If you want to know how to make cookie dough less crumbly, this guide is going to help make sure that your dough sticks together and doesn’t crumb all over the counter.
There’s nothing worse than crumbly cookie dough, because it’s much harder to work with without making a mess, the cookies never quite look as good, and you just get this sinking feeling the whole time that you’ve done something wrong.
And whether it was a bad recipe (they exist, though hopefully not on this site) or it was because your measurements were a bit off, crumbly cookie dough is one of the easiest kinds of cookie dough to fix!
But first, before we figure out how to make cookie dough less crumbly, we have to figure out what the actual problem is.
When you’ve got crumbly dough, it means it’s too dry (of course, this depends on the type of dough you’re making.
Something like shortbread dough will be crumblier at the start than other doughs).
This means the ratio of wet to dry ingredients is off, with too much dry to wet.
It’s very difficult to take away the dryness by removing anything from the dough (if not impossible), so the next step is usually to add something…like one of the options below!
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1. Add Butter
Butter is often used in baking, and adding in a bit more butter will add in that fat to your dough to help it lose its crumble.
I usually add about a tablespoon at a time, beating it a bit first so you’re not adding freezing cold and hard butter into your dough.
You can also warm it up a bit in the microwave, but only for 10 seconds or so to make it easier to work with.
Work in the butter into the dough with a mixer or your hands, and soon your dough should go from crumbly to perfect.
If one tablespoon doesn’t work, keep adding tablespoon at a time.
Must-Have Baking Tools (seriously)
- Silicone baking mats – I use this brand and my cookies slide right off without burning!
- a cookie scoop – get this one. It makes the perfect rounded cookies every time!
- silicone spatula – try this set. It’s the best way to get the most out of your dough and batters
- rolling pin guides – I use this one. Genius way to roll your dough out evenly!
2. Add Olive Oil
Even easier than adding butter is adding olive oil, which is one of my favorite hacks if my dough just needs a little bit more moisture to come together.
Again, go slow, adding just a teaspoon or so at a time and working the dough together until the crumbs are gone.
Olive oil in your dough in these amounts is usually not going to have any major impact on the final result, and it can be way easier to control than butter.
3. Use Your Hands to Work It Together
At times, cookie dough is crumbly because it just hasn’t come together yet.
Keep mixing, or, even better, try and use your hands, which will add a bit of warmth to the dough and help the ingredients blend together.
I often use this as a trick when I make my favorite cut-out sugar cookie dough.
It takes a bit of rolling around and kneading on the table with my hands before it comes together in a hard dough like I want, and 99% of the times, using my hands to help me mix is the secret sauce to getting the outcome I want.
4. Add Egg
Sometimes, people will think that “size doesn’t matter” when it comes to eggs in your cookie dough, but if the recipe called for two large eggs and you added two medium or two small ones, you might find that you need to incorporate another egg into the dough.
Adding too many eggs will make your cookies a bit more cakey, but if your dough is crumbly, then adding 1 egg is often a good fix.
If you are worried about making cakey cookies, crack an egg into a small bowl and only add a bit at a time to the dough so you may only end up adding 1/2 egg to get to the consistency you want.