How To Fix Crumbly Cookie Dough: My Grandma’s Secrets

Are you excited to bake and eat some fresh cookies? However, everything goes smoothly until you look at your dough and see it was dry. It is crumbly and tough, instead of being soft and pliable. Well, dry cookie dough is never good! So, what should you do? Luckily, there are few things that you can do to fix dry cookie dough.

When fixing a crumbly cooking dough moisten it by adding 1 teaspoon of liquid, such as milk, water, eggs, or egg whites while mixing the dough briefly. These liquids will not have much effect on the dough or taste of the cookies, helping your dough come back into a more workable consistency.

Bakers undergo a lot of trial and error before arriving at the perfect cookie recipe. I’m sure that most of them have experienced a crumbly cookie dough situation. No worries, crumbly cookie dough is not the end of your cookie career.

Before I tell you the ways to moisten it, let me tell you first why your cookie dough becomes dry.

Five Reasons For Dry Cookie Dough

There are a few reasons why your cookie dough is dry and crumbly. If you figure out why the dough is dry can help you determine how to fix it, before you put it in the oven.

cookie dough

Not enough fat

The most common reason why your cookie dough is dry is that there is insufficient fat in the dough. Either the recipe itself didn’t call for enough fat, or it was just measured incorrectly.

Also, if you are not using the right kind of fat in the dough it can affect the consistency. With fats, I mean margarine and butter, so if the recipe calls for butter but you are using margarine, then it can also be the reason why your cookie dough crumbles.

Since margarine contains more water and fewer fats, it may not be enough to cover the dry ingredients.

The addition of fat acts as a lubricant in cookie dough, greasing it up so that it is smooth and pliable. Without enough fat, the dry ingredients will not be sufficiently lubricated and do not bind together well.

Not enough liquid

Some cookie dough recipes need milk or water. If these ingredients are measured incorrectly or not included in the recipe, the cookie dough will be too dry. Double-check the measurements of any liquid, such as eggs and vanilla to see if one of them is lacking. Even if you measure less liquid, it will cause the cookie dough to crumble.


After you add all the ingredients into the bowl and start blending the cookie dough, the flour will begin to develop gluten. Overmixing of the dough can result in a tougher dough because the gluten in the flour develops more and more.

It will result in a hard, dry dough. Therefore, treat your cookie dough gently and do not mix it so much. You may use a batter mixer for mixing.

Too much use of dry ingredients

Over-measuring of the dry ingredients can cause the cookie dough to become dry. Even something like an extra ¼ cup of flour can be the main reason for the dryness of cookie dough.

Or for example, you add two tablespoons of baking powder instead of two teaspoons, which is way too much. The addition of excessive dry ingredients can result in excessively dry dough. If you increase the dry ingredients, then you should also increase the fat with it.

So, it does not become dry and crumbly.

Drying it in the fridge

If you make the cookie dough ahead of time or rely on the pre-made dough, it may dry out in the fridge. The refrigerator is a very drying place because it constantly circulates air to keep it constantly cold. The air can quickly dry any moisture in your cookie dough, altering the consistency and texture of the dough completely.

How To Moisten Dry Cookie Dough

Now that you know why your cookie dough has become dry and crumbly, it is now time to fix the problem. Let’s say goodbye to dry cookie dough, and say hello to soft and chewy cookies.

Based on the reasons discussed above, you will want to follow one or more tips below. For example, if you have determined that you do not have enough liquid in your dough, you will want to add liquid first and observe if that fixes your dough before trying any of the other tips.

Add liquids, such as egg whites

Adding extra liquid to your cookie dough works wonders. Most of the liquids, including egg whites, egg, water, vanilla essence, and milk will have little effect on the taste of your dough.

So it does not matter what you add or how much you add. You may start by adding a teaspoon of water or milk, then mix it. If the cookie dough is dry and crumbly, then add more water or milk.

The trick here is to add a little and mix it to see if it needs more liquid or not. Sometimes either you read the recipe wrong or you just measured the part wrong. If that’s the case, once you see that the recipe calls for half a cup of liquid more, then it means that the recipe is wrong.

This method also works well if the dough is simply dried out in the fridge. The refrigerators can suck water out of the dough, so adding water or milk back can help fix the problem that the fridge has caused.

Add some fat (butter ormargarine)

Adding fat to your cookie dough helps to soften the dough. However, adding too much of it can affect the end texture of your cookies. Too much fat can cause your cookies to spread when baking and the grease to separate them from the cookie dough, causing some oily cookies.

Whatever fat is used in your recipes, be it butter, margarine, vegetable oil, or Crisco, just add 1 teaspoon of the fat to the dough, and gently knead the fat with your hands. Use your hands when mixing the extra ingredients, as it will prevent you from overmixing the dough, causing it to be tough while blending the fat well.

Mix with your hands

Overmixing can result in a cookie dough that is dry and tough. Therefore, using hands can help with the mixing process. Use the hands to mix the batter after adding liquid or fat to it. Your hands are way gentler while mixing in a batter mixer.

Also, it helps you feel personally the texture of your cookie dough. You can tell whether it needs more liquid or fat. You can also use your hands to scoop and form the cookie dough balls pressing the dough well.

