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Wondering why your vegan cookies go flat when baking? This post will explain some of the reasons that this can happen and how to prevent it from happening again in future.
Ever pop a batch of cookies into the oven only to find they’re flat, greasy and glued to the tray when you take them out? I’m sure we have all been there at one point and it’s disappointing to say the least! I’ve created this post to help you get soft, fluffy cookies every time. I hope you find it useful!
Why do vegan cookies go flat?
Let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes that might be causing your vegan cookies to go flat.
1. Your vegan butter or margarine was too soft
Using butter or margarine that’s too soft is probably the most common reason why vegan cookies go flat. This can happen if you’ve melted it, left it out of the fridge for too long before using, or it could simply be that your kitchen is too hot and humid. Using cold butter/margarine will create more air pockets and will help you get fluffy cookies rather than flat ones. Even for cookies that are supposed to spread, like my double chocolate cookies, it’s best to use your margarine straight from the fridge, otherwise the cookies might spread a bit too much.
It’s important to note that vegan margarine and vegan butter are not the same thing. Although they’re both made with oils, vegan butter has a higher fat content and lower water content than vegan margarine. It’s crucial to use the one that the recipe specifically calls for because using the wrong type of fat can alter the end result. You can check out my vegan butter post for more information about the difference between the two.
2. You didn’t use enough flour
Another common reason vegan cookies go flat is if the fat to flour ratio is off. This is likely to happen if you’re using cups to measure rather than a food scale. The way you measure a cup of flour today might be different than the way you measured a cup of flour yesterday. For best results and accuracy, always use a food scale to measure your cookie ingredients.
3. You didn’t chill the dough
Chilling the dough before baking helps to make the fat firmer. Doing this ensures that the butter/margarine takes longer to melt when it’s in the oven, meaning it will spread slowly and steadily.
You don’t need to chill the dough for all types of cookies- most of my recipes don’t require it. But for cookies where you need to hold the shape, it’s best to chill the dough first. If the recipe you’re using asks you to chill the cookie dough, don’t skip this step. It’s there for a reason!
4. You flattened the dough too much
In many of my cookie recipes, I roll the dough into balls then flatten them slightly before baking. If you don’t flatten them, they’ll end up like cakey cookie balls rather than soft, chewy cookies. However, if you flatten them too much, you’ll end up with flat, lifeless vegan cookies.
If a recipe asks you to flatten the cookie balls before baking, you generally want them to be roughly 1/2 an inch thick. For cut-out cookies like sugar cookies, read the instructions carefully for how thin you should roll the dough out. If the dough is too thin then the cookies won’t rise well.
5. You’re using the wrong type of sugar
Many cookie recipes call for a mix of brown and white sugar and there’s a good reason for this. White sugar helps the cookies to spread so if you use too much of it, you might end up with flat cookies. I have had a few comments from readers in the past saying they substituted the brown sugar in my cookie recipe for more white sugar and their cookies turned out flat. Always make sure to follow the recipe closely and for best results, avoid making substitutions.
6. You didn’t use any raising agent
To prevent flat cookies, you should always be using either self-raising flour, baking powder or bicarbonate of soda, depending on the recipe. The raising agents are what will give the cookies that extra lift and create a soft, fluffy texture.
If you’ve used a raising agent and are still getting flat cookies, check the use by date. Raising agents that have been in your cupboard for too long can lose their power over time.
7. Your oven is too hot
If your oven is too hot, the butter or margarine in your cookies will melt quickly, causing the cookies to spread too rapidly. This is a surefire way to get flat vegan cookies!
To make sure your oven temperature is accurate, you can use an oven thermometer. You’d be surprised at how many ovens run too hot or too cold! I use this thermometer from Amazon.
Vegan cookie recipes:
I hope this helps to explain why your vegan cookies might be going flat. If you find this post useful, please share it with a friend using the share buttons on this page. Happy baking! xo
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Your vegan butter or margarine was too soft
Using butter or margarine that's too soft is probably the most common reason why vegan cookies go flat. This can happen if you've melted it, left it out of the fridge for too long before using, or it could simply be that your kitchen is too hot and humid.
Chill the cookie dough.
Chilling cookie dough helps prevent spreading. The colder the dough, the less the cookies will over-spread into greasy puddles. You'll have thicker, sturdier, and more solid cookies. Whenever I make cookies, I plan ahead and chill the cookie dough overnight.
