Chilling cookie dough: does it make a difference?

Why refrigerate chocolate chip cookie dough – or for that matter, any basic drop cookie dough – before baking? Does chilling cookie dough really make any difference?

The short answer: yes, chilling cookie dough prior to baking does make a difference.

But the story behind that “yes” might surprise you.

I recently tested this question with a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough. Understand, though, that these results can be applied to other kinds of plain drop cookie dough: sugar cookies, snickerdoodles…

First I baked some of the cookie dough immediately, without any chilling.

Then, I put the dough in the fridge and continued to bake cookies over the next 10 days, at regularly spaced intervals.

The result?

Test: chilling cookie dough @ via kingarthurflour

Chilling cookie dough for just 30 minutes makes a big difference.

The cookies pictured above are the same size, weight-wise. But look at the difference in spread – the cookie dough that was refrigerated spread less.

The cookie dough without refrigeration also browned less.

So, the longer the dough is chilled, the more the cookies change?

Results: chilling cookie dough via @kingarthurflour

The longer you chill cookie dough, the smaller the changes become.

Call it the law of diminishing returns. The major difference is between no chilling at all vs. chilling for 30 minutes. After that, the baked cookie continues to evolve – though very gradually.

Test: chilling cookie dough @ via kingarthurflour

Over time, chilling cookie dough produces cookies with darker color and more pronounced flavor.

Here you see the beginning and end of the test: clearly the cookie baked from dough chilled for 10 days spread less, and is darker in color. Its flavor is also more pronounced; our taste testers couldn’t identify any particular flavor note that stood our above the rest, but simply noted that the 10-day cookie “tastes better” than the cookie baked on day #1.

My personal evaluation is that the cookies baked immediately tasted rather flat; and their texture was soft and rather doughy, without being chewy. Cookies baked after chilling the dough (for as little as 30 minutes) became chewy, and progressively more flavorful.

So, what does chilling cookie dough do, exactly?

1. Chilling cookie dough controls spread.

Chilling cookie dough before baking solidifies the fat in the cookies. As the cookies bake, the fat in the chilled cookie dough takes longer to melt than room-temperature fat. And the longer the fat remains solid, the less cookies spread.

In addition, the sugar in the dough gradually absorbs liquid. If you bake the dough immediately, before sugar has a chance to absorb much liquid, that liquid remains “free” in the dough, and promotes spread. Think of this in terms of thin vs. thick pancake batter: the more liquid in batter, the more it spreads, right? Same with cookies.

Test: chilling cookie dough via @kingarthurflour

That’s fresh dough, at left; three-day-old dough, at right. The longer the dough chills, the drier it becomes.

2. Chilling cookie dough concentrates flavor.

As the dough chills, it gradually dries out, concentrating the flavors of all the ingredients. Think of watered-down lemonade, vs. lemonade with less water: dull flavor vs. bright, tangy flavor. Same with cookies.

Something else happens as the dough rests: part of the flour breaks down into its component parts, including a simple carbohydrate, sugar. Thus, since sugar is a flavor enhancer (like salt), the cookies may taste more flavorful, as well as sweeter.

3. Chilling cookie dough changes texture.

Again, it’s not really the chilling, but the dough gradually drying out, that’s responsible for texture change. The drier the dough, the more concentrated the sugar.  And a higher percentage of sugar creates cookies with chewy/crisp (rather than soft/doughy) texture.

Result: chilling cookie dough @ via kingarthurflour

So, enough with the science; let’s enjoy one of these fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, shall we? At the end of the day – or even after just 30 minutes – there’s simply nothing finer.

Do you have any chocolate chip cookie tips to pass along? Please share in “comments,” below.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

    1. Carolyn Lombardi

      Thank goodness I needed to find out why my cookies were spreading when baking.. Thank you for the info

    2. Patricia

      Hi! I was wondering, what if I use melted butter but then chill the dough in the fridge? Is there a difference if I use that instead of softened butter then chill the dough?

      Also, I have a cookie recipe that uses cinnamon and nutmeg… will chilling the dough enhance that flavor or will the flavor of the spices lessen?

    3. The Baker's Hotline

      If your recipe instructions use melted butter, then use it even if you intend to chill or even freeze the cookie dough. It’s always best to use the method and instructions as written for recipe assembly. A test bake in your kitchen may help determine which method pleases you and your lucky taste testers. As for the spices in the cookies, we haven’t found chilling or even freezing makes a difference in final cookie flavor. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

    4. Randall Bowman

      P-J Mahalo! Grand idea. My favorite cookie is from my German Grandma, Gert. It is a simple almond and cinnamon ice box cookie. Mixed one day, shaped into logs, wrapped and refrigerated, then next day sliced and baked. Delicious.
      So glad you are with King Arthur. I am an educator of young children and 30 years ago read a simple recipe on the back of a K.A. flour bag for making Baguettes. I bought a table-top oven for my classroom and we bake Birthday Baguettes. The birthday child chooses an assistant boulanger and we bake 4 baguettes. Two get eaten by the class, hot out of the oven and the other two are taken home to share with family. Thank you K.A. Randall Bowman

    5. Donna Coghlan

      Daughter asked me about this today, and I remembered you had addressed it sometime back! Thank you for making it so easy to find. Just emailed her the link. KA is the best, hands down. Merry Christmas.🌲

    6. TONYA R. KNOUFF

      I LEAVE MY EGGS AND BUTTER OUT AT ROOM TEMP. AND I DONT FLATTEN MY COOKIES…I ALSO USE HALF THE BUTTER AND SUGAR THATS REQUIRED IN RECIPES..AND MY COOKIES TURN OUT FABULOUS..WITH HALF THE BUTTER AND SUGAR,IT MAKES THE FLAVORS POP…AND THEY R CHEWY AND GOOY…HEE HEE

  1. Diane

    I like to chill my cookie dough as well, but found it difficult to scoop the dough after refrigeration. (I usually chill mine overnight) So, I scoop the dough right away, put on parchment lined cookie sheets then refrigerate for an hour or so and put them in a Ziploc bag until I’m ready to bake them. Works well if you like to freeze part of your batch too.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Donohue

      I tried freezing cookie dough balls thinking it would keep me from eating an entire batch warm out of the oven – I’d keep them frozen and only bake a few at a time, so I’d only eat a few at a time. What I discovered is that I really, really love frozen cookie dough…

    2. The Baker's Hotline

      Kevin, I don’t suppose the cautions concerning the consumption of raw eggs and flour will deter you, but maybe the benefits of aging your cookie dough will encourage you to bake a few more of those cookie balls! Barb@KAF

    3. Sharon

      This is exactly what I do with most of my cookies and always overnight Especially the zip lock bags!

    4. Allie

      I have a question and I can’t find the answer anywhere. I recently tried a new recipe its called pumpkin cheesecake snickerdoodles. The recipe called for the dough and the filling to chill for an hour. Well, I fell asleep last night and I have had a serious busy day today. So, earlier I tried to make them and my dough was so so so sticky I couldn’t do anything with it. I added a tad bit of flour but, when I took them out the oven they weren’t even done it looked like and the cookies tasted stale or stiff and just not good. what did i do wrong? I did everything the recipe said and used all the right ingredients. HELPPPP! :/

    5. The Baker's Hotline

      It’s tough to troubleshoot if we haven’t tried the recipe! Pumpkin can make for a very moist final product, and it could be that the recipe author measured the flour differently. See if the author included a guide for weighing, and verify the recommended size of eggs. Sounds like a tasty treat when they’re done! Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

    6. Shari Marshall

      That’s hilarious, Kevin…thank you for the morning chuckle! Also, great tip, Diane!

    7. Laurie

      I also scoop my dough onto parchment or wax paper, freeze it , than bag it so I can take out 6 cookies or a dozen and always have that fresh baked cookie taste whenever we want a chocolate chip cookie or the grandkids pop in. works great and always taste fresh baked.

    8. Deb A

      Do you chill the dough in one piece (all in a bowl), or do you pre-form (balls, logs to be sliced, etc) then chill? Also, does the dough get covered while chilling?

    9. The Baker's Hotline

      Deb, you could chill the dough whichever way is easiest for you–whole or scooped. And yes, cover the dough in one way or another, via a plastic container or plastic wrap.
      Bryanna@KAF

    10. Linda Joshua

      Yes, I do the same thing. My dough is really hard to scoop when it is refrigerated. Since I work full time I like to make the dough then freeze it and bake it on the weekend.

    11. kathy gibbons

      Diane, have you ever tried an ice cream scoop? I have every size I can find for all types of baking/cooking.

