Top 10 Cookie Baking Secrets and Tips

Follow our easy tips and tricks for baking the best batch of cookies every time.

  • Autumn Maple Cutout Cookies
    Photo: Howard L. Puckett; Styling: Lydia Degaris-Pursell

    Split the dough.

    Work with half of the cookie dough at a time when rolling and cutting cookies. Too much handling of the dough makes cookies tough. Keep the other half refrigerated. Chilled dough is easier to handle.
  • Oatmeal-Pecan Snack Cookies
    Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Styling: Lisa Powell Bailey

    Choose baking sheets wisely.

    Bake cookies on shiny, heavy aluminum baking sheets. These sheets with no sides are designed for easily sliding cookies onto a cooling rack. Dark sheets may absorb heat, causing cookies to brown too much on the bottom; nonstick baking sheets work well if not too dark. Insulated baking sheets require a slightly longer baking time.
  • Chocolate-Macadamia Nut Clusters
    Quentin Bacon

    Know how to grease.

    Grease baking sheets with cooking spray or solid shortening instead of butter or margarine. Avoid using tub butter or margarine products labeled as spread, reduced calorie, liquid, or soft-style. These contain less fat than regular butter or margarine and do not give satisfactory results.
  • Peanut Butter Crunch Cookies
    Photo: Sang An

    Purchase parchment paper.

    Use parchment paper to eliminate the need for greasing baking sheets. It also promotes even browning.
  • Old-Fashioned Gingerbread Men
    Photo: Hector Sanchez

    Don't overload the oven.

    Bake one sheet of cookies at a time on the middle oven rack; if you need to bake more than one at a time, rotate the sheets from the top rack to the bottom rack halfway through baking to encourage even browning.
  • So Good Brownies
    Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Marian Cooper Cairns

    Make a better bar.

    To make brownies and bar cookies, line a baking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil; allow several inches to extend over the sides. Lightly grease the foil. Spread the batter evenly in the pan; bake and cool. Lift from the pan, using edges of the foil. Press down the foil sides; cut cookies into the desired size and shape with a dough scraper (available at kitchen-supply stores).
  • White Chocolate Cherry Cookies

    Be careful with overbaking.

    Check cookies for doneness at the minimum baking time.
  • Almond Butter Crescents
    Photo: Thomas J. Story; Styling: Robyn Valarik

    Use cooled baking sheets.

    Cool baking sheets between batches before reusing; wipe the surface of each with a paper towel.
  • Potato Chip Cookies
    Photo: Sang An

    Short on cooling racks?

    Place a sheet of wax paper on the counter and sprinkle it with sugar. Cookies will cool without getting soggy.
  • Lemon-Coconut Snowballs

    Cool before storing.

    Cool cookies completely before storing them in airtight containers.

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