Excess Sugar and Fat
Measuring is key in baking. If your cookie contains excess sugar or fat, it will spread while baking. If your first batch of cookies spreads, try adding a few tablespoons of flour to help thicken the remaining dough.
Too much butter: Too much butter is usually the biggest culprit if you have cookies that are flat. I initially tested this recipe with 1/2 cup (1 stick or 8 tbsp) of butter, but the cookies were completely flat. So, I cut out just 1 tbsp of butter and it made a huge difference.Why don't my cookies stay puffy? ›
Using too little flour will prevent rising, and too much sugar will result in more spreading since sugar liquefies when heated.How do you make cookies fluffy instead of flat? ›
We get that you're anxious, but if you want fluffy cookies, you seriously need to chill… the dough. Why? Because of that whole issue with butter melting prematurely. Refrigerate your batter for at least 10 minutes before scooping it onto a baking sheet.Does cornstarch keep cookies from spreading? ›
Why This Works: Cornstarch binds with the liquids in your dough, so this makes your cookies spread less. It will also help them be soft and tender!Does baking soda make cookies spread? ›
Baking soda also serves another important purpose when it comes to cookies: It encourages spreading by raising the mixture's pH, which slows protein coagulation. This gives the dough more time to set before the eggs set, which results in a more evenly baked cookie.Why are my cookies flat and not rising? ›
If your baking soda or baking powder is expired, your cookies won't develop as they are supposed to – causing them not to rise but simply to spread across your oven tray. It's a good idea to regularly replace your raising agents as they are key to baked goods rising as they should when baked.
Baking cookies quickly in a hot oven – at 375 degrees F as opposed to a lower temperature – will make for soft results. They'll bake fast instead of sitting and drying out in the oven's hot air. Ever so slightly underbaking your cookies will give you softer results than cooking them the full amount the recipe says.What makes cookies rise baking soda or baking powder? ›
Baking soda reacts with an acid to cause batters and doughs to rise and spread while baking. Baking powder reacts with liquid and heat to create a light, fluffy texture in baked goods. While they sound similar, baking soda and baking powder cannot be used interchangeably.Which flour for cookies is best? ›
All-purpose flour is best used for: cookies, muffins, bread, pie crusts, pancakes, biscuits, pizza dough, and pasta.What gives cookies lift? ›
In the early creaming stages of making a cookie, cool butter is beaten until it's light and fluffy. During the process, some air is incorporated and some of the sugar dissolves in the butter's water phase. This air in turn helps leaven the cookies as they bake, giving them some lift.Does adding more baking powder make cookies fluffier? ›
If you use baking soda and your cookies are flat, switch to baking powder as this helps puff up dough more, making your cookie fluffy.Why are my cookies flat like pancakes? ›
Your oven is too hot.
The hotter your oven is, the more quickly the fat in your cookies (like butter) starts to melt. Baking them at a lower temperature for a few minutes longer can help them stay thick and chewy.
If your oven is baking too hot or too cold, your cookies will be baked too quickly or too slowly. This could result in your cookies burning or falling flat while baking. To remedy this, buy an oven thermometer (it doesn't need to be an expensive one) so that you know what the temperature in your oven actually is.What happens if you use almond flour in cookies? ›
Baking with almond flour: conclusions
Cookies and scones may spread more; cake, biscuits, and muffins may rise less. When you add almond flour to yeast-based recipes, bread or rolls will be moister and more tender — good if you're talking soft dinner rolls, not so good for crusty/chewy breads or pizza crust.
Chilling cookie dough controls spread.
Chilling cookie dough before baking solidifies the fat in the cookies. As the cookies bake, the fat in the chilled cookie dough takes longer to melt than room-temperature fat. And the longer the fat remains solid, the less cookies spread.
Cookie temperatures fluctuate, with some recipes as low as 300 degrees Fahrenheit, and a few as high as 425 degrees Fahrenheit, but most recipes land on 375 or 350 to evenly bake the entirety of the cookie.
