Homemade cookies are wonderful, but if yours fall apart as soon as you try to eat them, it’s usually due to either not letting them cool off long enough or measuring your flour wrong.
This article will explore the top 4 reasons why cookies fall apart after baking and how you can stop this from happening.
4 Reasons Why Cookies Fall Apart After Baking
Below are some of the reasons why cookies fall apart after you bake them.
1. They Didn’t Cool Down Long Enough
Cookies have to “set” when they come out of the oven, and this usually takes several minutes.
If you don’t let them cool off long enough, they won’t set and they’ll be too soft when you pick them up, which results in the cookies falling apart.
2. The Flour Was Not Measured the Flour Correctly
We’re all used to measuring flour and other ingredients with a measuring cup, but according to professional chefs, they should be measured by weight and not volume.
Most chefs use a digital scale for measuring the flour and other dry ingredients. When you measure by volume, you tend to add a little too much flour, and that can result in cookies that fall apart after you bake them.
3. You Aren’t Following the Directions Properly
Baking is a lot of fun, but keep in mind that it is also a science. While it’s tempting to skip measuring or alter some of the steps in the instructions, this can result in cookies that have problems once you take them out of the oven.
I find it is best to weigh ingredients to measure them accurately. I like to use a small kitchen scale to get the flour, butter and sugar measurements right. This will help the cookies hold together.
Too much flour will result in crumbly cookies which can fall apart.
4. Swapping butter for margarine
Sometimes, when the recipe calls for butter or shortening, people use whipped or diet spreads instead. Both whipped and diet spreads are filled with a lot of water and air, which doesn’t give the cookies the right consistency, and this can cause your cookies to fall apart after you take them out of the oven.
To remedy the situation, make sure you use the right ingredients and do not substitute. Most cookies will have a butter or shortening base.
5 Ways to Stop Cookies From Falling Apart After Baking
Now that we’ve discussed some causes of cookies that fall apart after baking, let’s take a look at a few things you can do to prevent this from happening.
1. Make Sure You Mix the Dough Long Enough
When you knead or blend your cookie dough, gluten – which is the “glue” that helps cookie dough stay together – forms properly and keeps the cookies together.
When there’s not enough gluten, it’s easy for the cookies to have trouble sticking together. Make sure you always mix your dough thoroughly and long enough for it to be completely mixed, and the odds of the cookies falling apart will be greatly reduced.
2. Mix Your Ingredients in the Proper Order
In most cookie recipes, you start by beating your sugar and butter, adding eggs, then adding your flour and flavorings. While it might be tempting to do otherwise, always make sure you complete every step according to the instructions in the recipe.
Every single step in the instructions is important, so make sure you never stray from adding your ingredients in the right order.
3. Make Sure You Bake Them Long Enough
Under-baked cookies are more likely to crumble when you take them out of the oven. This involves being familiar with your oven because if the recipe says to bake the cookies for “18 to 20 minutes,” you’ll have to know your oven to make sure you keep the cookies in the oven as long as they need.
If you’re in a new home and not completely familiar with your oven, it might take some trial and error to learn exactly how long you have to keep the cookies in the oven so they don’t fall apart later.
4. Make Sure You Don’t Bake Them Too Long
Just like not baking cookies long enough, baking them too long can make them crumble and fall apart. Make sure the baking sheet isn’t too close to the heating element and it isn’t too thin.
This will lead to over-baking your cookies, and this can cause your cookies to fall apart or crumble in the end.
5. Use the Right Flour
Without the right amount of gluten, cookies don’t stay together. For this reason, using all-purpose flour for your cookies is always your smartest option. Other flower types including almond flour, bread or cake flour, self-rising flour, and any type of gluten-free flour can change the recipe.
If you want to make gluten free cookies use a specific gluten free recipe as the measurements will have been adjusted to compensate for the different flower types.
The flour you use makes a big difference, and using anything except all-purpose flour can cause your cookies to fall apart after you bake them.
Check out these other cookie mistakes in the video below.
How to Fix Crumbly Cookies After Baking
There are two remedies for the crumbly cookie problem, and while they seem strange, they work. The first is to place the cookies on a damp paper towel then microwave them for 15 seconds.
The second is to put them in your cookie jar, then place one slice of white bread in the jar for 24 hours. Both are simple and work great.
Having cookies that fall apart after you take them out of the oven can be a huge inconvenience because it makes you feel like all of your work was for naught. Fortunately, there are things you can do to prevent the problem in the first place, as well as a few things you can do afterwards.
Pay attention to every step in your recipe’s instructions and use the right ingredients and baking times, and this problem should occur much less often.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.