The Step Almost Everyone Skips When Making Cookies

Updated: Sep. 28, 2023

Still trying to make the perfect cookie? It's easier than you think! All you need to do is chill cookie dough before you bake it.

There are few things in the world more satisfying than cookies fresh out of the oven. If you’ve been baking long enough, you probably have all the cookie supplies you need, plus a few secrets for baking perfect cookies. But there’s one thing many folks forget. You need to chill cookie dough before baking it!

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Why You Need to Chill Your Cookie Dough

For starters, chilling prevents cookies from spreading out too quickly once they’re in the oven. If you use a higher fat butter (like Kerrygold), chilling your dough is absolutely essential. Popping your dough in the fridge allows the fats to cool. As a result, the cookies will expand more slowly, holding onto their texture. If you skip the chilling step, you’re more likely to wind up with flat, sad disks instead of lovely, chewy cookies.

Cookies made from chilled dough are also much more flavorful. This is thanks to a few different factors.

The dough becomes hydrated as the dry ingredients soak up moisture from the wet ingredients. This subtle hydration makes the dough less wet, concentrating the flavors. The result is cookies with a nice even bake and lovely golden brown color. And if you use brown butter in your cookie recipes, chilling the dough overnight allows the flavors to develop so you get a richer, more decadent cookie.

While this hydration is taking place, the flour also breaks down into sugar, making the dough taste sweeter. After as little as half an hour, your dough transforms into a bowl of goodness with an additional kiss of sweetness. Is it worth the wait? You bet.

How Long You Should Chill Cookie Dough For

This is really up to you. If you’re short on time, try and squeeze in at least half an hour if you can. 30 minutes will do the trick if you’re simply looking to avoid your cookies spreading all over the place. If you have the luxury of chilling the dough overnight to develop flavor, go for it.

@bromabakery cookie science 👩‍🔬🔬 #cookiedough #bakersoftiktok #chocolatechipcookies. (inspired by @Tastemade ♬ original sound – Sarah Crawford

According to this in-depth video by TikTok user @bromabakery, how long and whether you chill your cookie dough can have a significant effect on your final product.

As she says, not chilling the cookie and baking at 350 degrees can result in a more crackly cookie, since the dough hasn’t had enough time to absorb the flour. Chilling it for half an hour, however, gives you thicker, chewier dough. Chilling for 2 hours, however, resulted in the best cookie—giving it a deep flavor, crispy edge and the optimal amount of spread.

The Best Cookies for Chilling

People always recommend chilling chocolate chip cookies but shortbread, sugar cookies and even these terrific ginger cookies all benefit from a little time in the fridge. Feel free to test it out using your favorite recipes and compare the results.

Ready to become a cookie-baking master? Check out our complete guide to baking cookies and easy cookie recipes for essential tips and tricks to make can’t-resist cookies every time!

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