Butter too warm or too cold – If your butter is too warm, your cookies won't hold their shape well. If it's too cold, that leads to overmixing, which we'll discuss a little further down.Why do my cookies deflate when cooling? ›
What are the primary causes of this? The steam and other hot gasses that were puffing the cookies up either escapes or condenses. Without heat to create more steam, the cookies deflate. You get exactly the same effect with bread, quiches, and other baked goods.What does cornstarch do in cookies? ›
When added to cake, cookie, pie filling and shortbread recipes, cornstarch helps create a crumbly and tender dessert-like texture. Commercially, cornstarch is often used as an anti-caking agent.What does baking soda do to cookies? ›
When baking soda is mixed with an acid, the baking soda produces bubbles and a carbon dioxide gas, which cause the raw dough or batter to rise as a result. When baking soda is used in cookies, it gives the cookies a chewy, coarse texture.How do you keep cookies puffy? ›
Room temperature butter is just the right consistency to incorporate air when it's creamed with sugar. These trapped air pockets result in risen, fluffy cookies. If the butter is any warmer, it won't incorporate enough air and your cookies will have less rise.What happens if you don't put cornstarch in cookies? ›
You'll be able to make your cookies turn out just fine so long as you have flour to use. However, the cookies won't be quite the same as they would have been if you used cornstarch.What baking ingredient makes things fluffy? ›
It's used to chemically leaven doughs and batters when it is mixed with an acid. Combining baking soda with an acid produces a chemical reaction that releases carbon dioxide gas which causes the food to expand and become fluffy. Think about light and airy pancakes. That's the baking soda at work.
As Joy of Baking explains, a surplus of baking powder will turn your treat's flavor bitter. And that's not even the worst part. Adding in too much baking powder could cause your dessert to rise too fast and fall apart.What happens if you don't put baking soda in cookies? ›
What Happens to Cookies without Baking Soda? If you have a recipe that asks for baking soda and you leave it out completely, your cookies will likely be extremely dense as there was no chemical reaction to introduce those gas bubbles and give it rise.What happens if you put too much butter in cookies? ›
- Add in extra flour.
- Put the batter in the refrigerator for a few hours before baking.
- Mix the leftover batter better (eliminate any clumping or hunks of butter).
A: Baking soda acts as a chemical leavener. It reacts with an acid to produce carbon dioxide — or loads of bubbles — a process that allows cakes, cookies, and other baked goods to rise.How long to chill cookie dough? ›
As a general rule of thumb, you should refrigerate cookie dough for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours. More than that, and you won't see a noticeable difference in the final product. Once the dough has chilled, let it warm up at room temperature until it's just pliable (about 5 to 10 minutes).What is the best sugar for cookies? ›
Using granulated white sugar will result in a flatter, crispier and lighter-colored cookie. Granulated sugar is hygroscopic, so it attracts and absorbs the liquid in the dough. This slows down the development of the gluten (flour), which makes the cookies crispier.
Rest the Dough A secret baker's trick is to rest your cookie dough in the fridge. You can rest it for at least an hour, which will evaporate some of the water and increase the sugar content, helping to keep your baked cookies chewy.How do bakeries keep their cookies soft? ›
Many bakeries use specialised packaging to protect their goods' quality, increasing their baked treats' shelf life, which includes using airtight containers or bags that help trap moisture and preserve cookies for days or weeks.Is melted butter better than softened butter for cookies? ›
In cookies, softened butter will result in a cakier and airier cookie than using melted butter. This is due to the fact that softened butter will create air bubbles that expand in the oven during baking. Melted butter will make your cookies delightfully dense on the inside and crisp on the edges.What does egg do in cookies? ›
To create cookies, you typically use whole eggs and their proteins for flavor, leavening, structure, and color. Eggs promote puffiness and spreading in cookies, while also holding the cookie together during baking.How much baking soda do you put in cookies? ›
Good rule of thumb: I usually use around 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda per 1 cup of flour in a recipe. Baking soda CAN leaven a baked good when exposed to heat. However, unless it is neutralized with an acid, your finished baked good will likely have a metallic aftertaste—like I mention above.What is the golden rule in baking cookies? ›
"My golden rule for baking is make it cold and bake it hot," she said.What flour do professional bakers use for cookies? ›
Pastry Flour: An unbleached flour made from soft wheat, with protein levels somewhere between cake flour and all-purpose flour (8 to 9 percent). Pastry flour strikes the ideal balance between flakiness and tenderness, making it perfect for pies, tarts and many cookies.
