Last Updated on April 16, 2022
Are you wondering how to thicken cookie dough? What if you don’t have more flour? We will look at some of the best techniques you can use!
Having an incorrect cookie dough consistency can be devastating. All that hard work for failed cookies. But, before you toss your soft batch, have a look at our methods for thickening cookie dough with and without flour.
What Is Cookie Dough?
Cookie dough is a thick pliable dough that is made from a combination of butter, granulated sugar, eggs, flour, and some flavoring ingredients. It can also have some chunky additions like chopped nuts, seeds, candy pieces, chocolate chips, or roughly chopped preserved fruit. These ingredients not only add a pop of color and additional flavor but interesting textures.
After making the dough, there are a few ways that the cookies are shaped. The consistency of the dough has a big effect on the shaping techniques used.
For example, a softer dough will likely be spooned onto a lined cookie sheet. A soft yet pliable dough will maybe be rolled into a large sheet and have shapes cut out of it. But, an extremely stiff dough can be rolled into balls and directly placed on the sheet.
So, let’s have a deeper look at how the consistency of a cookie dough affects the final textures of the cookies.
Different types of dough
The exact thickness of cookie dough will largely depend on what you want the texture of the final cookie to be. The consistency will also be affected by the ingredients used in the recipe.
There are a few main categories of cookies that all have different consistency requirements. Some of these categories do overlap.
1. Drop cookies
Some cookie doughs have a high amount of fat included. These are often called drop cookies. Because of the high-fat content that melts in the oven, these cookies tend to spread quite a lot. So, this will affect how you should shape them and ultimately, what their consistency should be to get that shape.
These cookies should have a relatively stiff dough that can hold its shape well when placed on the pan. This will help reduce the amount of spread and prevent thin wafer cookies. You should be able to roll the dough into balls or spoon them onto a cookie sheet.
2. Molded cookies
These cookies are ones that have a stiff consistency and cal be rolled and shaped by hand. This includes cookie doughs like biscotti, Italian vanilla cookies, and peanut butter cookies. They are also often pressed flat once placed on a sheet.
3. Rolled cookies
These cookies have a very soft and pliable dough (but it isn’t runny). This dough is often rolled out onto a baking sheet. Then, shapes are cut out of the dough and the excess is removed.
This dough, because of its incredibly soft texture, can’t easily be transferred.
4. Refrigerator cookies
These cookies have an extremely soft and almost unworkable dough. So, the dough is rolled into a log and refrigerated to harden. Then, it is sliced into individual portions which are then baked.
With this technique, you can also create elaborate designs like pinwheel cookies or checker cookies.
5. Pressed cookies
This dough is untouchable. You sometimes cannot even touch the dough. It is very sticky and is shaped using a cookie press. The wet dough is placed inside of the press and directly shaped onto a lined cookie sheet.
How To Thicken Cookie Dough?
If you see that your cookie dough doesn’t have the correct consistency, there are ways you can adjust it. Making dough softer is very easy. The trick is making it thicker.
If you are unsure what the correct consistency should be, always try to get a workable stiff dough consistency.
Here are some of the best ways how to thicken cookie dough in case you’ve added too much liquid.
Our go-to technique is to add some sifted flour to the soft wet dough. Gently mix the dough until all of the flour has been incorporated. But, be careful not to overmix the dough too.
Now, you also don’t want to add too much flour which will cause the dough to become incredibly stiff. So, only add a tablespoon of sifted flour at a time.
Try using the same flour as the recipe called for. Cookies are usually made with cake flour or all-purpose flour.
How to thicken cookie dough without using any flour?
Now that we know how to thicken cookie dough using flour, we can also explore some alternative options.
You can use flour substitutes like almond meal or coconut flour. While these are technically flours, they are completely different products that will add some texture and a unique flavor.
Unfortunately, there aren’t a ton of alternatives as the bulky dry ingredients in recipes are what is needed to thicken any dough or batter. You can use salt or baking soda, as these will alter the texture of the dough and not only thicken it.
Now, let’s say you have just run out of flour and have nothing else to use, you can try chilling the cookie dough to soften it up. But, then you will have to possibly adjust the shaping technique used. Your best option then is to roll the dough into a sheet before cutting out shapes.
Tips For Making Cookie Dough
Chill cookies before baking
Chilling cookies before baking them is probably one of the most crucial parts of baking cookies. Chilled cookies will spread much less because the fat is cold and stiff. When the fat has eventually melted, the structure of the cookies will have been set already and won’t spread.
And, it is also a technique you can use when looking at how to thicken cookie dough without adding additional ingredients.
Bake single batch cookies
Often, when multiplying recipes the ingredients used don’t react with each other well. This causes the entire batch to fail. So, rather make one cookie recipe at a time to ensure you don’t just waste time.
Also, don’t bake too many cookies at a time. It could potentially cause uneven baking in the oven, especially if you don’t have a convection oven.
Cool cookies on a wire cooling rack
Leaving cookies to cool on a tray will cause them to form moisture on their bottoms because of the heat build-up. This can lead to softer cookies. Place cookies on a wire rack to cool completely.
How to thicken cookie dough? Your best best is flour and the refrigerator. If you enjoyed this article, go look on our site for some other interesting and informative content!
Read more about Why Are My Cookies Flat?
How to thicken cookie dough without flour?
You have two options. You can try thicken it using another dry flour-like ingredient like coconut flour or almond meal. But, you can also chill the dough in the fridge until it hardens.
How to thicken cookie dough batter you put too much butter in?
Too much butter will simply make your cookie dough extremely soft and unworkable. To fix this, you can also try adding some flour or a flour-like substitute. Or, you can chill it so the butter siftens, and the dough becomes easier to work with.
How long to keep cookie dough in the refrigerator to thicken it?
You should keep the soft dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. But we prefer resting it for between 1-2 hours. Juts make sure to wrap the dough to prevent it drying out.
What if my cookie dough is too runny?
If the cookie dough is too runny, you may need to start from scratch again. If you add too much flour, it may completely change the texture of the cookies, and not in a good way. But, you can also use a cookie press to shape the dough in that way.
Lindy Van Schalkwyk is a culinary specialist with a background in Advanced Cooking, Advanced Pâtisserie, Media Communications and Nutrition. She has gained invaluable experience in the culinary industry having worked in some of the top restaurants in Africa in 2016 and 2017. Her expertise in nutrition has enabled her to develop recipes for special dietary needs. In 2018, Lindy began working in the Food Media industry, focusing on recipe development, recipe writing, food writing and food styling.