How To Tell If Cookies Are Done

Determining whether your cookies are raw on the inside, or overcooked can sometimes be a difficult task. 

Not only this, but the cooking duration can also be a personal preference, as some people consider gooey cookies undercooked, while others consider hard, dark cookies overcooked. So what is considered cooked to one person is different to another. 

Additionally, an extra few minutes in the oven could mean the difference between raw and gooey cookies to overdone and crispy cookies.

Luckily for you, we have created this article to prevent any more cookie catastrophes, providing you with several factors to ensure your cookies are perfectly done. 

Set A Timer For The Minimum Cook Time 

Before baking your cookies, it is important to make sure to preheat your oven to ensure that it is at the correct temperature. Likewise, you can even use a thermometer to make sure that the temperature matches the cookie recipe. 

Then, set a timer for the minimum amount of time outlined in the recipe. If you need more time, you can easily keep your cookies in the oven for longer. However, you can’t ‘uncook’ cookies that have been left too long and are now too brown and hard. 

If you have checked your cookies and noticed that they require a few more minutes, make sure to set the timer to correspond with this.

This will ensure that you don’t leave them in the oven for too long that they become burnt, as it can sometimes be easy to get sidetracked when backing. 

Check The Bottom Of Your Cookies

When baking, most cookies will show some indication of brown underneath them. Likewise, if you’re unsure what to look out for, some cookie recipes will inform you of the best color. For instance, light brown or slightly brown. 

Moreover, some cookies, such as snowballs (also referred to as Mexican wedding cookies or butterballs) shouldn’t show any brown on the top of them.

Therefore, the only way to check that it is done is by rolling it over and looking at the underneath of the cookie. 

Check The Edges

You may find some recipes informing you that a cookie is done when the edges are slightly brown or are just ‘beginning to brown’. Keeping the edges brown instead of the middle ensures that the middle inside the cookie can remain cooking. 

However, it’s important to keep in mind that different cookies require different cooking methods; therefore, this won’t apply to all cookies. For instance, sugar cookies are best cooked when the edges are not brown but set. 

You don’t have to worry about burning your fingers with this method as it only requires you to visibly observe the edges of the cookie, without lifting it.

Although, like all things, once you have acquired enough experience with baking cookies, you’ll be able to note that the middle is set without having to rely on brown edges. 

Additionally, some recipes require you to allow your cookies to cool down on the cookie tray for two or more minutes. For instance, chocolate chip cookies. This means that while cooling the cookies will continue to cook, as the tray remains hot.

In such instances, you can experiment with timing and removing your cookies from the oven to achieve your desired quality. 

With some cookies, when placed on a cooling rack, the middle may look as if it requires extra cooking. However, if you cook them longer you may find that they become overcooked and too hard. Therefore, it’s best to leave them standing for a few minutes. 

Use A Toothpick To Check If Your Cookies Are Done

If you are baking thicker cookies – or brownies, which are in essence bar cookies – you can simply use a small wooden toothpick to determine whether or not they are done, with a toothpick test!

All you need to do is insert the toothpick straight into the middle of your cookie.

Then, remove your toothpick and if any cookie substances remain, such as thick batter, then they may need more baking time.

Allow your cookies to bake for a few minutes, remember to time this, then once the toothpick comes out clean or with a few small particles, you’ll know your cookies are ready. 

However, if you’re baking a particularly gooey cookie, you should rely on the time outlined in the cookie recipe. As this will best determine whether or not they are ready.  

One important thing to remember is that a minute or two can mean the difference between raw batter and a gooey cookie. Therefore, a combination of all these methods may be the best way to check if your cookies are done. 

Tips On Baking The Best Cookies

  • Make sure to carefully read the recipe and set the time to the minimum requirement. For instance, if a recipe reads 10-13 minutes, check your cookies at 10 minutes.
  • Rotate your cookies. Halfway through the baking process, rotate your cookies for an even bake. You can even rotate these twice!
  • Use an oven thermometer to make sure your cookies are baking at the optimum oven temperature. 
  • Set a timer, you can’t always rely on yourself to remember to check your cookies. 
  • Before baking, make sure your oven is fully preheated. 
  • Use 1 or 2 cookie sheets at a time to allow even baking, for even better; use the middle rack. 

Final Thoughts

Nothing is more satisfying than biting into a perfectly cooked cookie. However, achieving this isn’t always as simple as it sounds.

Several factors can influence the baking process of your cookie. Therefore, it’s important to constantly check them.

As highlighted above, some ways to determine whether your cookies are done include browning, using a toothpick, and checking the edges. Hopefully, this guide has provided you with everything you need to tell if your cookies are done.

Picture of Kathryn Sewell

Kathryn Sewell

Hi! I'm Kate and I have been baking and cooking for as long as I can remember. I like to share the most interesting tips and recipes I try here on What Kate Baked for you to enjoy. If you have a favorite recipe you'd like to share send it over on social.

About the Author