Cookie Baking Tips

Take the guesswork out of cookie baking by practicing good techniques. Follow these tips whenever you decide to heat up the oven and whip up a batch of delicious cookies.

  • Read the entire recipe before you begin.

  • Remove butter, margarine, and cream cheese from the refrigerator to soften, if necessary.

  • Toast and chop nuts, peel and slice fruit, and melt chocolate before preparing the dough.

  • Measure all the ingredients accurately. Assemble them as directed in the recipe.

  • When making bar cookies or brownies, use the pan size specified in the recipe. Prepare the pans according to the recipe directions. Adjust oven racks and preheat the oven. Check oven temperature for accuracy with an oven thermometer.

  • Follow recipe directions and baking times. Check doneness with the test given in the recipe.

  • The best cookie sheets to use are those with no sides or up to two short sides. They allow the heat to circulate easily during baking and promote even browning.

  • For even baking and browning, place only one cookie sheet at a time in the center of the oven. If the cookies brown unevenly, rotate the cookie sheet from front to back halfway through the baking time.

  • When baking more than one sheet of cookies at a time, rotate them from top to bottom halfway through the baking time.

  • Use shortening or a non-stick cooking oil -- not butter -- to grease cookie sheets. Instead of greasing, you can line the cookie sheets with parchment paper or a baking mat made from silicone and fiberglass. Lining the cookie sheets eliminates cleanup and bakes the cookies more evenly. With parchment paper, cookies can cool right on the paper instead of on wire racks.

  • Allow cookie sheets to cool between batches. The dough will spread if placed on a hot cookie sheet.

  • Unbaked cookie dough can usually be refrigerated for up to one week or frozen for up to six weeks. Rolls of dough should be sealed tightly in plastic wrap; other dough should be stored in airtight containers. Label dough with baking information for convenience.

How do you know when your cookies are done? Find tips to check doneness on the next page.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Cookie Recipes: Find recipes on this page that run the gamut of cookie types, from bar cookies to drop cooking and everything in between.
  • Decorating Cookies: While tasting cookies is surely the most fun, decorating cookies might be a close second. Find tips to help you decorate in this article.
  • How to Make Cookies: Who doesn't love a cookie? And since there are so many varieties of cookies available, it's easy to find a favorite -- or several favorites, for that matter. Learn how to make cookies at HowStuffWorks.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.