3 Reasons Your Cookies Turn Out Flat

Chocolate cookies on tray

Imagine this: you’ve just spent the afternoon making cookie dough, you carefully put the tray into your pre-heated oven, you eagerly count down until they’re ready, the smell is driving you wild, but when it’s finally time to take your perfect freshly-baked cookies out of the oven….they’re flat! 

When you’re trying to make the perfect-looking, Instagram-worthy cookie, it can be frustrating when your cookies turn out flatter than a pancake time and time again. While we’ve never met a cookie we didn’t like, we understand your disappointment when they simply spread out way too much in the oven and don’t look anything like the cookies of your dreams. 

If you’ve ever wondered, ‘why do my cookies turn out flat?', you’re not alone. Bakers around the world are scratching their heads, pondering the same thing. 

But don’t worry – we’re here to help you upgrade your cookie-baking game. 

Read on to discover 3 reasons why your cookies spread in the oven and tips on how to avoid these common baking mistakes so that you never have to ask yourself ‘why did my cookies turn out flat’ ever again. 

Your Butter was Too Soft

One of the most likely reasons your cookies turned out flat was because your butter was too soft. Baking is an art and everything has to be just right if you’re after the perfect results. That means you need the perfect ratio of butter and flour. Mastering this will prevent your cookies from overspreading in the oven. 

If your recipe calls for butter at room temperature, it should not be squishy or melty. In fact, it should only be soft enough to make a dent if you poke it. 

However, when you’re in the middle of a baking adventure, your kitchen is probably warmer than usual. This can cause any butter left on the counter to soften more than it should. When this happens, the butter will melt faster when it’s in the oven which is what causes your cookies to flatten. If your cookies spread out so much that they join together, you may even end up with one giant cookie! 

So to prevent your cookies from turning out flat, make sure your butter is not too soft, not too hard, but just right. 

Chocolate Chip Cookie - Chewy Cookies

You Didn’t Refrigerate your Cookie Dough 

Are you guilty of plopping your cookies in the oven as soon as you’ve set them on the tray? This is a common baking mistake that often leads to flat cookies. We get it: you’re so eager to bake (and eat) the cookies that you just can’t wait a minute longer. 

But good things come to those who wait! 

Most recipes call for refrigerating your cookie dough. If you’re looking to improve your cookie baking experience, do not skip this step. 

How long should you chill your cookie dough? Preferably, you should refrigerate the dough overnight but if you just can’t wait that long, make sure you keep them in for at least an hour. We promise it will be worth it. 

You Used Too Much Sugar 

So, you have a sweet tooth, huh? Be careful that you don’t use too much white sugar. Like butter, sugar helps cookies spread in the oven because it liquifies when heated. Too much sugar and not enough flour could lead to flat cookies. 

If your cookie recipe calls for a high ratio of white sugar, it’s likely that your cookies will turn out flat. A great way to prevent this is by using a mix of white and brown sugar instead. 

This is a nifty little trick that will definitely improve the look of your cookies. You can thank us later!

Rosemary Cookies - Chewy Cookies

Get in Touch 

We hope these helpful tips stop your cookies from turning out flat so that you can guarantee they’ll be everything you’ve ever dreamed of and more. 

But hey, if you just can’t seem to master the art of cookie baking or if you’d rather do something else than bake, why not sign up for our cookie subscription and get a box of perfect cookies delivered to your doorstep every month?

If you have any questions, our staff of cookie monsters would be happy to share their favorite flavors or address any of your concerns. Contact us here.

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