Cookie baking is a relaxing, stimulating hobby that the whole family can enjoy. You’ll love making the dough and sometimes you might even get to cut it into fun shapes like hearts or snowflakes. However, cookies can be tricky to get right in the oven; it’s too easy for them to become too hard or too doughy.
Here are 11 reasons why your cookies taste doughy:
- Your cookies are underbaked.
- Your oven temperature is too low.
- You didn’t preheat the oven.
- You opened the oven door while your cookies were baking.
- Your cookies are baked unevenly.
- You only used brown sugar.
- You used too much butter in your dough.
- Your dough wasn’t cool enough before being baked.
- The butter in your dough was too soft.
- You live at a high altitude.
- You used the wrong type of fat.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common reasons why your cookies may end up doughy and how you can prevent them from happening.
1. Your Cookies Are Underbaked
Perhaps the most common reason why your cookies may be doughy is that they’re underbaked. Underbaked cookies are taken out of the oven before being completely baked through.
When your cookies are underbaked, not enough moisture gets released in the air. Underbaking often results in cookies that are still raw in the middle.
Fixing underbaked cookies is quite easy. All you need to do is put your cookies back in the oven for a little longer. Sometimes you should also increase your oven temperature if it’s too low. The amount of time you need to put your cookies back in the oven depends on how underbaked they are. Try checking every minute to every minute and a half after putting the underbaked cookies in the oven to see if they’re done.
2. Your Oven Temperature Is Too Low
Another reason why your cookies might be doughy is that your oven temperature is too low. When you try to cook at too low of an oven temperature, your cookies will likely turn out too pale and soft.
Cookie baking is very finicky, and everything needs to be “just right” to get that perfect cookie. Too low of an oven temperature may create a doughy consistency. In contrast, oven temperatures that are too high may cause your cookies to burn.
Again, this issue requires a relatively simple fix. All you need to do is increase your oven temperature the next time you bake a batch of cookies! Most cookies are baked between 350 and 375℉ (177 – 190℃), but some recipes can range anywhere from 300℉ (149℃) to 425℉ (218℃).
3. You Didn’t Preheat the Oven
When reading a recipe, the first step usually calls for preheating the oven. Preheating your oven before even starting to make your cookie dough guarantees that the oven will be ready for you to put the cookies in when you’re ready.
Cookies generally only take 10-12 minutes in the oven, so if the equipment isn’t completely preheated, the cookies may not cook all the way through. This makes your cookies doughy.
Try to read through your recipe before you start baking. Alternatively, if you forget to preheat the oven, wait until after it’s done preheating before putting your cookies in.
4. You Opened the Oven Door While Your Cookies Were Baking
Wanting to check on your cookies as they bake is completely normal and something you should actually do. Just be careful with how you check on them.
Opening the oven door to check on your cookies allows heat to escape, lowering the overall oven temperature. And, as I’ve already mentioned, if your cookies bake at too low of a temperature, they may come out raw and doughy.
Losing oven heat isn’t as bad for cookies as it can be for cakes or other baked goods, but you still don’t want to do it. The cookies won’t brown or spread out as they should when the oven loses heat during the cooking process.
Use the light in the oven and make sure the window is clean in order to check on your cookies’ status rather than opening the door.
5. Your Cookies Are Baked Unevenly
Sometimes your cookies may be doughy because the cookies themselves aren’t of equal thickness. If some cookies are thicker than others, the thinner ones will be done much quicker than their sizier counterparts, so the thicker cookies won’t completely cook through and will likely come out doughy.
Most often, when your cookies are baked unevenly, it’s due to your dough not being rolled to a consistent thickness throughout. Unevenly baked cookies may also occur from opening the oven door too frequently. The cookies at the back of the oven are exposed to more heat than those closest to the oven door.
You can prevent uneven cookies by using an ice cream scooper, either spring-released or manual. That way, each cookie is sized identically, and there should be no unevenness.
If you don’t have an ice cream scoop, the Cookie Scoop Set from CHEE MONG (available on Amazon.com) is terrific. These ice cream scoops are specifically created for helping with baking, meaning you’ll be able to expertly scoop cookie dough as well as ice cream.
6. You Only Used Brown Sugar
As I’ve already mentioned, cookies can be extremely finicky. The type of sugar you use in your cookies helps determine whether the end result is crispy or soft/doughy. White sugar has a predisposition to make cookies crispier. In contrast, brown sugar, specifically dark brown sugar, makes cookies softer or doughy-like.
If you use all brown sugar, or mostly brown sugar, your cookies are more likely to be extremely soft and/or doughy.
Therefore, if you want really crispy cookies, use only white sugar. For a good balance between crispy and chewy, use a mixture of both white and brown sugar.
7. You Used Too Much Butter in Your Dough
If your cookies are crispy on the outside, but raw and doughy in the middle, it’s possible that you used too much butter in your dough. An excessive amount of butter can make your cookies spread quickly and too much. When this occurs, the outside of the cookie finishes cooking faster than the inside.
If you think that your cookies taste doughy because you’ve added too much butter to the dough, lower the amount of butter you put in for the next batch of cookies. Keep in mind that it’s also possible to use too little butter as well.
If you don’t add enough butter to your cookies, the opposite will happen, and your cookies will be too dry and crumbly.
8. Your Dough Wasn’t Cool Enough Before Being Baked
Warm or slightly warm dough can also lead to cookies that are crispy on the outside and raw and doughy on the inside. This is because the warmth of the dough makes the outside of the cookie bake faster than the inside.
When baking cookies, I’d suggest putting the cookie dough in the fridge for a minimum of 10 minutes before putting it in the oven so that the dough cools enough to cook thoroughly and evenly.
The longer you keep your raw cookie dough in the fridge, the easier it will be to work with. If you can, putting the dough in the fridge for about 24 hours is your best bet.
9. The Butter in Your Dough Was Too Soft
Soft butter doesn’t allow aeration in the dough, making it heavy instead of fluffy as it should be. The cookies will spread and thin out quickly while in the oven. Again, if the butter you’re putting in your dough is too soft, the edges of your cookies will be done baking before the center.
On the other hand, it’s also possible to use butter that’s too cold (for example, straight from the fridge). When you put cold butter in your cookie dough, the cookies will be denser and won’t spread enough while in the oven.
To ensure that your butter is neither too soft nor too cold, take it out of the fridge 15 minutes before mixing it into the dough.
10. You Live at a High Altitude
Higher elevation often makes it necessary to cook or bake foods for shorter or longer periods of time. You might need to add water or increase or decrease the amount of leavening ingredients for your dessert of choice to turn out perfectly.
While cookies bake for short periods of time and are less susceptible to issues with baking in high elevations (above 3,000 feet or 914 meters), you still need to consider your altitude when baking.
When baking cookies at higher altitudes, increase water content, bake at a higher temperature, and lower the baking time. King Arthur Baking has an excellent website that provides lots of in-depth information if you’re baking cookies at a higher elevation.
11. You Used the Wrong Type of Fat
You can use different types of fat when baking cookies, from butter and shortening to margarine. Each option can affect your cookies in various ways, for example, making them oily, puffy, too flat, or too chewy.
If you find that your cookies are too chewy, use only butter, specifically stick butter. Other fats may make your cookies even chewier or not allow them to bake thoroughly.