How to Make Cookies


In England they're called biscuits. The Spanish name is galletas. In Italy, their names are specific to the recipe, such as biscotti or amaretti. Though the names for them are unique, the love of cookies is universal.

Try It!
Here are some cookie recipes from our collection:
Which makes it all the more surprising that the invention of the cookie was just a happy accident. Early bakers used very small amounts of batter to test the oven temperature before baking a cake. These little test cakes were
called koekje, which means "little cake" in
Dutch. The crispy little circles were so tasty,
the bakers started making them on purpose and the cookie was born.

The seemingly endless variety of cookies can
be divided into a few basic types: bar, drop, refrigerator, and rolled.
Cookie types are determined by the consistency of the dough and how it is formed into cookies. The texture of the finished cookies within any type can range from crisp to soft and chewy. All of the cookies have at least one element in common: the ability to tantalize your tastebuds.

In this article, we'll teach you how to make the little cakes that you're sure to love. We'll start with bar cookies 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.
  • Baking Cookies: Baking cookies is a delicate business, so you'd be wise to take a look at the many tips outlined in this helpful article.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

How to Make Bar Cookies

Bar cookies are a cross between cake and cookies. The dough is baked in a pan and then cut into pieces.
  1. Combine ingredients until blended.

    Mix the ingredients until they are thoroughly blended.
    Mix the ingredients until they
    are thoroughly blended.


  2. Spread batter evenly into shallow baking pan. Always use the pan size called for in the recipe. Using a different size will affect the cookies' texture; a smaller pan will result in a more cake-like texture and a larger pan will produce a drier texture.

    Evenly coat the bottom of a baking pan with the mixture.
    Evenly coat the bottom of a
    baking pan with the mixture.


  3. Bake as recipe directs. Before cutting, most bar cookies should cool in the pan on a wire rack until just warm. To make serving easy, remove a corner piece first, and then remove the rest.

    When the batter cools, cut into bars.
    When the batter cools, cut into bars.

  4. To make cutting even easier, line the baking pan with foil, shiny side up, allowing a 2-inch overhang on sides. Cookie can then be lifted out of pan before cutting.

    Lining your pan with foil will allow you to remove your cookie easily.
    Lining your pan with foil will allow
    you to remove your cookie easily.

Drop everything and take a look at the next section on making drop cookies.

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.
  • Baking Cookies: Baking cookies is a delicate business, so you'd be wise to take a look at the many tips outlined in this helpful article.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

How to Make Drop Cookies

Drop cookies are probably the easiest of all cookies to make. Spoonfuls of dough are simply dropped onto a cookie sheet and baked.
  1. Drop teaspoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart (for smaller cookies) or tablespoonfuls 3 inches apart (for larger cookies) onto prepared cookie sheets. Use a second spoon to release the drops onto the cookie sheet.

    For smaller cookies, space the dough about 2 inches apart, for larger cookies, 3 inches.
    For smaller cookies, space the dough about 2 inches apart;
    for larger cookies, 3 inches.


  2. If called for in recipe, slightly flatten mounds of dough by pressing gently with the back of a spoon.

    Lightly flatten the dough with the back of a spoon.
    Lightly flatten the dough with the back of a spoon.

  3. Bake and cool as directed.

    Let the cookies cool before removing them.
    Let the cookies cool before removing them.

Helpful Hints

These tips will help with a variety of drop cookie recipes.

  • Space the mounds of dough on cookie sheets as recipe directs -- usually 2 inches apart -- to allow for spreading.

  • Cookies that are uniform in size and shape will finish baking at the same time. To easily shape drop cookies into a uniform size, use an ice cream scoop with a release bar. The bar usually has a number on it indicating the number of scoops that can be made from one quart of ice cream. The handiest size for cookies is a #80 or #90 scoop. This will yield about one rounded teaspoonful of dough for each cookie. Fill scoop with dough and press against side of bowl to level.

    An ice cream scoop can help you make even, uniform cookies.
    An ice cream scoop can help you make even, uniform cookies.

  • Some drop cookie recipes instruct you to roll the dough into balls with your hands and then flatten them on the cookie sheet. Dust your hands with flour or powdered sugar before forming the dough into balls. If the cookie dough is chocolate, use cocoa for dusting.

    Dust your hands lightly with flour before you roll them into balls.
    Dust your hands lightly with flour before you roll them into balls.

