5 Tips for BETTER Cookie Baking

I’ve made a lot of cookies in my life and today I want to share some of my favorite Tips for Cookie Baking! These little hacks will make it so you have perfect cookies every single time.

No matter what kind of cookies you’re baking, doing these few simple things will make them turn out perfect every time!

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Cookies are one of the easiest things to bake, but sometimes it’s good to know a few extra tips and tricks to make sure they turn out just perfect. These are simple hacks for cookie baking that are not always stated in every recipe, but are really good tips to know.

stack of chocolate chip oatmeal cookies with bite missing

1. Non-tip Tip

I’m listing this as the first tip, but it’s also a non-tip because it’s an obvious one: READ AND FOLLOW THE RECIPE.

Make sure you read the entire recipe before you start, that you have all the ingredients before you start, and that you follow the recipe without making any substitutions.

Baking is a science and while switching the flavor of chocolate chips won’t affect the outcome, changing things like butter or baking soda or flour will. You can’t make substitutions as easily for cookies as you can for other baked goods, so be sure to keep that in mind.

Turning a chocolate chip cookie into a gluten-free dairy-free sugar-free recipe WILL change the outcome, so it’s best to find a recipe for what you want in the first place before beginning.

Read my post about how to read a recipe if you need extra tips and tricks.

If the recipe calls for chilling the dough, chill it.

If the recipe calls for melted butter, melt it.

If the recipe says bake immediately, bake it immediately.

Read the recipe. Follow the recipe.

stack of snickerdoodle cookies

It’s important to have some basic equipment when you’re baking or cooking (see all my important cookie baking tools here) but my absolute MUST HAVE is a cookie scoop.

Using a cookie scoop ensures that all your cookies are the same size, which makes them bake evenly, which is the key to uniform cookies.

Plus, cookie scoops are great for scooping cake and muffin batter, meatballs and ice cream too!

Get my favorite cookie scoop here.

3. Bake on Parchment Paper or Silpat Baking Mats

Right behind cookie scoops on my must-have list for cookie baking would be my silicone baking mats. The main brand is called Silpat and they are fantastic. They’re great for cookies, candy, toffee, anything you don’t want sticking.

Silpats are expensive, but they are reusable, and as long as you’re careful with them (read: don’t cut them with a knife by accident) they last for years. I’ve had some for over 10 years – and I bake way more than the average user.

If you’d rather use Parchment, go ahead. Reynolds has some that is reusable up to 3 times, so it’s more eco-friendly than regular parchment.

I love using parchment or Silpat for a few reasons:

  1. They are nonstick for easy removal.
  2. Because they’re nonstick, you don’t need to add any extra grease to the pan.
  3. Cookies brown more evenly when not baking straight on the pan.
  4. Cleanup is a breeze.

Get my favorite Parchment Paper or Silpat Baking Mats.

Lofthouse Sugar Cookie Sour cream sugar cookie with frosting

4. Rotate Your Pans During Baking

A lot of people say you should only bake one pan of cookies at a time, in the middle of the oven, and I do agree with that, but I am lazy (and want to be done baking) and I bake a lot of cookies, so I don’t want my oven running all day.

Every oven cooks differently. That’s the biggest issue I have as a recipe writer, that everyone has different equipment and even the same oven will have hot spots in different homes.

My oven, even when brand new, cooks faster in the back and hotter on the bottom. That’s why I rotate my pans during baking, even if I only have one pan in the oven.

No matter what I’m cooking:

  • If I have one pan in the oven: I bake on the middle shelf and rotate the pan 180° halfway through baking.
  • If I have two pans in the oven: I rotate the pans on the racks (top to bottom, bottom to top) AND I rotate each of them 180° halfway through baking.

Is it annoying? Yes. Is it necessary? Also yes. Rotating the pans will ensure all cookies are baked evenly.

5. Measure ingredients correctly

This is SUPER important for any baking. Baking is a science and if something is off then the whole recipe can get thrown off.

Biggest mistakes people make:

Learn how to measure ingredients and you’ll have success in every recipe, not just cookies!

gooey chocolate chocolate chip cookies

Here are some of the most asked questions I get about any/all of my cookie recipes:

My cookie didn’t flatten in the oven!

Many of my cookie recipes need to be chilled. Oftentimes, baking chilled cookie dough can be finicky because for one person the cookies flatten just fine and for others they don’t. It could be that you used too much flour, or that your oven temperature is different than mine. What to do if your cookies don’t flatten: if, when you rotate your pans, you notice they’re still balls, carefully press them slightly with the palm of your hand to help them along.

Can I use gluten-free flour?

While I recommend Bob’s Red Mill GF AP flour for my cakes and breads, I don’t necessarily recommend it 1:1 for cookies because they don’t turn out quite right.

How do I make your cookies sugar free?

Just like with GF flour, it’s not easy or 1:1 to substitute sugar substitutes. I recommend finding a recipe written for sugar-free cookies.

My cookies are too flat!

Cookies are flat often because they should have been chilled, have too much butter, not enough flour, or too much baking soda. Most of my cookie recipes do not have this result because they’re written to produce thick chewy and soft cookies, but if the first batch is too flat, chill the dough before baking again.

How do I know when my cookies are done baking?

Great question, great enough I wrote a whole post about how to tell if your cookies are done!

Can I freeze cookies?

YES. Cookies are the easiest things to freeze. I freeze them all! In fact, I freeze all my desserts and talk about how to freeze dessert in another post.

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Last Updated on March 6, 2021

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  1. Another tip….NEVER put unbaked cookie dough on a hot cookie sheet. Let it cook between batches. It only adds about 5 mins. ALSO….NEVER remove the cookies from the cookie sheet immediately after taking them out of the oven. They are too likely to break apart, especially softer cookies.