In the case of baking, cookies are one of the most deceptively complex treatments. There are many baked products that look very complex, such as gravity defying layer cakes and delicate pastries, so even novice bakers didn’t even try them. However, cookies seem so simple – so why is it so easy to get a bad result? Many people who are not experts in the kitchen have whipped a cookie recipe and resulted in very crispy or undercooked cookies, and the list goes on with hard and crumbly cookies instead of soft and chewy. Although they may seem simple, there are many wrong steps to prevent you from getting great cookies.
Fortunately, we’re here to help. Whatever recipe you have, we have 20 great tips to help you get the best cookies you have ever had. Most cookie-centered tips are easily applicable to almost any type of cookie, so as long as you have this basic information, your cookies will appear every time you look at the cookbook image.
If you want to master a classic chocolate chip cookie recipe, impress your friends during a holiday cookie change, or just improve your game in the kitchen, here are the 20 baking tips for the best cookies ever. After mastering these skills, everyone will ask you to cook the party after the party, because you will have the best cookies there! And it can be difficult to hide a few bites of your delicious treats.
20CREATING YOUR BUTTER AND SUGAR FOR MORE HIGH QUALITY
Most people understand what it means to cream your butter and sugar together, but it can be tough to know exactly how long that takes. Many recipes will add the hint that your mixture should look light and fluffy — but it can have that appearance while still not being quite there yet. A good rule of thumb is to cream your butter for around 5 minutes — it seems like a really long time, but that’s about how long it takes to get all the graininess out of the mixture, make sure the air bubbles are incorporated, and make sure you’ve got the best base for great cookies.
19MEASURE YOUR FLOUR CORRECTLY
Baking is a precise art, yet many people just scoop a measuring cup worth of flour and toss it in without really examining what they’ve scooped. If your cup isn’t totally full, that’ll be an issue. If your cup of overflowing and you haven’t levelled it off, that will be an issue too. Unlike brown sugar, you don’t want to pack your flour in — then you’ll get too much. You want to be as precise as you can — scoop some flour into a measuring cup and level it off with a knife to ensure you have exactly the right amount.
18LINE YOUR PANS WITH PARCHMENT PAPER
Lining your pans isn’t just to help make clean-up a breeze — it’s also a great way to ensure you’re getting the best quality cookies. You absolutely can just plop your cookie dough on the baking sheet, but adding parchment paper gives an extra little layer of insulation that helps your cookies bake more evenly and keeps them from spreading. Plus, it’s great if you’re baking multiple batches of cookies — you can have your dough all ready to go on sheets of paper, and can just transfer a section of parchment paper onto a cooled cookie sheet when the previous batch finishes.
17ADD EGGS ONE AT A TIME
Not all recipes specify to do this, but it’ll definitely make a difference in how your cookies turn out. We know, it seems like a waste of time, but it’s important. If you add a bunch of eggs at once, you may have an issue with how the egg emulsifies with the butter. Adding your eggs one by one ensures that everything will incorporate together as it should, and you’ll have the perfect dough. Plus, let’s be honest — what does it take, an extra 20 seconds? Surely you have that much time to spare in order to get the best cookies ever.
16USE AN ICE CREAM SCOOPER TO MEASURE OUT DOUGH
You absolutely want to make sure that your cookies are a uniform size so that they all bake at the same time — if your cookies are all different shapes and sizes, you’ll likely end up with some that are underbaked and some that are overbaked. No one wants that. While you can take it a step further and actually measure the weight of each scoop of dough, one of the easiest ways to get uniformly shaped cookies is to use an ice cream scoop to measure each portion. They actually even make cookie scoops, but not as many people have those in their kitchen drawers.
15ROTATE PANS DURING BAKING
No matter how good your oven is, it’s bound to have some hot spots — and the key to perfectly baked cookies is an even bake. So, in order to prevent any of your cookies from getting a little too crispy because they’re hanging out in the hot spot the entire time, take a second to rotate your pans once during the bake time. The way you rotate them will depend on the size of your pans, but you just want to make sure that they’re baking in different parts of the oven, just in case. It’s a simple trick that delivers great results.
14LET COOKIES SIT 2-3 MINUTES BEFORE MOVING THEM
There’s nothing better than a cookie that’s fresh out of the oven, but anyone who has tried to grab a super freshly baked cookie knows that it basically just falls apart. When you pull your cookies out of the oven, you want to let them just wait on the baking sheet for a few minutes — around two to three — before you move them at all. It’s also the reason you want to make sure your cookies are just a slightly bit underbaked when you pull them out — they’ll continue baking a little bit from the bottom while they’re sitting on the hot sheet.
13USE A COOLING RACK
You don’t want to move your cookies while they’re too fresh, but you also don’t want to leave your cookies on the piping hot baking sheet for too long or they’ll just continue to bake and might even get soggy on the bottom from all the steam. The solution? Cooling racks. Whip out one or two cooling racks when your cookies are out of the oven, and transfer them from the baking sheet to the rack to fully cool. The racks let air circulate, making sure the cookie cools evenly and doesn’t get that dreaded steam soaking it from below.
12SOFTEN YOUR BUTTER PROPERLY
There are some recipes that require melted butter, but mostly cookie recipes require softened butter. Unfortunately, most of us forget this step when we’re ready to prepare a cookie and stick it in the microwave for a moment. Do not do this. Microwaveing your butter often leads to melted butter pieces and pieces that are still not soft enough. Either let your butter soften for several hours at room temperature, or if you’re in a hurry, you can really grate your butter – the small piece softens much faster than a full block.
