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When it comes to baking well, anything, any chef will tell you the quality of the dessert depends on the quality of the ingredients. Even down to the chocolate chips you use in your go-to cookie recipe. Granted, those same chefs may tell you to avoid chocolate chips in favor of chopping your own from bittersweet bars (fewer stabilizers forcing the chip to maintain its triangular shape), but let’s level with one another: Sometimes you don’t have the time, patience or energy for that. And sometimes you just crave the nostalgia of the classic.

We tested more than a dozen brands—from generic labels to traditional Toll House to bougie, small-batch varieties—vetting them based on price, quality of ingredients, flavor, texture and availability (because you can’t plan when a craving will strike). Here, the best chocolate chips for baking, ganache-making and straight-up snacking.

best chocolate chips testing
CANDACE DAVISON

1. Ghirardelli Semisweet Chocolate Baking Chips

Best All-Purpose Chocolate Chips

  • Value:18/20
  • Quality:18/20
  • Flavor:19/20
  • Texture:18/20
  • Availability:20/20

TOTAL: 93/100

If you’re looking for a decadent-tasting chocolate chip that retains its shape well, melts beautifully in the microwave (making for an easy ganache) and is available at just about any grocery store, Ghirardelli’s semisweet baking chips are the way to go. The chocolate has more of a complex, roasted flavor than other chips we tried, and it’s incredibly smooth, likely due to the conching process, which heats and grinds the chocolate until its particles are teeny tiny.

$25 AT AMAZON (FOR SIX 12-OZ. BAGS)

CANDACE DAVISON

2. Lily’s Semisweet-Style Baking Chips

Best No Sugar Added Chocolate Chips

  • Value:17/20
  • Quality:18/20
  • Flavor:16/20
  • Texture:17/20
  • Availability:18/20

TOTAL: 86/100

Real talk: Most “no sugar added” chocolates have a lingering, cloyingly sweet flavor that makes you want to take sandpaper to your own tongue. Thankfully, that’s not the case with Lily’s. They taste as close to traditional chocolate chips as any no-sugar-added brand we tried. The 45 percent cocoa blend is sweetened with stevia, and it’s fair-trade certified, so you can feel good about how it’s sourced, too.

BUY IT ($5 FOR ONE 7-OZ. BAG)

CANDACE DAVISON

3. Guittard Semisweet Chocolate Super Cookie Chips

Best for Ultra-Fudgy Brownies

  • Value:18/20
  • Quality:18/20
  • Flavor:19/20
  • Texture:17/20
  • Availability:15/20

TOTAL: 87/100

Have you ever bitten into a Jacques Torres chocolate chip cookie and found yourself momentarily dazed at the straight-up rivers of chocolate within it? No? OK, order a batch from Goldbelly and binge all of Nailed It. We’ll be here in two days when you’re ready to keep reading. Back? Great. Now that you’ve seen the light, it’s time to take your cookies and brownies to Torres-approved levels with these gigantic chocolate discs. They may not be the ones the chef himself uses, but we love these GMO-free, fair-trade certified sweets for how they create puddles of molten cocoa in treats. The dark chocolate is smooth, with a sugary note at the end, making them pretty snackable too.

BUY IT ($4.50 FOR ONE 10-OZ. BAG)

CANDACE DAVISON

4. 365 by Whole Foods Market Dark Chocolate Chunks

Best for Dense Treats

  • Value:19/20
  • Quality:18/20
  • Flavor:18/20
  • Texture:18/20
  • Availability:15/20

TOTAL: 88/100

Chocolate discs are great for creating thin, melty ribbons of chocolate. If you want something a bit more toothsome, opt for chocolate chunks. This 365 by Whole Foods Market variety isn’t as waxy as some brands, and it has a rough-hewn style that’s more akin to chopping a bar of chocolate yourself (only minus the effort). They’re best for dense treats, like scones, but they can also make for truly over-the-top pancakes. Just keep extra napkins on hand.

BUY IT ($4 FOR ONE 12-OZ. BAG)

CANDACE DAVISON

5. Hershey’s Semisweet Chocolate Baking Chips

Best for Snacking

  • Value:18/20
  • Quality:18/20
  • Flavor:19/20
  • Texture:19/20
  • Availability:19/20

TOTAL: 93/100

Sometimes you just need a handful of chocolate chips. (Just us?) Hershey’s semisweet baking chips melt immediately in your mouth, and they have a rich, dark chocolate flavor that’s a bit sweeter and stronger than most of its competitors. If you’ve outgrown the brand’s traditional milk chocolate bars, reach for a bag of these. Fair warning, though: You may snack on them like popcorn. (Oh, and they’re great for baking too—it’s just that the flavor was so delightful we found ourselves reaching for a handful…until the bag was empty.)

$10 AT AMAZON (FOR TWO 12-OZ. BAGS)

CANDACE DAVISON

6. Toll House Semisweet Chocolate Chips Mini Morsels

Best for Frosting & Easy Ganaches

  • Value:19/20
  • Quality:17/20
  • Flavor:18/20
  • Texture:17/20
  • Availability:20/20

TOTAL: 91/100

Toll House is the originator of the chocolate chip, so it makes sense they’d be represented here somewhere on this list. And while its classic chocolate chip is fine, we prefer its mini chips. These little guys melt easily and smoothly, so even novices can make ganache without worrying about it seizing. They’re a little waxy, but they have a decent dark chocolate-y flavor. If you really want to be converted, try them in chocolate chip cookie dough frosting (which, yes, is a thing, and yes, it’s life-changing).

BUY IT ($3 FOR ONE 10-OZ. BAG)

CANDACE DAVISON

7. GoodSam Dark Chocolate Chips

Best for Pancakes

  • Value:16/20
  • Quality:18/20
  • Flavor:17/20
  • Texture:17/20
  • Availability:14/20

TOTAL: 82/100

On their own, GoodSam’s micro chips have a too-sweet aftertaste that we weren’t so crazy about (we blame the allulose in these no-sugar-added confections). However, baked into soft, delicate treats, the cocoa flavor shines through and the aftertaste disappears completely. We loved them sprinkled into pancakes—they’re just the right size to ensure every bite is chocolate-infused, while still having a low profile so they don’t protrude from the pancake and burn in the skillet—and liked its non-GMO ingredient list and the company’s direct trade policies that support small farms and the environment. The one downside? It’s a bit pricey and hard to find, so if you try ‘em and like ‘em, stock up.

BUY IT ($13 FOR ONE 9-OZ. BAG)

The PureWow100 is a scale our editors use to vet new products and services, so you know what’s worth the spend—and what’s total hype. Learn more about our process here.

RELATED: 17 Baking Recipes for Total Beginners

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