Would you like to make perfect, bakery quality cookies at home? In this baking tips post, I will teach you 10 Tips for Baking Perfect Cookies! With these tips and tricks, you will be able to take your cookies to the next level, making them look professional and taste amazing!
Everyone loves cookies! Cookies are the perfect portable dessert! They come all shapes, sizes, flavors, and types. The possibilities are endless.
Through my many years of baking and developing recipes, I have discovered a number of tips and tricks to make perfect cookies! These tips are easy things you can do to elevate your cookie game! Here are my 10 Tips for Baking Perfect Cookies.
1. Ingredients at room temperature
Having your chilled ingredients at room temperature is an important step in creating perfect cookies. For cookies, chilled ingredients are typically butter and eggs.
By having your butter at room temperature, you will be able to easily cream the butter and sugar(s) together (See #2)! Also, having eggs at room temperature allows the eggs to more easily combine and emulsify with your creamed butter and sugars.
Nine times out of ten, I forget to take my ingredients out of the refrigerator ahead of time to bring them to room temperature. So I have a couple quick tips to help!
- Butter – Place wrapped butter in the microwave and heat in 5 second intervals, turning the stick of butter 1/4 turn each time. Once you start to feel the butter slightly soften, remove the butter from the microwave. The butter should not be melted or too soft. It will still be slightly firm.
- Eggs – Place cold eggs in a bowl and fill the bowl with hot water (not boiling). Allow eggs to sit in the water for 5 minutes.
2. Cream butter and sugars
Creaming the butter and sugar well is another helpful strategy to achieve perfect cookies. Creaming means beating the butter and sugar together until they are well combined, light, and fluffy.
Not only does creaming help combine the ingredients, but it also whips air into the mixture, adding to the cookie’s texture.
Using an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer is the best way to cream your butter and sugar together. If you are looking to get ripped, you can certainly cream by hand, but I recommend using power for this!
The way to know if your butter and sugar is well-creamed is by sight and touch. Visually, the butter and sugars will look well-combined and appear light and fluffy. The butter and sugar pictured below is not ready yet! By touch (with a spatula), the mixture will be smooth and easy to run a spoon through!
3. Do not overmix cookie dough
It is very important not to overmix or overwork your cookie dough. When the dough is overmixed, it leads to the development of gluten, causing the cookies to have a tougher texture.
Flour is one of the last ingredients added to cookie dough before it is done (besides the mix ins). Some people prefer to mix in the flour by hand. I prefer to use my electric hand mixer on the lowest speed setting.
Once all of the flour as been absorbed by the dough, stop mixing. If you need to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to incorporate any remaining flour, that is perfectly fine.
I also recommend mixing your mix ins (chocolate chips, nuts, etc.) by hand. This will help the mix ins to evenly disperse throughout the dough with out overworking it. This will also prevent your mix ins from cracking under the speed of the hand mixer or stand mixer.
4. Use a cookie scoop for even cookies
A perfect batch of cookies are uniform in size. Homemade cookies should be like snowflakes – no two are the same. But, to create perfect cookies, you do want them to be uniform sizes.
If the cookies are uniform in size, they will bake evenly in the oven. If you have smaller and larger cookies, the smaller ones will cook and brown faster and the larger ones will still be cookie dough.
I highly recommend adding a cookie scoop to your kitchen gadget drawer. I have a set of three different sizes and use these scoops for baking and cooking constantly. They are perfect for scooping cupcake batter, evenly distributing buttercream between cake layers, making meatballs, and making baby ice cream scoops for my girls.
Using a cookie scoop for your cookies will help you achieve even sized cookies that will bake evenly in your oven. They will also look beautiful.
Another little bonus tip: Do NOT roll your cookies unless specifically instructed to in the recipe.
5. Chill cookie dough before baking/Age your dough
Most cookie recipes call for chilling your dough and one point or another in the recipe. Do NOT skip this step!
For a traditional drop cookie (chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, etc.), it is important to chill your dough before baking. Chilling will help the butter solidify which will cause the butter to melt more slowly when baking. This is how you control the spread of your cookies.
