Baking cookies is something that you look forward to because of how fun it can be. It’s nice to get together with your family or your friends to bake some tasty treats for everyone to enjoy.
If you’re baking cookies and you find out that they’re turning out way too puffy, you might feel a bit disappointed. This likely isn’t how you wanted things to go, and you could be scratching your head trying to figure out where you went wrong.
Keep reading to learn all about why cookies can sometimes turn out to be puffy. There are a few possible things that could be happening.
1 – Whipping Too Much Air Into the Dough While Creaming Butter
The most common reason why cookies turn out puffier than they should is that you made a mistake while creaming your butter. When you’re creaming butter, it’s going to be necessary to mix the butter with sugar so that it can become properly blended.
Generally, you’re going to be using some type of high-speed mixer to accomplish this, and this is where things can go wrong if you take things too far. When you whip too much air into the mix, it’s going to create problems for your dough.
You could wind up whipping so much air into this butter mixture that it will make your cookies puffy when they finish baking. The presence of the air is what is creating the puffiness, and you’re going to need to be mindful of how you are creaming your butter to avoid issues.
Don’t mix your butter and sugar together more than you need to so that you can avoid running into problems. Some people don’t pay close attention when they are creaming butter, and this is why they wind up mixing things for a bit too long.
This should be the rule of thumb when it comes to mixing all of the ingredients together. Only beat things until they are blended properly, then stop when you know that you’ve finished the job.
It might even be best to beat things using medium speed instead of high speed unless the recipe that you’re utilizing specifically calls for it. It makes it less likely that you’ll make a mistake, and you should have an easier time getting things right.
2 – Using Cold Ingredients
Did you know that using cold ingredients can actually cause you to experience some problems when you’re baking cookies? Lots of people use ingredients right out of the refrigerator, and this is where you are going wrong.
You’re supposed to use ingredients that are room temperature instead of using cold ingredients. Taking the time to ensure that ingredients such as milk, eggs, and butter are room temperature might seem like a pain, but it will be worth it in the end.
One good piece of advice is to let the ingredients that you wish to use sit on the counter for approximately 30 minutes. That should give them enough time to warm up to room temperature even if they’ve been in the refrigerator for a while.
If you think the ingredients are going to take longer to get to room temperature, just be patient. Try to set your ingredients out before you want to get started with your baking so that it doesn’t feel like you’re just standing around waiting.
Using cold ingredients could make your cookies turn out far puffier than normal, and you want to avoid this. Just being a bit more patient will likely be able to help your cookies turn out better overall.
3 – Flatten Cookies on Your Cookie Sheet
When you go to place the cookie dough in dollops onto cookie sheets, you likely just leave the dollops as they are. Most people don’t take the time to do anything special or try to form the cookie dollop into a shape.
If the cookies that you’re baking are turning out far too puffy, just flattening out the cookie dough a bit before baking it might work well. You can place a dollop onto a cookie sheet and then flatten it a bit using a spoon or a fork.
You might be surprised by how well this can work to help you get cookies that won’t turn out so puffy. Of course, the cookie might be a bit longer if you flatten it in this way, but you can try to adjust things to your liking.
4 – Consider Changing Some Ingredients
Changing some ingredients in the recipe that you’re using might help you to get better results, too. You could be using a recipe that calls for a leavener such as baking soda, but this could be making your cookies much puffier than you want them to be.
By lessening the amount of baking soda or baking powder that you use, you’re going to make it less likely that this will occur. You might be able to cut the baking soda or baking powder amount in half, but you can try out different mixes to see what turns out the best for you if you have the time.
It could be that your recipe just went a bit too high on the baking soda or baking powder amount. There’s also a chance that you could have used too much because you made an error.
Lots of people make little mistakes when they try to mix ingredients together too fast. For example, you could have used a tablespoon when you meant to use a teaspoon.
5 – Don’t Use Shortening
Shortening is something that quite a few cookie recipes utilize, but it might be causing your cookies to be puffier than normal. Many people have discovered that shortening is not ideal to use, but there is something that you can replace it with.
You could choose to use unsalted butter instead of shortening when you’re baking cookies. This should turn out better, and it’s easy to make this change.
Some people say that using margarine is also going to cause you similar problems. You might wish to use margarine instead of butter to try to make things a bit less caloric, but it usually isn’t worth it to do so.
Consider going with the unsalted butter so that you can have a good baking experience. Your cookies will likely be a lot closer to perfect, and it’s nice to have cookies that are very aesthetically pleasing.
6 – Using Too Many Eggs
Is it possible that you used more eggs in your recipe than you were supposed to? Using too many eggs to make cookie dough will often result in the cookies turning out substantially puffier than normal.
Take a look at your recipe and see how many eggs it calls for. Is it possible that you used one too many due to miscounting?
Small mistakes like this happen so often, but many people often don’t realize they made a mistake until the first batch of cookies comes out of the oven. Your cookies might not be bad or anything, but they might just be puffier than they should be.
If you want to get things right, try to make a new batch of dough that uses the specific number of eggs that is called for in the recipe. You should have cookies that turn out much closer to what you expect that way.
7 – Using Too Much Flour
Sometimes little errors such as not measuring out a cup properly will make the difference. Many people just estimate how much a cup is instead of getting out a measuring cup and being meticulous.
You’re going to get more consistent results if you’re careful with your measurements when baking. It might be better to use measuring cups next time instead of guessing how much you’re using or not taking the time to level off the cups.
Enjoy Better Cookies
Hopefully, all of the information above should make it easier for you to solve your puffy cookie conundrum. You now know much more about why cookies can turn out puffy, and this makes it simpler to figure out what went wrong.
You might have used the wrong ingredients or you could have measured something improperly. Even beating things for too long when mixing ingredients can cause you to have issues.
Just do your best to keep this information in mind the next time you make the cookie dough. There’s a very good chance that your cookies will turn out much better now that you know what pitfalls to avoid.
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.
Friday 28th of October 2022
Or just do the easy method of smacking the pan full of fresh baked cookies against the counter top instant flatness. I like my pumpkin cookies flat.
Tuesday 31st of August 2021
Thank you! This is VERY helpful and explains why my chocolate chip cookies were fluffier than usual. I creamed the butter and sugar way too long.
Friday 20th of August 2021
Hi, I bake and sell dog treats. The larger ones use wheat flour and cornmeal. Anything else produces a treat that breaks too easily. I am careful to not over mix. My largest treat is 17"x7". As they cool, the treat blisters. After the dehydrator, some them curl.. What can I do? I'd been chilling the dough but get the same results. 2nd problem, as thin as I try to roll the dough, it quickly puffs up. The recipe uses wheat flour, corn meal, canola oil, peanut butter powder and a little honey. I prick holes in the dough before baking. What am I doing wrong? Thanks.