How to Make Cookies Fluffy Instead of Flat

Nothing says cookie fail quite like pulling out a batch of freshly baked, entirely flat cookies. What went wrong? There are a few things that may have contributed to your flatty patties. Most of the time, it’s an issue of using melted butter, not enough flour, or baking at a temp too low.

Hey, there, cookie lovers! My name is Michelle, and I’m a self-taught baker with over ten years of experience. I enjoy making cookies, but I won’t lie to you – I have had dreaded flat cookies before. I learned how to fix this (typical) mistake, and I’m sharing it today.

Nobody wants to end up with flat cookies. They’re undesirable to look at, and they don’t have the fluffy and enjoyable texture everyone knows and loves. Luckily, flat cookies are a simple fix. This article will teach you how to make sure you cook fluffy cookies instead of flat ones.

Who’s ready to make some fluffy cookies?

How to Make Cookies Fluffy Instead of Flat

Craving fluffy cookies? I’ve got you covered. Let’s look at some of the top tips and tricks for fluffy success.

1. Use Multiple Fats

I don’t care what your cookie recipe tells you. You shouldn’t rely on butter alone. Butter has a very low melting point, which can cause your cookies to spread easier while baking – aka, you end up with ugly flat cookies. No, thanks! 

Solution: use a combination of butter and oil or butter and shortening. Butter is almost always necessary for a rich and decadent flavor. Meanwhile, oil and shortening will ensure those cookies stay nice and plump. 

While we’re on the subject of fats, I will say this: avoid using margarine in cookies. Margarine will cause cookies to spread and may give them a more biscuit-like texture. Unless you’re into that sort of thing, ditch the margarine and use some “real” fats. 

2. Don’t Melt Butter

If you’re a die-hard butter fan, I get it. There is nothing quite like the flavor of delectable butter, especially in baked treats. If you’re not using a butter and oil or shortening combo, be extra careful with your butter.

As mentioned previously, butter has a very low melting point (90-95°F). If you’re starting with butter that’s melted or overly soft, it’s only going to melt entirely while your cookies are baking. 

While butter shouldn’t be rock hard, don’t turn to your microwave for a softening solution. Leave your butter on the counter for around 15 minutes, and it should be soft enough to mix without getting too soft.

3. Chill Your Dough

I know, I know. Chilling cookie dough is awful. It means waiting hours before diving into your freshly baked cookies. But honestly, chilling the dough can make all the difference in the world. 

Chilling cookie dough allows the fat to solidify. This means that it will take a more extended amount of time for the fat (butter, shortening, etc.) to melt, leading to fluffier cookies. 

How long should you chill your cookie dough? Well, I’d recommend 24 hours if you can wait that long. If you’re in a rush and need to satisfy your cookie cravings ASAP, chill the dough for at least an hour. (Maybe get some kitchen cleaning done in the meantime?)

4. Bake at a Higher Temperature

Yes, you read that correctly. Sometimes, your cookies need to bake at a higher temperature to get the fluffy result you crave. Now, this doesn’t mean cranking up the oven to 450F. But going for 375F instead of 350F can make a world of difference.

Also, make sure that your oven is showing the correct temperature. Ovens lie, especially older models. Check to ensure that the temperature displayed is accurate by purchasing an inexpensive oven thermometer

5. Never Use Hot Cookie Pans

One of the biggest mistakes you can make while baking cookies is to use a hot cookie pan. Again, it all comes down to the fat. When you place cookie dough balls onto a warm or hot cookie pan, the fat will start melting quicker. That’s a big no-no.

Make sure your cookie pans are at least room temperature before using them. That includes multiple in-between batches. Don’t rush it. Let the cookie pan cool down entirely before moving on to your next batch.

Tip: Use Silpat mats on your cookie pans rather than greasing for fluffier results.

6. Add an Extra Egg

You’ve probably heard this trick about cakes, but did you know it works for cookies, too? Adding an extra egg to your cookie batter will ensure an almost cake-like and super soft texture. It’s an easy addition – why not give it a try?

7. Replace Baking Soda With Baking Powder

Again, I will tell you that your cookie recipe isn’t always right. While both baking soda and baking powder are helpful leavening agents, baking soda can cause more spreading than desired.

If you’re looking for fluffy cookies, stick to baking powder. Baking powder is better known for causing incredible “puff.” Just make sure that it is not expired. Otherwise, it won’t do you any good whatsoever. 

8. Shape Taller Cookie Balls

My last tip is to drop the connotation that you have to have perfectly round cookie dough balls. Plopping taller and leaner cookie “balls” (or should we say footballs?) on your cookie pan will allow the cookies to bake up plumper and fluffier. Yum!

FAQs

There are many ways to make cookies fluffy instead of flat, and now you know all the tricks. If you still have some questions about how to do it, check out these frequently asked questions below.

Why don’t my cookies flatten out?

There is also the issue of cookies not spreading out at all and staying undesirably thick and clumpy. What happened? Most of the time, it’s due to too much flour. It could also be an issue of using butter that was way too cold or a too hot or cold oven.

Does baking soda make cookies Fluffy?

Baking soda is useful as a leavening agent, which will help cookies plump up. However, baking soda also causes spreading – unlike baking powder solely for fluffing. That’s why it’s recommended only to use baking powder in cookie recipes.

Does old baking soda make cookies flat?

Old baking soda (and baking powder) can certainly cause cookies to be flat. Expired baking soda and powder do not have active leavening, which is necessary for a plump cookie.

Are 4 teaspoons of baking powder too much?

If it’s more than your cookie recipe calls for, then probably, yes. Too much baking powder will cause your cookies to collapse upon themselves like a dying star. Use the right amount of baking powder as the recipe calls for. Replace the baking soda, too.

Final Words

If you want fluffy cookies, you need to be extra careful with the fats. Don’t use melted butter, and consider a butter and oil or shortening combo. Always chill your dough and never use hot cookie pans. Think about adding an extra egg, solely baking powder, and creating taller cookie balls.

How do you make your cookies fluffy? Have you tried any of these hacks? Share with us 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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