Whether you’re trying to troubleshoot your recent cookie baking antics or you just always feel like you end up with cakey cookies, this is the ultimate guide on how to make cookies less cakey featuring some really easy fixes that doesn’t take any extra time.
By “cakey,” we’re talking about a cookie that is much more fluffy and tender than a regular cookie.
Cookies tend to be dense, in a good way, while cake has that very spread out and fluffy crumb that you think of when you think of biting into a cake.
And while some people prefer their cookies cakey (in which case, simply do the opposite of the steps below), some people find that want to make their cookies less cakey because they’re trying for a more traditional cookie texture and for some reason they’re just not getting it.
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In our opinion, cakey cookies just don’t quite melt in your mouth the same way a denser cookie does, and you’ve got less chewiness (don’t forget to check out on guide on how to make your cookies chewier if that’s what you’re after!)
Now that the word “cakey” has lost all meaning, let’s go ahead and get started in teaching you how to fix cakey cookies!
What Makes Cookies Cakey?
That cake-like texture that you might accidentally find in your cookies is caused by a combination of ingredients, measurements, and methods.
Some cookies are meant to be cakey, like the delicious cake mix cookies.
But others, like your traditional chocolate chip cookie, isn’t meant to be cakey.
Cakey cookies can be caused by dough that has too much flour, is overbeaten, has too much baking powder, or has too many eggs.
There are also some other potential fixes, which we’ll talk about below.
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!
How to Fix Cakey Cookies
Some of these tips for fixing cookies that are cakey are no extra effort at all, like simply skipping a step or decreasing an ingredient.
Others require a little extra work, like melting the butter or dropping the pan on the counter (yes, on purpose, we’ll be there).
Ultimately, try a combination of these things, preferably 1 or 2 at a time, until you get your cookies less cakey and more dense.
Do not try them all at once, as you won’t know which technique worked for your baking in particular, and you may end up with a much denser cookie than you wanted, thus defeating the purpose and swinging too far in the other direction!
1. Don’t Chill Your Cookies
Cookie recipes often ask you to chill your cookies in the fridge before baking.
This often creates a puffier cookie that doesn’t spread as much in the oven, and is overall a good baking tip.
However, if you’re making a recipe and it’s coming out too cakey, go ahead and use our permission to not chill the dough.
This should make the cookie a bit flatter and more dense, as the butter will melt faster, which can help control the cake-like texture.
2. Use Melted Butter instead of Room Temperature Butter
Room temperature butter is almost always used in cookie recipes instead of melted butter.
Because it produces sturdier cookies that spread less in the oven, as the butter/fat takes longer to melt in the oven.
When you use melted butter in a cookie recipe, you’ve already melted the fat that you’ve included, which leads to flatter cookies.
However, again, despite not being best practice for most recipes, using melted butter instead of room temperature or cold butter can be a great way to create a denser cookie if your cookies keep coming out too cakey for you.
3. Use Less Flour
Flour is a huge culprit when it comes to cakey cookies, as the more flour you have the more likely you’re going to end up with fluffier cookies because the cookies are going to hold their shape more as opposed to spreading out.
If you’re not happy with the texture of your cookies, try using less flour.
Take out about 1/4 cup flour from the recipe and do a test bake with a couple of cookies.
You can then either continue to decrease or increase the amount of flour to the dough from there based on the texture.
4. Don’t Beat the Butter and Sugar Too Much
While you do need to cream the butter and sugar together for most cookie recipes, there is such a thing as overbeating which can lead to your cookies being too cakey.
This is because of all of the air you’ve incorporated into the dough with the beating.
Beat the butter and sugar until they come together and appear to be one consistency, but don’t continue longer than that.
This will lead to denser cookies, which should be less cakey.
5. Add Baking Soda
Baking soda is a fantastic way to help your cookies spread and get a crispier finish, as the purpose of baking soda is to give your cookie a bit of a rise and help you get denser, chewier cookies.
If your recipe doesn’t call for it, try adding 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda.
If your recipe already has baking soda and it still turns out cakey, go ahead and add about 1/4 teaspoon extra to see if that helps (in addition to a few of the other techniques).
6. Decrease Baking Powder
Baking powder is another leavening agent that helps make your cookies puffy (I always think of it as “Powder” = P= puff).
Baking powder is a great way to get soft, cakelike cookies, and so it makes sense that if you want to make your cookies less cakey, decrease the baking powder to avoid all of that puff and help you make denser cookies.
I would advise decreasing the amount of baking powder first, rather than eliminating it completely, but you can try both ways.
Decrease by 1/4th teaspoon baking powder at a time and do some test batches before coming up with your new perfect recipe.
7. Drop the Pan on the Counter a Few Times after Baking
This method of fixing cakey cookies is fantastic as it doesn’t require any changing of ingredients and can be done in just a few seconds after baking.
Once you take your cookies out, bring your pan over to the counter (make sure it’s heat safe or has a heat safe mat under it!) and go ahead and drop/bang the pan on the counter 2-3 times as soon as you bring them out.
This is a great way to make your cookies denser and chewier, as the force helps the cookies settle and compact and not stay as puffy.
8. Decrease the Amount of Eggs
If you’ve ever looked at a cookie recipe versus a cake recipe, you’ll notice that they can be relatively similar, except that a cake recipe has more eggs!
Eggs in baking help add structure, as well as helping the baked goods rise and have a more cake-like texture.
Fewer eggs means a less cake-like texture, so if you decrease the amount of eggs in your recipe, you should end up with denser cookies.
If it calls for multiple eggs, simply cut the amount in 1/4 or by half, and if it just calls for one egg, you can either just add the egg yolk or only add half of it.
Eggs do add moisture, though, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re not completely taking the moisture out of your cookies.
9. Use Butter instead of Shortening
If your recipe contains shortening, switch that to butter straight away for less cake like cookies.
The whole point of shortening is that you’re going to end up with fluffier, more tender, cake-like cookies, and that’s why many people use it.
But if you want that denser, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth kind of taste, swap shortening in your cookies for the same amount of butter.