how to fix cookies that spread too much

Learning how to fix cookies that spread too much can save you from so much hassle. 

But it is not always easy to master the art of baking.

Sometimes, you know you have followed the recipe to the dot but you still get cookies that spread a little too much. 

It is annoying and quite disheartening too!

However, I have finally managed to crack the code and I’ll answer, “what do I do if my cookies spread too much?” to help you save the day.

And you will also figure out how to take certain steps and avoid mistakes to avert the disaster in the first place. 

How to Fix Cookies That Spread Too Much?

fix cookies that spread too much

All of us may relate to that feeling. 

You make a batch of cookies, put them in the oven, and notice that they have spread out a lot.

Perhaps the cookies have grown to the point where they can now touch one another. 

Perhaps they have fused into a single, monstrous biscuit. 

You know they will taste just fine, but what to do about their unappealing looks?

I wish there was a quick and easy solution for cookie spread. 

In actuality, there are a few factors that can cause your cookies to spread too much. 

It could be something small and unimportant, or it could be something much more significant.

Let’s first talk about what you can do if you have cookies that spread a bit too much or are a bit too thin and flat. 

Use in your Ice Cream Sandwich

try ice cream sandwich

There are a few things you can do with cookies even if their appearance makes them less appetizing than regular cookies.

Depending on how flat your cookies are, they might work well as an ice cream sandwich’s top and bottom layers.

If the cookie did not get enough flour or the baking sheet was particularly hot, the flavor of the ice cream will usually mask the flaw. 

In addition, flat cookies are ideal for making ice cream sandwiches since they are more manageable in the hands.

Tip: Do not make your cookies too thick because this makes them take longer to set in the oven and spread too much.

Use As Cookie Crust

use it as cookie crust

Even if your cookies did not turn out perfectly, you could still use the ingredients in other recipes to create something delicious.

Cookies can be used as a cookie crust for a wide range of dishes. 

Or they can be crushed and ground into crumbs for use in different ways.

Cookie crusts are used in place of traditional pie crusts in a variety of baked goods, from cheesecake bottoms to pie tops. 

Can the Cookie Dough Be Saved?

Those fresh from the oven are toast, but if you still have the troublesome cookie dough on hand, there is still hope. 

Needless to say, how you would go about repairing the cookies depends solely on what went wrong in the first place. 

Fix the Butter

fix your butter

If the butter in your cookies does not firm up enough, you can save the dough by chilling it in the refrigerator.

It is important to chill the dough for at least an hour, preferably two, so that the butter can firm up. 

This helps to get the correct consistency before you bake the cookies.

Before using all of the cookie dough, you should bake a small test batch of a couple of cookies to make sure the recipe works properly. 

This will help you determine whether or not the issue has been resolved. 

The Flour Issue

Your remaining cookie dough can be saved by adding extra flour to the mixture if there is not enough. 

what is the flour issue

One or two additional tablespoons of flour may be necessary, depending on how much is already in the recipe.

Next, give the dough a good knead to distribute the additional flour evenly throughout, avoiding cookies with flour imbalances.

To test if this has resolved the issue, place a couple of cookie scoops of dough onto a baking sheet kept at room temperature. 

If that works, you can proceed with the remaining cookie dough.

Tip: Avoid thicker cookies but if you want them, be sure to raise your oven's temperature while baking to avoid issues.

What Causes Cookies to Spread Too Much?

the cookies are spreading

It is not just about what to do with the leftover cookies, but also about what went wrong in the oven.

With this information in hand, you can avoid repeating the same baking blunders and instead ensure that your cookies turn out perfect. 

Here is a bit about what causes cookies to spread too much. 

Your Cookie Dough Was Too Soft or Too Warm

cookie dough is too soft

This is why a lot of cookie recipes will tell you to cool the dough beforehand. 

Cookies with butter (or any other solid fat) in them benefit from being chilled because they take longer to melt once removed from the fridge.

The earlier the ice melts, the sooner the cookies can spread. 

It is important to keep this in mind if you are making cookies in a warm kitchen. 

This holds even if the dough can go straight from the mixer to the oven.

You can chill the dough in its current shape or leave it in the bowl. Bear in mind that most cookie doughs can be frozen for later use. 

The majority of dough can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.

Tip: Cookies normally just need to be refrigerated for an hour or two, so just chill it for as long as the recipe calls for. 

You Add Excessive Liquid Ingredients and Sugar

you add excessive ingredients

Sugar is often overlooked because of its fluid nature. 

Since it loses moisture while baking, using too much will result in a dough that does not maintain its form.

What’s more, you should not substitute a smaller or larger egg for the one called for in the recipe. 

It can also cause your cookies to spread a bit too quickly. 

You Ignore the Importance of Butter

know the importance of butter

The water content of butter matters a lot in the baking process.

So far, the only way I have found to determine which butters are more or less watery is to experiment a little. 

I have tried a few different types to see which one I like the most.

I was hoping to find some sort of percentage of water or anything similar on the packaging, but I have not been able to. 

But in most cases, the cheaper the butter, the higher the water content.

Similarly, if a recipe calls for margarine, stick to that. 

So many people make the mistake of replacing butter with margarine.

Margarine contains a lot of water, and you already know what happens when cookies absorb too much moisture. 

You Ignore the Oven Temperature

ignoring oven temperature

Cookies spread quickly and do not “set” properly if your oven is not hot enough.

Make use of a thermometer that is safe in an oven to double-check the temperature. 

Keep in mind that if you open the oven door to check on the cookies, the temperature will drop.

As a result, the cookies will spread more or less than they would have otherwise. 

So avoid it as much as possible or consider it when baking.

Tip: For cookies that continue to spread, increasing the oven temperature by 10-25 degrees from what the recipe calls for can help.   

You Measure Incorrectly

The art of baking is almost scientific in nature… 

incorrect measurements when baking

Making even minor adjustments to the measurements can affect the final product.

When making dough, for instance, using too much sugar can have unintended consequences. 

The melting of sugar makes it a liquid, and additional liquid makes it more likely to spread.

Having some sugar is inevitable, though, since we are discussing cookies. But just know how much is enough and use it carefully. 

You Do Not Pick the Right Type of Baking Sheet

the baking sheet

Perhaps it is just my imagination, but when I bake cookies on a thick baking sheet, they spread far less than when baked on a thin one.

If you have tried everything else and still end up with flat and thin cookies, your baking sheets might have to be blamed. 

Just consider changing them and see if that helps with the process.

Tip: Make sure the sugar and butter do not get overworked in the mixer, over-mixing will introduce too much air, which spoils your cookies. 


Learning how to fix cookies that spread too much is important but it is just as critical to learn and avoid certain mistakes first. 

In most cases, cookies that spread too much are beyond saving, but you can still use them in other recipes. 

The better option is to discover what could go wrong in the first place and make every effort to avoid these common mistakes.