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      It doesn’t really behave the same way, so try chilling for a day or two before freezing. ~ MJ

    2. Beth

      I like to freeze balls of cookie dough so that I can have freshly baked cookies as opposed to cookies that have been baked and then frozen.

  2. Stu Borken

    Once a month, at my medical office, a patient of another physician, brought a platter of fantastic chocolate chip cookies for the office personel to share. They tasted better than any other chocolate chip cookies any of us ever could make. One day, she finally told us her “secret”. She used the recipe on the bag of the classic chocolate chips and made Toll House Cookies….EXCEPT….she chilled the dough overnight! Sound familiar? We could not put our finger on what flavor or texture made the cookies so spectacular, but, as you said in your article, it’s a vague difference, the cookies just taste better. She figured it out herself. Thanks for validating.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Your medical office was lucky to have such a nice person and excellent baker for a patient, Stu! Barb@KAF

  3. Michele Morrison

    Did you happen to see what freezing does? I often freeze a portion of the dough immediately, but I should refrigerate it for an hour first?

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Try keeping the dough in the fridge for 24-48 hours to mellow before freezing. An hour isn’t really going to cause much of a change, you need a bit more time. ~ MJ

  4. Charli

    I found your piece on chocolate chip cookies to be one of the most helpful things I’ve ever read. I’m not a chocolate chip lover, though I do make them for the other “normal” people in the family, as my kids call those who insist on chocolate chips in their goodies.

    I love oatmeal cookies and am in lifelong pursuit of the elusive crispy yet still chewy oatmeal cookie. Hope to see an article on those one day. In the meantime, I’m chillin’ my dough!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I’m sure this method will work equally well with your oatmeal cookies, Charli. And thanks for the blog suggestion! Barb@KAF

    2. Raya Lych

      Just prior to reading this cookie blog, I made oatmeal cookies and baked 3 batches in last 3 days. Day 1 baked right after dough was made, day 2 baked from 1/2 frozen state, day 3 frozen cookie completely unfrozen and liked day 3 result the best. This cookie blog was spot on. What a coincidence!
      Making cookies for our animal shelter bake sale/radiothon next Saturday.
      Made 1/2 batch with choc chip and the other batch with dried cranberries test result was the same.

    3. Bonnie

      if you want a crispy oatmeal cookie try the salty, thin and crispy oatmeal cookie recipe from cooks illustrated . sooooo good.
      bonnie

    4. NotPiffany

      I’ve got a chocolate oatmeal cookie recipe (not chocolate chip, but chocolate – there’s cocoa powder in the dough) that I like to portion with a scoop and then freeze before baking. Freezing the dough made them taste better and ends up being more convenient, since I can pop a few into the oven when we’ve got company.

    5. Nancy in FL

      Oatmeal is my fav too and most homemade ones are too dry. Cook’s Illustrated has the best recipe I’ve found so far but they are big cookies (like you get at coffee shops). They don’t work as well as a 2 or 3 inch cookie.

    6. Diane

      My mother always made her dough into logs, wrapped them in wax paper and put them into the fridge. Then she would slice them to bake. The best cookies ever! I do the same with any cookie dough I make.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      3-5 days, Valerie46. My concern is not usually the raw eggs, rather the dough becomes too dried out! Elisabeth@KAF

  5. Pat

    So if part of the “magic” is that the dough dries out a bit, then I guess you should not be covering it with plastic wrap or rolling it up into wax paper? My first question applies to all cookies. But then there are refrigerator cookies where you are supposed to roll them into a log and wrap them in wax paper to sit for awhile overnight. Is the sitting sufficient without a drying time first?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We recommend always covering the dough either wrapping plastic wrap or at least covering with wax paper (as you suggested) or parchment paper. The process of “drying out” is still happening even though the dough is covered. The moisture is being absorbed by the flour as it rests. Elisabeth@KAF

    2. paul

      This is not drying out (moisture leaving the dough) but moisture going further _into_ the flour… Weigh the dough before and after… there should be no (or minimal) difference. Calling it drying out is confusing and inaccurate.
      This tip has two parts:
      1) time – to hydrate the flour and
      2) chill – to reduce spread and get more loft.

      Next up: Portion with a scale (try 45 grams) and then you are ready for the big leagues!

  6. Susan Bradshaw

    Interesting and useful article. It must be tough testing all those chocolate chip cookies day after day. Your sacrifice is appreciated!

    Reply
  7. Elise

    You comment that one effect on chilling is to let the dough dry a bit. Do you also leave it uncovered?

    I could imagine the sitting uncovered for 1/2 hour would have no ill effect. But sitting uncovered for several days could leave you with some completely hard bits at the edges.

    How do you handle that?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Elise, I think covering the dough won’t interfere too much with the process and will protect the dough from odors and developing a crusty surface. Barb@KAF

  8. john howard

    when i make cookies I scoop all the dough into balls. then I cook right away a small batch. the remaining dough I place on a jelly roll pan then into the freezer. after the are frozen I place them into a zip lock bag to be cooked as needed. next time I am going to let the dough age for your 30 min.

    Reply
  9. Aurelia

    I love your posts! Especially when they go into detail of the science behind the baking. 🙂 i make the KA gluten and dairy free cookies and let them chill as well. I have found the longer they chill, the less grainy the raw dough became. Plus, as you have mentioned, the spreading and flavor enhanced doubly! Doing an experiment of my own, I also found that a week or two later the raw dough stored in the freezer became ‘grain-less’ completely! In other words, the grainy texture was no longer present. When I baked them, the dough tasted like a bakery treat that HAD gluten and milk. Little did my siblings and parents know, it was completely allergen friendly. It’s a blessing when you know you found a brand and recipe that can fool gluten-eating individuals. 🙂 The hard part? Waiting the days and weeks to eat them at perfection!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Aurelia, thanks for sharing the results of your own gluten-free cookie dough experiment. Yet more benefits for freezing cookie dough! Barb@KAF

    2. Linda

      Aurelia – You took the words right out of my mouth. A couple of years ago I found I didn’t have time to bake my gluten free cookies, so I stored them overnight in a covered bowl in the fridge. I realized then that this is the secret to keeping gluten free cookies “intact” with no spreading.

    3. MaryJane Robbins

      Gluten free doughs love that little extra rest, don’t they? And we love how they come out. 🙂 ~ MJ

  10. Lula

    I’ve just started chilling my cookie dough over night and it works great! What also works great is, when you’re done making your cookie dough, divide the batter into 4 equal balls. Taking a sheet of wax paper for each ball, roll the cookie dough into a log, wrap the wax paper around the log, twist the ends closed and chill. When you are ready to bake your cookies, simply peel the wax paper off and slice the log into cookie sized pieces. It makes the dough super easy to handle and makes it easy to get the exact size you want. You can even freeze it for future use. I love being able to pull one or more dough logs out as needed and knowing about how many cookies I can get out of each. This way you can have fresh cookies whenever you want them.

    Reply
  11. Cecilia Flowers

    PJ,
    Thank you so much for educating me on such an interesting subject. I had been thinking I should refrigerate my dough due to your other blogs because of the fats and such. You explain it so well and the pictures help so much. Can you just hear our brains explode around the country?
    You’re the best!
    Cecilia Flowers
    Illinois

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hear, Hear! We couldn’t agree with you more about our fantastic PJ! ~ MJ

  12. kf6lxn

    Question for you. If you freeze the dough (in cookie sized drops), should you go straight from freezer to oven, or let the dough thaw in the refrigerator first? Or does it work the same either way? By the way – LOVE your blog! I’ve learned a lot!

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Typically you go from freezer to oven, to keep the fats cold. Hope this helps! ~ MJ

  13. Brad

    PJ, Thanks for the great post. When refrigerating the dough, should I cover the bowl or leave it uncovered? I only ask because part of the article discusses how the dough gradually dries out thus concentrating the flavors, so I’m assuming I should leave the dough uncovered. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Brad, I would recommend covering the dough to prevent it from acquiring other odors in the refrigerator and drying out too much. It will still dry out over time. Barb@KAF

    2. Jim Merrill

      I hope this is not a stupid question but I have been reading a lot about microwaving cookies. Would that harm the flavor and texture and how long would you suggest?

