Ask the TK: Help! My Cookies are Flat!

June 30, 2009 | By | Comments (9)

Spice-cookies-ck-1134039-l Dear Test
I love to make cookies. I am
experiencing a problem, though. My recipes that call for butter are turning out
flat. Recipes that call for shortening or margarine retain their shape, but the
ones with butter go flat. This is especially frustrating with rolled cookies.
Any suggestions? –Susan Z, Augusta, MO

Dear Susan: While it’s
hard to define the problem with certainty without being familiar with your
troublesome cookie recipes, it sounds like it may be a fairly common issue. It
likely has to do with the temperature of the butter. Butter that is too warm may
cause the cookies to spread and turn out flat.
Shortening is not affected by the temperature, so the cookies hold their shape.

We have a few suggestions that may help with this:

1. Make
sure the butter is slightly soft to the touch, but not melting
A good rule of thumb is to cut refrigerated butter into small pieces and let it
stand at room temperature until softened. This may take for 10 to 15 minutes or
less, if you have a sunny, warm kitchen.

2. Chill the dough for about one
hour or until it’s stiff to the touch.
 If preparing drop cookies, try portioning your cookies into dough
balls before chilling – it’s easier than trying to handle a bowl of chilled,
stiff dough. For rolled cookies, work with small
portions of the chilled dough at a time so that the butter in the dough doesn’t
become too soft with excessive counter time. If re-rolling dough, be sure to chill it in between.

3. Avoid putting cookie dough (chilled or not) onto a warm pan. Baking sheets should
always cool off sufficiently before putting the dough on them.


  1. Carol

    Is it generally okay to cut the sugar when baking cookies and cakes? We usually find baked goods too sweet when using the amount listed in the recipe.

    April 16, 2011 at 8:52 am
  2. Kitchean

    I have a good try ..Thank you for sharing..I like it very much.

    January 16, 2011 at 9:17 pm
  3. Supra Shoes

    Love’s tongue is in the eyes. There is no hiding from lover’s eyes.Love is a fabric that nature wove and fantasy embroidered.

    October 29, 2010 at 4:16 am
  4. sandra

    I am trying to make the coconut cupcakes and can’t find potato starch. I found potato starch flour. Is that the same thing? Can I use something else? Do you have a recipe for sponge cake?

    July 20, 2009 at 5:33 pm
  5. kimberlee

    Success!! THANK YOU! I just made the chocolate chip-pretzel cookies and chilled the dough as instructed and it worked! I can still use my stoneware! Thank you!!!!
    BTW, the recipe is awesome!

    July 4, 2009 at 2:15 pm
  6. KatLuvsShoes

    What a great bunch of tips! I usually just give up and eat the flat cookies anyway, but now I have the secrets to success! Thanks for the advice!

    July 3, 2009 at 4:07 pm
  7. HoneyB

    Great tips to remember!

    July 3, 2009 at 5:28 am
  8. HoneyB

    Great tips to remember!

    July 3, 2009 at 5:27 am
  9. kimberlee

    I’m so happy this was asked and answered because I’ve had the same problem since switching to butter. Someone recently told me it was my stoneware, but I had never had problems on them before. If I do have problems still after this, I will be switching to airbakes. TFS

    July 1, 2009 at 7:26 pm

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