How to Soften Cookie Dough – 9 Tips to Fix Hard Cookie Dough

Published Categorized as Journal, Baking Tagged

If you’ve been thinking about how to soften cookie dough, you aren’t alone. Cookie dough that is hard is no fun, as it is never pliable enough to mold into balls or shapes. Fortunately, there are easy ways to soften and moisten dry cookie dough. In this post, we’ll delve into those ways as well as reveal a few ways you can prevent this from happening in the first place. So, without further ado, let’s get started.

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How To Soften Cookie Dough – 9 Tips To Fix Hard Cookie Dough

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Now that you know what makes rock hard cookie dough, you may be wondering what you can do to soften it.

Try the following tips for softening cookie dough:

  1. Thaw the dough overnight – If your dough was frozen to begin with, you can try thawing your dough anywhere from 1 hour to overnight in the fridge.
  2. Add more moisture – First, make sure you’ve added enough liquid according to the recipe you’re using. If you have, try adding a splash or two of milk to help soften things up. Remember also that if there is not enough fat, the cookie dough will become hard, dry, and very crumbly. Thus, you may need to add a bit of butter (if you haven’t already) to help bind things up.
  3. Place it in the microwave – Yes, you can place cookie dough in the microwave, but you must do so carefully. You could actually end up cooking the cookie dough this way if you aren’t careful, so you should only heat the dough in increments for the best results.
  4. Place near a warm stove – Placing your cookie dough in a warm place, such as near a heated oven or stove, can make your dough warm, which can help it become more pliable.
  5. Let it rest – If your hard cookie dough results from overmixing it, try allowing it to rest a bit. By allowing the dough to relax, you let some of the gluten in the batter to loosen. This will yield a more workable dough.
  6. Try egg yolks – As previously mentioned, adding more liquid can help soften dough. Thus, adding a single egg yolk can work wonders for moistening dough while also making for more chewy cookies.
  7. Use a rolling pin – Another way to fix dry cookie dough before baking is to pound it with a rolling pin. To do so, wrap your cookie recipe in plastic wrap and pound away. When done correctly you may find your cookie dough to be much easier to handle.
  8. Change the recipe – Let’s face it. Sometimes dry cookies are the aftermath of a bad recipe. These recipes usually contain too many dry ingredients and not enough liquid. As a result, you’ll usually end up with crumbly dough. To fix this, it can be a good idea to add a bit of extra fat (though not too much fat) or simply try the next step to help soften the dough.
  9. Use milk or warm water – If all else fails, try adding a splash or two of milk or warm water. This can help your cookies bake up better if the dough starts off dry and hard.

How to Soften Dough From Fridge

Softening cookie dough from the fridge is relatively easy. You can sit the cookie dough out at room temperature and allow it to soften this way for up to 2 hours.

If the dough is extra hard, try placing it near the oven for a little extra warmth.

Yes, you can use a microwave to soften cookie dough. You just need to be very careful not to overcook it.

To soften cookie dough in the microwave, nuke the dough for only 5-10 seconds at a time until the desired results are achieved.

Sometimes reducing the microwave’s power to 30% can also help make the dough soft without overcooking it.

Softening sugar cookie dough can be done in a variety of ways.

As previously mentioned, you can place the cookie dough in the microwave or sit it next to a heating source. You can also allow the dough to come to room temperature, add a splash of liquid, use a rolling pin, or even break out your pastry cutter to help the dough return to a pliable state.

How To Soften Cookie Dough – 9 Tips To Fix Hard Cookie Dough

Cookie dough generally takes anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour to soften. However, how long it takes to soften will largely depend on how much dough you have, the type of dough you’re using, and what method you’ve chosen to thaw it.

Looking for tips on how to prevent dry cookie dough in the first place? Try the following methods:

  • Always follow your cookie recipes to a tee
  • If you aren’t using certain wet ingredients, you must swap them out for another (i.e. use milk instead of vanilla extract if you don’t want vanilla in the cookie dough)
  • Only chill your dough 30 minutes to an hour before baking
  • Try your best not to use too much flour
  • Do not overwork your dough

Cookie dough can become crumbly and dry for a variety of reasons.

One of the most common reasons is that you’ve neglected to put a certain amount of liquid in your recipe. Ingredients like eggs, liquid extracts, milk, water, or even butter help cookie dough to become moldable. Thus, skipping these ingredients (or simply not putting enough of them) will undoubtedly negatively affect your dough.

Another reason your cookie dough could turn out too dry and hard is that you’ve refrigerated it too long. While chilling cookie dough is an awesome idea for when cookie dough is too sticky, it isn’t so great when your cookie dough suddenly becomes too hard.

Lastly, the reason you may find your cookie dough to be too hard is that you may have used too much flour. Flour is a necessary component for making cookies soft, but too much of a good thing is never best.

Hard cookie dough may seem intimidating at first, but softening it really is easy. You can easily soften cookie dough by placing it on a few baking sheets and allowing it to come to room temperature. If you’ve chosen to refrigerate cookie dough and it becomes too hard, you can also nuke it for a few seconds in the microwave until it becomes pliable. Then, go ahead and make your delicious cookie dough… you likely won’t even notice the difference!

We hope this helps. Until next time!


How do you soften cookies quickly?

To make cookies a bit softer, try microwaving them. To do this, place your cookie in the middle of a paper towel that has been slightly dampened. Wrap the damp paper towel around the cookie. From there, nuke the cookie for about 5-10 seconds. 

Why did my cookie dough get hard?

Cookie dough often gets hard after sitting in the refrigerator too long. It can also become hard if it is overmixed or doesn’t have enough butter fat or liquid.

Should refrigerated cookie dough be brought to room temperature before baking?

It doesn’t have to be! Actually, you can bake cookie dough from frozen. However, if you want to bake your cookie dough for the normal amount of time without needing to wait the few extra minutes it’ll take to bake the frozen cookie dough, then you should definitely allow them to come to room temperature first.

How to soften cookie dough from the refrigerator?

Softening cookie dough from the refrigerator usually simply involves letting the dough sit out for a couple of hours. Just don’t let it sit too long… cookie dough can grow rancid if left out longer than two hours.

Can you microwave cookie dough to soften it?

Yes, you can microwave cookie dough to soften it. To do so, try adjusting your microwave to 30% power before nuking the dough at intervals of 10 seconds until the dough becomes pliable again.

By Anna

Anna Brooks, the voice behind, is a seasoned writer and editor with an insatiable love for food. While not a professional chef, her culinary adventures and unique insights have captivated readers for years. Anna believes in the transformative power of food, stating it "feeds the soul." Dive into her writings for a mix of inspiration, entertainment, and culinary wisdom. Author Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Tumblr Reddit Quora

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