When you get a mad cookie craving, these rich, Fudgy Chocolate Earthquake Cookies will fulfill your deepest desire!

Rolled in powdered sugar, the dough balls bake up with dark chocolate cracks resembling earthquake faults. Besides the unique look, these chocolate crinkles are absolutely irresistible!

Overhead view of 3 earthquake cookies on a round white plate

Chocolate Earthquake Cookies

I’ve made Martha Stewart’s Chocolate Crackle Cookies a number of times and even Chocolate Crinkles. My friend, Sharon, shared her mom’s recipe which was even fudgier than Martha’s. What’s not to love about extra fudgy? Sharon, who loves chocolate as much as my boys, and Gini, one of my biggest fans joined me in the kitchen to whip up these chocolate earthquake cookies.

Earthquake Cookies in a white ceramic bowl

How to Make Chocolate Earthquake Cookies

Like the above-mentioned chocolate crinkles and crackles, to make these chocolate earthquake cookies, a chocolate dough is rolled into balls, then into powdered sugar before baking. The cracks form naturally as the leaveners expand the dough when exposed to heat in the oven. Here are a few more tips for making these chocolate cookies.

  • Since the butter is melted, it does not need to be brought to room temperature before mixing. Though bringing your eggs out of the refrigerator about an hour before mixing will bring them closer to room temperature. This enables better incorporation into the dough.
  • PRO-Tip: Check the expiration on your baking powder as it’s used less often than baking soda and often expires without your knowledge.
  • Do not over mix the cookie dough as that will encourage gluten formation and make less tender cookies.
  • This dough should be chilled for at least 20 minutes before forming into dough balls.
  • Use a medium-size cookie disher to scoop out consistent sized dough balls.
  • Roll the dough between your palms to make nice spheres, then roll in powdered sugar.
  • Bake as directed. I like using parchment-lined baking sheets for easy cleanup. 
  • Do not over bake as that will cause the cookies to be less fudgy.

More Chocolate Cookies You’ll Love:

Add to Your Shopping List:

  • Unsweetened Chocolate (I like Ghirardelli bars)
  • Fresh Baking Powder
  • Check your kitchen for these staples: butter, eggs, flour, sugar, salt, powdered sugar, and real vanilla extract

This recipe for Earthquake Cookies was first shared in August 2010. The text and photos were updated in 2019.

Chocolate Earthquake Cookies on a white dessert plate

Chocolate Earthquake Cookies

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Yield 2 dozen

Super rich and fudgy cookies coated in powdered sugar.


  • 1/4 cup butter (the original recipe called for "butter the size of an egg")
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Gently melt butter and chocolate in the microwave; stir till smooth.
  2. Add sugar gradually, then use a mixer to mix in eggs.
  3. Sift dry ingredients, and add to the chocolate mixture. Mix till just combined.
  4. Add vanilla and mix into the dough. Refrigerate 20 minutes or more.
  5. Preheat oven to 350º.
  6. Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into balls; then roll into powdered sugar. Bake 9-10 minutes. The centers should be fudgy if not overbaked.


Total time does not include chilling time.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 cookie

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 90Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 53mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 1gSugar: 8gProtein: 1g


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Two girlfriends posing for the camera in my kitchen

My girlfriends were thrilled when I aimed the camera on