How to Tell if Cookies Are Done

Great! You made a fresh batch of delicious cookies, only to realize the bottoms are completely burned, or the middle is still ooey-gooey. What now? Knowing when your cookies are done is key to achieving a spot in the “cookie-making hall of fame.” But how?

There are many ways to tell if your cookies are done. Perform a visual check first. The edges underneath the cookie should be golden brown, and there should no longer be a noticeable sheen. 

You can also tap the edges. If there is no indent, they’re done. Lastly, check the consistency with a toothpick.

Hi! My name’s Michelle, and baking cookies is my passion. I’m constantly whipping up a fresh batch, whether it’s sugar cookies for a holiday or some peanut butter and chocolate chip delights to feed my cookie-loving family.

Let’s talk about how to know when your cookies are done!

How to Tell if Cookies Are Done: 6 Ways

Did you know that there are actually eight different ways to tell if your cookies are done? With so many techniques, you can guarantee that your cookies are ready to be pulled out of the oven. 

Keep in mind that some methods work better than others depending on the type of cookie. For example, a dark double chocolate cookie might not be as easy to tell if they’re done visually compared to a light cookie, like shortbread.

1. Visual: Golden Brown Edges

If you’re making a batch of light cookies, you can use this visual check. To do so, simply look at the edges of your cookies. Do they have a golden brown hue? They’re likely done. Take them out of the oven before that lovely golden texture turns burnt and undesirable!

2. Visual: Cracked Top

Cookie recipes that have small amounts of flour, such as Fudge Ecstasies, can be determined by the tops. When these types of cookies are done baking, the top will begin to have a cracked-open appearance.

3. Visual: No Sheen

Have you ever looked at a batch of cookies while baking in the oven? It starts as a ball of cookie dough, then begins to flatten and have a glossy appearance. This indicates that the cookie dough is melting and will soon transform into a tasty batch of cookies!

With that in mind, you can tell whether your cookies are done or not by checking for sheen. If your cookies are still glossy and gooey, they’re not done quite yet. Once they’ve lost the shine and have a more solidified structure, they’re ready to go.

4. Visual: Golden Brown Bottoms

Another quick and easy way to check for cookie doneness is to look at the bottoms. (This is personally my favorite way to check if my cookies are done. In my opinion, it’s a no-fail way to check them.)

All you need to do is put on an oven mitt and pull the cookie sheet halfway out. Then, use a spatula to lift one of the cookies gently. If the bottoms are golden brown and solid, they’re ready to be pulled out of the oven.

I like to check at least three cookies – one cookie on each side plus one in the middle. That way, I know that all of the cookies are done, rather than needing to rotate the pan and cook for a few more minutes.

5. Physical: Firm Edges

If you’re making a batch of dark cookies, like these yummy dark chocolate delights, you can’t rely on visual cues. The better option is to go the physical route. Again, you will be focusing on the edges for this method.

Gently poke the side of one of your cookies. If the cookie stays firm, then it’s done cooking. If it indents or falls inwards, you will need to let them bake for a few more minutes.

6. Last Option: Toothpick Test

Are your cookies done baking and ready to cool? If you’re still unsure, you can use the foolproof method of using a toothpick. Simply place a toothpick into the center of your cookie and pull it out. If it’s gooey with batter, they’re not done. If it comes out clean, they’re ready to cool.

Note: You can also use a fork for this test. Honestly, I always forget to buy toothpicks at the store, so I almost always have to use a fork instead. Sure, it leaves a few more indentations, but it’s no biggie – the cookies are still 110% scrumptious!


You’re one step close to cookie greatness! If you want to learn more about this fun topic, check out some frequently asked questions below.

Should cookies be soft when they come out?

Some cookies are fluffier than others, so they may be “soft” when they come out. However, they shouldn’t be so soft that they’re undercooked. If you prefer a crispier cookie, you can bake them a little longer.

Can cookies be undercooked?

Cookies can be undercooked. How? By simply not being cooked in the oven long enough. If you notice that your cookies are undercooked as they’re cooling, you can always pop them back into the oven to continue baking. 

Do cookies harden as they cool?

When you remove your cookie sheet from the oven, your cookies will continue baking for about five to ten minutes before being transferred to a wire rack. During this time, the cookie will harden up.

How long should I bake my cookies?

The best thing to do is follow your cookie recipe and keep an eye on your cookies throughout the baking process. However, for the most part, most cookies will be done anywhere between 8 and 12 minutes when baked at 350F.

Final Words

Knowing when your cookies are done will help you stave off burnt and unpleasant cookie disasters. The best way to check it visually, when possible. Check for golden brown edges and bottoms. You can also test the firmness of the edges or use the reliable toothpick method.

How do you know when your cookies are done? Share your tricks below!

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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