But before you start mixing with your hands, make sure that your hands are clean. Wash your hands before mixing the batter.

Let it rest at room temperature

If you think that you overmixed the dough, the best idea is to let the dough rest. If the flour develops too much gluten while mixing, you need to soften the gluten.

To do this, cover the dough and set it aside on the counter at room temperature for at least an hour. Scoop and bake the dough without mixing it. The dough should be softer after sitting compared to before

Fix the recipe

If you think that you put too much of the dry ingredients or you didn’t add enough butter to the recipe, you can try to save the recipe completely. However, this can be a bit challenging.

You’ll have the best of luck if you know exactly how much extra or the exact ingredients you put in. For example, if you put 2 cups of flour instead of one, you can fix the dough.

To fix the dough, you will need to make more cookie dough. Calculate the recipe according to the quantity of the ingredient that was mistaken.

So if you add two cups of flour to the dough, instead of one, you will need to make the entire recipe again using all the same quantities, but you no longer add flour anymore. Blend all the dry ingredients, then make two cookie doughs until they look like one. Now you fix the dough and bake more cookies as well.

Cooking Tips

Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when baking cookies or other goodies:

  • If you are replacing the ingredients that were listed in the recipe, then you might need to use more or less of the ones you are using. For example, you replace butter with margarine, then use more of that because margarine does not have enough fats.
  • The cookie dough gets dry if you put it in the fridge. The fridge can suck all the moisture of your dough. Instead of adding liquid or fats to make it moist, let it sit at room temperature for half an hour. After that, examine the cookie dough, if it’s not soft, then add liquid or fats.
  • Always measure the ingredients, since baking requires precision. Adding more or less can cause a drastic change. Note down your measurements afterward.
  • Make your own recipe. You no longer need to follow the exact recipe given online. Be brave enough to experiment and make the perfect cookie dough that suits you. If you are using different ingredients aside from the ones listed, then you should find an alternative for any ingredient that is not suited or working well.

To make things easy for you, you may try using chocolate cookie dough. Here is a good list of the best store-bought cookie dough:

Pillsbury Ready To Bake Chocolate Chip Cookie

Pillsbury is one of the palatable treat batter trains, and you can taste a bit of it. The most recent mark on this chocolate chip treat mixture is shown as “safe to eat raw”. Raw or prepared, the mixture tastes something similar. It has a weighty and rich vanilla character with no abrasive surface or peculiar lingering flavor that other protected to-eat mixtures have.

Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Assuming you are searching for a chocolatey chocolate batter, the Nestle Toll House is your most ideal choice. The Toll House Chocolate Chip Lovers Cookie Dough is very near flawlessness. The mixture doesn’t fall to pieces and stays chewy. Once heated, they extend, and the treats are greater than the exemplary break and preparation. The batter is just as earthy-colored sugar-bound and pillowy.

How To Make Premade Cookie Dough Taste Better

Here are some tips on how you can improve the premade cookie dough:

Add flavor to your batter

You might overhaul your treat batter by adding a few flavors to it, as it can prompt a warm, zesty treat. To do as such, you might join ground cinnamon, ginger, and sugar then, at that point roll your chunks of treat mixture in the blend before heating.

Assuming you need to even out it up to additional, you can enliven your treats with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper.

Add some extracts to punch up the flavor

To add extravagance to the kind of your treat mixture, you can join a couple of drops of unadulterated character concentrate to your batter. It is a basic method to customize treats however you would prefer or give them a novel wind each time you prepare them.

A few concentrates you might attempt to incorporate are lemon, peppermint, vanilla, espresso, coconut, and almond.

Roll the dough in a garnish before baking

One more approach to add flavor or surface to your treats is by moving the chunks of batter in your embellishment of decision. First and foremost, you can have a go at utilizing cleaved nuts, sanding sugar, chocolate chips, sprinkles, and cocoa powder.

Stir the nuts into the dough for an added crunch

For added surface, you can add a few nuts into your treat mixture. You might utilize some normal nuts like walnuts, pecans, or macadamia nuts. Or on the other hand, you might need to utilize the ones that are not usually found in locally acquired treats like pistachios.

It will add tone, crunch, and healthiness to your prepared treats.

Top your cookies with flaked sea salt

To make your cookies have that rich character, you can finish off them with chipped ocean salt before placing them in the broiler. The salt can help in adjusting the pleasantness while giving an all the more balanced taste and flavor.

Dunk them in chocolate or drizzle it on top

After the cookies are baked, you can use chocolate to give them a very good quality look and homemade flavor. When the cookies are prepared and cooled up, you can plunge them into chocolate or simply shower them on top. It will give them a completing and extravagant look without a great deal of additional work.


I hope you have found this helpful and it might get you through your problem on how to moisten cookie dough and your next baking adventures. Baking is an art. It is therapeutic for most people. So do not worry if you get crumbly dough.

I have mentioned all the ways you can make your cookie dough moist. Sometimes, even if you follow the right recipe, the dough becomes crumbly. And it is not your fault. Maybe the recipe you are following is wrong.

Double-check the recipe you are following with the one available on the internet or somewhere else. It’s ok if you mess it up a few times because you are still learning. Just do not give up on this.

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