did work really well. You really can’t tell these are gluten free. Husband agrees! Perfect for taking to a party and sharing with others! I also used just 1 cup of sugar, and I think I will reduce even more next time, as they are still plenty sweet. Thanks so much Renee, for all of your hard work! What a wonderful recipe to have on hand.

  6. Hi there! Since I’m not dairy free, just wondering if I could use butter instead of the palm oil or a combo of the two? I just love real butter taste in my chocolate chip cookies!

    1. Hi Charity! Yes, you can use butter, however the butter will give a crispy cookie texture. That was my mom’s secret to making the Nestle recipe back in the day go from crispy to soft – she used vegetable shortening. So here, I use palm shortening, a healthier fat. Butter definitely works though and is so healthy!

  7. Hi there, I can’t get the particular brand of GF flour, so I used another. I’m not sure if that is enough to change the recipe completely but mine came out very crumbly, but a very fine crumble whereby the cookies disintegrate with very little pressure! Have you come across this? Any tips on how to improve? I used Dove’s Farm GF plain four. I would be so appreciative of any feedback as my kids are super keen to try and get the recipe to work for my daughters birthday!

    1. Hi Melissa! I see there is no xanthan gum in that blend, so I would start there. Usually xanthan gum binds, and keeps things soft – maybe a teaspoon-ish to this recipe?

  8. Hi Renee! I’d like to provide these for a gathering I’m hosting in a couple of weeks, and since I have a 3 y/o and a newborn, I’m trying to do as much prep ahead of time as possible so the day of the gathering isn’t total chaos. Would you recommend freezing the uncooked dough or freezing the baked cookies, or neither? Thank you!

  9. Every time I’ve made these they spread way out and don’t hold shape. I use butter. At first I thought maybe it was because I cut the sugar in half and use applesauce for the extra amount, but I made these as is tonight and they are still doing the same thing! Does the butter act differently than palm shortening do you think?

  10. These look delicious! Do you think tallow could be substituted for palm shortening? I feel like it’s a similar acting fat.

    1. Hi Kit – if you prefer animal based fat, I’d use lard versus tallow – tallow will lend a game-y/savory flavor to baked goods. It is great for frying savory things. Lard is better for baked goods. You could use butter too!