Making sugar cookies gives you something to look forward to, but in order for them to taste right, they have to be nice and soft. If your sugar cookie dough is too dry, it’s usually because there is too much flour, it has been overmixed or there was not enough liquid added to the mix.
Let’s take a look at the top 8 causes of dry sugar cookie dough and easy solutions in this article.
8 Causes of Dry Sugar Cookie Dough and Solutions
Check out the top 8 reasons why sugar cookie dough gets dry and some easy solutions.
1. Too Much Flour
Adding too much flour can make sugar cookie dough too dry as well as too “cakey” and puffy.
Reducing the amount of flour added to the recipe by around 1/4 cup next time you make the cookies is the best way to fix this problem.
2. The Dough was in the Fridge for Too Long
Chilling sugar cookie dough can make it easier to slice before you put them on your baking sheet. When the dough is in the fridge for too long, it can turn dry quickly.
Pu the dough in the fridge for around 30 minutes or int eh freezer for 15 minutes. This will be enough to make the dough easier to cut but it won’t dry out.
3. The Butter Was Too Cold
Butter should always be room temperature or maybe even warm when making cookie dough. Avoid using cold butter straight from the fridge.
Cold butter will make the cookie dough very difficult to mix and your cookies can turn out too dry.
Leave butter on your bench to come to room temperature to allow it to mix properly with the rest of the ingredients. This is the best way to make sure your sugar cookie dough doesn’t get too dry.
Check out this great video on ways to fix sugar cookie dough that is dry.
4. You Don’t Have Enough Liquid in the Dough
When your recipe calls for milk or water, make sure you use the exact measurements and no more, no less.
This includes not only the water or milk, but also ingredients such as vanilla and even eggs.
The good news is, you can add additional liquid one tablespoon at a time to get it moist again. Adding milk 1 teaspoon at a time and mixing the dough is a great way to fix dry cookie dough.
5. You Over-Mixed the Dough
As soon as you start mixing your cookie dough, the flour starts to develop the gluten, and as long as you’re mixing, the gluten continues to develop. This makes the dough springy and formed as the proteins joint together like in bread or pizza dough.
The more the gluten develops, the harder and drier the dough gets. Too much mixing always equals dough that ends up too dry.
6. Too Many Dry Ingredients in the Mixture
Not only can you put too much flour in your cookie dough, but you might be adding too much of the other dry ingredients as well.
Any time you put just a little too much of a dry ingredient, it increases the likelihood of the dough being too dry.
Add too much of more than one dry ingredient, and it gets even worse. You need to make sure all of your dry ingredients are measured correctly every time.
7. The Temperature and Humidity are Too Low
If the temperature or humidity in your home are too low, it can affect the dryness of your sugar cookie dough.
Even the temperature and humidity outside can affect it. Your best bet is to increase both the temp and humidity if you can. You can even mist the dough a little bit then remix it to get some moisture added to it.
8. Not Enough Fat in the Dough
Fat is important in a cookie dough recipe because it increases the moisture in the dough binds everything together.
Without enough fat, cookie dough becomes dry and even crumbly. Once again, adding water or milk one tablespoon at a time can eventually make the dough a lot more pliable and smooth.
What Will Adding an Extra Egg do to Cookies?
Adding an extra egg to the cookie dough will make the cookies a little chewier.
Keep in mind that anytime you add extra liquid to a recipe – and an egg is considered a liquid in a recipe – it might make the dough too watery. If this happens, just add a tablespoon of flour at a time until the dough returns to the consistency you like.
You shouldn’t have to add too much flour to get the dough just right.
Does Adding More Butter Make Cookies Softer?
Butter does make cookies softer, but it also adds flavor and some flakiness to the cookies as well. Butter can add structure to the cookies and help them rise.
When you cream together the butter and sugar, air gets into the dough and works with the baking powder or soda to help the cookies rise.
So as you can see, butter is an important ingredient because it helps improve both the taste and the texture of your sugar cookies.
How Do You Make Cookie Dough Softer?
There are a number of ways to make cookie dough a little softer, including:
- Keep it in the container and place it near a warm source for a while, such as near the stove
- Put the dough in a warm water bath for 5-10 minutes
- Microwave the dough for 10 seconds at a time at 30% power
- Pound the dough with a rolling pin
You can even cut up your dough into small pieces about three inches in diameter. This will help the dough get softer faster because it was not kept in one large ball but in several smaller pieces instead.
Dry cookie dough is tough to make good cookies with, but fortunately there are some simple things you can do to add some moisture to it so the cookies will turn out just right. Adding extra teaspoons of milk, butter and warming the mixture can all help to prevent the cookie dough from drying out.
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.