      I would like to keep my cookie consumption by cooking 1 or 2 at a time. I think it would use less energy also

    3. The Baker's Hotline

      Jim, microwaving unbaked cookie dough will melt the butter and cause the dough to spread rather than bake through. If you’d like to limit your cookie consumption, you can try baking the entire batch of cookies in the oven and then freeze the batch. When you are ready to enjoy a cookie or two, you can use the defrost setting on your microwave to thaw and slightly warm your dessert (try just 30-45 seconds initially). This will give you a single (or double) warm cookie in a flash! Kye@KAF

  14. Cathy A.

    Is it appropriate to chill cookie dough for 10 days? Isn’t that a problem with the uncooked eggs? I’ve read that an egg that has been cracked should be treated like cooked meat, and I wouldn’t eat cooked meat 10 days after being cooked.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Cathy,
      We didn’t find an issue with storing the dough for that long, keeping in mind that it was an experiment. You should only keep the dough around as long as you are comfortable with. ~ MJ

    2. Brenda P

      I have heard that sugar is a preservative, just as salt is, and thus will extend the life of your raw dough. I heard that on American Test Kitchen, if I remember correctly.

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Yes, you can still pre-scoop. You’ll want to cut down on the time you chill though, as the smaller pieces will chill faster and concurrently dry out faster, too. ~ MJ

  15. wendyb964

    This has been one of my secret weapons for years. It’s perhaps most noticeable with oatmeal cookies (quick cooking vs regular,) Aside from the science/taste/texture issue, I prefer a marathon mixing session of different doughs followed by chilling and freezing dough balls. Allows me to mess/clean the kitchen (omg, I won’t get into how I HATE dishes) and bake the next day or as needed,

    Living in California, winter nights are often the perfect temperature to leave covered bowls on top of the car in the garage,

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Thanks for sharing the great advice, Wendy. Now, tell us true, have you ever driven to work sporting a dome of cookie dough bowls? 😉 ~ MJ

    2. PJ Hamel , post author

      Judy, oats in the typical round canister (as opposed to instant oats, in the little individual packets) come in two versions: quick oats, and longer-cooking old-fashioned oats, which we sometimes refer to as “regular” oats. Old-fashioned oats come in larger, thicker flakes than quick-cooking, and are more prominent in your baked treats. Hope this helps – PJH

  16. Bekki

    Your site suggested freezing cookie dough balls, and now I keep cookie dough in the freezer for those times when I want warm cookies or want to eat cookie dough (I use pasteurized egg product). Do you recommend chilling the dough before freezing?

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Bekki,
      Most of the time we just go straight to the freezer, no fridge in between, but for this method you’d want to do the fridge for a day or two and then go to the freezer. ~ MJ

  17. MARION MULLIGAN

    I have been baking for many years rounding out to when I was married in 1950…I sincerely thought my chocolate chip cookies were sensational but not until PJ HAMEL gave me a true choc/chip …I baked them today since King Flour posted the recipe and I took advantage of probably the best choc/chip I have ever made…What is the secret ingredient …I do not know…but I am guessing it is the added teaspoon of Vinegar. Whatever,,,,I am delighted with the outcome…THANK YOU FROM A CUSTOMER AND DELIGHTED TO CALL MYSELF JUST THAT.

    Reply
  18. Mimi Bouchee

    Do not use soft margarine or cubed margarine (such as Imperial) which do not require refrigeration as a substitute for butter. Use fats which become solid when chilled. They contain water which will cause the cookies to spread.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Great tip, Mimi. You are so right about the extra water warning when baking. ~ MJ

  19. Linda Morehouse

    This is great! I love the science behind the cooking.

    Now a new challenge along the same lines.
    How to get the dough perfect for sugar cookies that will be cut into shapes for decorating so that they cook well, taste good and retain the desired shape. This is my current personal challenge, and I am open to any and all suggestions!

    Thanks.

    Reply
  20. Marcia Mayfield

    normally i only refrigerate my shortbread dough. i will be chilling all dough from now on,starting with making a batch of dough in the next day or two to bake for a gathering next weekend. thanks for the tips.

    Reply
  21. Jan Lachowycz

    I also use the Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe. My tweaks are to add one tablespoon of water and one tablespoon of vanilla in addition to sifting the dry ingredients three times before adding them to the wet mixture. I use the entire batch that day, not refrigerating the dough. Bake eight minutes at 375 degrees. Take the sheets out of the oven and bang each one several times on the stove before putting back in the oven for two minutes. When completely cooled they get put into a zip lock bag or two with a slice of bread. I leave them overnight before removing the bread and putting the bags into the freezer. This way I don’t have to put the oven on whenever I went a couple of cookies.

    Reply
  22. Louise

    I add raisins and chopped walnuts to my chocolate chip cookie dough. Now I wouldn’t make them without these additions. My friends and family love them. Thanks for the tip about chilling the dough. I will try it.

    Reply
  23. Kathy Sellers

    In the great discussion about the value of chilling choc. chip cookie dough prior to baking you made an analogie to pancake batter. Do you believe that chilling pancake batter prior to cooking would also have a beneficial effect as the sugar would have had time to absorb some of the liquid and the pancakes would be less runny?
    Kathy

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Kathy,
      I know of many professional diners that give their pancake batters an overnight rest. It makes them light and tender with great flavor. Give it a try and see what you think. ~ MJ

  24. Georgia

    I like to add lemon or orange zest before chilling. Lemon or orange essential oil works well, too. Really brightens the flavor.

    Reply
  25. Robin

    Funny to learn I did something the right way! I always make my cookie dough ahead of time, and keep in in the fridge! My cookies never spread out! And I have been asked my secret! No secret..just simply trying to be organized!

    Reply
  26. Darcy B

    When I make cookies, I usually make a double batch and freeze scooped dough for a later use. How does frozen dough compare in this spectrum? Should I let it rest in the fridge, then freeze?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Darcy, I think if you let the dough sit in the refrigerator overnight and then scoop and freeze, you will get similar results. We haven’t experimented with this yet though, so you may want to run your own tests and report back! Barb@KAF

  27. BETTY LOU BROWN

    FOR ALL THE COOKIES I BAKE, I MAKE LOGS AND WRAP THE LOGS IN PARCHMENT OR WAX PAPER…PLACE THE 4 LOGS IN A PLASTIC BAG AND THEN PUT INTO THE REFRIGERATOR OR FREEZER. THAT WAY, I HAVE COOKIES WHENEVER I WANT…JUST SLICE OFF THE AMOUNT I WANT, ROLL INTO BALLS, PRESS DOWN WITH FINGERS AND THEN BAKE.
    SOMETHING NICE TO HAVE ON HAND

    Reply
  28. Irene

    I not only put my cookie dough in the refrigerator but I freeze it. That way you can make your dough when you feel like it and pull it out of the freezer and bake later. I make several different kinds of cookies and spend a day making dough and another day baking.
    Do this at Christmas

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Irene, sounds like you really have your Christmas cookie production down to an art/science! Barb@KAF

  29. Nancy Wardwell

    Some famous cookie shop in NY City was on TV one day and said the secret to their success in such a great chocolate chip cookie was they worked quickly and only used really cold butter cut into chunks
    prior to starting the batter. That may be why my cookies, from then on, were so much tastier and had a nice texture, not flat and hard. Done that way ever since. I suppose doing that and then refrigerating for 30 minutes before dipping and baking them would be even better. Will have to try it. Thanks for the tips KAF! Always appreciated.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You’re welcome, Nancy! And thanks for passing on the famous cookie shop tips! Barb@KAF

  30. Sharon MacDonald

    Nice article… can you help me as I try to attain a THICK,chewy chocalate chip cookie? I do chill my dough, but still come out with a flat cookie… any suggestions?
    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Sharon,
      Try using half all purpose and half bread flour the next time you make cookies. The bread flour has more protein in it for structure, so your cookies should be nice and thick and chewy. ~ MJ

    2. Debbie Ruiseco

      Sharon MacDonald,
      I had the same problem until a chef friend of mine told me to swap out 1/2 the butter called for with Crisco! Also, to use more brown sugar and less white sugar than called for. If you do these things you should get a thicker, chewier cookie. Here is the tweeked version of the original Toll House Cookie recipe with the changes I mentioned applied. My batch is in the fridge as I write this! ;o)

      Toll House Cookies Version 2.0
      2 -1/4 cups all-purpose flour
      1 teaspoon baking soda
      1/2 teaspoon sea salt
      ½ C butter (1 stick) plus ½ C plain Crisco
      1/4 cup white sugar
      1-1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
      1 teaspoon + a bit more real vanilla
      2 eggs
      1 (12-ounce) package (2 cups) real semi-sweet chocolate chips (We recommend NESTLE® TOLL HOUSE® Morsels)
      1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

      Heat oven to 375°F. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Set aside.
      Combine butter, Crisco, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla at medium speed in large bowl till light & creamy, scraping bowl often. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low; gradually add flour mixture, mixing just till incorporated, after each addition. Overall, mix as little as possible just until blended. Stir in morsels and nuts by hand. Chill dough for 24 hrs.

