So you made some delicious, chewy, homemade cookies- nice job! Aren’t fresh cookies amazing the first day? But then comes the second day…you go to reach for a cookie only to find that it has gotten hard and crunchy.
What happened?!? Why don’t the cookies stay soft for longer than a day? Don’t worry- I am here to help you save your cookies and keep them soft for days.
Make sure to check out our post about simple ways to keep a cake soft as well!
First, Make Soft Cookies
The first step to keeping cookies soft is to make soft cookies in the first place (of course!). There are a few tricks to making nice soft cookies that we can quickly go over.
Let’s start with the flour- skip the all purpose flour and use cake flour. Cake flour doesn’t brown as quickly as all purpose flour and also will help the cookies rise slightly making them chewier. One step toward chewy cookies!
Use shortening in your cookie batter, which will not melt as quickly as butter and will prevent the cookies from spreading too thin while baking. Less spreading means thicker, softer cookies.
Brown sugar, rather than white sugar, is a better choice as well for chewy cookies. Brown sugar retains moisture while baking and moisture equals soft!
My favorite way to keep cookies chewy is to bake them just to the point where they are cookies but still soft in the center. Over baking can dry the cookies out making them crunchy and crisp. Less time in the oven makes for a nice soft cookie!
If crunchy and crisp cookies are your thing, check out these simple ways to make your cookies crisp.
My Cookies Were Soft…
If you managed to make super soft cookies (great job!) but then found that they were hard as rocks the next day, what happened? The first thing to look at is how you stored them.
Were they wrapped tightly or stored in an air tight container? Or were they left exposed and un covered overnight? Dry air is a soft cookies worst enemy. Even the softest cookie will become hard if not stored properly.
Keep ‘Em Soft
Cover the Cookies Well
Step one to keeping cookies soft is to wrap them tightly with plastic wrap or store them at room temperature in an air tight container, preferably glass. Keep the air away! The less the cookies are out in the open, the better off they will be. So wrap them up!
It may sound crazy but storing the cookies with a slice of bread will work wonders. Put a slice of plain bread at the bottom of the cookie jar or plate and place the cookies right on top of the bread.
The cookies will absorb the moisture from the bread and stay soft. Bread is a perfect tool because it has very little flavor or scent and won’t transfer any unwanted taste to the cookies.
Make sure to switch out the bread every day or two to keep the cookies fresh (do homemade cookies ever stuck around more than a day?!?). You will notice that the bread will get hard and crunchy while the cookies stay nice and soft- that’s moisture transfer in action!
Freezer Bags For Soft Cookies
While we already mentioned covering the cookies well, it is worth pointing out how useful freezer bags are when it comes to cookie storage. Freezer bags are much thicker and less porous than regular plastic bags or plastic wrap.
Place the cookies in a single layer in a freezer bag, seal it well and your cookies will stay nice and soft. That’s an easy solution!
My Cookies Are Already Hard! Help!
Maybe you are reading this article a little too late and your previously chewy cookies have already gotten hard. Don’t worry! It may not be too late to save them!
There are a few things you can try to make your cookies soft again.
If you have an apple laying around the house, you are on your way to soft cookies! Cut up an apple and put a few slices in an airtight container along with your cookies.
Let them both sit for a few hours (preferably overnight). The moist apple will help humidify the air in the container and make the cookies soft again. Such an easy method!
No apple? No problem. We can revert back to our slice of bread trick! Place a piece of bread with the hard cookies, wrap tightly and store overnight.
While the cookies may not get as soft as when stored with an apple, they will still get some moisture back from the bread. Bye bye crispy cookies!
The next trick is perfect if you want to eat one of the hardened cookies right away. Place the cookie on a plate and fill a microwavable cup with a few tablespoons of water. Place the plate and the water in a microwave and set for about 30 seconds.
The steam from the water will soften the cookie and the microwave heat will warm it up as well. You will be eating a soft cookie in no time and it will taste as though it just came out of the oven!
Speaking of the oven, you can soften cookies by simply placing them back in the oven for a minute or two. This method works best if you are going to eat the cookies right away.
Yes they will come out of the oven nice and soft, but as they cool, they will get even crispier than before. Eat them quickly while they are warm and chewy!
Did you know you can bake cookies without an oven?
Keep Cookies Soft- It’s Not That Hard!
With so many ways to keep cookies soft or make them soft again, you should never need to eat a stale, crunchy cookie again. Make sure to bake soft cookies to begin with then store them properly (it seems like having some bread on hand is a good idea!).
If you forget to wrap them up, the cookies will forgive you! Our guide will have you eating soft cookies in no time.
Now go heat up that oven and get out the mixer, it’s time to bake some soft, chewy cookies….my mouth is watering already!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.