PRO TIPS: How to bake perfect, consistent cookies every time


When people hear I externed at a 3-star Michelin restaurant, they immediately envision elaborate plated desserts I must have worked on.  While I (very) occasionally saw action with producing or creating those desserts, I more often supported the rustic Italian sister restaurant.  When I did work on Quince-related desserts, they fell into two camps: mignardises and cookies for special events. Spoiler alert: cookies are appropriate for all occasions and levels of “fanciness.”

Having made thousands of cookies with an aim of consistency and deliciousness in restaurant and home settings, I bestow upon you the tips and tricks most useful for achieving bakery-style cookies every time:


How to bake perfect, consistent cookies every time

  • Chill your dough for 8+ hours before baking, unless your recipe explicitly tells you not to.

  • Use a cookie scoop or scale to ensure consistent cookie size.  

  • Load your baking sheets evenly, and give cookies equal amounts of baking space.  With my cookie scoop, I generally don’t put more than 8 on a half sheet tray, but for smaller cookies and/or cookies that don’t spread (example: shortbread), you can fit more onto a single pan.

  • For those with finicky/uneven ovens: rotate your pans (top to bottom and front to back) halfway through your bake.

  • For cookies with mix-ins, like my salted chocolate chunk cookies: set some of your mix-ins aside and wait until just before you put them in the oven and top them with bits of chocolate (or whatever your mix in may be).

  • For saving cookies for later: freeze the unbaked (scooped) dough, not the already-baked cookies!  Trust me, you’ll get a better end product, and most cookies can be baked straight from frozen; just adjust your bake time a bit longer.

  • Take your cookies out of the oven 1-2 minutes before you think you have the “perfect” bake on them.  Residual heat will continue cooking your cookies even after they leave the oven.

  • For a solid (slightly under-) baked cookie: wait for the edges of the cookie to be set and take cookie out of oven regardless of whether the middle has cooked as fast as the edge.

  • For all recipes, cookies or not: start with high-quality ingredients. For most cookie recipes, I also recommend starting with all ingredients at room temperature -- it will help the components come together harmoniously.