11ALWAYS READ A RECIPE COMPLETELY BEFORE BEGINNING
Even if a cookie recipe seems simple, you’ll want to read it all the way through before you start. After all, what if you’re supposed to have a complicated glaze ready the moment the cookies are out of the oven, but you don’t start it until they’re already baking? What if you realize the cookies absolutely must be chilled overnight — but you had planned on making the cookies for your guests that are stopping by in an hour. Avoid any stress and disappointment by giving the entire recipe a quick read before you crack the first egg or get the flour out of the pantry.
10DO NOT OVERMIX YOUR DOUGH
It’s a tough thing to know exactly how long you should be mixing your cookies. On the one hand, you want everything to be evenly incorporated. However, you also want to make sure you’re not overmixing your dough. An overmixed cookie dough will lead to hard, tough cookies, which is definitely not what you want. So, just try not to doubt yourself — if your dough mixture seems like it’s good to go, don’t give it another minute of mixing. Especially in a recipe that also requires you to add some mix-ins once the dough itself is ready, you want to avoid an overmixed cookie.
9DON’T PUT RAW DOUGH ON A HOT SHEET
Especially if you’re making multiple batches in a row, it can be tempting to just toss the dough onto a sheet and stick it right back in the oven as soon as possible. However, putting raw cookie dough on a hot sheet is a definite no-no. Not only will your cookie spread more, it’ll also bake a lot differently, and it’ll be almost impossible to judge how long they’ll take. After all, the recipe assumes you’re starting with a cool cookie sheet — so a hot one might take minutes off the total cook time. Have some patience and wait for your cookie sheet to cool in between batches.
8MAKE SURE YOUR EGGS ARE ROOM TEMPERATURE
Just as your butter should be perfectly softened, for the perfect cookie, your eggs should also be at room temperature. Sure, taking the eggs straight from the fridge and tossing them into your dough cold won’t completely ruin the cookie, but a room temperature egg will combine more easily with the mixture, and will give your cookies a better texture. Don’t have all day to wait? Even placing the eggs in some warm tap water for 10 minutes or so should do the trick. It’s a small step, but it makes a big difference in how your cookie turns out, so it’s worth it.
7FLOUR YOUR COOKIE CUTTERS BEFORE USE
Cut cookies are definitely more than cookies, but sometimes you want a really cute shape for your cookie. If you’ve ever experienced a cookie that sticks to the cutter and leaves you with sloppy edges, here’s a simple tip – make sure your cookie cutters are immersed in flour before pressing. This simple step will ensure that your dough doesn’t stick to your cutter and doesn’t distort – you’ll have perfect, sharp edges. Therefore, when flouring your cutting surface and rolling pin, make sure that you do not skip the flouring step of your cookie cutters.
6INVEST IN INSULATED COOKIE SHEETS
All cookie sheets will get the job done, but if you’re serious about trying to make the best possible cookies you can, it’s worth investing in high quality bakeware. An insulated cookie sheet is made up of several layers of aluminum, which means that the cookies placed on the sheet will bake a lot more evenly. It’s not going to be a total game changer if you’ve already messed up the dough, but if you’ve done everything else right, it’ll add a little something extra to the baking process. And, when you’ve already done all the hard work of mixing up the dough, you don’t want to mess up at the baking stage!
5CHECK ON YOUR COOKIES 2-3 MINUTES BEFORE THEY SHOULD BE DONE
Especially if you’re not the most confident baker, it can be easy to fall into the trap of following the recipe exactly. And yes, you do want to make sure that all your measurements are precise when you’re baking. However, no oven is the same, and your oven may run a little bit hotter or a little bit cooler than the oven used to test the recipe. So, you’ll always want to make sure to check on your cookies about two or three minutes before they’re supposedly done, just in case your oven runs hot. Still quite raw? Don’t worry if your oven takes a minute or two longer than the recipe — it’s just a guideline.
4USE QUALITY, FRESH INGREDIENTS
There’s a reason you’ve decided to bake cookies from scratch rather than buying ones from a package — you want a better quality product. And unfortunately, you can’t get a great quality cookie if you use artificial ingredients. If you want a cookie that tastes like it’s been made in a bakery, you’ll want to go for quality ingredients — real butter, fresh spices, real vanilla. It may seem like it doesn’t make a huge difference, but it definitely changes the end product in a major way. If you start with high quality products, you’re going to get a high quality cookie, period.
3FOLD IN MIX-INS BY HAND
If you already have a hand mixer or stand mixer, it may be tempting to just keep working while adding any mix-in. However, if you want excellent cookies, you should avoid this attraction and add any confusion manually. If you keep the mixers running while you mix all the extra ingredients, you’re probably mixing your dough. Doing by hand allows you to mix things for a long time to include everything and give you a much more delicious result.
2SPACE COOKIES EVENLY ON THE BAKING SHEET
It may be tempting to sneak in an extra ball or two dough. If you are looking for a large page cookie (12 individually). In addition, even spacing will allow them to be cooked at the same time – if you’re going to crowd some, you run the risk of consuming them because there is no place to spread and be crispy.
1USE A RULER FOR UNIFORMLY SIZED BARS
If you’ve ever wondered why the pros have such picture perfect bar cookies while yours always turn out sloppy, well, here’s a super simple tip for you — take all the guess work out of things by just reaching for a ruler. You can measure the dough vertically, to make sure your cookie is thick enough and won’t over or under bake in your pan. You can also lay it horizontally to make sure you’re slicing them into even pieces. It’s not going to change the taste of your cookie to cut them up evenly, but it’ll make them look more professional and polished, which can be important if you’re bringing them somewhere.