I know that nothing can be more frustrating than reaching for a cookie (or two) to quickly appease a grumbling stomach, soothe a craving for some sugar or lift a downcast mood than learning that it’s not baked enough.
If it’s from a batch of homemade cookies, chances are all the rest are raw in the middle. Is there a way to fix undercooked cookies?
Underbaked cookies should be allowed to cool completely before rebaking them to keep them from being overcooked. Cookies should be rebaked for no more than 5 to 15 minutes at 300°F or 325°F (149°C or 163°C) and then left in the oven after it’s been turned off to let the trapped heat cook them.
Dismayed that you failed to cook those cookies properly? Then don’t stop reading now.
This post is all about undercooked cookies — what causes the problem, how to fix it the right way and how to enjoy perfectly cooked cookies every single time. I will also answer some of the most commonly asked questions about baking the most awesome cookies in your own kitchen so that you can be the best self-made baker!
Cooking Underbaked Cookies
You can fix undercooked cookies with the help of either your oven or your microwave. Each kitchen appliance comes with its own set of pros and cons when it comes to rebaking raw cookies.
Rebaking raw cookies in the oven
Undercooked cookies can be rebaked in an oven preheated to 300°F (149°C) if they cannot afford to get darker or 325°F (163°C) if they could use a darker color. Underbaked cookies should not be rebaked for more than 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the size and thickness. But before they are rebaked, cookies should be allowed to cool completely.
In most instances, fixing cookies that are still raw is as simple as placing them back in the oven.
However, it’s important to allow undercooked cookies to cool to room temperature completely before rebaking them. It’s for the fact that cookies tend to cook a little further when they’re outside the oven.
Rebaking undercooked cookies while they’re still hot and fresh from the oven can run the risk of them ending up burnt or overcooked, which is nothing like their underbaked counterparts that can be mended with some simple steps. Before rebaking fully cooled off cookies, check if they are indeed underbaked.
When it comes to the temperature when rebaking raw cookies in the oven, you can choose between a lower or a higher cooking temperature — it depends on whether you just want to cook it further or darken its color, too.
No matter the cooking temperature, it’s important that you do not rebake them for more than 5 to 15 minutes. Also, allow cookies to remain in the oven after switching off the kitchen appliance. This will allow any remaining trapped heat in the oven to continue cooking the cookies.
Cooking underbaked cookies in the microwave
Placing undercooked cookies in the microwave allows them to cook quicker. Raw cookies should be microwaved for 60 to 90 seconds on 100% power. If still underbaked, microwave further with 5-second intervals until cooked perfectly. Allow underbaked cookies to cool to room temperature before microwaving them.
While you can always rebake undercooked cookies, you will have to preheat the oven to the right temperature first before you can start dealing with your raw baked creations.
It’s a good thing that there’s something that can do the job without any delay: your microwave.
Depending on the wattage of your microwave, you can enjoy perfectly cooked previously-underbaked cookies in just 60 to 90 seconds, not counting the cooling time necessary before serving them. And in case that’s not enough, you can microwave those cookies at 5-second intervals until they’re done.
Although it’s true that a microwave can cook underbaked cookies faster and less cumbersomely than an oven, there are some downsides to relying on it.
For instance, since a microwave can only hold as many food items at once, you can only cook a few raw cookies at a time. On the other hand, you can rebake all of them in the oven. Also, a microwave is notorious for uneven heat distribution, which means that some cookies may end up more cooked than the others.
Preventing Undercooked Cookies
Why rebake undercooked cookies when you can keep cookies from being undercooked in the first place? Below, I will talk about some of the things to do in order to make sure that your cookies are cooked nicely each time.
Follow the recipe to a T
One of the most important things you can do to have the perfect cookies each time is to read and follow the cookie recipe carefully. Everything from having the incorrect proportions of the ingredients to using the wrong oven temperature can leave you with undercooked cookies — and oftentimes underwhelming, too!