      Drop dough by rounded tablespoonful’s onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets. Cool completely.
      Makes about 5 doz.

      Hope this works for you!
      Debbie

    3. Debbie Ruiseco

      I had the same problem of my Toll House cookies spreading too much until a chef friend of mine told me to swap out 1/2 the butter called for with Crisco! Also, to use more brown sugar and less white sugar than called for, and refrigerate the dough. If you do these things you should get a thicker, chewier cookie. Here is the tweeked version of the original Toll House Cookie recipe with the changes I mentioned applied. My batch is in the fridge as I write this…18 hrs and counting! ;o)

      Toll House Cookies Version 2.0
      2 -1/4 cups all-purpose flour
      1 teaspoon baking soda
      1/2 teaspoon sea salt
      ½ C butter (1 stick) plus ½ C plain Crisco
      1/4 cup white sugar
      1-1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
      1 teaspoon + a bit more real vanilla
      2 eggs
      1 (12-ounce) package (2 cups) real semi-sweet chocolate chips (We recommend NESTLE® TOLL HOUSE® Morsels)
      1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

      Heat oven to 375°F. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Set aside.
      Combine butter, Crisco, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla at medium speed in large bowl till light & creamy, scraping bowl often. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low; gradually add flour mixture, mixing just till incorporated, after each addition. Overall, mix as little as possible just until blended. Stir in morsels and nuts by hand. Chill dough for 24 hrs.

      Drop dough by rounded tablespoonful’s onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets. Cool completely.
      Makes about 5 doz.

      Hope this works for you!
      Debbie

    4. The Baker's Hotline

      Thanks for sharing your tried and tested recipe, Debbie! Happy cookie baking! Kye@KAF

  31. BarbaraK

    Loved this post. Now if I could just decide which I like better, with or without nuts I could whip up a batch. Mmmmm.

    Reply
  32. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    I made Nutella stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies for my blog and I chilled the dough for two hours. I had to handle it to stuff the frozen Nutella in the dough. I have a double oven so I put the first cookie sheet in right away — it came out without too much spreading. The second batch went into the oven and it spread a little bit more than the first. When it came to doing a third sheet, I stuffed the cookie dough, put it in the fridge for 30 minutes and they came out perfectly. I now am going to do this for all my cookies if I feel the kitchen is warm and the dough should be cool.

    Reply
  33. Diana

    Thanks for the article. I have found freezing the cookies prior to baking them is absolutely essential when baking anything gluten-free. (I scoop them out first onto the cookie sheet then freeze). The freezing had been my ‘secret’ too (not that I hadn’t told everyone interested though). I did it because the lack of gluten prevents them from rising as much as a wheat flour cookie would, so the freezing helps them hold their height. I didn’t know there were other benefits.Thanks for explaining!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You’re welcome, Diana. And thanks for sharing your gluten-free baking tips! Barb@KAF

  34. Liz

    I am such a firm believer in chilling the dough. I have yet to find a cookie that beats Joy Wilson’s Chocolate Chip and I don’t think I will. Thanks for the article!
    Liz

    Reply
  35. Tom

    In addition to the question of spreading, I have found that if I make and bake chocolate chip right away they’re terrific (what’s not to love), but the next day they seem stale. Even an hour in the fridge prevents this, I think it has to do with the absorption of liquid, so I generally aim for a minimum of eight hours. If just baking for my family of two I generally bake one sheet-full per day for several days, and I too have found they taste better on the later days.

    Reply
  36. ROGER

    IM A BAKER SOMEWHAT I,VE BEEN BAKING FOR YEARS I BACK EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN BUT FOR SOMEHOW I HAVE A HARD TIME BACKING COOKIES RIGHT THEY ALL ARE TO THIN WHEN DONE WHAT AM I DOING WRONG I NEED HELP COULD YOU TELL ME WHATS WRONG WITH MY COOKIES , I,VE MADE OTHER THINGS LIKE PIES CAKES , HOMEMADE YEAST ROOLS, BREAD, THEY ALL TURN OUT GREAT. PLEASE HELP, REPLY,,,, ROGER,,

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I would suggest to give our Baker’s Hotline a jingle so that we can help! Jon@KAF 855 371 2253

  37. Pam

    Would this work for gluten free cookie dough? I do love all your GF. products but still try my grandmas cookie recipes with king arthur gluten free flour.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sure, this method will also help gluten free cookies that are relatively high in moisture (again, think chocolate chip). Refrigeration will help the starches in our gluten free flour to absorb the water in the dough. It should provide a better texture. Jon@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Freezing will impart the same advantages as chilling. Freezing for up to 3 months is fine, Chris. I like to scoop freshly made dough into cookie portions before freezing. Bake frozen (add a few minutes on to the back time) or after defrosting in the frig overnight. Enjoy! Elisabeth@KAF

  38. Brenda

    I have a cookbook that recommends using melted butter for their cookies and then chilling the dough. I haven’t tried it. What are your thoughts on that? It also says I should “pack the flour” in the measuring cup.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      One of my all time favorite go-to family recipes has melted butter. The texture is both tender yet slightly crunchy and definitely not cake-like as some cookies can be. If you are using a recipe from that book, then measure how the author recommends. That is how the recipes were tested so if you want similar results, pack the flour. Happy baking! Elisabeth@KAF

  39. Joanne from Medford MA

    I made chocolate chip cookie dough last week but I didn’t want to bake them right away as it was kind of warm that day. I refrigerated the dough for two days in a plastic ziploc bag. When I baked them, they were so delicious. I served them to one of my friends who immediately asked what I did differently. She loves them. Soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. She said make them all the time this way from now on.

    Reply
  40. Cari Reece

    could you kindly post or send me the recipe for chocolate chip cookies by PJ Hamill. I thoroughly enjoyed this posting.

    Reply
  41. "desertsue@outlook.com"

    I live at 5400′ elevation and have recently learned through research that cookies dry out more quickly at high elevation. My cookies are not as flat with the changes I have made adjusting the ingredients, but I wonder that the dough might dry out too much if left in fridge too long.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Good call! Try keeping your dough well wrapped or in a ziplock bag with the air squeezed out. I’d say shoot for 24-48 hours or so. ~ MJ

  42. Jalpa

    Love you articles!!

    Can I just refriegrate the cookie dough instead of putting in the freezer? I normally make all cookies in the same day so I prefer only chilling by wrapping the dough in cling wrap amd putting it in the fridge for half an hour? Will it turn out as same as when kept in the freezer? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Sure, if you are not looking for the long-term build up of flavors you can go with the shorter chilling. It will still help with spread to use cold dough and cool baking sheets. ~ MJ

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Barbara,
      It’s great that you know what types of cookies make you happiest, everyone is different and to each his own cookie. ~ MJ

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Margaret,
      We keep the same temperature called for in the recipe, and bake just a couple of test cookies to get the timing down before baking a whole sheet. It’s saved us lots of scorched cookies over the years. ~ MJ

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Thanks, Nancy. We do have many more tip blogs planned, plus we’re always happy to have ideas so send ’em if you got ’em. ~ MJ

  43. Alison

    i use only King Arthur bread flour in my chocolate chip cookies, along with a blend of sugars that is 5:1 brown to white. Chilled dough for sure, everyone says they’re the best!!

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Well, maybe you should send some to us, you know, for research purposes. 😉 ~ MJ

  44. Karen Howell

    The Hubs would never leave these alone–as above even frozen wouldn’t be safe. So I can maybe guard them for an hour. Very interesting

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Try covering the bowl well and labeling it “liver and onions” or such. That *may* keep it safe for a bit. 😉 ~ MJ

  45. LInda Jean

    Thanks for this helpful research! I was well aware that refrigerating my cookie dough resulted in less spreading but had no idea that’s why some batches were browning and didn’t put two and two together. I like the less spread and paler color for chocolate chips – guess I’m not going to get that. I will also pay attention to the flavor now. I must be gulping my cookies, as I hadn’t noticed. I tend to follow recipe suggestions for refrigerating as I suspected the end results were changed subtly – I figured that the flour absorbed more liquid or flavors melded. Now I see that there is much more going on. As always, I can count on the King Arthur bakers to set me straight!

