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.

Why You Must Make

  • 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? 
  • These are perfect for the holidays as the powdered sugar coating looks like snow!!
Earthquake cookies ingredients with labels on a sheetpan.

Ingredient Notes

  • Kitchen Staples – Flour, Butter, Salt, Sugar
  • Unsweetened Chocolate – I use the Ghirardelli brand.
  • Eggs – Have them at room temperature for easier incorporation.
  • Baking Powder – Note that baking powder is not the same as baking soda. It also has a much shorter shelf life. So check the expiration date before you start making the dough. If you want to double-check its freshness, place a spoonful into a cup of very hot water. If it’s still active, it will bubble vigorously.
  • Vanilla Extract – Always use real vanilla extract for the tastiest results. If the word artificial appears on the label, it won’t taste nearly as good.

How to Make

Recipe Tips

To make chocolate earthquake cookies AKA crinkles or crackles, the 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. However, 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 it 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-sized cookie disher to scoop out consistent-sized dough balls.
  • Roll the dough between your palms to make nice spheres, then roll in powdered sugar.
  • You can roll in the powdered sugar twice for better coverage.
  • Bake as directed. I like using parchment-lined baking sheets for easy cleanup. 
  • Do not overbake as that will cause the cookies to be less fudgy.
Earthquake Cookies in a white ceramic bowl.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Makes Chocolate Crinkles Crack?

The crackled surface of these crinkle cookies is due to the surface of the cookies firming up before the cookies are finished rising. As they puff, the exteriors crack.

Why Did My Crinkle Cookies Not Crack?

If your oven is not hot enough or the baking powder is expired, your cookies might not rise rapidly enough to cause the crackles to form.

Why Are My Chocolate Crackle Cookies Flat?

If the dough gets too warm, the dough balls will melt into flat rounds instead of keeping their shape as they begin to bake. So chill for at least 20 minutes or even longer if your kitchen is warm or your dough is still soft after the initial chilling time.

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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.


  • ¼ cup butter (the original recipe called for "butter the size of an egg")
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, I use Ghirardelli brand
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • ⅛ 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 for 20 minutes or more.
  5. Preheat oven to 350º.
  6. Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into balls; then roll into powdered sugar. Bake for 9-10 minutes. The centers should be fudgy if not overbaked.


Total time does not include chilling time.

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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