According to Brian Hogan Stewart, the creator and host of a cookbook podcast called Salt + Spine, one must read the recipe from start to finish before committing to it and another time before cooking.
It goes without saying that you should follow the steps as indicated.
Checking out any notes before the ingredients are enumerated as well as on the side and at the end of the cookie recipe can help you understand it much better from the perspective of the author.
Rotate the cookie sheet
Just about every oven has areas in which food will cook or brown faster. They are what’s referred to as hot spots, and they can be found away from the middle or toward the bottom, depending on where the source of heat is located — so make sure that you know your oven very well.
It’s because of hot spots why it’s a good practice to rotate your cookie sheet at least once.
Approximately halfway through the bake time — this is the best time to rotate that cookie pan. This will make sure that each cookie will get the right amount of heat necessary for baking to perfection.
Got a cookie sheet on the top rack and another one on the bottom rack of your oven at the same time? Then remember to switch their positions at the halfway mark to keep your cookies from potentially winding up undercooked. It’s also recommended that you turn your cookie pans 180°.
Use an oven thermometer
Believe it or not, the true temperature of the oven can be off by a few degrees lower or higher. Especially when cooking something that requires a specific temperature, such as baked goodies like cookies, the wrong temperature can leave you serving a treat that’s either undercooked or overcooked.
That’s why it’s a smart move to get your hands on an oven thermometer and use it, too.
An oven thermometer, needless to say, can give you a more accurate temperature reading of the interior of your oven. It can come in very handy when baking at a low temperature.
Place the oven thermometer in the middle of the center rack and preheat your oven as directed by the cookie recipe. Check the reading on the oven thermometer when your oven is fully preheated. Adjust the temperature of the oven as necessary before you place the cookie sheet in the oven.
Always preheat the oven
It’s not uncommon for just about any legit cookie recipe you can find online or elsewhere to instruct you to preheat the oven to a certain temperature before doing anything else.
When baking, preheating your oven is perhaps the single most important step to take.
If you don’t preheat, your oven temperature won’t be hot enough, which is something that can easily leave you with undercooked cookies. And there’s one more thing that makes preheating important: it helps ensure that your cookie dough spends as little time as possible in the danger zone, where some food poisoning-causing bacteria can multiply.
So, how long does it take to preheat the oven? The time it takes to preheat an oven is anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes, depending on factors such as the type and size of the kitchen appliance.
Use a kitchen timer
Making totally delicious and perfectly baked cookies requires a lot of things, including proper timing. A kitchen timer can come in very handy not only when the cookies are baking but also before the cookie sheet is placed in the oven. Many cookie recipes, for instance, require the cookie dough to rest for a few minutes.
Don’t rely on yourself to keep track of baking times — use a kitchen timer!
Many of the reasons why cookies are not done enough have something to do with time. It can be because the oven wasn’t given enough time to preheat or the cookie sheets didn’t stay in the oven long enough.
Also, it’s a wonderful idea to have a dedicated kitchen timer even if you have a timer on your oven. This is especially true if you are preparing multiple foods at once. Besides, since a kitchen timer is portable, you can step foot outside the kitchen at any given time and still know when those cookies are done.
Never overcrowd your oven
Got to make lots and lots of cookies to serve at the party, hand out as giveaways or sell to make money?
Then see to it that you avoid putting more cookies in the oven than the kitchen appliance can cook. Overcrowding the oven can keep each cookie from getting the temperature necessary for it to cook properly. The cookies, naturally, might end up underbaked, especially if they are large and thick and chunky.
Making things worse is the fact that, as discussed earlier, ovens have hot spots — some of the cookies may wind up overcooked while others may end up undercooked.
It can be tempting for frugal home bakers to use each and every rack in the oven in order to save both time and electricity. But it’s something that can keep one from serving cookies baked to perfection. This is especially true if the cookie sheets are not rotated or switched racks approximately halfway through the cooking time.
FAQs About Making Cookies
As you gain experience in making cookies in your own kitchen, you will encounter issues that can leave you scratching your head. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions by many novice cookie makers:
Why are my cookies raw in the middle?