    Reply
  46. Audrey

    “Dries out the dough” sounds like it would be a bad thing, ha ha.

    I have always done this with my shortbread but not any other cookie. I have to try it, NOW!

    Reply
  47. Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie

    I always chill my cookie dough for at least 24 hours but I prefer up to a week if I plan far enough in advance. I also scoop the dough into balls prior to chilling so that they are basically place-and-bake cookies when I am ready to bake them!

    Reply
  48. Donna

    Thanks for the tip on chilling the dough. I have not done that before but will do it.
    My way to keep the cookies soft as well is to cut the baking time short by 3 to 5 minutes. So they remain softer for those with fewer teeth or none at all and can not eat hard cookies. I will try this along with chilling at various times. Love reading all the ideas.

    Reply
  49. Barbara

    I freeze my chocolate chip cookie dough at least 30 mins before I bake them and the texture and taste are also enhanced. Keep the tips coming.

    Reply
  50. Joanne

    I always use KAF for all my baking needs. Will try the recipe and refrigerate the dough. I’m sure they will be delicious.

    Reply
  51. Kim

    I noticed a difference in my gluten free chocolate chip cookies between low elevation, near Portland OR, and high elevation, near Denver, CO. I chilled the dough for an hour in both places but in Colorado, the cookies spread to a point that they don’t look appetizing (and in Oregon they looked delicious). There was no major difference in flavor. I’m going to try the experiment of leaving the dough in the refrigerator for a day, but could you give me any pointers for other things to try to adjust gluten free baking to higher elevations?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      This is a good question, Marina. Time spent in the frig is going to help just about any cookie dough to develop more flavor, prevent more spread and carmelize. Generally, cookies that are stamped, do not spread anyway. So, the only advantage to chilling that I can see would be for enhanced flavor. If you decide to chill, stamp first, then chill. Enjoy! Elisabeth@KAF

  52. Aleli L Sibal

    Do you bring the cookie dough to room temperature prior to baking? Or can you bake it from refrigeration? Will either of this affect the results you wrote about like texture?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      If they are already scooped, you can simply bake right from the fridge. If you have frozen the portioned dough, add an extra 1-2 minutes on to the bake time. The cookies will be delicious either way! Laurie@KAF

  53. Linda B

    Thanks for the tips and the scientific explanations. I blog about baking vegan at high altitude so I am always looking for ways to improve things. The science helps me make appropriate vegan changes. Fortunately, with vegan I don’t have to worry about the raw egg factor. But making prettier cookies is better for photos.

    Reply
  54. Nancy

    I recent saw an article saying to use corn starch in the chocolate chip cookie recipe but I didn’t save it. Does anyone know of a recipe with corn starch?

    Reply
  55. April

    I’ve never had a “great” batch of chocolate chip cookies. They always turn out to have a cake like texture. Will this cooling off period in the fridge help with the “cakey” texture?? What else can I do to make them soft and chewy?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi April – I am not sure, but are you using a stand mixer? The stand mixer can make our lives easier but, honestly, some recipes are just meant to be blended by hand if you are the type of person that incorporates way too much air into the cookie batter. Some of my favorite drop cookie recipes come out best when blended by hand. As PJ points out, chilling will help with altering the texture to a crisper more chewy cookie. Try it! Elisabeth@KAF

    2. april

      No stand mixer. I do it all by hand. I’m wondering if over mixing is the issue. I’ll definitely try this fridge time and less mixing! Thanks!

  56. Gary

    But PJ, I like the chewy, soft cookies. Guess I could bake them your way and then put them in a container with a piece of bread to soften them. Would that work?

    Reply
  57. denise

    I made a batch yesterday, substituting chopped dark chocolate for the chips (i don’t like the recrystallized texture of baked chips) and toasted pecan halves, and a teaspoon of espresso powder in the dough. Baked off 4 and rolled the rest into a large parchment covered log. After a week or so I will slice and freeze so I can bake off individual cookies (or a bunch) as I like. Both well aged, fine ingredients and the convenience of a slice and bake product all in one.

    Reply
  58. Amber S

    A good way to pass the time while it chills (if you’re only doing it for 30 minutes) is to do all the dishes while you wait. Also convenient if you forgot to preheat the oven until the dough is made. :3

    Reply
  59. Jessica Richman

    Chilling the dough definitely enhances the flavor–and now I know why! Thanks for this great post. There’s been some discussion about how to refrigerate or freeze the dough, with suggestions of putting the scooped cookies on a parchment-lined cookie sheet or jellyroll pan. I’ve been chilling and freezing dough for years (I prefer to make large batches of dough) and I don’t have room to chill or freeze on a cookie sheet–especially in my narrow side-by-side freezer. I use plastic containers, from Tupperware to the reusable/disposable ones, that are rectangles 1-3″ deep, and any length/width, although my favorite are about 8″x11″. Line the bottom with waxed paper, put the dough balls in one layer, just touching each other or with a tiny space. Put in another layer of waxed paper, another layer of cookies, and so on, until the container is full. Label with the kind of cookie and baking directions. Chill and bake, or chill and freeze. Once frozen, pop the dough balls out of the plastic container, strip off the waxed paper, and keep in a ziploc bag labeled with baking directions. Saves space, works like a charm.

    Reply
  60. Sharon Wall

    Hi,
    Does the humidity effect this process? I notice on humid days my cookies seem to spread and flatten more.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sure the humidity can make your cookie dough behave a little differently. The more humidity in the air the more moisture there may be in the flour and the sugar for that matter. More moisture in your ingredients can compromise the overall structure. Elisabeth@KAF

  61. milli illingworth

    Your work on the idea of chilling dough was proven in just 1 batch of cookies. I chilled the dough the required amount of time and baked the cookies. I set up the rest of the dough on an other cookie sheet and instead of putting it back in the refrigerator, I forgot and it sat out and “warmed” up while the first batch baked. I then baked the 2nd tray and it was spread out and did not taste nearly as good as the first because the dough had warmed up and spread out.

    Thank you all for the great research and pictures. Just love and appreciate it SO much.

    Milli

    Reply
  62. J

    I think the chewiness that results from refrigerating the dough can also be attributed to gluten development. The longer the dough rests, the more the gluten develops, and the chewier the cookie becomes.

    Reply
  63. Holly Greene

    I’ve never tried refrigerating cookie dough and would like to do so. So, what’s the best approach? Scoop prior to refrigeration or place the bowl of dough, covered, into the refrigerator for 30 minutes and then scoop? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Either way works, Holly. Most folks just chuck the bowl of dough in the fridge and come back later for scooping. ~ MJ

    2. Holly Greene

      Thank you Mary Jane!

      One follow-up question: Would my cookies bake well if I made the dough on a Saturday, placed the covered bowl in the refrigerator and then baked my cookies Sunday night – for a Monday event? Thanks again.

  64. Shannon

    so once you refrigerate your dough are you just to scoop and bake or are you suppose to let warm up a bit to scoop your dough. Obviously this is my first time chilling dough before baking. I wanted to give this a try

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Shannon, you can go directly to scooping the dough from the refrigerator, but I find I usually need to let the dough warm up just a bit so that it doesn’t hurt my hand to scoop. If the dough is very cold or frozen, you may need to press the scoops of dough down a little to allow them to spread like they do when the dough is at room temperature. Barb@KAF

  65. Dorothy Miramontes

    I want to store my cookie dough for when I make a large amount of chocolate chip cookie dough that I will not use in one day.I personally prefer for my chocolate chip cookies spread out while they’re baking. Can this be acquired by allowing the dough to come to room temperature after chilling in the fridge or thawing after freezing?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      For maximum spread, don’t chill the dough at all. As the dough sits, the flour absorbs moisture, and will reduce the spread. You can try letting the dough come to room temperature, then flattening the dough ball. It may be you need a moister cookie, or one with more butter in it to aid spreading. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

  66. Emerald

    I’m so glad you wrote this article. I’ve found that when working with a flour or sugar substitute for diabetic family members, letting the dough rest in the fridge first overnight, then transferring to the freezer for at least a week really brings the dough together. Sugar substitutes don’t cream well and leave the texture of the dough very crumbly; alternatives to flour can be grainy and dry. If I plan ahead, leaving the dough in the freezer a while solves the texture problem and allows the delicious cookie flavor to bake in just right. Kudos on your excellent writing.

    Reply
  67. tika

    Very informative! I’ve been having issues with textures and flavors, and couldn’t understand why my dough was tasty but bland after baking. I also notice another batch of cookies I made changed textures after chilling for a few days.

