The Untold Truth Of Crumbl Cookies

If you're on social media in any capacity, you've probably seen and heard of the viral brand Crumbl Cookies. They are treats that are dense, ultra crumbly, and crunchy (yet soft at the same time), according to a Local Profile review. Not to mention their famous chocolate chip cookies have notes of toffee and instantly melt in your mouth. 

Combined with a carefully curated TikTok page, Crumbl Cookies has reached millions of viewers (and has tallied up 1.9 million followers), many of whom have converted into loyal customers. So, it's hard to ignore how delectable these cookies are, especially with social media constantly being flooded with posts about them and their growing popularity. And Crumbl's TikTok page offers attention-grabbing videos of slow, gooey cookie pulls almost daily, which are hard to turn away from.

Even more impressive, the company does not invest into influencer relations, according to an article from Modern Retail. So they've garnered all the viral attention on their own. You can pick up your own pink box of these treats at one of 200-plus stores across the country. But before you do, here's more to know about this tasty company.

It's all in the family

Crumbl was founded by two cousins, Jason McGowan and Sawyer Hemsley. The pair decided to go into business together while Hemsley was still in college. Jason's love of technology and Sawyer's affinity for branding seemed to lend itself to starting a business, and the cousins ultimately decided, "Let's just do something really cool and we're going to do cookies."

In fact, in an interview with Mashed, the pair revealed that Crumbl was originally designed to have more family members involved, with Sawyer Hemsley's mom helping out while the founders were still in school and at their other job. But ultimately, it was up to McGowan and Hemsley to make sure Crumbl got off to a running start.

While running a business came more naturally to the cousins, baking a successful cookie was not as easy as it seemed. When working on concocting a dessert that they could mass produce, it took a few tries before landing on the perfect cookie. McGowan recalled in an interview with Mashed that "we baked it and it was like a pancake, a huge, flat ... And we looked at each other and we're like, 'Oh my goodness, this is not good.'"

In 2017, Crumbl opened its first-ever location in Logan, Utah. The rest, they say, is history.

Crumbl is the nation's fastest growing cookie company

Only four years later after the initial launch in Logan, the chain now has more than 200 bakeries in 32 states nationwide, according to the company's website, which makes it "the fastest-growing cookie company in the nation." You might be wondering how they did it, and the answer is one amazing cookie recipe, along with a genius branding and social media marketing strategy.

According to a release by Globe Newswire, every Crumbl Cookies store is designed differently, but all have an open layout, in which customers can see staff make fresh batches of mouthwatering cookies every day. The release, from a year ago in August 2020, likens each physical shop to an Apple store, with a bright, open concept and team members buzzing about to prepare goods for excited customers.

At the time of the release, the cookie chain only had 100 stores. This number has since multiplied to 248 stores in just a year, a remarkable feat. As well, customers can buy the gourmet cookies on their website too.

Crumbl is very tech-driven

As noted before, Crumbl Cookies has an impressively large social media following, with 5.6 million TikTok followers (and 56.9 million likes), plus 2.6 million Instagram followers. There even is a trending hashtag on TikTok, #CrumblReview, in which people film videos of themselves rating the chain's famous cookies — so far the hashtag has 498 million views. As stated, Crumbl does not participate in influencer relations, but social media stars like James Charles have even contributed to this series, which has also assisted in boosting the brand's reach.

Crumbl was able to amass its large social media reach in such a short period of time since its founders have backgrounds in tech and knew that they wanted to launch a company that was digitally advanced to keep up with national trends. Furthermore, in physical stores, assets like iPads and personal ordering kiosks ensure that menus are constantly updated, making the customer service experience much more seamless, according to The Silicon Review.

"From the beginning, Crumbl's mission has been to bring friends and family together over a box of the best cookies in the world — that mission still drives us today," McGowan told the magazine, further adding, "Crumbl prides itself on being an 'Instagram-able brand.' The business' social-heavy marketing strategy has proved impactful based on the brand's explosive growth. ... Crumbl likes to keep its online content trendy and fresh."

The menu rotates weekly, always offering something 'fresh'

Though Crumbl's first, and arguably most famous, cookie is its classic chocolate chip, the chain has plenty of additional tasty choices that delight a wide range of preferences, and even the pickiest eater can find something they like. And we're not just talking snickerdoodle and peanut butter cookies, either. Some recent additions have included Mango Frozen Yogurt and Kentucky Butter Cake, not to mention oldies but goodies like Funfetti and Coconut Lime (per Global Newswire), proving you'll never be bored with the plethora of flavor options at this cookie store.

