What Causes Flat Cookies?

What Causes Flat Cookies?

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If you were expecting to bite into a thick, fluffy cookie but instead got cookie pancakes, you may be wondering what happened. Although it was most likely the butter that led you astray, there are a few other possibilities.

Hello, everyone! I’m Shea, a self-taught baker with a penchant for cookies. I want my cookies crisper, but that doesn’t imply I want them flatter than a cent.

Flat cookies are a typical issue, even for seasoned bakers like me, so don’t be concerned. The greatest thing you can do is figure out what went wrong so you don’t repeat the same mistake.

With that in mind, let’s investigate why your cookies turned out flat (and how to fix them).

Why Do Cookies Come Out Flat After Baking? Six Reasons

There are really six possible causes for your cookies to go haywire. Fortunately, these are all quite straightforward fixes that will allow you to whip up a fresh batch of fluffy cookies in no time.

1. The Butter Was Too Melted

The most common cause of flat cookies is the use of melted butter. When butter melts fast in the oven, cookies spread. Nevertheless, butter that has been melted before going into the oven can cause over-spreading, resulting in flattened cookies.

Let the butter to come to room temperature for approximately an hour before combining your cookie dough. This allows the butter to become malleable without becoming too mushy or melted.

In a hurry and don’t have an hour? You may use the microwave to soften both hard and cold butter, but proceed with caution. If you wait a second too long, your butter will turn into a puddle of golden bliss, resulting in flat biscuits.

Use caution while using electric mixers as well. If butter is combined for an extended period of time, it may overheat.

2. There Was Too Little Flour

Another reason your cookies came out flat was because you used too little flour. During mixing, flour absorbs liquid components but rapidly releases them in the hot oven. If there is insufficient flour, the liquid will take over and cause the cookies to flatten.

Always use exact measuring cups. If the recipe asks for three cups of all-purpose flour, be sure you use exactly that quantity and not a touch more or less.

While you’re about it, double-check all of your measurements. Too much sugar might also contribute to general flatness. Therefore, leave the eyeballing to the specialists and use your measuring cups and spoons instead.

3. You Used Hot Cookie Sheets

The last thing you want to do while you’re in the zone making cookies is take a 30-minute pause in between batches. Nevertheless, take off a heated cookie sheet and utilizing it for your next batch of cookie dough is a no-no.

Always use a room-temperature cookie sheet while making cookie dough. If you just have one cookie sheet, let it cool for a few minutes before running it under cold water. Afterwards, dry it off and continue using it as normal.

4. The Cookie Dough Wasn’t Chilled

Not every cookie recipe asks for cold cookie dough. If yours does not, you should not be concerned about this issue.

Yet, there is a reason why your cookie dough should be cooled. If you neglect this step, your patties will most likely be flat.

5. The Leavening Agent Was “Dead”

A leavening agent is nearly usually called for in cookie recipes (baking soda, baking powder, or both). These leavening chemicals puff up your cookies, giving them a wonderful thick look and fluffy texture.

What you may not understand is that leavening agents do not persist forever, despite appearances. If you use an inactive leavening agent, your cookies will not rise and will instead spread out.

Replace your leavening agents at least once a year to be on the safe side.

6. Oven is Too Hot

If you are certain that you used softened rather than melted butter and that you added enough flour, yet you still get flat cookies, the problem might be your oven. Ovens might advertise one temperature yet be very different on the inside.

Reduce the temperature by 5-10 degrees to observe if the findings change. You could also consider purchasing an oven thermometer to check what is actually going on in your cherished range.

How Do You Keep Cookies from Going Flat?

If you’re weary of dealing with flattened cookies, try integrating the following basic techniques and strategies into your next batch:

  • Make use of soft but not melted butter.
  • Make sure you measure everything accurately, particularly the flour.
  • Chill your cookie sheet between batches, or replace it totally.
  • Before using, chill your cookie dough.
  • Make use of a new leavening agent.
  • With an oven thermometer, double-check that your oven is reporting the temperature accurately.


You now know how to permanently avoid flat biscuits. Do you want to learn more about the flat cookie conundrum? These are some often asked questions you may wish to look into.

Why are my cookies not spreading?

If your cookies aren’t spreading, it’s probably because you’re using too much flour or too cold butter. It might also be due to your dough being too cold, using the wrong oven temperature, or using too much leavening agent.

Should I flatten cookies before baking?

Unless your cookie recipe requires it, do not flatten the cookie before baking. As I usually say, it’s better to follow the recipe exactly. If it says to flatten the cookie dough, do it.

Can old baking soda cause flat cookies?

Flat cookies are almost often the result of old baking soda. Be certain that you’re utilizing fresh leavening chemicals. Pouring baking soda into a glass will confirm that it is active. Finally, pour in some vinegar or lemon juice. It’s OK if there’s a bubbly response.

Final Words

Cookies might turn out flat for a variety of reasons, and mistakes can happen between the mixing and baking stages. You shouldn’t have to worry about cookies turning out flat if you follow the suggestions above.

Have you ever had flat cookies? What steps did you take to repair it? Share your experiences so that we may all try.


Why did my cookies flatten?

You mixed up the wheat and sugar proportions.

As sugar is cooked, it liquefies, resulting in more spreading and flatter cookies. However, too little flour may damage the structure of your cookies and prevent them from rising.

How do you make cookies fluffy instead of flat?

We understand your concern, but if you want airy cookies, you must chill… the dough. Why? Due of the problem of the butter melting too quickly. Let the mixture to chill for at least 10 minutes before scooping it onto a baking sheet.

Can old baking soda make cookies flat?

If your baking soda or baking powder is outdated, your cookies will not develop properly, leading them to sprawl around the oven pan rather than rise. It’s a good idea to change your raising agents on a regular basis since they’re crucial to baked products rising properly.

What makes cookies rise?

The rise: The water in the dough transforms into steam at around 212 degrees Fahrenheit. When the vapors pass through the dough, the cookie begins to rise. Ultimately, the baking soda or powder begins to degrade into carbon dioxide gas, raising the cookie even higher.

How do you keep cookies from flattening after baking?

Fortunately, there is a workaround. Let your baking sheets to cool for a few minutes so they are warm but not hot. Finally, rinse them under cold water until they are no longer hot to the touch. Place your cookies on the magically cold sheets after drying them.

How do you fix flatten cookies?

Lastly, if cookies are put and cooked on hot cookie sheets, they will flatten. To begin, keep it cool. How to Repair It: If it was too soft butter, try chilling the cookie dough for 1 to 2 hours before baking. If too little flour was the problem, try adding 1 to 2 tablespoons more flour to the dough.

Why isn’t my cookie Fluffy?

Q: How come my cookies are so thin and flat? The butter or bread had become too heated. The butter should be room temperature (unless otherwise noted). Chill the dough for 10 to 15 minutes before baking if it seems too soft.

Are cookies better with Crisco or butter?

Cookies made with butter vs. cookies made with shortening

Cookies made entirely of butter may not rise as much and will spread more, but the edges will be crisper and have a deep buttery flavor. Cookies made entirely with shortening will bake higher and maintain their form better throughout baking.

Does baking soda make cookies fluffy?

Baking powder

When baking soda is added to dough, it produces carbon dioxide gas, which helps leaven the dough, resulting in a soft, fluffy cookie.

What makes cookies fluffier baking soda or baking powder?

Baking soda alters the texture of baked items by spreading a batter or dough, while baking powder gives a light, fluffy texture.

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