Last Updated on June 11, 2020
Everyone loves making delicious homemade cookies, but one of the most common things you may find yourself wondering is: why are my cookies flat? There are several different factors that can determine why your cookies may be turning out flat. Fortunately, there are some simple tricks you can follow for the perfect cookie.
Not only do the ingredients play into the texture of your cookie, but so does the preparation. It is important to use good recipes and carefully follow every step when making cookies. This will allow you to have the best possible baked goods.
Why Are My Cookies Flat?
When making cookies, each ingredient is important to the outcome. Too much or too little of one ingredient can make drastic differences in what you are baking. Even over mixing and cold or melted ingredients can make a difference in taste and texture.
Not Enough Flour
Cookies that don’t contain enough flour will turn out flat and crispy after they are baked. In dough form, the cookie mix will be wet and sticky, making it difficult to work with. You will notice that the dough will stick to your mixer if there is not enough flour in your mix.
If you notice all the dough is sticking to the mixer attachment, slowly add in more flour. Start with a couple of tablespoons and mix in more until your dough is no longer wet and sticky. Flour allows cookies to have a fluffy texture.
Too Soft of Butter
Another reason your cookies may be flat is that your butter was too soft or melted. Though it is important to use room temperature butter, you want to avoid using butter that is too warm.
If your butter has gotten too soft, you can place it in the refrigerator for a couple of minutes to cool it down some. If your butter has melted, you will want to replace it with room temperature butter. Also be sure not to use too much butter, as the extra liquid will cause the cookies to flatten.
Be sure that you are using butter and not shortening or margarine for your cookies. Butter will give your cookies a much better taste, as both shortening and margarine are too soft. Most recipes call for unsalted butter, so be sure to stick with that.
Adding Too Much Sugar
Though sugar is an important ingredient in cookies, too much of it can cause your cookie to go flat. When sugar gets heated, it begins to liquefy. This means that any extra sugar added will create more liquid, leading to a flat cookie.
Though it may be tempting to add some more sugar in, stick with what the recipe calls for. This will help prevent your cookies from going flat.
Using a Warm Baking Sheet
If you are planning to make several batches of cookies, it is best to not stick room temperature dough onto a warm baking sheet. This can cause the butter to melt in the dough when it comes in contact with the warm sheet.
To prevent this, you can either let the sheet cool or place the dough in the refrigerator beforehand. This will help prevent any melting of the butter, which can cause a flat cookie.
Over mixing your dough is never a good idea. Though it can take a few minutes to cream butter and sugar, once you get past that step you risk over mixing. After you’ve added the eggs only beat the dough for as long as the recipe says.
Not only can over mixing cause a flat cookie, but it can also cause a tough cookie. Aside from creaming, mixing any other step of the ingredients for too long can cause issues.
Too Hot of an Oven
Some people think that the hotter the oven, the faster something will bake. However, this is wrong. If your oven is too hot, the fat in the cookies will melt faster, resulting in a flat bake.
Be sure to bake your cookies at the temperature the recipe calls for and not any hotter. You want to allow them to bake for the proper amount of time at the right temperature.
Too Much Grease on the Baking Sheet
Only use grease if the recipe you are using specifically calls for it. When using grease, just a light coating will do.
You can also use parchment paper or silicone baking sheets. These will prevent your cookies from sticking and you won’t have to add any grease.
Tips for the Perfect Cookie
Baking the perfect cookie can be easier than you think. By following a few simple tips, you can have some delicious baked goods.
Allow Your Cold Ingredients to Reach Room Temperature
Most cookies call for cold ingredients like butter and eggs. Though most people know that butter should be brought to room temperature, they may not know other cold ingredients should too. Eggs, and if called for milk and cream, should be brought to room temperature before using.
Cold ingredients do not mix easily and can result in a clumpy bake. When ingredients have reach roomed temperature, they mix together smoothly and create an even bake.
Chill the Dough
Chilling cookie dough can lead to a fluffier cookie. Allow the dough to sit in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, though you can let it chill overnight as well. After chilling, you can let the dough sit out for up to 10 minutes before baking.
Make Sure to Properly Measure
This may seem obvious to some, but properly measuring your ingredients is vital to a delicious baked good. For dry ingredients, you will want to use dry measuring cups that have been leveled. For liquid ingredients, stick to using liquid measuring cups and be sure to check at eye level that you haven’t overfilled.
Instead of using measuring cups, you can also weigh out your ingredients with a kitchen scale. Weighing your ingredients is the most accurate way to measure them.
No More Flat Cookies
By following just a few simple steps, you can avoid baking flat cookies. No more asking yourself “why are my cookies flat?”
When carefully measuring your ingredients and making sure everything is the proper temperature, you can have amazing homemade cookies. So go preheat your oven and get baking!
Please comment if you have any questions on why your cookies may be flat.
Anna is an experienced pastry chef with a great eye for detail and an even greater passion for creating delicious treats. She has been in the pastry business for over 10 years, and her dedication and commitment to delivering quality pastries has earned her a loyal clientele. Anna is an expert in all aspects of pastry–making, from baking and decorating to creating custom cakes and pastries for special occasions. With her creative flair and a commitment to using only the freshest ingredients, Anna has become a respected pastry chef among her peers. Whether she‘s baking for a special event or whipping up something for her family, Anna‘s cakes and pastries always make for a memorable experience.