Sifting the flour helped promote consistency in recipe results by removing the larger particles that could potentially result in densely textured baked goods or even ones that would sink in the middle.What is the toothpick trick on cookies? ›
For the vast majority of baked goods, we want a toothpick inserted in the center to come out clean, indicating that the crumb is fully set and no excess moisture remains. This ensures that the item will slice neatly and hold together when cool.Should you let cookies cool on pan? ›
For chewy cookies, allow them to cool on the baking sheet for 3 to 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. For crispier cookies, let cookies cool for one minute on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.
If your first batch of cookies bakes flat, try adding 1-2 tablespoons of flour to the remaining dough. Then bake a test cookie before baking the rest or adding a bit more flour.How do you make cookies less flat? ›
Find a basic cookie recipe you like the taste of, then bake a few to make sure that the cookies don't spread when you bake them. If they do spread, you can add a few tablespoons of flour to the dough and mix again.What does baking soda do to gray hair? ›
When it comes to hair care, baking soda can function as a clarifying agent that penetrates the hair shaft, removing dirt, oil, and product buildup. As a result, gray hair becomes brighter, smoother, and less brassy.How does vegan butter affect cookies? ›
In recipes where they're the only vegan substitute, both vegan butters will produce baked goods with texture similar to that of dairy butter, with flavor being the main difference. When substituting additional vegan ingredients (mainly eggs), the recipe may not turn out the same, texture-wise, as originally intended.How do you keep vegan cookies fresh? ›
If you want the best flavor and texture, place your freshly made cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for one week, or store them in an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze them for up to two months. Are vegan eggless vanilla cookies ideal for immediate consumption or to store?How long can you keep vegan cookies? ›
To store: Cookies can be stored in an air tight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. If you'd like them to keep longer, you can store them in the refrigerator. To freeze: Place leftovers in a ziplock bag and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months.Does too much butter flatten cookies? ›
If you use too much butter, the cookies will end up flat and greasy. And if you use too little flour, the amount of butter and sugar will be proportionally too high, meaning the cookies will spread for the aforementioned reasons.
- Earth Balance Original Buttery Spread.
- Melt Organic.
- Country Crock Plant Butter with Avocado Oil.
- Violife Plant Butter.
- Miyoko's Creamery European Style Cultured Vegan Butter.
- Miyoko's Creamery Spreadable Cultured Vegan Butter (Made with Oat Milk)
What are good vegan butter substitutes? In baking, you can use vegan butter, applesauce, dairy-free yogurt, coconut oil, coconut butter, olive oil, nut butter, mashed banana and mashed avocado. In cooking, you can use olive oil, coconut oil, vegetable stock, or avocado oil to replace butter.How long can vegan cookie dough sit out? ›
We recommend storing your cookie dough in a small airtight container in your fridge or freezer, depending on when you want to bake it. As a general rule, any cookie dough left on the counter at room temperature will be good for 2-4 hours but then may risk going bad, especially if it is already past its “best by” date.Does vegan cookie dough need to be refrigerated? ›
You can definitely store it in the fridge, in an airtight container. If storing in the fridge, it will keep for up to 10 days. If not storing in the fridge, the dough will last up to 4 days. You can also freeze this edible vegan cookie dough for up to 3 months in an airtight container.What ingredient makes cookies last longer? ›
It's all about moisture. To keep it simple, cookie recipes that contain a lot of butter, brown sugar or egg yolks are going to yield soft and chewy cookies, because those ingredients add moisture and retain it for a longer amount of time.Can you over chill cookies? ›
As a general rule of thumb, you should refrigerate cookie dough for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours. More than that, and you won't see a noticeable difference in the final product.Can I store cookies in Ziploc bags? ›
To keep chewy cookies from turning dry and brittle, store them in a zipper-lock bag at room temperature with a small piece of bread (no more than half of a slice) placed inside.Are vegan cookies healthier? ›
Simply put, vegan baking alternatives are just healthier. Still, vegan cookies aren't a miraculous calorie-free food. You can add tons of sugar to a recipe even if you've cut out all the milk and eggs. Vegan cookies still need a source of fat to replace the butter, as well as flour and, of course, sugar.How long do cookies last in a Ziploc bag? ›
As we mentioned, most cookie recipes last up to 3 months in freezer bags or containers when you store cookies unfrosted. Get all the freezing information here.