Have you ever baked a pan of cookies only to open the oven and see that they have completely flattened out and spread over the entire baking sheet? I certainly have! It is likely that this is due to neglecting to chill the dough or a problem with your leavening agent (baking soda/baking powder).
Many recipes will call for the dough to chill 30 minutes to an hour. One of my new tricks is “aging” the cookie dough overnight. This allows the flour to fully hydrate and leads to a better overall texture and flavor!
Portion the cookies using your cookie scoop and place them in a zip top bag or airtight container and chill for an hour or overnight. When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven, pop them on your baking tray, and into the oven they go!
Note: Some doughs do not require chilling before baking as they are designed to spread.
6. Use silicone baking mats for easy release
If you haven’t heard of silicone baking mats, they are mats that you place on your baking tray that are nonstick. This means that you don’t have to grease your pans, which can lead to excess spread and browning!
It also means that you don’t have to waste parchment paper if that is what you have been using to line your pans before baking cookies.
One other observation I have with my cookie baking and the silicone baking mats is that my cookies seem to bake more evenly. Perhaps it has something to do with the heat distribution? I’m not sure. But I just know my cookies come out perfect when I use them!
7. Bake in the center of the oven
With most baking, this is an important tip. Baking your cookies in the center of the oven will give you the best, most perfect result.
If the cookies are too close to the top of the oven, then they will bake too fast, which can cause excess spreading and browning. At the bottom of your oven, the cookies may brown too quickly on the bottom and not cook on the top.
Don’t get me wrong, if I have to crank out a lot of cookies sometimes I break this rule, but when I do, I use the middle and bottom rack, and then switch the trays halfway through the baking time.
But since this blog post is about baking PERFECT cookies, the middle rack in the center of the oven is where you need to be.
Note: Ovens are all different. Get to know your oven’s hot/cool spots. You may have to do a little experimenting.
8. Do not overbake the cookies
If I had a megaphone, I would use it for this! Do not overbake your cookies! This is one of the most important baking tips to making perfect cookies.
I actually encourage you to slightly under bake your cookies. Just go with me here.
When you remove your cookies from the oven, they continue to bake for a few minutes, so if you pull them out when they look done, by the time they are cooled, they are overbaked.
This may take a little practice on your part, but practice makes perfect!
Pull your cookies out of the oven when they are lightly browned and appear to be slightly doughy underneath the surface. If you are unsure, gently touch the top of the cookie. It should feel slightly crisp on the top and slightly doughy underneath.
Another suggestion is to follow the lower amount of time on a recipe. For example, if the recipes instructs you to bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, go with 10 minutes.
As I mentioned, this may take a little practice, but I promise, it will be worth the trials and errors.
9. Don’t remove cookies from the pan immediately
Once you have removed the cookies from the oven slightly under baked, allow your cookies to cool for approximately 2 minutes on the baking tray.
Essentially, we are finishing the cookie baking outside of the oven! Since we are slightly under baking the cookies in the oven, resting the cookies on the pan will finish baking the cookies to perfection.
If you suspect that the cookies are overbaked, it may be beneficial to remove them from the pan as soon as your are able to without damaging them. Do not let them rest on the pan.
But, by allowing slightly under baked cookies to rest on the pan for a few minutes, we give them time to firm up very slightly so that they can easily be removed from the pan and transferred to a wire rack. ‘
Which brings me to baking tip #10!
10. Cool on baking rack
Once your cookies have rested on the pan for 2 minutes, remove them with a spatula and transfer them to a wire rack for cooling.
Wire racks are helpful and effective at cooling cookies as they allow for the flow of air underneath and around the cookies.
If you transfer the cookies straight to a plate, then the bottom of the cookies could become soggy as it will trap moisture and cause condensation.
Perfect cookies are not soggy cookies.
I love using grid-pattern wire racks over racks that have wires only running parallel because the grid-pattern racks support the cookies more effectively. If you have ever had a cookie fall through the cracks, you know what I am talking about.
Well, there you have it! I hope that my 10 Tips for Baking Perfect Cookies are helpful to your and your baking adventures! Following these tips will help you make beautiful and delicious cookies. Give them a try and let me know what you think!