Oatmeal cookies are some of the most popular cookies out there. For many families, it’s a bit of a tradition to bake them as a dessert.
If you’re just now getting into baking them, things might not always go as planned. When you’re an inexperienced baker, it’s going to be easy to make a few mistakes as you learn.
Many people have a hard time baking oatmeal cookies because they wind up going flat. What might cause this to happen?
Read on to find out, as well as what to do to turn things around.
1 – You Didn’t Refrigerate the Cookie Dough
One thing that can help your cookies to turn out better is to use cold dough. If you mix your cookie dough and bake the cookies right away, it might be more likely that they’ll turn out flat.
To mitigate this issue, it’ll be good to refrigerate the cookie dough for a while before getting started. You could try refrigerating it for a couple of hours to be safe.
Some people say that it’d be better to allow the dough to refrigerate overnight. This might not be practical if you want to bake cookies that the family can enjoy today, though.
It should be fine to refrigerate the dough for at least one hour. This will do a good job of helping the cookies to turn out well.
2 – The Butter Melted
Why is refrigerating cookie dough important? It’s mostly because the butter will melt if you don’t.
Butter doesn’t take that long to melt, and if the butter melts before you can get the cookies in the oven, it’s going to make the cookies turn out flat. This is an annoying issue that causes many people to get frustrated.
The easiest solution to the problem is to refrigerate the cookie dough to ensure that things are very cool. Another way to handle this is to use shortening instead of butter.
Shortening doesn’t melt quite as easily as butter does. You could probably get away with not refrigerating the cookie dough if you choose to use shortening as an alternative.
Just keep in mind that many people prefer the taste of butter. If you think your cookies will be much more delicious if you use butter, it’ll be worth it to refrigerate the dough for a little while.
3 – Don’t Beat the Dough Too Much
New bakers will sometimes get overzealous when beating the dough. You might think that beating the dough more will make the cookies turn out better, but it can actually be detrimental.
Whether you’re beating things by hand or using an electric mixer, you’ll want to keep an eye on things. You’ll be spending a fair amount of time creaming the butter and sugar, but you don’t want to go overboard once you add in the eggs.
Blending things too much once the eggs have been added can make the cookies turn out worse. It’ll make them more likely to turn out flat, but it can also cause other problems.
You’ll also want to try not to get too distracted if you’re using a stand mixer. Some people make the mistake of turning the stand mixer on and allowing it to mix the cookie dough while you handle something else.
If you aren’t careful, you could leave the dough in the mixing bowl for way too long. The mixer will just keep going until you remember to stop it.
It’s probably safer to mix cookie dough by hand or with a simple electric hand mixer. You can use a stand mixer if you want, but you’ll just need to do your best to avoid letting the dough mix for too long.
4 – Ensure That the Cookie Sheets Are Room Temperature
Using cookie sheets that are too hot might cause you to get worse results. You’re trying to bake cookies fast, and this means that you’re probably pulling cookie sheets out of the oven and plopping more cookie dough right back on them.
Allowing the sheets to cool first would actually be the better thing to do. You see, putting the cookie dough on a hot pan will make the butter start melting.
As you learned earlier, hot butter is going to cause the cookies to spread, and this will make them turn out flatter than expected. If you want oatmeal cookies that turn out properly, it’s best to make sure you use room-temperature pans.
If it isn’t convenient to wait around for the cookie sheets to cool down, you might want to consider buying more of them. Having several ready to go will ensure that you’re always able to put cookie dough on room temperature sheets.
Otherwise, you’ll just have to exercise patience. It might be a bit annoying, but you’ll just have to wait it out.
5 – Use Parchment Paper
Parchment paper can help you to get better results, too. Essentially, using it will help to protect the bottom of the cookies.
It makes it so that they will bake evenly. You’ll be able to reduce instances of spreading, and it’ll be far less likely that the cookies will burn.
You should be able to enjoy cookies that are browned to perfection if all goes as planned. Parchment paper doesn’t cost much money either.
It’s going to be worth spending a few bucks to make baking cookies easier. You won’t have to spend much time lining the cookie sheets, and you’ll be glad that you decided to use the parchment paper.
6 – Make Your Dough Balls a Bit Tall
Finally, you might wish to consider making your dough balls a bit taller than normal. Many people choose to form the cookie dough into perfectly round balls.
This might be what you’re used to doing, but you might get better results by not forming perfectly round balls. Try making them somewhat oblong so that the balls of dough are a bit taller than usual.
When the cookies bake, it should be less likely that they will flatten. You’ll get a more normal-shaped cookie that has the dimensions that you’re hoping for.
You won’t have a hard time making the balls of dough slightly taller either. It’s another simple thing that you can do that will make a difference.
Oatmeal cookies that turn out flat can be a bit disappointing. If you’ve had a tough time getting yours to turn out perfectly as of late, the tips above should help.
You might want to try refrigerating the dough for a while so that melting butter doesn’t become a huge problem. It’s also possible to make things easier by using shortening instead of butter.
Not everyone is going to like shortening as much as traditional butter, though. This means that refrigerating the dough for at least an hour before utilizing it is the way to go.
You could also be careful about how you’re forming your dough balls. Making them a bit taller should ensure that they won’t flatten out too much.
It’d be wise to place the dough onto cookie sheets that are room temperature. Putting dough on hot cookie sheets will cause the butter to melt prematurely, and this leads to flat cookies.
Using parchment paper should help you to get the cookies to bake evenly, too. This is an inexpensive way to make baking cookies easier.
Take all of this information and use it to your advantage. You’ll be snacking on tasty oatmeal cookies with your family and friends before too long.
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.
Wednesday 9th of November 2022
Mine is the exact opposite of flat! mine still remained to be a ball shape even after 20 minutes of baking in the oven and I cannot understand why. Should I just place them flat next time?