How to Make Perfect Cookies Every Time

Whether you love to bake or just love eating cookies, here is how to make the perfect cookies without burning the bottom, having the dough stick, and other baking tips and tricks.
Bruce and Jeanne Lubin
3-minute read


Burned Bottoms?

As we told you in our podcast about baking cookies, if you’ve ever burned the bottoms of your cookies when baking a number of batches, the baking sheets may be to blame. When you start with a too-hot surface, the cookies may burn. Let the baking sheets cool between batches; 2-3 minutes is usually long enough. Or you can line the baking sheets with parchment paper. When the cookies are done, simply lift them, still on the parchment, onto the cooling rack.

What to Do if Your Cookies Aren’t Brown Enough

If your cookies typically don’t brown enough, bake them on a higher rack in the oven. Other tricks you can try are substituting a tablespoon or two of corn syrup for the sugar, using egg for the liquid, and using unbleached or bread flour in the recipe.

Bring Out the Oatmeal Flavor in Oatmeal Cookies

Our favorite part of oatmeal cookies, is—naturally—the oatmeal! Boost oatmeal flavor by toasting it lightly before adding it to the batter. Simply sprinkle the oatmeal on a baking sheet and heat it in a 300° oven for about 10 minutes. The oats should turn a golden-brown.

Keep Cookie Dough from Sticking to the Spoon

Is your cookie dough sticking to everything? It’s easy to get a spoonful of cookie dough to drop onto your baking sheet if you first dip the spoon in milk.

The Easy Way to Dye Sugar Cookies

Dye your cookie dough, not your hands, by dropping food coloring into a bag with the dough. Knead a bit and roll around to even out the color. You can use right away or keep in the freezer. Either way, you’ll have fun, colorful cookies, and save lots of hand-cleaning time.

For the Best Edges on Cookie Shapes

To get a sharp edge on your shaped cookies, dip the cutter in flour or warm oil occasionally during the cutting.

Fixing Flat Cookies

Do your cookies come out thin and flat rather than thick and chewy? Sprinkle some flour on the baking sheet after you grease it but before you put the cookie dough down on top of it. The flour will keep your cookies from spreading out, which can be caused by the slickness of the greasy baking sheet.

How to Get Dough to Stop Sticking to the Rolling Pin

If you’re having trouble rolling out cookie dough, it may be too warm; cold dough will not stick to the rolling pin. Refrigerate it for 20 minutes for the best results.

How to Keep Cookie Dough Off Beaters

Making cookies? Spritz the beaters with a little vegetable oil or non-stick cooking spray and you won’t have to stop every few seconds to scrape the batter off the beaters and back into the bowl.

Help Cookie Dough Hold Its Shape

With a family as large and busy as ours, we prefer to make big batches of cookie dough ahead of time: We shape the dough into an easy-to-slice roll and pop it in the freezer until we’re ready to do the actual baking. No stress, right? Almost! The only problem? The underside of the dough ends up flattened against the bottom of the freezer. To prevent this, we use paper-towel tubes to hold the roll of dough and keep it round for cookie-shaped slices. First, wrap the dough in plastic wrap. Make a long cut down the length of a cardboard tube, and place the dough log inside. The dough will keep its tube shape, ensuring that your Christmas cookies are picture perfect!

Don’t Have a Drying Rack?

If you’re baking cookies or pies and don’t have a cooling rack, simply line up a bunch of butter knives in alternating directions (first with the blade toward you, then with the blade away from you), and put the baking sheet on top of them. You can also use old egg cartons.

How to Get Stuck Cookies Off a Baking Sheet

Are your cookies stuck to the baking sheet? Work some dental floss between each cookie and the sheet, and you should be able to remove them easily.

How to Cut Bar Cookies Cleanly

Want to know the secret to perfectly cut bar cookies? As soon as you remove your sweet creation from the oven, make a 1/4-inch incision with a knife and outline your bars. Then once they’ve cooled, cut all the way. This will ensure that the edges of your cookies are as smooth as can be.

Easily Clean a Cookie-Making Mess

It’s hard to get cookie dough that’s stuck to your counter off—unless you have this trick. Sprinkle salt over the doughy mess, then wipe up. The dough will cling to the salt and make it easy to remove.

See also: 10 Easy Hacks for Making the Best Cupcakes and Muffins

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Photo by Who Knew?

About the Author

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin

Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin are the proud parents of three boys and more than a dozen books. After saving thousands per year using everyday tips and simple lifehacks, they started their own business in the hopes of sharing their knowledge with others. They have been known to go into their friends' refrigerators to turn their eggs upside down so that they last longer.