Cookie Rescue Mission: How to Fix Flat Cookies

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No one wants to look inside the oven and find that their delicious batch of cookies has gone flat. Not only is this disheartening, but it is also a waste of time and food. Luckily, there are multiple ways to rescue your cookie dough when it doesn’t produce the perfect-sized cookie. 

You can fix flat cookies by adjusting the ingredients, cooling the pan or dough, correcting your mixing technique, and keeping your butter at the perfect temperature.

You don’t have to settle for flat cookies; check out the information below to ensure you always have the best results possible

Why Are My Cookies Flat? What Causes it, and How Do You Fix it?

There are a handful of reasons cookies come out flat, whether it’s how you prepare the recipe or the equipment you use. If you notice flat cookies becoming a trend in your kitchen, here are a few things to watch for.

Incorrect Temperature: The Oven Is Too Hot

If your cookies come out flat and crispy, you might have an issue with your oven. If you set your oven at the recommended temperature and add the exact ingredients the recipe calls for, you might have to adjust the temperature of your range.

How to fix flat cookies caused by high temp: The next time you put a tray of cookies in the oven, consider lowering the temperature by about five to ten degrees. 

Improper Measurements: Too Much or Too Little

One of the most common reasons for thin cookies is incorrectly measuring the ingredients. Numerous missteps can lead to a flat outcome.

  • Too much butter: Too much butter will create a greasy batter, leading to a flat, brown, crispy cookie.
  • Too little flour: Flour is a great binding agent; using too little will leave too much free-flowing liquid, causing the cookies to go flat.
  • Too much sugar: Granulated sugar absorbs liquid; using too much will cause that liquid to expel, and the batter will spread.

How to fix flat cookies caused by improper measurements: Even things out. If you realize you added too much butter, match it with some extra flour to soak up the excess grease. This fix only works if the measurements are off by a little; you might have to make a double batch if the difference is significant. 

Your Cookie Sheet Was Too Hot

A hot cookie sheet is one of the more common causes of flat cookies. This scenario typically surprises many people, but using a hot cookie sheet is a huge reason your cookie recipe might flop. A hot cookie sheet is a big no-no when baking due to the butter. Butter melts rather quickly and starts to spread (along with the rest of the batter) as soon as it touches a hot baking sheet. 

How to fix flat cookies caused by hot cookie sheets: If you don’t have multiple cookie sheets, wait at least 15 minutes between batches to allow for cooling time. Your baking sheet should always be at room temperature when you put the raw dough on it.

Inactive Leveling Agents: Your Baking Powder or Soda has Expired

The most frequently used leavening agents are baking powder and baking soda. Although these ingredients are known to last a long time, they don’t last forever. Without fresh, active leavening agents, your cookies won’t have what they need to puff up or rise.

How to fix flat cookies caused by inactive leveling agents: If you don’t go through your leveling agents often, consider replacing them yearly. 

Sticks of softened butter in bowl on counter

Your Butter Is Too Soft

Many recipes call for soft butter, which doesn’t seem all that specific, especially to those who don’t bake often. However, softened butter refers to cool butter that is easy to manipulate. 

Butter that is melted or too soft will be runny. Once you place it into the oven, it spreads quickly.

How to fix flat cookies caused by butter that is too soft: To prepare your butter for a cookie recipe calling for softened butter, leave it out at room temperature for 45 to 60 minutes. If you can push your finger into the stick and make an indentation that stays, you are ready to roll.

How to Make Cookies Thick 

Thick, rich, chewy cookies are always the best. If you are looking for easy ways to thicken up your dough for a chewier cookie, here are five different tricks to try. 

  • Refrigerate the dough: Keeping your cookie dough refrigerated overnight is ideal. If that isn’t possible, chill it for about two hours before use. 
  • Refrain from substituting fats: Fat-filled ingredients, such as shortening, butter, and margarine, have different amounts of fat. The difference can make a considerable size difference depending on the recipe.
  • Freeze the cookie dough or cookie dough balls.
  • Perfect your mixing skills: If your ingredients are not thoroughly mixed, your cookies will come out uneven, especially if clumps of butter are left intact. 
  • Use dough balls: When homemade cookie dough starts to bake, the ingredients melt and the dough flattens. The higher the dough sits on the pan, the better your chance of getting the perfect cookie.
Older man and young boy holding chocolate chip cookies and glasses of milk

Final Thoughts

Flat cookies happen to the best of us. Whether you are an expert baker or just starting out, trying the tips we’ve outlined above can help ensure your next batch comes out thicker and more delicious than ever. 


How Do You Make Chocolate Chip Cookies that Don’t Go Flat?

To keep your chocolate chip cookie recipe from going flat, ensure the butter is firm when you add it to the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly. You can also use an ice cream scoop to place the dough on the pan to ensure it is a perfect size. 

How Do You Avoid Flat Fortune Cookies?

Aside from accurately measuring the ingredients, you can avoid flat fortune cookies by allowing the dough to cool before moving. 

What Causes Flat Raisin Cookies?

Placing the dough on a hot cookie sheet is the most common reason for raisin cookies to come out flat. When the butter melts, the raisins settle to the bottom, and the rest of the ingredients follow.

How Do You Fix Flat Oatmeal Cookies?

If your oatmeal cookies spread, try adding more flour to the batter and wait until the cookie sheet is at room temperature before placing the homemade cookie dough on it.