  • After rolling dough into balls, you can flatten them on the cookie sheet in several ways. To create a pretty patterned top, dip a table fork into granulated sugar; press criss-cross fashion onto each ball, flattening to 1/2-inch thickness.

    A fork can help you make a criss-cross pattern on your cookies.
    A fork can help you make a criss-cross pattern on your cookies.

Refrigerator cookies are another delectable treat. Find out how to make them 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.
  • Baking Cookies: Baking cookies is a delicate business, so you'd be wise to take a look at the many tips outlined in this helpful article.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

How to Make Refrigerator Cookies

Refrigerator cookies are made by first shaping the dough into a log. The log is refrigerated until firm, and then sliced onto a cookie sheet and baked.
  1. Place cookie dough on a sheet of waxed paper. Using waxed paper to hold dough, roll it back and forth to form a log.

    Use the waxed paper to roll the dough into a log.
    Use the waxed paper to
    roll the dough into a log.


  2. Securely wrap log in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or until firm. (Log may be frozen up to 3 months; thaw in refrigerator before baking.)

  3. Cut dough with long, sharp knife into slices at desired thickness. Place on cookie sheets.

    Cut the dough to your desired thickness.
    Cut the dough to desired thickness.

  4. Bake and cool as directed.
Helpful Hints

These suggestions will come in handy for most refrigerator cookie recipes.

  • Shaping the dough into a log before chilling is easier if you first place the dough on a piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap and use it to roll and shape the log.

  • Before chilling, always wrap the rolls securely in plastic wrap or air may penetrate the dough and cause it to dry out.

  • Use gentle pressure and a back-and-forth sawing motion with a sharp knife when slicing the rolls; this helps the cookies keep their nice round shape.

    Gently cut the dough into slices to preserve a nice, round shape.
    Gently cut the dough into slices to
    preserve a nice, round shape.


  • Rotating the roll while slicing also keeps one side from flattening.

Rolled cookies require the use of a rolling pin to create a flat, even dough. Learn tips for these cookies in the next section.

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.
  • Baking Cookies: Baking cookies is a delicate business, so you'd be wise to take a look at the many tips outlined in this helpful article.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

How to Make Rolled Cookies

Rolled cookies require rolling the dough out flat with a rolling pin. Then it is cut into decorative shapes with cookie cutters or a sharp, pointed knife.
  1. Roll out dough with a rolling pin to desired thickness. (A mesh-covered rolling pin can make it easier to roll out sticky dough.) You may want to chill the cookie dough before rolling for easier handling. In this case, remove only enough dough from the refrigerator to work with at one time.

    Use a rolling pin to roll the dough to your desired thickness.
    Use a rolling pin to roll the dough
    to your desired thickness.


  2. Cut dough into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Save any trimmings and re-roll them all at once to prevent the dough from becoming tough.

    Use cookie cutters to cut the dough.
    Use cookie cutters to cut the dough.

  3. Bake and cool as directed. Decorate as desired.
Pinwheel cookies combine the techniques used in rolled and refrigerated cookies. Find out more in the next section.

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.
  • Baking Cookies: Baking cookies is a delicate business, so you'd be wise to take a look at the many tips outlined in this helpful article.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

How to Make Pinwheel Cookies

By combining techniques used for both rolled and refrigerated cookies, you can create an impressive -- and delicious -- pinwheel effect.
  1. Roll out dough with a rolling pin between 2 sheets of waxed paper into rectangle. Remove waxed paper from top of rectangle.

  2. Spoon filling over dough. Spread evenly with small spatula, leaving 1/2-inch border on long edges.

  3. Using bottom sheet of waxed paper as a guide and starting at long side, tightly roll up dough jellyroll fashion, removing waxed paper as you roll.

    Start rolling on the long side.
    Start rolling on the long side.

  4. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate.

  5. Unwrap dough and slice. For softer or less chilled dough, you can use a length of dental floss instead of a knife to slice. Wrap the floss around the roll, cross the ends of the floss over each other, and then pull the ends down and out to the sides to slice through the log.

    You can also use a piece of dental floss to cut the dough.
    You can also use a piece of
    dental floss to cut the dough.


  6. Bake and cool as directed.

As you can see, the various types of cookies are numerous, as are the delicious tastes you can create. So start baking today!

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.
  • Baking Cookies: Baking cookies is a delicate business, so you'd be wise to take a look at the many tips outlined in this helpful article.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.