There is a catch though — they change four to five of the menu flavors every week. This is both a controversial and well-known fact about Crumbl, always keeping it fresh with a quickly rotating menu that changes regularly. This tradition was established in late 2018, as the chain grew and so did its desire to try new flavors, according to the company's website. Yet, something that will always stay consistent on the Crumbl menu, however, is the fact that you can always get the famous Milk Chocolate Chip cookie, along with its Chilled Sugar cookie, any time of the year (via the Daily Herald).

The trademark pink boxes are both aesthetic and functional

Crumbl Cookies come in iconic pink to-go boxes that were designed with a purpose in mind. Their long shape makes them easily recognizable in public and perfect for an Instagram post. According to the company's website, co-founder Sawyer Hemsley designed the "first-of-its-kind" box with some Utah State University classmates in 2018 when Crumbl was still in its early stages. In an interview with BYU Scroll newspaper, the original owner of the location in Rexburg, Idaho, Erik Willis, stated, "When you see a pink box, it's Crumbl."

The boxes have become so iconic that there is a series on the brand's YouTube account called, "Unbox the Pink Box," where cookies are unboxed and run down in detail by members at Crumbl HQ.

And with how pretty the boxes are, you can't help just getting a single cookie — so it was a smart move, too! The box comes in a 4-count, 6-count, or 12-count size. So you have no excuse for not picking up some extra goodies for your friends and family when you make your next cookie run.

Crumbl offers baked-in freshness

Crumbl sells more than just a delicious cookie: the signature snacks are baked fresh each day, offering both top-notch flavors as well as the knowledge that your purchase hasn't been sitting in a freezer in some factory. In fact, the tretas at Crumbl are so fresh, stepping into one of their locations can seem like you're walking straight into a warm cookie that just came right out of the oven. That's because Crumbl employees are always preparing the next batch of cookies for customers!

Customers visiting Crumbl can watch the process of cookies being made in real-time, from the dough being mixed all the way to the icing being added on top. This way, every customer knows that their cookies are as fresh as possible (plus, it just smells really good when you're visiting). That was exactly McGowan and Hemsley's intention, who noted in their interview with Mashed that "We're not just a New York bakery that has a display case with cookies in it that you say, 'I want that one,' and then you hand it over to the customer. They see us cracking the eggs, measuring out the ingredients, turning on the big mixers, balling the dough, putting it in the oven. And the experience is what really excites people, customers, and franchise partners alike to be involved, right?"

Crumbl's first cookie was a crowd pleaser

Crumbl's menu originated with none other than a classic milk chocolate chip cookie. It took nailing down this quintessential recipe for Crumbl to truly find its footing. Sawyer Hemsley emphasized, "We truly thought we had the best chocolate chip recipe that was out there and we were confident in ourselves. And that's what it took for our partnership to continue to move forward."

Playing to the masses, this iconic dessert is served at Crumbl on a daily basis to this day, no matter what the rotating menu may offer on a given week (don't worry, we'll get to that famous weekly menu in a sec).

Shortly after the launch of Crumbl, its signature chilled pink sugar cookie debuted as well, and is now a semi-permanent menu fixture alongside the chocolate chip cookie. You can bet that most weeks will feature both the chocolate chip (served warm) and the pink sugar (served chilled) cookies. So, even if there are weekly flavors that you aren't too excited for, you can rely on some popular staples being available day in and day out.

While Crumbl may have started out with humble beginnings, its menu eventually expanded to well over 100 different flavors. The next challenge would be to accommodate not only a growing audience, but a growing list of cookie flavors.

The company still needs to work on gluten-free and vegan offerings

Unfortunately, as trendy as they are, Crumbl Cookies doesn't appear to be aligned with food trends as the brand doesn't currently offer any gluten-free, vegan, or Kosher options, according to its website.

Many fans were all but demanding the company introduce vegan and gluten-free options in this Instagram post, which was uploaded in March of 2019. To this day, cookies for these special dietary accommodations still do not exist.

And as touched on before, when someone goes into a Crumbl store, they likely aren't just going to get one cookie. They're going to bring home a whole pink box, and for now, friends and family members that may have special dietary needs will be excluded from the fun. For a brand that pumps out new flavor combinations every single week, hopefully, that can be part of their creations coming soon. 

For now, you can try making your own copycat versions, like this recipe on Allergy Cookie. And here's to hoping Crumbl can soon make a chocolate chip cookie that everyone can enjoy!

The cookies sometimes come with a sprinkle of pop culture

Crumbl is no stranger to current trends (the viral social media marketing is a big hint of that), and its affinity for being a part of whatever's in the forefront of customers' minds is reflected in the specialty cookie flavors. The rotating menu not only features different flavors each week, but it can often participate in pop culture moments throughout the year, like Shark Week, which put an ocean spin on the brand's classic sugar cookie (featuring blue frosting and gummy sharks).