Placing warm dough in the oven can result in cookies that are cooked on the outside but still raw in the middle. There are instances, too, where the middle is not baked enough as a result of using too much butter. Adding too much baking soda to the dough can make raw cookies look already cooked on the outside.
Refrigerating the cookie dough for at least 30 minutes is an important step when making cookies. This helps keep the cookies from spreading out too quickly in the oven, especially when using a high-fat recipe.
And speaking of which, the presence of lots of butter or baking soda is usually the culprit behind a raw middle.
Fine-tuning the recipe by adding less butter or baking soda can help make sure that the cookies are cooked properly both outside and in the middle.
Preheating the oven is also an important step to take to bake cookies to perfection.
Is it safe to eat undercooked cookies?
Some of the ingredients of cookies such as flour and eggs may contain bacteria that heat kills. It’s possible for them to be still alive if the cookies are undercooked, which makes them unsafe to eat. Children, older adults and those with compromised immune systems must stay away from underbaked cookies.
While it can be a delight to eat raw cookie dough because of the taste and texture, it’s something that should be avoided as bacteria that may be present can cause food poisoning.
Eating contaminated raw cookie dough can cause fever, abdominal cramps, vomiting and diarrhea.
Other than raw cookie dough, it’s also a good idea for you to steer clear of raw cookies. That’s because food poisoning-causing microbes in them, including salmonella, may still be alive. Exposing raw cookie dough to a temperature of at least 165°F (74°C) immediately kills any harmful bacteria, say scientists.
Why do my cookies crumble easily?
Although it’s true that overcooking can make cookies crumble easily, there are a few other things that can cause the problem. Some of them include using too much flour and not adding enough fat or water. Overmixing the cookie dough can also result in crumbly cookies as a result of too much gluten.
Just as important to avoid serving as undercooked cookies are overcooked cookies.
One of the signs that your cookies are baked longer than necessary is that they’re crumbly as there’s not enough moisture left in them. Also, overbaked cookies are dry, hard and darker in color.
Crumbly cookies can also be blamed on the cookie dough not having enough fat — fat adds flavor, richness and softness. In some instances, it can be due to adding less water than the recipe requires or overmixing the dough, which is something that can cause more gluten to form, thus making the resulting cookies tough and crumby.
Read Also: How To Fix Crumbly Cookie Dough
How do I store leftover cookie dough properly?
Leftover cookie dough can be stored in the refrigerator. For cookies with the best quality, cookie dough in the fridge should be used within 3 days. Leftover cookie dough may also be stored in the freezer, where it will stay fresh for up to 3 months. Do not leave raw cookie dough at room temperature for 2 to 4 hours.
Refrain from throwing away leftover cookie dough. Similarly, as talked about earlier, do not eat raw cookie dough as it may leave you suffering from food poisoning and experiencing its nasty symptoms.
You can either refrigerate or freeze leftover cookie dough.
Before you do so, wrap raw cookie dough in saran wrap or place it in a refrigerator- and freezer-safe airtight container. Raw cookie dough can keep in the fridge for 5 to 10 days, but it’s best to use it within 3 days. In the freezer, leftover cookie dough can keep for up to 3 months with minimal effect on its quality.
Just Before You Attempt to Deal With Undercooked Cookies
There are many things that can leave you with a hot cookie sheet filled with underbaked cookies. Sometimes it’s due to the use of the wrong proportions of ingredients, like using too much flour or adding too little fat.
But at times it can be brought about by an oven temperature that’s too low or taking the cookies out of the oven too early. It can also be because you have forgotten to preheat the oven to the right temperature or turn the cookie sheets 180° approximately halfway through the baking time.
Especially if the cause of undercooked cookies is oven related, fret not.
What you can do is follow the tips above on rebaking undercooked cookies using either your oven or your microwave. Also, don’t forget to keep in mind the tricks above on how to prevent underbaked cookies.