    Reply
  68. tika

    Very informative! I’ve been playing around with some recipes and for the life of me couldn’t understand why I was having so many issues with texture and flavor. I first batch had a lot of flavor but a weird texture. After a few nights in the fridge the texture is changing. My second batch was the right texture but lost its flavor after baking. I’m hoping this solves the problem seeing as the dough itself tasted fine. Thanks for all the info!

    Reply
  69. Amani

    Hi! I actually tried this and it works really well. I made oatmeal cookies. it is really chewy and baked well but my concern is when you placed the baked cookies on a chiller it will harden and not as chewy as before. Is there a way to retain its chewiness/softness even placed on a chiller or its not possible and just need to stay on a room temperature?

    also. if I make a cookie dough for how many days will it last if its not yet baked? I saw the pic above that there’s a 10day old cookie dough. will it be fine? thanks!

    Reply
  70. Amy M

    Hi, If I make a cookie that calls for melted butter, can I still chill overnight then bake, or will something not work out the same? It is a flourless maple peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, made with rolled oats and ground rolled oats.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Amy, I think that might depend a little bit. If the texture of the cookie is meant to be thin and slightly crisp, the melted butter would help with that and therefore I might avoid chilling. If the butter is melted to make mixing easier, though, I would say that sticking it in the fridge the night before would be just fine. Bryanna@KAF

  71. Abys32

    How could you add moisture to a batch that is planned for extended chilling? Would you get the more complex flavor with the moisture of nonchilled batter?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Not 100% sure what you are asking to be honest! I would give our hotline a call so one of our bakers can chat with you and perhaps offer a suggestion. 855 371 2253Jon@KAF

  72. Karen

    What if the cookie dough is too dry from being in the fridge? How can I soften it a bit again so I can spoon it out for baking?

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Karen,
      You can add a little milk to the dough to make it more moist, usually a couple of tablespoons is plenty. ~ MJ

  73. Ted

    So… who can leave cookie dough around for ten (10!) days, without baking them?!? Good grief people 🙂 Better living through chemistry, or something.

    Reply
  74. Mona

    I have shaped the cookies and put them in the refrigerator over night. I usually bake the cookies in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.

    I found I had to bake them longer because they had been refrigerated. Was wondering if you could let me know how much longer should they be baked? I don’t want to over cook chocolate chip cookies!!!!

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      There isn’t really a specific time, Mona, you just have to play it by ear and keep an eye on the first batch. 5-8 minutes is pretty typical. ~ MJ

  75. Bev

    Ah… I was wondering why my Karma cookies spread the first time I baked them and then this time, did not. I thought it might be the lack of the convection oven, but it is because I had not refrigerated them the first time. I did notice though that the flavors (chai and chili) seem less pronounced with the refrigerated cookie dough. Any idea why? Thank you for your assistance.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Bev, I can’t really explain why this happened, although if you were tasting the cold cookie dough, this would definitely mute the spices. Also, if the cookies were hot out of the oven you might not notice the spicy flavor as much as in a cooled cookie. Barb@KAF

  76. Jan

    Recently I found some, long lost friends, on FB! One of the things they remembered was the big bowl of Chocolate Chip cookie dough in the fridge! I always make a double recipe and would loose a couple dozen depending on how many kids were visiting! I know someone is gonna say something about raw eggs! I survived, my kids survived and now the grandkids! How about cookie dough ice cream!!! And I always use King Arthur flour, makes a big difference when you use quality ingredients!

    Reply
  77. virginia

    My secret was always chilling the cookie dough..They would come out puffier and cakier, and not taste oily.

    Reply
  78. Thomas Nelson

    I love the detail in your explanations. I have a question slightly off topic. Once many years ago I bought a cookie from a vendor at a folk festival. Years later I can close my eyes and still taste that cookie. It was as if someone had taken a trail mix with nuts, raisins, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut, maybe apricots, dried cherries, what else I don’t know, and baked all of those ingredients in a cookie. I have been on a quest for years and have not found any recipe that resembles that amazing cookie. If anybody could help me with this quest I know you can. Do you know of any recipe that resembles the cookie of which I speak? Thank you in advance.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      This sounds like a granola bar or trail mix in cookie form. Please consider this recipe whole grain chunk cookies. There are others on our website with granola, breakfast or muesli in the title that may be close to the cookie of your memory. Enjoy the baking journey as you seek the flavor and texture of that folk festival favorite. Irene@KAF

  79. Marta Sullivan

    I wonder if chilling sugar cookie dough before rolling out and using cookie cutters on it will prevent spreading of the cookies?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      So true! Most sugar cookie doughs that need to be rolled out and cut will benefit from a chill of at least an hour. The dough will have less opportunity to stick to the rolling pin or surface and cut as well as move easily to the cookie sheet. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

  80. Sandra Davis

    Whew! What a relief. I was worried about chilling the dough. I like to make my cookies fresh the same day, so I make the dough the day before and leave it in the refrigerator overnight. I was concerned about that until I read your article.
    I live at the Palace in Coral Gables, Fla., a residence for active seniors. I bake for all my friends here and I am known as the Cookie Lady. There was a 2 page article about me in the Miami Herald last December 16. Thank you again for your reassuring advice.

    Reply
  81. Chaunte Moton

    Could someone please tell me why when I make these cookies they are GREAT while warm, but the next day they have a funny taste. The taste is something like an after taste

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Chaunte,
      It’s kind of hard to tell what aftertaste you may be getting and what may be causing it without talking to you a bit more. We’d suggest calling or emailing our bakers hotline with some more details and hopefully we can work it out with you. ~ MJ

  82. Cynthia Brennemann

    Well, my chocolate chip cookie tip may not be very scientific…but it’s the one that has stayed with me from my childhood. Making oatmeal chocolate chip cookies…the best time to eat the cookie dough is after the oats have been added, but before the chocolate chips and nuts have been added. Save the chocolate chips as chasers. Learned that tip in the kitchen with my oldest sister, baking cookies in a thunderstorm while tornado sirens wailed and trees bent double, and the rest of the family hid in the basement.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Cynthia, you and your sister are quite the risk takers! Not only consuming raw eggs and flour, but with tornado sirens wailing in the background! Glad you survived to tell the tale and were willing to share it here! Barb@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Dennis, I don’t think PJ did this exact experiment. At room temperature the flour would still absorb more liquid, but since the fat would not be chilled, you may not get quite the same effect. Barb@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      It works well to bake right from frozen, Sarah! This results in the same benefits as chilling, and cookies are small enough that they move go from frozen to thawed quickly enough once they hit the oven heat that you usually don’t even need to increase the baking time. Mollie@KAF

  83. Diana

    I have always chilled my cookie dough. I found my shortbread and Mexican wedding cakes really benefitted from a longer chill. Pat my dough into a nice round, slip into a zip lock and remove as much air as possible. When I am ready to bake a few days later, I let the dough rest for about 20-30 mins until I can roll or scoop easily. I found my triple chocolate cocoa mint cookies get a nice crisp exterior and a melty interior after a 1 to even 5 day chill. Thank you for the explanation

    Reply
  84. Edie715

    Will this chilling method work for “cookie-press” recipes as well or is it just for dropped/rolled cookies?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Edie, I’m afraid chilling the dough would make it too stiff to use with a cookie press. Barb@KAF

  85. Rose

    Chilling the dough helps – also it depends on how soft the butter is when making the dough. Just soft is right, if it gets too warm, it doesn’t work as well. Because my husband doesn’t like nuts, I increase the flour by 2-3 tablespoons in the Toll House recipe. Also, I used to cool the cookies on a rack, but now I do as my mom did and put wax paper or parchment paper on the counter and cool the cookies that way. Keeps them chewier.

    Reply
  86. Tom sands

    Can you let the dough warm up before baking? Some doughs are too hard to scoop after they’ve been in the fridge.

    Reply
  87. Rosalind Bard

    I use 1/2 margarine and 1/2 Crisco. I do not use light margarine. Too much water. Butter makes my cookies spread more. That’s why I use Margarine. I add extra flour to help keep them from spreading so much. I add less white sugar and more brown sugar. Brown sugar has more moisture since it is made from Molasses, therefore your cookies are more moist and chewier. I bake on parchment paper. A dark cookie sheet/tray has a tendency to produce darker cookies.

