Soft M&M Cookies

Soft M&M Cookies are deliciously tender and loaded with M&M Candies. They taste just like the soft-baked cookies from the mall’s cookie kiosk!

Soft M&M Cookies

I hope you’re not tired of cookies! Since the holidays are over, I decided to work on some recipes that are more evergreen. And these soft M&M cookies are good for any occasion! I’ve tested them a few times now, adjusting the M&M candy to batter ratio. I think these are just about perfect. In fact, tasting them made me feel a little nostalgic. They remind me so much of the cookies I’d get at our local mall, from a popular patriotic-sounding cookie kiosk (you might know the one).

The hallmarks of those kiosk cookies were their large size and soft texture. They were golden brown underneath with pale tops, and cakey – almost underdone – centers. The M&M chocolate chip cookies and sugar cookies were favorites of mine. This cookie recipe is like a combination of the two!

Make the Brown Sugar Dough

Combine butter, white sugar, and light brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and cream them together well. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix again. I made these on a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, but you could also use a hand mixer and an extra-large mixing bowl.

The Secret Ingredient

Mix together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, and salt. To this mixture add a 3.4 oz. package of dry instant vanilla pudding mix. While it’s true that I don’t often use convenience foods as ingredients in my baking, I do make exceptions. It wasn’t until I made this Caribbean Rum Cake with dry pudding mix in the batter, that my opinion of this ingredient changed completely. I was skeptical. But it gives baked goods a soft, tender texture, and I’d never received so many compliments and recipe requests for a bundt cake before!

In these cookies, the pudding mix imparts noticeable vanilla flavor, and keeps the middles soft during baking. It really gives them the flavor and texture of my once beloved mall cookies.

M&M Minis

Combine the dry mixture with the creamed butter, and mix well until a pale golden-hued dough is formed. Then, add the M&M candies and fold together. I used M&M minis here, because I was gifted a huge container. I like how they disperse well throughout the dough. However, regular M&M’s work just fine, too.

Soft M&M Cookies

Portion by the Level 1/4 Cup

These cookies are large. So use a standard size trigger ice cream scoop or portion dough by the level 1/4 cups. Place some extra M&Ms on top of the dough balls for a bakery-made appearance, if you’re into that (I am!)

Chill the portioned cookies on the pan in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, or you can even speed the process by putting them in the freezer for 7-10 minutes.

Soft M&M Cookies

Bake for about 13 minutes, or until they’ve spread significantly. The tops should be quite pale and look a little under-done in their centers.

As I mentioned, these cookies will spread. So bake no more than 4 to 6 to a 9×13-inch baking sheet. If you want to make them perfectly round, grab your largest round cookie cutter. Encircle the cookies’ edges with the cutter while the cookies are still hot. Move the cutter in a circular motion. (See this video for the technique in action!) The cutter will push the edges into a perfect circle. The cookies are quite pliable and will need to stand on the baking sheet until they are firm enough to move to a wire cooling rack.

Soft M&M Cookies
Soft M&M Cookies

These Soft M&M Cookies were fun and uncomplicated to make. If bake sales are still a thing, I could see these selling out first! I can’t help but compare them to the mall’s cookie kiosk cookies – big, soft, and filled with candy. Kids will love them. And kids at heart (like me!) may love them even more!

Soft M&M Cookies

Heather Baird
Soft M&M Cookies are deliciously tender and loaded with M&M Candies. They taste just like the soft-baked cookies from the mall's cookie kiosk! Please note that this recipe uses one small box (3.4 oz.) of dry pudding mix in the dough. It is used as a dry ingredient added directly from the package to the flour ingredients. This helps soften the cookies helps them keep that tender texture over time.
These cookies will spread, so give them plenty of room on the baking sheet. Because the centers have a slightly underdone texture when baked, it can be difficult to judge their done-ness. However, there are some visual cues that will help: The cookies should be spread significantly yet slightly mounded and pale in their centers. The edges will appear set and matte, while the center may still have a slightly glossy appearance. Don’t be tempted to overbake! The appeal of these cookies is their soft texture.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
20 minutes chill time 20 minutes
Total Time 53 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16 cookies


  • large baking sheets 2 or more


  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain salt
  • 3.4 oz. instant pudding mix 1 small box
  • 3/4 cup M&M candies I used M&M minis
  • M&M candies for garnishing dough balls up to 1/3 cup


  • Line 2 or more large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Beat well until creamy and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla extract. Beat until well incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and mix again briefly.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and the dry pudding mix. Whisk well to combine. Add the dry mixture to the creamed butter mixture and beat until a lightly golden-hued dough is formed. Scrape down the bowl and mix again briefly. Add the 3/4 cup of M&Ms. Fold in using a rubber spatula.
  • Portion the dough by level 1/4 cup measures, or with a standard-size trigger ice cream scoop (which has 1/4 cup capacity) onto the prepared baking sheets. Space them at least 2 inches apart (fit no more than 6 dough mounds to a 13×9 baking sheet, or 4 mounds to be extra-sure cookies won’t spread into each other). Dot the tops of the dough mounds with more M&M candies. Refrigerate dough mounds on the baking sheets for 20 minutes, or speed chill time by freezing them for 7-10 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Bake the cookies for about 13-14 minutes, or until they are well spread and slightly mounded in their centers. Bang the pan on the countertop once to flatten the centers slightly. The edges should look set and matte, while the middles will look pale and slightly under baked. Don’t overbake.
  • Remove the cookies from the oven. They will be loose and pliable, and will need to remain on the baking sheets for 10-12 minutes, or until firm enough to transfer to wire racks for cooling. (See recipe notes or blog post for perfectly round cookie hack, while cookies are still hot on the pan.)
  • Store cookies air-tight, in a zip-top bag or in a large resealable plastic container.


Chill: Be sure to chill the cookies – this is important. The cookies will spread too much during baking if not chilled.
Bake Time: Keep an eye on bake time. I usually bake on an electric range at my workshop, but my home oven is gas. The electric oven baked the cookies done at the 13-minute mark. My gas oven runs hotter and baked the cookies more quickly.
Freeze: Dough can be portioned on baking sheets and frozen, then the frozen dough mounds can be placed in a freezer bag and kept for 6 months. To bake, remove frozen dough mounds to a baking sheet and cover; place in the refrigerator to thaw overnight. Bake as directed.
Perfectly Round Cookies: See this video.
Keyword all purpose flour, brown sugar, butter, eggs, granulated sugar, instant vanilla pudding, m&m candies, mall cookies, soft baked cookies
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