The company also knows how to throw a birthday party for itself. For its fourth anniversary in 2021, Crumbl released a special funfetti milkshake flavor. New flavor launches have become something fans look forward to every time Crumbl's anniversary rolls around. Crumbl also releases seasonal flavors that match the time of year, like Pumpkin Pie in the fall and Peppermint Bark during the holidays.

Crumbl fans have the opportunity to voice their opinions on social media, which has become a valuable resource in identifying new flavors for the brand. The company's most popular flavors have been ranked time and time again, including here on Mashed.

Most of Crumbl's cookies are limited-time offerings

When Crumbl's founders say that the cookies are added to a weekly rotating menu, they mean it! Crumbl announces its latest menu at the start of each work week, and customers have seven days to purchase the current lineup of flavors. Once the week is finished and a new menu is introduced, however, Crumbl fans may have to wait quite a while before they see a favorite flavor of theirs pop up again.

In a Mashed interview with Crumbl founders Jason McGowan and Sawyer Hemsley, it was noted that "Typically, cookies only come out on the calendar once or twice a year, because that's how many flavors we have. We have about 170 plus flavors." That's a lot of flavors to make sure get included on the calendar each year! New flavors are always in the works, so if your preference is to keep trying new things, you likely will not need to wait too long before another new cookie launches at Crumbl.

The lesson here may be, if you find a flavor that you enjoy, you may want to consider buying them in bulk and store them all in the freezer.

It's more than just a cookie shop

Let's be honest: you are probably going to visit Crumbl for the cookies. And yes, obviously Crumbl is a cookie shop first and foremost. But if you were looking to add a little more to your shopping cart, Crumbl now offers more than its now-famous sweet treats.

Looking to cool down on a hot summer day? Crumbl also serves ice cream. The brand's flavors of ice cream, just like its cookies, include classic flavors as well as unique varieties in case you want to try something new. Customers can shop for classics like Vanilla as well as more unique flavors like Raspberry Cheesecake. But the items available for purchase do not end there. To wash everything down, Crumbl sells their very own branded "Crumbl Water," which was originally launched on Earth Day in 2020. The alkaline water comes in a reusable aluminum container that's recyclable and has a BPA-free liner.

Crumbl also sells a line of merchandise so you can bring Crumbl with you everywhere you go. Merch ranges from everyday apparel like t-shirts, hoodies, and baseball hats to items like water bottles, cookie-scented candles, and stickers. More recently, Crumbl has partnered with the brand Kortni Jeane to create their own line of cookie-themed swimwear.

Crumbl sells its own cookie cutter

As we mentioned before, Crumbl sells larger-than-average cookies (4.5" wide to be exact). To help accommodate, Crumbl sells a plastic pink cookie cutter that safely slices the large cookies into four even pieces. Because sure, you could cut the cookies with a regular old knife, but that's not really fun, is it? The cookie cutter makes it perfect for sharing with friends, or if you simply want to try a variety of flavors without committing to entire cookies.

The large size of Crumbl's cookies was intentional, but not in the way you might think. In a time in our history where "shrinkflation" (the phenomenon where the size of a product shrinks but prices remain the same) seems to pop up more and more in our foods, Crumbl's 4.5" cookies were sized in a way that encourages sharing.

Sawyer Hemsley noted when speaking with Mashed that "Our cookies are meant to be cut in fours or into eights and you bring your friends together and you're taste-testing those new flavors that are out that week." Chopping the cookies up makes it way easier to try each of the weekly flavors. You may think you can conquer an entire box of Crumbl cookies on your own, but you'll probably discover that your odds are better if shared amongst friends.

There was a Utah cookie showdown

Crumbl's massive and fast-growing success has actually caused a bit of controversy in the state of Utah, where two newer competing brands were sued by Crumbl for infringement. Specifically, Dirty Dough and Crave Cookies, both based in Utah, were accused in 2022 of infringing on Crumbl's trademarks and packaging. Jason McGowan made a post on LinkedIn claiming that "The defendants both formed businesses copying Crumbl's processes, trademarks, and trade dress in a confusingly similar way. Both defendants have unique ties to Crumbl despite saying otherwise."

As McGowan's statement suggests, both of the competing cookie companies claim that the accusations are false, with Dirty Dough issuing a statement that said "We continue to deny the allegations and intend to vigorously defend against and defeat Crumbl's legal claims."

Dubbed "The Utah cookie war" by The Salt Lake Tribune, the lawsuit inspired the two smaller companies to use the situation to their advantage, turning to use the increased attention as an opportunity to rein in new customers. According to The Salt Lake Tribune, Dirty Dough even announced new billboards with phrases including "Cookies so good we're being sued!."