    Reply
  88. Amy Verheyen

    I’ve actually been doing a variation of this for the last 5 years or so. Instead of chilling the dough, I let it rest for 45 minutes before I bake. I have found, however, this technique only makes a difference with dough that has butter in it. Cookie recipes that only call for shortening show no difference for me when I rest the dough. I’m actually going to try the chilling technique while my dough rests next time. I’m excited to see if I have even better results!

    Reply
  89. Ruth

    The thing is I like my chocolate chips to spread. I love a thin, soft cookie! Yours look good, but I think the thin larger cookies, look better than the thicker ones. It takes all kinds, I guess. I also like the second batch where the cookie sheet is still warm because they spread more.

    Reply
  90. Barbara Schiesser

    I own and operate a bed and breakfast and have fresh baked cookies each day for my guests. I have two favorite recipes, both of which I have altered slightly. One of them is with oatmeal, which I found on the King Arthur all purpose flour bag. I lightly sprinkle the tops of each cookie with course salt and freeze the balls and bake them as I need them. They are delicious and don’t spread like they have done when I have baked them immediately.

    Reply
  91. Jem

    Fantastic piece, I bake a lot of toll house cookies and I figured this out a while ago. This last time I needed to know how quickly dough freezes or chills because I was in a rush, and this was a great help. Thanks!

    Reply
  92. Donna Cohen

    I always refrigerate my cookie dough’s. Having egg yolk allergy, and using about the same as whites, I learned early on to use the refrigerator dough method for a firmer cookie. Peanut butter recipes usually say to do so and always came out great, so I gave all dough a test and it works great. They are so moist. Besides, there’s always fresh cookies in the air! Mmmmm – who doesn’t love smelling fresh cookies? This way there is always a fresh baked cookie or two around!

    Reply
  93. Nancy

    I use shortening in my cookies but I’m assuming yours were tested with butter. Does refrigeration work the same with the shortening?
    I did try refrigerating for an hour and had mixed reviews which were better. I think the fact there were cookies overshadowed any discerning comments.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You ask a great question, Nancy. We actually have a full blog post written about how using different kinds of fats in cookie dough affects the final product. Check out our Cookie Chemistry post here for more info about the differences between them. But as for chilling the dough, it would have a similar affect with shortening but to a lesser extent. We’ve found cookies made with shortening tend to be crunchier, regardless of if the dough is chilled or not. Try chilling the dough the next time you whip up a batch and see if you notice any differences in the cookies. Let us know if you find you prefer one method over another! Kye@KAF

  94. Random Dent

    If you like soft, chewy cookies, try baking them in muffin cups! They come out *awesome* AND they stay moist and fresh-tasting for days longer than those baked on sheets.

    Just put a blob/ball/scoop of cookie dough in each cup; no need to flatten.
    Using chilled dough may also be unnecessary, as spread will be controlled, although aging your dough sure sounds like a good idea!

    Because the thickness is more even and the cookie isn’t in direct contact with hot metal, they are less likely to get burned. If you prefer a thin cookie, you could try using a smaller amount of dough.

    I used silicone muffin cups; I have not tried this in metal pans, but I would use paper liners to minimize mess and breakage.

    Reply
  95. Jeff

    My secret is 3 different chips. Dark ,semi sweet,and milk. I also scoop right away then freeze variety is slice of life. Also try replacing one of the chips with mint or peanut butter or white chocolate chips I and always eat them with a glass of milk on ice

    Reply
  96. Jean

    Crazy question…if the cookie that ages 10 days has flour break down into more components including sugar, which makes the cookie sweeter, does it change the carb count?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We like crazy questions, Jean! Though the flour is broken down into its component parts (including sugar) during chilling, changing the # of sugars present, the # of grams of sugar (and carb count) remains the same. Think of it like cracking an egg into its three components – shell, white and yolk. While you have more components, the total amount of egg remains the same. Hope this helps. Mollie@KAF

  97. Denise SM

    THANK YOU Soooooooo Much for explaining the difference in cookies made right away or in the refrigerator …. I will definitely try that around the Holidays when I bake…
    Please post more informative things on here !

    My one question…. When I bake a cake why does it not come out like a Store bought cake ? I have done box and scratch and they only rise a normal amount. My oven is right with the temperature, n I know someone that bakes n hers come out beautifully.. Can you tell me why ?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re so glad you enjoyed this post, Denise! We think you’ll find our Complete Guide to Cake & Cupcakes equally informative: http://bit.ly/1sYGKp4 Please also feel encouraged to give our Baker’s Hotline a call at 855-371-BAKE. We’d be happy to chat with you about cake baking! Mollie@KAF

  98. Nancy E

    Are there any cookie recipes that should not be chilled before baking? When making roll out sugar cookies should I chill the dough before rolling and cutting or just chill the cut cookies before baking? Thank you in advance for the answers 🙂

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Most drop cookies, or cookies that you can scoop can be chilled before baking. The same goes for roll-out cookies and bar cookies. With roll-out cookies, it’s easiest to divide the dough into two discs and then wrap them in plastic and chill. Roll out the discs the next day, cut, then bake. Enjoy! Kye@KAF

  99. June

    I always put chocolate chips in the freezer and use them frozen, so no dough chilling. Always use Hershey’s special dark choc chips, up the vanilla to 2 teaspoons. Always chilled butter. Last but not least a heaping cup of good sized chunks of walnuts. Other than that the same recipe that’s on the back of the cc package. I am to,d they are the best anyone has ever had. At least in my neighborhood.

    Reply
  100. Crystal Fencke

    Good information! And that’s why I can’t leave the butter out too long if I’m not going to refrigerate the dough.

    Reply
  101. Alice

    I like to freeze my scooped out cookie dough and bake them the next day. I works really well. Just about 45 sec. longer bake time.

    Reply
  102. Greg Stewart

    Several years ago, the NY TIMES did a piece about finding the “best” chocolate chip cookie. And in the process of uncovering recipes and techniques, they happened upon the fact that the best bakeries chilled their dough. For them, it was more out of necessity…they needed to make the dough ahead of time and then bake the cookies as needed. But they found out they really were better.

    I use that chocolate chip cookie recipe — and chill the dough for at least 48 hours — and my cookies are always a hit!

    Reply
  103. Dinda Lina Supriyatno

    Thank you for sharing.
    So much information that I got from this post.
    But I want to ask, what is the differences between chilling dough before dropped and chilling dough after dropped into pan?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Dinda, we’re found the differences between chilling before and after scooping cookies to be marginal. The overall effects of better browning, deeper flavor, and improved texture are the same. Chilling the entire mass of dough all together tends to prevent the dough from drying dough a bit more, but scooping the cookies before chilling prevents them from spreading. You might want to try an experiment with your next batch of dough — chill half and scoop half before chilling. See which cookies you like best! Kye@KAF

  104. Adlina

    Hi, thanks a lot for ur info. I was searching for there info. i too have 1 Question , can we freeze cookie dough for 5,6 months?. Coz im new to baking. My kids love to eat home made cookies.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Adlina, we don’t recommend freezing cookie dough for longer than a month, perhaps two. The baking powder/baking soda gradually lose their punch; the dough dries out and can become freezer burned, as well as take on “off” flavors. But do make up a batch of drop cookie dough; then read our blog post on how best to freeze it. Good luck! PJH

  105. Sunny

    I read the blog, but didn’t find an answer to this question.

    What is the best way to slice a log of frozen cookie dough? Any tips?

    When freezing cooking dough ‘balls’, do you roll it your hand to make the ball or is it simply a scoop and drop method? I haven’t had any luck with scoops and end up usually using two spoons; hence the question.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      There are a number of options when it comes to shaping and freezing your cookie dough, Sunny. If you choose to freeze a full log of dough, you’ll want to plan to bake it all at once, since it will need to thaw a bit for you to be able to slice it. To have more flexibility in how much you bake off at once, we’d suggest refrigerating the log overnight or freezing it just briefly, then slicing it with your bench knife (http://bit.ly/1LfniLy) or other sharp knife, and freezing the individual pieces of dough. You can also choose to roll balls of dough for freezing, and if you prefer a cookie that spreads more than it rises, you may also want to slightly flatten them before freezing. Our favorite method is to use one of our cookie scoops (http://bit.ly/2dHmUYb) to portion out the dough for freezing, again flattening them slightly if you prefer a cookie the spreads a bit more. Hope this helps! If you have additional questions, we hope you’ll give our free Baker’s Hotline a call at 855-371-BAKE to talk with one of our bakers. Mollie@KAF

  106. Bosbos

    I arranged my cookie dough on the pan when i noticed i was out of gas. I put the pan in the freezer and ended up without gas yesterday.

