Why Are My Cookies Flat? Here’s How to Fix Them

Five fixes for flat cookie fails.

<p>SDI Productions/Getty Images</p>

SDI Productions/Getty Images

Are your cookies turning out flat, and you don’t know why? You’re not alone. Flat cookies are a common kitchen mystery that can leave many home bakers scratching their heads. Keep reading to learn about five potential reasons for the flat cookie dilemma, along with ways to avoid the issue next time. With these five tips, you’ll be able to troubleshoot your cookie-baking process and ensure that your next batch is a triumph. 

Related: 19+ Baking Hacks for Better Christmas Cookies, From Professional Chefs

Incorrect Butter/Fat Temperature

Most cookie recipes call for room-temperature butter, and there’s a good reason for that! Unlike too-warm butter, room-temperature butter can be aerated easily in the creaming process, which helps the cookies turn out fluffy and light. Although it’s tempting to microwave butter when you want it to be at room temperature, resist the urge. The microwaved butter will be somewhere between melted and softened, and won’t be able to hold onto as much air. This, in turn, could be why your cookies are flatter than you might like.

Inadequate Chilling Time

Chilling cookie dough before baking it can prevent the fat from melting too quickly in the oven, which results in flat cookies. Be patient and let your dough rest in the refrigerator for the recommended time noted in the recipe before baking.

Related: 30 Best Christmas Desserts to Enjoy This Holiday Season

Over-Mixing the Dough

Over-mixing cookie dough creates extra gluten, yielding a tougher, flatter cookie. When you integrate the wet and dry ingredients, only mix until the ingredients are combined—no longer than necessary. Don’t worry if there are a few streaks of flour left!

Incorrect Baking Temperature

The baking temperature affects how quickly the cookies rise and spread, so it’s critical to let your oven heat up to the correct temperature before baking.

Related: 19 Easy Desserts You Can Make in Under an Hour

Expired Leavening Agents

Yes, baking powder and baking soda can expire! Once they’ve been opened, it’s best to use them within six months, so make sure to check expiration dates before you start baking. Expired leavening agents lose their effectiveness, leading to flat cookies.

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