Why is my sugar cookie dough too sticky? Cookie dough that sticks can be so frustrating that you want to throw the dough out the window.
But don’t do that. You might have a cat lingering outside your kitchen window and no one wants a cat covered in cookie dough.
And cats aren’t into eating raw cookie dough like your Aunt Marge. Trust me on this.
The chief reason for sticky sugar cookie dough is that the dough has gotten too warm and that’s an easy fix.
Do you need a good cut-out cookie recipe? This is a great sugar one.
But you can also make cut-outs from Cinnamon Christmas Cookies or Lemon Shortbread Heart Cookies Recipe.
Or you could make shaped cookies for St. Patrick's Day.
Stick the dough back in the refrigerator or freezer for at least 15 minutes.
Make sure to cover the dough, however. Otherwise if you get busy and distracted and the dough gets left in the fridge too long without being covered, your dough can dry out.
And dry cookie dough is an entirely different problem.
Sugar cookie dough should be cool to touch while you're working with it.
Room temperature dough or warmer will stick to your counter tops and cookie cutters.
Too warm dough will even stick to parchment paper, if you’re rolling it out on that–which is my recommended method.
How to Prevent Dough From Getting Too Warm
- Chill the dough for at least an hour before you roll it out.
- Work with just half a batch of dough at a time. Leave the other batch in the fridge.
- Let the dough sit at room temperature for no more than ten or 15 minutes to make it a bit easier to roll out.
If you do this, you should be able to easily cut out sugar cookie dough into shapes and move those shapes from your work surface onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.
Use a metal spatula or a bench scraper to move the cut out cookies.
NEW BAKER TIP–Skip moving your cut-outs onto a baking sheet one by one. Instead, if you’re rolling out your sugar cookie dough on parchment paper, pull away any scrap dough connecting the shapes then carefully move the parchment onto a baking sheet to go in the oven.
More Reasons Why Your Cookie Dough is Too Sticky
So, you say your dough has been chilled but it’s still sticky.
Or maybe you could tell after you combined all the ingredients that the dough was too sticky.
Likely your ratio of ingredients is out of balance.
Too Much Egg Was Used
Too much egg is a likely culprit for sticky dough.
Many cookie recipes call for one large egg or two large eggs.
If you’re using homegrown eggs from your hens or a neighbor’s, you could be using too much egg for your recipe.
Weigh you egg on a kitchen scale if you're not sure how large it is.
For most recipes using a large egg, you’ll want an egg that weighs 65 grams.
You didn’t measure your flour correctly
Weighing flour is best but if you don’t measure correctly, that will cause problems with cookie dough formation.
Usually bakers add too much flour when they failure to measure accurately but too little flour is always a possibility as well.
Too much flour or not enough can ruin your batch of cookie dough. Weighing flour is best using a kitchen scale but failing that, use the dip and sweep method to measure your flour. Pour a few cups of flour into a bowl and fluff it up with a spoon. Now spoon flour into your measuring cup until slightly heaped. Then slide a butter knife or a bench scraper across the top of the measuring cup to remove the excess.
You’ve tinkered with the recipe
Experimenting in the kitchen is one of the best ways you can spend your time.
But, do a bit of research first.
Perhaps you wanted to make espresso flavored cookies and threw a shot of espresso into the dough?
Adding an ounce of liquid to a cookie recipe can throw off your proportions and affect your final outcome.
If you want to add a particular flavor to a dough, particularly like a sugar cookie dough, use an extract or an emulsion, which entails adds big flavor through a teaspoon or less.
You can also add mix-ins to the dough like espresso powder or finish the cookies once they’re done baking with an espresso glaze.
Are you a new baker? This might be helpful about the tools and ingredients longtime bakers love.
How to Fix Sticky Cookie Dough?
Add cornstarch or add flour, a tablespoon at a time, either stirring it into the dough with a spatula or using an electric mixer, either is fine if you're dealing with sticky dough.
Once you've added enough flour or cornstarch, the dough should start to feel a bit tacky between your fingers but it should hold together and be smooth and firm.
Sugar cookie dough should feel smooth and firm, similar to Play-Doh and have a bit of heft to it. It should form a ball easily and you should be able to pat it into a rectangle and easily slide it into a resealable bag to chill in the refrigerator before shaping into cut-outs.
Great tips! Thanks for sharing!
When making my cutout cookie dough I realized I didn't put enough sugar in. This was after I made dough so I put in the rest sugar and mixed it with my mixer. I baked one cookie it looked crumbly looking and when I bit in it was dry tasting. How can I fix my dough?
Oooh that’s a tough one.
You could try mixing in by hand a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil or softened butter.
Mixing it in by hand is better because using your electric mixer will dry it out even further.
Just work the extra fat in gently until the batch of dough is moister.
If that doesn’t work, you may have to just bake the dough and plan to break it into cookie crumbs for a pie crust or to top ice cream.
Let me know how it goes.