No one likes a dry, crumbling cookie, but how do you make cookies moist?
In this guide, we’re revealing exactly how to make cookies moist, including potential substitutions, baking techniques, and more.
The moistness (I know, I know, I hate the word too!) of a cookie depends both on the ingredients and by how it’s baked, with some cookies like lace cookies or shortbread meant to be less moist than say a chocolate chip cookie or sugar cookie.
It’s also important to point out that pretty much all moist cookies are going to be soft, but not all soft cookies are necessarily going to be moist, so if you want to learn how to make your cookies softer, check out this guide on baking soft cookies.
When we talk about moist cookies, we’re talking about the moisture content in particular.
Not wet cookies or soggy cookies (yuck), but perfect cookies that don’t feel dry in your mouth.
Let’s get started!
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1. Add Cream Cheese to the Dough
One top backing hack to make your dough moist as heck is to add cream cheese to it!
Your cookies won’t taste like cream cheese, but will retain the moistness and softness that the cream cheese adds to the dough.
If you’re just starting out, only add a couple of tablespoons, but if you want to get really invested in the cream cheese, use a recipe like this one that’s specifically formulated for cream cheese cookies.
They will seriously melt in your mouth and you’ll wonder how you ever had cookies without them.
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. Use Instant Pudding Mix in the Dough
Another secret that many bakers use when they want really moist and fluffy cookies is to use instant pudding mix.
Simply get a box of regular instant pudding mix and throw it into the dry ingredients.
Don’t prepare the pudding or do anything besides adding the mix in to your dough.
The result is some of the most moist cookies you’ll ever eat, and requires pretty much zero effort or thought.
Add vanilla instant pudding mix into most cookie recipes, or go for the chocolate one if you’re doing chocolate cookies.
3. Use Brown Sugar instead of White Sugar
Brown sugar retains more moisture than white sugar, making it a great option for cookies that are moister and not as crisp.
That’s because brown sugar is a mixture of sugar and molasses, and the molasses is really the key here to help keep those cookies moist.
You can swap brown sugar for white sugar in a recipe cup for cup, just make sure to tightly pack down the brown sugar when measuring.
If you want moister cookies, but still want some of the qualities that white sugar provides (like making your cookies a bit lighter colored and more flat), use 1/2 brown sugar and 1/2 white sugar to substitute for all white sugar.
There are also plenty of brown sugar cookie recipes that have already formulated this for you and will come out moist and delicious!
4. Underbake the Cookies Slightly
If you don’t want to mess around with adding any extra ingredients, one of the best ways to make moister cookies is to not bake them as much.
This way, you’re not drying them out completely and they can retain some of that moisture.
Go ahead and “underbake” from what the recipe says by a minute or two, and then let cool for 5 minutes on the baking tray before moving to a cooling rack.
As long as the cookies look set in the middle when you pull them out, they should firm out slightly and not be a gooey mess, but still retain tons of moisture and be moist and soft for days.
This is a method that you should play around with, because the exact baking times do depend on your oven, so best to test first with just a few cookies or make two batches to compare some baking time options.
In normal baking, if your cookies have already gone golden in the oven, they’re likely going to cool to be hard and overbaked.
That means if you’re looking for moist cookies in particular, you want to get them out of the oven way before they look golden or “done” in the oven.
5. Add Sour Cream
Another cream option to add into your cookies is sour cream!
Seriously, some people think sour cream should be best left to fajita night, but use it in your cookies and you’ll finally understand the true secret on making moist cookies (it’s adding a bunch of moisture, duh).
Cream works really well in a cookie dough because it blends in well and holds its structure enough without making the cookies too “wet.”
Some of the most popular cookie dough recipes to add sour cream in are plain sugar cookies, but you can also add it to butter cookies, crinkle cookies, and more.
Either find a recipe that is formulated to use sour cream already, or try adding 2 tablespoons to your dough when you go to add the eggs and vanilla extract.
6. Add Corn Syrup
You may have noticed that nowhere in these tips do we suggest to add straight liquid to your dough to make your cookies most.
Just adding more water isn’t going to do it.
But one liquid we do recommend adding is either corn syrup or golden syrup.
It helps to retain moisture and will make your cookies super chewy.
Add in 1/4 cup of corn syrup to your dough and enjoy how moist your cookies turn out!
7. Store on Sheets of Wax Paper with a Slice of Bread
If you’re already made your cookies and are hoping to keep them moist or give them a bit of extra moisture and refresh, store them in an airtight container, with sheets of wax paper between, and include a half slice to a slice of fresh bread.
Yes, that’s right, bread!
The moisture from the bread helps keep the cookies soft and moist, as well as stay fresh for longer.
You can even use tortillas or hamburger or hot dog buns if that’s the only kind of bread you have.
8. Use Shortening
Using shortening instead of butter in a recipe is going to give you cakier cookies that are naturally more moist.
Cookies made with butter will spread more and be a bit flatter than cookies made with shortening, which means they crisp up more and lose some of that moisture.
Shortening is going to give you tender cookies, though be prepared to add a little extra salt as some bakers find shortening gives their cookies less flavor than butter.
You can swap shortening for butter cup-for-cup in recipes, or if you want the best of both worlds, do a 1/2 butter and 1/2 shortening ratio.
9. Use Less Flour
The right amount of flour in a recipe is essential for not having really thin, spread out cookies, but did you know that adding too much flour leads to dry cookies?
It makes sense, too.
An overuse of a dry ingredient isn’t going to give you that soft, moist bite that you’re looking for.
Instead of just subtracting the amount of flour you use in your recipe, however, focus on first measuring correctly.
Most people try and measure flour by scooping it out with a measuring cup, then leveling off with a knife.
And while that might be easier, it’s wrong!
Flour is meant to measured by fluffing up the flour with a fork in the container, then spooning individual spoons of flour into your measuring cup.
Once you’ve overfilled the cup, level it off with a knife.
This is going to get you closer to the recommended amount of flour in the recipe, as when you scoop it directly from the bag of flour with your measuring cup, you’re compacting the flour and adding more into your recipe.
If you are measuring correctly but still feel your cookies are not moist enough, then try eliminating flour, just a tablespoon or two per batch, until you get the moist consistency you’re looking for.