    Its the next day now and the cookie dough is still arranged on the pan (in the freezer). The recipe has egg, baking powder and baking soda. I have gas now but i’m worried the dough is wasted,

    Is it still good? can i still use it? is there any remedy?

    Reply
  107. COOKIELOVER

    Hi. I have found a really good cookie recipe that says I need to refrigerate the dough for four hours. Since I only have one hour then will it work if I just chill the wet ingredients? Or the dry ones? I have no clue. Or will i have to pre make and chill the dough?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      It’s important for all of the ingredients in the dough to be at room temperature so they incorporate correctly. If you’d like to speed up the chilling process, you can try putting the dough in the freezer, but be careful not to freeze it for too long or else it will be difficult to work with. If possible, it’s best to make the dough ahead of time and give it the amount of time it needs to become the proper texture. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  108. Jamal

    Is it possible to make cookie cream sandwiches without refrigerating the dough first? I will refrigerate the biscuits after they’re made.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Jamal, simply choose a cookie recipe that doesn’t call for chilling, and go ahead and bake the cookies right away. We’ve found that chilling tends to make the flavors a bit more rich and also helps the cookies hold their shape better, but it’s not necessary. You can bake our Chocolate Chip Cookies right away without chilling them if you like. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  109. valerie rankin

    I was actually trying to find the answer to something else and this post came up, good info. but I do have a question. If i understand correctly when you refrigerate the dough you end up with a crispier cookie. So, if I DON’T want a crispy cookie I should not refrigerate the dough. Personally I don’t like crispy cookies, I’m all about the soft and chewy. I have dozens of cookies to make and I was hoping to make the doughs, refrigerate them, and then spend a day baking them off. Then spend a fortune mailing them!! (btw – like Kevin the thought of raw egg has never stopped me from stuffing raw dough in my mouth 🙂

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Valerie, while chilling the dough can help make cookies more chewy/crispy, all else being the same, it’s not the only factor that determine the texture. The most important variable is how long you bake the cookies for; if you like your cookies soft and doughy, then take them out of the oven about 2-4 minutes before the recipe says to do so. This way you can still make your cookies ahead of time and also have soft, doughy cookies. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  110. Debra Shuster

    Hi…getting ready to make Chanukah cookies tomorrow with my grandkids.
    I roll out the dough and use cookie cutters. The past few years the cookies are coming out like little cakes. I use a basic recipe with your flour, b powder, eggs, butter, etc. I feel as tho my proportions are off since I have been tripling my recipe. Would you have a good recipe that you could share?
    Thanks..

    Reply
  111. Kathleen Murphy

    Hi! I have heard that this helps and am very interested in trying it out soon. I am planning to make in the early evening. I will make the dough, scoop it onto a parchment lined baking sheet and chill it in the fridge overnight. Do you recommend doing this the night before so it gets about 20 hours to chill or wait until the next day so it gets about 6 hours? I don’t want to over-chill the dough but also want to see noticeable effects. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Kathleen, either 6 hours or 20 hours will be fine; beginning at 30 minutes of chill time, the resulting cookies will gradually become slightly darker and with a bit of caramelized flavor. Just be sure to cover the dough balls sufficiently, since you don’t want them drying out in the fridge. Good luck — PJH

  112. Jost von

    Today I’m baking cookies, and it’s a “sugar cookies” I already pre-heat the oven. But the oven pre-heat fast!! So I just turned it off and Wait 30 mins before I bake the cookies. So my question is can a dough stay in the cookie sheet for just 30 mins?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Jost, if you’re asking if cookie dough can be chilled for just 30 minutes, the answer is usually yes. Some sugar cookie recipes might call for a longer chill (say 1-2 hours), but if it’s already rolled out you might be able to squeak by with just 30 minutes of chilling time. For more assistance, you can always give our Baker’s Hotline a call at 855-371-BAKE(2253). Kye@KAF

  113. Ruben Villalobos

    Thanks for the tip! I tried this with my favorite: double recipe of the basic toll house recipe, but instead of the second bag of chips, put in a bag of Heath chips. I also add about a cup of coconut flakes and a cup of almonds. Cooked at 9-10 minutes, they come out chewy and stay that way.

    Reply
  114. JessicaY

    I tried the animal cookie recipe and the result is super delicious. What puzzles me is the chill the dough in refrigerater for an hour part. After I took the dough out from fridge, it was hard as a rock, so in order to roll the dough flat and use the cookie cutter, I had to let the dough sit in room temperature and warm back up some. Does warm back up defeats the purpose? Also, the dough was crumbly after warmed back up, quite hard to roll out to a big even flat sheet. Wonder if there is something I didn’t do right, or that’s how it should be.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Jessica, the chill in the fridge allows the butter to firm up and also lets the gluten relax, which should make rolling out the dough easier. One helpful tip is to use a rolling pin to whack the dough and flatten it a bit after the comes out of the fridge. This makes the butter more pliable and the dough should be more workable. You can also try chilling for less time (15 minutes might work better for you). Making thin discs of dough (before refrigerating) might also help make this process easier for you. Good luck! Kye@KAF

  115. Bethe

    I scoop immediately, place them on a parchment lined sheet pan, then freeze them. I store them in a ziploc bag in the freezer and bake a few when I want warm cookies. Thick, chewy, flavorful cookies every time! I started doing this many years ago after working for Mrs. Field’s/Jessica’s Cookies while in college.)

    Reply
  116. Melinda

    Chilling does make a difference, that’s why I don’t do it! I prefer the cookies that spread. I bake them a little longer until brown and crisp, just the way I like them.

    Reply
  117. KathyY

    If you chill and or freeze cookie dough that the recipe does not call for doing, does this change how long you bake the cookies for? Or do you follow the original directions in the recipe for baking the cookies?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Chilling the cookie dough doesn’t change the bake time, or if it does, it’s not by much. Just like you typically would, check your cookies for doneness by looking at the color of the sides and bottom of the cookie. It should turn a lovely golden color and also smell amazing. Start checking for doneness around the time the original recipe suggests. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  118. Jb

    Should I still age the dough before freezing? ( I usually age it 72hr before baking) or should I just freeze it right away? Is it ok to freeze already scooped or is it better to freeze in the bowl unscooped?
    Thx!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Jb, we like to age our dough a bit before freezing. While freezing has the same functional effects on the dough (keeping it from spreading, for example), the flavor is developed more during refrigeration. As to the best form to freeze it in, we’d recommend freezing the individual, scooped cookies rather than the dough in a bowl. Just scoop onto a cookie sheet and freeze flat until solid, then transfer the individual scoops to freezer bags for longer term storage. This way you can opt to bake several cookies right from the freezer, rather than having to thaw the full amount of dough enough to scoop. Another good option is to freeze your dough in a log. In this case, all you have to do is thaw the log just enough to slice individual cookies and bake. Hope this helps! Mollie@KAF

  119. Jb

    Thanks ! What is the longest time you can age it in the frig before freezing ? And should you scoop it before or after the aging in the fridge – in the prep for freezing?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi JB, for this blog post we experimented with aging the cookie dough for up to ten days in the fridge before it was baked. You likely will still have good results freezing the cookies after this amount of time as well. You might not want to exceed ten days of aging, however, to ensure the dough does not dry out. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  120. Giggi

    My experience with this failed, or rather didn’t work out as planned. I was excited when I read this as I was always attempting to get my cookies to spread less, and what had worked for me in the past was to let my batter sit for at least 15 mins. So, today I made the KA oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and used this technique. I used my blue scoop and had two trays filled and put them in the fridge for several hours. One of my trays had parchment paper, the other, a KA silicone mat.

    I then baked using my convection oven feature like I normally do when I bake these cookies. The top tray with the silicone mat spread out so thin I was stunned. The cookies in the center of the oven on the parchment paper, spread out a bit less.

    This was the first time I used the silicone mat for my cookies, so in the future I will only use the parchment paper. Also, in my effort to make jumbo cookies that don’t spread I think I will add more flour. Added note: I use the gram conversion and weigh all my ingredients for accuracy.

    Is more flour the answer for me?

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Giggi, the silicone mat could certainly have baked differently, but the difference might also be due at least in part to where the two trays baked in the oven. Rather than jumping right to using more flour, you might enjoy taking a read through our article all about cookie chemistry. As you’ll see, there are other factors that can be adjusted to make for a chewier, crispier, or crunchier cookie, including oven temp, brown sugar vs. white sugar, butter vs. shortening and so on. We think you’ll find some helpful hints there to get you headed in the right direction. Mollie@KAF

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